Recently, the 22nd season of Arthur premiered with the surprise wedding of the show’s longtime teacher, Mr. Ratburn. However, if you live in Alabama you probably missed it because he married another man, (man-imal, I guess?), and Alabama Public Television chose to air a re-run instead. I’m not sure what else we could expect from the state, which has always been behind on social trends and acceptance of different viewpoints but this headline reads more like an Onion article in today’s world.
Mike McKenzie, director of programming for APT released a statement regarding his decision not to air the episode. “The vast majority of parents will not have heard about the content, whether they agree with it or not. Because of this, we felt it would be a violation of trust to broadcast the episode. Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate, and inspire,” McKenzie continued. “More importantly – although we strongly encourage parents to watch television with their children and talk about what they have learned afterward – parents trust that their children can watch APT without their supervision.”
By every indication, the episode aired in the other 49 states without any TV sets catching fire making McKenzie’s fears seem way off base here. In all seriousness, the episode featured a beautiful wedding between a loving couple and featured nothing that should constitute a “breach in trust” between networks and parents. I know Alabama is again, notoriously behind the times, but, a grown man scared of two cartoon animal-men in love shouldn’t be in charge of the state’s public TV programming.
According to McKenzie, APT has no plans to air the episode in the future.