Arthur's teacher, Mr. Ratburn, marries chocolatier Patrick in "Mr. Ratburn & The Special Someone," the 22nd season premiere of the PBS Kids show "Arthur." (Courtesy of 2019 WGBH & PBS KIDS)
Photo: WGBH & PBS Kids
Photo: WGBH & PBS Kids

'Arthur' character Mr. Ratburn gets married, comes out as gay on PBS Kids show

The 22nd season premiere of the hit PBS Kids show “Arthur” saw one of its most popular characters getting married.

Deadline reported that in the episode titled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” Arthur and his friend Buster, Muffy and Francine overhear Mr. Ratburn taking a phone call about flower arrangements. The kids get their third-grade teacher to admit he’s getting married, and the students spy on Mr. Ratburn to find out who he’s walking down the aisle with.

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Arthur and his friends are initially under the impression that their teacher is marrying a bossy female rat. After a failed attempt to set Mr. Ratburn up with the librarian, the gang ends up attending their teacher’s wedding poorly disguised as adults. There, they realize Mr. Ratburn is marrying a chocolatier aardvark named Patrick.

The realization isn’t treated as a big deal.

“PBS Kids programs are designed to reflect the diversity of communities across the nation,” the network said in a statement to People. “We believe it is important to represent the wide array of adults in the lives of children who look to PBS Kids every day.”

Related: Alabama Public Television won't air 'Arthur' episode with gay wedding

Entertainment Weekly reported that this is not the first time “Arthur” has covered a notable real-world topic. Other episodes have tackled dyslexiaAsperger syndrome and cancerVariety reported that a 2005 episode of the “Arthur” spin-off “Postcards from Buster” showed a lesbian couple. Although the show was was denounced by then-Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, and PBS pulled the episode, some stations still aired it.

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