The popular children’s TV show Paw Patrol launched its first spin-off series, Rubble & Crew, earlier this year. Now, as the show continues its first season, a non-binary character has been introduced, though you have to really want to see the person as non-binary.
In a recent episode, a character named River was welcomed into the Rubble & Crew gang, which is largely made up of animals.
The new addition to the show is a skateboarder with a passion for photography who moves to the town, which just happens to be next door to where Paw Patrol is based. In their first episode, River helps the team photograph an upcoming shooting star, even going so far as to build an observatory.
So, how is River non-binary?
Visually, it’s difficult to tell that they identify as such, which is similar to real people. The episode doesn’t contain any actual mentions of River’s identity or pronouns, but it became clear that River is non-binary once the episode’s writer posted about it on social media.
The character of River was crafted by non-binary author and activist Lindz Amer. They posted on Instagram that the production crew behind Rubble & Crew “brought me on to consult on the first nonbinary character,” which they called “a bucket list item.”
Amer also explained that “I wanted to write a nonbinary character that was aspirational and incredibly cool, someone for the pups (and kids at home) to look up to.”
The writer shared that the team behind the kid’s program even went out of their way to hire a non-binary actor to voice River. The character also wears socks featuring stripes the same color as the trans pride flag, which Amer uploaded to their Instagram for all to see.
Rubble & Crew centers around Rubble, a young bulldog and one of the beloved characters from the original Paw Patrol. In this new animated series, the pup moves to a new town and helps with various construction projects. Paw Patrol is one of the most popular programs on TV for kids, and it has become one of Nickelodeon’s biggest hits of late.
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