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Common character tropes
- Book Dumb: Depending on the writer, any one of Arthur's immediate friends (except Brain), Arthur himself, or even the grown ups may be subject to this.
- Bookworm: Every child character in the show has been seen in the library at least once.
- But Not Too Foreign: Do any of the characters appear to be their ethnicities or nationalities? Then again, they are anthropomorphic animals...Or are they?
- Cartoon Creature: One of the commonly asked questions about the show is the subject of which animal some of the characters are. Arthur and his family are the most confusing since they do not look like aardvarks at all.
- Prunella is another character that's debated upon; it is undecided on whether or not she is a poodle or a rat. PBS says she's a rat but Marc Brown says she's a poodle.
- Free-Range Children: Arthur and co. are about only eight years old and are in third grade, yet they run all about Elwood City much like teens several years older. None of their parents seem to be concerned, with the exception of what happens in S2's "Lost!" where Arthur accidentally rides the bus line to the city limits.
- Played With in an episode where for some reason, Brain and Binky think they're trapped at the soccer field and their moms forgot to pick them up. They go everywhere else in their neighborhood, but can't walk home?
- Close-Knit Community: This may be the best explanation; some episodes imply that the parents in Mr. Ratburn's class have all shared contact information with each other, while others make it clear that some of the parents are on a First-Name Basis.
- Good Parents
- It's the Best Whatever, Ever!/Worst Whatever Ever: Many of the show's characters have webpages detailing such experiences.
- Limited Wardrobe The characters all have characteristic outfits by which they are identified. Depending on the episode or the setting, they may be changed.
- Living Prop: There are a number of such characters in Arthur, mostly recurring townspeople and the students in D.W.'s class. Of important note are a pair of rabbit kids who've been in Arthur's class since the S1, but are not as developed as their classmates (in 15 seasons, the male one has only talked twice, and the female one never!). S13's "MacFrensky" had a class list with the names Alex & Maria on it, but some fans refuse to believe those are their names, since Arthur has had several other one-shot classmates over the years (never mind that the two rabbits were the only other two kids besides the already named regulars shown in class in that episode).
- It was confirmed at New York Comic Con 2013 that the two rabbit kids are indeed named Alex and Maria, and that the possibility of becoming Ascended Extras is open.
- Not Allowed to Grow Up: Even though some characters have birthdays over the course of the show, the characters are shown to never physically age, outside of occasional flash-forward or fantasy.
- Lampshaded by D.W. in S1's "Arthur's New Year's Eve", suggesting that she's trapped in some kind of time warp that causes her to never get any older.
- Punny Name: Most characters. The Crosswire family is probably the most obvious.
- Rounded Characters: One of the top reasons for the show's success.
- Renaissance Kids: Most of the kids in Arthur's class play a sport and an instrument, and love to read. Even George, who struggles in these areas and starts off as shy and socially awkward, finds his stride as a carpenter and sports commentator.
- Rotating Protagonist
- Species Surname: Averted. See below.
- Token Quartet: The Compsons have one child each in preschool, elementary school, middle school, and high school.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Very subtle, but just about EVERYONE on this show likes snacking on popcorn.
- There's a trademark favorite drink, at least in earlier seasons anyway, for the Read family. They are almost always seen drinking milk at meals.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: A number of characters, from D.W.'s friend Emily to Arthur and his friends. They're not your average third-grade kids, after all.
- One of the best examples is D.W. and her zany Batman Gambit to trick Arthur and The Brain to take her to the science exhibit in S4's "Prove It!", and it worked.
- Zany Scheme
3rd/4th grade cast
Arthur Timothy Read
The title character of the show. He and his family members are aardvarks, though it is not obvious due to the lack of elongated nostrils.
- Adorkable: For a third grader, anyway.
- Art Evolution: Applies to the book version, where he starts out as an actual aardvark (looking more like an anteater), and would slowly change in design until he came to his current look.
- Beware the Nice Ones: Normally a good-natured Nice Guy, but it's not a good idea to anger him. When D.W. destroyed his model plane and chose to blame him instead of apologising for her actions, he erupted.
- Big Brother Bully: to D.W. and Kate at times. Of course he won't admit that though.
- Big "YES!": When he finds out that Buster is coming home from a Long Bus Trip with his father in S3's "Buster's Back".*Answering the phone* Hello? Yeah. Yeah? YEAH!
- Bow Ties Are Cool: The Modus Operandi for his formal attire.
- Butt Monkey: Would become one in later seasons.
- Cats Are Mean: Was a firm believer of this, as exemplified in "Francine and the Feline (S3)"; as of "D.W.'s Furry Freak-Out (S12)" however, he seems to not mind them anymore.
- Character Blog: The Arthur Facebook page.
- Character Tics: Arthur fiddles with his glasses when he's lying.
- Crazy Consumption: D.W., when imagining Arthur in a negative light, sometimes has him digesting cake either in one bite or in a mess.
- In "D.W. Gets Lost" this actually does happen.
- Crowd Chant: Arthur gets one when he is cleared for embezzlement in "Arthur Accused!"
- Deadpan Snarker:DW: Where were you between six months ago and yesterday?Arthur: Listening to you whine about the snowball 24 hours a day.
- Eye Glasses
- The Everyman: In sharp contrast to a group of widely varied friends with telling character traits. Lampshaded in S6's "Best of the Nest", when Arthur settles on "Just Plain Goose." This is extremely poignant when one considers that most of the later season's episodes focus less on Arthur.
- Eye Cam: Almost all of "You Are Arthur".
- Facepalm: A very brief one after dropping the wedding ring in "D.W. Thinks Big".
- Full Name Ultimatum: Unlike D.W., he has only ever been issued one once throughout the show in S4's "Arthur's Big Hit", and it is lampshaded.Mrs. Read: Arthur Timothy Read, come here!Arthur: Uh-oh, middle name.
- Game Show Appearance: Arthur winding up on in-universe Riddle Quest in S5's "Arthur and the Big Riddle".
- Guilty Pleasures: Arthur is secretly a fan of in-universe toddler's show "Love Ducks". He keeps it a secret because (per the title of the S4 episode) "That's a Baby Show."
- Headdesk: He is so exhausted from Pandering to the Base in S1's "Arthur Writes a Story" that he does a Double Headdesk.
- The Hero: As the title character and de facto leader of his friend group.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Buster.
- Hypocritical Humor: He accuses his friends of "not being able to stand a little competition" when playing games with them in "Arthur the Loser". In this episode he resorts to cheating against all of his friends because he proved to be a Sore Loser before his scheme was uncovered.
- Idiot Ball: " So Funny I Forgot to Laugh" represents such a moment of weakness for Arthur that it's unconvincing.
- Arthur's cost cutting ideas in Arthur Read Super Saver" are more likely to come from the four-year-old-cast, like bathing in water from the Molinas' sprinklers, or trying to cut his family's water bill by getting Pal to lick food stains off the flatware.
- Jerkass Ball: Happens to him at times.
- Musicalis Interruptus: The teaser for "That's a Baby Show!" has Arthur demanding a stopdown when Mary Moo Cow and co. randomly show up in his bedroom.
- Never Live It Down: His aforementioned cheating in "Arthur the Loser" and his underwear incident; being accused of stealing D.W.'s snowball also counts.
- Nice Guy
- Official Couple: He is shown married to Francine in the future on multiple occasions, despite massive denial between each other in S2's "Arthur and the Square Dance".
- Pinocchio Nose: Has an all-too-obvious habit of fiddling with his glasses when he lies.
- This Loser Is You: Arthur could be described as this, Depending on the Writer.
- The Unapologetic: At times.
- Would Hit a Girl: "Arthur's Big Hit". That's all we have to bring up.
- You're Insane!: Arthur to D.W. after the latter announces plans to live with Mary Moo Cow in S5's "The Last of Mary Moo Cow".
Best friend of Arthur. He and his divorced parents are rabbits.
- Against My Religion: In S7's "Buster's Amish Mismatch" when he became Amish after a field trip.
- Agent Mulder: Firmly believes in the existence of aliens.
- Alliterative Name
- Amateur Sleuth: One of Buster's trademarks, often imitating hard-boiled Private Detective stories when he's on a case.
- Clear My Name: "Arthur Accused!"
- Be Careful What You Wish For: The teaser for "Arthur's Substitute Teacher Trouble" ends with Buster wishing that Mr. Ratburn would disappear.
- Big Eater: So much so that during a fantasy sequence in S3's "I'd Rather Read it Myself", D.W. imagines him as a robot that only exists to eat. One wonders just how the kid can stay lean. Often leads to Crazy Consumption.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Extremely superstitious, and is very, VERY obsessed with extraterrestrial life.
- Ears as Hair: Buster's mother makes him wear an embarrassing shower cap when he goes swimming, but his ears are more prominent than most, and it would be dangerous to get water inside of them.
- Eureka Moment: How Buster usually solves his cases. "Overflowing?" "That song!"
- Expressive Ears: They droop when Buster is upset. If "Buster Makes the Grade" is any indication, he doesn't take school exams seriously.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Arthur.
- Hypno Fool: In S11's "Buenas Noches, Vicita", one of D.W.'s friends (Vicita) can't go to sleep. D.W. tries several methods, including trying to get Buster to hypnotize her to sleep. A couple of seconds later...
- Keet: He's the most energetic and funniest of Arthur's friends.
- The Lancer: A position shared with Francine.
- Little Known Facts: Buster will believe anything he reads on the internet, as shown in S9's "Buster the Myth Maker".
- Meaningful Name: Buster's street address is 7 Roswell Court. An alien spaceship is rumored to have crashed in Roswell, New Mexico.
- Not So Different: With, of all characters, Mr. Ratburn. They seem opposites in most respects, especially in regards to anything school-related. Buster has a (rather silly) fear of his teacher's love for learning. Despite this, the characters share many other definitive personal tastes. The biggest examples? Both obsessively love desserts, both watch cartoons, and Mr. Ratburn seems to have been much more like Buster in his youth according to what was seen on an old videotape from his high school days.
- Nerd: His aforementioned obsession with extraterrestrial life.
- Put on a Bus: S2's "Arthur's Faraway Friend" has Buster leave the show to travel the world with his airline pilot father. The Bus Came Back at the start of S3.
- Stranger in a Familiar Land: The main plot points of S3's "Buster's Back" and "The Ballad of Buster Baxter".
- Terrified of Germs: Plot point of S11's "Germaphobia".
- Wild Take: In his nightmare in S1's "Arthur's First Sleepover".
Francine Alice Frensky
2nd best friend of Arthur. She and her family are monkeys.
- The Ace: Exceptionally good at almost every sport that exists, always has the last word with some witty or sarcastic reply, and is usually the one that ends up having to bail out one or all of her friends in some way or another.
- It should be noted, though, that she might not be so good at badminton or skiing, if "The Good Sport" is any indication. Once she befriends Jenna, she will play badminton, but previously said it was "for wusses."
- Acquired Situational Narcissism: Happens in "Francine Frensky, Superstar," when Francine gets the lead in a school play.
- Alliterative Name
- Ambiguously Brown: Many people pictured Francine and her family as being rather dark-skinned or even black, but considering that they're Polish Jews...
- Art Evolution: In the first few books she wore dresses and her muzzle didn't blend into her face, making it more obvious she's a monkey.
- Berserk Button: Beating her in anything sports related.
- "A griffin. A griffin. A griffin..." Note that this was in an Imagine Spot in S1's "Meek for a Week", showing what would happen if Francine kept her anger bottled up for too long.
- Insulting Hanukkah also qualifies, as seen in the Christmas special.
- Break the Haughty: Francine has needed a little attitude adjustment from time to time when she gets a little too abrasive.
- Brown Eyes
- Deadpan Snarker
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Played with; in earlier seasons she was notorious for her constant teasing of Arthur purely for her own amusement, but as of more recent seasons this bad habit has become far less frequent.
- Eating Lunch Alone: Muffy lets her take the heat for cheating on a math test in "Arthur and the True Francine". Francine is too despondent to sit with company.
- Crowd Chant: Muffy confesses, and Francine is cleared to play in a baseball game with her relieved teammates.
- Establishing Character Moment: The events described in the following entry take place in the second half of the first episode.
- Femininity Failure: Francine tries to be feminine for one day, picture day, where she goes to school in a dress and doesn't play kickball during recess so she'll be presentable for her photo. She ends up playing anyway, and being scruffy in the picture.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Muffy.
- Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Subverted by the end of S4's "To Beat or Not to Beat"; she isn't a bad singer, she just can't sing and drum at the same time.
- Although in later seasons, she would become a much better singer, and her drumming would rarely if ever be mentioned or seen.
- Hypocritical Humor: Francine often criticizes other people for being mean, despite being a textbook example.
- Informed Ability: Supposedly she can cook, as seen in "Love Notes for Muffy"; This has rarely been showcased since.
- Jerk Jock: She gives off vibes of this, though she's not that bad.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Depending on the writer, as there are plenty of episodes where Francine is not a jerk.
- The Lancer: Shared with Buster.
- Official Couple: She is shown married to Arthur in the future on multiple occasions, despite massive denial between each other in S2's "Arthur and the Square Dance". She insisted on doing the rescue scene in "Arthur Makes a Movie" and was keen to play spin the bottle at Arthur's birthday party, possibly in the hope of getting to kiss Arthur.
- Passionate Sports Girl: Francine is very athletic and loves sports, especially soccer, football, kickball, and bowling. The only sports she doesn't excel at are badminton and figure skating (which she dismisses as "girly"). Francine is very determined, perhaps even restless, and if she doesn't have an immediate knack for a certain sport or skill, she can become frustrated.
- Prima Donna Director: In S1's "Francine Frensky, Superstar".
- Plagiarism in Fiction: Francine plagiarizes school essay in "Francine's Pilfered Paper". While the full range of real-life consequences of plagiarism are discussed, Francine is only asked to repeat the assignment, and she ends up with a lower grade.
- Slobs vs. Snobs: Between her and Muffy.
- Sore Loser: One of her longtime trademarks; taken to new heights in "Arthur Calls It", where she berates Arthur for outing Buster in a baseball game in a play that was obscured to most observers and tries to discredit him, all because she was angry they had lost.
- Taken to an extreme in "The Good Sport", where she lost the Athlete of the Year Award to Jenna that she felt she was entitled to, and goes out of her way to make sure she knows this before finally coming to terms with it.
- Stock Punishment: The teaser for "Francine's Pilfered Paper" takes place in the Puritan era, and she is punished for plagiarism in this way.
- Added Alliterative Appeal: A book in a bad dream that Francine has is entitled "Francine Frensky: Fraud!".
- Token Minority: Francine's family is Jewish in an apparently mainly Christian community.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Her and Muffy.
- Tsundere: Comes off as this occasionally, especially towards Arthur.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Main plot point in S1's "Francine Frensky, Superstar". Only after Mr. Ratburn intervened (after what amounted to the entire class sabotaging the play rehearsal) was everything put back into place.
- We Want Our Jerk Back: Happens in S1's "Meek For A Week"', which nearly caused the group's team to lose a hockey match. They got the jerk back when her Berserk Button was pushed.
- With Friends Like These...: Her and most of the cast, but it is more prominent between her with Muffy.
- Sort of goes both ways with Muffy, considering the latter is so often a Rich Bitch, and appears totally clueless as to why Francine doesn't have the same amount of money or cool gadgets that she does—among other things Muffy is clueless about.
Mary Alice "Muffy" Crosswire
Best friend of Francine, since her arrival in 2nd grade. Like the Frensky's, she and her family are monkeys.
- Aesop Amnesia: Muffy's lessons in selflessness never seem to last more than an episode.
- Lampshaded in "Muffy's Art Attack", where she tried to take credit for a series of sculptures that were actually handcrafted by Bailey, just as she took all credit for the cookie recipe she and her friends made in "How the Cookie Crumbles"; Francine does not let this go unnoticed.
- Alpha Bitch: Muffy is often a stuck-up and a complete showoff who does not care to see things from other people's perspectives. She is even cruel to her friends from time to time.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: However, she learns from her mistakes and she can be a nice girl.
- Art Evolution: Originally drawn with buck teeth.
- Big Fancy House: A sign of her unknowingly vast wealth, to the point where it actually has a mini amusement park inside of it.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: When she was first introduced in the main cast in S1's "Arthur and the True Francine".
- Break the Haughty
- Catch Phrase: "Vomitrocious!"
- Chain of Deals: Utilizes a small one to get her hands on a World Girl doll in "Cents-less".
- The Chick: The most traditionally feminine of the main group.
- The Clan: Part of a family that is shown to be influential in the transportation industry.
- The Fashionista: Mostly in episodes where she has an opportunity to be in other clothes besides her standard dress.
- Flanderization: Her (claimed) marketing knowledge.
- Green Eyes
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Francine.
- Hypocritical Humor: Muffy regularly accuses people of being snobs despite being the textbook example herself.
- Also her catchphrase, "How rude!", usually spoken in a condescending manner or when she herself is doing something most would also consider rude.
- Intergenerational Friendship: In "The Butler Did... What?", Muffy thought she had this kind of relationship with Bailey. But Francine points out she barely know him personally. To be fair to Muffy, the two are pretty close to one another before she got to know him better by the end of the episode.
- Later episodes show her trying to have a full version of this with Bailey, though her conversations with him still show shades of ego. For example, Bailey helps Muffy reconnect with her old imaginary friend—but first he has to reassure her she actually has imagination.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold
- It's All About Me: Very much, but in later seasons, certain events have mellowed her at different times. For example, she's very upset when she realizes her desire for a bouncy house will result in losing the cherry tree she's had since she was a kid. She also now helps out in a thrift store on occasion.
- Manipulative Bitch
- Meaningful Name: Her street address is 1250 Nouveau Lane. Her family is Nouveau Riche, or new money, as explained below.
- Nice to the Waiter: To her butler/chauffeur, Bailey.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Nobody, not even her parents, call Muffy "Mary".
- Although her mom did give her a Full Name Ultimatum (Mary Alice Crosswire) in S1's "The Scare Your Pants Off Club".
- Rich Bitch
- Running Gag: Muffy tends to over pack during travel.
- Slobs vs. Snobs: Between her and Francine.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Her and Francine.
- Upper-Class Twit: In S13's "The Great MacGrady", it's shown that she literally does not know how to do dishes. She simply squirts some dish-washing liquid onto the sink full and expects that to do the job.
- When she learns her family history, she's actually shocked and disgusted when she finds out her family is not akin to royalty, but rather she's descended from commoners and most of her family's wealth comes from her dad's used car business.
- She thinks that using a credit card is not the same as spending money.
- Will Not Tell a Lie: In the teaser for "Arthur and the True Francine" Muffy lies to her friends that she has never told a lie. The episode itself shows that she lied about a lot of things when she first came to Elwood City.
- With Friends Like These...: Her and Francine.
- A particularly egregious example is in the episode "My Club Rules" where in Muffy basically decides the treehouse isn't good enough for her and that she'll start her own club. Muffy basically begins a chain of everyone acting like jerks to everyone else to go form their own clubs.
- You Have Got to Be Kidding Me!: This is how Muffy responds when she learns that she has to go without spending money for a whole weekend.
Alan "The Brain" Powers
A young bear, and the smartest among Arthur's friends. Not to be confused with that other 90's cartoon character named "The Brain".
- The Ace: Besides his intelligence, it is shown that he is also good at various sports. He and Francine are often partners for sport-centric episodes.
- Academics seems to come more naturally to him. Sports, he has claimed that he practices hard for.
- Ambiguously Brown: Brain is confirmed African-American but doesn't particularly look it since he's a bear.
- In later seasons, his mother is lighter furred than her son and husband, and is also blonde, meaning the Brain is possibly of mixed race. Then again she had brown hair originally, and as of season 16 is back to that, so it could be dyed.
- The Bartender: At his parents' ice cream shop in later seasons.
- The B Grade: Brain gets a B- on a test in S9's "Breezy Listening Blues" and concludes that the breezy listening music his parents recently started playing in their music shop is having a deleterious effect on his studies.
- Big "WHAT?!": His reaction to his early demise in "Best of the Nest".
- Big Words: He was the one working on Antidisestablishmentarianism before the spelling bee in S1's "Arthur's Spelling Trouble".
- Black Best Friend: Brain and Binky seem to be quite close, despite being polar opposites.
- But Not Too Black: His family's celebrating of Kwanza was the only indication of his race, until an African cousin comes over to visit.
- Black and Nerdy
- Brown Eyes
- Child Prodigy
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Certainly not as much as someone like Buster, but being the most ridiculously smart in the gang he occasionally will overthink and theorize things to ludicrous extremes, which usually just leaves everybody else bewildered.
- Depending on the Writer: Brain tends to range between The Smart Guy who offers helpful information when needed, a “Stop Having Fun” Guy who pops everyone's bubble, and a Child Prodigy who knows how to casually make things some scientists don't know how to make.
- Known Only by Their Nickname: "The Brain" is only referred to as such by his peers.
- Insufferable Genius: Can slip into this at times.
- Mr. Exposition
- Nerds Love Tough Schoolwork: The only one in class who doesn't groan when given a big homework assignment.
- No Name Given: It's not really considered appropriate for teachers to address students by their nicknames. Even though it was fudged at first, it was awkward. It didn't become a problem until the TV show began, both because the book narration is from Arthur's perspective and because it is in the third person. Circumstances were such that The Brain had to have a given name, and "Alan" is Adorkable without being difficult to swallow.
- Opening Shout-Out and Internal Homage: The latter of the two is an Episode Title Card, shown in S3's "And Now Let's Talk to Some Kids".
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Goes on one in "Love Notes for Muffy" when she bribes the judges at a science fair; for the most part he just ends up looking foolish for it.
- Sanity Slippage: Brain is usually the most calm and approachable of all the kids, but when he feels he's been wronged in some way, he'll become darn near psychotic and start giggling crazily, trying to plot revenge.
- The Smart Guy: A Child Prodigy par excellence.
- Token Minority: Brain and his Family seem to be the only major Black characters in the show.
- Why Did It Have To Be Water?: He was afraid to go to a pool party because of his aquaphobia, though later seasons remove it, implying that The Brain got over his fear.
Shelley "Binky" Barnes
Another one of Arthur's friends, though also a bully, or once was anyway. He and his family are bulldogs. He plays the clarinet and also dances ballet. He hangs with a group called the "Tough Customers," which has changed its focus since its founding.
- Adult Fear: Even if the concerns that Mrs. Barnes expresses in "Binky Goes Nuts" seem a bit excessive, they are realistic.
- Ambiguously Gay: His Hidden Depths reveal an interest for stereotypically gay hobbies such as theater, dance (especially ballet), art, music, culture, and the likes.
- "I like to read books with lots of pretty flowers. ...Being crushed by a giant pterodactyl!"
- Art Evolution: In the books his ears were originally drawn flatter on his body and he was fatter.
- Berserk Button: NEVER speak ill of his mother, unless you want ice cream all over your face.Buster: Your mother eats gym shorts!Binky: WHAT?!(everyone is aghast at Buster's words as a very angry Binky proceeds to smash his ice cream sundae onto Buster's head)
- Big Brother Instinct: He's very nurturing and helpful with Mei-Lin.
- The Big Guy: The biggest and toughest of the main group.
- Big "NO!": Binky busts out an epic one after a nightmare in "Binky Goes Nuts".
- The Bully: Moves away from this as the series progresses. Hidden Depths are eventually revealed and moves towards the Gentle Giant.
- Could Say It, But...: Binky telling Buster how to liberate his confiscated toy car in "Buster the Lounge Lizard".
- Episode Title Card: Binky blows a bubble gum bubble so big that he is Covered in Gunge when it pops, and he gets stuck in the title card circle.
- Friend to All Children: While Binky is still a child himself, he befriends D.W. in S3's "The Chips are Down" and her friend Emily in S13's "The Good, the Bad, and the Binky".
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Seems to vary from sensitive soul who acts tough to genuinely stupid depending on the writer.
- Named After Somebody Famous: His great-grandfather, Shelley Barnes.
- Lethal Chef: We find out Binky is this when he tries to make dessert for Christmas dinner at a soup kitchen. His attempts include pecan pie with shells and banana bread with peels. Perhaps most egregiously, he forgets to add sugar to his brownies.
- My Beloved Smother: His mom is a mild-to-moderate version of this.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: S15's "What's in a Name" reveals that Binky is indeed not his real name. It is, in fact, Shelley, named after his great grandfather. Not only do his parents not call him this, even Binky himself, didn't know.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Sleeps with a night light and takes ballet classes. Seems the longer the series continues, the less he tries to hide it. Heck, his shirt is even sort of pinkish-orange!
- Unmanly Secret: Zigzagged like crazy. When his character first starts developing unmanly interests, he tries to hide them, but then gets found out anyway. Though some people try to make a big deal of it at first, his perceived fierceness and reputation as a bully allows him to quell any teasing or bullying simply by growls, posturing and death glares. In later seasons, he still sometimes tries to hide it, but just as often is open about it. In Season 15's "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," he doesn't care one bit that his friends in the Tough Customers gang know that he's going to be performing in a clarinet solo, but is terribly afraid that one of them might find out that he still sometimes holds his mother's hand. When they do find out anyway, they chew him out... for not having a juicier, more embarrassing secret!
- We Want Our Jerk Back: Happens to Binky occasionally.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: A focal point in S2's "Night Fright", as Binky can be get really scared in the dark.
Sue Ellen Armstrong
Arriving in the show in 3rd grade, she and her family are cats.
- Action Girl: Shown to the skilled in martial arts, particularly Tae-Kwon-Do.
- Carnivore Confusion: Sue Ellen is a cat. Ratburn is a rat. But they seem to get along fine.
- There's some sort of humor in the cat character being the vegetarian.
- Cats Are Mean: Averted, as she is one of kindest in Arthur's group of friends.
- The Determinator: Usually a force to be reckoned with once she's set her mind to something; In one episode, she's the only one in the class with the nerve to protest the near-closure of the Sugar Bowl. She was also the first kid to stand up to Binky, eventually prompting him to steer away from bullying.
- Granola Girl: She becomes one in S8's "Sue Ellen Chickens Out".
- "Sue Ellen Vegges Out" gives her another level of this, when she decides to become a vegetarian after befriending a pig at a farm she visited. note
- Green Eyes
- Only Child Syndrome: Main plot point in S2's "Sue Ellen's Little Sister". Come to the point where she spends time with D.W. however...
- Only Sane Man: Occasionally fills the shoes of this role.
- Ship Tease: S2's "Sue Ellen's Lost Diary" hints that Sue Ellen may have a crush on Arthur, following a debacle with her diary. This is a throwback to the book "Arthur's Valentine" where Arthur has a crush on the new student (Sue Ellen).note
- Sixth Ranger: Not always in the main group, but important whenever she is.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Plays the tomboy to Fern's girly girl on occasion.
Originally a background character, she and her family are dogs.
- Amateur Sleuth: Fern, like Buster, has this as one of her trademarks. In sharp contrast to Buster though, Fern prefers classic novelized detectives like Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, sometimes imitating any of them when she's on a case.
- Ascended Extra: Until S1's "I'm a Poet", she was a relative Living Prop. Lampshaded by Francine once Fern is finally driven to speak after a pushed Berserk Button courtesy of Binky.Francine: That's the most she's said all year!
- Beware the Nice Ones: Francine and the Brain find out first hand in S2's "Draw!" and S12's "War of the Worms" respectively.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Not to Buster's extent, but still pretty out there.
- Episode Title Card: A shot, taken from S10's "Fern and Persimony Glitchet", that shows her writing. The difference between the other, louder title cards is symbolic of her quiet nature.
- Green Eyes
- Jitter Cam: The intro to "Fern's Slumber Party". This does not help Fern at all.
- Let's See You Do Better: Fern dares her classmates to put up or shut up when they insult her hobby.
- Nerd: She is a Mystery Novel Fangirl, being shown in S2's "Fern's Slumber Party" playing with a Sherlock Holmes action figure. S11's "Phony Fern" even has her (and George) role-playing as Hercule Poirot.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Along with mysteries, Fern is very fond of reading and telling scary stories.
- She's also known to enact scary pranks on people, or imagine terrible things happening to people while she smiles about it.
- Shrinking Violet: As the show progresses, she becomes more out-going and socializes more, though she still retains a bit of shyness.
- Sixth Ranger: Not a part of the main group, but still an occasional friend.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Plays the girly girl to Sue Ellen's tomboy on occasion.
- Unaccustomed as I Am to Public Speaking...: Her mom makes her throw a slumber party to improve her confidence. When it works, Fern's mom gloats a little to the audience.
One of the few 4th graders in the show, she and her family are either poodles or rats (official sources disagree).
- Alpha Bitch: During the earlier seasons. She mellows out a bit once Henry Skreever and Marina Datillo are introduced to the show in S6's "Prunella's Special Edition".
- Big "NO!": She screams it in the opening of S6's "Prunella's Special Edition", when she discovers that her new book is printed in Braille, and she can't read it.
- Prunella screams it again in "Prunella Packs It In", when she dreams that she is in college run by the clown.
- She screams once more in "Prunella in the Haunted Locker", when she dreams she was attacked by her locker.
- Episode Title Card: I PREDICT THAT YOU WILL SHORTLY SEE... (episode title read out loud), taken straight from S4's "To Beat or Not to Beat".
- Nerd: Earlier seasons would show that Prunella and her sister Rubella were obsessed with paranormal phenomena. Her massive love for Henry Skreever would later become one of her signature character traits.
- Phony Psychic: Just like her big sister. Oddly, she still believes her sister even though she's using the same tricks.
- Sixth Ranger: She's a grade higher than most of the rest of the cast, so she only hangs out with them on occasion.
- Yet Another Christmas Carol: She goes through one in S4's "Prunella Gets it Twice". Lampshaded when the "Ghost of Presents Past" interweaves Tiny Tim into the story.
Prunella's friend, also a fourth-grader, who presumably goes to school at Mighty Mountain. Prunella met her in "Prunella's Special Edition" and she's been a recurring character ever since.
- Academic Athlete: Marina is a bookworm who's also great at gymnastics and yoga. In a brief scene, she's shown playing soccer at school.
- Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Averted. Marina is blind, but does not like people to make a big deal of it. She's also received a massive amount of Character Development that's unrelated to her disability, which is somewhat unusual for a kids' show.
- Nerd: She and Prunella share a deep love of Henry Skreever novels, and both enjoy paranormal phenomena.
- Satellite Character: She is defined entirely by her relationship with Prunella.
Lydia FoxAn eponymous fox and friend of the third/fourth grade cast who was introduced in later seasons.
- Academic Athlete: We first encounter Lydia as a new friend of Brain; they met because an injury relegated him to a wheelchair during basketball season. Through this, we find out Lydia is a great basketball player, but is also highly intelligent and plays a mean game of chess. Additionally, she's great at twirling batons.
- Inspirationally Disadvantaged: Averted. She uses a wheelchair, but it's not her only characteristic, and she's quite opposed to being given sympathy based on the wheelchair alone.
- Retcon: She originated as the winning character of a kids' contest, where her submitted name was Lydia Fox. When the official episode was made, she was never given a last name in dialogue. However, she got the full name Lydia Gordonnote in the episode's credits. When she returned a few years later, the name Lydia Fox was canonized through in-episode dialogue.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Plays the tomboy to Muffy's girly girl in "Little Miss Meanie" from Season 18.
Originally a minor character in the background, he is a moose; a rare sight in the show.
- The Announcer: Takes up this hobby in "Baseball Blues".
- Ascended Extra: Though George existed since the beginning of the show, it was quite a long time before he was made into a full-fledged character, in S3's "Arthur's Dummy Disaster". Since then there have been more George-centric episodes.
- Big "NO!": Three instances:
- S8's Desk Wars, when his bubble-gum stegosaurus model is destroyed.
- S9's George Blows His Top, when Arthur asks him if George can tell him the time. He replies, "NO!! What is it with you people? GET YOUR OWN WATCH!!"
- S14's "Follow the Bouncing Ball", where his painstakingly arranged dominoes are knocked over by Francine.
- Butt Monkey: He is often the subject of Binky's bullying in the earlier seasons prior to his characterization. Once he becomes more important, he still frequently gets forgotten or ignored by his friends.
- Forgettable Character: Initially nobody could remember him. It's gotten better recently, but still occasionally comes up.
- "L" Is for "Dyslexia": Although the original portrayal is closer to Attention Deficit... Ooh, Shiny!
- Mr. Imagination
- Mysterious Protector: This is George's entire relationship with his classmates, until they get to know him.
- Nerd: George is incredibly awkward around other people (in part because of his horns), and spends less time talking to living people than he does to his ventriloquist's dummy, Wally, which he made himself.
- Never Live It Down: Giving Wally to D.W. Something that Wally has never let him forget.
- Only Sane Man: On occasion; a notable example is "Do You Speak George?" when everyone insists on speaking only their own made up languages.
- Sixth Ranger: The main group frequently forget he even exists, so he only tags along on occasions.
- Truth in Television: Students with disabilities can submit exams and assignments in an alternate format, if they have documented their disability in advance.
- Ventriloquism: With Wally...
- Consulting Mister Puppet...Who is regularly poached for advice.
Carl GoldA young male rabbit who befriends George in season thirteen, and is later introduced to George's classmates. Carl has Asperger's Syndrome.
- Anything but That!: The first time that Carl sees Wally, he starts to hold his head and panic. By the time of "Carl's Concerto," he's over it, though.
- Child Prodigy: In "Buster Spaces Out," Carl is able to easily assess the risks involved with the kids' plans of action concerning the launch of Buster's model rocket.
- Inspirationally Disadvantaged: While the writers are usually very good about avoiding this trope, Carl's role in "He Said, He Said" is a Type B example. Carl is able to remember the events of a Bionic Bunny special better than Arthur, Buster, or George can.
- Long Speech Tea Time: George gets Carl going on a monologue about trains. Since George can't get Carl to stop, it turns into the framing device for the story of how they met.
- Photographic Memory: Implied in a couple of episodes.
- Rail Enthusiast: Carl has books about trains, loves to put together train puzzles, and keeps a journal of train illustrations.
- Satellite Character: Played with. Carl initially meets George, and meets his other peers later. While he does try to get along with the other kids, George still acts as an intermediary for them sometimes.
- In a straight example, Carl's mom only ever appears to support Carl himself.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Closed captioning spells Carl's surname as "Gold," but Arthur Wiki spells it as "Gould".
Another former background character in Arthur's class, she is a cat, entirely different from Sue Ellen though.
- The Ace: It is mentioned that Jenna is also good at sports, mostly at the ones Francine is not good at.
- Ascended Extra: Like George, it was quite a while before she became a character with a personality. Despite having only one episode with her as the main focus in the show's 15 seasons (S7's "Jenna's Bedtime Blues"), she is maintained as a prominent secondary character.
- Informed Ability: In S6's "The Good Sport" we're told that Jenna excels in a number of sports that it's hard to imagine her doing.
- This seems like a one-off joke at first, but later episodes actually show her playing those sports.
- Mauve Shirt: She has gotten a few spotlight episodes, but much less than the rest of the cast, and still generally remains underdeveloped.
- Out of Focus: Jenna has only spoken once since season 9.
- Why Did It Have To Be Pull-Ups: Jenna's reluctance to put on her pull-ups as shown in her only focus episode, S7's "Jenna's Bedtime Blues".
The Compsons are a family of rabbits with tan fur. They moved from Louisiana to Elwood City in the Season 16 premiere, "Based on a True Story". Ladonna is the third of four siblings. She has a penchant for oral storytelling, similar to Fern's love of poetry, or Sue Ellen's love for her journal.
- American Accents: Southern.
- Big Eater: So much so that her father calls her a "garbage disposal with legs".
- Cool Big Sis: She has her moments, particularly during "Adventures in Budylon."
- She steps up to teach Bud how to tie shoelaces.
- Genki Girl: Is quite the chatterbox and can be rather chipper at the right times.
- Stock Yuck: She can't stand beets; just looking at beets upsets her stomach.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Cake, King cake in particular.
The Tough Customers
"We're not bullies. We're kids who have a hard time expressing our emotions in a constructive manner." - RattlesThe Tough Customers are a gang of bullies at Lakewood Elementary School, founded by Binky, who is the one member who is not in the fourth grade. In "Arthur's Big Hit", Binky decides to get rid of the club, but in later episodes the club is still there. They hang out on the jungle gym (aka: The Tower of Pain), and also have an entire lunch table reserved for themselves. In early episodes, especially Season One and Two, they were portrayed as malevolent malcontents, but this lessened as time went on. Initially, there were many members, including Binky, Rattles, Molly, but the core three are the only of the original club to remain: none of the others are seen very frequently after Season Four. Later, Molly, Rattles, and Binky are joined by Slink, who was previously just a one-shot character from an earlier episode. From then onward, those four are consistently portrayed as the entirety of the group.
- Aerith and Bob: Molly, Rattles, and Slink?
- Affectionate Nickname / In-Series Nickname: It's subtle, but Rattles often refers to Molly by "Moll" rather than her actual name.
- Both of them refer to Binky as "Binks" on several occasions.
- Blue and Orange Morality: Due to their extreme displays Hypocritical Humor.
- In one episode, Arthur proclaims that he's thief to gain acceptance to their group, and they openly welcome him and congratulate him on his "art." Then when it's revealed he wasn't honest, Binky and Rattles berate him for lying.
- Character Tics: Frequently and consistently seen with their rollerblades and skateboards.
- Characterization Marches On: They become less obvious bullies and just kids who can sometimes be thoughtless and mean. They also channel their energy more constructively, going from malicious bullying to consumer advocacy.
- Delinquents: As close as they could get on Arthur, anyway.
- Depending on the Writer: Whether they're actually legitimately malicious or just rougher and tougher than most of the other students.
- Diminishing Villain Threat: In early seasons, they're truly nasty and unkind to other students. By Season Eight, the worst they do is claim the jungle gym for themselves and bar everyone else from playing there, and occasionally throw water balloons at other students.
- Even Bullies Love Their Mamas: Holds true for Molly, Binky, and Rattles.
- Everyone Has Standards: When they realized they might have unintentionally hurt Pal in "Arthur Cleans Up", they look notably dismayed and upset.
- Go-Karting with Bowser: Binky hangs out with the other kids on a regular basis, and Molly and Rattles can be seen doing the same in "Don't Ask Muffy" and "Bugged".
- Local Hangout: The jungle gym.
- Oddly enough, they can be frequently found at the library, as seen in "Sue Ellen's Lost Diary" and "Arthur Makes Waves".
- Metal Head: Molly, Rattles, Slink, and maybe Binky.
- No Name Given: A few of the Tough Customer "extras" have names, like the male cat named Kieper and the male bear named Billy, but others remain unnamed such as a male dog, a male rabbit, a female cat, and a female aardvark.
- Pet the Dog: In "D.W., Dancing Queen", Molly and Rattles step up to help D.W. with her ballet performance when Binky twists his ankle and is unable to dance onstage with her.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Especially Binky and later Rattles, but all of them dance ballet at some point.
- Binky, Slink, Molly, and Rattles all take part in a barbershop routine for the Summer Serenade in "D.W. Beats All".
- Soapbox Sadies: Downplayed. They go from bullying their schoolmates to picketing businesses to protest problems like extortion and unhealthy fast food. They usually don't overshoot it, though.
- School Bullying Is Harmless: Sometimes.
- Tomboy: All of the girls.
- True Companions: In spite of their faults, they stick by one another and help each other out, as seen in Seasons Eight and Nine.
- For example, when it was discovered that Binky was allergic to peanuts, Molly acted as bodyguard and prevented students with said food from sitting near him in order to preserve his health.
- Villains Out Shopping: Rather hilariously, Molly and Rattles can be seen at the front of the crowd at the meeting for concerned citizens in "The Scare-Your-Pants-Off Club".
- Younger Than They Look: They can all pass for high schoolers.
A fourth grade rabbit and one of the Tough Customers. She has a younger brother named James, who is friends with D.W.
- Action Girl: The only female Tough Customer to remain and the only main female skateboarder.
- Aloof Older Sister: Averted. One might think she would be this, but she is close with James.
- Alliterative Name
- Meaningful Name: Her first name means "bitter", which certainly suits her malicious personality in the early seasons.
- The derivation of her surname is from the Gaelic "Mac Dhomhnuill", translating as "The son of Donald". It is said that the personal name "Donald" translates as "world-rule". Molly is a bully who rules the playground.
- Meaningful Name: Her first name means "bitter", which certainly suits her malicious personality in the early seasons.
- Ascended Extra: She started off as a generic bully girl in the Tough Customers, but later episodes gave her a Morality Pet in the form of her younger brother, a hidden creative side, a more relaxed personality (in comparison), and an overall more sympathetic presentation.
- The Atoner: Becomes this in "The Last Tough Customer" when she realizes that James is adopting her bullying ways, and decides to try turning a new leaf.
- Berserk Button: If anyone tries to take the "Tower of Pain" from her, as seen in "The Law of the Jungle Gym".
- Blinding Bangs: Her eyes have only been seen very briefly in a few episodes, such as "Agent of Change" and "Arthur, World's Greatest Gleeper".
- Cool Board: Her skateboard is black and wrapped with barbed wire around the middle.
- Cool Big Sis: When James needs help, he goes to Molly.
- Defrosting Ice Queen: Over the course of the series, though not especially evident. Most apparent in "Arthur Makes Waves".
- Drill Sergeant Nasty: When coaching her younger brother for his swim meet.
- Expository Hairstyle Change: After her Start of Darkness.
- Forbidden Friendship: With Arthur, prominently in one episode, though they keep it a secret due to their respective friends' disapproval. Though the writers seem to have forgotten about it, the shippers have not.
- Freudian Excuse: Averted. If anything, she seems to be from a wealthy, stable family. Not to say that stable, wealthy families don't encounter problems, and there could be issues beneath the surface, but the show doesn't appear to be taking this route for her.
- It turns out that she was bullied herself when she was younger.
- Heel Realization: "The Last Tough Customer" is this for her.
- Hidden Depths: She cares a great amount for her brother and mom, is interested by storytelling and animation techniques, and is concerned by the lack of independent female characters in media.
- Implied Death Threat: We don't hear what she said to Muffy in "The Law of the Jungle Gym", but even the other Tough Customers thought she went too far.
- Just Friends: With all of the male Tough Customers, as well as Arthur.
- Lean and Mean: Perhaps it's just because she's older and taller, but she's noticeably thinner than the main cast. This is especially apparent when she's standing next to the male Tough Customers, who are more stocky and muscular than her.
- Morality Pet: Her younger brother James is one for her, and she decides to change her ways when she sees him repeating her mistakes.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Compare her distinct lack of traditionally female interests and her rough-and-tough appearance to Binky's activities.
- Not So Above It All: In "Arthur Makes Waves", she discovers she has a lot in common with Arthur after she stops trying to act cooler than him all the time.
- Off Model: At some points in early episodes, her Blinding Bangs are shorter than usual, but her eyes don't show at all, giving the impression she has no eyes.
- One of the Boys: To the extent of some Viewer Gender Confusion, as her demeanor and activities barely portray a hint of femininity.
- At one point, the male Tough Customers imagined her in a dress and were weirded out by the very idea.
- She took part in a barbershop quartet with Binky, Slink, and Rattles. All four wore traditional male barbershop costumes.
- In an Imagine Spot of 50's society, Arthur and his friends are shown wearing gendered clothing, letterman sweaters for the boys, poodle skirts for the girls, while the Tough Customers are depicted as greasers. Molly is wearing a dark leather jacket and jeans right alongside her male friends.
- Pet the Dog: In "Law of the Jungle Gym", she can be seen several times being kind to a stray cat.
- She is often very kind to her younger brother, and much more patient with him than Arthur is with D.W.
- When other students come to her for advice, she tells them her best ideas and takes time to talk with them even though she would rather be skateboarding.
- "The Last Tough Customer" is one giant moment for her.
- Pint-Sized Powerhouse: A subtler example than most, but when she is arm-wrestling with Binky, she gives as good as she gets even though he's taller, heavier, and stronger than her.
- Positive Discrimination: She is depicted as the most intelligent, capable, and, besides Binky, sympathetic Tough Customer, and though she still remains tough, her bullying of other kids is less and less prominent in later seasons.
- Scotland: Her surname indicates Scottish heritage, and her (presumably paternal) uncle appears to have been born and raised there.
- Sleeves Are for Wimps: A rare female example. Molly is almost always seen wearing a denim jacket as a shirt with ragged edges from ripping off the sleeves.
- Sibling Yin-Yang: Tough, confrontational Molly and her quiet, unassuming younger brother James.
- The Stoic: As a result of her Blinding Bangs that hide her eyes, it's difficult to gauge her emotion when she isn't speaking.
- Fiery Redhead: On other occasions, often when she gets lines.
- Spell My Name with an "S": It's MacDonald, not "McDonald".
- Start of Darkness: Turns out she was a victim of bullying herself. Seeing James start to repeat the pattern prompts her Heel Realization.
- Tertiary Sexual Characteristics: Mostly absent. The only physical indication of her gender is her bob, but that helps little when she's standing beside fellow Tough Customer Slink, who is male and has hair that's longer than hers.
- Those Two Bad Guys: While she often initially appeared in the background of some scenes along with other Tough Customers, Season Five onwards seems to be going forward with this route for her and Rattles.
- Platonic Life Partners: As of Seasons Eight and Nine, Molly and Rattles are almost never seen apart, even for mundane activities such as walking the dog, or special occasions such as dancing ballet together.
- Tomboy: Out of all the girls on the show, Molly is probably the quintessential example.
- Binky had to convince her to dance ballet by telling her it was a new martial arts style.
- Women Are Delicate: Averted. Undoubtedly the most aggressive female character on the show, even after her Character Development.
- Women Are Wiser: From Season Eight onwards, most episodes featuring the Tough Customers portray her as the most level-headed and realistically-minded of the group.
A fourth grader who seems to alternate between being a cat, a dog, and a bear.note Another one of the Tough Customers.
- American Accents: Joisey. Northern New Jersey, to be exact.
- Beware of Vicious Dog: He owns a mean, snarling dog, aptly named "Crusher."
- Book Dumb: He has an extensive vocabulary, but has trouble spelling, as seen in "The Play's The Thing".
- Calling Me a Logarithm: Inverted. He uses words he doesn't know to insult people, such as "bibliophile" and "philanthropist".
- Cool People Rebel Against Authority: Played straight with him most of the time, but he is occasionally shown to have a certain degree of respect for those in charge.Rattles: (Protesting the idea that Mr. Ratburn would wear socks with holes in them) Mr. Ratburn wouldn't wear no sock full of holes! He's a very upstanding kind of guy.Rattles: (Upset when someone puts trash in the recycling bin) Yo! It's paper only! Can't you read?!
- Dark Is Bad: A bully and one of the only two kids to have a recurring black article of clothing (in his case, a black jacket he constantly wears).
- A Day in the Limelight: Season nineteen's "Whip, Mix, Blend."
- Hypocritical Humor: Yells at a guy for tossing regular trash into a paper-only recycling bin, minutes before intimidating some random children into giving their ice cream to him and Molly.
- Jerkass: Probably the most consistently antagonistic of the Tough Customers.
- Hidden Heart of Gold: He's still an okay guy deep down.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: If his name refers to "Rattles" as in "Rattlesnake," he fits this. If it's the other kind of rattle, then not at all.
- Nice Hat: He is almost never seen without his red baseball cap, always worn backwards.
- Those Two Bad Guys: While he often initially appeared in the background of some scenes along with other Tough Customers, Season Five onwards seems to be going forward with this route for him and Molly.
- Platonic Life Partners: As of Seasons Eight and Nine, Molly and Rattles are almost never seen apart, even for mundane activities such as walking the dog, or special occasions, such as dancing ballet together.
- Real Men Wear Pink: His interests include sewing and knitting.
- Recurring Extra: He can often be seen in background scenes, more so than any of the other Tough Customers.
- Sophisticated as Hell: He often makes quite eloquent and mature remarks, but they end up sounding a bit ridiculous due to his exaggerated Joisey accent that makes his voice seem a bit thuggish.
- Stock Foreign Name: Is implicitly of Italian descent.
- That Liar Lies: In "Arthur: World's Greatest Gleeper". After he learns that Arthur lied about being able to gleep, he responds with a tirade that ends with "lying lie face".
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: Seriously, Rattles?
A fourth grade rabbit with a tanner complexion than Molly, and another Tough Customer.
- Ascended Extra: Initially a single-episode bully character from "Buster and the Daredevils", but is a recurring member of the Tough Customers by Season Six.
- Blinding Bangs
- Dark Is Bad: A bully and one of the only two kids to have a recurring black article of clothing (in his case, a black shirt with a red lightning bolt on the front).
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Toby, at least until their efforts to humiliate Buster failed, and now they don't even attend the same school.
- Meaningful Name: His moniker suggests that he may not be of the best repute. He isn't.
- Series Continuity Error: When Slink was first introduced, he attended Mighty Mountain. He later appears at Lakewood Elementary with no explanation offered.
- Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?: His name really takes the cake for this.
Dora Winifred "D.W." Read
Sister of Arthur, and often the main character of episodes focusing on the younger cast.
- All Girls Like Ponies: D.W. adores them. Her favorite idea for a holiday is Pony Day. Oh, and she loves unicorns too.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: To annoyingly frustrating degrees.
- Berserk Button: Teasing her about her full name, anything involving her snowball, or saying that Unicorns and other fantasy creatures are not real.
- Bratty Half-Pint
- Chekhov's Gunman: After an entire episode of getting in the way, D.W. saves her aunt Lucy's wedding in "D.W. Thinks Big".
- Companion Cube: Her snowball.
- Chromatic Arrangement: In one episode, The Tibble twins do this to her clothes.
- Does Not Like Spam: "I! HATE! SPINACH!!!" Cue Full Name Ultimatum.
- She got over it, though.
- Embarrassing First And Middle Name
- Full Name Ultimatum: Heard often due to the amount of trouble she gets in.
- Girls Love Stuffed Animals: She has a number of stuffed animals and sometimes carries them around, though this seems to show up more often in the books.
- Go to Your Room!: A frequent punishment of hers. Usually the worst she gets.
- Green-Eyed Monster: D.W. was originally jealous of Kate, but saw how important her guidance as a big sister would be.
- Season 20's "That's My Grandma!" sees D.W. getting jealous when Thora becomes the most popular babysitter in Elwood City.
- A fair amount of episodes center on D.W. wanting something Emily has or has experienced, apparently not too fond of the idea of Emily upstaging her.
- Here We Go Again: The final scene in "D.W. Flips" has her begging for horseback riding lessons, after she narrowly avoided both quitting and breaking her neck in gymnastics.
- She caught Arthur's Chicken Pox.
- I Meant to Do That: D.W. tries to do a cartwheel, and lands on her back partway through.D.W.: I was doing a half - sault.
- Idiotic Partner Confession: Usually something like, "Wow, Arthur. This person isn't as scary as you say."
- Informed Deformity: S10's "Operation, D.W.!" has her with hearing problems. First she doesn't hear her teacher call her and later she turns the volume up on the television way more than it should be. It's determined that she needs an operation to remove fluid in her ears. However, throughout the rest of the episode, everyone talks to her normally and she hears everything just fine.
- Instant Expert: Usually at things that Arthur failed at.
- Jerk Ass: NO KIDDING. She's such a big jerk that she even got punched by Arthur in one episode, which she deserved.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: She's rude, bossy and is a right pain in the backside to Arthur, but a couple of times it is shown that she actually loves and cares about her brother deep down.
- Karma Houdini: She's gotten away with her mischief many times.
- Kick the Dog: "MOOOOOOM! Arthur broke a window!"
- Little Miss Snarker: Usually towards Arthur.
- Never My Fault: Usually passes off the blame to Arthur or her friends when she does something wrong and is rarely punished for her actions.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Nobody calls D.W. "Dora" or "Dora Winifred" unless it's her parents issuing a Full Name Ultimatum or they want to deal with a major tantrum. In S2's "D.W. Goes to Washington," Mr. Read actually didn't seem to remember her full name.Mr. Read: Her name is D.W.Secret Service member: That's it? Initials? You didn't give the kid a full name?
- Picky Eater: D.W. has a long list of foods which she does not like, most of which are Stock Yuck vegetables. However, she did learn to like spinach after being served a restaurant dish in which it was the secret ingredient. The teaser for "Kung Fool" also shows that she unexpectedly loved a very green, very foreign dish her dad made, so we can safely assume she's ditched at least some pickiness.
- Real Time: In "D.W. Gets Lost," Ed Crosswire asks for five minutes of Jane Read's time. This is how long she and D.W. are separated.
- Security Blanket: She has one called "blankie" which was the focus of both the book and television story "D.W.'s Lost Blankie." One of the show's title cards depicts her wearing it as a superhero cape.
- Tagalong Kid: Whenever she hangs out with Arthur's group.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: DW becomes this in "DW's Very Bad Mood".
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In "My Club Rules," when Arthur and his friends are in the treehouse discussing ideas for their parade float, DW barges in, wanting to hang out with them. Arthur, desperate to get rid of her, lies and says it's a "meeting" of the "Parade Float Club." DW immediately says she wants to "join." They have DW undergo "initiation rituals," such as kicking a bowling ball (which she refuses to do) and drawing a funny picture of Mr. Ratburn. They're so distracted from talking about the float that they're actually focused on making it a real club. A little while later, Muffy makes some snobby comments about how improvements can be made to Arthur's treehouse so it looks like a real clubhouse, and how club dues should be paid in order to implement the improvements. This leads to a fight amongst Arthur and his friends, causing them to form their own separate "clubs." They make up a few days later, of course, but still. It could be argued that if DW wouldn't have barged in to begin with, the argument wouldn't have happened and they'd still be discussing float ideas.
- Why Did It Have To Be Octopodes?: Saw an octopus up close during a field trip to an aquarium. While recounting the trip to her family, however, she claimed to have punched it.
Arthur's and DW's younger sister.
- Baby Talk: Kate has appeared in episodes where she can speak with other babies and non-anthro animals.
- Growing Up Sucks: Recently she's been losing her ability to speak with pets, now that she's learning to talk and walk.
Timmy and Tommy Tibble
A pair of twin bear cub boys, they're often the other major characters in episode focusing on the younger cast.
- Accidental Art: The Teaser for "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Tibble".
- Alliterative Names
- Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better: Sometimes with each other, but usually with D.W. Their web page spells it out.
- Bond One-Liner: D.W. calls to check on things in "Arthur Babysits", while the Tibbles are playing cowboy.Timmy: Arthur can't come to the phone right now. He's all tied up.
- Bratty Half Pints
- Color-Coded Characters: Tommy wearing a red scarf, Timmy wearing a blue scarf.
- Designated Villain: In situations where this role isn't set up for Arthur. Tommy and Timmy have a history of taunting and harrasing D.W., and they sometimes feature in her nightmares.
- Episode Title Card: The boys use fake squid tentacles to scare D.W. off.
- Jerks With Hearts of Gold
- Hair Color Dissonance: According to official art (and the books) their fur is brown but within the cartoons they're a greyish color, sometimes with a tint of green.
- High Turnover Rate: Their babysitters, before Arthur.
- I Know Your True Name: An "Iron Fist" approach will not work when babysitting the Tibbles. Tell them a story, however, and they're more likely to cooperate.
- Lions and Tigers and Humans... Oh, My!: In the original books, the Tibble Twins and their Grandma were drawn as humans. They have since been anthropomorphized for the television series and latter books.
- Raised by Grandparents
- Sibling Seniority Squabble: In "Whistling in the Wind", Tommy is said to be two minutes older, and it's confirmed in "Two Minutes". However, to stop their fussing over it, their grandmother backpedals, saying that they were born at the same time.
- Sibling Team
- Spoiled Brats
- Token Human: Originally.
- Trickster Twins
- Twin Banter: It sometimes gets physical.
- Unnecessary Roughness: They spend an episode basically imitating the Power Rangers, and D.W. ends up needing stitches. The boys do apologize, though.
- Whole Plot Reference: "My Fair Tommy."
D.W.'s best friend and major character in D.W.-centric episodes. She is unique among the show's characters as she is part rabbit, and part ape.
- A Day in the Limelight: "Emily Swallows a Horse".
- Adaptation Dye-Job: Prior to season 6 she had shorter hair. In the books she had her current length but it was the same color as her fur.
- Call Back: Emily beats D.W. and James in a swim meet, in a nod to her initial antagonistic appearance.
- Gender Equals Breed: Both Emily and her mother are rabbits, while Emily's father is an ape.
- Gratuitous French: She tends to use random French words and phrases from time to time, thanks to the influence of her French nanny Marie-Helene.
- Spoiled Sweet: She's spoiled with tons of possessions, a private nanny, a tutor, and fancy food. Yet she's generally one of the nicest and most polite kids in preschool.
- Took a Level in Kindness: Is mean to D.W. for almost all of her first appearance in "D.W. Flips".
- Wise Beyond Their Years: Somewhat justified in that in addition to kindergarten, she's also homeschooled by a tutor.
Bud Tucker Compson
Ladonna's younger brother, and D.W.'s newest classmate. The only kid in preschool who can actually cope with the Tibble Twins.
- A Day in the Limelight: "Bud's Knotty Problem" is Bud's first episode which doesn't give equal or greater attention to D.W.
- Death Glare
- Full Name Ultimatum: Bud sometimes gets this from Ladonna.
- Mr. Imagination: Bud's presence augments D.W.'s creativity, inspiring her wildest ideas to date.
- Staring Contest: Bud is undefeated; he can beat all of his siblings and scare off the Tibble twins.
- Tempting Fate: In the teaser for "Bud's Knotty Problem," Bud says that there is nothing that he and D.W. can't do together. It turns out that Bud can't tie shoelaces, and D.W. can't teach him how to do it.
- Wanting Is Better Than Having: Bud's mom makes a deal with him, saying that she will buy him a new pair of boots with laces if he can learn how to tie them. Once Bud earns the boots, he tries them on and doesn't like them. Bud chooses a new pair of saddle shoes instead.
Binky's baby sister. A bear cub, she was adopted from China in season 11. She mostly appears in Kate-related episodes.
David and Jane ReadThe parents of Arthur, D.W., and Kate.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: David is a downplayed example; In "Arthur Cleans Up" he is shown to get easily excitable over things that he ropes Arthur in to that just leaves him feeling awkward or unsure of what he's supposed to do.
- House Husband: Both of the Read parents work from home. While David has his catering business, most of the money comes from Jane, who's an accountant.
- Lethal Chef: Played with. While Arthur initially thought this, it turns out David is actually an amazing cook. It's when he's experimenting in his cooking that the meals turn out a bit questionable. Either way, David is certainly not as bad a chef as Grandma Thora.
- Never a Self-Made Woman: Jane straddles both sides of this trope; she shares household responsibilities with David while earning a sizable portion of her family's income, working from their home computer as an accountant. It's possible that Jane earns more money than David does.
- She Cleans Up Nicely: One episode sees Jane going downtown to do office work for a couple of weeks, and she looks great in a blouse, suit pants, and a new hairstyle.
- Supreme Chef: David runs a catering business and he can make amazing meals... as long as he isn't experimenting.
- Women Are Wiser In the event that one of the couple has a lapse in focus or an emotional breakdown, Jane is more likely than David to take the lead.Ed Crosswire: Members of the Soccer Parents Association, I have some good news and some bad news. Trevor has decided to quit coaching soccer.
David: Yes! Hey, maybe we could even win a game this year!
Jane: *Whispering* David, I think that's the bad news.
- Cool Old Lady: She is very in tune with the times and gets along well with everyone in Arthur's gang.
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Sarah MacGrady.
- Lethal Chef: Notoriously so; her grandchildren do everything in their power to avoid actually eating her meals. Even David would rather that the cooking isn't left to her.
- Women Are Wiser: Usually the voice of reason whenever Arthur, D.W., or their friends have a problem they feel they can't solve on their own.
Oliver FrenskyThe father of Francine and Catherine. Works as a garbage man.
- Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Francine imagines this in "My Dad, the Garbage Man", and she feels the need to apologize for Oliver's excessive enthusiasm in "Arthur Cleans Up".
- Beware the Nice Ones: He's as nice as they come, but will waste no time in disciplining his daughters if he finds them doing something foolish or malicious.
- First Name Ultimatum: When Oliver decides to test out a newly-recovered baseball-pitching machine inside the apartment, it hits the bathroom door, irritating his wife.
- Fun Personified: He's always cracking jokes, coaching sports, or having fun with his daughters.
- Good Parents: He's very loving and caring toward his daughters, but he won't hesitate to scold them if he needs to.
- Nice Guy: Easily one of the nicest characters on the show.
- One of the Kids: He certainly has his moments, like wanting to be the first person to ride the bike that he renovated for Francine.
- Working Class People Are Morons: Averted. Though he is a blue collar worker, Oliver is a pretty smart and nice guy, though his daughters (especially Catherine) thought he should get a more "respectable" job.
The third grade teacher of the Arthur gang, and the primary adult character featured in the show. He is a rat, obviously.
- Ambiguously Gay: He is single, thin and neat. With the exception of some earlier episodes, he speaks in a somewhat "sing-songy" way compared to other adult male characters. His hobby is performing puppet shows, and he owns and maintains quite a collection of marionettes.
- A Day in the Limelight: "The Return of the King"; "The Rat Who Came to Dinner"; "Get Smart".
- Breaking Bad News Gently: "Everyone sit down, please. Mrs. MacGrady is sick. She has cancer."
- Cool Teacher: His students don't like to admit it, but his a nice guy who, while strict, is very concerned about his student's well being.
- Everyone Went to School Together: S1's "Arthur's Almost Boring Day" showcases Grandma Thora's old home movies, revealing that David Read, Mr. Ratburn, and Mr. Haney all attended the same high school at the same time.
- S15's "The Butler Did... What?" also reveals Bailey and Mr. Ratburn were in the same high school class.
- Evil Counterpart: The one time we get to meet his mentor from college, he's shown to be a far more sadistic, cold and cruel version of Ratburn. Mr. Ratburn likely designed his teaching style off of being as work-intensive as his while being far less harsh to his students.
- Face Palm: When Muffy attributes the creation of the Dewey Decimal System to Thomas Edison.
- Freudian Excuse: The one occasion we encounter his mentor, who taught him everything he knows, its clear that Mr. Ratburn had to constantly work hard throughout his life to please him. His love of giving out homework most likely stems from this.
- Genius Sweet Tooth: S3's "Dad's Dessert Dilemma" reveals that he LOVES cake.Mr. Ratburn: I just wanted of the Spring reading list-OH! Are you having cake?!?
D.W: There was no cake Arthur. Mr. Rathead was very disappointed.
- Would carry over in S4's "The Rat who Came to Dinner".
- Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Arthur's dad of all people.
- Hidden Depths: Mr. Ratburn is often seen by the Arthur gang as a cruel teacher who has no life outside of making kids miserable. At the same time, he likes Spooky Poo, and he volunteers as a puppeteer for children's puppet shows. Oh and of course, he goes giddy over cake.
- I Was Told There Would Be Cake: S3's "Dad's Dessert Dilemma".
- Keet: Similar to Buster he loves eating sweets and he's a little too enthusiastic about teaching his students about subjects.
- Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: He doesn't have much of a social life and is feared and hated by his students for giving out homework, but he's actually a very nice and friendly guy.
- Nice Guy: He pushes his students to be the best that they can be, and won't take any nonsense from them. Overall, he's a really good guy.
- Not So Fast: When and if he does let students off the hook, he'll call for a tougher assignment to make up for it.
- Not So Different: With Buster. Both love eating and cartoons. Not to mention if the high school video is any indication, he was also just like Buster as a teenager. When shown this particular video, Ratburn blushes and starts whistling innocently.
- Oh Crap!: In "Cents-less", he and his class go without spending money for a weekend. Unfortunately, he forgets to buy food before announcing the assignment. He puts on a puppet show to barter for some food.
- Only Sane Employee: While he's strict, he's the only teacher at Lakewood Elementary School who actually teaches his students properly. The only other competent employees are the lunch lady and the janitor.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Despite the kids complaining about Ratburn being a Sadist Teacher, he's always looking out for their best interest and is usually the one to call out one of the kids if they're being OOC like Arthur in "So Funny I forgot to laugh".
- Sadist Teacher/Stern Teacher: The kids complain about Ratburn being this. Also frequently subverted when they realize he's not that bad of a guy (just a little strict and a bit too obssessed with handing out assignments) and he's actually succeeding in teaching them things.
- Species Surname: Played straight. Guess what animal he actually is!
Mild-mannered, well-to-do, absent-minded bear principal of Lakewood Elementary School. Often involved in episodes taking place at the school, though he is also involved in community work.
- Butt Monkey: The early seasons often had some form of bad luck or misfortune happening to him, usually in the form of things falling on him, from raw hamburgers, to baseballs, to a bucket of popcorn, to Binky Barnes.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: He's a pretty spacey guy.
- Everyone Went to School Together: Attended the same school as Mr. Read and Mr. Ratburn. Even back then, as shown in the old videos in S1's "Arthur's Almost Boring Day", he had bad luck.
- "L" Is for "Dyslexia": Shortly after George finds out that he has Dyslexia, Mr. Haney is also revealed to have it. This gives them something to bond over.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: Generally manages the school quite well and gets along well with all of the students and staff, and when the situation demands it will take the necessary action needed to keep things running smoothly.
Edward Edsel "Ed" Crosswire
Used-car salesman who is Muffy's father and somehow independently wealthy.
- A Day in the Limelight: Despite (and perhaps due to) hinging on the kind of lesson that never seems to stick for Muffy, with Ed elbowing his way in on Muffy's class project, "Muffy Takes the Wheel" arguably has more to do with his character development than hers.
- Good Parents: While he spoils his daughter rotten, he clearly loves her deeply and is very worried about her happiness.
- Honest Corporate Executive: He's always trying to find new ways to sell his products, but he never makes false promises.
- Honest John's Dealership: Subverted. He's not into false advertising, but is very...assertive when it comes to selling cars.
- Meaningful Name: An Edsel was a type of car made by Ford known as a commercial failure, but one of the meanings of the name itself is "rich."
- Also "Crosswire." As in hotwiring a car.
- It can also mean "crossed wires", as in Rich in Dollars, Poor in Sense. It fits for his whole family.
- Also "Crosswire." As in hotwiring a car.
- Non-Idle Rich: He's a used-car salesman and clearly takes his job seriously, despite the pampered princess life he gives his daughter.
- Nouveau Riche
- Repetitive Name
- Self-Made Man