The long-running PBS animated series “Arthur” kicked off its 22nd season Monday with the reveal that one of its main characters is gay.
In the premiere, titled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” Arthur and his friends are surprised to learn their teacher, Mr. Ratburn, is engaged to be married, because they can’t accept that teachers have personal lives. They assume his significant other is a woman voiced by Jane Lynch, but she turns out to be Mr. Ratburn’s sister. Later when they get to the wedding, the meet Mr. Ratburn’s actual significant other, his new husband.
Notably, the episode doesn’t actually use the word “gay,” but their relationship is clearly same-sex and it is treated, matter-of-factly, as perfectly ordinary. The show drew praise from fans on social media — with some contrasting how “Arthur” handled LGBT representation compared to franchises like the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Also, quite a lot of people were very surprised to discover Arthur is still on the air after more than 20 seasons. (Yep, you’re old.)
See some reactions below:
1) Shoutout to Mr. Ratburn!
2) Arthur has been on TV forever. Season 22?? https://t.co/27W8Xo1NhA
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) May 13, 2019
It turns out Arthur is more courageous and explicit than Avengers: Endgame when it comes to LGBTQ2 lives and storylines. Congrats Mr. Ratburn! Your move, Marvel…. https://t.co/eq99SerHaC
— Rachel Giese (@rachelagiese) May 13, 2019
PSA: Mr. Ratburn from "Arthur" is gay. Do you know how amazing it is that someone who's been on the show from the start, someone who's a main character, is openly gay and getting married on a kids show? PBS Kids really is that bitch.
Plus, all his students are at his wedding! :') pic.twitter.com/aaxGwTE9is
— osmosis jones (@keeothrama) May 13, 2019
gay people who grew up with Arthur: haha mr. ratburn is gay
mr. ratburn: (is actually gay)
the gay people: pic.twitter.com/sjSB7gm0ip
— snufkai (@kaicedcoffee) May 13, 2019