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  • Acceptable Hobby Targets: Quite a few.
    • Watching TV for fun (as opposed to for educational reasons) is rarely portrayed in a positive light, and even Arthur and Buster's love of Bionic Bunny is used as a source of Aesops more often than not. We're constantly reminded that Arthur's parents enforce limits on the amount of TV the family watches each day, and the kind of shows that are permitted in the house, and this is never questioned.
    • Any time the main characters become interested in something above their age range, it's either not portrayed positively, treated as a Forbidden Fruit, or both. "Arthur Makes A Movie" is a good example, with Arthur complaining that he isn't allowed to see a PG-13 movie even though his friends, who are the same age as he is, can. Other episodes that touch on this are "Tales of Grotesquely Grim Bunny", with its implication that Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films (or, in this case, read horror comics), and "D.W. and Dr. Whosit", where D.W. wants to watch a Doctor Who parody even though her parents tell her she's too young for it (and in the end, she finds it's too boring for her anyway).
  • Acceptable Professional Targets: The show seems to make fun of reality TV a lot, often showcasing how boring, fake, and staged it is. "Caught in the Crosswires" is the biggest example, where a reality TV crew film a reality drama in the Crosswire household — it features blatant Product Placement, and Manipulative Editing that makes Muffy look like a Spoiled Brat. "D.W. Unties the Knot" has D.W. watch a show about fancy wedding parties, which leaves out the most important part: that you need someone to marry. "Buster Gets Real" has Arthur incredibly bored by a reality TV program about supermarket clerks. "Pet Projects" features a reality show host who continuously mispronounces certain words and even questions if the word "affectionate" is an Italian word.
    • Corporations (especially ones that make junk food) tend to get it a lot too, especially when they're trying to be 'cool'.
  • 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.
    • "D.W.'s Snow Mystery" seems to be "Don't jump to conclusions and accuse everyone around you of petty theft." D.W. ruins Arthur, Francine, and Buster's school project and rummages through Arthur's things going You Know What You Did, believing her brother took it. Arthur is bewildered and annoyed at her, saying he doesn't know who would want a "moldy-old snowball". She then keeps jumping to conclusions through the episode and never receives the answer. Buster ends up being right that aliens took her snowball, mistaking it for a human dessert.
    • "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 talk 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.
    • 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."
  • 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 "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 "Tales from the Crib", D.W. tells a talking toy, "But I didn't turn you on!"
    • 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!"
    • 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).
  • 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.
    • 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.
    • 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?
  • 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.
    • Averted for the most part, because each episode has a message, but the show trusts its audience's intelligence enough not to beat them over the head with it.
    • 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, it had just finished its 24th season, 249 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 5808 minutes, or exactly 98 hours, at the moment. Put into a marathon, it will run 4 days and 1 hour nonstop. And that's not counting the six 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 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 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 (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 and 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 "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 take 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 was first shown off in "It's Only Rock 'n' Roll".
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • D.W. is usually considered to be the posterchild of the Spoiled Brat 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 Jerkass Woobie 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. 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 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.
    • 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.
    • 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 changed 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 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 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, 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. 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 affect 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 holograms.
  • 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.
  • "Common Knowledge":
    • 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.
    • People often remember "Grandpa Dave's Memory Album" as "the one where Grandpa Dave develops Alzheimer's". In reality, while it is a brain condition that affects his memory, the specific condition is left unsaid.
  • Critical Research Failure: In one episode, Brain, of all people, 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 Hero: D.W. can be this sometimes due to her whiny, bratty, and occasional Smug Snake behavior and the fact that she almost never faces any consequences for such behavior. And yet the show often treats her like a good guy or a victim. She can been seen as a female Funny Animal version of Caillou. See "Unintentionally Unsympathetic" below for greater details and examples of this.
  • 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.
    • Mighty Mountain in season 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.
  • 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 (i.e. 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'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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 "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 "Francine Frensky, Superstar", 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.
    • "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 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 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.
  • 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 four in "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 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.
  • 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.
  • Idiot Plot: “Unfinished” Arthur is given an old novel called “93 Million Miles in a Balloon” by an old man moving into a retirement home. However, when Arthur reaches the end of the book. The last few pages are missing. Throughout the episode, he desperately tries to find out the ending in every means possible by attempting to check out another copy in the library, trying to order another copy off the internet but can’t due to how expensive it was, renting a film adaptation on 16mm and even posting a message board if anyone had an extra copy of the book. Arthur could have very easily Googled the ending or look it up on Wikipedia instead of going through all that trouble. Google and Wikipedia were around during the episode’s original airing in 2006.
    • That being said it is possible that the book was an obscure one and published before any archiving efforts of the author really came into play. It took Arthur several days to even get a second copy so the book could be obscure and the book is an example of Keep Circulating the Tapes.
  • 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).
  • It Was His Sled: "Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone" is entirely known among the public for its Twist Ending. Mr. Ratburn marrying a man is a reveal to the audience after the Lakewood Elementary gang spend the episode mistakenly thinking his sister is his future partner. Because Mr. Ratburn's wedding became a national news story within hours of the episode releasing, odds are high that anyone watching this episode will know exactly how it will end.
  • 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 Characters 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. And of course, a last-minute donation saves the library.
    • 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.
    • Molly Mc Donald sometimes got this treatment, fans often joke that her "tough girl" presence is strong enough to intimidate and bully full-grown adults.
  • 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 19, the kids all admit that Mr. Ratburn is the best teacher they could ask for and that they love him.
    • Out-of-universe, we have the batty D.W., who many fans like to paint as a sociopath in the making.
  • Moe:
    • Fern, mostly because she's quiet, shy, and quite bookish. And she tells scary stories with absolute glee.
    • Sue Ellen, due to being the friendliest and kindest of Arthur's friends. Notably the episode "Sue Ellen's Little Sister" where she feels left out during The Sibling Festival and wishes she had a little sister.
  • 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.
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    N-Z 
  • 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.
      • "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.
      • 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/humans. 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 (Short 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, it comes off as this.
  • 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. Especially involving their hypocrisy in letting D.W. off the hook and showing no sympathy when Arthur gets attacked for no reason.
    • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • One scene in "Arthur's Family Vacation" that takes place on the beach has Arthur with a strange, oblong head shape.
    • Seasons 12-15 animated overseas by Animation Services HK Ltd often went off-model such as choppy frame-rate, characters like Binky constantly alternating between fat and skinny in shots, unpolished backgrounds, movements coming off as rather flat, inconsistency, etc. Often times, it hardly looks like the same show.
  • 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. 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.
  • Ron the Death Eater:
    • Many fans tend to make Jane and David Read out to be such bad parents that they make Peter and Lois Griffin look like Parents 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 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 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.
    • 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:
    • The Tibble Twins are basically gender bender versions of D.W. except that they have less 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 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 15, despite starting and ending strong, had quite a few anvilicious stories, as mentioned above.
    • 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 even though he obviously handled it the wrong way.
  • Signature Scene: There are a ton of examples that could qualify, but the one that's arguably the most memorable is Arthur punching DW in "Arthur's Big Hit".
  • 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 and 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.
    • There's the scene in "D.W the Picky Eater" where she spits a partially-chewed sandwich 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 it 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.
    • 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".
  • 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. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 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, 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. 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.
  • 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.
    • "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 T.V. Free Week" aired during a time where the most technology kids had, aside from T.V. 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 T.V. 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 Technology-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 54 African countries that existed at the time. This dates it to before the independence of South Sudan in 2011, which made 55 African countries. 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 since the early 2000s prohibit forcing the consumer to buy a product to be eligible to participate in a contest.
  • 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 (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).
    • 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. Mind 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 teenager 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.
  • 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 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 she acted annoying touching his plane despite being told not to. Sometimes, such as in "Prove It", she still acts mean despite holding the Smart Ball, which is even more irritating.
  • 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.
    • In "It's a No-Brainer", Brain at one point draws a picture of a noose, which is Played for Laughs. Stuff like that wouldn't fly on any children's show nowadays. It's for this reason that the episode will be skipped during the February 2022 ultimate marathon.
  • 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.
  • 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 season, especially Season One, Molly has a 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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!".
    • "Sue Ellen & the Last Page" has a scene where Muffy edits Sue Ellen's library speech. It has a hashtag, Sue Ellen's head spinning with lasers coming out of her eyes, a strange colorful background, her voice echoing, and a mention of her riding on a panda.
    • "The Longest Eleven Minutes" includes use of Internet slang like "IRL".
    • A parody of Instagram appears in "Muffy's House Guests".
  • 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 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 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 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.
      • "The Last Day", when she has a meltdown because of fears regarding kindergarten.

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