Sesame Street is making history with the first married same-sex couple to be recurring characters on the longtime favorite children’s series.
The show debuted an episode Thursday titled “Family Day,” featuring married couple Frank, played by Alex Weisman, and Dave played by Chris Costa. They also have a daughter named Mia, who is played by Olivia Perez.
This is not the first time the show has included same sex parents, according to a Sesame Workshop spokesperson. A recent “letter of the day” segment, “F is for Family,” included a boy with two mothers, and a live-action “Elmo’s World” video in last year’s “Father’s Day” episode featured a boy with two fathers and a voiceover narration that said “You might have a stepdad, or even two dads.”
But, a Sesame Workshop spokesperson says this is the first married same-sex couple who will appear on Sesame Street again in the future.
In the episode, the characters prepare for a neighborhood party and try to hide Granny Bird to surprise Big Bird.
But, Nina, a bike store owner on Sesame Street, says her brother Dave is on his way with his family, and introduces them when they arrive.
“Okay, everybody, everybody, I want you to meet my brother Dave and his husband Frank, and my sobrina Mia,” Nina says in the episode.
"Sesame Street" returns with its 51st season launching on HBO Max Nov. 12. See the famous faces that have made their way to the friendly neighborhood that is home to beloved puppets such as Elmo, Ernie, Bert, Big Bird, Oscar the Grouch, Rosita, Cookie Monster, Grover and Abby Cadabby. (Photo: Sesame Workshop)
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Alan Muraoka, who directed the episode and plays the owner of Hooper’s Store on the show, expressed his excitement in a Facebook post on Thursday.
“I am so honored and humbled to have co-directed this important and milestone episode. Love is love, and we are so happy to add this special family to our Sesame family,” Muraoka wrote.
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Naomi Moland, a faculty member at the School of International Service at American University who wrote an op-ed in 2019 for USA TODAY on bringing human LGBTQ characters to the show, says the episode was “very groundbreaking.”
“From my own experience, I am in a same-sex marriage and I have a two-year old. And so for me, it is really important for him to see that this is normal, that there are other families that look like ours that have either two moms or two dads,” Moland said.
“I also think it is extremely important for all children to see this because when they encounter families like mine, they see that this is normal and there are different types of families.”
Moland says she liked how the episode incorporated the family in a subtle way, which would be effective for children in having deep organic conversations with their parents about how there are different kinds of families out there who should also be respected.
“I think that television producers and multicultural educators more broadly have to strike a very delicate balance between focusing on differences and focusing on similarities,” Moland said. “This was done in a very subtle way where they just said ‘This is my brother, this is his husband, this is their daughter.’ “
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