Sesame Street has finally spoken out to answer the question of whether Bert and Ernie will ever get married:
Bert and Ernie are best friends. 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.
And I get it, I can understand why people think Bert and Ernie are in a relationship: they’ve lived together for ages; they seem to do everything together; half their humour is based on an odd-couple dynamic.
But I’ve never thought Bert and Ernie were gay. I just thought they were twins.
Growing up as a twin means you experience certain events a bit differently—often ones you don’t realise are different until you’re much older. For one thing, I never had that “oh god it’s the first day of school and I don’t know a soul” until I was seventeen and off at university. (The fact that I spent my childhood making friends as part of a set still means my time-honoured trick for making friends in a class, party, office, whatever is to instantly decide one person IS MY FRIEND and promptly start cracking jokes like we’re an accepted double act. It actually works pretty well; even if you don’t really know the other person acting like you’re already friends means you’re in a group, so people assume you must be fun.) And because there were always at least two of us playing make-believe at a time, we were particularly attracted to characters we interpreted as fitting into our twin mold. Chip and Dale are still beloved to my sister and I. Bert and Ernie were another. (Which brings me to another lengthy parenthetical: I was always Chip and Dara was always Dale, but weirdly, when it comes to Sesame Street she’s clearly Bert and I’m unquestionably Ernie. This may support my dad’s assertion that when we were babies we used to switch personalities.)
Two people who live together, spend tons of time together, and are incredibly different yet strangely matched? This was a paradigm I instantly recognised as a toddler, and I haven’t had reason to question it yet. Well, fine, I suppose that sentence could also describe my boyfriend and I. But while Luke does have a certain familial weakness for pigeons, I think I can confidently point out that Dara is definitely the twin with the unibrow. Snerf snerf.