Parents who thought PBS Kids cartoons were a neutral space in the debate over LGBT issues may want to reconsider.
The popular PBS Kids series Arthur broke new ground Monday by inserting a same-sex wedding into the plot, as Arthur and his friends learn their male teacher, Mr. Ratburn, is marrying a man.
The episode, “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” was part of a week of new shows for the series, which debuted in 1996 and follows Arthur, a third-grade aardvark, as he plays and learns about life in the town of Elwood City.
It is the first-ever gay wedding in a PBS children’s cartoon, according to those who follow the issue.
The wedding angle is key to the plot. Early in the show, Mr. Ratburn is seen talking on the phone to a wedding planner.
“Who’s getting married?” a student asks after he hangs up.
“Me,” Mr. Ratburn answers.
Arthur and his friends, though, falsely believe Mr. Ratburn is marrying a woman named Patty, who they consider to be mean. They set a goal of stopping the wedding.
But when the wedding day arrives – with the students in attendance – they are shocked to learn Patty is not the bride.
“Whois Mr. Rathburn marrying?” one of the students asks.
Viewers then see Mr. Ratburn walking down the aisle with another man, Patrick, arm in arm. Patrick winks at the kids. Arthur smiles. The…
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