Sesame Street‘s official party line on Bert and Ernie is as follows: “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.”
Uh huh. Sure, guys. Just don’t tell that to the New Yorker, which just revealed its next cover — a piece called “Moment of Joy” that pictures two “roommates” looking awfully snuggly as they watch a certain major news event play out on TV.
Look on the bright side, Sesame Workshop — maybe Bert and Ernie just hate affirmative action!
Fun fact: Jack Hunter, the artist who created this image — and no, he is not Shawn’s older half-brother — actually made it last year for a contest at New Yorker art editor Francoise Mouly’s now-defunct “Blown Covers” blog. Originally, the TV pictured President Obama rather than the Supreme Court.
“While I’m certainly not the first person to speculate about Bert and Ernie’s more personal and private relationship, I thought they were well suited to represent how a lot of gay couples must have felt hearing Obama’s comments,” Hunter said at the time. “After all, they’ve been together for almost 50 years … as ‘just friends’ or otherwise.”