In 2018, does it really matter if it turns out that, all along, Bert and Ernie haven’t just been cohabitating friends but, in fact, a gay couple? Honestly: yes. Not because they’re gay, but because Ernie is a ray of sunshine and earnestness and Bert is a grumpy shit who hasn’t visibly contributed a single ounce of joy or positivity to their relationship. Maybe it’s wrong to judge a relationship from the outside but, at this stage, Bert’s attitude and behaviour have been documented on television for decades.

My issues with the healthiness of their relationship as it is depicted notwithstanding, the thought that they could be romantically involved has been given some weight by an interview with Sesame Street writer Mark Saltzman published in Queerty. Saltzman, himself gay, answered a very direct question from Queerty about whether or not they were gay by saying that he had written them that way: “I always felt that without a huge agenda when I was writing Bert & Ernie, they were. I didn’t have any other way to contextualize them.

Saltzman also said that his writing for Bert and Ernie was informed a lot by his relationship with film editor Arnold Glassman. “I don’t think I’d know how else to write them, but as a loving couple. . . That’s what I had in my life, a Bert & Ernie relationship. How could it not permeate? The things that would tick off Arnie would be the things that would tick off Bert.

Admittedly, this does make Bert and Ernie’s relationship sound much more lovely, and it is definitely substantially more healthy than whatever the hell Kermit and Miss Piggy have got going on.