Lovers or Best Friends?

Charlese Freeman

Student Life Editor

“Can you tell me how to get—how to get to Sesame Street?”

For decades, parents and children have enjoyed the sweet tones of that ionic Sesame Street theme song.

The lovable characters such as Elmo, Big Bird and Grover serve as fictional role models.

Even Oscar the Grouch and Cookie Monster play a role in educating children.

On Sept. 18 former Sesame Street writer, Mark Saltzer, told the beloved puppets were actually a reflection of his 20 year relationship, with late film editor Arnold Glassman.

Sooner rather than later is the best way to describe this announcement.

Saltzer simply verified what many have speculated about the odd puppet pair for years.

Many critics questioned rather or not the “best friend” pair was suitable for children.

“I think it’s an interesting take on the characters.

But, I think some parents may not allow their children to watch it because they are homophobic.

People are more open to the idea that it’s not just regular [heterosexual] relationships. They are more open to the gay community because the gay marriage law, but the writer is putting the show at risk,” ESU student, Kiera Leyden said.

In response to the rumors, The Sesame Workshop stated, 

“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 possess many human traits (as most do), they remain puppets and do not have a sexual orientation.”

Perhaps Sesame Street wants to maintain its impeccable reputation for educating preschoolers and does not think the underlying messages associated with Bert and Ernie as lover are appropriate.

The dual intentions has made Sesame Street the topic of discussion—Sesame Street with its intentions to strictly educate preschoolers and, Saltzer, like most writers, implanted a personal piece of himself in the scripts.

Without a doubt Bert and Ernie, the couple of the hour, were meant to depict a loving gay couple,.

However, this makes room for many interpretations.

Society essentially will do what they want with Saltzers’  announcement.   

“When I was watching Sesame Street growing up I just though Bert and Ernie were friends.

I do think that there is a responsibility to teach children multitudes of relationships that are out there,” Black Student Union vice president, Naimah Stevens said.

“I do think parents deserve the right to educate their children on these topics and I don’t necessarily think we need to need to put romantic relationships in children shows. “

With the times changing, children are getting more and more comfortable with seeing same-sex relationships.

However, if some children are not familiar with same-sex couples, Sesame Street can act as an appropriate way of preparing children for the LGBTQ community in the real world.

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