A character on the long-running PBS kids’ animated series “Arthur” came out as gay and got married in the show’s 22nd season premiere.
In the episode “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” the title character’s beloved third-grade teacher, Mr. Ratburn, marries Patrick, who owns the local chocolate shop.
In the season premiere, the students mistakenly believe that Mr. Ratburn is poised to take the plunge with his abrasive sister, a character voiced by actress Jane Lynch. They devise a plan to stop the wedding and prevent a life of misery for their teacher.
They object to the union, saying their teacher deserves “to be with someone who is nice, kind, fun to be with — someone who likes him just the way he is.”
They’re then surprised to see Mr. Ratburn walk down the aisle with another male character.
“Mr. Ratburn is married — I still can’t believe it!” exclaims Arthur after the nuptials.
“Yup, it’s a brand new world,” another character replies.
“PBS KIDS programs are designed to reflect the diversity of communities across the nation,” the network said in a statement to ITK. “We believe it is important to represent the wide array of adults in the lives of children who look to PBS KIDS every day.”
It’s not the first time the children’s show has included LGBTQ storylines although the last one occurred in 2005, TV Line reports. In the episode “Postcards from Buster,” Arthur’s best friend met children with two moms while on a trip to Vermont.
GLAAD, an LGBTQ advocacy group, celebrated the “Arthur” scene on Monday.
Congratulations Mr. Ratburn! https://t.co/8ejkwU1sfU
— GLAAD (@glaad) May 14, 2019
Social media users joined in the celebration and shared their disbelief that “Arthur” was still on the air:
I think the biggest surprise about Mr. Ratburn from Arthur being gay is that I’m just now finding out that Arthur is still coming out with new episodes.
— Erica Mendez (@tsunderica) May 14, 2019
My hand to god, I had no idea “Arthur” is still being produced, let alone in its 22nd season, and I’m now going to make a donation to @PBS. https://t.co/P8DIxbF5u5
— Charlotte Clymer (@cmclymer) May 14, 2019
1) Shoutout to Mr. Ratburn!
2) Arthur has been on TV forever. Season 22?? https://t.co/27W8Xo1NhA
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) May 13, 2019
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