(CBS Local) — The season 22 premiere episode of the long-running animated series “Arthur,” which revolved around the same-sex wedding of an elementary school teacher, was not seen in Alabama.
Alabama Public Television (APT) chose not to air the May 13 episode “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” opting to show a rerun from a previous season instead.
In the episode, Arthur’s third-grade teacher, Mr. Ratburn, marries his partner, Patrick, a chocolatier, at a wedding attended by his students.
“Parents have trusted Alabama Public Television for more than 50 years to provide children’s programs that entertain, educate and inspire,” APT director of programming Mike 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.”
APT said it has no plans to air the episode at a later date, although it is available to view on PBS’ website.
“PBS Kids programs are designed to reflect the diversity of communities across the nation,” PBS representative Maria Vera Whelan said in a statement. “We believe it is important to represent the wide array of adults in the lives of children who look to PBS Kids every day.”
“Our feeling is that we basically have a trust with parents about our programming,” APT’s then-director, Allan Pizzato, told AL.com at the time. “This program doesn’t fit into that.”
The series premiered October 9, 1996, and centers around Arthur Read, an 8-year-old anthropomorphic brown aardvark and his adventures in the fictional town of Elwood City. The show has previously dealt with issues such as dyslexia, cancer diabetes and autism.