eb5Ernie vs Bert

— Round 5 —

Something Exciting

Here’s a sketch from the mid-70’s that shows that Ernie doesn’t have to have the upper hand all the time…

Ernie


Hey, y’know what, Bert?
Bert


Yeah?
Ernie


I’d like to do something really exciting today, huh?
Bert


Yeah? Yeah?
Ernie


You know, really exciting. Wouldn’t you like to do something, you know, like, oh, I don’t know, something fantastic, like, go to a parade, or maybe a circus, or, uh, how about a great big birthday party, how about that, Bert?
Bert


Well…
Ernie


Wouldn’t that be exciting?
Bert


Oh, I don’t know…
Ernie


Oh, boy, I’d like to do something exciting. Hmm.
Bert


Hey! I’ve got it! You want to do something exciting?
Ernie


Yeah, Bert!
Bert


Oh, boy! I know something!
Ernie


Whatcha got, Bert?
Bert


Oh, it’s more exciting than a birthday party, or a circus, or a parade.
Ernie


Yeah? Oh, great, Bert!
Bert


Stay right there — I’ll be right back. [ Bert exits. ]
Ernie


Yeah? Oh, wow! Something more exciting than a birthday party, or a parade, or a circus. I wonder what it could be. Bert! What could be more exciting than a parade or a circus or a birthday party, huh, Bert?
Bert


My BOTTLE CAP collection!
[ Bert enters, with his bottle caps arranged neatly on a bulletin board. ]
Bert


Oh, Ernie, look at them all… aren’t they beautiful?
Ernie


Your… bottle cap collection?
Bert


My bottle cap collection. You wanna take a look?
Ernie


Yeah, well, uh…
Bert


Oh, be careful… are your hands clean?
Ernie


Uh, yeah, sure, Bert… yeah.
Bert


See all these beautiful little babies there? Now, up there, see, that’s a Raspberry Smash, and that’s a Goodo Juice — and that’s a hard one to find, a Rhubarb Delight bottle cap.
Ernie


Oh, yeah, Bert.
Bert


Huh? Huh? Huh? I bet when you look at those bottle caps, you really get excited. Boy, I sure do.
Ernie


That’s… uh, great, Bert…
Bert


You may notice that I’ve got two — count ’em, two! — Prune Pops. Huh? Is that great?
Ernie


Yeah, sure, Bert. Whoo-hoo.
Bert


I’m going to try to get a Yummy Ade too. Oh. This is great.
Ernie


Yeah, well, uh, I tell you what, Bert, it isn’t very exciting to me.
Bert


It’s not?
Ernie


No.
Bert


Oh, Ernie, well, it is to me!
Ernie


Yeah, well…
Bert


Oh, yeah, I mean, after all, everyone’s different. I mean, you like circuses, parades, birthday parties, stuff like that. And me — I like bottle caps! You know, it all depends on your point of view. Right?
Ernie


Yeah, I guess so, Bert.
Bert


Sure. Now, take a look. See the center there, where there’s no bottle caps at all?
Ernie


Mmm hmm. [ Ernie yawns. ]
Bert


That place, I am reserving for the bottle cap I’ve been looking for, for so long!
Ernie


Yeah, Bert?
Bert


And that is the 12-ounce bottle of Figgy Fizz! That’s the bottle cap I want there.
Ernie


12-ounce Figgy Fizz?
Bert


If I can only find that… oh, it would be right there.
Ernie


Yeah… Hey, Bert, uh… here you are, Bert.
Bert


What’s that?
Ernie


I found it on the sidewalk this morning.
Bert


[ gasp! ] Ernie — it’s a Figgy Fizz!
Ernie


Mm hmm. It’s a 12-ounce size.
Bert


It’s a — it’s a 12-ounce size of Figgy Fizz!
Ernie


Yeah… you want me to put it in there?
Bert


Oh, be careful, though — be careful now — are your hands clean? Now, take it easy…
Ernie


I told you they were clean, Bert…
Bert


Oh! I found a Figgy Fizz! A Figgy Fizz!
Ernie


Okay, there you are, Bert. All done.
Bert


Oh! That’s beautiful! I’m so excited. I better go lie down a while.
Ernie


Yeah, you do that, Bert.
Bert


Oh — thank you, Ernie!
Ernie


Yeah.
Bert


Oh, oh, Figgy Fizz! [ Bert rushes off, kissing his bottle cap. ] Mwa! Oh boy!
Ernie


Yeah, well… it sure has been an exciting day, hasn’t it. [ Ernie sits down and sighs. ]

Color Commentary:

I don’t know exact dates on any of these sketches, so I’m could be wrong on this, but I’m willing to bet that this is the first time Bert ever got the upper hand on Ernie… and it’s the day he became a Fan.

Up until this point, Bert’s been the butt of Ernie’s jokes, the straight man of the piece. In all these color commentaries, I’ve been enjoying how Ernie keeps putting one over on the square older-brother type. But as soon as Bert becomes a collector, the tables turn a bit. All of a sudden, Bert’s the passionate, excitable one — at least in this one obscure area — and, it turns out, the thing he’s excited about is even weirder than Ernie’s usual obsessions. I mean, yeah, Ernie calls his bathtub Rosie and wears Aunt Matilda’s hat, but does he kiss bottlecaps? No. You need a Fan for that kind of deep weirdness.

In fact, compared to Bert’s idea of excitement, Ernie’s ideas seem kind of… well, kind of tame, don’t they? A circus, a parade, a birthday party — they’re straight out of the official kid handbook. Kids like that stuff, sure, but the really interesting kids like the oddball stuff, like collecting bottlecaps, or building alien towers out of mashed potatos, or reading Muppet-fan websites.

After years of being Ernie’s fall guy, Bert finally gets a personality in this sketch. And guess what? He’s us. Who knew.

by Danny Horn

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