Mr. Ratburn, the elementary school teacher in the long-running PBS children’s cartoon “Arthur” came out as homosexual in the 22nd season premiere on Monday, and was depicted as “marrying” an aardvark named Patrick.
The episode, “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” also featured the voice of lesbian actor Jane Lynch, who plays Mr. Ratburn’s sister, Patty.
The broadcast opens with Ratburn, Arthur’s teacher, receiving a phone call on his cell phone. His ring tone plays out Felix Mendelssohn’s “Wedding March.”
After students hear Ratburn discussing floral arrangements during the brief call, they ask if flowers will be on their quiz.
“No, they’re for a wedding,” he replies.
“A wedding? Who’s getting married?” Muffy Crosswire exclaims.
“Me,” Ratburn discloses, as the students loudly gasp.
As Arthur and his friends later discuss the shocking development at a restaurant, suddenly Ratburn walks in with Patty, who the students assume is his fiance. Being worried about Patty’s demanding and harsh nature, the students seek out ways to thwart the supposed relationship and stop the wedding.
Upon attending the event with intentions to object, Arthur and his friends discover that Patty is actually Ratburn’s sister, and question among themselves who their teacher might be marrying. Within moments, Ratburn walks down the aisle with Patrick, and the students smile. Ratburn winks at the camera.
Public reaction to the season premiere episode has been mixed, with some cheering the depiction of Ratburn as homosexual, and others stating that such is inappropriate for a children’s cartoon.
“Arthur was one of my favorite childhood shows growing up and Mr. Ratburn was one of my favorite characters. I started crying when I found out he got married! I’m so happy for all the kids growing up with this show,” one commenter wrote.
“I think it’s very important to show that gay educators exist, so thanks Mr. Ratburn!” another opined.
“First the public libraries having drag queens read to children, then this. They are indoctrinating your children,” a third lamented.
“Why must all of the innocent children’s shows be ruined by pushing these adult social agendas?” another asked. “If a parent wants to address this issue with their kid, when they feel the child is old enough and mature enough, then that is up to the parent. Please let our kids be kids. Let them be innocent kids.”
“What if the character started to pray and had a Bible and showed he was Christian? The outrage would be astronomical,” one commenter stated.
As previously reported, an increasing number of children’s programs have depicted homosexuality or transgenderism in recent years.
In 2017, an episode of the preschooler-geared Disney Junior cartoon “Doc McStuffins” featured an animated depiction of the lesbian mothers of two children. Disney also raised concerns the same year when it aired its first-ever same-sex kissing scene during a broadcast of its cartoon “Star vs. the Forces of Evil.”
Last summer, World of Wonder’s WOW Presents Plus aired the cartoon “Drag Tots,” voiced by cast members of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” and featuring four pint-sized drag queens who attend grammar school. Netflix also announced its animated series “Super Drags,” which centers on the fictional tales of drag queen superheroes.
The late Anglican preacher J.C. Ryle once said, “Men try to cheat themselves into the belief that sin is not quite so sinful as God says it is, and that they are not so bad as they really are.” He also is quoted as stating, “The world will let a man go to Hell quietly and never try to stop him. The world will never let a man go to Heaven quietly. They will do all they can to turn him back.”