Arthur (TV Series)
While Arthur as a series may be long gone, the beloved aardvark and his friends have cemented themselves into pop culture. The show’s iconic theme song and mantra “Having fun isn’t hard when you have a library card” live on.
Arthur created a space where kids’ opinions and feelings mattered while teaching them life lessons. It also portrayed real-life family dynamics and addressed a diverse range of socioeconomic experiences.
Arthur and his parents host a family reunion, but his Cousin Mo is there to ruin everything. Arthur tries his hardest to avoid her, but she keeps pestering him and making him miserable. Eventually, Arthur learns that she just wants to spend time with him and stops running away from her.
In a flashback, D.W. peaks into a photo album and sees pictures of Arthur without his glasses. This leads her to believe that she and Arthur had another brother. Arthur explains that he got his glasses in second grade because of his poor eyesight.
Francine is mad at Arthur because she thinks he called her a marshmallow. He tries to win her back by giving her a cootie catcher for her half-birthday, which he claims can tell the future. Its predictions actually do come true, however. Arthur tries to stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve to see what happens, but falls asleep.
Arthur and Muffy invite the girls to a party. Francine promises she will come, but wonders how she can since she has another invitation from her friend Fern. Arthur whispers a suggestion in her ear.
Then, at the party shop, Arthur and D.W. buy party supplies, including a unicorn-shaped balloon and squeaky noisemakers. Arthur also notices a plate with a Bionic Bunny on it, like from the show he watches.
During the party, the kids do the limbo dance and take turns hitting the clown pinata. Afterwards, Francine pets Pal.
At the end, everyone sings “Happy Birthday, Arthur!” This episode marks the first appearance of Arthur’s dog Pal, who was introduced in the book Arthur’s Pet Business seventeen months later. The characters in this episode are from Elwood City, Ohio, although Cousin George is not, as he was in the book. Fern does not attend the party as she did in the book. Her parents do not live in Elwood City, however.
Buster and Mike
The series does an excellent job of depicting children and their family problems in a very realistic manner. The characters are well-rounded, including tomboy Francine, foodie Buster, the rich priss Sue Ellen and her family, geography expert Binky and a girl bully named D.W. The adults are also portrayed as people with normal stresses and challenges: Mr. and Mrs. Read struggle with their home-based business, Mr. Ratburn deals with the pitfalls of third grade teaching and the gang’s parents are homemakers and teachers.
Mike Mullin, the series’ voice actor, is a true character in his own right. He is a former professional boxer who can still throw a punch, and he often speaks in an exaggerated manner. His idiosyncrasies include confusing a chess grandmaster with the leader of the Ku Klux Klan, claiming to be on a diet and eating termites, and pronouncing his own name in Chinese (Yang or Yee) or French (Yung).
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The anthropomorphic American animated children’s television show Arthur is set in the fictional city of Elwood City and revolves around the life of 8-year-old aardvark Arthur Read, his family and friends. It is based on the Arthur book series written by Marc Brown.
D.W. is Arthur’s bratty little sister. Her sassy one-liners have made her a pop culture icon since the show’s 1996 debut. But what we might not realize is that her character was originally designed with a different snout. Jason Szwimer, who voiced D.W. for the entire 25-season run of the show, discusses why in a podcast called Finding D.W.. He also explains why the character has gone through several male voice actors over the years.