Managing to recognize pride month and Father’s Day this year, childhood TV staple Sesame Street celebrated by welcoming an openly gay couple of dads to the show.
The episode “Family Day,” which first aired on June 18 on HBO and PBS, saw the iconic characters from the show–including Big Bird and Elmo–having a garden party to celebrate their families. That included the introduction of gay dads Frank (Alex Weisman) and Dave (Chris Costa), and their daughter, Mia (Olivia Perez). Most of the episode revolved around Big Bird fretting that this Grandmother would not be able to attend the celebration. The other characters scrambled to keep secret that she’d actually come to the party to surprise him.
As for the inclusion of same-sex parents, the show treated their introduction with matter-of-fact frankness. At one point, Frank explains “There’s all kinds of different families, but what makes us a family is that we love each other.” Nobody seemed to need more explanation than that.
For the creative minds behind Sesame Street, introducing gay dads marks a watershed moment in the show’s 51-year history. “I am so honored and humbled to have co-directed this important and milestone episode,” wrote Alan Muraoka, who directed the episode. “Love is love, and we are so happy to add this special family to our Sesame family. Happy Pride to all!”
Sadly, we didn’t get to see Sesame Street’s original gay couple, Bert & Ernie, flying the pride flag, or canoodling with Frank and Dave about Lil Nas X…though we like to imagine they all compared notes off camera.
Sesame Street first began addressing LGBTQ issues in 2017 when an offhand bit of narration mentioned that some people may have two dads during a Father’s Day episode. That same year, a lesbian couple also appeared on the show as characters. The following year, we here at Queerty interviewed former show writer Mark Saltzman, who admitted to the world that Bert & Ernie are indeed a gay couple.