Another day, another misguided on-line campaign. Today the New York Daily News is reporting that there is an on-line position to get Sesame Street to have Bert and Ernie marry each other. Oh brother.

An online campaign to pressure the producers of “Sesame Street” into having lovable roommates Bert and Ernie get married is gathering steam. More than 700 people have signed on to the petition, posted at change.org. “We are not asking that Sesame Street do anything crude or disrespectful,” reads the petition for the muppet merger. “It can be done in a tasteful way. Let us teach tolerance of those that are different.”

A debate over the sexuality of Sesame Street’s most famous duo has dogged the show since Bert and Ernie first appeared in 1969. The puppet pair sleep next to each other and bicker almost as much as a married couple.

But the producers of Sesame Street say Bert and Ernie’s relationship is purely platonic. “Bert and Ernie are best friends,” the non-profit Sesame Workshop said in a statement. “They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though the Sesame Street Muppets … possess many human traits and characteristics, they have no sexual orientation.”

First of all, RELAX, gay rights advocates! As someone who genuinely believes that all human beings should be granted total equality in every aspect of life, please know that I am on your side on this issue in general, but I am fully against you in the specifics. If Sesame Street decided on its own volition to make Bert and Ernie married, that would be one thing, but a stupid on-line petition? And while we all know that the evangelical talking point that there is some kind of gay agenda aimed at teaching our children to be gay is both patently ridiculous and unacceptably hateful, this is certainly going to add fuel to that ignorant fire. No one should ever fear doing the right thing just because it’s going to provide lazy ammunition to a bunch of idiots, but whether or not this is the right thing is still VERY MUCH up for debate. Oh, also, here’s another thing:

The original speculation over Bert’s and Ernie’s unusual relationship and jocular jokes being made about their homosexuality COMES FROM A MILDLY HOMOPHOBIC PLACE. If they were accused of being gay in the past, it wasn’t out of PRIDE. Yes, they live together and sleep in the same bed room (twin beds, very repressed 1950s, I’m sure). Yes, they argue constantly just like a real couple. You know what else? THEY’RE FUCKING FELT PUPPETS. The point of Bert and Ernie was never to discuss the types of compromise and conflict resolution required to make long-term relationships functional. It was about friendship, always. There is, as the final quote in this article points out, absolutely no reason to brush a patina of ACTUAL SEX onto this relationship. It’s not undefined because the Children’s Television Workshop was too scared to have a gay couple due to societal pressure but now it can be defined because the cultural values are shifting. It’s undefined because THEY ARE PUPPETS ON SESAME STREET AND NONE OF THE GODDAMNED PUPPETS ARE MARRIED BECAUSE THAT’S NOT AN ISSUE THAT NEEDS TO BE EXPLORED FOR PRE-SCHOOLERS. Just let these dudes collect paper clips and learn how to spell A-P-P-L-E-S-A-U-C-E for heaven’s sake.

And before you start pointing out that Kermit the Frog and Miss PIggy had a sexually frought relationship, I would point out that The Muppet Show aired in PRIME TIME and that certain concessions were made to an adult audience that are not necessary when the lesson of the day is “sharing.”

I’m sure half the people signing this petition are just doing it ironically anyway, which makes things even more TERRIBLE AND CONFUSING.

Guys (not you guys, but whoever is signing this petition), take a step back. Have a glass of water. We live in a huge, complicated, mean world and the road to human equality and socially mandated tolerance is a long one, but we are on that road. Keep your eyes on the prize. And your hands off things your hands don’t need to be on. Like this. Good grief, LOOK AT YOURSELVES.

All of this being said, if they ever DO get married, at least they have their first dance already picked out.

Now if you will excuse me, I have to go back to my Trash Can and wait for a package of Generic Grouch Pills from Canada.

Comments (54)
  1. Well, this would be a really good opportunity to put fake and gay in action…

  2. You missed the most important point, which is that this whole issue forces one to consider the unpleasant prospect of receiving oral sex from someone made of felt.

  3. Oh god now I am thinking about puppets and sex and my mind will never be clean again.

  4. When Sesame Street first came on, the Children’s Television Workshop as it was then-known worked VERY hard to include a racially integrated cast, include disabled children on the show, and show the morals they thought were important. Some states BANNED Sesame Street because of the racial integration. Public television organizations refused to fund them because of the “extremity” of their ethics.

    I think if they’d wanted to have gay characters, the would have fucking had gay characters. They wouldn’t have pussyfooted around it. If they intended for Bert and Ernie to be anything more than friends they would have worked their asses off to make sure everyone knew it. The people who created the show dedicated their whole lives to it, so let’s actually listen to what they have to say about the characters they created.

    This message has been brought to you by the number 7 and the letter G. And my copy of Street Gang, which is very good and everyone should read it.

    • Re-reading that, it looks maybe like I’m shouting at Gabe. I’m not. I’m shouting at the people who have nothing to do with the show but insist that they know what the show’s creators intended. Let’s not tell the Sesame Workshop people how to run their show (they’re doing a pretty great job).

    • Street Gang was great! Required reading, Monsters!

  5. I think we should really be focusing our efforts on a campaign to get Dress for Success on the show to help get Oscar off the street.

  6. And lo … puppet lay with puppet, and The Lord did vengefully smite the Sesamites!

  7. 700 people sign a petition and it’s a news story?

    • An online petition, no less.

    • Seriously, can we talk about how many non-stories are getting written by the internets?!?!?

      Actually, I think that might’ve been the whole point of HWUWTG…

    • You know what? I’m finding this argument less and less compelling. The fact of the matter is that, sure, 700 people signing an on-line petition can certainly be a news story. And it’s not like this kind of news story is TAKING THE PRECIOUS PLACE of another more important news story. It’s just a thing to talk about. There are so many things going on in the world, and plenty of people to write about them. I certainly agree that the Internet echo-chamber allows certain “non-news” to get more attention than it otherwise would, but it’s not as if the people who are going to talk about this WOULD talk about the Syrian revolution but somehow this story stole them away. If it weren’t for this (or whatever “non-news” story) they would probably just stare at a wall. It’s just not the zero-sum, mutually exclusive situation that people keep making it out to be.

      • I just don’t like the sense of manufactured outrage of THE LIBERALS WANT TO PUT GAY SEX ON PUBLIC TELEVISION (not necessarily of this article, but I’m sure there will be at least one segment on Fox News covering this) when really it’s a small number of people online that apparently think this is a smart idea, while a lot of other progressive people on the internet think it’s a silly idea and that Bert and Ernie are fine as they are.

  8. Well, this is at least maybe better than my online petition to finally have Shaggy arrested for giving marijuana to his dog.

  9. I’m with Gabe too. I sometimes feel that in the search for equality, there are those (everyone on this petition) who forget that even the people they rally against (the wonderful people of sesame street) must become part of the balance and compromise too. Without that, there is no equality. So using a petition to bully someone into changing their vehicle of free speech to adhere to your agenda, in my eyes, is exactly the same as them not doing it because they believe your agenda to be wrong (which isn’t their reasoning, don’t be a tom fool). You do not achieve balance by kicking someone else off the scale, it’s done through understanding and compassion.

    Plus I’m pretty sure Sesame Street has had some homosexual guests on the show in the past…though I am a grown man, and it’s been awhile since I’ve tuned in.

  10. I am all about marriage equality, but I don’t get the point of this petition. When are people going to realize that we don’t need to teach children tolerance, they are born tolerant. I get so annoyed when I see cartoons etc., with kids in wheelchairs and the whole “this child is just like you” nonsense. Anyone who has ever raised a child or spent time with a child knows that kids are more than excepting than adults (at least at the pre-school Sesame Street age). They love everyone! If you surveyed Sesame Street viewers and asked them “should two adults who love each other be able to get married even if they are two boys or two gilrs?” They would all answer “Yes! Yay! Can I come because dancing and cake!” It is the adults in this world that need to be educated about tolerance so they don’t f up their children.

    • I dunno . . . kids can be really good at being shitty to people they consider “different,” and it’s pretty easy for them to figure out who is “different”

  11. Seven hundred people signed it! *monocle pops off* *steam flies out ears* *hat spins around*

  12. Are we really hyphenating “on-line,” does it depend on the usage?

    • These “cyber petititons” allow “netizens” on the “blogosphere” to “e-sign” with a “digital signature” on the “information superhighway” and “ineffectually attempt to ruin stuff with half baked crusades”

  13. Also, for the record, B & E do not share a bed, get real dude:

    • Yes, if memory serves, they sleep in the same room, but each have a twin bed (Dick van Dyke style) with their initial carved into the headboard. The shared bedroom is basically just to facilitate jokes where Ernie annoys Bert by doing loud stuff while Bert tries to sleep.

      • Back in the day, they used to share a bed. Hence the whole, “QUIT EATING COOKIES IN THE BED, ERNIE,” Routine.

        • True, which I guess further serves to support the argument that it’s a kids show, they’re roommates because that allows them to comically irritate each other, and their situation changes to fit the needs of a particular scene or joke because it doesn’t matter because it’s a show for elementary school kids quit trying to sexualize puppets everyone dangit

        • Actually, no, the cookies in bed routine has them in separate beds. The punchline has Ernie coming over to get in Bert’s bed and eat the cookies there.

          Amazing thing, YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpozspIMH9E

          As someone ancient enough to have been in the target demographic for Sesame Street in its very first season, I can assure you that they never had one big bed to sleep in.

      • I figured they shared a bedroom because they live in NY, and rent is expensive in NY and they could only afford a one bedroom. Without each other as a roommate, they’d each be living in a 78sqft closet with a homemade felt bed which would make for very depressing children’s television.

  14. Signing an online petition very much seems like the action of an Internet Baby in 1998. ‘Oh this makes me angry! I demand ‘Farscape’ be put back on the air! Signed, spaceshipghettoduh307459.’ Shut up, Internet Babies. Although I would like to see Bert and Ernie get married just so the spark could fade in their relationship and we’d get their subsequent divorce proceedings. ‘FINE, TAKE THE DUCK BERT, YOU’VE TAKEN EVERYTHING ELSE FROM ME!’

    • Signing an online petition about a creative work is the equivalent of being the guy yelling “Freebird!” at a concert. If the creators listened to the mob mentality rather than their own muse, the result would be homogenized, bland, and serving the wants of someone who doesn’t even truly want the thing they’re requesting.

    • Well, it worked for Futurama. (because clearly they cared more about the online petitions and less about the booming DVD sales and the popularity of syndicated episodes)

  15. Plus! Can’t two guys just be friends? Sometimes people are just good friends with each other!

  16. Also lost in the argument is that they don’t have genitals?
    Or, at best, they have really terrible vaginas.

    • Gross Patrick, they are not finger puppets! I guess they are fist puppets though? Oh now I’ve really yucked myself out brb I have to wash my brain

  17. Yet somehow we all seem to forget that Sam the Eagle had sex with a male gigolo at the 1984 Republican National Convention.

  18. Do they really need a wedding?! They already act like an old married couple: http://bit.ly/qwIJYQ. A wedding won’t change nothing!

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