Mark Saltzman reflected on his own coming out story and how Bert and Ernie were effectively muppet versions of him and his long term former partner Arnold Glassman, who passed away in 2003. He and Saltzman were living together for the duration of Saltzman's time on the show, and their at-home dynamic influenced that of Sesame Street's grumpiest room mates.
"I always felt that without a huge agenda, when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were [out]," Saltzman explained. "I didn't have any other way to contextualize them...I don't think I'd know how else to write them, but as a loving couple."
It turns out that Bert and Ernie are by no means the show's only queer characters. Saltzman hints that other muppets were created to appeal to LGBTQ viewers, even if nothing was explicitly stated.
"Snuffleupagus, because he's the sort of clinically depressed Muppet…you had characters that appealed to a gay audience. And Snuffy, this depressed person nobody can see, that's sort of Kafka! It's sort of gay closeted too."
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