Gay Couple Alert
For years they have been sharing the same room, the same striped shirts and, quite possibly, the same hairstylist. But these longtime roommates have been under a microscope recently after one of them tweeted about Mr. T, a former “A-Team” alum and veritable jack of all pop culture trades.
As if the gay community needed one more reason to out these purported same-sex puppets, the tweet caused a stir, believed to be a very friendly nod to LGBT fans everywhere.
But not so fast, said Sesame Workshop Vice President Ellen Lewis. When the higher powers got wind of the lavender stir-up online, the company commented last week, suggesting that they had no idea the tweet would be interpreted as “gay.”
Really? That’s like saying Neil Patrick Harris’ appearance on the show as the “shoe fairy” wasn’t gay or that the “True Blood” (“True Mud“) parody couldn’t also be seen through a pair of rainbow goggles. Over the years, the children’s show has been known to spoof plenty of gay-friendly moments and feature many openly gay guests, like Broadway star Nathan Lane and comedian Wanda Sykes.
If anything, “Sesame Street” has been a cultural cornerstone for many generations, pushing what it means to make education fun and entertaining (even for adult audiences). That’s why the Bert and Ernie rumors hardly seem like a stretch, even if conservative organizations have been fuming over the allegations for years, along with similar accusations pointed at purse-toting Teletubby Tinky Winky and eccentric SpongeBob SquarePants who, for anyone who may not already know, lives in a pineapple under the sea.
The reality is gay folks have been entertaining kids for years. Anyone remember Charles Nelson Reilly’s over-the-top Bic banana commercial?
The Bert and Ernie gay question wasn’t lost on the creators of Broadway musical Avenue Q either, who penned “If You Were Gay” about two puppets named Rob and Nicky who share a mutual admiration for Broadway musicals from the 1940s.
When left up to the kids, though, it’s doubtful any of these rumors matter as much as how beloved these characters have become for generations. Many of us grew up watching “Sesame Street,” happily suspending disbelief about why in the world Oscar lived in a garbage can or if Big Bird wasn’t always a little dandified. None of that seemed to matter then. And it probably doesn’t matter much now when it comes to could-be life partners Bert and Ernie, even it it gives a whole new meaning to the “Rubber Ducky” song.