Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Odd Couple?

You know, I just love it when adults try to force their issues onto things meant for kids. And for those of you who are sarcasm-impaired, that means that I absolutely hate it when that happens.

Back in 1999 there was the whole issue of the Teletubby Tinky Winky being gay because he carried a red purse. Despite a popular response that he couldn’t be gay, because the purse didn’t match the rest of his outfit, those who liked to find hidden meanings in things insisted that Tinky Winky was a gay role model.


And now, with New York finally legalizing gay marriage, a movement has grown to allow what they call one of TV’s longest-running closeted couples to finally get married.

Who is this couple? None other than Ernie and Bert from Sesame Street.

Sigh again.

Come on folks. I’ve been watching Sesame Street on and off ever since it first went on the air back in 1969, and not once over the past 42 years did the thought ever cross my mind that Ernie and Bert were gay.

OK, so they were two guys sharing an apartment. Many of us did that in college…it’s called dorm life. And come to think of it, many of us did it after college…it’s called saving money.

And if you’re gonna talk about Bert and Ernie, then what about Oscar and his roommate? Oscar Madison and his roommate Felix Unger, that is. I don’t believe that anyone thought that the two leads from the long-running TV show The Odd Couple were gay. Of course, it helped that the opening narration for each episode of the series mentioned how they were both thrown out by their wives.

Come on now, I no more thought about Bert and Ernie being gay than I did about the fact that Porky Pig doesn’t wear pants (and some people spend a lot of time thinking about that). Sometimes you really can just over-analyze things (like Porky Pig not wearing pants). They’re puppets, for Pete’s sake! And according to Sesame Street Workshop, producers of the show, they have no orientation because there’s nothing below the waist (I’m not even gonna go there).

But seriously, the producers say that the two characters were created to show children that two people who are very different can still be best friends. I’m quite certain that there was no gay agenda to this when the characters were first conceived of in the late 60s. I’m betting that the idea that anyone would think that these two characters were gay was the farthest thing from their minds back then.

But times change, and as we talk more freely about homosexuality, a lot of us start to read it into situations where it perhaps isn’t. A lot of us start to read our own issues into them.

Has this ever happened before? Of course it has. Many of us of a certain age have shared apartments with people of the opposite sex, and remember the winks we got from people who assumed that some sort of hanky panky must be going on, and who wouldn’t believe that we were just friends splitting the cost of an apartment.

Because that’s what their issue was, and they couldn’t imagine sharing an apartment with someone of the opposite sex being for any reason besides…well…sex.

But years have come and gone, and no one bats an eye anymore. People are used to the idea of two (or more) people of the opposite sex sharing an apartment platonically.

So then why do some people seem to have an issue with two people of the same sex doing so? Two puppets, for Kermit's sake!

Ah, but this too shall pass…and people will find some other children’s show to force their adult issues onto.

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