Wanda Sykes opens up about playing a gay mom in Disney cartoon Doc McStuffins
Wanda Sykes has opened up about playing a gay mom in Disney cartoon series Doc McStuffins.
In a first for a Disney Junior show, the most recent episode of the cartoon series featured same-sex parents.
The episode, titled The Emergency Plan, was centred around teaching kids what to do in an event of an earthquake.
Rather than featuring a mother and father, however, it featured two female parents – voiced by Wanda Sykes and Portia de Rossi – trying to re-unite their family after a disaster.
Wanda Sykes, who has two children in real life with her wife Alex Niedbalski, explained that the show was a chance for her kids to see their own family reflected on TV.
She said: “I am a fan of Doc McStuffins, my kids watch the show. With this episode, they will see a family that looks like our family.
“We’re two moms, and we have a boy and a girl, and it’s going to be very exciting for them to see our family represented. We’re a family, amd families stick together.”
She added: “It’s a great episode. You learn a valuable lesson because an earthquake happens, and you see this family. They get out of this house and become separated. Doc tells them, ‘hey, where’s your emergency meeting place?’, and they’re like, ‘what is this emergency meeting place?’.
“It’s teaching a family to have a plan in case of emergency, so you know where to meet, and also to have a kit.
“The diversity of the show, having an African-American little girl be the star of the show and also being a doctor, sends a great message. It is just such a positive role model.”
The sexuality of the two moms was not a key focus of the show, but the LGBT diversity has not gone un-noticed.
While GLAAD praised the “groundbreaking” episode, anti-LGBT campaign group One Million Moms attacked Disney for featuring same-sex parents.
The infamous self-appointed TV censors, who despite their name have just 3,722 mostly-male Twitter followers, claimed the show was corrupting children and enticing them into a homosexual lifestyle.
The group claimed: “Controversial topics and lifestyle choices should be left up to the parents to discuss and Disney Junior should not introduce this to young children.
“Just because an issue may be legal or because some are choosing a lifestyle doesn’t make it morally correct. Disney should stick to entertaining and providing family-friendly programming instead of pushing an agenda.”
In a pre-written letter One Million Moms encouraged supporters to threaten Disney with a boycott for at least the third time this year, after taking exception to other instances of LGBT inclusion.
Its form letter threatened: “Families tuning in to watch this children’s program will encounter a premature discussion on sexual orientation that is completely unnecessary.
“If your producers keep this episode as originally planned, then my family will have no choice but to no longer watch the Disney Channel Network in our home so we can avoid the previews and commercials for this irresponsible episode as well as any reruns of the episode.
“I will not allow the Disney Channel in my home unless you produce and air family-friendly programming.”
Show creator Chris Nee strongly defended the episode.
Nee said: “I always envision Doc McStuffins as a show about what it means to accept everyone as part of our communities.
“As part of a two-mom family, I’m proud to have an episode that reflects my son’s world, and shows everyone that love is love in McStuffinsville.”
Sarah Kate Ellis of GLAAD said: “Children like mine deserve the chance to see their families reflected on TV, and this episode does just that in a beautiful and positive way.
“Shows like this reflect our real world, and today that includes the many children being raised by gay and lesbian parents who are all going to celebrate this story.”
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