Bert and Ernie
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Bert and Ernie are two Muppet characters who are major protagonists on the popular U.S. children's television show Sesame Street that appear together in numerous skits. Originated by Frank Oz and Jim Henson, the characters are currently performed by Muppeteers Eric Jacobson and Steve Whitmire, with Oz performing Bert occasionally since 2000. Ernie is orange and Bert is yellow.
Ernie and Bert were built by Don Sahlin from a simple design scribbled by Jim Henson, creator of The Muppets. Initially, Henson performed Bert and Oz performed Ernie, but after just one day of rehearsal, they switched characters. According to writer Jon Stone, the relationship between Ernie and Bert reflected the real-life friendship between Henson and Oz.
According to A&E's Biography, Ernie and Bert were virtually the only Muppets to appear in the Sesame Street pilot episode, which was screen tested to a number of families in July 1969. Their brief appearance was the only part of the pilot that tested well, so it was decided that not only should Muppet characters be the "stars" of the show, but would also interact with the human characters, something that was not done in the pilot.
Bert was initially performed by Frank Oz. Since 2001, Muppeteer Eric Jacobson has been phased in as Bert's primary performer after Oz retired from most of his Muppet duties to focus on directing (Oz, however, does continue to perform the character occasionally).
A typical Bert and Ernie skit has Ernie coming up with a hare-brained idea and Bert trying to talk him out of it ending with Bert losing his temper and Ernie remaining unaware of the results of his own bad idea. For example, in one sketch, Ernie tells Bert he started to collect ice cubes the day before, and put them under the electric blanket overnight. When he shows the ice cubes to Bert, he finds that that they have melted into water. Bert knows what happened and tries to tell Ernie that his ice cubes melted because of the electric blanket, but Ernie takes this to mean that a fish from the ocean came into the apartment and melted his ice cubes, and vows to find the (non-existent) fish that melted them.
One running gag with Bert is when Ernie often removes his nose either accidentally or for humorous purposes.
Bert is a hand-rod puppet, which means that while the puppeteer's right arm is inserted into Bert's head to control the mouth, the puppeteer's left hand uses rods to control the arms of the puppet.
Ernie was originally performed by Jim Henson. Since 1993, Muppeteer Steve Whitmire has taken on the role of Ernie (following the death of Henson in 1990). Ernie is a "live-hand puppet", meaning that while operating the head of the puppet with his right hand, the puppeteer inserts his left hand into a T-shaped sleeve, capped off with a glove that matches the fabric "skin" of the puppet, thus "becoming" the left arm of the puppet. A second puppeteer usually provides the right arm.
A typical Bert and Ernie skit has Ernie coming up with a hare-brained idea and Bert trying to talk him out of it ending with Bert losing his temper and Ernie remaining unaware of the results of his own bad idea. One example of this is in one ancient sketch Ernie tells Bert he started to collect ice cubes the day before and he put them under the electric blanket overnight. When he shows the ice cubes to Bert he finds that that they melted to water. Bert knows what happened and tries to tell Ernie that his ice cubes melted because of the electric blanket but Ernie stupidly takes this to mean that a fish from the ocean came into the apartment and melted his ice cubes and vows to find the (non-existent) fish that melted them.
Unlike Bert, Ernie's nose is rarely ever removed from his face in a skit.
Ernie's performance of "Rubber Duckie," wherein he sings affectionately about his squeaking toy duck and the joy it brings him during bath time, became a modest mainstream hit, reaching No. 16 on the Billboard Hot 100 in September 1970.
Rumors, controversies, and misconceptions 
In 1997, the parody website "Bert is Evil" displayed Bert in a number of doctored photographs, implicating him in crimes ranging from the Assassination of John F. Kennedy to those of Jack the Ripper. A similar image from another source and featuring Bert conferring with Osama bin Laden was mistakenly included by a Bangladeshi print shop on a series of protest signs in late 2001 and 2002.
Characters named Ernie and Bert appear in the film It's a Wonderful Life as a taxi driver and a policeman, respectively, but those behind Sesame Street claim that it is merely a coincidence. Jerry Juhl, a writer on many Henson-related projects, said, "Despite his many talents, Jim had no memory for details like this. He knew the movie, of course, but would not have remembered the police officer and the cabdriver."
The facts that Bert and Ernie share a bedroom and do not appear to be part of the same family have led to speculation regarding the nature of their relationship. However, Sesame Workshop officially states that while "they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics…they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation."
In popular culture 
When Forrest Gump goes to visit Jenny and is told he has a son for the first time, they sit on the floor and watch Bert and Ernie together.
In the TV show Friends Season 2, Joey makes an analogy to Bert and Ernie to convey to Chandler that they are not going to be living together for ever. Later in the second season of the show, Phoebe and Ben are shown watching Bert and Ernie with Phoebe pointing out to Ben that nothing bad is going to happen in the show, in spite of Bert missing, because she has watched the show ahead earlier.
- Arab World, Iftah Ya Simsim, Bert is "Badr", and Ernie is "Anis". They are called "Anis w Badr"
- Brazil, Vila Sésamo, Bert is "Beto", and Ernie is "Ênio". They're called "Ênio e Beto".
- Egypt, Alam Simsim, Bert is "Hadi", and Ernie is Shadi. They are known as "Shadi w Hadi".
- France, 1, Rue Sésame, Bert is "Bart" and Ernie is "Ernest". They are called "Ernest et Bart". It is also interesting to note that in the French version, when Bert's brother Bart comes to visit, he is called "Bert".
- Germany, Sesamstraße, they are called "Ernie und Bert".
- Israel, Rechov Sumsum, Bert is "Bentz", a common short-form for the name "Ben-Tzion", and Ernie is "Arik", short-form for "Ariel".
- Italy, "Sesamo apriti", Bert is "Berto" and Ernie is "Ernesto". They are called "Ernesto e Berto".
- Mexico and all Latin America, Plaza Sésamo, Bert is "Beto", while Ernie is "Enrique". In addition, Ernie's cousin Ernestine is called "Enriqueta".
- Netherlands, Sesamstraat they are "Bert en Ernie". Paul Haenen provides Bert's voice, and Wim T. Schippers provides Ernie's.
- Norway, Sesam Stasjon, Bert is "Bernt", while Ernie is "Erling". Usually, they're called "Bernt og Erling"
- Poland, Ulica Sezamkowa, Bert is "Hubert" and Ernie is "Emil". They are called "Hubert i Emil".
- Portugal, Rua Sésamo, Bert is "Becas" and Ernie is "Egas". They are called "Egas e Becas", in the opposite order.
- Russia, Ulitsa Sezam, Bert is Vlas and Ernie is Yenik. They are called Yenik i Vlas
- Spain, Barrio Sésamo, Bert is "Blas", and Ernie is "Epi". Also, they're always called "Epi y Blas", in the opposite order.
- Turkey, Susam Sokağı, Bert is "Büdü", while Ernie is "Edi". They are commonly called "Edi ve Büdü".
- Sesame Street at PBS Kids
- Sesame Workshop
- Muppet Wiki: Ernie and Bert sketches
- Tough Pigs Anthology Transcripts of Ernie and Bert sketches
- Davis, Michael (2008). Street Gang: The Complete History of Sesame Street. New York: Viking Press. p. 166. ISBN 978-0-670-01996-0.
- Whitburn, Joel, "Top Pop Singles: 1955-2006," 2007.
- BBC News - Bert in the frame with Bin Laden
- Carroll, Jon (2000-01-03). "A Few Tiny Errors, Part I". The San Francisco Chronicle.
- Lee, Amy (2011-08-10). "Should Bert And Ernie Get Married?". Huffington Post.
- Friedman, Megan (2011-08-11). "Open Sesame". Retrieved 2011-08-11. "Even though they are identified as male characters and possess many human traits and characteristics…they remain puppets, and do not have a sexual orientation."