By David T. Valentin
While Disney is still scrambling to celebrate their first ever LGBTQ+ character on the big screen (for the 50th time in the past few years), the Muppets have introduced a groundbreaking lesson on gender non-conforming individuals with their character Gonzo.
In the Muppet Babies latest episode, a children’s TV show based around the Muppet characters, Miss Piggy and her friend Summer are planning on throwing a royal ball. As Miss Piggy shows her friends the “royal handbook,” Gonzo spots a dress he loves, saying “He’d love to wear a dress like that to your royal ball!”
But, as Miss Piggy and Summer quickly explain, dresses are for the girls and the knights outfits are for the boys.
Gonzo’s enthusiasm for the ball is deflated despite Kermit’s attempts to cheer them up. As Gonzo hangs around, slumped on a bench, Rizzo the rat asks Gonzo what’s wrong.
Gonzo vents to Rizzo he really wanted to wear one of the dresses to the ball, but he can’t because of the royal handbook. Luckily for Gonzo, Rizzo the rat is also Gonzo’s fairy ratfather!
In a Queer retelling of the classic tale of Cinderella, Gonzo is suited in the dress of their dreams and provided a fancy convertible to get to the ball. But there’s only one condition: Gonzo must get back from the ball by cake o’clock (midnight) before the magic wears off.
When Gonzo arrives to the ball, Gonzo introduces themselves as Gonzo-rella. When Gonzo eventually has to leave the ball, they leave behind a glass slipper and well, you know the rest.
Later when Miss Piggy finally finds who the glass slipper belongs to, Gonzo confesses that they are Gonzo-rella. You can watch the adorable clips, which is handled in a wonderful and educational way that children can understand.
According to Gay Times, executive producer Tom Warburton, explained, the series had always wanted to celebrate Gonzo’s non-conforming identity.
“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,” he said. “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 SO wonderfully Gonzo.”