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Hic or Treat

Season 11 Episode 7a
I thought that it would be fitting to do a review of this Halloween Arthur episode, seeing as it's Halloween and PBS has played it like a bazillion times the past two weeks. I also remembered enjoying Halloween morning, when I watched this Arthur episode every year! As we begin, we have this cold open that always annoys me when I watch it. This is mainly because I completely disagree with Arthur on the point of Halloween. He says that you are supposed to be something scary on Halloween, this actually really bugs me because I never dressed up as anything scary on Halloween. At the end of the cold open, Arthur tries to scare D.W. and she just laughs. Looks like he just broke his own Halloween rule. Also here is another Arthur episode with someone wearing a mask! Great job by Arthur encouraging people to wear a mask 15+ years before Covid. Now getting into the episode proper, we start out by seeing Arthur and the gang's costumes. I really enjoyed the weird and strange Halloween costumes they all had. Also I was a bit suprised, but I really loved the Brain's joke at the end about him dressing up as the 14th century. He is normally a character I find annoying, but he really worked well throughout this episode. The writers also did a great job introducing Halloween at the beginning, but not making it the focal point of the episode. We then get introduced to D.W.'s hiccuping problem, when she is following Arthur around trying to tell him some scary Halloween costumes. D.W. I found very funny with her costume ideas and carried on her hilarity throughout the episode. Then Arthur reads D.W.'s absurd list on what she thinks is scary, which is another comedic moment. Then there is the montage where D.W. is being scared, which is another strong point in the episode. This goes south for the idea of them solving D.W.'s hiccups. We also get another good Brain moment where he brings up some trivia about the longest hiccups case ever. I like when Arthur adds some inciteful trivia. Finally, towards the end of the episode we get to the trick-or-treating. I love Mr. Read's sandwich costume in this scene, as it makes me laugh everytime! The one thing I was very confused about was how Mrs. Read asked about what D.W.'s costume was. If you have a 4 year old daughter, shouldn't you have bought them a costume and helped them put it on? I mean you can't just tell D.W. to go to the store and get a costume herself. After this little scene, the lights go out and Arthur comes down the stairs and freaks out D.W. with his Frankentist costume. I found this climax of the episode to be a little dull, because in the very beginning D.W. told Arthur how un-scary his costume was. I can see where the writers were going, as Arthur might look different in the dark without glasses, but I think it was a little unbelievable. At the end Arthur finds a little pride in the fact that D.W said his costume was scary, so he tries to scare other trick-or-treaters; And all he gets are laughs. This was a great little ending to sum the episode up.

Overall not a bad episode, but not an extremely great one either. I think that I looked forward to watching this episode more when it was the only Halloween episode. Now it has been overshaddowed and eclipsed by ones like Arthur & the Haunted Treehouse. But I can't say this isn't a must watch during Halloween, because it is.

By Nicholas DeMarco

Mr. Alwaysright

Season 11 Episode 7b
Now just as a complimented Brain for having a very strong episode, he becomes annoying again in the very next one. In the intro, we get a view of Arthur and the gang playing baseball. I really loved the litte scene of Binky conducting the band. But then we get to Brain, and as you can tell from the title, he is always right and corrects things. We learn in this episode that it's Buster's mom's Birthday and he got her a straw hat that everyone hates. He then invites Brian to go hat shopping with him (well that was a big mistake). Now Buster choses a beret, Brain dismissed it because it has a "moth hole" in it, and then he finally choses to buy a reggae cap for his mom. I think that Buster's hat pick was not very good, but if you look at the Robbin Hood-esqe hat Brain picks, it's not really much better. Of course, Mrs. Baxter says she loves reggae cap, but doesn't wear it once in the first two weeks after her birthday. Now we get into the obvious plot if the episode, where Buster is trying to prove Brain wrong. I found this an extremely dull 2 minutes of the episode, though we do get some more interesting trivia about capitals. Then we get into a fun flashforward moment, where Brain and Buster are living at Shady Pines Retirement Home. To add to that, we get a an extremely catchy music number with Rockette like dancers singing "Mr. Alwaysright." This is truly my favorite part of the episode. Then, as we get back to the present day, we se Buster again trying to question Brain. This time Brain realizes that Buster is trying to get him to be wrong for once, and when he is asked a question from Mr. Ratburn, he purposely gets it wrong. This instantly gets Buster up and dancing, but he also fails to answer the question too. Right when we think the episode is coming to a close, we get a crossover to a little detail in the beginning of the episode. Buster sees Muffy wearing a Beetle Beret hat, and recognizes it as the beret from the beginning of the episode. He instantly goes to buy it at the clothing exchange, and this proves Brain as wrong because the hat didn't have a moth hole in it, the jeweled beetle just fell out.

Overall a pretty average Arthur episode. It had some strong moments at points, but was boring at other times. It seems like this episode is a crossover between something that would be written in earlier seasons, and a season 14 or 15 episode. However, the season 11 animation is very good in my opinion. I love how the animation from Season 9,10 & 11 look.

Francine's Pilfered Paper

Season 11 Episode 8a
Happy Thanksgiving to all! Of Course that is if you are reading this at Thanksgiving time. We have here a classic holiday Arthur episode, that has aired on PBS on Thanksgiving ever since it's release in 2007.The cold open starts with Arthur and the gang dressed as Pilgrims, and Francine on public display in a pilory. Very creative to do this at the start of the episode. At the end we see Francine pleading to be let out, which serves as a great transition from the start of the episode, as it leaves the viewer wanting to know what she did wrong. The beginning of the episode starts out with a classic Ratburn moment, as he assignes a 5 page paper over the Thanksgiving break and the student all moan. When Francine is doing research at the library for her "Pilgrim's Diet" report, we get a little bit of research help from the Brain. Most of the time that Brain adds in educational stuff, he does so in a very annoying way. But here, he subtly gives Francine some advice for research in a day and age where computers are still evolving. Now Francine uses the internet to get information for the report, and copies an entire article of someone. Now let me just put this out there, that this entire episode has a very clear message and moral. Normally I don't think that Arthur is at it's best when it does this, but somehow this episode just works for me in that way.

The next scene is probably the funniest of the episode (eventhough this is a very serious episode that doesn't have too many funny parts), and it is footage of Arthur, Muffy, and Buster spending their Thanksgiving working on their report. I love in this scene when Buster asks his mom to proof read his report, and the report is literally one or two sentences spread out over five pages! Then we get to see Catherine tell Francine about plagerism (Another character that adds educational stuff in very well), and how she needs to go tell Ratburn. After her Thanksgiving dinner with her family she goes to tell Ratburn. A very good job by the writers here not making Francine confess what she has done the first time trying, as a teacher like Mr. Ratburn can be pretty intimidating. I also thought it was pretty funny to add in the History of Dentistry video that Ratburn was watching. Then we get the dream sequence where Francine is selling her Pilgrim cookbook, and the original author comes in and claims she stole his work. Also very clever to put Francine behind bars in the cover of the author's book to show the real life consequences of plagiarism. Then we get a very nice ending where Francine goes in early to school and confesses, and Ratburn is very understanding. When Francine recieves her real paper grade that she wrote, she is very happy that she got a "B." This is a great little hook to the end as it teaches kids to not only not to plagiarize, but to take pride in your achievements and not someone else's. Overall very good holiday episode with a deep and important meaning. This episode had great flow and keeps you entertained throughout.

Buster Gets Real

Season 11 Episode 8b
In the second half of episode 8, we see the Arthur family all around the TV watching a show called Top Supermarker Clerk. Which is a clear parody to the then popular long-running show Supermarket Sweep. When Arthur goes to play his new Bionic Bunny tape from Buster, he sees that it isn't Bionic Bunny and it's Top Supermarket Clerk. He then goes to Buster's to ask for the real tape, where he learns that Buster does not like Bionic Bunny anymore and likes Top Supermarket Clerk. This was really unbelievable to me how Buster just randomly says that he does not like Bionic Bunny anymore. I mean, it is something that Buster and Arthur talk about daily at school. Arthur doesn't have a clue that he is into the show and Buster already has all of this memorabilia from the show. Then we get to the Bionic Bunny dream sequences, which I found very dull and added little to explain the episode to the viewer. While Arthur is attempting to brainwash Buster at the movies, Buster just randomly leaves because one of the Top Supermarket Clerk stars named Jeff get injured. This really brings out self-centered side to Buster when it comes to things he enjoys. One thing I did enjoy was the little training montage that occured when D.W. was trying to brainwash Arthur. However the climax of the episode was pretty dull, as it was just Arthur falling asleep during the show.

At the end of the episode, Arthur and Buster feel as though their friendship is lost, since they don't share the same TV show interests. However, they do find that they like many other similar things, such as bike riding, Henry Skreever and other things. One thing that I didn't understand is how Buster can still like something as fictional as Henry Skreever, but dislike Bionic Bunny. Despite the many flaws of this episode, it does have a clear moral, and that is that you can still be friends and like different things. It also shows the viewer the effects that reality TV has on you (such as tabloid news and addiction to it). Not a super bad episode, but not a great one either.

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