“Muppet Babies,” an animated series aimed at children 3 to 8, is tackling gender identity in a way kids can understand.
Last month, Disney Junior aired a Cinderella-inspired episode titled “Gonzo-rella,” in which Gonzo and his pals are planning a royal ball.
While thumbing through a catalog for outfit inspiration, Gonzo’s eyes widen when he spots a photo of a blue tiered gown.
“Wow! Get a load of that dress! I’d love to wear a dress like that to your royal ball,” Gonzo excitedly tells his friends Missy Piggy and Summer.
But Summer pushes back.
“Gonzo, Piggy and I are the princesses; we wear the dresses,” Summer explains.
“That’s right,” Piggy says. “According to the Royal Handbook, the girls come as princesses and the boys come as knights.”
“Oh,” a visibly disappointed Gonzo says. “Right.”
Luckily, fairy ratfather Rizzo sees Gonzo's pain and transforms him into a masked princess. While at the ball, Gonzo identifies as Gonzorella and uses they/them pronouns.
It’s the perfect evening for Gonzorella, who happily dances the night away.
At the end of the show, Gonzo reveals his identity. When Piggy asks why he felt the need to hide, Gonzo reveals he felt pressured 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 one either. I want to be me.”
Gonzo's friends are quick to apologize.
"Oh, Gonzo, we're sorry, it wasn't very nice of us to tell you what to wear to our ball," Miss Piggy says.
Adds Summer, "You're our friend, and we love you any way you are."
“This episode of Muppet Babies sends the simple and important message that there’s a place for everyone to be accepted and welcomed just as they are and continues an undeniable trend of diversity and inclusion across kids and family programming,” Anthony Allen Ramos, GLAAD's Head of Talent, told TODAY Parents in an email.
In an interview with official Disney fan club blog D23, “Muppet Babies” executive producer Tom Warburton said he was thrilled with how the episode turned out.
“It was was just SO wonderfully Gonzo,” Warburton revealed. “We hope he inspires kids watching to be 347% if themselves in their own way, too.”