While a lot of the TV I watched when I was younger has become part of the fuzzy clothes dryer of my brain, half remembered bits of twins? something about destiny? something about medallions? and gold? all flying around together and moulding into an indistinguishable mass, some has stuck in there, clear as day. I can still remember Penny in her green pants and sturdy sneakers opening her computer book (computer book! I KNOW, right?!) and Vanilla Icing the hell out of Inspector G’s problems, I remember wanting to date Michealangelo SO HARD (though now I’m more into Raphael, I feel like he gets me) and having no small amount of envy for April O’neills yellow jumpsuit. Oh man. She was the straight up- COOLEST.
I also remember digging on Sesame street, something that hasn’t changed a lot.
I always loved the street more than the school (it seems to be one or the other, a sort of Home and Away v Neighbors polemic). Playschool was adults talking to kids, taking time out of their busy days to condescend to me, whereas Sesame Street was friends (my friends, the crazy ass monsters) talking to friends.
I don’t remember if there was a character I resonated with more than any other, I just remember enjoying the hell out of it. And the ladybug picnic. As I have grown older, someone stuck with me, grew sharper and more focussed through the haze of my childhood and has taken his place as my favorite from the street.
I have a crush on Bert. My mono-browed, skivvy wearing hero. Sure he’s oft overshadowed by his more fun, more imaginative, more easy going bud Ernie, but in Bert I’ve sensed something worth noticing, worth celebrating. When I picked up the above issue of T-WORLD magazine I realized what it was that kept me coming back** to an oval-nosed paper clip obsessed freak.
There was this article celebrating Sesame Street and they got several different artists to create original designs based on their favorite characters. The one that did Berts wrote that Bert was the guy that told us it was ok to not be the life of the party.
Everyone knows that Ernie is more likeable. He is fun and silly and innocent and joyful where Bert is dour, boring, practical and snappy. But everyone also knows you can’t always be Ernie. Sometimes you need to be practical. Sometimes you’re sleepy. Sometimes your room mate is talking to an invisible person on a banana and it plain shits you off.
What is wonderful about this skinny little man-puppet (aside from his love of pigeons, which is something we have in common) is that he offers an alternative to the go go go crowd pleasing of the other residents and permissions kids (and 28 yr olds) to be proud of their face eatingly boring habits, eg bottle cap collecting, their lack of constant childlike joy and their visionary dance moves (pigeon dance anyone?).
There is nothing wrong and in fact a lot that’s right with being an Ernie. I’m not going to knock that kind of lifestyle (tee hee). But I’m voting team Bert, because skivvies are sometimes a practical and stylish wardrobe choice.
*Nothing depreciating or untoward should be read into the title as far as my actual brother goes, he is great and fun and helped foster an understanding of the brilliance of S Street and all other Jim Henson associated media.
**and seriously, coming back cos once when I was travelling I left my Bert doll in Gimmelwald, this town on the side of a mountain in Switzerland. And I took a cable car, a bus and a boat across the country before realising. So then I took a train, a bus and a cable car back to fetch him. No one gets left behind. I’m oddly sentimental about things.