Children’s TV show Muppet Babies has sent a heartfelt message of love, acceptance and validation to gender non-conforming kids everywhere.
Disney Junior aired an episode titled “Gonzo-rella” Friday (23 July) of its Muppet Babies CGI reboot. In the episode, the cast of young Muppets decides to play “royal ball”. It’s revealed that Gonzo, a little blue tyke, wants to wear a dress to their ball after seeing a picture of a princess in a book. But Piggy declared at the beginning of the episode that the boy characters must pretend to be knights.
“According to the royal handbook, the girls come as princesses, and the boys come as knights,” Piggy said.
Gonzo was visibly crestfallen at the declaration and reluctantly agreed to join with the group after Kermit says they will have a “great time being knights”.
Later in the episode, it’s revealed that Rizzo – Gonzo’s friend and a true ally – becomes a “fairy ratfather” and grants his friend’s wish, turning Gonzo into a secret princess. After the ball, the Muppet gang find Gonzo and describe the ball and the princess who danced with them.
Gonzo then revealed that he had something he wanted to tell them while putting on a glass slipper and transforming into a princess once again.
“The princess who came to your ball tonight was me,” Gonzo explained. “I’m Gonzorella.”
Piggy then asked why Gonzo felt like he had to come to the event in disguise, and Gonzo confessed that he felt pressured by the group to conform.
“You all expected me to look a certain way,” Gonzo said. “I don’t want you to be upset with me, but I don’t want to do things because that’s the way they’ve always been done either. I want to be me.”
The Muppet babies apologised, and Piggy even said it wasn’t “very nice of us” to tell their friend “what to wear to our ball”. They then declared that they love Gonzo “any way you are”.
Fans across the internet were definitely not crying at Muppet Babies‘ beautiful message of acceptance
A Muppet history fan page, which posted a clip from the show, said on Twitter that the iconic characters “represent the ability to be accepting and loving of others, even if they may be a little different”.
Others highlighted how much the heartwarming message meant for the queer community and LGBT+ youth watching the show – and quickly proclaimed Gonzo to be a “non-binary icon”.
Muppet Babies executive producer Tom Warburton told the official Disney fan club blog D23 that the show’s creators decided “very early on” to highlight Gonzo’s individuality.
“Very early on, we wanted to do an episode where Gonzo just showed up to the Playroom wearing a skirt. And it was no big deal,” Warburton explained.
He added: “No one cared or questioned it because Gonzo is always 200 per cent Gonzo 347 per cent of the time.
“But then story editor/co-producer Robyn Brown and her team wanted to take it a step further and do a Cinderella story based on the idea. And it was just SO wonderfully Gonzo.
“We hope he inspires kids watching to be 347 per cent of themselves in their own way, too.”