Children of same-sex parents got some much overdue representation in mainstream animation this weekend, courtesy of the Disney Channel.
The animated children’s series “Doc McStuffins,” which premiered in 2012, follows 7-year-old Dottie “Doc” McStuffins, who dreams of one day becoming a doctor. In the meantime, she helps her toys and stuffed animals recover from fictional ailments by giving them regular check-ups.
Saturday’s episode of the series stressed the importance of always having a back-up plan in place for unexpected events. Titled “The Emergency Plan,” the story focused on two mom dolls who were separated from their kids when a toy dragon causes an earthquake.
The episode, which aired Saturday on The Disney Channel and Sunday on Disney Junior, featured two openly queer stars, Wanda Sykes and Portia de Rossi, as the voice of the moms. In a behind-the-scenes interview, Sykes said her 8-year-old twins, Lucas Claude and Olivia Lou, were both fans of the series, which teaches “very valuable lessons” and sent “a great message.”
“With this episode, they see a family that looks like our family,” the 53-year-old actress and comedian said in the interview, which can be viewed above. “We’re two moms... it’s going to be very exciting for [my kids] to see our family represented.”
Disney’s decision to cast Sykes and de Rossi as the two moms in “The Emergency Plan” didn’t go unnoticed by a number of LGBTQ advocacy groups, including GLAAD. In a blog post on GLAAD’s website, President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis praised “Doc McStuffins” for having portrayed families reared by same-sex couples in “a beautiful and positive way” with the episode.
“Shows like this reflect our real world,” Ellis said, “and today that includes the many children being raised by gay and lesbian parents who are all going to celebrate this story.”
“The Emergency Plan” is the latest in a series of moves Disney has made to incorporate inclusive, pro-LGBTQ themes in its programming. It featured same-sex couples on its shows “Good Luck Charlie” and “Gravity Falls” in 2014 and 2016, respectively.
Earlier this year, the inclusion of an “exclusively gay moment” featuring the character of LeFou (Josh Gad) in the live-action reboot of “Beauty and the Beast” made headlines, though critics were at odds over just how “exclusively gay” the scenes really were.