Mr. Peabody: Gay dad, hero

by | Mar 8, 2014 | Editor's Blog | 5 comments

Yesterday, I took the kids to see Mr. Peabody and Sherman on its opening day. The movie is based on the show Peabody’s Improbable History from The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show of the 1960s. While I was a fan of the show as a kid, the light came on while watching it as an adult.

Mr. Peabody is a remarkably talented and accomplished gay man who also happens to be a dog.  He’s a genius who is an inventor, adviser to presidents and Nobel Laureate, among other things. When he finds a baby boy left in a box in an alley, Mr. Peabody decides to legally adopt the boy, whom he names Sherman.

Sherman seems to be a happy, curious and well-adjusted child considering he spends much of his time traveling through time meeting famous people. When Sherman goes to school, he’s obviously far ahead of many of the other students. He falls in with a brainy crowd but is taunted by the popular kids because his father is–a dog.

After an incident with another child, a woman from Protective Services steps in and threatens to take Sherman away from Mr. Peabody. Regardless of the facts of the incident, she doesn’t believe that children should be raised by dogs. She tells Mr. Peabody, “The courts gave him to you and the courts can take him away.”

It’s a thinly veiled reference to the absurd adoption laws still on the books in some states, including North Carolina. Mr. Peabody is an accomplished, loving, if unaffectionate, father and Sherman is a happy, but somewhat nerdy, kid who quite obviously loves Mr. Peabody. The courts, though, could remove Sherman from the home just because his father is a dog.

It’s a kid’s movie so it has a happy ending. Everybody realizes that Mr. Peabody is a good Dad and Sherman clearly belongs with him. The fact that Mr. Peabody is a dog is just irrelevant. Let’s hope we all get there sooner than later.


  1. Chris Telesca

    May I ask what gave you the idea that Mr. Peabody is a gay man? He’s not a man – he’s a DOG who adopts a boy. If a boy can adopt a dog, why can’t a dog adopt a boy?

    Sorry – but I don’t see that Mr. Peabody is gay. Not sure how or why you assume he is gay, unless you are following some absurd stereotypes. I know many people who use an umbrella when it rains. I used one when I was in college – even wore rain boots over my shoes – does that make me gay?

    I watched the original show damned near every day for lunch when I was a kid (on WPIX in both Binghamton and Poughkeepsie when I was able to ride my bike home from my neighborhood school for lunch). I never saw Mr. Peabody as being “gay” then. Nor did I see him as being gay when I watched the show while in college (in Nathanial Fish dorm at RIT, we watched cartoons on local stations and WPIX before changing into our zippered sweaters to watch “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood”). Much of the stuff that went over my heada when I was a kid I picked up on in college. I had gay classmates in HS, and I knew plenty of gay people at college.

    Methinks you read too much into a cartoon!

    • Wander Thoreaux

      If you don’t see the parallels, I think you might be willfully blinding yourself to them. :\
      The kids make fun of Sherman solely because his dad is -different-, this is what causes the conflict. It’s a very obvious metaphor.

      • Chris Telesca

        The kids don’t make fun of Sherman solely because of his dad being different. And even if they did – this is a cartoon, not real life. Mr. Peabody is more different because he’s a super-smart talking dog. I am sure that cartoon kids with two mommies or daddies would make fun of Sherman because his dad was a dog.

        I went back and asked my gay friends from HS and college about this cartoon, and they told me many of their straight friends were reading too much into this cartoon. I’ll go with their opinions.

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