Oh be nice!
To those of you who got that reference, you are awesome.
So let's get on with it, we haven't much time. This past Monday the new season of 'Arthur' aired on PBS Kids, the same day as everyone else in the country. It's a big deal since before it used to take a while before the new episodes reached the other PBS affiliates on the west coast. I could always tell when the end credits of the new episode would say the episode has last year's copyright date. Also I discovered YouTube had last season's episodes before they aired on PBS. For this case I guess WGBH in Boston (The PBS Network that produces the whole Arthur series) decided to take the extra step to air this new season simultaneously through all PBS stations & prevent the threat of spoilers as much as they could. It also explains why that new episode aired at 6am here in LA. Anyways, this new season of Arthur drops the twist bomb on all the kids & grown ass people (Like yours truly).
As stated in the title, Mr. Ratburn comes out the closet on the day of his wedding!!!!! You know what pisses me off about this? The internet ruined this twist before I even got to watch the episode!! You rotten bastards! Do you guys know how awesome of a twist that is? The guide description described the first story of the episode as “The kids are invited to Mr.Ratburn's wedding, but have no clue as to who he is going to marry.” They hid the twist very well & this seemed like a story idea that would appear in-between Seasons 2 & season 7. I would of loved to have seen this episode as it aired, but like always I miss the mark. I haven't sat down & made an appointment to watch a TV show as it aired since now everything is OnDemand & streaming. Why watch something on the exact minute it airs? Shows like 'Game of Thrones' and 'Walking Dead' still prove that appointment TV is alive & well, even in the internet age. My problem is not with people who still turn on the plasma TV & change the channel to HBO or whatever. My problem is when a twist or something major hits a fictional TV show, every headline on the News Feed straight up tells you what you missed the second the episode airs. IT's as if people are straight up telling you, “Not our problem you got responsibilities like a job, school or a sleep schedule! Fuck you.” I even attribute this to Theatrical movies, all them Marvel movies whenever something major hits it already becomes a meme. How about waiting a year before spoiling something? I no longer have a DVR anymore, so I guess I had to take a visit to the PBS Kids website. All I can say is Spectrum's OnDemand service is a fucking joke. They claim they provide all the episodes available for streaming, but only have a few three or two episodes ready to watch. Their selection of what's available to watch is a joke, especially if the show is a continuity heavy TV show. Also you can't skip commercials. Fuck Spectrum!
So despite the spoilers, I still watched the episode & you know what? It was a harmless episode. As far as Arthur episodes go (Especially in recent seasons), this was far from a bad episode. Peter K. Hirch, the man responsible for writing a majority of the best Arthur episodes (he also wrote 'Arthur's Perfect Christmas') took on the task of writing 'Mr.Ratburn's Special Someone' & he made a pretty solid story. The story goes: Arthur, Francine, Buster & Muffy find out Mr.Ratburn is getting married, but mistakenly believe that he is getting married to a short haired, well suited woman who looks like a white haired Desire from 'The Sandman'. She's voiced by 'Jane Lynch', I didn't know that beforehand. Why's she always playing bitchy role types? So this woman is much too picky, too much of a perfectionist & so the four kids (Like always) see half of a story, base their judgment on so little information, feel her picky influence will rub onto Mr.Ratburn & decide to intentionally sabotage the wedding with a hippie morph app (Think a Snapchat Filter, but way more advanced). They also try to set up Mr.Ratburn with the librarian. I'm pretty sure the librarian is a freak in bed, librarians always are. The part when the kids sneak in a faux love poem to her is actually the funniest moment in that episode. Now that felt like a season 2 joke.
Since PBS has kept this under wraps for so long, how long till they start to re-air their banned 'Postcards from Buster' episode? Mr.Ratburn's wedding wasn't the first time the Arthur franchise dealt with an LGBT character. Back in the mid-2000's there was a spinoff series where we follow Buster, his dad & a Latino rock group who tour around the country & meet people from all walks of life. Throughout that series we meet a Chinese family, a Mormon family, an Arab family (Mind you, this was shortly after 9/11 so that kind of exposure was heavily needed on American TV), a Mexican family & anyone else from any other ethnic background you can think of. So of course the next logical step in that series is to follow a group of kids with two mommies. But of course 2000's America wasn't ready for that, this was right people got so up in arms with Janet Jackson nipples. Oh shut up 2000's America, be glad it wasn't Latoya Jackson. All you east coast folks got that episode until the complaining began, so I envy all of you who saw this episode first run. Of course like with anything that deals with real world things, you're going to get people being uppity, ignorant & bitchy about it. Then we get the response that has become common in recent years, the show runners are trying too hard to sell themselves as either too progressive or too conservative. In the case of 'Arthur', the show has always been progressive. The reason why 'Arthur' hasn't been criticized for it was because they aren't trying to shove a political party down the viewer's throats, nor do they treat the show as a mouth piece for the politics of the series writers, animators or executive producers. It also helps that the show has been like this before this political shift happened where all of a sudden every single bit of entertainment had to have a political statement. Not everything has to be political, sometimes we just wanna have fun! As far as I know, the only ideology the show is teaching kids is common sense. Oh no, not that! Aside from the love & the positive headlines from LGBT websites, there's also a lot of criticism as expected. One of the main questions I ask, why?
Of all these planned & executed ideas of turning traditionally straight characters gay to win progressive points with a one sided audience, I must say having Mr.Ratburn come out was appropriate. Think about it, Ratburn isn't known as being a ladies man & he's kept is private life away from the school very well. Every character in the series knows Mr.Ratburn is a fan of the arts, has a deep appreciation for puppetry & probably spends his free time watching educational programming & cartoons (Remember 'Spooky Poo'?). What about his social life? I'm sure he & the other teachers have chats in the teacher's lounge, but I doubt they go far from that. I don't see Ratburn going to a bar with the other teachers to drink some beers & talk about those ratty kids. I also doubt Ratburn would be in the dating scene trying to hookup with Elwood City ladies. Have you seen the selection of unmarried (As far as we know) women on that town? Except for the librarian, bitches in Elwood City be devious, especially DW's preschool teacher & this triflin' ass hoe.
Along with all the criticisms & the praise, there are people who are asking a pretty appropriate question, why now? Well, PBS could of done this years ago & just let the hubub fly over. All I got to say is PBS isn't breaking ground with this. They're making headlines, but this isn't anything new. Netflix & Cartoon Network (Maybe even Hulu) have been airing clear gay/lesbian relationships on their animations for years now. I don't follow 'Steven Universe', but right from the poster art you can already see the LGBT influence. I know there's a clear as day gay relationship on that new 'Voltron'. All I have to say is it is no longer hidden now & PBS Kids must have seen how much more accepting homosexuality & lesbianism is in children's media so they must think “We better do this now until it's too late.” It's a serious far cry from back when I was a kid. Cartoon Network & Kids WB canceled both 'Sailor Moon' & 'Cardcaptors' because they had no idea how to circumvent around the fact that in both these shows there are clear gay & lesbian relationships. They kinda snuck it into some cartoons, but it's not clear whether it was an intentional or if we're reading too deep into it. One of the biggest examples would be 'He-Man' from the 80's. I know the whole half naked muscle dudes is pretty homoerotic, but was it really because the folks working on the show were homosexual or was it that whole Regan Era machismo where you gotta see how badass these guys are by how sculpted they were? I don't know.
The only family friendly network that still has a stick up their butt about queer relationships is Disney, as expected. If they don't show it, it doesn't exist! That's why they don't have diversity. Of all animation blocks on Network TV at the time, I never thought Kids WB as the network that would have a gripe with a gay couple. This is the same block that briefly in 2001 had 'Toonami on Kids WB'. Cardcaptors straight up went on the air saying “Yeah, Sakura's brother & that glasses guy.....BEST OF FRIENDS! Nothing funny going on when the two lock themselves in the room. Oh wait, they're not best friends?...I...uhh....ummmmm....WE'RE CANCELLED DESPITE THE FACT THIS SHOW WAS CLEARLY GIVING US THE RATINGS.” In the case of Cardcaptors when the internet became more prominent & anime fansub sites started streaming videos, at least we got to see that anime in its original intended form without that 4Kids dub. Same goes to Sailor Moon.
The first Arthur story of the season premiere was not a bad one. Sure, it presented the problem the kids faced in the same way you would see in any other episode, but at the end of it the kids very much learn their lesson. Mr.Ratburn & the chocolate man get married, but what would of made that moment emotionally engaging is if they both recited some marriage vows, thus brings me to a nitpicky flaw that must be addressed. My only problem with this episode was this really needed to be a 24 minute episode. The last full length episode they had was weak, it was the one where everyone in Elwood City experienced a hurricane & had to deal with the aftermath. Arthur became conscious about the lost or abandoned dogs in his community, Muffy had to deal with being in a shelter amongst the 99 percenters & The Brain has to deal with the anxieties of the storm after his parent's ice cream shop was the only one destroyed by the storm. Oh & I forgot, Ladonna (Easily the worst character in that new season. Thank god she was not there in the wedding episode) has to deal with her dad being called in to the National Guard on the day of her birthday. Now that arc was the worst. Despite Brain's arc being the strongest of that episode, overall it was the weakest 'EVENT' episode ever. That fake out joke where they poorly tried to trick people into thinking Muffy's butler 'Bailey' died was the straw that broke the camel's back. It was the equivalent of having someone say “Got your nose” while poking your belly. If Bruce Dinsmore isn't wrong in his tweet, this might be the last season of Arthur that will air. Then again the show as supposed to end in 2011, if you can believe that. Either way, I'd hate to think that their last even episode would be the hurricane episode.
I felt they could of lingered on a well crafted mystery had the episode been a little longer. So after 15 minutes the episode moves on to the next story without their brief 'Let's Talk to Some Kids' segment. I wonder why this episode didn't include their traditional live action children's segment? Stick the knife into the convservative collective & twist it in the wound with the kids talking about that episode! That's what I would of done, but I'm crazy. Anyway, the next story was......'sigh'. I don't want to say it was all that terrible because the moral lesson is still profound as always. All you need to know is both Arthur & Buster play video games, the video glitches up & of course they each blame each other for the game's glitch. So now their little feud has become major when their group of friends take on sides. Need I say more? That episode was weak & I was dissapointed that Arthur did not call Buster a cuck.
So there you have it! Mr.Ratburn found someone & that shit was wholesome as fuck! Will I watch more episodes? I'll try to catch them when I see them, but I won't enjoy all of them. I'm mostly asleep in the daytime. I'm a vampire. One thing I hope the series show runners don't do is treat this wedding as a minor footnote in Ratburn's life, just like Brain & Lydia Fox. Lydia Fox appeared once more in another episode, but the episode was pretty weak as well. Marriage, it's not some minor footnote! Something tells me if there are more episodes on the horizon, there might be an episode on both Ratburn & the chocolate man trying to adopt.
My end message: DON'T YOU FUCKING DARE DRAW RULE 34 ART ON MR.RATBURN & THE CHOCOLATE MAN!
Y'all motherfuckers are going to draw rule 34 art on Ratburn & the chocolate man. I can't stop progress.
Twitter: (It's now my own personal twitter joint) https://twitter.com/BlacktimeEPress
And yes, this song pick is intentional.