Sunday, August 14, 2011

Leave Bert and Ernie alone!

Gay marriage is now legal in New York, but "Sesame Street" reminds fans that the characters of Bert and Ernie are just puppets, with no sexual orientation. There has been a well-intentioned, BUT perhaps misguided, campaign to get Bert and Ernie married, claiming that the pair are closet gays and live-in lovers. IMHO Just because two guys are very good friends doesn't make them gay! Why can't some people accept that guys can be guys and best pals without having to categorize them into specific groupings?!

"Bert and Ernie are best friends," Sesame Workshop said in response. "They were created to teach preschoolers that people can be good friends with those who are very different from themselves. Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics (as most 'Sesame Street' Muppets do), they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation."

Ernie and Bert were built by Don Sahlin from a simple design scribbled by Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets. In a classic pairing, Ernie appears chubby while Bert appears quite skinny (in a similar way to Abbott and Costello or Laurel and Hardy). Bert is yellow and Ernie is orange. [ source: wiki ]

Bert is intelligent, though a "boring" character. He enjoys activities such as paper clip and bottle cap collecting, cooking oatmeal and watching pigeons. In one sketch, Bert reads a book called Boring Stories and chuckles, "Boy, these Boring Stories are really exciting!" Bert is known for his expressive unibrow. Bert is often the mature half of the pair, and is easily frustrated at things that are not neat and tidy, including his roomate, Ernie.

Bert is good friends with a pigeon named Bernice (purely platonic), and has even created a dance called "Doin' the Pigeon." Bert serves as President of the National Association of W Lovers, a club dedicated to the letter W.

Ernie is well-known for taking baths with his Rubber Duckie, and for having trouble trying to learn to play the saxophone because he would not "put down the duckie". Ernie's performance of "Rubber Duckie," wherein he sings affectionately about his squeaking toy duck and the joy it brings him during bathtime, became a modest mainstream hit, reaching No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1970.

A running gag for the series involves Ernie presenting a hare-brained idea and Bert trying to dissuade him. Bert loses his temper while Ernie refuses to listen, and some element of truth in Ernie's idea adds to Bert's frustration. Another Ernie gag is that he refers to his bathtub and bath time as "Tubby time" before his performance of his song Rubber Duckie. His catchphrase for his comic duo with his roommate Bert, is "Hi Bert!"

The pair of Bert and Ernie are fun characters and a part of my growing up process, just as watching "Sesame Street" and learning to sing along with them as well as all the other characters in the popular U.S. children's television show which was screened in Singapore as well. It was because of the popularity of "Sesame Street" that gave birth to "The Muppet Show".

Click on the picture for a bigger and better view :)

This pair of Sesame Street Bert and Ernie figures were part of the 1995 release by Applause. I liked them for their size because they weren't small (Bert is almost 10 inches tall while Ernie measures a good 8 inches) and they wore fabric clothes over their vinyl plastic bodies. Of all the characters in Sesame Street, these two characters were the most human looking.


desmond said...

Bro..these two characters are my favourite muppets in Sesame Street even till now :P

alex teo said...

same same ;)

flywheels said...

This whole debacle is stupid. You are right...leave 'em alone!