Friday, October 29, 2010

Misunderstood Puppets?

I can’t believe the news actually wasted 90 seconds of my life broadcasting that Bert from Sesame Street could actually be gay.


I look over at my boyfriend and flatly state to him, “You have got to be kidding me.” He lets out a giggle and shrugs his shoulders at me. I continue my rant. “Seriously, they have got to be joking. Who the hell cares if Bert is gay? He’s a puppet!”

Honestly people. Get a grip. Is there nothing else more important to report on than the non-existent, hypothetical sexual preference of a puppet? I’m sure they could have at least dug up some new information on Whitey Bulger or Jimmy Hoffa.

Anything would have been better than a story on a puppet who switched teams.

But hey, since they opened that can of worms why stop there? If they’re going to start dissecting Sesame Street characters why not take a look at the other puppets?
Yes. Let’s do that.

How about starting with Big Bird?

He has a pretty, effeminate voice and loves teddy bears. You never see him with a female Big Bird, and is always with his male pal, Mr. Snuffleupagus.

Hmm. Very interesting.

Oh, then there is Grover. He’s a silly little blue creature that constantly flails his arms around in a panic. Could he be gay too?

Ridiculous, isn’t it?

To be honest, I’m pretty ticked off about all of the talk about the twitter comment that was left on the Sesame Street page on October 25, 2010 that was supposedly left by Bert himself.

The comment was in reference to an upcoming A-Team re-make. Bert tweeted, “Ever notice how similar my hair is to Mr. T’s? The only difference is mine is a little more ‘mo’, and a little less ‘hawk’".

This single comment actually sparked the LA Times to do a three page story on whether or not the executives at Sesame Workshop are consciously trying to appeal to gay viewers and how PBS may not be so eager to embark on such a topic.

Personally, I couldn't care less if the Sesame execs are trying to do just that. However, if they are, I say Kudos to them! Sesame Street has always tried to be as diverse as possible with their puppets and their actors.

If you were an avid Sesame Street watcher as a child, take a moment and think about the characters. I bet there was at least one you could relate to in one way or another.

When I was a child, I remember Linda, the adult actor who was deaf and taught us all sign language. The way she communicated fascinated me and still does to this day. Aside from her disability, she was projected as a warm, funny and kind person. Had I not been exposed to her uniqueness, and educated on it, she could have been someone that I viewed as scary, odd, or even could have been prejudiced of.

Mr. Hooper was the grumpy but lovable store owner. He was a person that most of us could relate to as an elder, grumpy relative. C’mon, admit it, we've all had one.

Then there was Louis and Maria, the married Latino couple who raised a child on the show. Admittedly, I saw my own father in Louis even though I am full blooded Italian.

Then there was Bob. Bob was everyone’s confidant and buddy. He was a safe and secure person who always had it together. A sort of mother figure, but never paired up with anyone.

I think that as the years go on, and families change, so should children’s shows. Same sex marriages are now legal and couples are forming and raising families of their own. They are fantastic, conscientious, parents who only want the best for their children as we all do, and they are exposing their children to such great shows as Sesame Street. So why not show those children that there are other families just like them?

Currently on television there are two shows that promote gay parenting. ‘Modern Family’ and the other is ‘Glee’. According to the UCLA Williams Institute there are currently 1 million lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender parents raising about 2 million children in the U.S.

Hardly a drop in the bucket if you ask me.

There is so much left to be discovered with the statistics on children who are raised in same sex homes. I could only hope that there are lots of positive outcomes in the coming years. Only time will tell.

However, presently there are still many people that will never agree. There will always be people who will never believe that same sex couples should have children or raise them. No matter what the statistics positively conclude or how many studies have been conducted.

Some things we just can’t change. However, the one thing we can do is surround ourselves with people who love and accept us for who we are and try to educate the ones who don’t.

Just like Bert and Ernie.

1 comment:

  1. Very well said, Lisa! Kudos to you. :)

    The media and various groups are always trying to take a stab at children's programming by calling one or more beloved characters gay. First it was Barney, then it was Tinkie Winkie from The Teletubbies, and now Bert. And so what if they ARE gay puppets/characters? Diversity is never a bad thing.