Sesame Street stands as a bonafide TV legend, and the show still has its hold on pop culture today. Conversations about Big Bird are known to come up on social media from time to time, but it is Bert and Ernie who are showing up now.
After all, a writer on Sesame Street just opened up about the long-rumored couple, and Mark Saltzman says fans are right to read into the duo’s relationship.
Recently, Queerty spoke with the script writer, and it was there Saltzman opened up about his Sesame Street tenure. The writer created more than 50 songs for the show and even brought Placido Flamingo to life. Now, the writer says his entry into Sesame Street in the 1980s was an influential one to his career, and his own relationship with partner Arnold Glassman crossed over into his work Bert and Ernie.
When Saltzman was asked if he thought of Bert and Ernie as a “gay couple” in the writer’s room, the writer confessed he approached the characters as such during his tenure.
“I remember one time that a column from The San Francisco Chronicle, a preschooler in the city turned to mom and asked “are Bert & Ernie lovers?” And that, coming from a preschooler was fun. And that got passed around, and everyone had their chuckle and went back to it. And I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were,” Saltzman said.
“I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them. The other thing was, more than one person referred to Arnie & I as “Bert & Ernie.””
In fact, Saltzman says Bert and Ernie became a sort of analogy for his relationship with Glassman.
“That’s what I had in my life, a Bert & Ernie relationship. How could it not permeate? The things that would tick off Arnie would be the things that would tick off Bert. How could it not? I will say that I would never have said to the head writer, “oh, I’m writing this, this is my partner and me.” But those two, Snuffalupagus, because he’s the sort of clinically depressed Muppet... you had characters that appealed to a gay audience.”1comments
For decades, audiences have long questioned the nature of Bert's relationship with Ernie. Their roommate status has often been scrutinized by fans who've come to ship the pair. While Sesame Street has never given an official stance on the pair's relationship, it seems at least one writer on the iconic series approached the couple as if they were in love. So, if there was ever a time to make some cute fan-art about the puppet pairing, now would be the time.
Does this interview's revelation surprise you at all? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to talk all things comics and anime!