Disney Junior's animated series Muppet Babies dove into the cultural debate over gender expression and LGBT ideology in recent days when it aired a new episode showing Gonzo – a male character in the series – wearing a dress to a royal ball.
At the beginning of the episode, two female characters – Miss Piggy and Summer Penguin – announce that everyone is invited to a royal ball, similar to the one in Cinderella.
Hearing the story of Cinderella and seeing a picture of the fairy tale in a book, Gonzo tells the girls, "I'd love to wear a dress like that to your royal ball." Summer Penguin responds, "But Gonzo, Piggy and I are the princesses. We wear the dresses." Piggy adds, "According to the royal handbook, the girls come as princesses, and the boys come as knights."
Kermit the Frog tries to console Gonzo – "we're gonna have a great time being knights" – but Gonzo remains despondent.
Moments later, with no one else around, a magical "Fairy Rat-Father" appears and places a blue dress on Gonzo. He even gives him glass sneakers.
"This makes me so happy," Gonzo said.
Gonzo names himself "Gonzo-rella" and goes to the ball without telling everyone who he is. But in the final moments of the episode, he reveals that he was Gonzo-rella.
"I don't want you to be upset with me, but I don't want to do things just because that's the way they've always been done, either. I want to be me," Gonzo says.
Piggy apologizes, telling Gonzo, "It wasn't very nice of us to tell you what to wear." Piggy then says she wants to get rid of the royal handbook and make a better one.
"And in our new handbook," Summer Penguin says, "everyone can come to the ball dressed however they like."
Muppet Babies is a reboot of a 1980s cartoon. The newest series began airing in 2018.
Photo courtesy: ©Disney Junior
Video courtesy: ©Disney Junior
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.