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After hearing the first few notes of the iconic theme song, everyone knows it’s time to watch ‘Arthur’. This after-school program that targets children gripped anyone who watched. Following the adventures of an eight-year-old aardvark as he goes to school, hangs out with friends, and lives with his family. Based on the book series by Marc Brown, ‘Arthur’ is filled with colorful characters that bring the show to life. From the annoying younger sister D.W. or the best friend bunny Buster. First premiering October 7, 1996, and fan-favorite is sadly coming to an end after 25 great seasons.
Watching ‘Arthur’ gives a nostalgic feeling for many kids born in the 90s. I myself being born in the late 90s have many memories of watching the program on my bulky TV after school. As kids get older, their taste in entertainment changes as well, but something about ‘Arthur’ always stuck. Teenagers may not have subscribed to the show as much as children, but the jokes still make one smile and the lessons are still fair game for life. The news of the cancellation of this childhood show was heartbreaking for the 90s kids who want their kids to grow up with it.
Like any children’s show, there is always an underlying message or lesson for the child to learn at the end of the episode. ‘Arthur’ is no exception to that and over the years countless memorable lessons have been portrayed by not just the lead, but by supporting characters as well. Some lessons that stick out are common, but how they are told is unforgettable. An example is in an episode titled ‘Poor Muffy’; Muffy is a school friend of Arthurs’ and is rich. She has no humbleness to her wealth and she is clearly more financially well off than her peers. In this episode, she stays with her friend Francine and sees the class difference between the families. The lesson was walking into another person’s shoes; an extremely important lesson for children to learn from a young age. Showing the bluntness of life is a common theme in ‘Arthur’ which is unlike other children’s programs that hope their messages come off with more imaginary scenarios.
One of the most memorable lessons actually led to a lot of controversies and an episode getting banned. In a 2019 episode, the kid’s teacher, Mr. Ratburn was getting married to a man on the show. During the episode, the kids are under the impression that he is marrying a controlling woman so they try to stop him from doing it. In the end, when the kids are attending the wedding, the twist is that the controlling woman was the wedding planner and he was marrying a man. The lesson of the episode wasn’t to be tolerant, but it was to not assume about other people. The normalcy that he was marrying a man led to the ban of the wedding episode in the state of Alabama. Displaying an LGBTQ+ relationship in a kids program will always spark some controversy, but having it not be the entire center of the episode was what makes this so memorable. It wasn’t teaching a kid to be tolerant because the expectation should be that it is nothing to be ashamed of. This episode will forever be in the history of television.
Other than touching the hearts of everyone that lays eyes on the show, it has a tendency to tickle your funny bone. Most of the time coming from the young D.W. who can be a bit rude and dramatic, but there’s always a lot of love for her on social media. There have been many clips of ‘Arthur’ that have circulated on TikTok and Facebook that feature the funny characters and most of all the digs that the characters give each other. Many viewers now say the show has many savage moments and that this explains why as adults we are so brutally honest. Though of course an exaggeration, there may be a few life moments that could be influenced by a slam from D.W.
The memes that come from the cartoon are widely used on social media. Some of the most common ones being Arthur’s clenched fist, D.W. standing at a chain-link fence, and D.W.’s side-eye. There are a copious amount of images used from the show that are captioned with relatable and humorous content. It is an amusing thought that a show that began in the 90s has grown up with us and now adapted to new technology and the kids who used to watch it are still enjoying ‘Arthur’ content on their screens.
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Podcast: ‘Finding D.W.’
Though ‘Arthur’ is coming to an end, there is still a place to find some fresh ‘Arthur’ content. Jason Szwimer, a Canadian voice actor, began a podcast this year in June called ‘Finding D.W.’. Szwimer is one of eight males that have been the voice of D.W. and this podcast is his search to find and interview the others. He speaks about his own experiences with the show and interviews the creative director/ screenwriter of the show Kathy Waugh. In that episode, it was revealed that ‘Arthur’ was no longer in production and the last episode will be aired in 2022. Waugh believes it is a big mistake by PBS and the general population completely agrees. PBS did release the cancelation news but made the point that all episodes will be available to stream on their website.
The news of a beloved show getting canceled after 25 seasons is nothing other than heartbreaking. A show that gave children important messages, things to laugh about, and tweets to share. ‘Arthur’ will always be a favorite childhood show that will be in our memories forever.
By Jack Colin
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Jack Colin is a playwright and screenwriter with an immense love for film & television which drives him to learn from and share his passion with anyone willing to listen. Living life as a trans man, Jack wants his writing to create a safe space for LGBTQ+ members and share the positive stories that are so often ignored through his work at The Hollywood Insider, he is eager to give readers a confident outlook on life. The storytellers of the world are the ones who decide what happiness can be. Jack takes pride in The Hollywood Insider’s mission statement to stray away from gossip and to lift up voices in entertainment with supportive and meaningful stories that will promote strength and unity.