Long-running PBS Kids show Arthur kicked off its 22nd season this week with an important event: the marriage the of the kids’ longtime teacher Mr. Ratburn. In “Mr. Ratburn & The Special Someone,” our favorite noseless aardvark and his pals are at first worried that Mr. Ratburn is about to marry the pushy Patty (voiced by Jane Lynch), and they sneakily try to break up the future pairing. But Patty, as it turns out, is Mr. Ratburn’s sister, and he’s actually about to marry the very nice man/also noseless aardvark Patrick, who owns his own chocolate shoppe.
Munching on cake at the reception, Francine notes to her friends that it’s a “brave new world,” a line that has the double-duty of referring to the fact that their teacher is married and that he’s married to a man. The only thing that a teacher should never, ever do, the kids point out, is happening on the dance floor, as Ratburn and his groom attempt to dance to disco music.
It’s a wonderfully inclusive way for the beloved show to kick off a new season, although the sweet animated nuptials may cause some pangs for some of us.