Follow TV Tropes

Following

YMMV / Arthur

Go To

YMMV items with their own subpage:

Other YMMV items:

    open/close all folders 

    A-M 
  • Accidental Aesop:
    • "Arthur's Birthday" seems to have the message of "try to coordinate parties ahead of time" because the main conflict is Arthur and Muffy's birthday parties are on the same day. A lot could have been avoided if they had talked it out a few months ahead of time, instead of days before the event.
    • "Arthur's Baby": You Are Better Than You Think You Are when it comes to being an older sibling to a baby. Arthur is convinced that Kate hates him because she cries every time he even gets a few inches close to her. It turns out she was just too little to know any better; she's fine with Arthur watching her for a few minutes, and later kisses him after Arthur burps her.
    • "Lost!": If your child is taking public transportation, give them extra money for an emergency fare and tell them what to do in case things go wrong. Such as talking to the bus driver if you're on the wrong route, which David later mentions is a viable solution. If Arthur had a few more quarters to pay for the return bus, he wouldn't have been worrying (as much) about finding a way home.
    • "Fern's Slumber Party": It's very rude to bring your own toys and games to a party, without asking the host for permission. Ask them ahead of time, and don't assume they are "boring" even if they are quiet. The girls in Fern's class do so, not even giving Fern a chance to suggest activities; Francine hogs most of the events by showing off, and Muffy bickers with Jenna when they play-wrestle with dolls. They learn that she's a good storyteller, and finds Francine's missing bracelet with pure logic.
    • While "D.W's Very Bad Mood" tries to come off as teaching the kids about how you can't be expected to go to every kid's birthday party or to deal with disappointment, it instead ends up coming off as telling them they should try to one-up the person.
    • Considering that after "Arthur's Big Hit", D.W. never touches Arthur's plane models again, it teaches kids that sometimes the experience of learning why you shouldn't break a sibling's things will teach you better than a standard punishment like being grounded.
      • Another moral could be "Stupid actions have consequences."
  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • In "Sick as a Dog", D.W. cries out, "The dog's got my wiener!" when Pal steals her hot dog. Not helping matters is the fact that the hot dog was below her waist when Pal took it and the fact that D.W. is voiced by a boy.
    • In "Buster and the Daredevils", one kid refers to Arthur's skates as "strap-ons", which is correct and all but can be a little hard to not snicker at.
    • In "Popular Girls", Sue Ellen has an Imagine Spot where she's so good at playing the saxophone that it alienates all her other friends in music class, including discouraging Binky from the clarinet. Binky tells Sue Ellen, "I might as well stick my tongue in a drawer and never blow again!"
    • In "Buster's Breathless", Arthur calls Buster's dusty books "dirty books".
    • S15 "Fifteen": The radio host for the talk show George is due to star on greets him with a handshake remarking "Sorry for the sticky hands, spilled some coffee...." Erm, okay?
    • In "Tales from the Crib", D.W. tells a talking toy, "But I didn't turn you on!"
    • The title card in "Arthur's Big Meltdown" features a shot of Arthur shaking his fist (actually a reanimated version of the same shot in "Arthur's Big Hit") that will likely remind a dirty-minded viewer of something else.
  • Adaptation Displacement:
    • Mention Arthur to the average person and the first thing that comes to their mind is almost always the TV show instead of the original line of picture books it was based on. Though the show also mentions at the end that Arthur books can be found at your local library, at least.
    • This displacement even extends over to the Living Books titles — some people think that the games were based on the show, despite predating the show by several years (with the exception of "Arthur's Computer Adventure", which was based on a book that was, in fact, based on an episode of the show).
  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation:
    • "D.W. All Wet": The intended Aesop is that even irrational fears can have a serious effect on those who think they are rational, but a different Aesop could be that benevolent trickery is a good way to get someone to overcome their fears. Arthur and Buster were fooling around and ended up getting D.W. to overcome her Chapodiphobia.
    • Numerous episodes (like "Vomitrocius" or "Germophobia") involve the characters having a bad dream about their current situation, often causing them to completely change their opinion about the situation and getting them into trouble as a result, prompting the possible alternate moral in them of "don't make drastic sudden decisions just because you had a nightmare about them."
    • The intended Aesop of "Kiss and Tell" is that you should wait until you are older to do certain things such as kissing, but it can also be read as "if you want something from someone, ask them for it directly instead of Hint Dropping." James only realizes that D.W. wants a kiss from him when she outright tells him that she does.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Is D.W. just an immature kid who will grow out of her brattiness eventually, or an incredibly self-centered and ungrateful Enfante Terrible? It doesn't help that the show itself goes back and forth on this.
    • When Perky was grumpy in "Arthur's Pet Business", was it just because she was pregnant, just her personality, or was her pregnancy exacerbating her already-grumpy personality?
    • Cousin Mo from "Arthur's Cousin Catastrophe". Did she really bully Arthur when he was little and realized the error of her ways? Or was she just playing around and Arthur misinterpreted it as bullying because of his young age? She seems shocked that Arthur runs away from her and she even tells him that he's her favorite relative and that she only comes to family reunions to see him.
    • David Read in the S1 episode "Arthur's Family Vacation". Did he truly want to go on vacation with his family, or was he perhaps using the vacation as an excuse to go to a special restaurant known for its lobster?
    • Are David and Jane Read legitimately good parents who just want what they think is best for their children, or do they show blatant favoritism by not allowing Arthur to do things most kids his age do (reading scary comic books, going to PG-13 movies) while letting D.W. do whatever she wants?
    • Doria Walters in "Fern's Slumber Party". Was she just giving Fern Tough Love in order to help her integrate herself into her peer group? Or is she just being too pushy by forcing her daughter to be something she's not by belittling her interests?
    • Could Fern be classified as a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing? She's characterized as a Shrinking Violet and Nice Girl, but some of her actions could contradict that. She drew mean comics about Francine, plagiarized Ladonna's stories just because she had writer's block, and was willing to imagine bad things happening to people at one point. In "Popular Girls," she and Sue Ellen decided to change themselves in order to appear more likable, and while Sue Ellen struggled to be less 'perfect', Fern had no trouble bossing people around and being negatively assertive.
    • The aliens at the end of "The Chips are Down" — When they say, "Don't blame us, we just like ballet", are they admitting their responsibility but stating that they only brought D.W. and Binky together because they like ballet, or are they saying that they didn't bring them together and that the viewers shouldn't assume otherwise just because they like ballet?
    • In "Prove It", did D.W. really lie to her friends so that she'd be taken to the science museum, or did she just claim that it was her plan all along to save face?
    • Why did Francine throw up in "Vomitrocious"? Was it Stress Vomit over her guilt for picking on George or did she actually have a virus as the nurse thought?
    • D.W. in "Kiss and Tell". Did she only want a kiss from James so she could live the fairy tale Emily told her, that a kiss from a boy would turn her into a princess, and James was the best choice to fulfill it because he chose her song to be played at naptime? Or does she legitimately have a crush on him?
  • Alternative Joke Interpretation:
    • In the Season 6 episode "Brother, Can You Spare a Clarinet?", Binky and the Tough Customers try to sabotage the music tryouts by using an "anti-music machine" to make a horribly loud noise. At one point, they try to use the boy's bathroom to set up the machine, but Mr. Morris hogs the bathroom so they can't. There's a possibility is that Mr. Morris knew that Binky and the Tough Customers were up to no good and he purposely hogged the bathroom to thwart their plans. The fact that the Tough Customers stood by the entrance watching Mr. Morris didn't help their case. Also, Mr. Morris looks at them at one point with suspicion, as if he was catching on to them.
  • Angel/Devil Shipping:
  • Anvilicious:
    • We're constantly reminded that the Reads limit Arthur and D.W.'s TV time, and then there's "Arthur's TV-Free Week", where everyone lays off TV for a week...
    • Even the theme song is Anvilicious, but also catchy as hell.
    • There were a few episodes in Season 15 that got especially Anvilicious. One even had both segments being so (candy with lots of artificial ingredients and standardized tests being the subjects, respectively).
  • Archive Panic: The show started in 1996 with 30 episodes for Season 1. The second season has 20 episodes, and the third season has 15 to bring the show up to the syndication-mandated 65 episodes. The next 16 seasons had 10 episodes each, Seasons 20 and 21 had 7 episodes each, Season 22 had 4 episodes, and Seasons 23 and 24 had 3. The show hit its 100th episode in the middle of Season 7 in 2002. As of this writing, its 25th and final season has concluded and the show finished its 25-year run at 253 episodes. Calculating, each episode is 24 minutes long. That makes the entire runtime more than 5904 minutes, or exactly 98 hours. Put into a marathon, it will run 4 days and 1 hour nonstop. And that's not counting the seven hour-long specials, the spin-off Postcards from Buster, and the direct-to-DVD movie.
  • Awesome Music:
    • "Elwood City" from the end of the play in "Elwood City Turns 100!".
    • All of the songs from "Arthur's Almost Live Not Real Music Festival", especially "Jekyll & Hyde".
    • There is a very catchy rock song that can be heard in a few episodes, such as in "Poor Muffy", where Muffy is listening and dancing to it to the point of annoying one of the Frenskys' neighbors.
    • Even the background music for the actual show is widely liked. Often it captures the mood of the scene very well, whether it's frantic, joyful, or tear-jerking. It's popular enough that many people have hoped for an official soundtrack release someday, as only a few recurring pieces can be heard in their clean form at the time of this writing (to be more precise, Raymond Fabi has four of the recurring pieces up on his web site as a sample).
    • "Crazy Bus". Sure, some people may find it annoying (those people obviously haven't heard the "soundtrack" of the similarly titled Sega Genesis game), but if you like jaunty tunes with nonsense words and whatnot (i.e. the "scatting" theme from the short-lived game show All-Star Blitz), then it's awesome.
    • Of course, there's also the show's iconic theme song, "Believe in Yourself" by Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. Not only is it a great introduction to reggae for young kids even after all these years, but it comes with a timeless Be Yourself message.
    • "Besties" has a song by Buster about how he's best friends with Ladonna instead of Arthur, sung in a very upbeat and catchy tone.
    • The show has often used the disco stock music track "Mojito Sounds Better" from the Intervox Production Music library, as heard in episodes like "Flaw and Order", "Strangers on a Train", "Buster the Lounge Lizard", "Through the Looking Glasses", "Sue Ellen & the Last Page", and "Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone". It's so groovy it even got used as part of the instrumental "Disco a Go-Go" medley in the TimeSplitters: Future Perfect video game!
    • "Nothing But the Music" from Arthur - It's Only Rock 'n' Roll is a great song celebrating The Power of Rock. It's taken up to eleven when U Stink and the Backstreet Boys play the song together.
    • Another song performed by Fern is "Fern's Cell Phone Song" from the episode "Phony Fern". It's about Fern's love for the latest cell phone she got called "Portliex-360" which takes cues from Rodgers and Hammerstein musicals (notably The Sound of Music and The King and I). While the song is short, this episode manages to show off Holly Gauthier-Frankel's surprisingly good singing skills which were first shown off in Arthur - It's Only Rock 'n' Roll.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • D.W. is usually considered to be the poster child of the Annoying Younger Sibling and Bratty Half-Pint tropes in many circles, especially in episodes like "Arthur's Big Hit" and "D.W.'s Very Bad Mood", where she's supposed to be sympathized with for breaking Arthur's plane model out of her own stupidity and throwing a petty tantrum over nothing, respectively. However, she still has her fans who see her as a Jerk with a Heart of Gold at worst and a Lesser of Two Evils in comparison to the Tibble twins. Episodes from her point of view usually do a better job at portraying her sympathetically.
    • Francine and Muffy are polarizing because they're both mean and hypocritical just as often as they are friendly and sympathetic, and even when they're cruel to their friends they don't get called out.
    • Kate and Pal are, on their own, both cute and well-liked additions to Arthur's family. Later on, though, the episodes where they talk to each other started getting some flak for being annoying and out of place in the series' relatively realistic world. These sorts of stories also make Nemo into an antagonistic character, which some people find a bit unnecessary.
    • Fern is this for some; some like her because she comes off as a Moe character, with how quiet and shy, yet cute she is; others, on the other hand, aren't so fond of her seemingly dark and sinister train of thoughts and how passive aggressive she can be when pushed too far.
    • Brain has a divided reception. He's either seen as a helpful friend who's Wise Beyond Their Years character is entertaining, or an insensitive buzzkill to the friend group.
    • Ladonna is frequently cited as unlikable by many due to her compulsive lying and tall tales upon her introduction and is often seen as an unnecessary addition to the main cast. The fact that her debut coincided with the equally controversial upgrade to Flash animation didn't help her case much either. However, one must note that she mostly got over her constant lying very quickly once she learned the right way to make friends and is otherwise a very loyal companion to the main group; her appealing character design also garners her a few more defenders.
    • Some people consider Bud more annoying than Ladonna as well as an unnecessary addition to the cast just like her, and those who ship D.W. with her all-but-said-to-be canon crush James dislike the fact that the latter was pushed to the wayside to make room for him, while others like him for seemingly being responsible for toning down D.W.'s brattiness and actually being able to stand up to the Tibbles.
    • Doria Walters, to an extent. Some people like her for being one of the most patient parents in the series, while others aren't very fond of her overbearing nature towards her daughter in "Fern's Slumber Party".
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • A bear and a chicken making out in "I'm a Poet". Apart from it being an imaginary and non-canon scene, it's completely unexplained.
    • In the first season, certain items are shown that look like Principal Haney. In "Arthur's Birthday", we see a piñata that looks like Mr. Haney. In "Arthur Bounces Back", when he presses a button on a toy robot, it changes into Mr. Haney... this is completely unexplained.
    • One example that was so weird it had to be intentional: in "D.W. Rides Again", Arthur is teaching D.W. to ride a bike. He's demonstrating what the various hand signals for stop and go mean, and so she asks him what "this" (makes a silly face at him) means. About five seconds later, their neighbor Mr. Sipple runs up dripping wet and wrapped in a towel, holding a cabbage for them. When they ask him why he's there, he tells them he came because doing "this" (repeats D.W.'s gesture) on a bike means "bring me a cabbage, fast!". He hands D.W. the cabbage and runs off back home.
    • In "D.W.'s Name Game", after D.W. and Arthur have spent the whole night calling each other names, D.W. goes to sleep and dreams that she meets the "Thesaurus", who tells her what to call Arthur as payback for his name-calling. It ends up doing more harm than good and the two apologize to each other when she wakes back up... only for the Thesaurus himself to appear for real outside her window, implying it wasn't a dream. The episode then ends right there and no explanation is given for what just happened.
    • In "Arthur's Lost Library Book", Arthur accuses Buster of stealing the book he wanted to read, but Buster quickly shoots that accusation down. He suggests that giant mutant mole people, not aliens as he usually suggests, are the ones responsible for the theft. Sure enough, there are mutant moles listening in on their conversation, but they don't have the book. They are never brought up again.
    • Speaking of aliens, many such BLAM moments can be attributed to them throughout the series, courtesy of Buster. Perhaps most infamously though, it is implied that they are the true thieves of D.W.'s snowball, as they appear in each of the episodes where the story comes back up. However, because they have been portrayed as different aliens each time, it's hard to tell if there's any truth to their involvement.
    • In "Arthur's Substitute Teacher Trouble", Buster falls asleep due to Ms. Ratburn's lessons, which the class find to be way too easy. He then imagines himself running across a statue of Ms. Ratburn on the beach in a nod to Planet of the Apes (1968) before snapping out of his slumber. It lasts all of four seconds.
    • In "Go To Your Room, D.W.", D.W. becomes agitated when her clock, a digital clock, is not changing during her timeout, making her freak out and believe that time has somehow stopped. She rushes downstairs and finds that nobody's moving or awake, and she runs about doing whatever she pleases until her dad snaps her out of it, revealing it all to be a fantasy. Lord knows what D.W. was just doing around the house while having this bizarre dream, but her father, who's not the least bit amused, immediately sends her back up, and nobody asks any further questions on whatever just happened.
    • In "Prunella Gets it Twice", the Ghost of Presents Past takes Prunella to see all the things Francine did to buy her the doll for her birthday that she showed no gratitude for, having already gotten another doll just like it. During one such flashback, the Ghost laments how Francine must slave away at home, caring for her little brother Tiny Tim. Prunella immediately calls her out on this nonsense, and the Ghost continues her story, with no further discussion on her obvious mistake.
    • In another deliberate case of this, "The Blizzard" immediately opens up with the image of a polar bear eating a marshmallow in the middle of a snowstorm. We then cut to Arthur digging through five feet of snow, during which D.W. inquires about the polar bear. Arthur immediately blows that off as mere nonsense, despite being the one to describe that scene just moments earlier.
    • In "Whip. Mix. Blend.", a raccoon licks Rattles's mixture of various things that Molly packed for him. It sprints up a tree and does a pose. Rattles stares at the racoon for a second, then moves on. This scene is incredibly exaggerated and unrealistic, and the racoon isn't shown again.
    • In "D.W. Tricks the Tooth Fairy", Arthur is at the gift shop of a museum. He picks up a monkey toy which says, in Francine's voice, "I'm the best athlete in the whole school!" (which is something Francine would say). Arthur looks surprised for a moment and then continues, and the implications of the monkey toy are never explained.
    • The two monsters from the cold open of "Night Fright" are never seen or mentioned again in the rest of said episode; or any other episode centered around Halloween or dealing with fear.
  • Bile Fascination: For many, the main reason to watch "So Funny I Forgot to Laugh" is to see in awe how wildly off the characters are in this episode.
  • Bizarro Episode:
    • "Just Desserts". Makes sense that it'd be one, as much of the episode takes place in a series of Acid Reflux Nightmares Arthur is having after eating too much for dessert, but even by the standards of the show's signature Imagine Spots and Dream Sequences it has some very strange goings-on, such as a cake version of Grandma Thora forcing herself down Arthur's throat, malls made out of candy, D.W. getting abducted by seven Tibble twins who claim she is "Dough White", and Arthur in a parody of Jack and the Beanstalk where the giant is made of all the foods Arthur has ever eaten, among other things.
    • To a lesser extent, "To Eat or Not to Eat", considering how out-of-place for the show it is having the villain con children into actually eating drugs. Not to mention, said drugs work in a very strange way; the addictive effect is caused by "molecules dying", "zorn jelly" is one of the ingredients, and their selling point is that they make sparkles shoot out of your mouth.
    • "Meet Binky". The premise is that everyone in Elwood City loves a new band called Binky (no relation to Binky Barnes), and Arthur wants to see their concert. Binky is not actually a real band, their music instead being credited to Värttinä, and the four band members do not appear to be caricatures of real people. It feels very close to Product Placement, such as when Arthur shows off all the Binky products his friends bought or imagines himself sledding with the band members, except what it's advertising isn't actually real. At the end of the episode, Binky is revealed to have been entirely holographic.
    • "Desperately Seeking Stanley" could be considered this for the Kate and Pal episodes, as it shows pets and babies can communicate with Living Toys. The subplot involving Stanley trying to avoid being sold at a yard sale feels more like a Toy Story movie than an episode of Arthur.
    • "Carried Away" is a Whole-Plot Reference to Doctor Who, involving Mei-Lin, Kate, and Pal taking a trip through the Solar System with Pal's cousin. While the Kate and Pal episodes are less firmly realistic, this one particularly stands out with the reveal that Pal has family on Pluto of all places.
  • Broken Base:
    • Some fans were upset when it was revealed that Arthur would be switching production houses to 9 Story Entertainment after Cookie Jar got bought over by DHX Media, and would rather see DHX taking over production of the show. Others, however, find it a relief that the show did not go over to DHX and would rather it be in the hands of 9 Story.
    • Depending on who you ask, the scene in "Kiss and Tell" where James kisses D.W. is either a Heartwarming Moment, or Squicky because the characters are only about four years old.
  • Catharsis Factor: In "Sue Ellen Vegges Out," Sue Ellen chews Muffy and Francine out for pretending to go vegan just to one-up each other. Many viewers enjoyed it considering how Francine and Muffy often got away with being mean to others in the past.
  • Common Knowledge:
    • D.W. is well known as a Karma Houdini who never gets punished by her parents. However, there are actually several episodes where she gets disciplined by the Read parents, such as "Go to Your Room, D.W." and "D.W.'s Baby". In fact, the times where she does face consequences in the series outnumber the instances where she doesn't.
    • The song that plays throughout "Binky Rules" and "Meet Binky" was not created by the show, nor is it even by a band called Binky. It's "Matalii Ja Mustii" by Finnish band Värttinä.
  • Crosses the Line Twice: In "The Blizzard", D.W. makes this comment upon seeing the power lines collapsing outside:
    D.W.: "Mommy, Daddy! The town is exploding and it's very pretty!"
  • Designated Villain:
    • Ed Crosswire is frequently an antagonist, though only because his business ventures frequently impact a member of the cast negatively, or he overreacts to a situation. He's actually a very nice, reasonable guy if you can prove that he is wrong. Later season episodes like "Muffy's Car Campaign" actually show him as an Honest Business Executive who genuinely cares about the planet and starts selling more environmentally-friendly cars, all to make sure Muffy has a better future.
    • Mighty Mountain in seasons one and two. Arthur and the gang consider them The Dreaded because it's rare to score a victory against them, or even points in baseball or soccer. Francine and the Brain are the only Elwood athletes who stand a chance against them. It's shown that the kids are legitimately good sports players, something even Jerkass Francine admits, and they're not wrong to laugh at Muffy when she holds the bat wrong in "Arthur and the True Francine". This gets fixed after the first two seasons, where Mighty Mountain kids are nice off the court. Prunella's blind friend Marina is even on their soccer team.
  • Die for Our Ship: Bud Compson is already a contentious character for other reasons, but people who ship D.W. with her all-but-said-to-be canon crush James dislike him for effectively replacing the latter as D.W.'s best male friend at the advent of the show's Flash-animated seasons.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: The show runs into this issue a lot with its Aesops. Often, the kids will try to do something that seems fun, but will end up learning a lesson from it (e.g. reading a scary comic in "Tales of Grotesquely Grim Bunny", watching a relatively violent kids' show in "Attack of the Turbo Tibbles"), or get stopped by their parents (i.e. watching a PG-13 spy movie in "Arthur Makes a Movie"). This can come off as making the parents on the show seem overly strict and controlling, especially since many of these are things that kids Arthur's age actually do like doing.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Despite the fact that for 16 years they were background extras and never promoted to a recurring or supporting role, the characters Alex and Maria (the gray bunny with the orange sweater, and the girl bunny with the blue and pink striped shirt, respectively) have a number of fans. The creators seem to have caught onto this, as Maria got her own episode for Season 19 and Alex became Arthur's deskmate in Arthur's First Day.
    • Molly has quite a following due to the "tough girl" image she has, as well as her positive relationship with her little brother James.
    • Marina. She doesn't have many episodes, but she comes off as a very strong character who doesn't like being fussed over due to her blindness.
    • Arthur's Cousin Mo has fallen into this territory recently; despite being properly featured in only one episode ("Arthur's Cousin Catastrophe"), and being reduced to a background extra over the course of the next 24 seasons, she gets quite a bit of attention from fans who find her behavior of tormenting and ridiculing Arthur at family reunions despite saying he's her favorite relative and the only reason she attends the reunions interesting enough to warrant further exploration of her character. That, and she's also apparently appealing to kids of The '90s who were into grunge culture, as her design projects.
    • Carl gets a lot of love from the Autism community, due to the fact that he is likely one of the most accurate and sympathetic depictions of Asperger Syndrome in children's media.
  • Fandom Rivalry: For a long time after the rights to producing the show changed hands from Cookie Jar to 9 Story, the bronies were picking on it and its fans. It appears that there are two groups of haters here - one being bitter about how Marc Brown chose to terminate Cookie Jar's rights and grant the rights to 9 Story instead of transferring the production rights to DHX Media (which is incidentally the company behind FiM) when they bought up Cookie Jar, and another just sees Arthur as yet another show competing with FiM for awards. The rivalry has since died down.
  • Fan Nickname: Viewers of Ontario's TVO Kids "Crawlspace" block during the show's early run in The '90s fondly remember Arthur as "The Phenom" (short for "phenomenon", pronounced FEE-nom), a nickname bestowed upon it by co-host Joe Motiki due to its massive popularity.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Some fans prefer Arthur/Sue Ellen as a couple as opposed to the implied Official Couple of Arthur/Francine.
  • Foe Yay Shipping: Arthur is sometimes shipped with one of the bullies at his school, Molly, in light of "Arthur Makes Waves", where Arthur's friends assume they must be in love upon seeing them hanging out together, even though there is no evidence that it's actually true.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Often with other 90s/2000s, older-skewing PBS shows. The most notable examples are fellow-long runner Cyberchase and fellow WGBH series Martha Speaks. PBS even ran a series of unofficial crossover promos called "Marthur".
  • Genius Bonus:
    • In "Arthur's Spelling Trubble", Brain protests when he misspells "fear" as "fere" and asks what dictionary Mr. Haney is using. It turns out "fere" is an archaic word that means "companion" or "spouse".
    • "D.W. Tale Spins" has an Imagine Spot with a prehistoric version of Arthur's family — and they look like actual aardvarks (flat-nosed, pointy-eared).
    • Bailey gives Ed Crosswire a copy of Samuel Beckett's Endgame for his birthday. Endgame details the life of an Old Retainer who is desperate to leave his demanding master, but is constantly prevented from doing so. Perhaps Bailey is Hint Dropping.
    • At the beginning of one episode, an unidentified alvarezsaur appears. It's pretty accurate, except maybe for the fact that its tail is too short.
    • "Buster's Dino Dilemma" has a museum curator refer to an argument between Doctor Cope and Doctor Marsh over what species left the dinosaur footprint Buster and Arthur discovered. The feud between Edward Cope and Othniel Marsh is the stuff of paleontological legend.
    • Rattles mentions "a cave in Mexico where snakes hang from the ceiling and eat bats" in "Take a Hike, Molly". There does exist a cave like this in the real world, and it is, in fact, located in Mexico. Quite an obscure thing to reference.
    • In "Lights, Camera... Opera!", Muffy imagines herself in a parody of Carmen. She sings, "I am like a rebellious bird. No one can put me in a cage!" The opening lines of Carmen are "Love is like a rebellious bird which nobody can tame."
    • When Pal and Kate watch a Teletubbies parody in "The Secret Life of Dogs and Babies", they hear the characters quoting Shakespeare's The Tempest.
    • "Waiting to Go" is a Whole-Plot Reference to Waiting for Godot. The scene where Brain offers Binky carrots and turnips is directly lifted from the play. There's the element of one character having an important watch (Pozzo and Brain), and the ending where Vladimir and Estragon decide to hang themselves is even adapted with Brain and Binky laying down and waiting for their deaths, right before their parents pick them up.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The show is much beloved in Israel and has won five awards.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In Season 1's "Arthur Cleans Up", Arthur complains about the state of a city park by claiming "the oceans are full of oil." Fast forward to April 2010...
    • In "Sue Ellen's Little Sister", Sue Ellen spends time around D.W. to see what having a sister would be like, and even shows off an origami crane she spent a lot of time on. D.W. tosses it out a window because she thinks it can fly. And no, she wasn't punished this time either.
    • In "The Half-Baked Sale", Mr. Morris injures his leg when D.W. and Arthur hide Grandma's cookies inside the janitor's closet, but luckily he doesn't break it. Come "April 9th", he does break it in a fire at Lakewood Elementary and is forced to retire as a result.
    • Greg Kramer, the voice of Nemo, passed away in 2013. The last episode he worked on was "The Last Day".
    • In "Francine Frensky, Superstar", Buster is forced to wear a light bulb costume without air holes and can barely breathe. Fast forward a few seasons and it's revealed that he has asthma.
    • "Grandpa Dave's Old Country Farm" oozes with irony. The episode is about how great life at the farm is, how things have gotten out of hand, and how Grandpa needs more help as he's getting older. He even mentions how long the farm has been in his family. Once he's diagnosed with a brain condition, he has to move closer to Arthur, effectively ditching that farm. Arthur is forced to admit that things aren't the same.
    • In Season 1, most of Binky's bullying moments were Played for Laughs: he tackles Brain during a Vitriolic Best Buds moment, gets a Break the Haughty courtesy of Sue Ellen, and admits eventually that he's never had to fight anyone and only acts mean since he's good at it. Then in "Arthur's Big Hit", the other Tough Customers pressure him into hitting Arthur, which he does with reluctance. Afterward, Binky suffers a My God, What Have I Done?, apologizes to Arthur, and briefly "de-founds" the Tough Customers.
    • In "Arthur's Chicken Pox", D.W. is disgusted when her parents serve her spinach, and complains that Arthur doesn't have to eat it; this leads to a funny scene where she and Arthur blow raspberries at each other. Then in "D.W., the Picky Eater", she throws a tantrum at a restaurant when served a spinach salad. Her parents angrily tell her she can't go to restaurants anymore until she can eat what's in front of her without complaint. Arthur then has to scramble to help D.W. so that Grandma Thora's birthday dinner at Once Upon a Restaurant isn't canceled.
    • "Sue Ellen's Lost Diary" is overall humorous, with her friends struggling with the dilemma of opening or not opening it to satisfy their curiosity. Then in "April 9th", the fire that burns the school ends up destroying Sue Ellen's diary beyond repair, causing her to suffer a Heroic BSoD.
    • S2's "Binky Barnes, Art Expert" has Arthur and Buster trying to convince Binky not to go to school by telling him that the school was destroyed in a fire, and that "it only burned on the inside". It's Played for Laughs since Binky can see the school from his house and Francine told him that the boys were having trouble with their art project. Arthur even chides Buster for saying it only burned on the inside. 5 seasons later in "April 9th"...
    • In "Go to Your Room, D.W.," D.W. thinks that Kate "killed" her doll Tiffany by pulling her head off. While this might just have seen as a four-year-old's wild imagination when the episode first aired, it's revealed in the later episode "Desperately Seeking Stanley" that toys in the show's universe are alive à la Toy Story. While it's unknown what it takes to kill a Living Toy in the Arthur universe, this means that it's possible that D.W. was right and getting her head pulled off really did kill Tiffany, even though Jane reattached the head!
    • In "Binky Barnes, Art Expert", Francine calls out Arthur and Buster in front of the whole class for copying their art report from a museum catalog. Several seasons later in "Francine's Pilfered Paper", Francine herself commits plagiarism on an assignment, though she didn't know it was wrong.
    • "Pick a Car, Any Car" has something wrong with the Read family's car. Arthur is attached and turns down any potential car Crosswire Motors has to offer and ends with him figuring out the problem with some help from a couple of radio car show hosts. In "Arthur's New Old Vacation", the old car is towed and replaced with a new minivan and Arthur isn't the least bit upset about it.
    • In "Arthur The Unfunny" he tries everything he can to be funny, but in "So Funny I Forgot To Laugh", he tells jokes that become too mean to be considered funny.

  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • In "D.W.'s Snow Mystery," D.W. says she treasures the snowball because it's a piece of the best day of her life. Season 4's "The Blizzard" reveals that she made it the first day the power came back after a devastating snowstorm, allowing everyone to play outside properly. D.W. during that episode was freaking out that she and her family would die from lack of heat or food and was relieved when the snow stopped falling. It suddenly makes more sense why Jane humored her and let her keep it in the freezer.
    • In "D.W. Unties the Knot," D.W. sets out to plan her dream wedding after being inspired by a reality show about fancy wedding parties, and chooses her preschool classmate James as her groom. While they obviously don't actually get married in the end, being preschoolers and allnote , D.W. tells her best friend Emily that she would like her to be the bridesmaid again at her real wedding 20 years in the future. Fast forward to 2016, six years after the episode first aired, and two kids who met in preschool did actually get married exactly that amount of years later, so a future romance for D.W. and James is very much plausible. And if the amount of years it took for them to get married isn't enough of a similarity, the woman of the couple has a sister named Molly, which is also the name of James' older sister.
  • Hollywood Pudgy: Arthur in "Arthur Weighs In" is shocked to find he's gained weight and become "husky sized", despite the fact that his animation model depicting him with an average build has not been changed at all. It's an Informed Flaw more than anything.
  • Informed Wrongness:
    • In "Meek for a Week", Francine's friends are supposed to be wrong for telling her to be polite. While the way Francine chose to attempt politeness (by suppressing her feelings) was wrong, she could have just expressed her feelings in a nicer way, and some of her mean actions were more than just expressing her feelings; they were just plain insulting (for instance, she repeatedly said, "Can't you do anything right?" when someone messed up).
    • While it was wrong for Arthur to punch D.W. in "Arthur's Big Hit", the fact that the latter had broken the model plane he'd worked so hard on after he repeatedly told her not to touch it makes it hard to hold it against him, especially considering he is only eight years old.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • D.W., in episodes like "So Long, Spanky"note  and "The Last Day"note .
    • Molly in "The Last Tough Customer". She became a bully in order to stop people from bullying her, and once her brother James starts copying her, she not only tells him it's wrong, but writes apology letters to her former victims, promising to change her ways.
  • Like You Would Really Do It:
    • In the episode "Sue Ellen Chickens Out", the owner of the Sugar Bowl agrees to sell off the store to a local fast food chain, with Sue Ellen leading a protest the other kids bail on. Unsurprisingly, the store owner has a change of heart and the Sugar Bowl is here to stay.
    • When Ms. Morgan informs Emily and D.W. that James will be absent from school in "Night of the Tibble," they and the viewers are led to believe this means he didn't make it through the Tibbles' sleepover alive. However, it's hard to believe the writers would actually have him die since that could make the real kids watching fear sleepovers.
    • In Season 21's "Sue Ellen & the Last Page", the Elwood City Council votes to close the library, leaving it up again to Sue Ellen to campaign for it to remain open. As this is the library, the show's tertiary hangout, the place where every child character on the show has been seen, there's no way the writers would have allowed it to remain closed. As far as farfetched episode premises go, this one is particularly shaky. And of course, a last-minute donation saves the library.
  • Memetic Badass:
    • Aardvark Matt Damon from "The Making of Arthur". One wrong move and you'll never eat lunch in this town again.
    • Molly MacDonald sometimes gets this treatment; fans often joke that her "tough girl" presence is strong enough to intimidate and bully full-grown adults.
    • Arthur himself commonly gets his treatment in meme culture due to the absolute fury he shows in "Arthur's Big Hit", with some portrayals showing him as being able to take out anyone with just a single punch.
  • Moe:
    • Fern, mostly because she's quiet, shy, and quite bookish. And she tells scary stories with absolute glee.
    • Sue Ellen, due to being one of the friendliest and kindest of Arthur's friends. Notably the episode "Sue Ellen's Little Sister" where she feels left out during the brother and sister race and wishes she had a little sister.
    • George Lundgren, due to being sweet, kind, and sharing similarities with Fern. He's an overall nice person with fans describing him as the show's most underrated character.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Supreme Dog definitely crossed it in his sole appearance in "To Eat or Not to Eat" by selling Big Boss Bars, which were explicitly said to contain radioactive ingredients, to children all so he can make a profit for himself. Fittingly, at the episode's end he goes to jail (presumably for life) for his actions.
  • Most Wonderful Sound: Baby Kate's laughter.

    N-Z 
  • Narm: Shows up from time to time.
    • "A is for Angry", in which Arthur gets fed up with his peers constantly taking his side and cheering for him while he trains for a big checkers tournament. The odd pose and scream he makes when he finally snaps makes it seem less like Arthur is angry, but rather like he accidentally swallowed a bug.
    • Arthur's stock screams and gasps in general, really. (Especially his trademark gasp.) Once you've heard them in multiple episodes, they can really deflate the drama or shock of any scene Arthur makes them in.
      • "Arthur's Lost Library Book" suffers from this a lot. Arthur has a scary dream where he's dragged to the library by a rubber arm throughout the night. It would be scarier if he weren't screaming all of his usual stock screams the entire time (even rarely-used screams like his "Yeeeowwwwwwwww!").
      • Arthur has this noise that sounds more like "wheezing for air" than "gasping in surprise". It's quite funny, and it can be heard in episodes like "Arthur's Eyes".
    • In "Arthur Rides the Bandwagon", Arthur goes to great lengths to obtain a Woogle, a toy that had become insanely popular for a time with his friends despite believing them to be lame. When he finally has a chance to buy one off of one of his friends after they've sold out, he's finally had enough and shows them something more fun: Clicking the top of a metal juice cap. It seems to be a nod to people's fascination with bubble wrap, but what makes the scene so hilarious is how absolutely awestruck some of the kids are when they see Arthur playing with it, with one kid clearly exclaiming among the clamor "I want one!"
    • When Francine writes a letter to Lance Armstrong in "The Great MacGrady", some flashbacks to past episodes are played while Francine explains why Mrs. MacGrady is so important to her and her friends. This is supposed to be a very tactful and serious scene, and indeed can count as a Tear Jerker... if you're watching the 4:3 version. If you're watching the widescreen version that played overseas, the scene is pillarboxed with an incredibly trippy and psychedelic looking background that is not the least bit appropriate for what's supposed to be a dramatic scene.
    • "April 9th" has Binky witnessing the fire that left Lakewood Elementary badly damaged and Mr. Morris injured as he and his class evacuated the school. Despite his trauma later in the episode, his initial reaction is him staring at the flames offscreen all while strangely calm, even appearing to roll his eyes even as the alarm and sirens blare behind him. This immediately precedes the shot where he whimpers at the sight of Mr. Morris racing to trap the fire in a nearby classroom.
    • "Sleep No More" hinges entirely on Buster's habitual napping and him being unable to sleep the night before a big pizza-eating contest at Pizza Paula's Pizza World. It's unclear why the Big Eater of the group feels the need to fret over such an affair; his constant talk of "destiny" in signing up for the contest is also hard to take seriously.
    • Any time in the Kate and Pal episodes where the adults and older children talk, usually talking in nonsensical babble from the perspective of the pets and babies. On one hand it's justified as Kate and Pal recognize only some words and phrases spoken by older people/Funny Animals. On the other hand, it can be really distracting at times, which may be why it's less prominent in later episodes.
    • D.W.'s Delayed Reaction to being punched in "Arthur's Big Hit" removes any and all shock and drama from that scene and replaces it with absurdity.
      • Arthur's Punctuated! For! Emphasis! pronunciation of "I told you... not to TOUCH IT!" feels more like the voice actor forgot his line than real emphasis. The awkward cut from his fist to D.W. crying on the ground doesn't help.
    • In "Sick as a Dog", D.W. makes an insensitive joke at Arthur's expense when Pal is forced to go to a veterinarian due to an upset stomach. She later apologizes and says she understands his grief, having felt the same way when Spanky died, a statement that causes Arthur to whimper loudly. However, the emotional tension in that scene may be offset by the fact that his whimpering barely sounds natural, sounding more like a dog whimpering or a fly buzzing.
    • What's the incident that causes D.W. to break down crying and think that she's not ready for kindergarten in "The Last Day"? She's going to take out the trash, then accidentally rips the bag on a hose. She goes from being completely confident, even singing a song with Bud about how they'll be "big kids", to crying in a heap just from ripping a trash bag.
    • "Flea to Be You and Me" has a more somber and tragic tone than the rest of the series. Pal, Amigo, and Kate meet a new friend, Pepe, who was separated from his brother and traveled around the world in an attempt to find him. The story is told with very few jokes, and even opens with Pepe breaking down crying about "how he has suffered." Pepe is also a flea with an exaggerated Italian accent, which makes it hard to take seriously.
    • "Binky Rules/Meet Binky". Everyone loves a popular new song from a new Finnish pop band called "Binky" and they turn into a huge musical sensation. However, if you look up the real song they sang in the episode, "Matalii ja Mustii" ("Shallow and Black") by Värttinä, it's a folk song from a Finnish folk music group. The fact that there was such a craze for the band in both episodes for this type of music comes off as this.
    • In "Hide and Snake" when Arthur lies to his dad he's going upstairs to clean his room (actually looking for the snake that got loose in the house) his dad says, "Good boy! Get that work done!" "Good boy" is usually something you say to a dog, not your child.
    • In "Is There a Doctor in the House?" Arthur and D.W. have a dream about having to take care of themselves due to mom and dad both being really sick, the narmy part comes when Arthur is breaking down about having to give Kate away to the orphanage and says the line "we're terrible parents!" which makes absolutely no sense since neither of them are parents even in the Imagine Spot, the actual line should've been "We're terrible children". Plus the delivery of that line sounds rather forced.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Nigel Ratburn was told you'd be having cake. Cue the fandom making him obsessed with cake.
    • Ladonna will never live down her debut episode where she came under fire as the new Sixth Ranger of the main gang due to her constant lying and tall tales; one must note that she abandons both of these by the time the episode is over and has received much stronger characterization since then. Perhaps even more unfortunate is the fact that her debut was also the first episode to feature Flash animation, making her an easy target for fans who made her a symbol of everything they saw wrong with the show's new direction.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games:
    • The PlayStation title, Arthur Ready To Race, was at least decent, and the PC/Mac titles (particularly the Living Books titles) are loved as many children who grew up in the late '80s and '90s were introduced to Arthur by means of the Living Books titles.
    • The Living Books entries are fun, interactive versions of the storybooks.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: "The Great MacGrady" and "Room to Ride" both fall under this in the wake of the Lance Armstrong doping scandal, with both episodes featuring Armstrong in a guest appearance. Unsurprisingly, both have been removed from circulation, and the former was later re-animated/re-worked into a new episode without Armstrong.
  • Periphery Demographic: Massive and vocal, especially in the older seasons of the program. Even currently, though, the program maintains a large number of fans who theoretically should have "outgrown" the program a long time ago, or who have never been in its target audience in the first place during the time that it's been airing. And then there's those fans...
  • Popularity Polynomial: The show was indeed a hit when it first debuted, and was lauded as one of the best kid's shows ever made and wildly popular in media as the quintessential Slice of Life kid's show. As time went on, though, Arthur eventually became another face in the crowd, getting mainstream attention only after certain Very Special Episodes premiered. As social media grew in popularity, though, increasing amounts of 90s/2000s kids who watched it when they were little began going on The Internet and sharing their fond memories of watching the show, eventually culminating in a meme-splosion in the mid-to-late 2010s that sent Arthur's recognition within mainstream pop culture sky-rocketing to heights not seen in years, with some memes (especially those relating to "Arthur's Big Hit") going viral to the point of attracting media attention.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name: For the numerous different Fan Preferred Couples out there...
    • Francine and Arthur = Frarthur
    • Buster and Arthur = Barthur
    • Muffy and Francine = Muffine
    • Prunella and Marina = Prunina
    • Binky and Sue Ellen = Binkellen
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: The Game Boy Color title, Arthurs Absolutely Fun Day, is described by many as excruciatingly painful to play (it's not "absolutely fun"). It consists entirely of incredibly basic and boring minigames. The graphics aren't the best, either, and the characters look rather strange. Even when it had music by Tommy Tallarico, the music was made painful to hear due to mishandling of the Game Boy Color's dated audio hardwarenote .

  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • The second voice of Brain, Steven Crowder, is now best known for being, of all things, a right-wing pundit on YouTube.
    • Crowder's replacement in the role, Alex Hood, would later gain online notoriety as artist for the webcomic Haus of Decline.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • While lot of the faults that fans complain about Jane and David Read, such as rarely (being seen) punishing D.W. and often enabling her worst traits are actually legitimate complaints, many tend to make them out to be such bad parents that they make Peter and Lois Griffin look like Parents of the Year.
    • While D.W. is a Spoiled Brat in the show, she does have moments where she can be kind and helpful. Despite this, there are more than a few Arthur fanfics that exaggerate D.W. into a full-on Enfante Terrible, and there are recurring attempts on This Very Wiki to shoehorn her as an example of The Sociopath.
    • The Crosswires also tend to get hit with this in fanfics. Sure, Muffy is spoiled and can be rude, but has also shown that she can be nice, helpful and caring. And Ed Crosswire is often depicted as a Corrupt Corporate Executive, but in canon is an honest, reasonable businessman whose practices just happen to clash with some of the characters' goals.
    • Quite a few fans tend to demonize Doria Walters and make her out to be very controlling towards Fern, especially in fanfics like A Different Point of View. However, her overbearing nature was only really present in "Fern's Slumber Party". Later seasons have shown her to be far less pushy and genuinely supportive of her daughter for who she is.
  • The Scrappy: Ladonna Compson (and her younger bother Bud) quickly became one for a number of fans who found her to be a completely unnecessary Sixth Ranger character in a show that already had several characters and didn't like her overbearing personality, the fact it was also the first season to use Flash animation didn't help either.
  • Seasonal Rot:
    • Season 5 is considered a low point by many longtime fans, primarily for having what many consider a large amount of weak and forgettable episodes, with quite a few plots feeling really forced — for instance, there's one that focuses entirely on Buster being unable to sleep, and there's another that focuses on dares (despite "Buster and the Daredevils" already teaching the Aesop about how you shouldn't do dares making the episode feel pointless). The one most audiences really hate, however, is "Nerves of Steal", which ends with an all-out Downer Ending. The fact it was the first season produced without Joe Fallon (the creative driving force behind the show's first four seasons, who, with some exceptions, wrote several episodes that are beloved by fans to this day) on the writing staff didn't exactly help matters. Season 6 is also considered by some of the other longtime fans to be this instead of Season 5, or sometimes both of them, due to the prevalence of episodes written by Dietrich Smith, this season being the first time Arthur's VA is replaced, and just being fairly weak overall in a similar vein to 5.
    • Season 9 to 14 could also be another candidate, considering this was the beginning of what some fans refer to as Arthur's "reverse puberty", as his voice continually grew higher, softer, and more childlike (which it had been starting to in Season 6 or 7, depending on which version of the latter you saw), and is also debated as where the show really started having too many generic plots. Also Season 12 to 15 had choppy background animation due to being animated by a different company.
    • Season 16 might as well be another candidate, what with the changing of production houses to 9 Story, the switch to Flash animation (to the point where petitions were made to change the animation), the addition of Ladonna, and the episode "So Funny I Forgot to Laugh," where Arthur uncharacteristically bullies Sue Ellen.
  • Signature Scene: There are a ton of examples that could qualify, but the ones that are arguably the most memorable are the "Library Card" musical number in "Arthur's Almost Live Not Real Music Festival" and Arthur punching D.W. in "Arthur's Big Hit."
  • So Bad, It's Good: "Arthur's New Friend". It was a promotion where you could send your child's name and photo, after which they would be put into a pre-made Arthur episode, and they would send you a personalized DVD. A good idea on paper, but the execution left something to be desired. The child's unmoving face is creepy and whenever Arthur says the child's name, the voice sounds nothing like Arthur. The whole thing just comes off as so poorly-constructed that it winds up being hilarious.
  • Squick: This show seems to just love having various different characters eating and doing absolutely disgusting things every now and then, such as...
    • Buster has eaten a 40-year-old bologna sandwich, half of a cupcake he kept since second grade, and ice cream that he's dropped on the floor. He also carries around Vieux-Boulogne (a French cheese reputed as the smelliest cheese in the world) with him on occasion.
    • George has once eaten ice cream that he had dropped on the floor as well.
    • Arthur once finds a sucker that was stuck between the couch cushions, and has collected dust, lint, hair, etc., remarks that he wondered where it went, then puts it in his mouth.
    • The amusement park ride called "the Hurl-a-Whirl". Even the title is disgusting and it comes with barf bags that Arthur and Buster are excited about. They end up using them while on the ride and to top it all off, even though they threw up on the ride, they want to do it again.
    • In "Sick as a Dog," Arthur keeps feeding Pal food he's not supposed to eat. Most of it's pretty tame and is normal everyday human food (that is obviously not healthy for a dog to digest), but then comes the part where he feeds Pal some gummy worms. That have been sitting under a floorboard of the treehouse. With dust all over them. And we have no idea how long they've been under there; Arthur wonders out loud if they were from this year's Halloween or last year's. Yeesh.
    • In "D.W.'s Blankie," D.W. misplaces her favorite blankie before it is finally found by Pal, initially not recognizing it because it was red and not brown like before. Apparently, it had gone unwashed for so long that the dirt it had collected changed its color!
    • There's the scene in "D.W., the Picky Eater" where D.W. spits a partially-chewed sandwich on the camera.
    • In "D.W.'s Very Bad Mood", D.W. spits out a bite of bologna sandwich and Pal starts eating it. Arthur, secretly watching, is so disgusted by this that he blows his cover by yelling at Pal.
    • "Arthur's Knee" is a nauseating episode for those who don't like blood.
      • The opening sequence of the episode shows anthro versions of Arthur's inside body parts (minus his brain as that's missing). That's bad enough, but the stomach is groaning, making sloshing sounds when it walks, and complaining that Arthur ate too much cake.
    • Seeing Francine throw up in "Vomitrocious"; although no vomit is actually shown, we can still hear it splattering. The vomit-related nicknames don't help and neither do George's nosebleed and Francine's periodic gagging, accompanied by bizarre music every time it happens.
    • In "Desk Wars", Buster pulls a rotting month-old sandwich from his desk that is green, moldy, and whose contents have disintegrated into brown sludge. He then hurls it at his classmates when a fight breaks out, and he barely misses Mr. Haney. The sandwich leaves a black splatter on the door's window.
    • In "What's Cooking?", Buster samples Arthur's cake batter multiple times with the same spoon.
    • "Germophobia" is practically made of this, showing off all of Buster's unclean habits such as not washing his hands in the restroom, avoiding baths, and playing a harmonica he swiped from the trash. He is finally scared straight when the gang warns him of the illnesses he could be carrying through these dirty habits and makes it a point to wash up regularly while also receiving a clean, unused harmonica.
    • In "The Great MacGrady", the foods that the substitute cook makes for the kids are nothing short of revolting. Even worse, the school apparently makes no effort to find a more competent chef until Mrs. MacGrady returns.
    • In "Brain's Chess Mess", seeing Rattles wearing his bathrobe, groaning, and complaining about how he ate cheese despite being lactose intolerant. There is a bit of levity in that despite what he said, he was still able to go to the club, but he still admits that he wasn't Playing Sick; he truly was feeling "discomfort".
    • In the episode "Two Minutes", where we see Timmy outside dressed in nothing but Tommy's red ascot and a diaper, in an attempt to spite Tommy when he believes himself to be the older twin. Tommy is appropriately horrified and calls for his grandma.
    • The show occasionally Averts No Hugging, No Kissing, even for the child characters!
      • In "Buster and the Daredevils", Buster kisses Francine straight on the lips (without her consent, no less!) as part of a dare, causing her to understandably get furious with him.
      • In "Muffy Gets Mature", Muffy has an Imagine Spot of herself and Buster kissing on the lips. Afterward, Muffy turns into a non-anthropomorphic frog.
      • The whole premise of "Kiss and Tell" is D.W. seeking a kiss from a boy, even though she is four!
    • Arthur having Pal lick the dishes clean instead of washing them to save money in "Arthur Read, Super Saver". His father is appropriately disgusted by the dog slobber-covered dishes.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • Yes, Arthur was wrong for punching D.W. in "Arthur's Big Hit", but she did indeed touch his model plane after he told her not to touch it, broke it, and claimed that it was Arthur's fault for "building it wrong". It's hard to blame him for being angry even though he obviously handled it the wrong way.
    • D.W. in the "Washington D.C." episode (and book, though she's less grating there) has every reason to be bored during the D.C. trip. She's only about three or four years old, which some may argue isn't very appropriate to tour D.C. wth.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The theme song has some parallels with "The Joker" by the Steve Miller Band, specifically the opening drum line, the guitar line, the first three verses and the chorus.
  • Sweet Dreams Fuel: The show isn't without any of its darkest moments, but it's generally a very calm and down-to-earth Slice of Life cartoon.
  • Tear Dryer: In "Night of the Tibble," James is invited to a sleepover with the Tibbles. Seeing that James is scared of what the Tibbles might do to him at the sleepover, D.W. and Emily try their best to come up with a way to get him out of going to it, but James's conscience ultimately gets the better of him and he agrees to attend the sleepover despite his fear. The next day at preschool, the class is informed by the teacher, Ms. Morgan, that James won't be coming to school that day, which D.W. and Emily take to mean that James has died at the sleepover. After school, the two tearfully go to give James' mother flowers to show her how much James meant to them. Thankfully, it turns out James is alive and was only absent from school due to a stomachache from eating too many treats at the sleepover, and he takes the flowers that were meant for his mother himself. This gets especially heartwarming in D.W.'s case when you remember that previous episodes have heavily implied that she "likes" James.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • Every time Arthur gets a new voice actor fans decry them, albeit some are decried more than others. The worst voice for Arthur himself is widely considered to be Dallas Jokic, whose high-pitched voice made Arthur sound younger than D.W..
    • After 15 long years of being in the hands of Cinar/Cookie Jar Entertainment, the license was passed on to 9 Story Entertainment, who proceeded to switch from traditional to Flash animation. Many longtime fans haven't been too happy about the results so far. Never mind that several pre-9 Story episodes were already done in Toon Boom Harmony as tests.
    • The Tough Customers breaking up and no longer being bullies. While it's unacceptable for children to bully each other in real life, realistic fiction is supposed to have different conventions. Often, if there is no antagonist, there is no story (although this show does seem to buck that convention a lot).
    • The announcement that Arthur and co. will be aging up and moving on to fourth grade. Many fans do not like the idea at all. However, this turned out not to stick, as Arthur and co. were back in third grade for Season 20.
    • The introduction of Ladonna and Bud Compson also outraged some fans, who claimed them to be annoying and pointless additions to the show that botched the show's character dynamics in unnecessary ways.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Given the show's myriad of characters, it's perhaps to be expected that the Distant Finale in "All Grown Up" couldn't account for everybody, but a number of major characters are still conspicuously absent from it, such as Sue Ellen, Prunella, the Tibble twins, Fern, the other Tough Customers, and even Brain (whose absence is particularly noticeable as he had appeared in an Imagine Spot prior to the Time Skip).
  • Toy Ship:
    • Arthur and Francine have been shipped frequently, even during Imagine Spot segments on the show itself, although this was only seen in the early seasons. Others prefer Arthur with Sue Ellen in light of "Sue Ellen's Lost Diary," where Arthur blushes in response to Sue Ellen teasing him about her writing "nice things" about him in her diary.
    • D.W. and James, especially in light of "Kiss and Tell", wherein D.W. tries to get James to kiss her so she can feel like a princess in a fairytale, and "D.W. Unties the Knot", wherein D.W. chooses James as the groom for her dream wedding, both of which are rather unsubtle Ship Tease. D.W. and Bud Compson are this to some fans as well.
    • Fern and George, as episodes show them hanging out together more often and showing concern for each other when not together (see "The Case of the Girl With the Long Face".)
    • Molly and Binky, likely because they are both members of the Tough Customers with contrasting personalities. After all, Opposites Attract. Alternatively, a few others ship Molly with Arthur instead in light of "Arthur Makes Waves", where Arthur's friends jump to the conclusion that Arthur and Molly must be in love upon seeing them spending time together, despite there being no real evidence of them being right about that.
  • Unintentional Uncanny Valley: Whenever a celebrity gets made into an ''Arthur'' character, or voices a character meant to resemble them, especially in the later seasons. They try to match their features with the animation style of the show, but it comes off as creepy, often due to the addition of facial features like wrinkles or normal, human-like eyes. The most infamous is Matt Damon's guest appearance in the episode "The Making of Arthur". Everyone else is too cartoony compared to them.
  • Unintentional Period Piece:
    • As expected from a long running show, a lot of things date episodes, usually technology or references. While the main characters' clothes are timeless, minor characters, such as Arthur's very '90s looking cousin named Ricky, sometimes date themselves.
    • "Arthur's Chicken Pox" (written in 1994 and airing in 1996) will seem very strange to someone whose early years were in The New '10s (or even the the 2000s). The chickenpox vaccine was introduced while the episode was in production (though it wouldn't become widely available until the late 2000s), and thus was not mentioned.
    • "The Contest" is a pretty blatant example as of the four TV shows spoofed in the episode, only South Park is still airing, which itself is a Long Runner.
    • In "Best of the Nest", Mr. Ratburn has no idea how to use The Internet and has to be shown by Brain. While this wasn't too implausible in 2001 when the episode aired, the idea of an adult his age — especially a teacher — being unfamiliar with the Internet would be downright laughable nowadays.
    • "Arthur's TV-Free Week" aired during a time where the most technology kids had, aside from TV itself, were video games, and probably computers. With technology such as smartphones and tablets, not to mention the Internet, becoming near-ubiquitous, kids struggling to merely not use a television set seems pretty quaint, as they could easily distract themselves from a TV with these things. Each of these also allow a person to watch anything they want at a whim. These days, the concern is that kids (and society) are often too addicted to technology, so a more modern take on this episode would likely be something along the lines of "Arthur's Screen-Free Week".
    • "D.W. Goes to Washington" has D.W. meeting the President of the United States, who is modeled after Bill Clinton, who was president when the episode was produced but is obviously not any longer.
    • In the episode "In My Africa", D.W. and her new friend from Senegal celebrate the cultures of all 54note  African countries that existed at the time. The song they create excludes the nation South Sudan which gained independence in the same year the episode aired in 2011, the same exact year the episode aired, making its production dates obviously before thennote . Additionally, in 2018, Swaziland was renamed to Eswatini.
    • "Desert Island Dish" (2006) prominently features the USDA's MyPyramid, even having an animation of the man running up the pyramid. This nutrition guide was phased out in 2011, replaced by MyPlate.
    • "Arthur and the Crunch Cereal Contest" is this in the United States. Laws introduced in the early 2000s prohibit forcing the consumer to buy a product to be eligible to participate in a contest.
    • Arthur - It's Only Rock 'n' Roll, guest starring the Backstreet Boys. It's little wonder that it hasn't been re-aired since the early 2000s (except for the Arthur marathon in 2022).
    • The idea of Arthur getting a penpal in "Dear Adil" (2003) seems kind of unspectacular after the rise of social media, where one can speak to anyone anywhere in the world in real time. Notably, Arthur and Adil initially write to each other via handwritten letters before switching over to email halfway through the episode. (And in later episodes, Arthur communicates with Adil through what's implied to be instant chat messaging) Justified however, in that Arthur gets his penpal through Mr. Ratburn via a program facilitated by teachers that matches up their students from around the world. Even with the commonplace use of Internet and social media making it easier to meet new people, it's still a risk for users, at any age, since it's easy for someone to lie about themselves or have underlying ill intentions, especially regarding minors, so this is still a safer method for elementary school children like Arthur to connect and communicate with other verified kids and facilitated by teachers without adults worrying about them speaking to strangers.
    • "The Squirrels" has Arthur renting videos from a video rental store, which is a business that had gone extinct by the time the show ended in 2022 thanks to the rise of streaming services.
    • "When Carl Met George" mentions Carl having Asperger's Syndrome, which is no longer a diagnosis after 2013 and is lumped under Autism Spectrum Disorder instead. Later appearances of Carl mention he has autism instead.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic:
    • Arthur in "Arthur's Big Hit", when he hits D.W. after she breaks his model airplane. We're supposed to see it as a Kick the Dog moment, but the thing is, he's not an aggressive person at the best of times, and he only hit D.W. because he had told her numerous times not to touch his model and she deliberately disobeyed him, many times, including getting paint on her hands and blaming Arthur for it. Add in the fact that she not only fails to genuinely apologize for her actions, she tries to blame Arthur for it (saying that if he'd built a model airplane correctly, it wouldn't have crashed when she launched it out the window), and the hit becomes justified. There's also Arthur getting hit by Binky. It's supposed to be seen as a deserved karma payback for his own hitting of D.W. However, Arthur doesn't actually do anything to Binky to warrant the hit in the first place besides be in the wrong place at the wrong time (and Binky didn't even want to hit Arthur and was forced to do it by his friends in order to prove he was still tough). As far as Arthur (and his parents) know? Binky did it unprovoked - so if anything, it comes off as "Punching your sister means you deserve to be bullied".
    • Another example is "Arthur vs. the Very Mean Crossing Guard". The ending has D.W. ridiculing Arthur and Brain for believing and worrying about the crossing guard's claims that he'll charge them to cross the street and that he'll send goons after them. She (and the guard himself) may see it as obvious joking, but he certainly doesn't seem like he was kidding. Mind you, it gets lampshaded when the guard sincerely apologizes for scaring them.
    • "D.W.'s New Best Friend" surrounds D.W. befriending Hana, a 13-year-old who is a temporary teacher at her class. They bond over a mutual interest of the Princess Platoon series, and D.W. begins to imitate Hana in both appearance and personality. However, she slowly learns that Hana isn't as great as she seems — or at least, we're told. Hana prefers to go a rock concert with her teenage friends instead of D.W., but she isn't mean about it. It's understandable why she would rather hang out with her close friends than a preschooler she only sees during a one-hour class. Even the next day, Hana lets D.W. go first when the class shows off their puppets. It makes it hard to agree with D.W. during her song outing Hana as a mean person who dislikes her for no reason, when that's not how it comes off during the rest of the episode.
    • D.W. of all people ends up this way in "D.W.'s baby". It's understandable she get frustrated since her parents had the brilliant idea to make a four year old share a bedroom with ''a newborn'.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • In "D.W.'s Snow Mystery", at first it's understandable that D.W. is upset that her snowball is missing. What's not so understandable is her rummaging through Arthur's things, yelling at him You Know What You Did, and accidentally ruining his school project that he, Francine, and Buster are trying to keep stable. Arthur even feels bad but gets annoyed at the accusation because he has no interest in the "moldy-old" snowball.
    • D.W., in "Arthur's Big Hit" and in quite a few others. Even in the episodes where she has some justifiable reason for being bratty, she tends to take it so far that it's impossible to sympathize with her (i.e. "D.W.'s Very Bad Mood", where she wasn't invited to a classmate's birthday party and was rude, sarcastic and throwing tantrums all week). This is not made better by all the times she doesn't have an excuse and just felt like being irritating. It makes her seem less like she's acting up because of the issue at hand and more like her already-horrible behavior is just being exacerbated by said issue. A number of viewers also cheered when Arthur punched D.W. for harassing him and then trashing his model plane in the aforementioned "Arthur's Big Hit", because she acted annoying touching his plane despite being told not to. Some viewers also see her being publicly humiliated by her own mother in "Revenge of the Chip" and being sent to the hospital by the Tibbles in "Attack of the Turbo Tibbles" as karmic payback for all the times she has gotten away with her bratty behavior, even though those incidents are supposed to have the viewer sympathize with her. Sometimes, such as in "Prove It", she still acts mean despite holding the Smart Ball, which is even more irritating.
    • Buster and Brain in "Arthur's Big Meltdown". They're meant to be painted in a sympathetic light for having to witness Arthur's titular meltdown after getting his hard-earned sneakers dirty with a smoothie, but the way they reacted to the situation make them come across as hard to feel bad for. Namely, when they noticed Arthur's fence was heavily damaged, they accuse Arthur of ripping it off with very little evidence, come to conclusions of Arthur being a monster, and spread exaggerated rumors of Arthur's temper, painting him as an uncontrollable force of destruction (destroying his house, being banned for life after ripping the door of the library, and wrecking the bowling alley with his bare hands) to the rest of his class, and all of the kids at school, causing everyone to be afraid of and shun him, thinking he'd lash out... instead of just talking to him after he felt better, or apologize for what happened, after realizing what happened. Some friends these two are.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • While always painted in a negative light, Binky's bullying in early episodes would be far less accepted under modern no-tolerance policies. The book Arthur's April Fool from 1983 has him openly antagonize and threaten Arthur with no one else stepping in note , and Arthur is the only person to actually take action in retaliation.
    • Arthur and his friends, in third or fourth grade, are allowed to walk or bike around the neighborhood with no adult supervision; Buster says that his mother asked him to carry a cellphone for the bikeathon so she could monitor his progress. Owing to them knowing everyone, and having the town map memorized, this isn't seen as an issue and they actually save Perky's life when finding out she was the one making strange noises in the woods. Free-Range Children is more of a concern in the 2020s, and at the least adults would advise the kids to use the buddy system all the time.
    • Part of the reason that D.W. dreads playdates with the Tibble twins is that whether or not they come to her house or vice-versa, the adults aren't watching them. That means no one is there to call a time-out if playtime gets too rough. Case in point with "Attack of the Turbo Tibbles", D.W. is fine running around with the twins but draws the line at them emulating their new favorite violent cartoon. That's because the Tibbles target her and Emily, pretending they are the show's villains. She complains to Arthur that they got obsessed with the show because of him indirectly, rather than telling their mother that the boys are out of control. Arthur advises her to handle the problem by telling the Tibbles calmly that she doesn't want to play and they're annoying everyone, rather than either a) have an adult supervising and calling timeout like Miss Morgan does in school or b) canceling the playdates until the boys learn some ground rules. D.W. tries, but Timmy hits her with a swing and splits her lip open because the boys aren't listening, causing her to curl up in a ball and cry in pain. Only then does Emily get Mrs. Tibble for help. While Mrs. Tibble is too old to physically stop the boys, at least her verbally warning them would have stopped the situation from escalating. In the 2020s, kids are supervised for most playdates, precisely to reduce the amount of injuries from roughousing.
    • In "It's a No-Brainer", Brain at one point draws a picture of a noose, which is Played for Laughs ("It's a noose-paper!"). Stuff like that wouldn't fly on any children's show nowadays. It's for this reason that the episode was skipped during the February 2022 ultimate marathon.
    • A couple of early episodes, like "Arthur's New Year's Eve", have characters using the phrase "what a gyp". It's highly unlikely that a children's show written these days could get away with this expression, considering "gyp" is shortened from the now-slur "gypsy" (evoking the Romani's historical reputation as duplicitous scammers).
  • Values Resonance:
    • In the episode "My Dad, the Garbage Man", while playing football with her dad, Francine asks him "Do they let girls play professional football?" to which he replies "If they don't, we'll just make them!" The fact that Francine's father is very supportive of his daughter's passion of playing sports (even if it means changing the gender barriers of sports) is just one of the many moments on this show that puts it ahead of its time in terms of gender equality.
    • The fact that Arthur's mother works with computers (and can do so from home), while his father works with catering and is shown to be just as active in taking care of his baby daughter as his mother. Even when the show first came out, this dynamic was almost always Played for Laughs.
    • Arthur's teacher being male - at most Arthur is in third grade. Nobody questions it. Men working in education isn't unheard of, but discrimination against men teaching younger children is very much a real thing.
    • Although Arthur getting a penpal in S8's "Dear Adil" and penpals in general may be considered outdated, the way Arthur gets his penpal is still a much safer method for kids like Arthur to connect and communicate with others their age. The growth of Internet use and social media have made it easier to meet new people, but it's also made it easier for users with ill intentions to contact or prey on minors and harder to monitor such behaviors, so a program geared towards only children and facilitated by trusted adults like their teachers allows parents to worry less about their kids speaking to strangers.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: A mild case with Molly. Her hair covers her eyes with the exception of a few very rare occasions, she hangs out mainly with guys, skateboards, and generally acts rough and tough. Her outfit of dark blue jeans with a lighter blue jacket of which the sleeves have been torn off would typically indicate masculinity (most of the other girls wear at least one pastel color or a skirt). The only clue to her gender is her hair, but it's fairly short, and one of her male friends has longer hair than her. When she doesn't speak, or even at times when she does speak, it can be difficult to judge her gender if you don't know her name.
    • Several different voices have been used for Molly. In early seasons, especially Season 1, Molly has a distinctly feminine voice with a slightly nasally high pitch. Most of Season 5 through 8 portrays her with a lower, flatter voice than most of the other girls which sounds almost gender-neutral. Later on, her voice varies between the latter and a different voice that's recognizably female. From Season 14 onward, her voice is basically borderline for either gender, but now with a trace of a New York accent.
    • When she has her swimsuit on, she does have small breasts. Some fans say that this makes her look more like a teenager than a fourth grader, however girls as young as eight start growing breasts in Real Life.
    • W.D. Merkle from "Best Enemies" is sometimes mistaken for a boy due to her boyish clothing, gender-neutral voice, spiky Boyish Short Hair, and Tomboyish personality.
  • Viewer Name Confusion: Some people think the titular aardvark's last name is Reed. It's not — it's Read.
  • Viewer Species Confusion: Many of the characters don't look like the animals they're intended to be.
    • Arthur and his family are aardvarks, but they don't look like them at all, leading to many being confused as to what exactly they are. One artist rectified that.
    • Francine and Muffy aren't too recognizable as monkeys, so a few have assumed that they're humans.
    • Is Prunella a poodle or a rat? Even official sources disagree on this. She doesn't have Mr. Ratburn's ears, so she's most likely a poodle.
  • The Woobie:
    • Arthur. If you couldn't already tell from the yellow sweater, he's a bit of a Charlie Brown Expy. He's especially this in early episodes like "Arthur's Eyes", "Arthur's Underwear" or any episode where Arthur goes through hell from his friends.
    • Sue Ellen has become this in later seasons, particularly "So Funny I Forgot to Laugh", where she's constantly heckled by Arthur for the sweater she liked.
    • Any of Arthur's friends can be this (though Francine may be more of an example of a Jerkass Woobie), but especially Buster where he's ostracized by his friends just because he went around the world, and some of Arthur's friends can't stand his eccentricities. Almost every character has their own insecurities that become the focal point of an episode.
    • Fern, especially in "Draw!" where she's mercilessly teased by Francine, and "Fern's Slumber Party" where she struggles to overcome her shyness. It gets to the point that whenever Francine goes through hell, some people think of it as karmic payback for all the nasty things she's done to Fern and the others.
    • Any one of the show's three prominent disabled characters could qualify in some cases simply because of their disabilities; we learn that they are still capable of doing things just a well, or in some cases even better then, their able-bodied peers, but we still see that their disabilities can sometimes create stumbling blocks for them. Marina, for example, hates being fussed over for being blind, and even though she's excellent at gymnastics, she didn't want it known she had a fear of the uneven bars because she couldn't see them. The show doesn't dwell on it for too long though.
    • Despite a number of fans' dislike of her, there are times D.W. is this, such as during "Operation: D.W." when she showed legitimate fear over having tubes placed in her ears (after being brave throughout most of the episodes). She also showed this tendency in "D.W.'s Furry Freakout"; she clearly loved and wanted to bond with the kitten she found, who turned out to belong to Arthur's piano teacher, but was too young to understand cat behavior. Several similar examples exist, such as:
      • "So Long, Spanky", when her eponymous pet bird dies.
      • "Arthur's Chicken Pox", when during a flashback to the previous time the Read family went to the circus, a Cruel Elephant snatches D.W.'s cotton candy and ice cream cone in its' trunk, causing her to scream. Obviously not in the episode's prime time, where she pesters her sick brother, and fakes chicken pox for her grandmother's attention.
      • "The Last Day", when she has a meltdown because of fears regarding kindergarten.

Top