A new episode of “My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic” set to air this weekend will introduce a same-sex couple onto the popular children’s program.
Titled “The Last Crusade,” Saturday’s episode will feature the animated equine characters Aunt Holiday and Auntie Lofty. The two horses take care of the school-age character, Scootaloo, Comics Beat reported Monday.
The characters previously appeared in the 2017 book “Ponyville Mysteries: Riddle of the Rusty Horseshoe,” but this will be their first appearance on the Discovery Family series, a reboot of the Hasbro 1980s original.
One of the series’ writers, Michael Vogel, pointed out the perfect timing of the episode’s June 15 air date.
Vogel, who is gay, told BuzzFeed that diversity and representation was “my first priority on everything I work on.”
“Nicole and I thought this was a great opportunity to organically introduce an LGBTQ couple in the series, and we asked Hasbro and they approved it,” he said. “With Josh and Nicole running the final season together, it was something we all wanted to do — bring this out couple into the final season and make them ‘officially’ a part of the MLP world.”
The show, he added, “has always been about friendship and accepting people (or ponies) that are different from you.”
It remains to be seen how legions of “My Little Pony” fans will embrace Aunt Holiday and Auntie Lofty. Last month, the PBS Kids show “Arthur” revealed that one of its beloved characters, Mr. Ratburn, is gay, and debuted an episode showing him tying the knot in a same-sex wedding.
Though LGBTQ rights advocates praised “Arthur” for its depiction of marriage equality, the news incensed a number of conservative groups and viewers. Alabama Public Television opted to scrap the episode entirely and air a rerun instead.
Meanwhile, Hulu is set to debut “The Bravest Knight,” an animated fairy tale centered on Sir Cedric and Prince Andrew, an interracial couple raising an adopted daughter, Nia. Featuring the voice talents of T.R. Knight, Wilson Cruz, RuPaul and Christine Baranski, that 13-episode series will debut June 21.