Monday, April 13, 2020

Nickelodeon's 'Danger Force' Airs Story of Gay Dads and Adoption

Nickelodeon's brand-new superhero-themed comedy series Danger Force is being praised for featuring a,LGBTQ+ family!

Kid superheroes teach the world a lesson about rainbow families.

In the episode "Say My Name", which aired on Saturday, April 4, 2020, Swellview's most notorious villains, including The Toddler (Ben Giroux) and Frankini (Frankie Grande) take part in a jailbreak, the Danger Force tries to stop the crime spree. During the episode, there's a bit of mistaken identity concerning The Toddler, and the kid superheroes-in-training help reunite a lost child named Ellis (Dashiell Messitt, Fuller House) with his parents, who turn out to be a same-sex couple named Justin (Tommy Dickie) and Dustan (Brandon Claybon).

Captain Man (Cooper Barnes), the kids' instructor at Swellview Academy for the Gifted (S.W.A.G. for short) is initially confused when two men arrive to pick up Ellis. Beforehand, the tech guru Schwoz (Michael D. Cohen) created a gadget that printed out a picture of what the boy's mother looks like, which turned out to be a woman who Captain Man was looking forward to meeting.

"Excuse me, who are you guys?" Captain Man asked the couple when they entered.

"We're Ellis's dads," Dustan said.

"OK, where are Ellis's moms?" the superhero responded, before presenting the photograph of the woman he was looking for.

"That's Ellis's birth mother, Samantha. We adopted him. She lives in Nova Scotia," Justin explained.

The chiseled Captain Man - repeatedly named the most handsomest man in Swellview - was shirtless during the exchange as Ellis had previously spilled a pureed Cheeseburger, Thanksgiving Dinner, and Chocolate Cake smoothie on his shirt.

Danger Force is a spin-off from Nickelodeon's number-one comedy Henry Danger which premiered it March. Henry Danger itself featured an impressive number of LGBTQ+ actors, including Cohen, who publicly came out in 2019 about transitioning while on Henry Danger, Frankie Grande, who portrays fabulous villain Frankini, and Alec Mapa, who plays Jack Frittleman. All three have reprised their respective roles for Danger Force.

Dickie, who is gay, told PRIDE that he is proud to help bring a story about same-sex parents and adoption to family entertainment.

"As a gay man who grew up with no visible role models of gay relationships in my community or entertainment content, I am grateful that this representation is happening on Nickelodeon, moved by the difference that it is surely making in the minds and hearts of children, and grateful to have been a part of this slow but important change," Dickie said. "Thank you for caring and for making a socially conscious choice, Nick."

Watch the scene from Danger Force below!

Make sure to subscribe to the brand-new Henry Danger/Danger Force YouTube channel! Up the (You)Tube!:

Although it's been slow, representation of the LGBTQ community is thankfully becoming more prevalent.

In 2016, Nickelodeon made network history with their first-ever portrayal of a openly same-sex male couple on their animated series The Loud House. The show has also revealed that Lincoln's sister, Luna, and her crush, Sam, are bi-sexual. The series' positive portrayal of LGBTQ+ characters has earned it two GLAAD Media Awards nominations.

The network also featured a younger unmarried female same-sex couple in the 2014 conclusion of its hit animated action series The Legend of Korra, which ended with Korra and Asami, two of the shows female characters, embarking on a romantic relationship, with fans endearingly calling the couple 'Korrasami'. Korra and Asami's relationship continues in comic book sequels to the series, including the upcoming Ruins of the Empire.

Nickelodeon's revived Double Dare featured it's first family with two dads,in 2020.

And more recently, Nickelodeon's Rocko's Modern Life: Static Cling,TV movie, which bowed on Netflix featured a prominent trans story arc, and the network celebrated International Transgender Day of Visibility with a post on social media:

Animator Craig Bartlett has also revealed that Mr. Simmons, Arnold's teacher in Nickelodeon's iconic '90s animated series Hey Arnold!, is also gay, and has also hinted that Eugene Horowitz, one of Arnold's best friends in the show, is also gay!

In addition to Nick, PBS also recently made history when Arthur revealed that Mr. Ratburn is gay, and was marrying his partner! The episode culminated in a same-sex wedding of the two.

These representations are big deal considering that Nickelodeon has millions of viewers around the world, and the network's TV shows and movies featuring LGBTQ+ characters is an important step forward for mainstream visibility and acceptance of same-sex couples among younger viewers.

More Nick: Nickelodeon Expands the World of 'Henry Danger' With All-New 'Danger Force' Spinoff!

Additional sources: Danger Force Wiki, IMDb.
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