It looks like there will be no more gay rat weddings from the iconic, long-running PBS Kids show Arthur.
After 25 years of being on the air, writer Kathy Waugh shared the news that beloved kids cartoon Arthur has ended production and will end with the upcoming 25th season, which will air in the winter of 2022. She broke the news on the Finding DW podcast.
"Arthur is no longer in production. We had our wrap party two years ago," Waugh told Finding DW host Jason Szwimer. "I think [PBS] made a mistake, and I think Arthur should come back and I know I'm not alone in thinking they made a mistake. I don't know if it was a ratings issue or if it felt like it needed to be retired. To me, it felt evergreen, like it was never going to end but it did end, we finished the last episode, season 25, two years ago."
Waugh developed the show for PBS back in 1996, based on the children's book series by Marc Brown. It has since become a cultural touchstone and is the longest-running children’s animated series in the US. It’s also the second longest-running animated series overall, after The Simpsons.
Arthur made international headlines back in 2019, when Arthur’s teacher, Mr. Ratburn, got married to another man.
In the season 22 premiere, "Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone," Arthur and his friends are attending their teacher’s wedding, which they think is to a female rat named Penny (voiced by Jane Lynch), but when they realize Patty is Mr. Ratburn’s sister, they wonder who he’s marrying.
That's when Mr. Ratburn walks down the aisle, hand-in-hand with another groom, a male aardvark.
Several state networks, including Arkansas and Alabama, decided to not air the episode, and many Republican commentators said that the wedding was part of the "culture war" going on against traditional America.
Back when that happened, Brown told People that he was proud of the way the show expanded the minds of young viewers.
"When we began Arthur 22 years ago, the agenda we began with was to make children want to read. And it worked!" the book series author told the magazine. "So each year, the writers and the producers sit down to decide what kind of subject matter we want to deal with. After 22 years you think, 'We've done it all!' Yet, here was another opportunity! It still excites me that we can come up with stories that are going to be interesting and helpful to children."