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Has This Season Of Sesame Street Become Gay-Friendly?

Berternie
The LA Times today published an interesting article on the seemingly more gay-friendly attitude of this season of Sesame Street. While a Sesame Street spokeswoman says that "the idea that anyone would interpret [this season] that way never crossed our minds," apparently some viewers think otherwise. 

From the LA Times article:

In its own subtle, perhaps unintentional way, the show's latest season feels more LGBT-friendly than ever. Lesbian comedian Wanda Sykes appeared on the show in October, following in the tradition of openly gay guest stars such as Neil Patrick Harris, who played ( cough, cough) "the shoe fairy" a few seasons back. A parody of "True Blood" — the HBO vampire drama that features several gay characters and draws many gay fans — aired in September. Recently, the Black Eyed Peas frontman will.i.am appeared on the show to sing "What I Am," a song about accepting who you really are, prompting much online debate about its underlying message. "Did Will.i.am just sing the next gay pride anthem on Sesame Street?" one commenter on AfterElton.com asked.

GLAAD weighs in on the discussion:

For Jarrett Barrios, president of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), "Sesame Street" is simply reflecting its changing audience. "As more and more loving and committed gay and lesbian couples begin families, it's important that their children see representations of their families on their favorite shows," he says. "'Sesame Street' has a long history of teaching children about diversity and acceptance, and I don't expect that our community will be left out of that education.

The piece also makes note of this summer's cryptic "mo" tweet from Bert (did he or did he not come out?).

Watch the Will.i.am song and True Blood parody called true Mud, AFTER THE JUMP.

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Comments

  1. Don't forget the Katy Perry appearance. Also, they're smartly producing segments ripe to go viral among adolescents and adults. They've simply made themselves relevant again. Good for them.

    Posted by: Rich | Oct 23, 2010 6:39:34 PM


  2. I think this is really grasping at straws, and there is nothing at all new here.

    Sesame Street has had many gay guest stars playing not-necessarily-gay characters and/or never mentioning anything that would indicate that they were gay in real life (such as Lily Tomlin playing Edith Ann, Rosie O'Donnell, Ellen Degeneres, BD Wong, Melissa Etheridge) right from its earliest days to years before recent gay guests like Wanda Sykes showed up.

    Until Wanda Sykes says, "Hey, Big Bird, my wife sent you a present: a bird seed casserole," I won't see anything particularly novel.

    I like Will I Am. But Kermit the Frog sang this amazing song in 1969:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51BQfPeSK8k

    I ask myself why this song brings a little mist to my eye to this day. I think it touches me because it takes me back to that time when what I understood from Kermit was (to paraphrase(: "When gay is all there is to be, it can make you wonder why, but why wonder why."

    Posted by: GregV | Oct 23, 2010 7:06:49 PM


  3. @GregV Don't forget The Rainbow Connection
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSFLZ-MzIhM

    Posted by: ravewulf | Oct 23, 2010 9:42:28 PM


  4. is the idea of being nice and having an open heart or mind gay.

    is the idea - the intellectual idea - of play gay

    or is this a children's show and we as adults need to get over our hangups about what looks "gay"

    Posted by: tim | Oct 23, 2010 9:45:19 PM


  5. BERT n ERNIE are two gay ARMENIAN roomies.

    Posted by: Maldoof | Oct 23, 2010 9:59:02 PM


  6. Didn't ernie demonstrate how to use a condom with zucchini...without his hands?

    Posted by: TANK | Oct 23, 2010 10:03:31 PM


  7. They are grasping at straws.

    Um,"mo" in the way the tweet was refers to
    a hair style called a mohawk. (sadly most people today only know of the abomination called a Fauxhawk) How do you get from the OBVIOUS reference to the fact that Bert is outing himself?

    Posted by: SKB | Oct 23, 2010 11:48:50 PM


  8. @SKB: I think Bert was making a double-entendre of "Mo"(hawk) and "Mo" from the Three Stooges (who had a unique, black tuft of hair that only filled in the top half of his head.
    I agree with you; the idea that he meant "(ho)mo" not only is a stretch, but would make no sense at all (does someone out there really think gay men are well known for odd tufts of hair patterned like an inverse of male pattern baldness?)


    The thing that bothers me about articles like this is that it creates a false public perception that TV is doing more than enough to feature gay people's lives, when in reality, some of the imagined examples are so "coded" that any true, unambiguous gay visibility in those examples is completely nonexistent.

    Posted by: gregv | Oct 24, 2010 2:09:06 AM


  9. Don't let the LA Times fold you into thinking that Sesame Street is gay-friendly. It isn't.

    As for Will I Am being gay-friendly, give me a break. The Black Eyed Peas appear to be a sleazy homophobic group. They promoted Fergie as bisexual but the guys as strictly straight. It's a homophobic double standard if ever there was one.

    Posted by: jason | Oct 24, 2010 8:27:57 AM


  10. In South Africa, I'm pretty sure there's an HIV positive muppet. I don't necessarily think that being mindful of making children feel they can relate to their show is necessarily negative. *twirl*

    Posted by: JonBenet | Oct 24, 2010 9:54:48 AM


  11. Sesame Street is definitely gay friendly - though what we're seeing more organic than intentional. One of the show's lead writers for the past 20-something years is a lesbo and there are many gay puppeteers (or muppeteers), all of who have a gay ol' time making the show.

    Posted by: Tonic | Oct 24, 2010 12:27:50 PM


  12. I thought Will.i.am was gay-- ie closet case and that was the basis for that whole Perez kerfuffle a while back?

    Posted by: Derek Pearce | Oct 24, 2010 5:42:26 PM


  13. Sesame Street is a commie plot with a deviant gay agenda.

    Posted by: ratbastard | Oct 24, 2010 9:15:42 PM


  14. Did anyone note that the muppets in the Will.i.am video were the colors of the rainbow? That must prove something.

    Posted by: Charlie | Oct 25, 2010 5:24:54 PM


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