When you ask people who their favorite Muppet is, you’ll usually hear answers such as Big Bird, Cookie Monster, Kermit the Frog, or even the furry, lovable Grover. But you never seem to hear anyone say that Bert is one of their favorites. Sure, he’s a bit boring by traditional standards. His idea of fun doesn’t usually involve other people. And he doesn’t usually appreciate Ernie’s sense of humor, such as practical jokes and not paying attention to other people’s needs.
In a way, I’m one of the masses; Grover is probably my favorite Muppet. I didn’t think much of Bert as a kid; he seemed boring. But now that I’m an adult and I understand myself a lot better, following very close behind Grover is Bert, my barely-second-favorite Muppet. Bert is the ultimate nerdy, introverted icon. And I’ve discovered that I’m more like him than any other Muppet.
I present to you some specific pieces of evidence supporting my claims.
- Bert collects interesting things: bottle caps (especially Figgy Fizz ones), paper clips, and pink erasers.
- He loves animals, such as pigeons. Exhibit A: his pet pigeon Bernice.
- He loves oatmeal, a well-known underrated food.
- He loves other underrated things, such as brass band music, boring stories, and TV weather forecasts.
- He loves argyle socks. Because argyle socks!
- He loves the color grey. Grey is a very underrated color.
- He likes the letter W. An unusual thing to like in particular, but odd traits are a big part of why I like people (and Muppets, apparently).
- Bert regularly does “The Pigeon” dance and doesn’t care what other people think.
- Bert is considerate of his roommate despite his roommate being an ass and overstepping and making fun of Bert. Bert puts up with it for some reason. Probably because he cares about people. (Though I wish he’d kick Ernie to the curb and live with Grover instead.)
- Bert is analytical and responsible.
- He wears saddle shoes. Like a boss.
- Bert gets excited by protective rain gear. Rain gear isn’t an inherently nerdy thing, but his level of excitement for something so seemingly mundane (to most people) reminds me of how some of my favorite people are about their passions.
- Bert has an expressive unibrow. I’ve come to appreciate eyebrows very much, especially pretty natural, expressive ones. (No significant plucking allowed!)
- As happens to a lot of us nerds—especially when we are kids—Bert always seems to get the short end of the stick with Ernie because Ernie takes advantage of him. He doesn’t really have anyone in his corner. He’s an underdog, which makes us love him.
- He is voiced by Frank Oz, who is EPIC.
- Bert sings a song called “I’m Square“. ‘Nuf said.
- Nerd pride! Bert knows what his special interests are and isn’t apologetic about it. He’s proud to be who he is. Which sets a good example for us all.
Other than my own memory, my source for this post is Sesame Street Unpaved, a book I got a number of years ago that profiles a lot of the Sesame Street Muppets and contains a lot of behind-the-scenes info for the show. And, if you’re looking to add some Bert to your life, you can get him in doll form, figure form, and t-shirt form!