Arthur has long been a cornerstone of PBS’ lineup of educational children’s shows. Indeed, its 22nd season premiered Monday — and featured a surprise for those who remember the show (or the Marc Brown books it’s based on) from their childhood.
The episode saw the titular aardvark and his friends attending the wedding of their teacher, Mr. Ratburn. They assume he’s marrying Patty, a female rat (voiced by Jane Lynch!), until the groom enters, accompanied by… another groom. (Patty, it transpires, is his sister.) Yep, Mr. Ratburn is gay! Who knew?
This is hardly the most revolutionary episode of Arthur, which has tackled such topics as autism spectrum disorder, dyslexia, and even cancer. Still, it’s refreshing to see a children’s show depicting LGBTQ characters in such a casual way. The kids don’t even comment on it; they simply smile to one another. Predictably, many Twitter users were enthused about this development.