Howard and Harold McBride, “The Loud House”
For the first time in its history, Nickelodeon broke boundaries by featuring their first interracial gay couple.
Clyde McBride is the best friend of the main character Lincoln Loud in Nickelodeon television series “The Loud House.” Clyde has two fathers — a fact that becomes apparent during the episode titled “Overnight Success.”
In the episode, which aired in July of this year, Clyde’s parents Harold and Howard take him to a sleepover at Lincoln’s home. This is when we see that Clyde has, in fact, two dads.
“Time to make history,” Lincoln says right before he opens the door to reveal Clyde and his parents. True in more ways than one, it seems.
The best part about this scene is it pays little attention to the fact that they are a gay couple. In fact, none of the characters mention it at all — the scene focuses instead on how the two men are overprotective of their son.
The two parents give their son an assortment of things for his sleepover, such as his pajamas, a dehumidifier, earplugs and more. Then, Harold breaks down in tears when he realizes he won’t be able to tuck his son in at night.
His partner holds him and reminds him he has to let go.
Nikki and Jean, “6teen”
Canadian animated sitcom “6teen” had a unique episode in 2010 revealing a minor character that had a brief will-they-won’t-they moment with main character Nikki Richardson.
Season four, episode 11 of the show featured an upcoming Sadie Hawkin’s dance at the mall (where the girls ask out the guys). Main character Jonesy Garcia hopes that Nikki would pop the question, but she’s focusing on other things — namely, her new friend Jean.
The two girls hit it off during this episode’s subplot, sharing their love of travel and ranting about their coworkers together.
Nikki also shares her excitement with her friends, who point out the obvious. “She’s totally into you,” her friend Caitlin Cooke tells her.
Nikki tries to figure out the truth for sure, but Jean catches on and shuts it all down.
“Nik, if you’re trying to find out if I’m gay, it’s okay to just ask,” Jean bluntly tells her. “Yes, I’m into girls, and I’m really flattered, but I already have a date for the dance tonight.”
Nikki and Jean remain friends, and we even get to see Jean with her date at the Sadie Hawkin’s.
Sheriff Blubs and Deputy Durand, “Gravity Falls”
Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch once told Reddit that he “would love to (have an LGBT character on the show) but I doubt they’d ever let me do it in kids T.V.”
“But man I would if I could,” he added.
Well, he could — and did, in the season finale of Disney XD’s “Gravity Falls” that premiered in Feburary of this year.
The show follows siblings Dipper and Mabel Pines on their supernatural adventures during their summer vacation at their great uncle’s tourist trap in the fictional town of Gravity Falls.
Two minor characters, Sheriff Blubs and his Deputy Durand, have relatively minor appearances throughout the series. But at the very end of the season finale, the men declared love for one another.
The men, waving tasers around threateningly, claim that they are “mad with power.” Immediately after, they look into each other’s eyes, drop their tasers and embrace one another, adding that they are also “in love!”
Ruby and Sapphire, “Steven Universe”
Nickelodeon isn’t the only children’s television network parading LGBT representation. Cartoon Network followed behind with coming-of-age cartoon “Steven Universe.”
The show is about Steven, who lives in a universe of both humans and “Crystal Gems’ — supernatural humanoid aliens that can fuse with one another to form even more powerful beings.
The show itself has a great backing in representation of marginalized communities. “Steven Universe” was created by Rebecca Sugar, making it Cartoon Network’s first show created solely by a woman. The cast is filled with people of color, including three of the show’s four protagonists, Crystal Gems Garnet, Pearl and Amethyst.
The gems themselves don’t necessarily subscribe to the human concept of sex and gender. However, the gems appear as and identify themselves as females.
Despite not directly fitting into the “female” category, two of the show’s Gems have sparked controversy for appearing to be in a lesbian romance. Their names are Ruby and Sapphire, and they fuse to create Garnet, one of the show’s main four protagonists.
Gems can only form together correctly by sharing a strong connection, so many fans can read between the lines. When Cartoon Network Producer Ian Jones-Quarterly was asked on Twitter if Ruby and Sapphire are lesbians together, he plainly and boldly replied that they are “in a romantic relationship.”
Then, he was asked if they were non binary femme-presenting lesbians. In response, Jones-Quarterly tweeted: “by human standards and terminology, that would be a fair assessment!”
Technically, Ruby and Sapphire are not humans, and thus are genderless, Sugar said.
Korra and Asami, “The Legend of Korra”
Spoiler warning — details for the very end of Nickelodeon’s television series “The Legend of Korra” incoming below.
Before “The Loud House,” Nickelodeon already had LGBT representation in one of their cartoons. That’s from “The Legend of Korra,” a show about a woman who can control the four elements of fire, water, earth and air. And the best part? It’s not simply a minor character who is LGBT. It’s the main character herself.
Throughout the show, Korra has an on-and-off relationship with Mako, another central character to the series. After a strange love triangle transpiring from a brief romance between Mako and Asami, Mako and Korra’s relationship tapers off for good.
What some people didn’t expect — and what even fewer people picked up on — is in the very final moments of the show, Korra would grasp Asami’s hands and literally walk into another realm with her, solidifying their love for one another.
“Our intention with the last scene was to make it as clear as possible that yes, Korra and Asami have romantic feelings for each other,” said co-creator Mike DiMartino in a statement on his blog. “The moment where they enter the spirit portal symbolizes their evolution from being friends to being a couple.”
The creators of the show acknowledged that their fans had mixed reviews to the final scene, with some viewers praising the decision while others attacked the LGBT-inclusive ending.
“You can celebrate it, embrace it, accept it, get over it, or whatever you feel the need to do, but there is no denying it,” co-creator Bryan Konietzko added on his own website. “Was it a slam-dunk victory for queer representation? I think it falls short of that, but hopefully it is a somewhat significant inching forward.”
The co-creators also hope that LGBT representation will become more common and normalized in media of all forms.
Konietzko added: “It is long overdue that our media (including children’s media) stops treating non-heterosexual people as nonexistent, or as something merely to be mocked. I’m only sorry it took us so long to have this kind of representation in one of our stories.”
On Twitter, Korra’s voice actress Janet Varney described feeling “whole-hearted delight” when she found out Korra and Asami would truly get together.