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Friday, June 28, 2013

Bert and Ernie say, "Finally!"

Posted by on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 10:50 AM

Next week's cover of the New Yorker:


From Cover Story:

“It’s amazing to witness how attitudes on gay rights have evolved in my lifetime,” said Jack Hunter, the artist behind next week’s cover, “Moment of Joy.” Hunter, who originally submitted his image, unsolicited, to a Tumblr, continued, “This is great for our kids, a moment we can all celebrate.”


Comments (38) RSS

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Will in Seattle 1
Well, ok, but I still say Ernie is bi. He may not accept Bert's proposal.
Posted by Will in Seattle on June 28, 2013 at 11:12 AM · Report this
despicable me 2
What?? But, but, won't someone think about the children?!? What's next in this madness, telling kids Oscar the Grouch is homeless? Wait...

Congrats to us!
Posted by despicable me on June 28, 2013 at 11:14 AM · Report this
What about that gay Teletubby? Is he still single?
Posted by floater on June 28, 2013 at 11:17 AM · Report this
You know, I remember a few years ago when some people (the gays) were pressuring Sesame Street to let Bert and Ernie come out. And then the Sesame Street people replied, very offended, and were all "Look people, they are puppets. They don't have sexuality. They are just friends." And I buy this. It is, after all, a show aimed at children 6 months to 3 years, when doing things like taking a bath in the same room as your friend isn't sexual nor particularly intimate.

However, I don't remember watching it since I was roughly that age, so you all tell me. If it turns out that straight "romantic" subplots actually exist for any of the puppet characters on the show, then Bert and Ernie should totally come out. But, if not, then I'm happy to keep these particular puppets asexual.
Posted by sahara29 on June 28, 2013 at 11:44 AM · Report this

Sorry, I'm with the Sesame Street people. I don't appreciate any attempts at sexualizing puppets for kids -- gay or straight -- especially to promote a political agenda. Can we at least keep childhood free of sex & politics and the agendas of adults? Fuck's sake.
Posted by Confluence on June 28, 2013 at 11:57 AM · Report this
Allyn 6
@4 yes, they're asexual. It's aimed at kids, with enough jokes (but never entendres) for the adults to enjoy.

It's also fun to joke about them being gay.
Posted by Allyn on June 28, 2013 at 11:58 AM · Report this
Allyn 7
@5 Most people don't joke that way in front of their kids. Of the people with whom I've joked about Bert and Ernie being gay, we've not done it in front of kids.

We're not sexualizing the puppets for the kids, we're sexualizing the puppets for our own enjoyment. The kids are safe, they're fine, they don't know that B&E are doing the dirty when the cameras are off, don't worry about the kids seeing the porn video.
Posted by Allyn on June 28, 2013 at 12:02 PM · Report this
Josh Bis 8
Posted by Josh Bis on June 28, 2013 at 12:02 PM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 9
Oh sure, now Snuffleupagus and Big Bird will want to get married. Personally I have a thing for the Count... I like a man with an accent and one who knows his numbers! Also a flare for the dramatic...also; is a puppet...
Posted by ArtBasketSara on June 28, 2013 at 12:11 PM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 10
*flair, though flares are welcome too.
Posted by ArtBasketSara on June 28, 2013 at 12:13 PM · Report this
mkyorai 11
I foresee this pissing off a whole bunch of people.
Posted by mkyorai on June 28, 2013 at 12:20 PM · Report this
It is sexualizing and politicizing something that was (and is) innocent in my mind and so I don't appreciate it or think it is funny. I'm not worried about kids now-- leave *my* childhood alone. I prefer my memories of my TV childhood friends to be free of sexy times and political agendas. Fuck you, New Yorker.

@11, Yup, and I'm one of 'em. And I even agreed with the Supreme Court's ruling.
Posted by Confluence on June 28, 2013 at 12:35 PM · Report this
Allyn 13
@12 Sorry for destroying your childhood. ;-)

But... really???
Posted by Allyn on June 28, 2013 at 12:43 PM · Report this
McGee 14
Sexualizing Bert and Ernie is just as shitty as this:…
Posted by McGee on June 28, 2013 at 1:15 PM · Report this
I'm going to buy this edition of this magazine just for this cover.
Posted by charity on June 28, 2013 at 1:46 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 16

I don't know about Sesame Street specifically, but certainly there are romantic relationships between Muppets in other franchises. Kermit and Piggy, anyone?
Posted by keshmeshi on June 28, 2013 at 1:49 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 17

I also don't see anyone making the claim that the implication of bestiality in Kermit and Piggy's relationship is traumatizing children.
Posted by keshmeshi on June 28, 2013 at 1:51 PM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 18
@17 And Gonzo had a chicken girlfriend named Camilla. So...pretty messed up stuff right there.
Posted by ArtBasketSara on June 28, 2013 at 2:16 PM · Report this
@12 I'm in total agreement. I'm happy that Pride is in full swing and that DOMA was stricken down, but I think the cover shows some poor judgement and very little respect for Sesame Street that has been very vocal about how they're not trying to sexualize Bert & Ernie. The characters were created to show that two people with strong differences can live & work together and it should be left at that. Keep all the insinuations in the fan fiction forums.
Posted by Scott Chocolate on June 28, 2013 at 2:18 PM · Report this
mikethehammer 20
Is a pig making it with a frog "bestial"? What an odd thought. Inter-specieality, wouldn't it be?
Posted by mikethehammer on June 28, 2013 at 2:19 PM · Report this
pointy 21
Kermit and Piggy were on The Muppets, which was not a children's show. Ernie and Burt are on Sesame Street, which is.

Kermit would also be on Sesame Street, but his relationship with Piggy never was.
Posted by pointy on June 28, 2013 at 2:27 PM · Report this
biffp 22
This is adorable, and no one is being harmed. Bert and Ernie have always lived together and no has had their childhood ruined over it. Was Mork and Mindy getting married traumatic, were they married when they had Jonathon Winters? Go stuff your prejudices and first-hand knowledge of God's thoughts in a closet. You're not entitled to tell everyone how to live their lives anymore.
Posted by biffp on June 28, 2013 at 2:43 PM · Report this
I remember when you couldn't even have a conversation about a pig and a frog making it. Look how far we have come as a society.

Seriously though, there is enough ambiguity in the cover, and it is such a sweet sentiment, I don't think it's gonna warp anyone's kids.

How many three year olds are browsing the New Yorker, anyway?
Posted by alanD on June 28, 2013 at 2:43 PM · Report this
Allyn 24
@13 +1

Also, most kids in the prime SS age are still big cuddlers themselves and would see nothing odd or sexual about two friends hugging on the odd chance that they *did* see the pic.
Posted by Allyn on June 28, 2013 at 2:54 PM · Report this
Allyn 25
re @24 I mean to refer to comment 23. I wasn't agreeing with my own comment 13.... I mean, I'm arrogant, sure, but not *that* arrogant.
Posted by Allyn on June 28, 2013 at 2:56 PM · Report this
@21: Your comment brought to mind the concept of disjoint "comic universes". For years, Spiderman could never encounter Batman on the street. Nor, for that matter, could Daffy meet Donald, although both those prohibitions were eventually violated. There was a great scene in the Muppet Movie when roadtripping Kermit and Fozzie encounter Big Bird hitchhiking by the road. "Want to come with us to Hollywood?" "No, thanks, I'm heading to New York to try to break into Public Television!"
Sorry for this brain burp. You may return now to debating the pros and cons of sexualizing children's characters.
Posted by Eric from Boulder on June 28, 2013 at 2:58 PM · Report this
MacCrocodile 27
Oh Christ, here we go again.

@1 - Shut the fuck up. Your joke not only failed, but it did so with dazzling offensiveness. If Ernie were bi, that wouldn't make him any less inclined to want a romantic connection. I have already wasted too many words on you.

@Everybody. Bert and Ernie are not gay. They are not characters with any real sexual or romantic impulse. The Sesame Street people flubbed the response by claiming that as puppets, the characters have no sexuality, but they were right that the characters of Bert and Ernie are not gay; but they're not straight or bi or anything in between, either.

Plenty of Sesame Street Muppets have had sexual/romantic drives (Elmo has parents who gave birth to him on screen like any other mammal would. Placido Flamingo fell in love with Maria once [interspecies perversion! OMG!] and stalked her for an entire episode to get her to leave Luis for him.). To claim that the characters, being IRL puppets, don't have sexuality is a cop-out and insulting.

And to those who say that having gay characters is something children can't deal with, go watch the episode where Mr. Hooper died, and then go fuck yourself.

It is definitely time for Sesame Street to introduce a gay character; the show has always been about getting along in a diverse world. Even if their first gay presence is just a couple of lesbian moms in one scene picking up their kid from school or something, that's progress. You don't have to have an episode or even dialogue devoted to them being gay, but acknowledging that in a modern world, kids have families of different types is nothing new to Sesame Street.
Posted by MacCrocodile on June 28, 2013 at 3:10 PM · Report this
Fnarf 28
@18, oh, so now I'm "messed up" because I have a chicken girlfriend? God, you people.
Posted by Fnarf on June 28, 2013 at 3:12 PM · Report this
ArtBasketSara 29
@28 Hey bro, whatever you do in the privacy of your hen-house is none of my biz...just don't wanna see that stuff in public. How are the eggs btw?
Posted by ArtBasketSara on June 28, 2013 at 3:25 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 30
Something got ol' Conflence's knickers in a twist? Ha ha ha ha ha....

@4, the show is aimed at approx 3-8 year olds. Not fucking "6 months." There are few shows aimed at toddlers (Teletubbies and its cretinous creators' other show Boo-Bah are the only ones I can think of, and they're no longer in production, praise the lord.
Posted by Matt from Denver on June 28, 2013 at 3:48 PM · Report this
@12: If you're this butthurt about something as benign as this image of two Sesame Street characters, I invite you to stay far, far away from anything resembling "rule 34" on the interwebs. You may find that your entire childhood, as well as everybody else's, has already been sexualized.
Posted by treehugger on June 28, 2013 at 6:33 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 32

But their relationship is in all the Muppet movies, which are kids' movies, and on Muppet Babies.
Posted by keshmeshi on June 28, 2013 at 9:48 PM · Report this
Fnarf 33
@29, over easy, babe. Always over easy. Buh-bahk!
Posted by Fnarf on June 28, 2013 at 11:00 PM · Report this
lolorhone 34
@5, 12, 19:

They're cuddling, not blowing each other. Have a drink.
Posted by lolorhone on June 29, 2013 at 5:41 AM · Report this
Dr. Z 35
To those who object to the image: you are sooooooo full of (potentially internalized) heterosexist shit.

One. Children of that age don't understand adult relationships in sexual terms - they see role models for what their lives could be like when they grow up. If you were truly concerned with "sexualizing"child's play, why not object to anything that facilitates "you be the mommy and I'll be the daddy" role playing? It is everywhere, including on Sesame Street. And no one thinks to complain about Kermit and Miss Piggy as "sexualized."

Two. Since adult role models for gay and lesbian children are almost nonexistent, those kids havelong since learned to read between the lines for any hints that they might someday be able to find happiness and a place of their own in the world. In my day it was Dr. Quest and Race Bannon. They were no more sexualized than any other adult couple role model - in fact they were less so, since in that day it was vitally necessary to be able to pass as straight. Maintaining ambiguity was a basic survival skill. Luckily for us, idiots like you are easy to fool because you are all too willing to go along with heteronormative assumptions. After all, it's morons exactly like you who would heatedly deny the rumors about Rock Hudson and Liberace and John Travolta.

Three. Sesame Street is on PBS, which has been under relentless Congressional funding attacks since the days of Jesse Helms. They have become conditioned to throw LGBT children under the bus at the slightest sign of controversy. They probably would have done it to the Teletubbies had Jerry Falwell not looked so self-evidently asinine. They are stuck in the 1980s on LGBT issues and probably won't change until we are truly at the mopping-up stage of this civil rights struggle. So don't go expecting some kind of vindication for your position by claiming SS is on your side.

Four. I can't tell you how many times people have been willing to make excuses for the lack of visibility of LGBT in popular entertainment. When a character in history or a book has gay, very often that fact has been airbrushed out by the time it gets turned into a film or TV show. Think "Shakespeare in Love" for instance. And every time, there has been someone (often a gay person with internalized homophobia) ready at hand to make fresh excuses, and always to the detriment of the LGBT identity.

So in summary: yes we do claim Bert and Ernie as our own. No they are not sexualized, any more than permitting openly gay Boy Scouts would somehow "sexualize" the BSA. You need to take a good hard look at the double standards you are defending, particularly those of you who imagine yourselves as progay.
Posted by Dr. Z on June 29, 2013 at 7:18 AM · Report this
@4, Kermit and Miss Piggy are in a hetero relationship. Mommy and Daddy Snuffleupagus are in a heterorelationship. Papa Bear and Mama Bear are in a hetero relationship. Susan and Gordon are in a hetero relationship. The people at Sesame Street are frankly full of shit on the subject. Given the way they've let the show drop in quality over the last few years, I'm not at all surprised.

As for Burt and Ernie, they were a parody of Oscar and Felix. Randall and Klugman admitted they tried to play them as gay as possible, and the studio execs fearing for their ratings added stuff about how they had been kicked out of their homes by their wives, etc.

I can't imagine that if Jim Henson were alive, that he'd be rejecting the idea of gay Burt and Ernie.
Posted by GermanSausage on June 30, 2013 at 9:21 AM · Report this
LaPuerta 37
Who said anything about sexualizing puppets? There are lots of relationships in sesame street, sexualized or no. I had a "boyfriend" when I was like 4 or 5. We held hands and played games and obviously didn't have sex, like most 4 or 5 year olds. Sending the message to kids that those kind of innocent romantic relationships are OK, and that they are OK with someone of the same sex seems fine to me. If Kermit and Piggy were green lighted, why not Bert and Erni? They also seem like a way better example of a healthy relationship...
Posted by LaPuerta on June 30, 2013 at 10:55 AM · Report this
@27 Ummm... how do you know so much about Bert and Ernie's relationship? Or about their most intimate thoughts and desires, for that matter?
Posted by pemulis on July 1, 2013 at 6:26 PM · Report this

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