May 19, 2022

"Odd Squad": Any Gay Texts, Subtexts, or Beefcake in the Long-Running PBS Kids Show?


I was asked to review Odd Squad, on PBS, about a group of little-kid secret agents assigned to "odd" cases like hiccups that make things explode, while teaching us math and science.  In the first episode, for instance, the agents handle a case about vanishing zeros: 1000 wads of gum turn into 1 wad, and hot chocolate goes for 5 cents, not 50 cents.  Agent Otto is turning 10 tomorrow; if they don't stop the vanishing, he'll turn 1!  This crisis allows us to learn about the use of 0 as a decimal marker.   

I already know about the use of 0 as a decimal marker, and the mystery was a bit elementary for an adult viewer, so I won't become a regular viewer.  But I was promised gay content.

1. Beefcake? 
Not among the agents, of course, but the show has been around for eight years, so some of the kids have grown up.  Isaac Kragten (top photo), who played Agent Otis, is now a bona fide hunk.  Plus there are some adults around, such as Farid Yazdani (left) as the villainous Freeze Ray Ray.

2. Gay characters?  According to TV Tropes, Orla is presented as gay by a Oddtube episode where she has "rainbow-itis,"  She is also shown in an intro with "bisexual lighting," whatever that is.

In Season 3, Episode 22, we are introduced to the head of the Seattle Agency, the swishy, purple-eyelashed, show tune-loving Mr. O (Nico Cecci, who is gay in real life, according to TV Tropes).

A fan discussion claims that an agent named Zack has gay parents, as revealed in the episode "Parent Swap," but I find no other evidence.

There is also apparently a Season 3 episode set at a gay wedding.

3. Pre-teen gay subtexts? 
 The central characters in Season 1 are a male-female Muller and Scully, Olive and Otto.  Amazon Prime won't let me see the other seasons, but it looks like they are replaced by another male-female pair in Season #2.  Season #3 features four agents.  Maybe Omar and Oswald (Jayce Alexander, Gavin MacIver-Wright) have a gay-subtext buddy bond in spite of their obvious difference in age and maturity.  

4. Gay actors?
  Veteran Kids in the Hall actor Scott Thompson plays a villain.   In a Season 3 episode, the agents encounter a shushing librarian, Octavius, played by the now-15 year old Keegan Hedley.  Keegan, best known for Paw Patrol and Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood, is gay in real life.  But he only appears in Odd Squad for about 30 seconds.


  1. Well, thank you for making the effort.
    Some additions and corrections...
    Yes, every one of the three Seasons has a different team and a mostly different cast, though there was some carry-over between younger secondary characters in One and Two. Anyway, the kids you saw, Olive and Otto, were Season One. Season Two stars Isaac Kragten as Agent Otis and Anna Cathcart (yes, her) as Agent Olympia. And Three has Omar (Jayce Alexander), Orla (Alyssa Hildago), Oswald (Gavin MacIver-Wright) and first Opal (Valentina Herrera) then Osmerelda (Glee Dango) after Valentina had to leave the show.
    Only the Third Season has any overtly Gay content. 'Monumental Oddness,' which hasn't aired in this country yet, concerns a villain who steals landmarks. When he goes after the Eiffel Tower, the agents try to evacuate all the tourists but a Gay couple (two brides) are determined to be married there. So the agents perform the ceremony themselves to hurry them along.
    I have no idea whether you actually saw the various episodes (they can be a challenge to track down) but Seattle Mister O wasn't really written as particularly swishy, as far as I could see. He's not a figure of ridicule, at any rate.
    The comments about Orla being Gay are from a fan who, I think, was over-reaching. The 'bisexual lighting' refers to a gadget she and Oswald use in one episode that shoots pink and blue rays. In canon, Orla is a five hundred year old preadolescent warrior and has never been suggested to be Gay or straight. And no, there's no real sign Omar and Oswald are a couple. They're friends and also friends with the girls.
    I probably should have mentioned the boy band Soundcheck, played on the show as a combination of One Direction and the Beatles. (A running joke in the First Season is that everyone adores them except Agent Olive, and even she comes around eventually. I believe at least one of the four actors in the 'band's has come out.
    I have no idea what the 'Parent Swap' thing is in reference to. There's no episode by that title and since all agents' names start with O, there wouldn't be a Zack. Perhaps they were talking about a different show.
    Anyway, as I said, thanks for checking out the show. There are things here and there fans have read as Gay or Gay-Positive but you've indicated you don't much care for the show so I wouldn't expect you to sift through the episodes trying to strain them out for evaluation.
    But I do appreciate you taking the time to check out the show.

    1. I actually only watched the first episode. Amazon Prime only has the first season for free (and it calculates 14 seasons, not 3, for some reason). Everything else is wikipedia, fan comments, and TV Tropes.

  2. Bisexual lighting is pink, purple, and blue.

    1. Like the colors on the bisexual pride flag, which I just googled. I was wondering how lighting could be attracted to men and women.

    2. Used a lot because red-violets grab your attention and can feel otherworldly.


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