Follow TV Tropes

Following

Arthur / Tropes S to Z

Go To

Tropes for Arthur
Tropes A to D | Tropes E to M | Tropes N to R | Tropes S to Z

    open/close all folders 
    S 
  • Sadist Teacher:
    • The kids complain about Ratburn being this. Also frequently subverted when they realize he's not that bad of a guy and he's actually succeeding in teaching them.
    • Mr. Pryce-Jones, Ratburn's mentor and former teacher from "The Return of the King," is more of a an example.
  • Santa Ambiguity: There's lots of talk about Santa Claus visiting in "Arthur's Perfect Christmas", but it's heavily implied that it was Mrs. Read who was looking for Tina the Talking Tabby. However, Santa still may have brought the other gifts.
  • Say My Name: In "Cereal", D.W. shouts Arthur's name angrily when she finds out that her cereal is missing, suspecting him of having took it.
  • Scare Chord: The show's soundtrack includes a designated sting which serves this purpose.
  • Scary Science Words: The episode "Jenna's Bedtime Blues" has someone in a Nightmare Sequence note that "nocturnal enuresis" sounds like a terrible disease. (Actually, it just means wetting the bed).
  • Scatterbrained Senior: Grandpa Dave is implied to be in the early stages of dementia in "Grandpa Dave's Memory Album."
  • School Play: "Francine Frensky, Superstar," "Arthur Weighs In," "The Pea and the Princess," "Elwood City Turns 100!" for Arthur and his friends. "The Pageant Pickle" and "All About D.W." for D.W.
  • Scratchy-Voiced Senior: The episode "The Feud" has Arthur imagine himself and D.W. still arguing about whether to have ranch (what D.W. wants) or blue cheese (what Arthur wants) even as old people. They both have scratchy voices in the daydream.
  • Screen Tap:
    • In the episode "You Are Arthur," Busters asks Arthur if there is someone in his head watching him through a TV screen. He proceeds to tap on the screen and we hear the sound of knocking on glass.
    • In "The Silent Treatment," George asks if the audience can see him and knocks on the screen.
  • Screw the Rules, I'm Famous!: "Buster Baxter, Cat Saver" had Buster saving a cat from a tree, the fame had gotten to his head when we see him using his new "hero" status to cut in line at the movies.
  • Seadog Beard: In "Buster Baxter & the Letter from the Sea," Arthur's family meets an old sea captain with a big beard.
  • Second Person Attack: "Arthur's Big Hit" is one of the rare cases where no Hit Flash is used.
  • Secret Ingredient: Arthur and Buster enter a cooking competition and bake a cake; their secret ingredient is double the amount of chocolate the recipe calls for.
  • Seldom-Seen Species:
    • Arthur is an aardvark, though in the show he doesn't look like one. He looks more like one in the original books, but the look was changed because it was hard to see his mouth.
    • Brain's Imagine Spot in "Nicked By a Name" had an anthropomorphic tapir named Tom.
    • The Cold Open for "On This Spot" featured an alvarezsaurid of all things, complete with stubby claws and a fuzzy coating of feathers.
    • At the end of "Buster's Dino Dilemma," a paleontologist makes mention of the tyrannosaurid Daspletosaurus.
    • A Komodo dragon and a narwhal appear in the Cold Open of "Francine and the Feline."
    • A great spangled fritillary is featured in the Cold Open of "Binky Goes Nuts."
    • "Hide and Snake" prominently features a scarlet kingsnake, with its mimicry of the venomous coral snake being a plot-point.
    • Sea hares make a brief appearance in "The Shore Thing."
    • Yellow-billed oxpeckers are featured in "Flea to You and Me."
    • Peregrine falcons are a major plot point in "Muffy's House Guests."
  • Self-Deprecation:
    • "Buster's Growing Grudge" has a Who Would Want to Watch Us? joke at the end.
      Buster: We could have our own TV show! You, me, and Arthur!
      Binky: Sounds good, but maybe not Arthur. Who'd want to watch him on TV?
    • D.W.'s imagination of Arthur on TV in "And Now Let's Talk to Some Kids." She imagines Arthur being boring and the audience falling asleep.
    • "Mei Lin Takes a Stand" opens with Mei Lin stating that she "does not agree with all of the show's views" and complaining amount the amount the lack of episodes about kids under the age of three.
  • Self-Destruct Button: Brain's tooth extraction machine in Arthur's Tooth. After smashing a melon makes it go haywire and it attempts to run away he presses a self destruct button he built into the remote.
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: In "Prunella sees the Light", Prunella worries that she'll upset Marina by being too unaccomodating to her blindness. Ironically, she still upsets Marina by going to the other extreme and pandering her just because of her blindness.
  • Self-Serving Memory:
    • Arthur sometimes does this when it comes to D.W., especially if he thinks he's going to have to compete with her for affection or attention. "D.W.'s Snow Mystery" had one of these, where Arthur's memory is that, when Grandma Thora came over, D.W. acted like a hyperactive brat.
    • "Arthur's Family Feud" has a scene where Arthur and D.W. each tell their versions of an incident and how a souffle collapsed. Arthur's story portrays D.W. as being really mean while he's innocent, while D.W. has Arthur getting mad really easily.
  • Senior Sleep Cycle: Grandma Thora averts this, but Grandpa Dave plays it straight. With Grandpa, it could be because he's apparently in poorer health than Grandma; see "The Big Dig" for an example.
  • Sentimental Music Cue: You can tell D.W.'s upset because they always play the same music. However, this has evolved; the music has also been used when any other character is upset (see "Arthur's Faraway Friend" for a non-D.W. example, among several others).
  • Separated by a Common Language: In "Follow the Bouncing Ball," an argument between Muffy and Vicita is based around this. Vicita refers to a soccer ball as a "football," confusing Muffy. Later, Muffy mentions squash, which Vicita knows as a vegetable.
  • Sequel Episode:
    • Arthur's story in "Arthur Writes a Story" is of the ending to "Arthur's Pet Business."
    • "Revenge of the Chip" reflects on "The Chips Are Down".
    • "Buster Baxter, Cat Saver" has a small B-plot of D.W. driving Arthur crazy with the "Crazy Bus" song. The episode it's paired with ("Play it Again, D.W.") has this as the main focus.
    • "Buster's Back" sets up Buster's return back to Elwood City after his absence for a large chunk of the second season; "The Ballad of Buster Baxter" continues the plot by focusing more on what has happened since he's been gone.
    • "Meet Binky" continues the plot surrounding the band that wrote graffiti all over the school from "Binky Rules."
    • "Arthur's Baby" and "D.W.'s Baby" are the same story told from different points of view.
    • "Return of the Snowball" concludes the snowball story arc from "D.W.'s Snow Mystery."
    • Topics introduced in "Sue Ellen's Little Sister" are expanded upon in "Big Brother Binky" and "Wish You Were Here."
    • In "Binky Goes Nuts," Binky is diagnosed with a peanut allergy and has to find a peanut-free Chinese restaurant in order to enjoy Chinese food again; in "Big Brother Binky," Binky and his parents visit the restaurant again before telling Binky that they're going to adopt a baby girl from China. At the end of the episode, the Barnes family visits the restaurant for a third time with new family member Mei-Lin.
    • "Sue Ellen Gets Her Goose Cooked" is about Sue Ellen trying to cure her addiction to Virtual Goose. In "Best of the Nest," everyone starts playing the game's new version.
  • Series Continuity Error:
    • S3's "And Now Let's Talk to Some Kids" has Francine mentioning having wanted to get something for Christmas. The special "Arthur's Perfect Christmas" made her and her family Jewish.
    • That's just the tip of the iceberg. There are many many examples of characters being introduced as new students in early episodes only to have known the characters for years before their supposed introduction, Muffy and Sue Ellen especially. As for the Christmas thing - it may originate from the fact that there was a book in the Arthur Adventures line called Arthur's Christmas. Much of what was in this book was later contradicted by the aforementioned "Arthur's Perfect Christmas".
    • In "Francine Redecorates," Binky mentions in The Teaser that his favorite thing in the world is macaroni and cheese. Much later, in "The World of Tomorrow," he says he hates macaroni and cheese.
    • In "Speak Up, Francine," Francine has something akin to stage fright, and gets incredibly nervous at the prospect of speaking before an audience.
    • In "Waiting to Go," a Season 7 episode, Binky is seen eating peanut butter crackers, but he gains a peanut allergy in Season 9. He also tries to trade for a peanut butter sandwich and season 3's "Buster's Back." Justified, however, in that it is possible for a person to gain an allergy to a particular material or food.
    • "D.W.'s Perfect Wish" counts for two continuity errors.
      • One is that D.W. turns five in this episode, and although she maintains the age for a few episodes, shortly thereafter, D.W. is back to being four, and has stayed four.
      • Another is that Emily's age in this episode is established as already being five-years-old, yet in "Read and Flumberghast," Emily is having her fourth birthday.
    • In "Three's a Crowd," one of Prunella's favorite things to do is get up at the crack of dawn to do yoga with her mother before going to school; later however, one of the plot points of, "The Tardy Tumbler," is that Prunella has trouble getting up early enough to help Marina with her before school gymnastics class, and even remarks, "There's a six AM?"
    • The episode "April 9th" has a big one as well, with Buster and Mr. Morris introducing themselves to each other by name. They very clearly knew each other in the episodes "Arthur Accused!" and "Binky Rules."
      • Also concerning "April 9th", Mr. Morris retired from being the school's janitor and relocated to New Mexico so his daughter could care for him. Subsequently, however, Mr. Morris has still appeared serving janitorial duties at Lakewood, if only in background appearances. Now, in an episode from S19, he's back in New Mexico, corresponding with Buster via telephone.
      • The same S19 episode also shows that Martin Spivak is an actual character (and a doctor to boot), despite only being an Invented Individual in Buster's Imagine Spot from "Bitzi's Breakup".
    • "Muffy's House Guests" reveals Muffy's serious fear of birds, which she has had for quite a while. Despite this, in "Sue Ellen Gets Her Goose Cooked" and "Best of the Nest," she quite enjoys playing a game about geese.
  • Series Fauxnale: "The Last Day" plays out like it could have been the last episode. It seems like the production team wasn't expecting there to be a twentieth season, as the show has suffered a nasty case of Snap Back.
  • Serious Business:
    • Reading. In S2's "Buster Hits the Books," when the gang discovers Buster doesn't like reading, they act like he's on drugs.
    • And in S1's "Misfortune Teller", Prunella's "cootie catcher," with all of the kids obeying whatever it says they should do.
    • D.W. thinks many things which are smaller in comparison are this, such as naming her new toys. Justified in that she's four.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: S1's "D.W.'s Snow Mystery" ends with it turning out that Buster was right and the snowball was stolen by aliens.
  • She Cleans Up Nicely: Holds true for the three regular tomboys on the cast - Francine, Jenna, and Molly. Perhaps Francine moreso, because holding disdain for wearing dresses - and many other things that are associated with her respective gender - is a part of her character.
  • Shoddy Knockoff Product: In "Arthur Rides the Bandwagon," after Arthur feels left out for being the only one without a Woogle, he starts to look for them — only to find them sold out everywhere. That is, up until he sees a kiosk full of them. Instead of selling the real thing though, he gets suckered into buying a Poogle instead (all he saw of it was the "oogle" part). Rather than being stretchy and bouncy like Woogles, the Poogle is just a plastic shell. His friends are quick to call him out on this.
  • Short-Distance Phone Call: In the season 1 episode "Poor Muffy", Muffy is forced to spend a weekend at Francine's house. One scene has her on her cell phone with Francine's dad, who is on the house line in the same room.
  • Shout-Out: So much of it that the series has earned its own page.
  • Shown Their Work: A number of episodes, and is one of the reasons the show gets critical acclaim.
  • Show Within a Show:
    • Several, including "Mary Moo Cow", a send up of Barney, and "Bionic Bunny", which is Superman meets The Six Million Dollar Man. (And actually originates from the picture book The Bionic Bunny Show, which Marc Brown wrote to show readers the behind-the-scenes aspects of television.)
    • Also done with "The Dark Bunny", a Batman parody. It's even shown as taking place in the same 'verse.
    • "Love Ducks", a parody of Teletubbies. Arthur even watched it a few times, skipping Dark Bunny.
    • S10's The Squirrels features another Teletubbies equivalent with squirrels in colorful suits, teletubby-style antennas and a number prominently pinned to the front of the uniform.
    • Heck, there was even a parody of the show itself. The characters naturally lampshaded the obvious tropes. The same show uses similiar designs to characters of Little Lulu, which also had a show produced by CINAR.
    • S6's "The Secret Life of Dogs and Babies" has Baby Kate and Pal watching a show that was a very obvious parody of Rugrats. They later watch yet another Teletubbies spoof.
    • S10's The Squirrels, which is a send-up of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. Lampshaded when the latter film title was dropped at the end of the story.
    • Trucks: The Movie, a Show Within a Show featuring cars and trucks, is a movie that Francine and Muffy didn't like that much because it had only three female characters.
    • There was also that show Peabrain and Nuthead that those older kids that Buster tried to befriend liked.
    • Spooky Poo, Mr. Ratburn's favorite show, is a spoof of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! that features a kangaroo.
    • "The Magic Toolbox", a show about talking tools that also contains a spoof of the Arthur segment "A Word From Us Kids" called "Let's Talk To Some Kids" in the middle of each episode.
    • "Terrific Turbo-Trooper Toy T-Bot Team", a Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers spoof that also combines elements from Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad and Ultraman.
    • It's not a parody of anything, but there exists a business news show called $tock Market Today.
  • Sibling Seniority Squabble: Tommy and Timmy Tibble in S15's "Whistling in the Wind." Tommy claims he was born two minutes earlier. It's confirmed in "Two Minutes", but their grandmother lies about it to shut them up.
  • Sick Episode: Done many times.
    • In "For Whom the Bell Tolls", D.W. gets laryngitis. She gets better, but continues faking it for some time afterwards
    • In "Is There a Doctor In the House?", Mrs and later Mr Read both get colds. Thus, Arthur and D.W. have to take over with cooking and household chores, which does not go well for them.
    • In "Sick as a Dog", Pal gets sick from eating candy and table food. Arthur is very worried about Pal, but he turns out okay in the end.
    • In "Arthur's Chicken Pox", Arthur gets chicken pox and gets special treatment from his grandma. D.W. is very jealous until she catches it.
    • In "Arthur's Substitute Teacher Trouble". Mr. Ratburn gets laryngitis and regretfully tells the principal, Mr. Haney, that he can't teach his class. When Mr. Ratburn leaves, Mr. Haney announces that his substitute will be Mrs. Rodentia Ratburn, Mr. Ratburn's sister.
    • In "Double Tibble Trouble", Tommy and later Timmy Tibble gets sick, and D.W. and Emily have to cheer him up.
    • In "The Great MacGrady, Mrs MacGrady gets cancer. She recovers, though.
    • In "Cast Away", Kate is sick, but only for one scene.
    • Arthur and Buster get sick in "Brain Sees Stars."
  • Silence of Sadness: In "The Case of the Girl with the Long Face", George notices that Fern feels sad, as she and does not share her poetry in class (she doesn't want to write stories either, but that's a different thing altogether). He hires Buster to figure out why, but in the end, Fern reveals that she just feels sad sometimes for no apparent reason. When this period ends, it has given her a good idea for a new story.
  • Similar Item Confusion: In the episode "What's Cooking?", Arthur enters a cooking competition at school, hosted by famous chef Ming Tsai, with plans to make a chocolate cake. His dad insists on wanting to help, even thought it's a kids-only competition. Arthur makes a mistake by adding baking soda instead of baking powder, resulting in a batch of brownies instead of a chocolate cake. He wants to throw them out at first, but then his brownies become a huge hit with the class, and he learns from Tsai that many great foods were created by accident.
  • Skewed Priorities: Everybody is hit with this on occasion. Muffy is a notably chronic case; she's her line of thinking sometimes accounts only for her privileged life, and she views some of her friends' endeavors as marketing opportunities.
    • One from the adults is "The Blizzard", where Mr. Ratburn refuses to stay to help thaw the pipes at the school so he can go home and work out his lesson plan for the next full day of class, right in the middle of a raging snowstorm that renders the roads impassable. Another from the same episode comes from Francine's parents, who hold her to finishing her class report that she failed to do on time, even with the conditions outside and inside worsening.
  • Slice of Life: Pretty much, despite the characters being walking, talking animals.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Definitely more on the idealistic end of the scale, though this show is not afraid to touch upon mature issues and difficult situations that kids actually go through.
  • Slumber Party:
    • "Fern's Slumber Party" is about Fern's mother forcing her to have a slumber party, while Fern is disappointed when everyone is bored at her party.
    • "Jenna's Bedtime Blues" has Jenna invited to Muffy's sleepover, although she worries that her bedwetting habit will be exposed.
  • Slower Than a Snail: "D.W. Blows the Whistle" has an Arthur's Imagine Spot about D.W.'s safety patrolling ruining the race by making the cars safe. As the race begins, two snails are shown participating, with one saying "This is my kind of race!"
  • Smart People Play Chess:
    • Rattles in S16's "Brain's Chess Mess", where he's revealed to be an amazing chess player, and even tutors Brain and the Chess Club how to play a proper game. While he's not a Child Prodigy like Brain, Rattles does know how to pronounce a lot of words that are too advanced for his grade level. In the same episode, it's also subverted with Brain at first - while he's smart and does know how to play chess, he didn't have anyone good enough to practice with, letting his skills get rusty. It's after he meets Rattles does he become good again.
    • In "Brain's Shocking Secret," Binky wants to start acting smart, so he plays chess with Brain and invents his own moves.
  • Smell Phone: Parodied in the episode "Cereal". Buster tries to show someone the smell of something in a podcast, but then realises he can't.
  • Smurfette Principle: Lampshaded by Molly in S14's "The Agent of Change", which featured the Movie Within a Show, Trucks: The Musical.
  • Snap Back: At the end of "The Last Day", all of the kids moved up to the next grade. Come season 20, that doesn't seem to have stuck, as D.W. is still in Ms. Morgan's class.
  • Soap Within a Show: A few times, various characters are seen watching a soap opera on TV.
  • Something-itis: In "The Secret About Secrets", D.W. gets a secret that she wants not to tell, and asks for a day off from school (she actually gets one) by saying she is sick, then saying she thinks she has secret-itis. Grandma Thora arrives to babysit her and Kate.
    Thora: Your mother tells me you have a very distinctive ailment.
  • Sock Slide Rink: "D.W on Ice" had D.W agreeing to go ice skating with Emily and practices by sliding around on the floor of her house in her pantyhose. Slamming into Arthur just as he gets home at one point. Arthur points out sliding in pantyhose and ice skating are two different things.
  • Soda Can Shakeup: In the episode "Meek for a Week", Brain compares a person cracking after suppressing their emotions to a soda can exploding after being shaken up.
  • Somebody Doesn't Love Raymond: In "One Ornery Critter" Arthur meets a dog that doesn't like him and tries to figure out why. Even after it falls in a bush and he removes thorns from its nose, it still doesn't like him. In the end, he learns that some animals just won't like you no matter what you do.
  • Something Only They Would Say:
    • Arthur knows when he gets mail from Buster, because Buster "can read all right, but he can't write Read."
    • In S2's "Love Notes for Muffy", this is how Fern figures out who's sending Muffy's eponymous love notes: Only the Brain can use "regardless" correctly in a sentence.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Rattles uses words that are far beyond his grade level, but his attempts to use them as insults fall flat due to his Joisey-like accent, making him sound thuggish, along with his ignorance of the definitions of said words.
  • So Proud of You: At the end of "Muffy's Soccer Song," an adaptation of "Muffy's Soccer Shocker" featured on the Arthur's Really Rockin' Music Mix album, Ed Crosswire tells Muffy "I'm so proud of you."
  • Soulful Plant Story: In "The Cherry Tree", Muffy's favourite cherry tree needs to be cut down to make way for a bouncy castle. She starts to regret this and wishes that she could have it back.
  • Sound-Effect Bleep: A major feature of the episode "Bleep." The episode is about D.W. learning a swear word, and every time it's said, it's bleeped out.
    • Happens twice in "The Law of the Jungle Gym", first when Molly is threatening Muffy and her friends to leave the jungle gym, most of what she says is drowned out by noise coming from a garbage truck. Later on in the same episode she is telling Muffy her plan for how both groups can use the jungle gym and the camera cuts to a worker outside using a leaf blower.
  • Soup Is Medicine:
    • In "April 9th", Arthur fakes a sore throat, as he knows that if he has a sore throat, his dad will stay home and make him chicken soup.
    • In "The Great MacGrady, Arthur and D.W. bring chicken soup for the cancer-afflicted Mrs MacGrady.
  • Space Whale Aesop:
    • In "The World of Tomorrow," the lesson apparently is to learn about science otherwise you won't be able to answer a question a time machine gives you and you'll be put back on exhibit in a museum.
    • According to "Arthur's Dummy Disaster," giraffe puppets are not necessary to read poems out loud. Good luck finding an applicable use for that knowledge in real life.
  • Species Surname: Usually averted.
  • Spell My Name with a "The": Arthur's smart friend went by "The Brain" in the earlier seasons, although just "Brain" has been in use since "Arthur Makes the Team" from the 1st season. The change to just "Brain" is best reflected by the trading cards on the website; the old ones had him labeled as "The Brain," while a 2019 update changed the text to say "Brain."
  • Spin-Off: Postcards from Buster, based on the pilot episode of the same name from season eight. The show is a blend of live action and animation (although mostly live-action), and it features Buster traveling around the world with his dad. Arthur and his friends appear sometimes, usually through phone calls to Buster.
  • Spoiled Brat: Muffy can be this. She plays an exaggerated example of this trope when her family is chosen to be on a reality show and the director, J3, wants to create drama to sell the show better. He suggests that Muffy bully her beloved butler, Bailey, who she is very close with. This includes Muffy throwing food, badgering Bailey to drive faster, and a Mommie Dearest-inspired wire hanger scene. Off the reality show, while she can be mean sometimes, she is never as mean as her reality show portrayal.
  • Spoiled Sweet: D.W.'s friend Emily. She's quite well-off, but always willing to share with others, particularly D.W., even if the latter is being bratty toward her.
  • Spoof Aesop: The track "My Echo Doesn't Sound Like Me" on Arthur's Really Rockin' Music Mix. Arthur goes to Echo Point and finds that his echo repeats the opposite of what he says. He asks about it, and his echo responds, "You're always yelling at me. You're never asking how I feel." Arthur asks how his echo feels, and it joins him again from then on. The point of this song seems to be "pay attention to your echo and don't neglect it."
  • Start My Own:
    • Several times, but when the kids try to make their own "James Hound" movie in S2's "Arthur Makes a Movie" they find out their outtakes are So Bad, It's Good.
    • "My Club Rules" has the kids creating clubs with increasingly ridiculous rules after quitting each other's clubs.
    • In "Muffy's Classy Classics Club," Arthur, Brain and Francine start their own book club when Muffy refuses to allow the book club that she started to be run democratically. Nobody could blame them - Muffy basically just strong-armed them into joining her book club in the first place by sending them each a free copy of the book and demanding that they show up.
    • "Kidonia" has Arthur and his friends creating their own country. It doesn't end well when they start abusing the rules.
  • Start of Darkness: The Teaser of "The Last Tough Customer" shows Molly's: when she was little, a couple of older kids teased her about her poofy hair. She took out her hairbands, letting her hair fall across her eyes, and became a bully.
  • Status Cell Phone: An early 2000s episode had the local Rich Bitch, Muffy, as the only character known to have a cell phone.
  • Status Quo Game Show:
    • In "Arthur and the Big Riddle," Arthur ends up losing the Riddle Quest game show. At least he feared that if he won, he'll have to come back to the show again and again and eventually change schools.
    • Averted in "Fifteen," where George wins a game show and money is donated to the school.
  • Stealth Pun:
    • Arthur and James both share their names with English kings. In one episode, Arthur pulls a sword from a stone and is called king of the Medieval Fair; in another, James is treated like a king, and becomes Drunk with Power.
    • In "Popular Girls," there's a picture of a woman with a flower pot on her head...
  • Steam Never Dies: In "Strangers On a Train," Sue Ellen and her mother ride the Crown City Star, a long-distance passenger train hauled by a streamlined 1930s-style steam locomotive (noticeably with no tender car). Justified in that the Crown City Star was first built and run in 1935 and has barely had any changes made over the decades, to the point where the passenger cars look noticeably run-down on the inside, and the dining car, lounge car and many of the sleeper cars are currently being fixed up (though the conductor states that they have the snack car available.)
  • Stern Teacher: Arthur's new piano teacher Dr. Feuge makes his students play large amounts of chords and practice with very long classical pieces. He has also gone as far as to fire students that do not meet his expectations for teaching.
  • Stock Sound Effect:
    • Arthur's gasp and screams.
    • Baby Kate's cry, which is also used for Mei Lin and a younger D.W. in "Arthur's Eyes". Kate's laughing also counts.
    • Many episodes use a sound of kids cheering where you can distinctly hear a boy shouting "We win!"
    • Another commonly-used sound is that of kids "wowing" in amazement. D.W. can easily be heard among them, though this sound is often used in scenes where she is not present.
    • There is also a commonly-used recording of Arthur and his friends all screaming together, with Arthur's notably wavering like a siren in the second half of the group scream. It's first used in "Arthur and the Real Mr. Ratburn" when the kids scream among learning that Mr. Ratburn is their third grade teacher, and gets used several times afterward throughout the early seasons, and in some cases it's sped up to sound like a group of tiny creatures screaming (such as all the burgers Binky runs on in his Nightmare Sequence, or termites running from a horrible sound an exterminator is using in an Imagine Spot.)
    • The show frequently recycles small character soundbites such as gasps, screams, and moans. Sometimes these are even used for characters other than who they were originally recorded for. One of many examples is in "D.W. Thinks Big", where Cousin Cora gasps...like Mrs. Read!
    • Francine's gasp as well.
  • Stock "Yuck!":
    • Ladonna Compson hates beets, despite being a Big Eater. Her hatred of beets is enough to make her feel nauseous whenever she hears the word.
    • D.W. in S2's "D.W., the Picky Eater" hates spinach to the point of throwing tantrums over being served it. The episode's aesop is for to learn to eat different foods without complaint.
  • Stop Poking Me!: Alberto gives Arthur a Spanish-English Dictionary. Aside from being neighborly on Alberto's part, it allows Arthur to read Spanish language comic books without bothering him.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike:
    • In "Home Sweet Home" a kid in Fritz's flashback happens to look exactly like a kid in Buster's earlier Imagine Spots.
    • In "Arthur and Los Vecinos" D.W. manages to correctly guess what Alberto's little sister Vicita looks like before meeting her.
    • Binky and Grandma Thora both forget to shell the pecans before making pecan pie.
    • In "Best Enemies," D.W. and W.D. have variations on the same dream, which converge upon each other and end in a double Catapult Nightmare.
    • In "Team Trouble", one of Buster's ideas for a history project is an interpretive dance. Francine quickly shuts it down. At the end of the episode, it turns out that Binky and his group chose an interpretive dance for their project.
  • Students Playing Matchmaker: In "Mr. Ratburn and the Special Somebody", the kids think Mr. Ratburn is marrying a woman named Patty, but Patty is mean, so they try to hook him up with Miss Turner instead by using a fake love letter. However, she knows it wasn't him who wrote it because some words, including his first name, are spelled wrong. As it turns out, Patty is his sister, and he's actually gay and marrying a guy named Patrick.
  • Stylistic Suck:
    • The kids' drawings.
    • The Pretty Pioneers dolls and books. Several of the books are badly written and researched and the dolls are all alike aside from their dresses and names.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: The "Baxter Day" song from Arthur's Perfect Christmas has this— "We could just sleep late if that's what we wanted to do. We could even stay in pajamas all day and maybe eat a snack or... five."
  • Summer Campy: "Arthur Goes to Camp". The episode features a rival summer camp. Its campers gift Arthur and his friends a really hard time, compelling them to band together to beat them in the annual scavenger hunt.
  • Superstition Episode: Brain gets so sick of a conversation on superstition brought on by inane Baseball rituals that he attempts to prove there's no such thing as bad luck by repeatedly ducking under a ladder, dancing on the pavement crack and breaking a mirror. Bad luck ensues. He tries to fix his bad luck by bringing a bag carrying good luck charms around with him all the time. At the end of the episode, he finds he's been carrying around the wrong bag, but everyone considers the sports clothes inside instead to be other good luck charms.
  • Surprise Party:
    • In "Arthur's Birthday," this was Arthur and Francine's solution to the clash caused by Arthur and Muffy's birthday falling on the same day: They turn it into a surprise party for Muffy.
    • In "Grandma Thora Appreciation Day" Arthur and D.W. throw Grandma Thora a surprise party after they decide that she is sad because of the conditions she is living in (having false teeth, eating potato chips with no salt, and not having cable television).
    • Arthur and his friends throw a surprise party for Buster in "The Ballad of Buster Baxter."
Advertisement:

    T 
  • Take That!:
    • Most Arthur fans know the S8 episode "Bleep" as a stab at censorship.
    • S12's "The Chronicles of Buster" poke fun of The Lord of the Rings extended edition DVD sets and similar products, though it's not really bashing them so much as fans' obsessions with watching the features on them.
    • S13's "Brain Gets Hooked" has Brain becoming obsessed with a Lost-style show. He berates the characters for forgetting facts between episodes.
    • Supposedly a gesture towards the show's former head writer, Joe Fallon: after Fallon's depature, "Crazy Bus" was dropped as D.W.'s favorite song. Fallon had written and performed the song for the show.
    • "All the Rage" features a not so subtle take that at crocs, and, to a lesser degree, Paris Hilton.
    • "Caught in the Crosswires" is a satire of reality TV, through and through. The episode has Mr. and Mrs. Crosswire being forced to include some extremely blatant Product Placement shilling for their car dealership, and the producer demands a bunch of fabricated drama between Muffy and Bailey, to the point where it effectively turns into a stereotype of a typical "dysfunctional household" reality show.
    • In the Arthur and Friends: The First Almost Real Not Live CD (or Tape) track "Arthur vs. the Piano", Arthur complains about "Chopsticks" ("I'd like to boil it in grease, this piece!") and "Do Re Mi" ("Fa, what is fa? It isn't even a word!").
  • Talking Typography: The EpisodeTitleCards, in an open acknowledgement that younger viewers can't quite read them yet. Voiceovers were retroactively added into the oldest episodes.
  • Talking with Signs: In "I Wanna Hold Your Hand," Binky is worried that George saw him holding his mother's hand that he warns him not to say anything. George has no idea what Binky is even taking about, but eventually Binky's frequent death glares cause him to stop talking entirely and start communicating this way. This is despite the fact that at this point in the series, Binky is only reputed to be a bully, and nobody can even remember anymore him having actually hit anyone. At the end of the episode, everything is resolved; Binky's fellow Tough Customers find out that he sometimes holds his mother's hand, but they couldn't care less. George, however, is still talking using signs, so Binky tells him that he can talk now and George holds up a sign reading "Really?" "Yes, really," Binky replies, and George says "phew" in relief.
  • Tastes Better Than It Looks:
    • In "Opposites Distract", Bitzi offers Arthur and Buster a dish of spaghetti and marshmallow balls, which appears to be a plate of spaghetti with meatballs topped with giant marshmallows. Arthur even admits that it's surprisingly good.
    • In "Dad's Dessert Dilemma," Mr. Read sends a honey cake baked in the shape of the Leaning Tower of Pisa to school for a party honoring Galileo. Arthur thinks the cake looks ridiculous and assumes that everyone will find it disgusting, so he tries to hide it - that is until Mr. Ratburn finds and samples it. He exclaims it's delicious, prompting the other kids to try it as well, and they love it, too, to Arthur's dismay.
  • Tastes Like Chicken:
    • In "Carried Away", Dr. Yowl explains that his space snacks allow whoever eats them to breathe in the atmospheres of other planets, and that they taste like chicken.
    • In "The Secret Life of Dogs and Babies," the groom takes a bite out of the bride and groom sculpture that was on top of the cake and remarks that it "kind of tastes like chicken".
  • Teachers out of School:
    • When Mr. Ratburn's ceiling collapses and he temporarily moves in with the Read family, D.W. is confused.
      D.W.: So, the school roof fell in?
      Mr. Ratburn: No, the roof to my home.
      D.W.: But you're a teacher - The school is your home.
      Mr. Ratburn: Teachers don't live at school, D.W. We have houses just like you.
      D.W.: The world seemed so simple before this moment.
    • In "Lend Me Your Ears" Buster is surprised to see that Mr. Ratburn is a member of a rock band. Similarly in "Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone" he is surprised when he learns Mr. Ratburn is marrying a man.
  • Technician vs. Performer: "Mutiny on the Pitch" explores this dynamic. When soccer captain Francine is criticized for being too bossy, she gives the reins over to Buster, who motivates the team emotionally, but is less knowledgeable. With the playoffs on the line, the rest of the team asks Francine to return as captain, and Buster is made an alternate.
  • Technologically Blind Elders: Due to his age, Mr. Ratburn knows next to nothing about the internet. However, the Brain teaches him how to use it, leading Mr. Ratburn to develop a minor addiction to internet forums.
  • Teens Love Shopping: All the teens seen on the show love to shop. Muffy does too, and in "Muffy Gets Mature", she wants to be like them because of that similarity.
  • Thanksgiving Episode:
    • Season 11's "Francine's Pilfered Paper" takes place around the Thanksgiving holiday break and centers around an essay that the group has to do over that weekend.
    • The hour-long special "An Arthur Thanksgiving" centers directly around Thanksgiving and a very unusual celebration for the Read family plus a reference to the Macy's Parade.
  • That Cloud Looks Like...:
    • The teaser of S1's "Arthur's Substitute Teacher Trouble" showcases two kids in the other 3rd class doing this.
    • In S14's "Around the World in 11 Minutes," Pal and Amigo do the same thing.
    • In S2's "The Short, Quick Summer," Buster sees "a train chasing an octopus." Francine thinks this is ridiculous until she sees that Buster is right.
  • That Poor Cat:
    • In "Arthur Babysits" Tommy and Timmy sic their grandmother's cat onto Arthur's face once they notice she has left.
    • In "Arthur's Pet Business" Arthur is chasing a loose bird around the living room and inadvertently steps on the tail of a sleeping cat, briefly sending it air born in pain before it continues napping.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: In-Universe example. In "Arthur Sells Out," Arthur is trying to sell his old toys to make the money to buy the new Dark Bunny video game. At the end, even though he has not gotten the game, he gets to try it when Muffy buys it. It turns out the game is a very boring side-scroller with bland graphics and you don't even play as Dark Bunny.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Sandwich:
    • In "Arthur's Lucky Pencil", Arthur and Buster are drinking milkshakes or sodas at the Sugar Bowl when a waitress tells them about a "Milkshakes for Life" contest. Buster lunges towards Arthur, begging to borrow his lucky pencil, and in doing so, knocks over his drink. Arthur then lunges back at Buster and spills his drink before leaving.
    • In "How The Cookie Crumbles," after trying each batch of cookies, trying to replicate the winning ones, Muffy throws them in the trash after tasting them. She eventually fills the trash can.
    • In "The Secret Origin of Supernova," after Brain informs Arthur that the Dark Bunny energy drink is full of sugar, Arthur just throws it in the trash without even tasting it.
    • In "Cereal," Buster asks Arthur to help make a poster for his podcast. Arthur responds by taking Buster's sandwich and throwing it in his soup.
  • Thing-O-Meter: In the opening of the episode "Bossy Boots," Brain designs a machine called the "Boss-O-Meter" to measure how bossy a person is from 1-10. When D.W. walks by, the machine overloads and breaks.
    • In "Bitzi's Beau" Buster and Harry have handheld Alien-O-Meters which can tell if a person or character is an alien. They are supposedly just toys that always show someone is an alien if activated.
  • Tickle Torture:
    • Parodied in a Dream Sequence in S1's "Buster's Dino Dilemma."
    • Played straight in S11's "Baby Kate and the Imaginary Mystery" in a Dream Sequence where the Tibble Twins do this to Nadine.
  • Time Skip: Some episodes take place over the course of several months. Examples include "The Feud," "The Contest," "Background Blues," and "Brain and the Time Capsule."
  • Tiny Tim Template: episode "Prunella Gets it Twice", Prunella is rude to Francine for getting her a birthday present she already has, then has a guilt-induced nightmare similar to the Christmas Carol story where ghosts tell her that Francine worked hard to earn the gift, including "looking after her little brother Tiny Tim"— which Prunella points out is untrue, since the only sibling Francine has is an older sister Catherine.
  • Title Drop: A few times for episode titles.
    • "Binky Rules" is both the name of the episode and the graffiti that appears on the wall.
    • "The World of Tomorrow" is about Binky visiting a museum exhibit of the same name.
    • In "Staycation," D.W. claims that she invented the term "staycation" and has her parents take a vacation in the backyard as she and Arthur take care of Kate.
  • Title Theme Tune: Some of the audiobook editions of the Arthur Adventure books include one of these. The theme can best be described as sounding like something out of an '80s Bible school presentation, but the music for it is actually reasonably catchy and the fact that the audiobooks are narrated by Marc Brown (and so you get to hear what his interpretations of the characters sound like) make them a rare treat. They have since been reissued on compact disc and on iTunes as "Arthur's Audio Adventures." One way to listen is by signing up for a free trial of Audible and then using the credit to purchase a copy of Arthur Babysits.
  • To Be Continued: Subverted on this show, however, in that it picks up after "A Word From Us Kids" instead of in the next episode.
    • Binky pulls a fire alarm in the middle of "April 9th," and "Stay Tuned" flashes on the screen.
    • This also happens in the middle of "Happy Anniversary".
  • Toilet Humor: Happens in Arthur's Perfect Christmas. D.W. thinks that she sees Santa Claus in the bathroom (it's actually her and Arthur's Uncle Fred, wearing a red shirt and with shaving cream on his face) so she goes to get her parents. By the time she gets back, Fred has left the bathroom and Arthur has entered and is having a pee when Dad opens the door to check D.W.'s claim. This leads Arthur to exclaim "Can't a kid get any privacy around here?!" (The answer? No. He had to put up with D.W. during his oatmeal bath for his chicken pox in "Arthur's Chicken Pox" also.)
  • Token Minority:
    • The Molinas, a Latino family.
    • The Powers family is black.
    • The Frenskys are Jewish.
  • Token Wizard: Nadine is the only character who can do magic, justified because she's an Imaginary Friend. Prunella and Rubella sometimes try to do psychic things, but aren't actually psychic.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl:
    • Francine and Muffy. Francise is a sporty tomboy while Muffy is more feminine and Spoiled Sweet.
    • D.W. and Emily may be a mild example, as Emily tends to have more refined manners and much less of a tendency to be bossy or take a leadership role. As seen in some episodes, D.W. will climb trees, play catch with Arthur and his dad, and do other things considered tomboyish for a girl her age. She also seems like the hardier of the two girls when it comes to roughhousing/generally dealing with the Tibble twins.
    • In a more straight example, "Best Enemies" featured D.W., a girly-girl, and introduced a tomboy counterpart, W.D.
  • Took a Level in Kindness:
    • Binky and the Tough Customers, as time went on. Binky is the most prominent, but Rattles, Molly, and later Slink eventually get in on it, too to the point where the Tough Customers eventually decide to completely swear off their bullying ways in Season 16.
    • Francine was also more nasty in the earlier episodes. She managed to mellow out and became generally personable, if still more aggressive than her friends and not above a mean moment here or there.
    • Arthur himself. In seasons 1-3, he hates D.W., wants her head to pop off ("Arthur vs. the Piano"), tries to get her to kick a bowling ball ("My Club Rules"), threatens to sell her ("Sue Ellen's Little Sister"), and is overall very mean to her. Later, he helps her cure her hiccups ("Hic or Treat"), helps her name her toy ("What's in a Name?"), and takes care of her virtual pet for her ("D.W.'s Stray Netkitten"). Arthur's attitude towards Mr. Ratburn changes, too, from finding him overly strict ("The Rat Who Came to Dinner") to appreciating how hard he makes them work ("The Last Day") and going to say hi when he sees him in public ("Lend Me Your Ear").
  • Too Many Halves:
    • In the episode "Tales from the Crib", when the mischievous Tibble twins invent a scary creature to frighten D.W. from moving out of her crib.
      Tibbles: Aracnar, Lord of the Spider People. He's half-man, half-spider, and he eats children. He can't get his tentacles through the bars of the crib but kids in beds are easy picking! He climbs up the side, and crawls under the sheet!
      D.W.: Wait a second! If he's half-man, half-spider, why does he have tentacles?
      Tibbles: ...uh, he's half-octopus too! And half Tyrannosaurus rex!
    • In "Finders Key-pers," Arthur, Brain, and Binky find a key in the grass. They decide to split whatever it unlocks "50-50-50."
  • The Topic of Cancer: "The Great MacGrady" has the school's lunchlady reveal that she had cancer. Significant, in that a kids' show addressed it so openly.
  • To the Tune of:
    • In-universe example: Show Within a Show Mary Moo-Cow's theme tune is sung to Frere Jacques
    • Real life example: The Actimates D.W. and Arthur sings a birthday song to the tune of London Bridge on your birthday. Microsoft is too cheap to license Happy Birthday To You.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Both Arthur and Mr. Ratburn love them the hell out of some cake!
    • Francine and her family seem to particularly like Chinese food. Eating it is one of their big Hanukkah traditions, and Muffy tries to tempt Francine to eat meat using several of her favorite (meaty) Chinese dishes in "Sue Ellen Vegges Out." Binky is also a huge fan of Chinese food, particularly egg rolls.
  • Trailers Always Spoil:
    • The funding credits for Arthur's Perfect Christmas show a screenshot of the very end of the special of Arthur in front of the house while it is snowing, even though the fact that there's no snow for a majority of the special is made a somewhat major part of Arthur's arc. Most of the promotional materials also depict Arthur playing in the snow.
    • One promo picture for "When Rivals Came to Roost" spoils the ending: it depicts Brain and Los Dedos both holding the first place trophy, with the combined exhibit in the background.
  • Traveling at the Speed of Plot: In "D.W.'s Name Game," D.W. specifically invokes this in her dream sequence. Walter the deer, who is a real deer in the world of the show, but has become a Talking Animal in her fantasy, tells her that the Thesaurus dwells beyond the woods at the library. She says it's a long way to walk, so she asks if he has a picture of it. He holds one up and she leaps into it, Breaking the Fourth Wall to comment to the viewer that it would have been "so boring" to watch her walk through the woods.
  • Treasure Hunt Episode: "The Big Dig" and "Arthur's Treasure Hunt." In the former, Grandpa Dave gives Arthur and D.W. a map to dig up some treasure. In the latter, Buster finds an arrowhead and he and his friends dig around their houses for treasures.
  • Treehouse of Fun: Arthur and friends' treehouse/clubhouse is a popular spot for them to hang out.
  • Trend Aesop:
    • "Arthur Rides the Bandwagon". For bonus points, a Woogle appears in a later episode as a useless item that Kate is trying to trade. To further drive the point home, the Woogle was placed in a yard sale in "Desperately Seeking Stanley" before Kate tried to trade it.
    • "D.W. and Dr. Whosit" has everyone obsessed with a new TV show called Dr. Whosit. When D.W. sees it, she thinks it's boring and doesn't want to watch it anymore.
  • The Triple: In "The Good Sport," Francine says that she's the captain of the softball team, the captain of the hockey team, the captain of her Temple's basketball team, and "the only person who can sit on Binky's head."
  • True Companions:
    • Arthur and his friends are these, despite their spats and arguments. Mister Rogers lampshades it to Arthur in S2's "Arthur Meets Mister Rogers" -
      Mister Rogers: Real friends don't make fun of real friends, and your friends seem like real friends.
    • The Tough Customers are this as well whenever the episodes focus on them. In S9's "Binky Goes Nuts", Molly can be seen doing bodyguard duty for Binky after it's discovered he has a peanut allergy, preventing any kids holding peanut-based foods from sitting with him. In S18's "Whip. Mix. Blend.," the Tough Customers help Rattles deal with his new twin step-siblings as best as possible.
  • Truth in Television: Cats can't digest lactose, which explains why both Nemo and Jenna are allergic to milk.
  • TV Head Robot:
    • One of the Brain's Imagine Spots in "Nicked by a Name" features Buster with a TV for a head, with his actual head appearing on the screen. For context, this is because he was called "Antenna Ears" earlier on in the episode.
    • In "Buster Gets Real," Arthur and Bionic Bunny have to sneak past a robot with a TV for a head.

    U 
  • Unexpectedly Dark Episode:
    • As if "So Funny I Forgot to Laugh" isn't unsettling enough, there's an interactive storybook version of the episode available on PBS's website, where the resolution of the story varies depending on the reader's choices throughout the story itself. One alternate ending has Arthur losing all his friends as a result of Arthur refusing to apologize to Sue Ellen and still claiming that she overreacted; on top of that, Arthur actually brushes them all off and decides if they don't want to talk to him anymore that's their problem, not his. You can almost imagine Arthur just saying, "Fuck it all!"
    • "Nerves of Steal" is this as the entire episode has a much less cheerful air due to Buster not only moping over him and Arthur not having a CyberToy as the rest of their friends do, but actually stealing said toy when he can't afford to buy one by sneaking it into Arthur's bag unnoticed. The entire episode shifts to Buster being confronted with the consequences of stealing, a crime he dragged his best friend into, one who is completely justified in his anger at Buster having resorted to this. After a failed attempt to return the toy without anybody seeing it, the boys are caught anyway and forced to answer for the incident. The episode ends with both boys punished for their actions, and Buster forced to isolate himself in his room for an entire month while the rest of his friends go about their weekend. That said, it's an unusually offputting episode for the fact that it does not end on the usual happy note.
    • "Arthur's Big Hit", the only instance of actual physical and intentional violence in the series. It sees Arthur actually physically punching D.W. for wrecking his model plane. Arthur later gets this from Binky who is pressured by the other Tough Customers to carry out the act just to prove his toughness to them. That said, it is quite shocking to see such a thing happen to anyone among the main cast.
  • Unishment: Francine and Binky attempt to invoke this in "Desk Wars" by trying to get Arthur to argue with them so Mr. Ratburn will split them up and someone will be moved to Brain's empty desk, which is right in front of the fan on a very hot day and which Brain's fitted with a solar-powered supplies dispenser. Subverted when Arthur protests that he likes his desk and doesn't want to argue with them, making Mr. Ratburn send Arthur to Brain's desk. Arthur's not happy about this, especially after Binky moves to his own desk and sweats on in.
  • Unmoving Plaid: One of the Plutonians in "Carried Away" has a brick wall texture that does not move.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: In "Francine's Split Decision," Brain devises a cunning plan to allow her to attend her cousin's bar mitzvah and a bowling tournament against Mighty Mountain. Naturally, such a plan dependent on precise timing and details begins to fall apart almost immediately.
  • Unwanted Assistance:
    • In "Draw!", Francine has to explicitly tell Muffy to stop helping her prove her point that the cartoons are based on herself... because Muffy proves it by saying that the characters are rude and insulting and pushy, just like Francine.
    • In "1001 Dads", People take pity on Buster and go out of their way to set him up with a companion for Elwood City's annual Father's Day picnic, to his annoyance.
    • In "Prunella Sees the Light," Prunella sees Marina's blindness as cause to coddle her, and Marina gets fed up.
  • Unwanted Glasses Plot: The first half of The Pilot, "Arthur's Eyes." Arthur tries to get rid of his glasses, but they always come back to him. In the end, he accepts them and his friends think they're cool.
  • Unwanted Rescue:
    • In "Tibbles to the Rescue," D.W. saves the Tibbles from a fall. They feel the need to repay the favor, resulting in this trope to D.W.
    • In Arthur the Brave, one of the Arthur's Family Values books, Arthur decides to try to be a hero after D.W. tells him that he's nothing like Bionic Bunny and that he's "Arthur the Silly." When he smells smoke, he throws a bucket of water at Mr. Read, only to ruin dinner. He encounters Grandma Thora and insists on helping her cross the street, only for her to say that she didn't want to cross the street, as she was waiting for a friend at the park on the side she was already on.
  • Useless Security Camera: Subverted. A store that Buster steals an action figure from has a broken camera, but Buster thinks it's working and confesses.

    V 
  • Vacation Episode:
    • "Arthur's Family Vacation" is about the Reads taking a road trip where nothing goes well for them.
    • Double subverted in "Staycation," where Jane and David plan to go on vacation until Thora's plane flight gets canceled. Feeling bad that they couldn't have some time to relax, Arthur and D.W. give them a staycation in the backyard.
    • In a special called "The Rhythm and Roots of Arthur," the Reads (and Buster) go to Arthur's great grandfather's farm to celebrate his birthday.
  • Vegetarian for a Day: In "Sue Ellen Vegges Out", Sue Ellen becomes a vegetarian, a decision she’s been considering long before the episode started. When she announces her new lifestyle choice to her friends, Muffy and Francine join in, but the former is doing it because a celebrity she likes is doing a vegetarian diet and the latter is doing it to prove she can not eat meat longer than Muffy can. At the end, Muffy and Francine decide to go back to eating meat because they decide that vegetarianism isn’t for them but they show their support for Sue Ellen’s vegetarianism by creating Meatless Mondays in the cafeteria.
  • Vertigo Effect: Used frequently, especially in the earlier episodes.
  • Very False Advertising:
    • In "Arthur Sells Out" Arthur saves up for a new video game and Muffy encourages him to twist the truth when selling his toys online. In the end, the hyped-up video game turned out to be an example of this too; high quality graphics in the trailer, but 8-bit graphics in the actual game. To be fair, it was a Super Mario Bros. clone with Chiptune music and voiceover.
    • In D.W. Goes to Washington Arthur flashes back to a time when D.W. made a request to visit a place she had seen on TV. The ad appears to be for a Christmas-themed resort called "Santa's Igloo: Where Santa spends the summer." A billboard they pass on the way over there is an ad saying "Share a sundae with Santa". When they arrive the real igloo is just a regular house with a crude looking igloo cutout on the front. They get greeted by a man half-dressed in a cheap Santa suit who laments that they didn't bring him any sundaes to share, saying "How can you share a sundae with Santa, if you don't bring a sundae to Santa?"
    • In Arthur's Family Vacation this is subverted because the motel that the family winds up staying at is called the "Ocean View Motel" but there is no site of the ocean. The motel manager admits that they should have been there a few years before.
  • Very Special Episode:
    • A fair few episodes, but perhaps never more so than with S13's "The Great MacGrady," a special episode about Mrs. MacGrady being diagnosed with cancer, airing every weekday throughout Breast Cancer Week.
    • S11's "Big Brother Binky" where Binky's family adopts a Chinese baby girl, Mei-Lin.
    • S13's "When Carl Met George" introduces a character who has Asperger Syndrome.
    • Before meeting Carl, George was diagnosed with dyslexia in S6's "The Boy With His Head in the Clouds."
    • Prunella meets and befriends Marina Datillo, a rabbit girl who's blind, after Prunella mistakenly gets a braille copy of the latest Henry Skreever book. The two of them quickly became best friends and have had a few episodes together. Marina's blindness is sometimes an issue discussed on the show.
    • After he hurt his leg and was temporarily forced into a wheelchair, Brain met Lydia Fox, a smart girl in a wheelchair who's paralyzed from the waist down, who taught him how to play basketball from a wheelchair and showed him what life with a disability was like.
    • The S7 finale "April 9th" is a reflection of the attacks at the World Trade Center in New York, New York and the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia in the year 2001 (commonly referenced by the date upon which they occurred that year (September 11th)).
    • In S15's "Grandpa Dave's Memory Album", Arthur and D.W. learn that Grandpa Dave has Alzheimer's Disease.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: The computers in the universe are never seen running more than one application at one given time, and hardware failures can result in horribly frightening things like scary clowns or noisy ninjas being displayed and acompanied by appropriate nightmare-inducing sounds and music instead of the more mundane textual error messages and beeps.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion:
    • In-universe example; in D.W. and the Beastly Birthday, Arthur accidentally buys a birthday card for D.W. that says "To the world's best little brother," not realizing that the character depicted on the front was actually a little boy. Of course, he could have avoided that if he had actually opened the card.
    • In "Meet Binky," one of the four mysterious bandmates has long blonde hair and a very feminine facial design and voice. No doubt many will be shocked to learn this band member is actually a boy named Nero.
  • Vile Villain, Saccharine Show: Supreme Dog sells highly addictive candy-bars with radiation in them to children. It's played similar to a drug.
  • Virtual Celebrity: Binky, the band that's actually made of holograms.
  • Visible Odor:
    • In Arthur's Perfect Christmas. In order to better share his family's tradition of Sankta Lucia, George brings a tin of dried and boiled Swedish fish called lutfisk to class and offers it to his friends. It has a strong, visible odor. Most of the class is averse to it, except for Buster, who tosses a piece into his mouth, says "Yum! Not bad," and goes for another, while George watches happily.
    • Done a lot in "Germophobia."
    • In "Sue Ellen Moves In" Buster is in his room and notices the smell of roast beef, mashed potatoes, and raspberry pie that his mother has made for dinner to eat with Sue Ellen's family. He has to force himself not to notice the smell fearing it may be a trap.
    • In "Buster's Breathless" Francine hallucinates that Buster's asthma is wafting out of his mouth as he speaks, pictured as a typically rancid green color.
  • Visual Pun:
    • In "Arthur's Lost Library Book", Arthur dreams about the terrible things that will happen to him if he doesn't find the book. One scenario has the police tell him, "You can't escape the long arm of the law," and a long, rubbery arm reaches through the door to grab him.
    • In "The Short, Quick Summer" Buster and Arthur are horrified to learn Mr. Crosswire hopes to destroy the local carousel to expand his automotive business, and Buster says everyone must band together to stop it. He does this, complete with an actual band to headline the protest.
    • In-Universe in "D.W. the Copycat" on an episode of Bionic Bunny where Bionic Bunny uses his super power strength to break out of a crab villain's claw. He remarks calling it his "built-in escape claws".
  • Vocal Dissonance: Any character to receive a new voice actor is bound to be hit by this. Arthur most notoriously so, to the point where some of his later actors have led some to say it sounds like he's hit "reverse puberty".
  • Vocal Evolution: And note, this is for characters whose voices naturally evolved over the years, not characters that went through changes in voice actors.
    • Francine's voice pre-Season 5 is noticeably (though not incredibly) deeper, and a bit more resonant and robust.
    • Muffy's voice starts out a bit softer and has less of a Valley Girl undertone; she also has a slight lisp, probably due to originally having buck teeth. It got slightly higher around season 9 as well.
    • Binky's is probably the most noticable: his voice was originally much deeper (similar to Arthur's Dad, as they both share the same actor, but with a menacing tone) and had far less emotional range, which developed two or three seasons into the show.
    • Buster has had a very consistent voice since the beginning of the show, however, throughout the first season, Buster would have moments of deadpan snarking, with his voice dropping a bit, sounding more like a teenager. Also, for some reason, throughout much of the second season, his voice got rather nasally/throaty (think similar to Barney Gumble).
    • Both Mr. Haney and Miss Turner are really obvious, somewhat sad examples. Miss Turner especially sounds incredibly hoarse and raspy as the show goes on, and Mr. Haney's is a tad scratchy as well.
    • Rattles would gain a Joisey-like accent after Season 14, when Scott Beaudin started voicing him.
    • The first voice actors to portray Arthur and The Brain, (Michael Yarmush and Luke Reid, respectively) were initially kept on for a few more seasons after their voices dropped, making Arthur and Brain sound more like preteens than third graders. Reid was finally replaced with Steven Crowder in season 5 and Yarmush was replaced with Justin Bradley (who was later dubbed over by Mark Rendall) in Season 6.
  • Voices Are Mental: Happens in "Freaky Tuesday" when Buster and Mr. Ratburn accidentally experience a "Freaky Friday" Flip when they touch a pan of electrified dish of spanakopita (a science experiment on cooking with lightning). Somewhat subverted in that Ratburn-In-Buster attempts to imitate Buster's regular voice when he's speaking with someone else, though Buster-In-Ratburn does not try very hard to sound like Mr. Ratburn. Also justified in that it turns out to be All Just a Dream Buster is having.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: In S8's "Vomitrocious," Francine pukes, but her face is not visible to the audience when she does.

    W 
  • "Wanted!" Poster: In Buster's Imagine Spot in "Nerves of Steal," he finds himself on a bunch of these plastered all over town.
  • Wax On, Wax Off: Subverted in S13's "Kung Fool." While doing mundane chores, like putting away dishes, Fern thinks she's learning kung fu techniques. She isn't.
  • Way Past the Expiration Date:
    • Buster has a "collection" of interesting-looking and potentially delicious food, all of which is old and stinky. Periodically, his mother throws it all out.
    • In "Background Blues," Buster eats a sandwich from 1955.
  • Wedding Episode:
    • Aunt Lucy gets married in the episode "D.W. Thinks Big."
    • "Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone" focuses on Mr. Ratburn's wedding.
  • Weird Crossover: In-universe. In "Hic or Treat", Arthur has D.W. watch an episode of the serious, scary superhero show Dark Bunny to cure her hiccups, but it backfires because the episode they watch features a guest appearance from Mary Moo Cow, from the much more lighthearted and cheery program of the same name, who teaches Dark Bunny how to be good.
  • We'll See About That:
    • In S15's "Buster's Secret Admirer," Buster suggests that his secret admirer could be Fern— that this shy girl doesn't want anyone to know that she's fallen for the most popular guy in the school. Arthur tells him that he thinks all of those chocolates (that his secret admirer sent him) have gotten to his brain. Buster's response? "We'll see about that."
    • In S16's "Sue Ellen Vegges Out," Muffy insists "We'll just see about that" when the other kids say that she won't last at being a vegetarian. She lasts less than a day, but she was only doing it anyway because it was the latest fad, and there was a new fad that day.
    • In S16's "Brain's Biggest Blunder," Brain is assigned to be part of a team for a math contest with Binky and Buster. Prunella thinks that this is her and her team's opportunity to win, and Brain comments "That Prunella thinks she's got this contest in the bag. Well, we'll just about that!"
  • We Sell Everything: The All-in-One Mart in S1's "D.W. Gets Lost."
  • We Want Our Jerk Back: Several examples are played straight, while others have variants of the trope.
    • "Meek for a Week" sort of subverts it, since the kids don't want Francine to be a jerk, but they do need her to be aggressive enough to win a hockey game for them against the Tough Customers.
    • "Buster Isn't Buying It" has the "We Want Our Conspiracy Theorist Back" variant - Buster's favorite show is The Factoid Front, a series that focuses on supposed sightings of aliens, Bigfoot, and assorted creatures. After the show is cancelled due to lack of research, Buster decides he now only believes what can be absolutely proven. Even Brain ends up wanting the old Buster back. And yes, he does revert to his old personality.
    • S1's "Arthur's Substitute Teacher Trouble" is the "We Want Our Strict Teacher Back" variant - after Mr. Ratburn comes down with laryngitis, his class is initially happy... but then they get saddled with so many incompetent substitute teachers that they cheer when Mr. Ratburn arrives completely healed and his voice restored.
    • "Popular Girls" has Sue Ellen and Fern pretty much switch personalities to gain popularity, prompting this.
    • "It's a No-Brainer" is the "We Want Our Genius Back" variant - The episode arc is that Brain's extreme stage fright caused him to freeze during Math-a-Thon preliminaries, meaning Buster was slated to participate in the all-school competition. Since this would have been a disaster, the other kids do everything they can to get Brain to compete again (Buster, knowing his chances, had dropped out). This is a particularly egregious example of the trope since Brain had begun acting like Buster, down to pursuing a "career" as a comedian.
  • What Are Records?:
    • Played straight in the episode "Francine Frensky, Superstar." (Note: This was one of the earliest episodes of the show, from 1996.) The kids shot blank looks at Mr. Ratburn when he talked about Thomas Edison's invention, the phonograph, and prompted the following exchange:
      Ratburn: It was before CDs. It played music, with a needle.
      Binky: Is that a joke?
    • Two seasons later, in "Popular Girls," when one group of kids brings in various antique or "old-fashioned" devices, Jenna demonstrates a record player, and all the kids "ooh" and "aah" over it.
  • What's a Henway?: In "D.W. the Copycat", Buster races Arthur, Francine, Binky and D.W. dressed up as Arthur to the Sugar Bowl and yells "Last one to the Sugar Bowl's a Henway!":
    Buster: You're last, Arthur! You're a Henway.
    Arthur: What's a Henway?
    Buster: About 5 pounds. (everybody except D.W. laughs)
  • "What Do They Fear?" Episode: S2's "Night Fright." Binky gets nightmares without a night light, Sue Ellen is afraid of graveyards, and Arthur is scared of ventriloquist dummies.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?:
    • In "The Cave," Francine and D.W. both mock Arthur for being scared of a trip to a cave. While we see that Francine is actually scared and Arthur helps her out, we never see how D.W. reacts to hearing that Arthur wasn't scared.
    • In "He Said, He Said," the Reads' cable goes out, and when last we see Jane, she's on hold with the company. We never find out whether Jane reached a representative to discuss the outage or if the company noticed the problem on their own and fixed it.
    • In "D.W. and Dr. Whosit," Bud assists D.W. with her plan to watch the forbidden show Dr. Whosit. He distracts D.W.'s parents while she gets the password for the parental controls. They watch the show together, and while D.W. gets punished with a week of no TV, Bud runs off when he is caught and it is never shown if he faced any consequences at home.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In S1's "Arthur, World's Greatest Gleeper", the Tough Customers harshly call out Arthur for lying to them about being great at "gleeping" (i.e. stealing), with Rattles making a point to sit on Arthur's back and bounce a small ball on the poor boy's head.
    • In "D.W. Flips", the gymnastic teacher calls out Emily on overshadowing D.W.'s efforts to do a cartwheel by showing off and doing multiple cartwheels. D.W. understandably yells out "It's not fair", given she practiced her cartwheel all week.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve:
    • Seen in "Arthur's Birthday," except the clock (the grandfather clock in Arthur's living room) is striking noon instead of midnight, as noon is the time the double-birthday party for Arthur and Muffy is supposed to start.
    • In "Arthur's New Year's Eve" the Frenskys are seen in a fantasy waiting till the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve to throw out the old year's calendar, since Francine claims they become illegal when midnight hits. Being a New Year's Eve episode, naturally the clock actually does hit midnight at the end.
    • The midnight variation does show up in "Prunella's Special Edition," but in this case, a bookstore is opening at midnight, and kids are waiting to enter to buy the latest Henry Skreever book.
  • When You Coming Home, Dad?: A variant occurs in "Shelter from the Storm." Ladonna's dad, who is part of the Army Corps of Engineers, is sent to help clean up after a hurricane hits Elwood City. Ladonna misses him and worries that he won't make it back in time for her birthday. He does.
  • Whole Episode Flashback:
    • "Arthur's Eyes" has D.W. discover a picture of Arthur without his glasses, prompting a flashback of how he got them.
    • In "Tales from the Crib," Vicita is scared of moving into a bed from her crib, and D.W. shares her own experience.
    • "Arthur's Baby" and "D.W.'s Baby" are the same story of Kate being born, but from different perspectives.
  • Whole Plot Reference
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?: The end of S3's "Buster's Growing Grudge." Buster suggests that he, Binky, and Arthur all have their own television show. Binky responds, "Sounds good, but maybe not Arthur. Who'd want to watch him on TV?"
  • Why Don't You Just Shoot Him?: Brain discusses this trope with Binky once a supervillain sets up an elaborate deathtrap for Bionic Bunny.
  • Widget Series: In universe, the show Love Ducks is basically four ducks flying through psychedelic, pop-art, Yellow Submarine/Peter Max-esque backgrounds, all with duck versions of classical music.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: In "Spoiled Rotten," when Muffy asks Bailey if he thinks she's spoiled, rather than lie, he justs avoids giving a direct answer.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: A number of characters, from D.W.'s friend Emily to Arthur and his friends to a certain degree. They aren't your average third-grade kids, after all. One of the best examples is D.W. and her zany Batman Gambit to trick Arthur and Brain to take her to the science exhibit in S4's "Prove It," and it worked!
  • With Friends Like These...: In "Take a Hike, Molly", the Tough Customers go on a nature trail, where Molly's rude behavior alienates all of them. She breaks Slink's phone, scares Rattles and causes him to fall into a stream, and only packs snacks that Binky can't eat due to his nut allergy, all the while refusing to apologize for her mistakes. By the end, they all give up and leave, and Molly is left alone when she reaches her destination. She realizes her mistakes and admits that she's sorry for being so ignorant and rude, and it turns out the rest of the Tough Customers were secretly hiding out and waiting for her to admit it.
  • Worm in an Apple: In "Draw!", Francine says that Fern's caricature comic of her is "about as funny as biting into an apple and finding half a worm".
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: The entire premise of S2's "Buster Baxter, Cat Saver"; After saving an older woman's cat out of a tree without really doing anything, Bitzi has the entire story printed on the front page of the newspaper after hearing the woman's account of Buster's alleged heroism, having clearly overreacted to the supposed "danger" in question; As soon as the story is printed, the entire town is swept up in the story and it all goes to Buster's head, with nobody but the kids acknowledging that Buster really did nothing at all.
  • The Worst Seat in the House:
    • S3's "Meet Binky" has Arthur not buying his ticket for a big concert on time so he gets a much worse seat than all his friends. He has various fantasies about how bad a seat it will be. Luckily for him, his father is catering the event so Arthur can get to go backstage and meet the band, and Binky, the resident Jerk with a Heart of Gold, offers Arthur one of his tickets, which are in a great section.
    • In "Just the Ticket," Arthur and George win front row seats. The seats are so close to the stage that they can't see the performance.
    • In "Desk Wars", Brain determines that his seat is the coolest and most comfortable seat in the classroom but that Binky's is the worst since it's the hottest.
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks: The introduction to "The Shore Thing" takes place in the Yukon Gold Rush with Arthur explaining how you never know what to expect at any given moment. Binky is sifting in a river and manages to find a huge chunk of gold which impresses Arthur, but Binky is not interested in the gold. He is interested in a quarter he has also sifted into his pan.
  • Wrong Restaurant: Subverted in "Locked in the Library". Muffy calls the library to inquire with Miss Turner about a few books but when Francine answers the phone, Muffy assumes that she has called Francine's apartment by mistake and hangs up.

    Y-Z 
  • Yes-Man: In the special "D.W. and the Beastly Birthday," D.W. has an extended fantasy in which her friends all become monsters in the style of Where the Wild Things Are and she's the queen. However, they all bow to her whims, and so the only monster only the island she ultimately finds interesting is the one that represents her brother Arthur, simply because he has his own personality and won't do everything she says.
    D.W.: You four are just a bunch of yes-monsters.
    Monsters: Yes, my queen.
    D.W.: (sighs) You're hopeless.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol:
    • Happens in the Season 4 episode "Prunella Gets it Twice" where the Ghost of Presents Past shows Prunella why Francine didn't enjoy her birthday party and made her realize that she should have been more grateful for her present, a Polly Locket doll which was the second she had received after getting the first from her sister. Also in this episode is the less useful "Ghost of Lunch Tomorrow".
    • The Season 10 episode "Arthur Changes Gears" has Arthur learning what would happen if he went his whole life without riding the new bike he'd been waiting so long to purchase.
  • You Make Me Sic: In "Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone", Muffy makes a love letter to trick the librarian into thinking that Mr. Ratburn is in love with her. She gives the letter back to Muffy with markings indicating several spelling errors she made and also gives her a book on how to write a poem to help her improve.
    • In the episode "Francine Goes to War" Francine is trying to prank her new neighbor Mrs. Pariso into moving back out of the apartment building after Mrs. Pariso has annoyed Francine. At one point she writes her a letter claiming to be from the building's landlord and that the building is in danger of collapsing due to rats and has to be evacuated. The only problem is that Muffy writes the letter despite having less-than-optimal writing skills. Mrs. Pariso returns the letter to Francine with all of Muffy's mistakes corrected and also having completely ignored the message.
  • You Must Be This Tall to Ride: In "D.W. & Bud's Higher Purpose," D.W. and Bud spend most of the story trying to figure out a way around one of these restrictions to ride "The Buzzard." When they actually finally succeed, they end up making the surprisingly mature decision that it's too much for them and end up heading off to ride a more kiddie ride.
  • Your Mom: D.W. accidentally refers to Yo-Yo Ma as "Yo Mama" in "My Music Rules."
  • "You!" Squared: Arthur and Francine, who aren't getting along at the time, in "Locked in the Library!"
  • Your Television Hates You: Occurs at least four times:
    • "Arthur Plays the Blues": Arthur's new Stern Teacher Dr. Fugue has fired him from piano lessons because he didn't practice. Arthur thinks this is great until he sits down to veg in front of the TV and sees nothing but piano-themed shows, including the performance of a concert pianist.
    • "Arthur's Family Feud": David gets depressed when a kitchen accident results in the deflation of his soufflé. Jane encourages him to relax, so he turns on the TV and sees nothing but cooking shows.
    • "Jenna's Bedtime Blues"": Jenna wants to watch TV to avoid thinking about going to the bathroom, and sure enough everything on TV is about leaking or P.
    • "Is That Kosher?" Overlaps with Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere for Francine, who's trying to fast for Yom Kippur but finds it hard because everything around her seems to focus on food.
  • You're Insane!: Arthur to D.W. after she announces plans to live with Mary Moo Cow in S5's "The Last of Mary Moo Cow".
  • Zany Scheme: Lampshaded by Arthur in "D.W. and Bud's Higher Purpose." During the intro, he explains D.W.'s propensity for this has gotten worse since she met Bud.
Advertisement:

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report