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  • Accidental Innuendo:
    • 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 Season 2, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 brat? It doesn't help that the show itself goes back and forth on this.
    • 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?
    • 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.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: In the marbles episode, Arthur constantly worries about facing Grandma Thora, especially since she is the one who actually taught him out to play in the championship, and makes every attempt to sabotage himself to please her, but she throws the championship herself, citing an archaic rule in which players are not allowed to step in the marble circle.
  • Anvilicious:
    • We're constantly reminded that the Reads limit Arthur and D.W.'s TV time, and then there's the episode where everyone lays off TV for a week...
    • Even the theme song is anvilicious, but also catchy as hell.
    • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: A few anvils that were dropped are actually pretty solid Aesops for children. While anyone can tell you "Arthur's Big Hit" is this towards Disproportionate Retribution, reactions vary on whether or not it needed to be dropped, or they did so the wrong way.
  • 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, and seasons 20 and 21 had 7 episodes each. The show hit its 100th episode in the middle of Season 7 in 2002. As of this writing, it had just finished its 21st season, 235 episodes have aired, and the show has been renewed through season 25. Calculating, each episode is 24 minutes long. That makes the entire runtime more than 5400 minutes, or exactly 90 hours, at the moment. Put into a marathon, it will run 3 days and 18 hours nonstop. And that's not counting the four 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 Real Not Live 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 Frensky's 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 some day, 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 (ie. the "scatting" theme from the short-lived game show All-Star Blitz), then it's awesome.
  • Art Evolution:
    • When traditional animation was still the norm for the series, the series maintained a high standard of quality even with the occasional touch-ups in the art style over the years.
    • From Season 16 onward, depending on who you ask, the Flash animation may be considered a step backward for the series, lacking the fluidity of the show's hand-drawn animation with a lot of the characters often coming off as Off-Model as a result. For some, however, the later Flash-animated episodes are a slight improvement from the earlier ones.
    • The producers may be trying to fix this. For Season 20, they switched from 9 Story, which animated Season 16 to Season 19, to Oasis Animation, who did the pre-production for Season 12 to Season 15. Their animation further improved from 9 Story's in the eyes of many, looking more natural and hand-drawn due to being made with ToonBoom Harmony instead of Flash.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • D.W. She gets a lot of hate for her brattiness and lack of punishment, but her childishness and unfailing snark have both garnered her some fans.
      • Likewise, the D.W. The Picky Eater Living Book is tagged as Fanon Discontinuity by fans of the Living Books franchise, as it was made by a different company and does not use the Mohawk engine. Fans of D.W. do not care about what the fans of the Living Books franchise think and consider it as good as, if not better than, Arthur's Reading Race.
    • 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. Lately, though, the episodes where they talk to each other have gotten 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.
    • Ladonna is frequently cited as The Scrappy 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 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.
    • Bud is considered more annoying than Ladonna as well as being an unnecessary addition to the cast just like her. Or maybe not entirely considering he seems to be responsible for toning down D.W.'s brattiness and is actually able to stand up to the Tibbles.
  • 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 early season of Arthur, 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 changed into Mr. Haney... this is completely unexplained.
    • One example that was so weird it had to be intentional: in one episode, Arthur is teaching D.W. to ride a bike. He's demonstrating what the various hand signals for stop and go means, 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 "this" (repeats D.W.'s gesture) means "bring me a cabbage". He hands D.W. the cabbage and runs off back home.
    • In one episode, 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 appeal 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 was 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, in "The Blizzard" it 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.
  • Bizarro Episode: "Just Desserts." Justfied 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.
  • 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.
  • Creator's Pet:
    • Pal and Baby Kate due to the amount of focus episodes they've gotten.
    • George in episodes focused on him, especially when he has Wally with him. The creators have confessed that George is their favorite character, because he's an interesting character to write for, suffering from dyslexia, yet being incredibly clever and intelligent.
    • Some fans accuse Sue Ellen of being this, at times (then again, she was supposedly based on a childhood crush of Marc Brown's, so that may have something to do with it). However there are several seasons where she ends up being Demoted to Extra by not having any focus episodes at all.
  • Critical Research Failure: In one episode, Brain refers to scorpions as vertebrates. Someone was asleep in biology class… (or alternately, he may have just misspoke or his voice actor may have flubbed his line)
  • 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. He's actually a very nice, reasonable guy.
  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: The show runs into this issue a lot with its Aesops. Often, the characters are depicted as engaging in some activity that seems fun, but results in them learning a particular lesson (i.e. reading a scary comic in Tales of Grotesquely Grim Bunny, watching a relatively violent kids' show in Attack of the Turbo Tibbles). Other times they will try to engage in such an activity, only for their parents to stop them (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.
  • Ear Worm:
    • Most of the songs in S3's "Arthur's Almost Live Not Real Music Festival", some of which don't even have a tune! Is it any surprise that the episode spawned a CD release?
    • Art Garfunkel's performances in S3's "The Ballad of Buster Baxter".
    • The theme song. Just looking at the lyrics at the top of this page are enough to get it stuck.
    • "A-A-R-D-V-A-R-K!" Who know spelling "Aardvark" could be so catchy?
    • "Having fun isn't hard when you've got a library card!"
      • "And don't forget the Dewey Decimal System is your friend!"
      • "WHO'S DEWEY!?"
    • "JEKYLL - JEKYLL - HYDE! JEKYLL - HYDE! HYDE! JEKYLL!"
      • "I want some Ice Cream, Chocolate would be good!"
      • "Just a little Hoooomework, tonight, tonight (That's a lot of homework!)"
    • Crazy Bus, Crazy Bus, riding on the Crazy Bus...
    • The opening song for the play in "Elwood City Turns 100!"
    • Ooh-wee-ooh-wee-ooh-wee-ooh-wee-ooh-wee-ooh-wee-ooh-wee-ooh-wee!
    • "The best word I know is F-U-N, F-U-N spells fun..."
    • The remix of the intro.
    • Don't want/ nothing but the music./ Don't need/ the shiny limousine. Bonus points for the song being performed by the Backstreet Boys.
    • The fricking Here We Go Again! music cue.
    • "Hey! (What?) You! (Yeah?) Have you seen my invisible friend? (Huh?!?)"
    • The Love Ducks versions of classical... well, classics. You'll never wanna hear them any other way again.
    • "Ooooonly the Frensky can save the day..."
    • "When your back's against the wall, and you're afraid you'll take the fall... when no one else would have the guts, call me: Fern, detective!"
    • "We're no longer, tough and mean! We've changed our image, into a preteen's dream!"
    • "Oh the weather outside is crummy..."
    • Oh, Tina Tina Tiny Tina Tina Tina Tiny Tina Tina Tina Tiny Tina Tina, the talking tabby... (the fact it's so repetitive doesn't help at all)
    • Who's the moose that's on the loose? Hammer!
    • 'Cause it's Baxter Day. Oh yes, it's Baxter Day!
    • "My brain, my brain! I'm careful not to wash it down the drain!"
    • "I can be meek for a week! Meek for a week! Meek for a week! Meek for a week!"
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Despite the fact that for 16 years they've only been background extras, and never been 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.
    • Molly has quite a following, though mostly due to rather illicit reasons. Outside of that, there's also the "tough girl" image she has, as well as her 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 18 (and counting) 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's Syndrome in children's media.
  • Family-Unfriendly Aesop: "Two Minutes" sends the message that it's okay to lie for the sake of a temporary truce.
    • "Meek For a Week" seems to have the Aesop "being nice makes you explode, is bad for you, and makes you boring".
    • "Friday the 13th" seems to say that you should play along with what the larger crowd is doing and saying even when you know their beliefs are misplaced or even if you have no interest in whatever they follow.
    • "The Pride of Lakewood" sends a similar message: the idea that you're not part of a group if you don't conform to all of its rituals.
    • "Buster Gets Real" seems to justify Buster's bizarre logic that it's wrong to like something that "isn't real", which is already extremely out of character for someone as spacey as Buster is. Also very little issue is raised on his or the Read family's obsession with a reality TV series that like Bionic Bunny isn't exactly grounded in reality either.
      • Finally, at the end it seems to reinforce the notion that in order to remain best friends, you have to have most, if not everything in common with each other.
    • "Arthur's Big Hit" is the least-liked episode of the show due to being a big source of this. Your friends will never be exasperated by your little sibling's behaviour and think s/he deserves it. If you punch your sibling, getting punched by someone entirely different for an entirely different reason isn't bullying, it's Laser-Guided Karma.
    • "Prove It": If you can con your older brother into taking you to the science museum, then go for it, even if it means taking money from kids and knowingly lying to them.
    • "Besties": Inside jokes are bad unless you're in on them. Then they're fine.
    • "Arthur and D.W. Clean Up" has Arthur and D.W. forced by their parents to help clean up each other's rooms, with their dad claiming that "Many hands makes light work", The message seems to go against this, saying that sometimes teamwork is detrimental, and, essentially, "if you want something done right, you've got to do it yourself".
  • Fandom Rivalry: Ever since the rights to producing the show changed hands from Cookie Jar to 9 Story, the bronies have been 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 (who is responsible for shows like Almost Naked Animals) 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.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Some fans prefer Arthur/Sue Ellen as a couple as opposed to the implied Official Couple of Arthur/Francine.
  • Flip-Flop of God: In one interview, Marc Brown said that the character of Marina was a, "Variation of a dog," despite looking like a rabbit. In a discussion with fans, producer/director Greg Bailey said that Marina is a rabbit, the designers had given her a dog nose by mistake, and it went unnoticed until after the fact.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • 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 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 Chickenpox," 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 the Once Upon a Restaurant isn't cancelled.
    • The episode that introduces Sue Ellen's 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 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 S7's "April 9th"...
    • In the same episode, 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.
    • In the first season Francine traps Buster in an airtight light bulb costume for the Thomas Edison play. Years later, we find out Buster 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 Alzheimer's Disease, he has to move closer to Arthur, effectively ditching that farm. Arthur is forced to admit that things aren't the same.
  • 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".
    • One episode has an Imagine Spot with a 1 Million B.C. 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.
  • Germans Love David Hasselhoff: The show is much beloved in Israel and has won five awards. It's still airing to this day.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • In S1's "Arthur Cleans Up", Arthur complained about the state of a city park by claiming "the oceans are full of oil." Fast forward to April 2010...
    • 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.
    • Gregg Kramer, the voice of Nemo, passed away in 2013. The last episode he worked on was "The Last Day."
    • In a Season 1 episode, Buster is forced to wear a light bulb costume without air holes and can barely breathe. Flash forward a few seasons and it's revealed that he has asthma.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Did Buster see any lenticular clouds when traveling across mountains with his dad?
    • S5's "Arthur and the Big Riddle" had Arthur appearing on an in-universe game show, Riddle Quest. His opponent was a contestant who had been winning repeatedly for weeks, in vein of Jeopardy's rule on returning champions. In contrast, the actual Jeopardy show had a five-day limit on returning champions. A few years later, that limit was removed and along came Ken Jennings, who won 74 straight games in a row and over 3 million dollars.
    • S7's "Prunella Sees the Light" has Prunella telling Muffy, "Marina's blind, not in a wheelchair." 6 seasons later, S13's "The Wheel Deal" introduces Lydia Gordon, a fan-created character in a wheelchair.
    • "Buster's New Friend" has D.W. comment that "maybe Buster doesn't like Bionic Bunny anymore." As of "Buster Gets Real", that's totally true.
      • While on that note, Season 3's "Arthur's Almost Live, Not Real Music Festival" features Buster questioning what's so great about stuff being real. Come the aforementioned "Buster Gets Real", he stops liking Bionic Bunny because it's "not real".
    • S2's "Play it Again D.W." has D.W. obsessing over the song Crazy Bus. It is catchy, but it drives Arthur crazy. In 2005, a Venezuelan video game called CrazyBus was released, and it's best known for the title screen music, which is both catchy and extremely obnoxious.
    • In the episode "The Chips Are Down", D.W. eats a green potato chip and thought she was going to die from poisoning. Fast forward to 2009- P&G starts producing seaweed flavored Pringles chips- which are green in color.
    • In the season 2 episode "Arthur Makes a Movie", Buster complains that by the time the kids will be old enough to see a James Hound movie James will get old and not be as good as he used to be.
    • In "Meet Binky" Arthur finds out that a band he adores (who happens to share their name with the character Binky) is entirely virtual and performs concerts via holograms. Fast-forward to 2009...
    • A season 2 episode has Buster drawing a comic he calls "The Big Clumsy Moose With Big Feet Named Franny". In 2006, PBS Kids began airing a cartoon called Franny's Feet about a girl called Franny who wears people's shoes and gets transported to places relevant to the episode.
    • Season 10's "The Squirrels", from 2006, has Arthur and his friends scared of squirrels after watching the eponymous horror movie, until they ultimately learn that squirrels are harmless. A "Squirrels" horror movie, unrelated to the cartoon, is now being made.
    • In Season 1's "Arthur and the Real Mr. Ratburn", Prunella tells the class that Mr. Ratburn eats nails for breakfast without any milk.
    • In S2's "Arthur's TV-Free Week", Arthur and his friends accept a challenge to not watch television for a whole week. The idea of such an event being held is quite hilarious now with the rapid rise of the internet, which most people now heavily rely on for many of their daily needs with the added bonus of downloadable content and video streaming sites like YouTube where much of what we see on TV is now readily available for viewing.
      • On a related note, "Arthur's First Sleepover" has a scene where Arthur tries to bring a TV into the tent, but Mr. Read tells him he can't do that, even with an extra long extension cord, because then they wouldn't be able to see the stars or trade cool stories. With the rise of cell phones, this may very well have turned that fantasy into a reality.
    • In S8's "Bugged", the Brain questions Mr. Ratburn about the controversy over whether Pluto really is a planet or not. Guess what happens three years down the road?
    • In "Binky Goes Nuts", Muffy says, "Note to self: orange is the new black."
    • Season 16's "Buster's Book Battle" contains an expy of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series called Loki Benediktssen, based on Norse mythology rather than Greek. Fast forward to 2015...
    • In "In My Africa", D.W. and her new friend from Senegal celebrate the cultures of all 54 African countries. Come 2011, it is now 55 with the secession of South Sudan from Sudan as an independent nation.
    • "That's A Baby Show" pretty much predicted the Brony movement in 1999.
    • "Return of the King" essentially is a Stealth Pun regarding Arthur pulling a sword out of a stone, because...y'know, King Arthur. Then a few months later, an episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood featured Arthur being a prominent focus, and when he's in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe, one thing he has to do...is assure King Friday that he is not King Arthur.
    • The theme song includes the line "Open Up Your Eyes".
    • A S6 episode is entitled "The Secret Life of Dogs and Babies."
    • "Who's Dewey?" becomes hilarious in hindsight if you've seen the pilot episode of DuckTales (2017).
    • In "Sue Ellen and the Brainasaurus", Brain has a dream of Mr. Ratburn failing him and Sue Ellen because their T-Rex model was made out of cake. A later season would reveal that Ratburn loves cake.
    • This YouTube Poop and this theory video state that Mr. Ratburn is gay. Fast forward to 2019 and it's revealed that he is indeed gay and gets married to another man.
    • In "Arthur's Substitute Teacher Trouble," Arthur's friends were worried that Mr. Ratburn and his little sister Ms. Ratburn were competitive siblings over intellectual matters. They find out that Rodentia Ratburn is a marshmallow Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher that bores them to death and worships her big brother Nigel. Come "Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone," it turns out that they have an older sister named Patty who is a competitive Control Freak. Nigel doesn't compete with Patty, however, and defers to her on all decisions. So it turns out all the Ratburns get along.
  • 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.
  • Internet Backdraft: Let's just say that the internet and the LBGTQ community aren't happy with the 22nd season premiere episode being banned from a statewide PBS network in Alabama due to featuring gay couples as well as a gay wedding.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Francine has her moments.
    • 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 victim, promising to change her ways.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: In season twenty one's "Sue Ellen and the Last Page," the Elwood City Council votes to close the library, leaving it up to Sue Ellen to campaign for it to remain open. As this is the library, the show's tertiary hangout, the place where, to steal a line from the character page, 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.
    • On that note, the episode "Sue Ellen Chickens Out" features almost the exact same premise, when the owner of the Sugar Bowl agrees to sell off the store to a local fast food chain, with Sue Ellen again 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.
  • Memetic Badass: Aardvark Matt Damon from "The Making of Arthur". One wrong move and you'll never eat lunch in this town again.
  • Memetic Mutation: Has its own page here.
  • Memetic Psychopath: Mr. Ratburn is something of this in-universe, but it tapers off a little as the series goes on and Arthur and his friends get to know him a bit better. By the end of season 18, the kids all admit that Mr. Ratburn is the best teacher they could ask for and that they love him.
  • Moe: Fern, mostly because she's quiet, shy, and quite bookish. And she tells scary stories with absolute glee.
  • Narm:
    • Shows up from time to time. For example, "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.
    • 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 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 the adults. 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.
    • 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.
  • Never Live It Down:
    • Nigel Ratburn was told you'd be having cake.
    • Arthur punching D.W., and his parents' questionable response to the incident when it comes to disciplining their children.
    • D.W. throws a tremendous tantrum in "Arthur's Perfect Christmas" when she doesn't get the toy she wanted for Christmas, and spends several minutes screaming. It's honestly quite embarrassing especially since Dave and Jane don't do anything to stop their daughter.
      • As of late, their reputation for hardly ever punishing D.W. when it's deserved has become a common criticism of both David and Jane Read.
    • The transition to flash animation from traditional animation when 9 Story Entertainment took over from Season 17 onward. Many longtime Arthur fans were not pleased with this decision, with some deeming the new style to be downright awful in some circles.
    • 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.
  • Off-Model: Ever since the introduction of flash animation into the show, oftentimes whenever the characters stare directly at the screen to the audience, it can come off as somewhat unnerving.
    • Any time the characters have to run onscreen now looks stiff and unnatural due to the new animation style as well, as they always run in the exact same pose, highlighting its limitations in stark contrast to the original traditional animation.
    • "Tales from the Crib" features a flashback to when then three-year old D.W. was given a new bed and shows it off to the Tibble Twins. Aside from looking much taller compared to their usual selves, they hardly resemble the troublesome duo at all, and in fact look older than the three to four year olds they're supposed to be.
  • Old Shame: S11's "Brain's Shocking Secret" reveals that Brain was held back in Kindergarten due to a lack of emotional development.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 the internet 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-2010s that sent Arthur's popularity in 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, Arthur's 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. Even when it had music by Tommy Tallarico, the music was made painful to hear due to the Game Boy Color's dated audio hardware.
  • Retroactive Recognition: The second voice of The Brain, Steven Crowder, is now best known for being, of all things, a right-wing pundit and comedian on YouTube.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Many fans tend to make Jane and David Read out to be such bad parents that they make Lois Wilkerson look like Mother of the Year. However, a lot of the faults that they complain about, such as rarely (being seen) punishing D.W. and often enabling her worst traits are actually legitimate complaints.
    • While D.W. is a spoiled-brat in the show, she's not a monster and 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.
    • 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 as noted under Designated Villain, Ed Crosswire in canon is an honest, reasonable business man whose practices just happen to clash with some of the characters goals.
  • Scapegoat Creator: Dietrich Smith, one of the show's writers. Certain fans have complained that the quality of his stories aren't up to par and that he botches certain characterizations badly (particularly those of Arthur and Buster for some reason).
  • The Scrappy
    • The Tibble Twins are basically gender bender versions of D.W. except that they have no redeeming qualities and never get punished, and they're constantly roughhousing or arguing with each other.
    • Nemo often comes across as this during the Kate and Pal Talk episodes, due to him being more of a nuisance than anything else.
    • Jenna Morgan doesn't seem to be liked simply for being "ugly" and uninteresting. The writers clearly took notice of this as she went back to being a Living Prop after season 9's "Binky Goes Nuts". After season 10's "Do You Speak George" she went a full five seasons as nothing more than a drawing in the background, without being so much as referenced, talked to, or mentioned, and it wasn't until season 18 that the writers finally broke her silence of almost a decade.
  • 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 where Muffy attempts to hang out with teenagers. 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, which are considered popular classics 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 Scapegoat Creator Dietrich Smith, this being the first time Arthur's VA is replaced, and just being fairly weak overall in a similar vein to 5.
    • Season 9 could also be another candidate, considering this was 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 7 or 6, depending on which version of the latter you saw), and is also debated as where the show really started having too many generic plots.
    • 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.
    • Season 18 and 19 were a bit better, but had some really terrible aesops thrown in.
  • 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 though he obviously handled it the wrong way.
  • Squick: This show seems to just love having various different characters eating 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 & ice cream that he's dropped on the floor.
    • 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.
    • "Arthur's Knee" is a nauseating episode for those who don't like blood. And for those who don't like vomit indiscretion shots, there's the scene in "D.W The Picky Eater" where she pukes on the camera.
    • 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.
    • Seeing Francine throw up in "Vomitrocious". The vomit-related nicknames don't help and neither does George's nosebleed and Francine's periodic gagging.
    • 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.
    • The opening sequence of "Arthur's Knee". It 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.
    • 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 "Desk Wars", Buster pulls a rotting sandwich from his desk that is green, moldy, and who's contents have disintegrated into brown sludge. He then hurls it at his classmates when a fight breaks out, and he barely misses Mr. Haney.
    • 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 in had collected changed its color!
    • "Germaphobia" 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 "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.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Arthur's New Friend. It was a promotion where you could send your child's name and photo and they would be put into a pre-made Arthur episode and send you a personalized DVD. 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.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The ice cream shop Yumbobo in "Brain Freeze" - it's got a cute penguin mascot, fancy ice cream names, and overly cheerful workers.
  • 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 ToonBoom 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 later turned out to be false, and Arthur and co. remained 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.
  • Toy Ship: Arthur and Francine have been shipped frequently, even during Imagine Spot segments on their own show, although this was only seen in the early seasons.
    • 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. D.W. and Bud Compson are this to some fans as well.
    • Fern and George as more recent 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.")
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • Whenever a celebrity gets made into an Arthur character, especially in the later seasons. They try to make their features match with the shows but it comes off as creepy. Everyone else is too cartoony compared to them.
    • The style of animation in season 16. Many feel that Flash does not work on a show like this, though some will say the animation has improved later on.
    • The entirety of "Arthur's Missing Pal" comes across as this no thanks to the decision to animate it entirely in CGI. Everyone looks unnatural and rubbery and the backgrounds lack the vibrancy and depth of the original hand-drawn style.
  • 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 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 deserving 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.
    • Another example is "Arthur vs. the Very Mean Crossing Guard". The ending has D.W. ridiculing the boys 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.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: D.W., in "Arthur's Big Hit" and in 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. "DW's Very Bad Mood, where she wasn't invited to a friend'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 in addition to being her usual annoying self she was stupid enough to think the model was a toy that could fly.
  • Viewer Gender Confusion: A mild case with Molly. Her hair covers her eyes with 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 season, especially, Season One, Molly has distinctly feminine voice with a slightly nasally high pitch. Most of Season Five through Season Eight portray her with a lower, flatter voice than most of the other girls that sounds almost gender-neutral. Later on, her voice varies between the latter and a different voice that's recognizably female. In Season Fourteen and onward, her voice is basically borderline for either gender, but now with a trace of a New York accent.
  • Viewer Species Confusion:
    • 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.
    • Francine and Muffy aren't too recognizable as apes, so a few have assumed that they're humans.
    • And is Prunella a poodle or a rat?
  • Vocal Dissonance: Any character to receive a new voice actor is bound to be hit by this. Arthur most notoriously so, to the point where some of his later actors have led some to say it sounds like he's hit "reverse puberty".
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: "Flippity Francine" has Francine dealing with being in an embarrassing YouTube video. "Brain and the Time Capsule" has Muffy joke that the people using the Brownie camera "must have strained their arms trying to take selfies!"
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: "Love Ducks". It's just so trippy that it's worthy of H.R. Pufnstuf, or Yo Gabba Gabba!.
  • 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. 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 Arthur and Fern.
    • 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 died.
      • "The Last Day," when she has a meltdown because of fears regarding kindergarten.

     1981 Film 
  • Comedy Ghetto: An exception to the trope — it won the Best Supporting Actor and Best Original Song Oscars and was nominated for Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor as well. Considering that this movie was the second most popular of the films nominated for Best Actor that year, Dudley Moore might have even won had Henry Fonda not been overdue for a Consolation Award and On Golden Pond not been the most popular of the five films.
  • Ear Worm: If "Arthur's Theme" doesn't work as this, "Money" — the bouncy Burt Bacharach instrumental that plays as Arthur drives to Susan's mansion and is reprised in the final scene — probably will.
  • Escapist Character: As Arthur asks Gloria in the opening sequence: "Don't you wish you were me? I know I do." (This became the basis for one of the movie's Taglines: "Don't you wish you were Arthur?") He's insanely wealthy, doesn't have to work, and can travel in glamorous circles. He is also, as Roger Ebert pointed out in his review, what every real life drunk person believes themselves to be: Witty and a joy to be around. About the only thing he isn't is conventionally attractive. Key word conventionally.
  • First Installment Wins: Fans will acknowledge there was a sequel, but would rather it never be spoken of, and remake? Well, there was one, but...(adjusting for inflation, the remake did only a little better at the box office than Arthur 2 did back in 1988).
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: There's a lot of Christmas references in the film, and at one point Susan remarks Arthur looks like one of Santa's elves. Guess what Dudley Moore plays in Santa Claus: The Movie? (In fact, it's precisely because this movie brought it up that the Salkinds got the idea to cast Moore in such a role.)
  • Hollywood Homely: Susan is played by a very pretty Jill Eikenberry. Arguably justified since most of the other characters do acknowledge this; it just so happens that Arthur has a rather unconventional taste in women (and seems to have more issues with Susan's personality than her looks).
  • Hype Backlash: The U.K. release of the original film came a few months after its massively popular North American release and while it was also a huge box-office hit there, the local critics weren't as enamored with it as their U.S. counterparts. Alongside Peter Cook, Dudley Moore had been a U.K. star since The '60s but had only just come into international success as a solo act, and some critics felt he (and Sir John Gielgud for that matter) was wasting his talents in broader, glossier American comedies. This also owes to the fact that U.K. viewers would have more quickly identified it as a Genre Throwback to such works as P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster stories.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Arthur is a devil-may-care millionaire alcoholic nonetheless prone to self-pity regarding his loneliness, desperate to avoid taking on adult responsibilities, and annoying to most of the people around him because of his constant joke-cracking. But beyond the fact that he is a Lonely Rich Kid, he has a generous heart capable of great love, and he wants to make people happy with his jokes — it's just that most of the people around him are terminally humorless. In-universe Hobson, the one person in his immediate circle who truly loves him, sees him as this.
  • Sequelitis: Among other things, it brought Hobson back for a few scenes as a Spirit Advisor. Its writer Andy Breckman (now better known as a co-creator of Monk) reportedly stood outside his home theater to personally apologize to anyone who saw it.
  • Signature Song: "Arthur's Theme", but of course. It also warrants an honorable mention among the songs of original performer Christopher Cross, right behind "Sailing" and "Ride Like the Wind". Reflecting how closely tied the film and song are, and Cross and Dudley Moore's real life friendship (extending to live performances where Moore — a professional jazz pianist — played the piano part to accompany Cross), the former's concerts now present it as a tribute to the latter.
  • Tear Jerker: Hobson's death. Of course, it's hard for anything to be too tearjerking in a movie this silly.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • In 1981 Arthur's alcoholism could be played for carefree laughs, including scenes of him drinking while driving, and not raise too many eyebrows. By the time of the sequel in 1988 such behavior was being treated much more seriously by the public and Arthur finally cleaning up is part of his Character Development. The marketing for the 2011 remake didn't even bring up alcoholism; in-film it does but Arthur regularly attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings is used as a signpost of his character growth in the third act. With regards to both the sequel and later adaptations (both the 2011 remake and an unsuccessful stage musical adaptation from The '90s), many critics feel that trying to realistically address Arthur's condition takes away the inherent fun of a character who by design was Fun Personified and escapist.
    • The 2011 remake also was negatively affected by the fact that in the intervening 30 years 1) income inequality skyrocketed, making an Uncle Pennybags's romantic woes harder to sympathize with, and 2) Arthur's more self-destructive, Manchild tendencies (especially with the remake's Denser and Wackier tone) echoed the downfalls of wealthy, partying celebrities such as Charlie Sheen and thus came off as less funny.
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     2011 Film 
  • Tear Jerker: As in the original, Hobson's death. The way Arthur tries to wake her, and his immediate recoil after touching her cold hand breaks your heart. In a later scene, a broken and drunken Arthur speaks to Naomi.
    Arthur: My Mum died.

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