The season premiere of the children’s cartoon Arthur featured a same-sex wedding, surprising some young viewers about the sexuality of the protagonists’ primary school teacher Mr. Ratburn.
The episode, entitled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” shows aardvark Arthur’s third-grade teacher Mr. Ratburn tying the knot another man. When Arthur and his friends find out their teacher is getting married, they assume that he is getting married to a female rat named Patty.
However, they eventually discover that Patty (voiced by Jane Lynch) is his sister and that his actual partner is a chocolatier named Patrick.
MR RATBURN IS GAY ?!? IM CRYING pic.twitter.com/e9A4ZnnGa2
— Gatsby (@gatsplatt) May 13, 2019
According to the fan page ArthurWiki, “Mr. Ratburn is primarily known for being a strict teacher, but he has many other hobbies outside of the classroom, including puppetry, playing in a rock band, and bird-watching. He is also seen as a role model by several students.”
He is also “often friendly, helpful and good-natured, rarely showing any hint of malice, and has shown that he truly cares about his students time and time again,” the page said.
The animated show, which has run since 1996, is primarily aimed at children from ages 4 to 8 but often explores challenging themes such as cancer, diabetes, and dyslexia. It is based on Marc Brown’s Arthur Adventure book series and has so far run for 246 episodes.
This is not the first time that the children’s show has featured LGBT character. In 2005, its spin-off show Postcards from Buster featured a lesbian couple in the episode “Sugar Time.” However, the episode was condemned by then Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, prompting PBS to pull the episode.