Sesame Street’s Bert: The Trip to Madness

Although I didn’t grow up with Sesame Street, I’ve seen it enough in recent years to have a full appreciation of it.  Elmo, Big Bird, Grover, Cookie Monster, Rosita, Zoe and more.  So many great characters, all of them unique in their own way.  One of those characters, however, troubles me.  He troubles me because I believe he’s suffering.  I believe he’s crying out for help.  The character I’m speaking of:  Bert.

To begin with, just look at him.  He’s a wreck, an absolute fashion nightmare.  Who picked out that striped shirt?  And is that a turtleneck or an ascot underneath it?  Then, there’s his hair.  For the love of Jose Eber, someone give Bert a mirror.  Clearly, he and boxing promoter Don King go to the same stylist.  Either that, or he wakes up and just rolls with it the way it is.  And I won’t even begin to discuss the eyebrow.

Perhaps one of his pals, maybe Grover, could contact Stacy and Clinton on TLC’s What Not to Wear and get him a fashion and hair makeover.  Then again Bert stepping up to the 360-degree mirror might cause permanent psychological damage for him.  Unless he’s already suffered irreparable damage at the hands of his so-called best friend on Sesame Street.

Apparently, I’m the only one on to the lovable, chummy and utterly duplicitous Ernie. 

Yes, Bert is fashion-challenged, has a hairstyle from who-knows-where and laughs like a panicked sheep.  So you’d think it would be enough for Ernie to take a step back, look objectively at his pal and simply say “maybe I should just leave well-enough alone.”  But no, that wouldn’t be any fun for Emperor Ernie from The Dark Side.

Bert will be minding his own business trying to read a book.  And Ernie?  He jumps on his drums and begins wailing away like John Bonham from Led Zeppelin.  Through it all, Bert, lacking sufficient communication skills to reel in the maniacal Ernie, gets more and more frustrated finally passing out or leaving the room in utter frustration.

Or what about when the two of them decide to read out loud together, alternating turns.  Bert gets no more than several words out before Ernie the Rude cuts him off and begins reading away for a significantly longer period of time.

I’m here to tell you this is a serious situation. 

Little-known fact: Bert’s been in therapy for years.  Oh sure, you’re probably giggling at the thought of Bert doing a session in midtown Manhattan at $200-per-hour.  Me, I applaud him.  The little man with the big hair has sought help for what has been a very trying career.

He’s made his money, he’s got his fan club – albeit, not nearly as big as Ernie’s – and his social life hasn’t really suffered.  Last time we spoke, he mentioned something about a trip to Ireland with a “friend” named Molly. 

But I heard his pain.  I’ve seen his pain.  I’ve felt his pain.

Bert is a proud man, not one to overtly blame others for shortcomings in his life.  I’m here to tell you, Ernie has practically ruined him.  Ernie has been allowed to run all over Bert for years and no one seems to care one bit.  Is there no one at PBS with a heart? 

Quite frankly, I’m sick of it.

Maybe Bert simply needs to haul off and deck Ernie.  One punch.  Done.  I know, I know, it’s a kids show.  Maybe that wouldn’t exactly fit with the usual storylines.  Then again, kids need to understand the world’s not always a nice place.  Perhaps this could be a teaching opportunity.  At worst, it would be a ratings boon.

Bert drops Ernie, story at 11.  When’s the next sweeps week?

Filed Under: humorLifeSesame Street

About the Author: Christopher Gabriel is the host of the cleverly named Christopher Gabriel Program on AM 970 WDAY in Fargo, North Dakota. You can hear him weekdays from 9 to Noon. As a writer and humorist, his work has been been published online by the Chicago Sun-Times, Reuters and publications within the Sun-Times News Group.

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  1. Paulie Black says:

    What’s wrong with you?! You’ve stumbled upon something best left alone. Bert would only get one punch off (maybe), ’cause Ernie would open a big can of whoop-ass on that pigeon lover. It’s a little known fact that Ernie is packin’….a Glock 36. That’s why Bert stays; he’s afraid. (and probably should be). Just play with your paperclip collection and keep your yap shut, Bert. Just let this go Christopher, it’d be in your best interest. Trust me.


  2. Chris says:

    Bert’s coping method for years has been drinking. Drinking quite heavily. Have you seen the size of that bottle cap collection? Bert drinks them, the Count counts them – hey, hey, hey it’s the number of the day.

    Then there’s that whole bit with Ernestine the new baby that looks an awful lot like Ernie. They’re claiming it’s his “sister”, I’m thinking daughter. Betty-Lou has been missing from Sesame Street for quite a while….like 9 months or so…

    Grover seriously needs to put on his mild mannered reporter’s hat and get to work on breaking some of these scandals to the world!

    One of these things is not like the others!

    -The Other Christopher


  3. I would agree he needs therapy-after all, he has looked the same for…uh…30 years? And that is enough to send anyone off the deep end.


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