LONDON — A longtime writer for the hit children’s show “Sesame Street” has confirmed the popular characters Bert and Ernie were a same-sex couple.
“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?’ Saltzman said.
“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 and Ernie, they were. I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them.
“The other thing was, more than one person referred to Arnie & I as ‘Bert and Ernie.’
Saltzman joined the writing team at “Sesame Street” in 1984 and said people would often refer to him and Glassman as Ernie and Bert and that he didn’t have any other way to “contextualize” the characters.
He said the dynamic between Bert and Ernie and their characteristics often resembled that of his own relationship.
“I was Ernie. … And Arnie as a film editor — if you thought of Bert with a job in the world, wouldn’t that be perfect?” Saltzman said.
“Bert with his paper clips and organization? And I was the jokester. So it was the Bert and Ernie relationship, and I was already with Arnie when I came to ‘Sesame Street.’
“So I don’t think I’d know how else to write them, but as a loving couple. I wrote sketches … Arnie’s OCD would create friction with how chaotic I was. And that’s the Bert and Ernie dynamic.”