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Sonic Boom gets progressive in one great moment

“Just because I’m a meathead doesn’t mean I’m not a feminist.”

Technicolor Animation Productions
Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

It turns out that Knuckles the Echidna is a huge feminist.

As the father of two brilliant young women under the age of 8, I’m constantly on the lookout for children’s shows with positive portrayals of women. It looks like I’m going to have to add Sonic Boom to the list.

The most recent episode, which aired on Cartoon Network over the weekend, was called “Eggman’s Anti Gravity Ray.” In one particular scene, Amy Rose gives herself a little pep talk before taking a penalty kick in a pickup soccer game.

“Can the young woman break the glass ceiling,” Amy says, “and prove once and for all that a female can be just as good an athlete as a male?”

Knuckles looks on, arms crossed, and gives her a pep talk of his own.

“You know, Amy,” chides the burly echidna, “anytime someone calls attention to the breaking of gender roles, it ultimately undermines the concept of gender equality by implying that this is an exception and not the status quo.”

Upon seeing this scene play out on YouTube, I resisted the urge to call up and berate my elderly neighbor for handing my oldest a shiny new quarter simply because she had a pretty dress on. So thanks for that, at least, Sonic Boom writing team.

But seriously, that’s some pretty heady messaging for a children’s show. Everyone on the pitch stands there, Sonic included, mouth agape.

“What?” says Knuckles. “Just because I’m a meathead doesn’t mean I’m not a feminist.”

The show’s executive producer says that the episode was written by Marie Beardmore. But it was another one of Sonic Boom’s writers, Alan Denton, who went to Twitter to crow about it.

“The worst part about writing for kids,” Denton said, “is that my friends rarely see my work. The best part is we get to do stuff like this.”

The tweet has, as of the time of this writing, nearly 40,000 likes.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, it’s almost time for today’s episode of Odd Squad on PBS, and I’m out of juice boxes and string cheese.

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