September 10, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Last week, Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time became the latest example of mainstream American animation presenting homosexual attraction to young audiences, highlighting a trend that appears to be accelerating.
Premiering in 2010, Adventure Time is a fantasy adventure series mixing humor and drama in a surreal setting. The September 3 series finale featured a scene in which two female characters, Marceline the Vampire Queen and Princess Bubblegum, confirmed years of hints and fan speculation that they were lesbian by kissing each other on the lips.
“We knew that if we put this in, it would get some attention. But would it be too much attention?” said executive producer Adam Muto, who explained that the moment wasn’t in the original script and came at the insistence of storyboard artist Hanna Nyström. “Or would we be downplaying it too much? We knew we wanted to incorporate it, and in the end, you just have no control over how people will remember things.”
On September 9, TVLine approvingly called attention to just how many such moments have made it into American animation – once a field so heavily restricted that certain networks forbade punching in superhero shows – with a list of what it deemed the “10 Most Satisfying LGBT+ Reveals in American Animation.” In the current “rainbow age of television,” Andy Swift wrote, characters are “coming to terms with their sexuality at an unprecedented rate.”
While the list cites older examples from shows such as The Simpsons and characters from cartoons explicitly marketed to adults, such as Comedy Central’s South Park and Netflix’s BoJack Horseman, it also highlights moments from shows aimed at child and all-age audiences.
The most recent season of Netflix’s Voltron: Legendary Defender revealed that team leader Shiro had a dead ex-boyfriend. The finale of Disney XD’s Gravity Falls featured Sheriff Blubs and Deputy Durland declaring “We’re mad with power…and love!” while holding each other’s faces.
Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe featured a lesbian wedding this year, while the final season of Nickelodeon’s The Legend of Korra ended with the titular heroine holding hands with female companion Asami, which the creators later confirmed was meant to denote a romantic relationship.
Pride.com also lists Sailor Moon Crystal, Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Danger & Eggs, Cardcaptor Sakura: Clear Card, The Loud House, and Clarence as “Modern Kids Shows with Awesome Queer Characters.” Even the preschool-aimed Disney cartoon Doc McStuffins depicted lesbian parents last year.
Notably, several of the aforementioned examples were held until the end of a series’ run, suggesting that creators wanted to time the LGBT content for when offended parents could no longer affect the show’s ratings.
“There’s never going to be pushback from the normies because they’ve already resigned away their rights to protest for kid-safe media,” writer William Usher lamented of the Adventure Time development. “This is also all part of the Liberal agenda, where you take things that seem almost family friendly and then subvert it with agitprop.”
Usher pointed out that celebratory LGBT moments should particularly concern parents in light of Lisa Littman’s recent study, which Usher summarized as finding that “a lot of teens who claim to suffer from gender-dysphoria are just following peer-pressure trends from the Social Justice Warrior-occupied areas of social media.”
Ultimately, the latest developments from the likes of Adventure Time and Voltron seem to vindicate Focus on the Family analyst Jeff Johnston’s 2015 warning to LifeSiteNews that “we’ll only see more and more of this,” because children’s television “is a reflection of what’s already in our culture.”
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