A rat and aardvark got married, and it’s too hot for Alabama

A rat and an aardvark got married in a cartoon and that’s too hot to handle for the children of Alabama.

That’s pretty much 2019 in a nutshell.

See, the fictional characters are in an episode of “Arthur,” which shows the main character’s teacher getting married to another male.

To Alabama’s kids apparently, it’s perfectly normal for interspecies matrimony, for a rat to speak and be a teacher and for a rat and aardvark to wear coats and ties. But the kids are going to be confused that the animals getting married are both male.

That’s too much for Alabama Public Television, which will not broadcast the episode.

“Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire,” Mike McKenzie, the director of programming told NBC.

And there’s the problem — admittedly some don’t see it as a problem — of parents parking their kids in front of the TV and then going off to do whatever parents in Alabama do.

“More importantly — although we strongly encourage parents to watch television with their children and talk about what they have learned afterwards — parents trust that their children can watch APT without their supervision. We also know that children who are younger than the ‘target’ audience for ‘Arthur’ also watch the program,” McKenzie said, according to Alabama.com.

A substitute teacher in McCalla, Ala., decided to tune in for the episode and stay with her daughter to talk about what they would see. They were disappointed that a rerun was shown instead.

“I just want her to be aware,” Misty Souder told AL.Com, while capturing the news-quote-of-the-year award for 2019.

“I never thought I’d be going to battle for a gay rat wedding, but here we are,” she said.

  • MrE85

    Mike McKenzie would have better off saying, “The bottom line is we are just too damned scared of the Bible-thumping citizens of this state to accept even a cartoon same sex marriage. PS: I quit.”

    • As the 5th least educated state in the nation, I suspect not many kids are even watching Alabama Public TV.

      • MrE85

        Misty Souder’s daughter does. We owe it to her to do better than this.

      • jon

        Don’t know what life is like now, but when I was a kid we watched PBS because it was the only station with regular (daily) cartoons (and general kids programming) on broadcast TV. We couldn’t afford cable (and AL is the 6th poorest in the nation.)

  • Guest

    The one side sees the ONLY reason to not be supportive of gay marriage is poor motives.

    The other side sees the ONLY reason to be supportive of gay marriage is poor Christianity.

    • BJ

      You don’t have to “support” anything – just don’t bother with what others want to do if they are not hurting you.

      Besides – Gay marriage is the law of the land. I don’t even think party boy Brett will be able to put that back in the bottle. But I’ve been wrong before.

    • // is poor Christianity.

      There’s a lot of that going around among Christians.

      But here’s the thing.

      We’re not supposed to be the American version of the Taliban, enforcing a religious dogma that dictates civil life.

      • Guest

        THAT is the winning sauce that founded the USA. Folks remembered the Church of England and getting kicked out for being the wrong faith.

        I am talking about the King and Queen that sent Columbus to find riches. The mass conflicts of the Reformation and Crusades.

        It doesn’t stop emotions or reactions, but stopping laws is a huge step forward.

  • Al

    I’m so glad we’re seeing more diverse families on PBS. I love that my kids can see families on TV that look like their friends’ families. Representation is everything.

    • MrE85

      To be fair, the characters on “Arthur” don’t look like anyone’s friends. Or aardvarks, for that matter. 😉

      • Al

        HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA, touché.

      • jon

        Just because some one looks like an arthur character doesn’t mean they can’t have friends!


  • KTFoley

    Pretty sure it was last Wednesday afternoon (The Takeaway?) that I heard an MPR interview with Rebecca Sugar. She creates & writes Steven Universe on The Cartoon Network, which showed the first same-sex marriage on a children’s entertainment show.

    She talked about what it was like to feel understood as a person, from being able to make characters who are non-binary, and to be able to create a show plus space to talk about those characters.

    Then the interviewer asked her another question about the time when, under pressure from the Bush administration, PBS pulled a 2005 episode of the Arthur spin-off Postcards From Buster where the characters included a lesbian couple. Ms. Sugar talked about how hurtful it was, as a high school student, to hear about the action as it occurred.

    The point of the question was to explore how far the PBS executives have come since then. I wonder if she’d give the same answer today as she did last week.

  • Jeff C.

    Reminds me of how some people freak out if they see a boy dressed as a real woman (Hillary Rodham-Clinton, for example) for Halloween but they think it is fine if he dressed as a super hero (Superman, for example). They are worried that the boy will be confused if he wears a dress, but they aren’t worried that he’ll jump off a building, thinking he can fly, while wearing a red cape.

    • Rob

      My folks only let me play with action models, not with dolls.
      And they only let me wear kilts, not dresses.

  • kevins

    There are NO homosexuals in “Bama…or was that Libya?

  • RBHolb

    “Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire,” Mike McKenzie, the director of programming told NBC.

    Fifty years ago, Alabama Public Television didn’t show Sesame Street, because of the concerns about race-mixing (or perhaps about the reaction to it).

  • JamieHX

    I was thrilled when I heard about this episode. “Arthur” is one of my favorite things on tv. I wish I had been able to see it as a kid; I think I’d be a better adult now if I had. And now I’m sad and angry to hear about what Alabama is doing. There are lots of kids in Alabama who NEED to see this episode.