The animated PBS television series “Arthur” premiered the first episode of its 22nd season Monday, and to the surprise of some viewers, it was revealed that Arthur’s teacher Mr. Ratburn is gay.

In the premiere titled “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” Arthur and his friends attend their teacher’s wedding. The group thinks that their teacher is marrying female rat, Patty, until they realize she’s his sister, according to Entertainment Weekly.

Then Arthur’s friend Muffy asks “Who is Mr. Ratburn marrying?” That’s when the group sees their teacher walking down the aisle next to another man.

Later, Arthur and his pals briefly discuss the wedding, and Francine tells her friends, “‘Yep, it’s a brand new world’ — perhaps a nod to the changing cultural times,” according to People Magazine.

The word “gay” was not used in the episode.

This is not the first time the cartoon series has featured a gay character. In a 2005 episode from the spinoff series “Postcards from Buster,” Arthur’s best friend meets several children who have two moms while on a trip to Vermont, TV Line reports.

The word “lesbian” was not used in the episode. PBS later pulled the episode after receiving a letter from Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings condemning the episode and asking PBS to “strongly consider” returning the federal money that went toward its production.

People Magazine reported viewers’ reaction on the Internet was swift with comments from several parents.

“#Arthur is a kids show that tackles a lot of serious issues, which is a good thing. But now, their {sic} going a little too far with it. #PBS,” one Twitter user noted.

Read full article