Sesame St S1: Bert & Ernie, Pt 2

Ernie shows Bert his treasure map.

Ernie shows Bert his treasure map.

And now my coverage of Bert and Ernie’s Season 1 sketches continues! Yesterday, I watched “Egg on the Counter,” whose punchline revolved around Ernie taking a line of Bert’s (“Drop it!”) literally. In today’s first clip, we get another fun, literal joke twist in “Ernie’s Treasure Map,” (06:00-08:02), when Ernie leads a reluctant Bert on a hunt for buried treasure in the apartment. “X Marks the Spot!” he says, and just when Bert finally succumbs to the thrill of the chase, Bert uncovers a hidden chest that does have a treasure…the letter X! Odds are, Ernie being Ernie, that he actually set this whole joke up, but that’s never confirmed.


Ernie definitely gets the better of him, however, in “Bert and Ernie Share Jellybeans” (08:28-10:42), when they’re trying to split 13 jellybeans amongst the two of them and can’t figure out why they can’t each have an even number. Finally, Ernie simply eats the extra one so they can both have the “same” amount before Bert can protest!


In “Swiss Cheese,” Ernie stumbles upon a hunk of Swiss cheese and, due to the holes, is convinced that someone has eaten holes in it. Or at least acts like he is. I remain skeptical. Bert tries to explain to him that it’s simply a different kind of cheese and that, in fact, the holes, make it taste better. Ernie makes him a deal then. “I’ll eat the cheese, you eat the holes,” he says!


And then there’s “Drinking Milk,” a sketch in which Bert is trying to tell Ernie something, but Ernie refuses until he can finish his glass of milk. Bert agrees because it looks tiny, but apparently, it was crafted from TARDIS technology because Ernie gulps and gulps and gulps and yet there still seems to be more milk. When he’s finally done, Bert thinks he was pulling his leg, so Ernie shows him it was real by pouring nearly an entire pitcher of milk into the tiny thing (a great visual effect). Then Ernie asks him what he wanted to tell him. Bert says he had been trying to remind him about the movie they were going to go to, but now they only have 5 minutes left to get there…and Ernie downs the glass in one quick gulp and dashes out the door!


Ernie similarly gets the upperhand foodwise in “Bert Explains ‘Before’ and ‘After,'” when Ernie is about to eat some cookies but Bert warns him that if he eats them right before dinner, he’ll spoil his appetite. Ernie reaches for them anyway, inspiring Bert to ask him if he can remember the difference between “before” and “after,” which Ernie claims he can’t.


You might have your doubts, however, as the sketch progresses. Bert breaks it down for his pal thusly: before Ernie lifts the lid off the container, he can’t have a cookie, but after he does, he can. Ernie repeats after him, and after lifting it, eats a cookie quickly. Then, he repeats it again. And a third time. When he’s done, Bert, satisfied that Ernie’s finally learned “before” and “after,” asks him if they can finally eat dinner, and Ernie responds that he’s no longer hungry after all of those cookies, just as Bert had warned! His mischievous laugh also indicates that he had realized and manipulated this whole thing all along. Bert underestimating Ernie’s intelligence is usually what leads to his downfall.


Ernie and his amazing A Machine!

Ernie and his amazing A Machine!

And in “Ernie’s A Machine,” Ernie’s bad punning alone causes Bert to faint! Ernie has a huge contraption that he tells Bert is an “A Maker”–a machine that makes the letter A. He demonstrates for Bert twice and it works, but the third time, nothing comes out. Bert assumes it’s broken, but Ernie tells him no, it just means it’s raining outside. Bert asks him how he can tell. Quoth Ernie, “Because this machine only makes A when the sun shines”. Get it? A? Hay? Wocka wocka!


In another punnish sketch (01:04-2:23), Ernie asks Bert his favorite letter of the alphabet, and when Bert tells him he doesn’t have one, Ernie tells him his favorite is X, because every morning for breakfast, he has bacon and scrambled X! Poor Bert. Speaking of which, this same pun appears in this sketch, this time with Cookie eating Ernie’s X after eating all of Bert’s bacon; it later ends on a fun follow-up bit, in which Ernie erases Cookie Monster with an eraser, thanks to nifty “futuristic” video technology. And in the next sketch on this compilation (02:24-3:04), Ernie’s on a football team and tells Bert their name is the Dirty Rugs…because “everyone’s always beating us”! Cue Bert faint.


A similar scenario plays out in “Dog Paws” (04:10-05:08). Ernie is drawing a picture of a dog but gives it what he believes are 5 legs, other than the fact that the one all the way in the back doesn’t have a little circle at the end for a paw. Bert tells him over and over again that a dog has 4 legs. Finally, he emphatically says that the “back leg” is actually a tail. “If that’s a leg, where’s its paw?” he asks Ernie. Ernie thinks for a moment and answers, “It’s out shopping with its maw.” Bert faints again.


When Bert tries to get Ernie to agree to doing the dishes for a week in “Chore Week,” Ernie decides that’s much too long so instead starts hopping up and down. Why? “Because I’m skipping today!” In “X Bandage” (08:03-08:27), Ernie has a bandage shaped like an X on his face. When Bert asks him why it’s shaped like an X, Ernie replies that it’s because he was in an “X-ident”! But at least in the next sketch (05:09-05:59), they both get stung…literally, by a buzzing letter B!


In “Bert Explains the Number 4” (0:00-01:03), it looks like Bert actually, actually might win. He shows Ernie the number 4 and asks him what it is. Ernie responds that it’s a chocolate cream pie. After showing Ernie a brief clip about the number 4, he again asks him what it is, and Ernie replies that it’s a banana cream pie. “Then what is this?” Bert asks, this time actually wielding a banana cream pie. “That’s a 4!” Ernie says, and Bert hits him in the face with the pie. Aha! But before you go away thinking this makes him the victor, Ernie immediately undercuts it by laughing and saying, “I knew what it was all along, but who wants to get hit in the face with a 4?” adding “Delicious!” as poor Bert looks up in utter defeat.



The Mysterious Nose-Snatcher strikes Ernie.

Every now and then, however, Bert does actually come out on top. In “Mysterious Nose Snatcher,” Ernie and he look directly at the camera, and Bert claims he can see the Mysterious Nose Snatcher. Ernie isn’t so sure, so Bert tells him to go closer. Ernie walks up so close that he’s soon blocking the entire frame with his shadow (a neat callback to some of Jim’s early work on Sam and Friends, playing with the form of TV), and when he steps back, his nose is gone! Not only was Bert right, but for one rare moment, Ernie’s the one who has lost his nose!


In “Kiss from a Monster,” Bert and Ernie watch an Alice Braithwaite Goodyshoes bit illustrating “wet” and “dry” that ends on a monster kissing her, and Ernie laughs when she says “Blech”! Bert tells him that he, Ernie’d, do the same if a monster kissed him, and Ernie rejects the idea, until the Beautiful Day monster actually does sneak up behind him and kiss him. “Blech!” Ernie says, to Bert’s amusement and vindication!


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