PBS’ long-running kids’ show ‘Arthur’ premiered its first episode of the 22nd season on May 13, and in it, they revealed that the beloved character of Mr. Ratburn, who is Arthur’s teacher, is gay and engaged.
Everyone’s favorite PBS kids’ show Arthur surprised many fans when it revealed a major change for one of its characters. In the animated series’ season 22 premiere episode, which was titled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” Arthur’s teacher, Mr. Ratburn is confirmed to be gay and engaged to another male character. Arthur and some of the other characters find out about the engagement first and they’re shocked because they never thought of their teachers having private lives of their own when they aren’t at the school.
“When they go home, they sharpen pencils, eat kale and dream up homework assignments,” Arthur’s friend, Buster, says about the teachers in the episode. “They don’t even sleep! They just go into low-power mode and watch documentaries.”
After learning about the engagement, Arthur, Buster and the rest of the gang eventually come across Mr. Ratburn having lunch with his sister, who they think is the woman he’s planning on marrying. While overhearing their lunch conversation, Arthur and his friends come to the conclusion that the woman is too uptight for Mr. Ratburn to marry and figure he will be miserable if they go along with the nuptials, which in turn will make them miserable, so they set out to try and stop the wedding from happening.
The gang then later goes into the wedding ready to object but surprisingly find out that Mr. Ratburn is at the altar with another male. Since the couple look so in love, Arthur and his pals decide not to stop the wedding and instead, playfully make fun of the way Mr. Ratburn and his new husband move during their first dance.
The unexpected plot line in the Arthur episode isn’t the first time the show’s featured a gay character. In 2005, the show’s spinoff, Postcards From Buster, the titular rabbit takes a trip to Vermont to find out how maple syrup is made and once he’s there, he encounters children with many mothers who are lesbians. “Boy, that’s a lot of moms!” the rabbit says, in reference to the coupled up mothers in the episode.
Although the Postcards From Buster episode and Arthur‘s most recent episode never had the characters come out and say the words “gay” or “lesbian”, the plot lines definitely reflect the show’s modern day approach and support of various sexual orientations, which many supporters are sure to be happy about.