- The iconic intro sequence has earned its place in the lexicon of beloved childrens show openings, and much of it is due to the heartwarming scenes throughout:
- The opening shot is Arthur happily jogging with Pal at his side, quickly setting the premise that this is a slice of life show where there really is good and love in the world, evidenced by the bond between a boy and his dog.
- Arthur getting his family together for a picture. Though they eventually tire of his needling for them to be better posed, they still tolerate it until they surprise him with a photo.
- As quoted above in the image, the scene where the main message of the show is spelled out - showing Arthur taking a moment to hug Jane, who then sees him off as he leaves to go have fun in the world. For parents, this is especially sweet since any good parent knows this is their job in life, to provide their child with as much love and warmth as possible at home so they can go out and be someone good and kind in the world.
- Arthur is then greeted by his best friend Buster as he arrives on the street, and the rest of the intro is Arthur having fun with his friends.
- Any moment where Arthur and D.W. act like loving siblings to each other. For all their sniping and arguing with each other, we see plenty of evidence that they genuinely care about each other.
- Any time that Mr. Ratburn shows himself as a Reasonable Authority Figure.
- The relationship between Molly and her little brother James. Even though she acts tough, it's obvious that she adores him and she's always willing to listen him and give advice when life seems to be going wrong for him.
- Muffy's Character Development throughout the series, from a Spoiled Brat to a sweet kid. As Francine reveals at a slumber party during Truth or Dare, Muffy as a new transfer student befriended Francine, only to copy off her test and then claim she would never cheat. She also displayed an It's All About Me attitude, and Consummate Liar moments. Muffy also later reveals her insensitivity about friendship, such as trying to bribe her friends to abandon the Scare Your Pants Off petition against her parents, and being a terrible house guest at Francine's apartment. With this, it's amazing that she has any friends. As the seasons progress, however, she becomes more generous, like helping Buster study for a big test, buying Sue Ellen new diaries after her old one gets destroyed in a fire, and helping with Ms. MacGrady when the latter is weak from chemotherapy.
- Muffy's friendship with her butler, Bailey is actually quite sweet, especially considering how spoiled rich kids are usually depicted as treating their staff and being nothing but trouble. In one episode, it's shown that she likes him enough to buy him a birthday card with a really sweet little poem in it ("Who says that good help cannot be found? Thank you so much for driving me around!"). And the feeling seems mutual, as Bailey always sticks by Muffy and helps her out when she needs it, even acting as almost a second father to Muffy and a confidant.
- Anytime the Tough Customers (Binky, Rattles, and/or Molly) get to show off their nicer, creative, and intelligent sides. Even though they're school bullies, it's clear that they're much more capable than that.
- Anytime an episode shows the Tough Customers being True Companions.
- Even though David and Jane Read make the better part of their money in the service of the Crosswires, the Crosswires don't look down their noses at the Reads, and the two families enjoy a good friendship. "Arthur's Birthday" might be one of the best examples of this, and it comes early on in the series.
- Any of the episodes about writing a story, a poem or a graphic novel.
- It's kind of ironic how Binky's dream in "Thanks a Lot, Binky" suggests Mrs. Barnes is never thanked, because those two actually have a very good relationship. She's afraid of him having an allergic reaction, he makes a poem for her, etc.
- Another family member that Binky has a good relationship with is Mei Lin. The official website even says that her adoption was his favorite adventure.
- Arthur fully embracing his new glasses, after finding out that the actor who plays Bionic Bunny, Wilbur Rabbit, not only wears them himself, but the exact same pair Arthur has. He comes to school next day, greeting Francine and Binky, ignoring when they call him "four-eyes" again. Even after teasing him, Binky also tells Arthur he saw Wilbur Rabbit wear glasses on TV.
Arthur and the Real Mr. Ratburn
- When Arthur and Buster accidentally crash Ratburn's puppet show at a carnival, he remains in character as a Jack puppet and escorts them off the stage. Then he talks to them about how he's able to do so much, to be a coach, a puppeteer and a teacher.
Locked in the Library!
- Before the Mood Whiplash where Francine finds out that Arthur called her a marshmallow, Arthur talks about how he and Francine became good friends in preschool and can always count on her.
- Towards the end of the episode, Arthur thinks Francine is in trouble and comes to rescue her. When he finds out she's perfectly fine, he says "Don't scare me like that!" They start to fight, with Arthur pointing out that she's conveniently forgotten the number of times she made fun of him while taking offense at his "marshmallow" comment until...Francine: Wait a minute! You were worried about me?
Arthur: Of course!
Arthur's Spelling Trubble
- Although D.W. teases Arthur in the run-up to the spelling bee (when he says he has to learn 100 words, she jokes that that's 92 more words than he already knows), she is the loudest member of his rooting section during the bee itself, shouting "Yay, Arthur!" as the contestants take the stage, and whistling for him when he wins. And when Mr. Ratburn tells Arthur he knew he could do it, D.W. adds that, more importantly, now Arthur knows that as well.
- When Arthur, after being chosen to compete in a spelling bee, confesses to Mr. Ratburn he can't do it because he didn't study; Mr. Ratburn tells him You Are Better Than You Think You Are and says he knows Arthur can win.
Arthur and the True Francine
- It's short and ironic given what happens later in the episode, but the fantasy sequence of Muffy and Francine as little angels twirling around side-by-side in "Arthur and the True Francine" is insanely adorable.
- The Tear Jerker part of this episode is Muffy copying off Francine's test and then claiming she didn't cheat, getting Francine in trouble. Francine's so angry that she returns the bracelet Muffy gave her and tosses away the apology gifts. She finally forgives Muffy when the latter confesses the truth to Mr. Marco, so that Francine can play in the softball game and Muffy gets punished for two weeks. Muffy then insists on re-gifting her the bracelet, which Francine accepts this time.
- Francine offering Muffy a ride home on her bike, when the latter has just gotten out of detention.
Arthur vs. the Piano
- Grandma Thora reminding Arthur that she'll be watching; as Arthur plays, he imagines the entire audience is her.
- After Arthur plays the wrong note in "Für Elise", Buster and Francine tell him they didn't hear anything. Binky did notice, but instead of telling Arthur it stunk, he said it had a Thelonious Monk vibe, and reassuringly told him he had some good jazz chops. The image of Binky putting his hand on Arthur's shoulder with a big smile on his face is quite touching.
- At the end, Grandma Thora tells Arthur that Arthur's "big mistake" was only big to him, and that "the audience doesn't hear mistakes".
Arthur's Cousin Catastrophe
- Arthur spends the whole episode trying to avoid his cousin Mo, but in the climax, he finds her playing the piano. Mo says that she's been looking for him everywhere, so she could show him. Arthur admits that he thought Mo wanted to decorate him like a Christmas tree or launch him into space, and Mo tells her cousin that he's her favorite relative and only comes to the family reunions to play with him.
- Ricky is shown in a Freeze-Frame Bonus or two to be playing ball with his little sister civilly. He just shows off when his dad is videotaping.
- Aunt Loretta overhears Arthur and Mo playing piano together. She calls in everyone to the living room because that's where the real party is. A Dance Party Ending ensues, with David and Jane kissing, and D.W. even squeezes in for a hug with her brother and cousin. We then see the rain has stopped outside, showing a full moon.
- At the end of the episode, Kate finally stops crying whenever Arthur goes near her after he burps her. Then, she starts sucking on his cheek, which Francine interprets as a kiss.
Arthur's Family Vacation
- The Imagine Spot Arthur has where, to his displeasure, D.W. and Kate are having a tea party in his canoe at camp. It is strangely adorable to see D.W. trying to pour pretend tea.
- Buster waving to Arthur from the bus to camp, while the Reads are driving to the beach.
- At the diner, the motorcycle bikers giving D.W. one of their burgers when she asks for it.
- The Read family saves Sharky when he ends up in another truck, surrounded by cows. They later encounter the farmer at a cow festival, who jokes that their shark still likes cows.
- Despite trying to get out of the family vacation, Arthur ends up saving it by finding events to do in the rain for a week.
- In a twisted way, D.W. asking the family to see Jaws because "it was Sharky's idea," with her shark sitting in the movie seat with a smug expression.
Arthur Writes a Story
- Arthur finally manages to tell the story he meant to tell- of how all the hard work in taking care of Perky led to him getting his beloved Pal- when Mr. Ratburn hears the country music version with elephants and says he wants to hear what actually did happen.
So Long, Spanky
- David's funeral speech for Spanky is very touching, and speaks to something which means an especially great deal a caterer.David: Spanky, I'll never forget the time you got loose in my kitchen, and you didn't eat a single poppyseed. Thanks.
- D.W. saves the toad that was following her around all episode and living in the can she was using for Spanky's grave. She then hugs him and asks her mother if they can keep him.
Grandpa Dave's Old Country Farm
- Arthur in the Cold Open says that vacation at Grandpa's farm is always fun, and Grandpa Dave is a Cool Old Guy. He treats them to candy and ice cream in town, tells them bedtime stories about the family, and takes them fishing.
- For all his teasing, Ed genuinely wants to help Dave with the farm and keeps offering. He also takes the kids hiking so that Dave can fix the henhouse without distractions. Dave finally acquiesces towards the end and asks him for help.
- D.W. convinces Arthur that they should give up a vacation day to help Dave with building the henhouse. When Dave protests, saying that "This farm has been in the family for a hundred and fifty years," D.W. points out that they are his family. This convinces Dave to let them help, though they're more of The Load until Ed steps in.
- When Dave hesitates at letting the kids help him with the henhouse, the first reason he gives is that he doesn't want them working on their vacation, because what will their parents say?
Arthur and the Crunch Cereal Contest
- When Arthur enters D.W.'s song into a contest he wanted to win, he initially wants to take credit, but eventually feels guilty about it. He ultimately decides to give D.W. full credit, and she wins.
Sick as a Dog
- In the end of the episode, Arthur was happy to see Pal feel better, But the vet reminds him that he is still quite unhealthy at the moment and explains that he ate the food that dogs should not eat. And he gives the lecture book about what dogs should eat to stay healthy. And apologies to D.W. for blaming her about making Pal sick. And Arthur told D.W. that dogs stomachs are different than human stomaches.Arthur: Pal! You're all better!Vet: He's still a little queasy. He ate a lot of things that a dog shouldn't eat. What did he eat yesterday?Arthur: Pancakes and two-year-old candy and some gum. And then he swallowed a wiener whole, with mustard.Vet: [holds up a book] Read this. It's about what dogs should eat to stay healthy. And if you ate all that, maybe you should get your stomach checked too.
- When Arthur visits his dentist and explains that he is 8 years old and still has all his baby teeth and one is not as loose. He was worried about the dentist yanking the tooth out. The dentist explains it's not necessary. And explains to Arthur when he was a kid, He did not lose his first baby tooth until he was 9 years old.The Dentist: I, Myself didn't lose my first baby tooth until I was nearly 9 years old. Everybody is different.Arthur Read: Really?!?The Dentist: Yeah! Don't worry, Arthur. Yours will fall off very soon, Just wait.
I'm a Poet
- Fern after challenging everyone with The Bet helps anyone who comes to her for help, including Buster and Arthur. She's in general supportive, applauding Binky for his poem and saying, "It was great."
- Buster's joy at finally finishing his poem.
- Everyone has so much fun writing their poems as part of The Bet that they decide to sign up for the poetry club, and listen to Jack Prelutsky recite his poems.
- Every time Arthur and his friends interacts with guest star Mister Rogers. Given that it's Mister Rogers we're talking about, this is kind of a given.
- After Mister Rogers plays a song on the piano for D.W., she actually encourages Arthur to play for him (and in a very sincere way rather than mocking). She wont admit it, but she seems to be proud of her brother.
- Mixed with Tear Jerker, D.W.'s distress for most of the episode at the possibility that Arthur is gone forever comes across as her typical drama queen histrionics, but when he finally returns home, the episode's final scene makes it clear that she was truly worried about him and would miss him if he were to disappear. The scene doubles as Heartwarming in Hindsight since in earlier episodes D.W. claims that if Arthur were to leave, she'd take his room, and was pretty angry with him and Francine for getting locked in the library and making everyone worry while they were fine, but the reality is quite different.(Arthur is about to fall asleep when a bright light suddenly shines from his bedroom door)
Arthur: Huh? What's going on? (he sees D.W. standing at the door with a flashlight, which she then turns off) D.W., what are you doing?
D.W.: I'm making sure you're not lost. Arthur, you scared me. (climbs into bed alongside Arthur) You'd better promise never to get lost again.
Arthur: (moving over to make room for D.W.) Okay. I won't.
D.W.: Do you promise?...
Arthur: I promise.
D.W.: Cross your heart?...
Arthur: (sleepily) Cross my heart... (he nods off; D.W. smiles, rolls over, and falls asleep)
D.W. the Picky Eater
- Arthur's first plan to get D.W. to want to come to the fairy tale restaurant for Grandma Thora's birthday is to show her what she'd be missing. He takes her on a bike ride to the restaurant and shows her a princess and unicorn through the window. It doesn't work, but it was a sweet first attempt since each subsequent plan uses more direct manipulation.
- The Once Upon a Restaurant is a Homage to the Disney theme parks and restaurants. The family go in a swan-shaped boat, which takes them to their table. D.W. is highly excited upon seeing the princess serving people.
- When Arthur cuts his knee on a tin can lid while finding a wheel in the junkyard for his school project, both D.W. and Brain show genuine concern for his well-being. D.W. convinces him to tell their mother what happened, at the cost of You Are Grounded! after his visit to the doctor, by reminding him of her telling on herself for climbing the tree.
D.W.'s Name Game
- D.W. apologizes to Arthur for starting the name-calling contest, following an Opinion-Changing Dream where her name-calling melts him into a puddle and she barely saves him from going down the drain with her cow mug.
D.W.'s Deer Friend
- Arthur's relief when D.W., instead of choosing Pony Land, decides they should go camping. The woods are much better than a Tastes Like Diabetes theme park.
- It quickly segues into a funny moment, but Dave and Jane are just as relieved that D.W. chose something so wholesome. Then they find out she got the idea from TV, and Jane mutters she should teach D.W. to read more books.
- D.W. seems very keen on animals in this episode, feeling sorry for "Bucky" the fish dying and agreeing to not keep Walter when she realizes he wouldn't like living with the Reads.
Buster Hits the Books
- Although it doesn't work, Arthur and Francine try their best to find a book for Buster to finish.
- Mr. Ratburn giving Buster an extension on his book report, offering him some general critique when Buster hands it in on Friday, and assuring him he hasn't flunked.
- At the end, Buster and Arthur excitedly read Robin Hood together.
Fern's Slumber Party
- Fern's mother means well with her overbearing nature, consistently telling Fern You Are Better Than Youthink You Are about different activities.
- Fern overcoming her shyness by asserting herself in a way that she feels comfortable: taking on the role of a detective to find Francine's bracelet.
D.W.'s Very Bad Mood
- Francine's determination to help Arthur find out what's wrong with D.W. Even after all his other friends flaked on him, (and after Arthur himself gave up) Francine still tries to help D.W., and upon finding out why D.W. has been so cranky (her friends went to a birthday party that she wasn't invited to) Francine invites D.W. to her own party, much to Arthur's chagrin.
How The Cookie Crumbles
- Grandma Thora shows D.W. a picture from the previous year's strawberry festival, where D.W. enjoyed a lot of strawberries. At the current parade, D.W. waves to her dad who is part of the parade floats. Thora remarks happily that some things never change.
- It goes wrong, but Francine is worried about Muffy's well-being when seeing her freak out about it being time to make a new recipe already. She explains to everyone that Muffy wants to prove that she didn't win last year because of nepotism or her Crosswire name. This convinces the group to go to Muffy's house to cheer her up. Sure it goes wrong later when Muffy refuses to give them credit for the cookie recipe, but their hearts are in the right place.
- At first, Muffy gives a Backhanded Apology to get the cookie recipe, and justifies to her friends that she has to defend her reputation rather than say that they helped her. They all tell her that if she chooses cookies over friendship, then she can live with that. Muffy apparently takes the recipe, but then talks with her father offscreen about the guilt. Despite the fact that he's a car CEO that has spoiled his daughter rotten and been overprotective at certain points, he told her exactly what she needed to hear to make things right.
Sue Ellen's Little Sister
- Considering that Binky and Sue Ellen's first encounter was her stopping him from being a bully, it's sweet that she considers if he could be a big brother to her. She gets disappointed when talking to him, but he thanks her for the idea of studying worms as a career choice.
- Brain does try his best to help Sue Ellen with her questions about oceanography or art. The problem is he's really boring about it.
- How Sue Ellen's parents deal with her desire to have a sibling. They talk with her about the fact that neither of them wants to have another kid or a baby because it would cut into their traveling life. After seeing her try to see if her friends can be siblings, with Sue Ellen being frustrated that her quest is going south, her mother asks in Sincerity Mode if she really wants one. Both of her parents determine that Sue Ellen is lonely and she doesn't need an actual brother or sister. They then go for Take a Third Option: sponsor a boy in a distant village so he can get regular meals while Sue Ellen gets a pen pal. Sue Ellen considers this more than a fair compromise and shows off photos of him in class.
- Arthur's joy on hearing that Buster is flying into town, so much that he bikes through town announcing the news.
- After everything neat that Buster has seen and done on his trip with his father in the spin-off TV series Postcards from Buster, the first thing that he wants to do when he gets home is play checkers with Arthur. They pick up right where they had left off.
Return of the King
- Despite his desire to win the Golden Griffin, Mr. Ratburn is a Graceful Loser and trusts his students to take initiative and do their best.
- When the kids lose the castle competition, Mr. Ratburn tells the kids he's proud of their hard work and will display their castle in the classroom.
- Arthur gets crowned king once he draws the sword, and Mr. Price-Jones praises Mr. Ratburn for teaching Arthur to think for himself.
The Chips are Down
- Binky and D.W. bonding and becoming best friends over a potato chip rumor. The entire process is very sweet by itself.
- When Binky chickens out from the ballet concert he was supposed to perform in and hides himself in the audience, Arthur, Francine, Buster, and even the Tough Customers offer him verbal support, telling Binky he was the best part. In fact, Rattles is the first one to say it.
- As soon as D.W. sees Arthur about to eat what she thinks is a poisoned chip, she grabs it to avoid him having the same fate she thought she would have.
Revenge of the Chip
- When D.W. finds out it was not Arthur's fault everyone knew about the previous episode, she gives a very genuine sounding apology. Only helped by his reply.D.W.: Arthur, I'm sorry I blamed you. I'm just so miserable. Everybody's laughing at me.
Arthur: Would it make you feel better to come to the show?
What Scared Sue Ellen?
- Binky and the others are legitimately worried for Sue Ellen when she is scared of walking in the woods. He recounts that Sue Ellen is never scared.
- Sue Ellen finds her parents looking at slideshows of skiing. They say that they were scared of facing unknown danger, but solved the problem by equipping themselves accordingly. This inspires Sue Ellen to call everyone and then dig in her closet for potential armor to find whatever is making the weird sound in the woods.
- Mrs. Wood thanks Arthur for finding Perky "again", referring to when he was dogsitting, and he says that all of his friends helped while pointing to Sue Ellen in particular. She says that they saved Perky's life, which they did, given that she was trapped under a set of tree roots for days.
Double Tibble Trouble
- Even though they both wished for Timmy to show up without Tommy to school one day, Emily and D.W. don't like seeing Timmy sad. D.W. decides they should try to fill in for Tommy, despite not liking how rough the boys play. Arthur makes it a point to tell D.W. it's nice of her to help out a friend that way.
- Timmy tries to share his cupcake with Tommy by tossing it into their bedroom from outside. It backfires hilariously because Tommy's window is shut, and Tommy mentions that he had nightmares about cupcakes attacking him, but it was a nice thought.
- Tommy when he's better thanks D.W. and Emily for playing with Timmy the Tibble way. When he reveals Timmy is now sick, D.W. volunteers to take the first shift and "fly" his plane.
Mom and Dad Have a Great Big Fight
- The first fight Dave and Jane have is about the milk getting spilled. The second one is when they each insist on cleaning up the mess, and Jane says it was her fault. They're bickering but trying to be responsible adults.
- After Arthur and D.W. imagine all the worst-case scenarios that could happen if their parents split up, Arthur decides that they'll go confront their parents. He believes as a family, they can get through anything. Then when they beg their father not to leave, up until he says he's just going to the store to buy milk for an important dinner, their parents reassure Arthur and D.W. that just because they have a fight doesn't mean that they've fallen out of love with each other.
D.W.'s Perfect Wish
- Arthur reveals that his handmade Bionic Bunny calendar has Bionic Bunny carrying a cake for D.W.'s birthday in March. Considering that D.W. doesn't like Bionic Bunny, it's sweet that Arthur took the time to mark his sister's special day
- D.W. spends the beginning of the episode having an existential crisis over the fact that Emily insensitively told her that turning five means entering kindergarten and that it means you are never going to be younger again. Arthur reassures her that she hasn't wasted the first four years of her life, and tells her that she did a lot of great things this year. Cue the Clip Show as we see three seasons' worth of adventures. When he's done, D.W. thanks Arthur with a hug, reminding her about how awesome the past year was.
- Jane and David surprise D.W. by turning the lights off downstairs, before presenting the cake. They show off and wait for her to make a wish. When D.W.'s mind goes blank, and her parents gently tell her not to waste her wish on a pony, Thora steps in and tells D.W. that she wished at her birthday for all her grandchildren's wishes to come true, so D.W. will not waste hers. D.W. gives her a hug and makes a decision. Arthur is relieved because he likes his dad's cake.
- The entire town pulling together to make it through the blizzard. Some highlights:
- Mr. Ratburn staying with Mr. Morris to keep the pipes from freezing. Mr. Haney stays with more reluctance, since he's starving.
- Also Mr. Ratburn giving Francine an extension on her pioneer essay, with the proviso that she write three pages instead of one. Francine finally writes her report on how the pioneers are not so different from the blizzard survivors, because during tough times, they had to pull together and work as a team.
- After selfishly taking the bread, eggs, and milk, Mr. Crosswire brings it for future meals until the power comes back.
- Despite that above event, which left Dave without any groceries, Arthur's parents invite the Crosswires for evening stew, made from the ingredients everyone else brings when the Reads invite them, on learning they don't have power either.
- We finally see why the snowball means so much to D.W.; she makes it on the day the power comes back and the family can play in the snow again.D.W.: (when asked why she wants to keep the snowball) Because this has been the best day of my life and I always want to keep a piece of it.
Arthur's Big Hit
- Near the end after Binky Barnes punched Arthur, Arthur complains to his father about Binky hitting Arthur. David then replies maybe that's how D.W. felt when Arthur hit D.W. Arthur then apologies to D.W. about punching her in anger. D.W. asked what kind of plane can't fly. Arthur explains it's a model of a plane. Arthur congratulates Binky Barnes on punching on him as a lesson.
- Arthur: And the next thing I knew, I was on the ground. It hurt and it was embarrassing.David: Well, maybe that's how D.W. felt when you punched her.Arthur: Maybe. But what's that to do with this? Binky Barnes is huge! Yeah, I guess I get it.
Prunella Gets It Twice
- Prunella doesn't appreciate it in the Cold Open, but Arthur and Buster handmake a bicycle for her, even though as Buster lampshades, it wasn't invented at this point in history. (For context, they're in Greek times to go with the Odysseus story.)
- Francine is shown to be very studious. Even so, she needed Prunella's help in preparing for one of Ratburn's math tests. When she finds out she aced it, she cheers in class; Ratburn tells her gently to tone it down, and Francine runs off to thank Prunella. It's when she sees Prunella eyeing the Polly Locket dolls that Francine decides to get her one for her real birthday.
- Prunella rather uncaringly tosses aside a Polly Locket doll Francine got her for her birthday without even looking at it because she got another one from her sister that morning, seriously bumming Francine out. Being visited by The Ghost Of Presents Past, she finds out Francine worked extra chores to afford the doll, begged from her sister, and even paid extra to personalize the doll's shirt to say "You Are Great". Feeling guilty, Prunella makes up for it in a big way by finding Francine the next day, telling her she loves the doll and showing that she put a picture of Francine inside the doll's locket-head, "where you're supposed to keep your most precious thing". She then gives Francine the other doll, which she has personalized to say "#1 Best Friend" and says that since she doesn't need two, they can play with them together now. Now that is a really sweet apology.
- After a dare and attempt to play hooky goes wrong and only Francine is caught, Francine is angry with Arthur and blames him for bringing up the idea of hooky... but then she decides to take all the blame so her friends wouldn't get in trouble. This prompts Arthur and Buster to admit their compliance in the whole thing and ask to be punished along Francine as well. Mr. Ratburn is touched by the boys' gesture and decides to obey their wishes by giving them both extra homework assignments, even though it's very light compared to Francine's punishment of staying after school for a week. (Mr. Ratburn does point out that the boys actually did come to school.)
- Binky also asks to be punished, though Arthur and Buster remind him that this time he was just an Innocent Bystander.
It's A No-Brainer
- An Aesop of the episode: Even if you fail at your passion to someone who couldn't care less that doesn't mean you should give it up.
- After initially laughing about Brain losing to Buster in a practice math competition, Arthur and Francine become concerned when Brain decides to give up science and knowledge in favor of pursuing comedy. They know Buster doesn't like to be the smart one, any more than Brain likes to be a clown. After bringing Buster back to his senses by reminding him that if Brain doesn't compete then Buster will have to, they scheme to remind Brain of his joy. The first few times fail, and Brain eventually snaps at them when D.W. dresses up as a clown and gives him a math problem, but it's very sweet. Brain finally realizes what he lost when Buster calls a problem dumb, and Brain starts solving it automatically.
- Brain's brain phones Buster's brain at the end to thank him. Ignore the Mind Screw there.
You Are Arthur
- In the Elwood City race, Arthur nearly takes the lead and imagines himself winning, until he sees Muffy tripping over a fence and crying. He stops to help her up, before deciding to continue the race, rather than finish last. It even ends up in the newspaper, which Arthur sees as better than winning.
The Last of Mary Moo Cow
- D.W. is upset about Mary Moo Cow being canceled and organizes a petition to save the show which gets her invited to the studio and she ends up running into the lady who plays Mary, who then gives a nice speech to D.W. about sometimes needing a change but there's always the possibility of returning.
- When Buster expresses concern that his mom will spend all her time with her new boyfriend Harry, she assures Buster that she'll always have time to spend with him.
Arthur's Family Feud
- Arthur and D.W. feel so guilty about having ruined their dad's soufflé that instead of going out, they decide to try and make him a new one, though they just end up making a mess in the kitchen. David is so touched upon discovering this that the three of them make a new soufflé together.
- And when Jane calls the new soufflé "the most beautiful thing [David has] ever made" David replies "No, it isn't...it's the most beautiful thing that we've ever made." Then they all eat it together as a family.
- After getting enraged with Muffy's terrible violin playing, Binky storms into the room where the music students were being judged for the position of a professional orchestra, and plays a song on his squeaky clarinet, which he had been dealing with the entire episode. The music judges not only applaud Binky for making his squeaky clarinet sound good, but they also give him a position in the orchestra and provide him a better, non-squeaking clarinet.
Rhyme for Your Life
- Binky finally managing to recite a poem for his mother on Mother's Day, after having a dream where William Carlos Williams gives him a handy book on rhymes to survive in a world where if you can't rhyme, you go to jail.
- After spending the episode dreaming about what life would be like if she were the first born child, D.W. wakes up realizing that she prefers Arthur the way he is as he comes in to give her the toys she left in his room. D.W. then tells Arthur that she's glad he's her big brother as she gets into bed with him.
- There's another heartwarming scene early on. During the dream, D.W. convinces her parents to take her baby version instead of Arthur. After traveling into the future and seeing her parents have decided not to have any more children, she feels sorry for Arthur, and leaves him on her parents doorstep so that he can have a family. Even in a dream, she loves him too much to be without him.
Is There a Doctor in the House?
- Arthur and D.W. somehow manage to have a joint fantasy sequence in which they imagine just what would happen if their parents remain ill and they don't start buckling down and take care of things around the house, culminating with Baby Kate being sent to an orphanage because they couldn't change her diapers. After this, they give a display of effort that is simultaneously heartwarming and awesome, working together without complaint or bickering to take care of both Kate and the entire household, including doing the laundry and washing and drying the dishes by hand.
- This episode is full of many heartwarming moments to go with the Tear Jerker territory:
- Arthur's relief when the firefighters save his dad, who suffered some smoke inhalation.
- Dave later on comforts Arthur when the latter is scared that something will happen to his dad at an aquarium catering event. This is right after Arthur tries to fake a sore throat and beg for his dad's chicken soup so that Dave won't leave; Dave understands why Arthur is worried sick, and relates how he felt the same way when his mother, Arthur's Grandma Thora, got into a car accident when he was a child. "It's my job to worry about you, Arthur. Not the other way around."
- Francine's dad Mr. Frensky comforts Binky about his fear of fires, since he went through a similar situation after seeing his first fire. Binky had just run away from school after having a panic attack. Mr Frensky calls Principal Haney to let him know Binky's with him and takes Binky with him on his rounds.
- Muffy tries to help Sue Ellen, who lost her journal in the fire, by buying her several new ones. While Sue Ellen at first doesn't feel better, she does respond politely to Muffy, and later on tries writing in the personalized one.
- Buster develops an Intergenerational Friendship with Mr. Morris after the latter breaks his leg heroically stopping the fire from spreading. They talk about aliens, and Mr. Morris's many adventures while traveling. Eventually, however, Mr. Morris has to retire and can't return to school; Buster finds out when asking Mr. Ratburn if he can bring a slice of cake to the janitor. Buster runs to his house, where Mr. Morris reveals that he has to live with his daughter because she can take care of him. He is touched when Buster asks if he and his mother could take care of Mr. Morris, and instead asks him to take care of Beatrice, his accordion. Mr. Morris tells Buster to visit him in Nevada, where they can investigate Roswell.
- After Binky is chewed out by Rattles for "squealing" on him and potentially saving his life, he has an Opinion-Changing Dream that makes him realize that it's good to be nice and appreciative even if he isn't always rewarded for it. At the end, Binky decides to give his mother, whom he took for granted without so much a thank-you, a Thank-You card for all the hard work she had done for him.
D.W., Dancing Queen
- Binky's friendly teacher-student relationship with D.W. as he both struggles, and eventually succeeds, in teaching D.W. (as well as the Tough Customers) how to do ballet for a school project.
- Rattles and Molly stepping up to help D.W. after Binky twists his ankle, both dancing alongside her on the day Binky and D.W. were supposed to show their project to the school.
- A small moment - when D.W. hears a teenage boy utter a swear word censored by the titular bleep, his mother drops a drinking glass. D.W. is curious about what the word means and is about to ask Grandma Thora, but has an Imagine Spot where she says the word and causes Thora to drop the glass bowl she just bought at the store.
- After finding out that D.W. was innocently spreading around the swear word, to find out why it had so much power, Jane tells her that she's off the hook since D.W. didn't know what the word meant. Jane then explains that it means, "I want to hurt your feelings," which immediately placates D.W.
- Dr. Fugue tells Arthur's class to perform in the diner they're stuck at instead of the concert that they were preparing for. When they ask why, he says that they worked too hard not to hear how good they sound.
Binky Goes Nuts
- After Binky is discovered to have a peanut allergy, Molly can be seen at the end serving as Binky's bodyguard at lunch, preventing any kid with foods containing peanuts from sitting next to him to protect his health.
- Early in the episode, Binky discovers a weird rash on his arm after a butterfly lands on him. Molly goes with him when he leaves, presumably to take him to the school nurse.
Emily Swallows A Horse
- After Emily's Liar Revealed plot, the Tibbles admit they're slightly disappointed that "Ellen Marie" (Marie Ellen's twin who Emily made up) isn't real. The reason? Apparently, the Tibbles bought them neckerchiefs (similar to their own) as a present so that people could tell them apart. That was surprisingly thoughtful of them.
- Persimonny Glitchet giving Fern solid writing advice on how to start writing, handle criticism, and avoid Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue" while rewriting. He then comes out of hiding to sign her book after recognizing her as the letter writer.
The Secret About Secrets
- D.W., despite feeling that Keeping Secrets Sucks, goes out of her way to keep the secret about James splitting his pants a secret so as not to hurt his feelings.
- Mrs. Read telling D.W. that she can tell her anything, and then later on, setting up a fake "sick day" as an excuse to let Grandma Thora help D.W. learn how to deal with keeping the secret.
- When Arthur finds out D.W. is having ear surgery, he goes out of his way to be nice to her, bringing her snacks, letting her have the last coveted pizza roll, and agreeing to see a "girly" movie she wants to see. He also calls his little sister brave and gives her a good luck mark from his lucky pencil. Arthur and D.W. also talk amicably about the excitement and newness of her doctor's appointments (like when she learns how to say "anesthesiologist.")
- In "Never, Never, Never", after the Tibbles have tricked D.W. into giving them her old toys with false claims of love only to begin destroying them, she tries unsuccessfully to get them back. Arthur then enters the Tibbles' house to try his luck, and we hear sounds of a scuffle inside, until eventually Arthur emerges with a box of toys and a broken earpiece on his glasses. During the scuffle, Nadine tells D.W. that Arthur's bravery on her behalf in the face of the twin terrors shows that he really does love her. D.W. decides to repay Arthur's kindness by selling some of her toys to help raise money to fix his glasses.
- Not only do the Molinas invite the Reads over for breakfast, but the actual inviting is done by Alberto and Vicita. Then the Molinas give the Reads tips for coping with blackouts.
- Later, David shares a ham from his cancelled catering job, and the families pull together a block party.
- After Fern accidentally messes up her line in the play and improvs her way through it, she's bummed out until Muffy congratulates her, saying that Fern played the part better then she ever could.
The Great MacGrady
- There's something to be said for everyone's concern for Mrs. MacGrady.
- Regardless of the scandal which broke after the initial broadcast, it's worth mentioning Lance Armstrong's involvement here. He lent a hand where he could, and not every person would.
- Mrs. MacGrady is about to clean up a mess that D.W. accidentally made while she, Arthur and Muffy were visiting. Upon noticing that the cancer has made Mrs. MacGrady rather weak, Muffy, of all people, immediately stands up and offers to clean it up herself.
A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Tibble
- The episode's ending, in which the Tibble Twins realize that they like painting more than the toy they spent the whole episode raising money to buy and sell said toy to Binky so they can have money for more painting supplies. The Cold Open even implies that they grow up to be famous artists in the future (granted, with an unconventional approach to their craft).
When Carl Met George
- George's budding friendship with Carl.
- Meta example: Carl's a very accurate and very sympathetic representation of a child on the autistic spectrum, and the episode on the whole handles the topic startlingly well, even coming up with an explanation of Asperger's Syndrome that is cute, easy to understand but not patronizing to the target audience.
D.W. Swims with the Fishes
- At first, D.W. desperately wanted to win the giant trophy and was being demanding, as she can sometimes be. However, when James gets his flipper caught on something, she helped him, even though it meant not winning the giant trophy. And to top it all off, she's not even disappointed, and gives her second-place trophy to Arthur, seeing as Arthur wanted her to win.
- Sue Ellen's interactions with guest star Neil Gaiman are full of heartwarming moments. First, Neil gives Sue Ellen a free copy of Coraline in graphic novel form, which is the most child-friendly, Neil-written graphic novel as of 2017. He then appears to her as a muse in her falafels and her smoothies, encouraging her to keep writing about the battle between circles and triangles. The real Neil then shows up while Sue Ellen is getting a falafel wrap, asks to read the book, and tells her that her friends may not understand her book after they find it by the falafel truck, but they do like it. On a smaller note, Mr. Cantabulus, the falafel truck man, is a Heartwarming Moment all unto himself, being a Supreme Chef and full of an Ice-Cream Koan on "round people" and "pointy people".
- Francine's Rooting for the Empire where she shows sympathy for the triangles, who try to make things orderly. As Brain points out, they aren't evil, just that they have a narrow "point of view".
- The episode ends with Binky telling the Tough Customers they can laugh if they want to, but he loves his mom and will hold her hand if he wants to. However, they decide the secret is not a big deal and Molly holds her own mother's hand too. Then, Binky says that there is nothing better than eating Chinese food with his family.
What's in a Name?
- The intro has Arthur spending the entire segment with D.W., helping with her little ritual of naming a new stuffed animal she got without complaining. He actually seemed to enjoy it.
Grandpa Dave's Memory Album
- Francine's grandmother Bubbe comforting Arthur when he gets sad over Grandpa Dave forgetting his name (among other things) due to a brain disease.
- Molly, at her brother James' request, writes George a letter to apologize for all the bullying that she and the Tough Customers did to him in the sixteen years since his introduction. George finally caught a break.
Brain's Chess Mess
- Rattles befriending and teaching Brain (as well as the rest of the Chess Club) how to properly play chess, and later pretending his cramps (from lactose intolerance) are worse than they really are to get Brain to play against a smug chess player on his own because he had faith in Brain. Especially worth noting since the Tough Customers had just resolved to stop their bullying ways completely in the previous episode "The Last Tough Customer".
Sue Ellen Vegges Out
- What ultimately pushes Sue Ellen into finally becoming a vegetarian was befriending a pig named Sally.
- When she overhears Buster having a thumb-sucking problem, Francine sympathizes with him and gives him a spray that makes his thumb taste bad, because she used to have that habit as well. She also gets him to reconcile with Arthur, whom he accused of blabbing it to everyone else.
Caught in the Crosswires
- When the crew of a TV show the Crosswires are starring in forces Muffy to act like a Spoiled Brat and treat Bailey badly to boost ratings and views, she's clearly upset at the idea of being so troublesome and hurtful to someone she trusted deeply, and is blatantly relieved when she's allowed to be herself again.
- Jane forces Arthur to attend D.W.'s preschool pageant. Not only is this something Arthur doesn't want to do, but the pageant is on the same day as Muffy's pool party. Muffy decides to start the party after the pageant ends so Arthur won't miss out. Very nice since Muffy is under no obligation to change what time her party starts, and it shows Character Development from "Arthur's Birthday" where she couldn't change her party date because of who she booked.
Shelter from the Storm
- Muffy meets a new friend at the shelter where her family stays when part of their home is flooded. Muffy is telling her friend how she misses all her luxurious stuff—but then is invited to see the other girl's house. When Muffy learns her friend's home has been destroyed, she is genuinely touched and selflessly offers to let her friend's family stay with the Crosswires. The girl, though certainly touched by the offer, politely declines the offer, explaining that she and her mom had already decided prior to live with her uncle (who lives all the way down in Florida).
- Remember the stray dog Arthur saw on TV? By the end of the episode, the girl has adopted said dog and named her "Sadie".
- Despite their high-class lifestyle, we never hear Muffy's parents complain once about having to be at the shelter.
- Ladonna is upset her father might not be around on her birthday, and that makes Bud sad. He's deteremined to make sure his sister has a happy birthday, so he throws her a surprise party...which their father is able to attend for a while.
- Pal's cousin Dr. Yowl takes Pal, Kate and Mei Lin throughout the solar system and stops at Pluto where Pal's relatives have a family reunion. Once they return home, Kate says Pluto has everything Pal wants. Pal agrees that Pluto does have everything he wants... except for Kate.
- George, Rattles, Binky, and Buster patiently putting up with Carl's autism for the sake of ensuring their puppet show's success. Even though Carl frequently makes things difficult for them to rehearse their play with his disability, the kids never once get angry at him or criticize him. Their hard work and patience eventually pays off, with George congratulating and thanking Carl for his performance and help.
- Early in the episode, George hears Carl playing his accordion and compliments his music, inviting him to be a musician for their puppet show. Carl accepts, and George offers a hand as a thank-you... which Carl misinterprets as George wanting something and gives him grapes instead. It's the thought that counts.
- In the same scene, George noticed Carl sees Wally and quickly hide him. Carl confirm George that hes no longer afraid of puppets because of how his therapist been using puppets to help him with his social skills. Its awesome and sweet on seeing how much Carl is growing despite his disability
The Last Day
- Arthur and Buster both spend the entire episode trying to ensure they end up in the newest teacher's class for fourth grade, because he appears to be a Cool Teacher. However, they eventually learn he is more of a Hippie Teacher with tired material. This inspires Arthur and Buster to reflect on how much Mr. Ratburn really taught them. They end up giving Mr. Ratburn the poster they worked hard on for the other teacher. Their choice is rewarded when Mr. Ratburn is not only moved, but announces he'll be moving up to fourth grade. Extra points because this also means that Binky, who was held back the year before, passed and gets to go to fourth grade with his friends. For extra heartwarming, this came after nineteen seasons of fearing and bemoaning Mr. Ratburn and his constant homework.
- D.W.'s plot arc involves her preparing for kindergarten, along with Bud Compson. They try to behave like big kids, which for D.W. involves trying to take out the trash. However, the chore is too heavy for her, and the trash bag ends up spilling all over the yard. D.W. bursts out crying and reveals her stress over kindergarten to Jane, who comforts her, saying she doesn't have to know or do anything special to prepare for big school. All she has to do is be herself.
- Mixed with Tear Jerker - Buster has a dream where he turns back time to see what would happen if he never failed a childhood I.Q. test and became a genius instead of Brain, and discovers an alternate timeline where because Buster wasn't there to befriend Arthur at the park, Binky got to him first, later influencing Arthur of that timeline to become a Tough Customer. Even though Alt!Arthur is popular and "cool", he is secretly very unhappy and desperately wants a real friend. Buster realizes that Arthur "needs him" and goes back in time again to let things progress naturally, just to give Arthur the friend he needed.
Fern's Flights of Fancy
- The beginning of the episode shows Fern imagining herself as a famous author. During a book signing, Fern encounters Marc Brown which she instantly recognizes.
Lend Me Your Ear
- Mr. Ratburn has been ignoring Arthur, Buster and Brain, which leads them to believe that he's upset that he has no students to teach (what with it being summer vacation), so they decide to go to his house and ask him to tutor them. While it turns out that he hasn't been ignoring them on purpose (he's losing his hearing, so he just didn't hear them), the fact remains - they were willing to give up some of their summer vacation in order to cheer him up.
- After D.W. and Lydia free her from her bouncy castle, Emily thanks them by drawing a picture of them in their princess costumes and taping it to her lunch-box.
- Mr. Ratburn is so excited about planning his wedding that he answers his cellphone in class to talk about floral decorations. He even has "The Wedding March" as his ringtone. He then apologizes and explains to his class that he's getting married.
- While their motivations to "break them up" are selfish, Arthur and the kids seem truly worried that when they mistakenly think Mr. Ratburn is engaged to Patty because Mr. Ratburn doesn't seem happy when hanging out with her.
- The Reveal that Patty isn't Mr. Ratburn's fiancee but his older sister, and that Patrick the chocolatier from earlier is his fiance. Arthur and his friends are very relieved and happy when Patrick winks at them.
- The episode ends with Mr. Ratburn and Patrick dancing like dorks. Francine lampshades that teachers should never do that.
- Binky manages to enjoy his day at Bitzis office with the help of none other than Harry, her former boyfriend. He shows that hes still the same warm, friendly guy and that he is still happy to work in the same place as his ex-girlfriend.
- The final A Word From Us Kids segment of the series has a group of friends talk about what Arthur characters look like from the outside and inside, what would it be like to be friends with them, and express what the show meant for them and how it changed their lives in a good way. For an interstitial segment that has been with viewers for 25 years, this is the perfect final segment to say farewell.
- In the intro, Arthur takes a moment to provide the final lesson of the series, that sometimes life can take an unexpected turn, and sometimes it really is for the best. For a series that has provided lessons on just about everything you would expect from a kids show, this last lesson is the perfect way to sign off.
- The library aide who gives Arthur the drawing book is none other than Marc Brown himself, who gets to meet his signature creation face-to-face in animated form.
- The Time Skip has been kind to our characters.
- Buster, for all his lack of enthusiasm for academia, went on to become a college professor.
- George became the owner of the Sugar Bowl, which has survived the past two decades. Whats more, in a testament to how he is an Ascended Extra, hes among Arthurs closest friends in the final scene, even being shown over other long-runners like Brain.
- Muffy has become a politician running for mayor, and unlike in The Election, seems to genuinely be running to help the people shes trying to serve.
- Francine has become a designer who still remains close to Muffy.
- D.W., as bratty and cantankerous as she was as a child, has become a police officer. Its an incredibly brave job and one of great responsibility, and its great to see D.W. matured enough to take on such a role in her community.
- Binky is a local weatherman who still incorporates his love of wrestling into his reporting.
- Kate is now a twenty-year-old student of Busters who has submitted a short story on a baby who communicates with pets. Twenty years later, Kate somehow subconsciously retained her memories of her time speaking to Pal and the other pets of the neighborhood, despite her fears upon learning in an earlier season she would one day lose that ability. As Pal has surely passed away by this point, its a bittersweet way of showing that Kate kept her memories of her special time with him in her heart all these years and is now going to help him live on.
- Arthur (voiced by his original actor Michael Yarmush, no less) is revealed to have become a graphic artist, and is about to publish a graphic novel about his childhood. The cover is identical to the main title card of the series itself, and the first chapter is a Recursive Canon adaptation of the very first episode Arthurs Eyes. This all came about because of when Marc Brown had Arthur take the drawing book, leading to Arthur finding his passion - and if we are to take it that way, create the adaptation of his life weve been watching all along.
- The fact that Arthur and his friends have all remained close friends in the twenty years since their fourth grade. So many people in real life unfortunately lose touch with their oldest friends, but Arthur and his group defied that and stayed together all the way until now.
- Hours after the final episode aired on PBS Kids, the official Arthur Twitter posted an original drawing by Marc Brown showing Pal, Arthur, and D.W. together as a farewell to the series.
- Arthur's Perfect Christmas:
- Binky reveals that every Christmas, his family volunteers at a soup kitchen to help others in need. He is excited about the thought of baking for the homeless.
- An exhausted security guard is nice to Arthur when he asks directions to a candy cane where his mother asked to meet at 4:30. He gives clear directions once Arthur makes it clear it's the red candy cane and not the green one.
- Jane tries to break it gently to D.W. that "Santa" won't be bringing her the toy she requested, Tina the Talking Tabby. She does reassure D.W. that it's not because she was bad, but rather because so many kids want the same toy. Unfortunately, D.W. doesn't listen and misconstrues Jane's response as "Arthur wrote the list wrong!" You tried, Jane.
- Regardless of your feelings about the tantrum, D.W. finally calming down and accepting Quackers as being "kind of cute for someone who's not a kitty" is sweet.
- Then there's the whole plot where Arthur is trying to find his mother the perfect gift. He runs across a glass bird he broke the prior summer, and is absolutely thrilled about it, hyping up what her reaction to it will be. Unfortunately, just before the opening of gifts, he goes up to fetch it, and when he pulls it down from a high shelf, he ends up breaking it again.note He then spends the next while in his room clearly heartbroken and devastated about it (with the full knowledge they won't be able to open the presents without him), until Uncle Fred comes up to comfort him. When Fred takes notice of how upset Arthur is, what does he do? He takes the tag from Arthur's box, and swaps it out with the tag on one of Fred's gifts. Said gift happens to be a tea set that Fred broke a year earlier. And to top it all off, at the end of the special, when Arthur asks why Fred did that, his response? "It was much better coming from you." It's a very well-done way of showing that sometimes things don't always go your way, but that isn't always a bad thing.
- D.W. and the Beastly BirthdayArthur: I know I don't say this a lot, but... I like you. And not just 'cause you're my sister.D.W.: I like you too. Even if you are a terrible birthday card picker.
- In the "My Night Light" from the music album Arthur and Friends: The First Almost Real Not Live CD (or Tape), Binky sings that no one needs to know that he sleeps with a night light.Kids of Arthur's Class: That's okay, Binky. We've had nightmares like you.
- The Rhythm and Roots of Arthur
- Seeing Buster and D.W. bonding over their mutual homesickness is sweet, especially since they usually aren't seen interacting much at all.
- D.W. bonding with her great-granduncle Theo over his sister, whom D.W. was named after
- In the Arthur's Halloween book, Arthur crabs about having to take D.W. trick-or-treating. Despite this, when she slips into a house that the other kids all claim is haunted by a witch, he immediately follows her in, despite being so terrified that his hands turn ice-cold and his heart races.
- In the licensed game "An Elwood City Thanksgiving", we see the Reads (with Aunt Minnie and Grandma Thora), Buster and his mother, the Crosswires (plus Bailey), and Mr. Ratburn and Patrick having their respective Thanksgiving dinners. Highlights include:
- Buster and his mother acknowledging the Native Americans and expressing sadness that prejudice still exists.
- The Crosswires donating food to charity.
- Mr. Ratburn and Patrick coming up with a tradition of making chocolate cake, since the former loves cake and the latter runs a chocolate company.