Alabama Public Television has pulled an episode of Arthur that includes a marriage featuring two male characters. A week ago today, the episode aired nationwide and featured Mr. Ratburn's marriage to his partner on the iconic public television show. According to a press release by APT, the public television affiliate has no plans to air the episode at a later date.
“Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire,” Mckenzie told AL.com. “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.”
It's not the first rodeo for the over-the-air channel in the ultra-conservative state. In 2005, one of the show's characters — the ever-lovable Buster — visited the home a friend who had two mothers. Allan Pizzato, the then-director of APT said then that it didn't fit within the values of their programming.
"Our feeling is that we basically have a trust with parents about our programming," Pizzato said. "This program doesn't fit into that."
When the initial controversy in 2005 first developed, series creator Marc Brown explained that the team was trying to make sure all kids were represented, something APT apparently disagreed with then and now, some 14 years after the fact.
"What we are trying to do in the series is connect kids with other kids by reflecting their lives," Brown said (via Out). "In some episodes, as in the Vermont one, we are validating children who are seldom validated. We believe that 'Postcards From Buster' does this in a very natural way -- and, as always, from the point of view of children."
First hitting the airways in 1996, Arthur has run for 22 seasons and a total of 246 episodes. It was announced last summer that Oasis Animation, the production company behind the show, had secured financing to complete the show through at least Season 25. Throughout the years, the show has been home to special guests such as Fred Rogers, Art Garfunkel, Alex Trebek, Larry King, Matt Damon, Joan Rivers, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Idina Menzel, and Jane Lynch.
For those hoping to catch the episode, it's available in its entirety online.