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  2. Sesame Street Season 47
    Sesame Street's 47th season officially began Saturday January 7 on HBO. After you see the new episodes, post here and let us know your thoughts.

Bert and Ernie Gay Rumor: Settled

Discussion in 'Sesame Street' started by Fozzie Bear, Jan 30, 2010.

  1. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    The sad truth is, there are a lot of subjects that we may want to cover on shows like SST and such, but they never will be able to: they took a big risk explaining death in 1983 regarding Mr. Hooper, and were successful, however, for every success, there have also been at least two more failures regarding sensitive issues, like divorce for example, in the infamous "banned" Snuffy and Alice's parents are divorced episode that was never aired, because it upset the children in the test audiences. Lou Berger even said there are many topics they'd like to address, but they wouldn't be able to.

    Inclusion of gay lifestyle HAD been attemped on a PBS Kids show before: an episode of the Arthur spin-off Postcards from Buster had Buster meeting a girl with "two mommies", but was never aired nationwide, only once on the PBS affiliate that's involved with the production of a lot of those kids shows (WGBH); and sadly, there are a LOT of fanatic conversative church groups and homeschool groups that have boycotted PBS before for trying to teach tolerance of homosexuality... I know, because that's why we don't have those pledge drives at my local PBS affiliate anymore, because those groups dealt a devestating blow to their pledges, their pledges dropped drastically, and they tried to make up for it by increasing the pledge minimum, but that didn't help... nowadays, they only accept private funding and donations, though I know one of my colleagues has told me he wishes they could do something like that to help support children's programming again (and too, he was instrumental in shaping a lot of the facets of Steve D'Monster's personality).

    Evencable children's shows have attempted to have some sort o f gay inclusion and have gotten in trouble for it, like the banned Cow and Chicken episode where Cow joins a motorcycle gang called the Buffalo Gals, composed entirely of huge masculine butch women who randomly bursts into people's homes, and chews on their carpets (wink-wink).

    Sadly, homosexuality is not seen by the "public" as being "family-friendly", even Johnny Weir has been on the short end of that stick... the last I've heard, the Archie comics were planning on adding an openly gay character to their cast, not sure if that's worked out for them or not, but then again, I really don't know of anybody (other than Drtooth maybe) who actually reads Archie Comics.
  2. frogboy4

    frogboy4 Inactive Member

    I'm so glad you brought up the history of difficult topics in children's entertainment along with the inclusion of Sesame's nixed divorce episode. That's exactly where this discussion should have started. I guess the absurdity of the recent petition obscured a much more interesting conversation. Thanks for bringing that back. :super:

    It is tough and there are a lot of groups waiting to find an excuse to pounce on such programs. I still think it can be done. As mentioned it has been done when considering that many out gay celebrities have appeared on Sesame Street. I still think assigning the lifestyle label confuses some folk by painting an ambiguous picture of what life is really like. Gay couples are very much like straight couples. They're just of the same sex and face more prejudice. There's an epic conspiracy to hide it from me if there's anything more interesting than that. :p

    Wow! You know about Kevin Keller! He's an out gay character in Archie Comics that recently became popular enough to carry his own branded comic along with being a recurring character in the regular Archie universe:
    I hope this helps others become more tolerant in accepting the differences of others even if they don't agree with them. :)
  3. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Yes, thank you, I had forgotten his name. I'm glad to see he's been successful thus far, I wasn;t aware that he was given his own comic as well, I think that's great.
    frogboy4 likes this.
  4. dwmckim

    dwmckim Well-Known Member

    Not only has Kevin been successful; his debut was the very first time an issue of any of the Archie Comics went into a second printing.
    frogboy4 likes this.
  5. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Bottom line, it comes down to money, or rather the potential loss of it. There's a section of the country that the networks are always afraid of upsetting. If they're upset, the networks lose money.

    The thing is, sometimes the networks are wrong. For instance they were so terrified of Star Trek having TV's first interracial kiss. But then guess what! Nobody cared, no big protests, it was fine. I think given the right situation, the right execution, the issue of gay relationships could be successfully presented. I think ideally, you'd have to have writers working from both "liberal" and "conservative" perspectives, who would be able to imagine where different types of audiences are coming from.
    frogboy4 likes this.
  6. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I kinda don't read Archie comics unless they involve Sonic the Hedgehog or Mega Man (and of course, their version of TMNT).

    Yeah, they fiercely promoted their Ken line, even moreso than their new Mega Man comics... which I will say annoys me because it was very hard to find out which week MM comes out every month at first. I just hope they don't wind up screwing it up with the new, more "realistic" look they kept forcing their comics to have at one point. It was grotesque looking, especially Jughead.

    I'm not going to mince words. Postcards from Buster was a terrible show in the first place. It was a terrible spinoff of a terrible episode, and I live in mortal fear they'll have a D.W. and Chiek (forget how to spell that) sing long winded songs about countries show. Seriously, Postcards and the Scrappy makes Shaggy and Scooby run from Bluto type characters show prove that if you take the best character in a show, give them a spinoff, the show will automatically suck. Though...hehe... Mr. Ratburn should host one of those cake shows on cable.

    To get things straight here, Postcards had 2 controversial episodes... the one mentioned and one where they portrayed Muslims for not being the evil baby eating slime drooling monsters certain parts of the media in the Bush era wanted them to. To the show's credit, they did make some pretty bold steps with both, going against the grain to teach tolerance to little kids... but then again, the show also had an episode with gratuitous sequences of live footage of buffalo feces. I'm NOT kidding.

    And as I said before, if the media teaches tolerance, how can parents pass down intolerance they had from generations of hate to their little children? That's why everything has to be trod upon lightly. Sesame Street really manages to play it very safe. If they ever mentioned 2 mother/father households there would be a backlash by people who want to perpetuate the myth that marriage is a sacred bond when in reality it came out of property agreements. They're forcing our kids to be tolerant, they'd cry. We want to indoctrinate them so the hate never dies. And frankly, that's why SS was controversial in its day. They were trying to teach kids to not hate African American people.
  7. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    I wonder if part of it is the song "We all sing with the same voice" or whatever. I watched it on YT. My food nearly got spit out when the verse comes up about having 2 daddies.

    Not that I mind, of course. The most interesting thing about it was the comments. Flames erupted pretty quick, though I tend to agree the original intent was most likely divorce. However, I would love to see this song replayed, maybe even (ducks from the flames) ... ahem ... updated ....
  8. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    This would just be a very tricky thing. I mean they could try introducing adult characters in a gay relationship, but then I don't want characters where that's their one defining trait (like how Linda complained that every single sketch was about her being deaf).

    Another device that's occasionally used is to take already established and beloved characters and after some time, reveal that they're gay. And by then, in theory, you've already gotten to know them as people so it shouldn't matter. Obviously Rowling tried doing this with Dumbledore. But not everyone was happy because it felt like she'd just tacked it on at the last minute to shock people, rather than it really coming from the character.
  9. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    In all honesty,I came to the conclusion that perhaps her mother had divorced, and gotten remarried, so that her "2 daddies" are really one father, and one stepfather.
  10. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

    Right, divorce would have been much more controversial years ago and thus that reference in the song was pretty gutsy at the time.

    To be honest I have my doubts about Sesame Street doing anything truly gutsy like that again; it's just not the same show. Of course if they prove me wrong, I'd welcome it. ;)

    There's no reason they can't use the original version today; the line could be interpreted both ways nowadays, despite its original meaning.
  11. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Considering that Full House was around the time I really started to listen to that song, I sort of felt it was that sort of situation.

    I couldn't see them being defining unless they're stereotype jokes... you know the man hungry all about sex stereotype or the listens to musical theater stereotype (Didn't they expressly say Archie's Ken character hated musicals?). Though it would take decades and decades for this subject to be tame enough to not get flamed down by the same ol' same ol's that want to shape the world in their image.

    It is a very sensitive issue, and one we're thankfully evolving towards, but there's a ways to go.
    Slackbot likes this.
  12. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I just remembered another controversy surrounding homosexuality that actually affected SST a few years ago:

    When Takalani Sesame in South Africa introduced Kami the HIV-Positive Muppet... that right there is ANOTHER gay stereotype: people think that HIV/AIDS is the result of gay sex, and it shows how ignorant most Americans really are on the disease; when news of Kami spread, the entire country was up-in-arms, because they 1) Weren't aware SST has international co-productions and thought Kami was coming to the U.S. 2) again, the whole HIV/AIDS being associated with homosexuality stereotype, therefore, they thought SST was trying to include homosexuality on the show.

    Yes, while HIV/AIDS has affected many a gay person (ala Richard), it's not exclusive to gay people... in fact, it was clear (to those of us who knew what it was all about) that Kami was an example of how some children down in South Africa are sadly BORN with the disease... so it's not like a Muppet is gonna engage in "butt sex" with another Muppet and suddenly get STDs.
  13. Daffyfan2003

    Daffyfan2003 Well-Known Member

    (quote)Yes, while HIV/AIDS has affected many a gay person (ala Richard), it's not exclusive to gay people... in fact, it was clear (to those of us who knew what it was all about) that Kami was an example of how some children down in South Africa are sadly BORN with the disease... so it's not like a Muppet is gonna engage in "butt sex" with another Muppet and suddenly get STDs. (/quote)

    Actually, I was wondering about that. Has it been established anywhere that Richard Hunt really was gay or are we just assuming on that?
  14. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    It's pretty much common knowledge among Muppet fans that yes, Richard Hunt was, indeed, gay. Street Gang says that both he and "his partner" contracted HIV, but he outlived his partner who died in his arms. That's just one example where it's pretty clear that he was.
  15. heralde

    heralde Well-Known Member

  16. Daffyfan2003

    Daffyfan2003 Well-Known Member

    Okay. That sounds interesting. Would there be some way to purchase that magazine online or at a store somewhere?

    Yeah. I almost forgot about that. Still, even if two men were homosexual, them having a daughter together wouldn't be genetically possible, unless they adopted her. A divorce situation probably would have been more likely.
  17. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    I like how some of the more bigoted "religious" "leaders" use AIDS as a "God is punishing gay people with a disease" platform, not knowing that it is a serious thing in South Africa. Bono even had to compare it with biblical plagues to get any one to care about it.

    And I was SHOCKED that Falwell actually DEFENDED Sesame Workshop for Kami. Really.
  18. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    If not that, some claim that it's a disease that originated when the natives mated with monkeys.
  19. RedPiggy

    RedPiggy Well-Known Member

    Never heard the monkey love thing, as I remember reading it was about eating bushmeat, which was apparently rather bad.
  20. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    That's a Robin Williams monologue from Saturday Night Live in the 80's. It could indeed be true, but then again... who knows. Could have been a blood to blood interaction too. That's how else it can be caught.

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