The story: Well, that settles it. The creators of a much-hyped petition demanding that Sesame Street buddies Bert and Ernie get married (even though the roommates of 42 years have never come out as gay) got a smackdown of sorts from the Muppets' creators on Thursday. After the petition drive triggered heated debate — LGBT activists claimed a same-sex Muppet union would send an unprecedented message of tolerance to Sesame Street's young viewers — Sesame Workshop released a statement clarifying the puppets' sexuality... or, rather, lack thereof. "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."
The reaction: Wait a minute, says Josh Voorhees at Slate. Considering that Miss Piggy and Kermit are "prime examples of Muppet heterosexuality," it doesn't ring true that Bert and Ernie must be asexual simply because they're puppets. Regardless, says James Poniewozik at TIME, "Bert could do much better" than the "thoughtless, selfish, and deceptive" Ernie. Tellingly, says Dylan Stableford at Yahoo, other beloved characters rumored to be gay have remained mum on this issue. "Spongebob could not be reached for comment." No word yet from Peppermint Patty and Marcie, either.