Saying that there is a lack of LGBTQA+ representation in mainstream media is like saying water is wet. And this week, just as it seemed there might have been a small glimmer of hope, it was snatched away as quickly as we could say Bert and Ernie.
Long-time Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman told Queerty earlier this week that everyone’s favorite dynamic duo is more than life-long friends, but actually a couple. This isn’t the first time that this topic has been speculated about, but it is the first time we got some concrete closure on the matter. Saltzman reported that he modeled the relationship after him and his late partner, going so far as to work some of their quirks into the character’s behavior on the show. But just as we started to celebrate our new favorite T.V. couple, Sesame Street took to Twitter and squashed all of our hopes and dreams.
People had a mixed reactions to this stern Tweet, but our standpoint is clear. Why was it necessary for Sesame Street to shut down this storyline so quickly? It beckons the question, why would they be ashamed if the duo was in fact in a romantic partnership? There was never any inappropriate sexual innuendos on the show, so what is so wrong about this narrative that they felt the need to shut down the circulating rumors so staunchly?
In fact, Sesame Street has made strides in diversifying the characters on the show. In 2017, they introduced a character named Julia who openly has autism. They’ve normalized breastfeeding, tackled racism, and they even introduced a puppet that was HIV positive. So what about this particular issue warranted such a straightforward shutdown? In our honest opinion, it seems like the show isn’t as progressive as they’d have us believe. Regardless of what they say, we’ll be celebrating Bert and Ernie as a gay couple from here on out. Sorry not sorry.