Disney Junior’s Muppet Babies CGI reboot has hit the screen and recently aired an important episode, featuring the beloved Gonzo, that delivers a heartwarming message of love, acceptance, and validation to gender non-conforming children.
The episode, titled “Gonzo-rella,” first aired a couple of weeks ago, and garnered a lot of attention on social media. The episode is centered around the “royal ball” that the cast of the young Muppets decides to host. Gonzo, inspired by a ravishing picture of a princess in a book, expresses his wish to wear a dress to the ball, even though Piggy had announced that “according to the royal handbook, the girls come as princesses, and the boys come as knights.”
Gonzo, obviously disappointed by the news, reluctantly agrees to join as a knight. However, later on in the episode, Rizzo, a friend and ally of Gonzo’s becomes a “fair ratfather” and turns Gonzo into a secret princess. After the ball, the Muppets find Gonzo and tell him all about the ball and the princess who danced with them. At that point, Gonzo reveals that he was actually the princess in disguise by putting on a glass slipper that transforms him into a princess again.
To explain to his friends why he felt that he needed to show up to the ball in disguise, he says, “You all expected me to look a certain way. 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 done either. I want to be me.”
In response, the Muppet babies apologize, with Piggy declaring that it wasn’t “very nice of us” to tell their friend “what to wear to our ball.” They then assure Gonzo that they love him “any way you are.”
A Muppet history fan page posted a clip from the show on Twitter, writing that the iconic characters “represent the ability to be accepting and loving of others, even if they may be a little different,” while others praised the message and its significance to the queer and LGBTQ+ community, especially for the youth watching the show.
The Muppet Babies executive producer Tom Warburton revealed to the official Disney fan club blog D23 that the show’s creators intended to highlight Gonzo’s individuality “very early on,” saying that they “wanted to do an episode where Gonzo just showed up to the Playroom wearing a skirt. And it was no big deal.”
However, the “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 just SO wonderfully Gonzo.”
The creators hope that Gonzo will continue to inspire children to not be afraid to be themselves.