Favorite Childhood Shows: Arthur

This post is part of a series, where I discuss my favorite shows from my child.

As a child, I watched a great many shows on TV.  I loved them because they spoke to me and allowed to, for at least 30 minutes, escape into another world full of interesting characters who do fascinating things.

One of those was the PBS series Arthur.

Arthur is based the series of books of the same name, and it focuses on the life of Arthur Read, an anthropomorphic aardvark, and his family and friends.  Each episode focuses on the daily lives of him and his friends as they go through various issues and learn important life lessons.

In the past couple of years or so, I began re-watching episodes of Arthur on YouTube, and I just fell in love with it all over again.

First, I love the humor of the show.  Very often there is chaos which provides a great moment for comedy.  Some characters have funny personalities too, such as D.W.’s bratty and annoying nature, Buster’s quirkiness and irresponsibility, among others.

Second, even though the show is targeted towards young children, it is mature enough to be accessible to people of all ages. (I am only referring to episodes of roughly the first half of the show’s run; I have not seen much of the second half of the show, and I have read that newer episodes are not as good as the older ones.  I have not seen them, so I cannot judge that for myself.)  The characters are articulate.  They communicate effectively.  The express themselves. Things are not dumbed down for the target audience. Perhaps because of this, the show has fans of all ages, and many of those have been watching every since they were children.

Third and finally, re-watching it as an adult brings new perspectives and allows one to see thing that they didn’t and couldn’t see before.  For example, I have found that occasionally, the characters are treated in unfair manners that could potentially serve to do nothing more than undermine the episode’s messages.  The episode “Arthur’s Big Hit” is often criticized by fans because it depicts Arthur hitting D.W. for destroying his mode airplane, and while he is punished, D.W. is not despite their parents saying she would be punished for what she did; Later, Arthur is hit by school bully/friend Binky and his parents respond by saying, “Now you know how D.W. felt when you hit her.”  I agree with others who feel that this conflict was not handled fairly and that they should have been both punished.  Also, the fact that his parents said  what they said, does seem to undermine the episode’s message of “hitting is wrong.”

On a lighter note, some things people can notice as an adult, are funny.  In  “Arthur and the  Square Dance,” the episode’s opening shows Arthur imaging being the owner of business at age 18.  He comes home from work to greet his young son and to find that he is married to Francine.  On YouTube, many people commented on how it was funny that the show is “depicting teen pregnancy.” In other words, since Arthur’s son was old enough to speak in full sentences, that means that he had sex with Francine around age 13.  Of course, this is a depiction of how young children view adulthood.  They may think that and 18-year-old can do everything that a 35-year-old can do.  Of course, very often, many people who are 18, are not as grown up as they think they are and/or need to be.

Despite any flaws, Arthur is still and enjoyable show, and I am forever a fan.

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