Thursday, February 24, 2005

First SpongeBob, now Buster Bunny

Yeah, I know the saga of Buster Bunny is old news, but a quick recap. A PBS kids show called Postcards from Buster, a spin-off from the popular Arthur cartoon, features Buster Bunny as he travels around the country with his pilot dad visiting lots of different kinds of families in lots of different cultures. From what I gather, there is location filming done for this cartoon show, including an episode filmed in Tucson about a Hispanic family, which makes me think the families Buster interacts with are perhaps live-action instead of animated. The Tucson episode, however, is not the controversial one. The one that got all the attention was when Buster visited a lesbian couple with a child in Vermont. This didn't go over well with U.S. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, and PBS pulled the show. The Boston station that produced it, however, is offering it to PBS stations directly if they choose to air it, and my local PBS station, KUAT, is airing it this afternoon.

Not surprisingly, I'm thrilled with the decision and plan to sit down with my kids this afternoon and watch it, although I'm sure they think I'm nuts since they already know about lesbian couples and are familiar with the concept of someone having two mommies (or two daddies) and it's no big deal to them. In general, I think it's great for kids to see diversity. They are going to run into families like this, and I think exposure to it is a good thing. I resent the U.S. Education Secretary making my decision for me about what's appropriate for my kids. By airing the show, KUAT is letting parents decide. If they don't want their kids exposed to this kind of family, they can simply choose to not let their kids watch.


At 6:56 AM, Blogger Bad Methodist said...

Commenting to my own post to add that I did watch the show with my kids. I was right about the family being live action. It was, I believe, an actual family and "Buster" was the camera man, videotaping his visit to send a video postcard home (hence the name of the show).

It was mostly about Vermont, how maple syrup and cheese are made, that sort of thing, and the vast majority of the episode had "Buster" with the kids alone. The only attention the lesbian couple was given was when Buster's dad tells him he's going to visit his mom's friend Karen and her partner, Gillian. Buster then meets the two women and their three kids. One kid shows him pictures of Karen and Gillian together and says "I love this picture of my mom and my step-mom." Buster comments "That's a lot of moms!" And that's about it. There's also a moment where Buster asks one child, who is maybe half-black, why he looks different from the others if they're brothers. He says "He's my step-brother."

The whole thing was so quick, I think it would likely sail right over most kids' heads. My kids thought the show was too young for them and were kinda bored. They didn't understand why I wanted to watch it "because it's not really about gay people!"

At 3:46 PM, Blogger BobW said...

One wonders if the Secretary of Education would have raised such a hue and cry if the couple had been heterosexual but either divorced, cohabiting or both. As it happens, my problem with the UMC position on homosexuality is not with what it says; but that it does not go on to note the screechingly obvious fact that much if not most heterosexuality is "inconsistent" with Christianity.
Is an informative, interesting program about a part of this country and about the making of maple syrup (hardly something likely to be in a grade school curriculum) to go unmade because it includes people who don't fit our preferred mold? While we're bumping into things with that log in our eye, we might keep in mind that we're commanded to see past the sin to the sinner, who is made in the image and likeness of God, and in whose face we see Jesus.
You're right. Kids are going to meet gay and lesbian couples, not to mention Muslims, secular humanists...on and on. I worry that all this official and eclessiatic brouhaha is only going to lead kids to see demons where they should see God's children, all of us fallen whatever goes on in our bedrooms and elsewhere.

At 6:16 PM, Anonymous the_methotaku said...

Good! I'm very glad they found a way to distribute the show. I'm also very glad that the gayness wasn't the point of the show. GLBT people need to be seen living ordinary lives not focused on sex, and especially need to be seen raising families. The idea that homosexuality is a "kink" to indulge in behind closed doors but is something to hide from the kids incredibly destructive. I think I may continue this on my lj.

At 9:03 AM, Blogger mynym said...

"...but that it does not go on to note the screechingly obvious fact that much if not most heterosexuality is "inconsistent" with Christianity."

Do they support polygamy or divorce, to go with the flow of the culture?

It seems that it is the Church's job to uphold the standard that sinners are not meeting. If it does not, who else will?

At 9:34 AM, Blogger Knitress said...

There are lots of towns -- including my own small college town in Appalachia -- where some kids have two moms. Some kids have divorced parents who have remarried. Some kids were born out of wedlock.

Even if you don't think that any of these family situations meet the moral ideal, I don't see why it so offensive or dangerous to admit that they happen. And it's especially important, as a matter of Christian charity, to make sure that the kids don't suffer for the (assumed) sins of the adults.

The Church is, of course, a community of sinners. So it both upholds standards and embraces us in our inability to live up to them fully. Kinda like Jesus with that woman who ::gasp!:: committed adultery, yknow? Myself, I figure that trusting in God's mercy is just a much better way to go than muttering about how She's gonna judge others.

At 7:58 AM, Blogger Weedlet said...

Your blog is great. It's hard to find blogs with good content and people talking about Spongebob these days. I have a Spongebob Exposed if you want to come check it out.


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