Fans celebrate 'Arthur' character Mr. Ratburn coming out as gay
'Arthur' character Mr. Ratburn came out as gay during the 22nd-season premiere of the long-running animated children's show in an episode some described as 'heartwarming' and a 'big step' towards more LGBTQ representation. (WGBH & PBS KIDS)
Published Tuesday, May 14, 2019 4:22PM EDT
‘Arthur’ character Mr. Ratburn came out as gay during the 22nd-season premiere of the long-running animated children’s show -- and people online could not be happier.
The episode “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone” revolves around the story of Arthur and his pals finding out their third-grade teacher is marrying his long-time partner Patrick.
Outspoken activist and actress Jane Lynch -- who happens to be gay -- played Mr. Ratburn’s sister Patty, who officiated the cartoon wedding.
The strict but goofy character of Mr. Ratburn has been a fixture on the show since its 1996 debut episode, “Arthur’s Eyes.”
While Ratburn’s sexuality has never been explicitly mentioned during the show, the character’s private life has been revealed piecemeal throughout the series.
Early on, Arthur and his pals thought he was a secret vampire only to discover he was an avid puppeteer. The fictional teacher from Lakewood Elementary School also loves bird-watching and children’s cartoons, and was in a college band called the “Ratburn Rats.”
American viewers saw the heartwarming revelation when the episode aired on Monday. But Canadian fans will have to wait, as newer episodes run on a delay here.
Plenty of fans have taken to Twitter to say how much they loved the “heartwarming” representation of the LGBTQ community on TV shows and said “little things like this can do so much good.”
Some fans have even pointed out that, based on her character’s appearance, Jane Lynch’s character was likely “queer.”
Other fans tweeted praising the show for “celebrating love and fearlessly exampling to a young audience all types of relationships.” Another person tweeted that this was a “big step for a series with such a young audience.”
Some took the new episode to call out Sunday’s disappointing “Game of Thrones penultimate episode, with one person writing: “Mr. Ratburn being gay is *my* Game of Thrones finale.”