Season 24 Episode 1a
I love the Arthur episodes centering around George, as they almost never disappoint. For the very first episode of season 24, we get one! I really had no idea where this episode was going starting with the cold open. While the opening doesn't fully correspond with the meaning of the episode in my opinion, it fully drew in my attention. The episode has a pretty straight forward plot, where George is kind of shoved into doing things without really even wanting too. I think that George was the perfect character for this, as he is easily influenced.
There are two major topics within this episode, and I truly applauded both. One is of course, to be original and true to yourself. All of George's friend's encourage him to create a peice of art that is similar to peices that are already popular. George at first tries to appease everyone, but he learns through the episode (with some help from his friends Mr. Frensky and Guest Star Kevin Blythe Sampson) to find his own style, and be himself when creating Artwork. Another thing that I really applauded was the choice of guest star in this episode. The Arthur team could've chosen any popular and mainstream artist to play the part, but Kevin Sampson meshes extremely well with George. Looking through Mr. Sampson's wikipedia page, he truly has done a lot behind the scenes honoring his community, friends, and family. This is exactly the kind of thing that George would do, as he would not look to be a superstar artist, but do little things to help out many people.
The second topic that is touched upon is upcycling art out of old materials. This is touched upon by the dynamic duo of Kevin Sampson and Mr. Frensky showing him "found object art." It is also then touched upon when Muffy gives George gift certificates to purchase new art supplies at the store. Just as George goes to puchase the new material, he draws George away from puchasing art suplies which will eventually turn into waste, and further ecourages him towards upcycling old materials. This then leads to my favorite scene of the episode, when Kevin Sampson teaches George to use his imagination and turn into a little bird to fly around his artwork. Fabulous little touch, and is totally believeable because George has a very big imagination, and is similar to the dream sequences seen in "The Boy With His Head in the Clouds" from Season 6. In the end, George has found his style, and it is a complete success, which is a wonderful ending to the episode.
Lastly, I would love to mention the "And Now a Word From Us Kids" segment, which is really spectacular. It provides a lot more background on Kevin Sampson's and gives us a great look at some of his actual artwork and inspiration. Mr. Sampson also helps the students create their own upcycled art, and has been doing so with Marc Brown since the episode has aired.
By: Nicholas DeMarco
Season 24 Episode 1b
The infamous, viral and iconic fist is back! Arthur is back with his anger, in an episode that feels as if it has been brought to us several times. I call this episode a mixture between Arthur's anger in "A is For Angry," and his out of character performance in "So Funny I Forgot to Laugh." The plot of this episode is very simple, Arthur has been saving his money for weeks to purchase some goofy looking Bionic Bunny sneakers. While Arthur is standing next to Buster and the Brain playing air hockey, the puck hits a glass and a green smoothie goes all over his shoes. Arthur gets angry and rumors spread through the entire school that Arthur has become dangerous. The entire episode is very simple, and can be described in less than a paragraph. However this is not neccesarily a bad thing, as there were still a couple of good aspects to this episode.
The highlight of this episode is of course the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Scenes. My favorite part is during Muffy's fantasy, Arthur (as Mr. Hyde) peers from behind the cardboard sign and comes out to destroy the party. There are also several great D.W. lines in this episode, such as the when he called Brain "Big Head" and the whole thing about Arthur hiking through "a swamp." I also loved how we actually got a little montage of how the Arthur rumor spread. The ending of the episode seemed a bit superficial, as I didn't fully understand D.W.'s advice, but hey, if it works for Arthur than I guess it's good for me!
By: Nicholas DeMarco
Season 24 Episode 2
What better way to start the season than with a remake of a classic Arthur episode. "The Great MacGrady" has always been one of my favorite Arthur episodes, and it's really been a shame that children haven't been able to see it on the air in years. Now that has changed, and I was extremely excited to watch the premiere of this episode. I was not sure how much it would change from the original and was a little bit nervous, but this episode truly blew me away. At the time of the premiere, my grandmother was losing a battle with pancreatic cancer, and passed away shortly after. I guess you could say that this episode now has a very emotional connection to me. During the 6:30 am premiere I was sobbing the entire time. What a great episode should do is bring out many emotions, and these can be physical ones as well.
The episode is pretty much shot by shot the same episode as the original. The only two differences are the animation, and Lance Armstrong is removed and replaced by Uncle Slam. They even kept the same "And Now a Word From Us Kids," which I thought was amazing because it is one of my all time favorites. At this point in the series, I don't think that it is really fair to dock the episodes for the animation style. It has already been 9 seasons since the animation style switched, so I don't mind the new animation. However, the removal of Lance, and replacement of Uncle Slam seemed a bit clunky. Don't get me wrong, I think that it was right for Lance to be removed from the episode, but there are so many real life athletes who have fought and won tough battles with cancer that the Arthur team could've chosen to fit the role. Plus, the Uncle Slam part was kind of strange, with Binky just handing Francine a crumpled up peice of paper without saying why was strange.
Overall, despite my one complaint, this episode is a classic, and children will be able to relate to it for years. I love how the Arthur team realized that the episode was perfect, and didn't need any changes other than the removal of Lance. Hey, they even kept in Mrs. MacGrady's spatula Flip and the cook/ banker Skip Bitterman! Can't wait to see this on the air for years to come and share about it with everyone!
By: Nicholas DeMarco
Season 24 Episode 3a
Of Course, a preschooler-centric episode that focuses on D.W. and her preschool pals. Sometimes these episodes are very enjoyable, even for older viewers, and become classics in the series. Sadly, this episode was a huge swing and a miss for the Arthur team. We do get an interesting perspective of D.W. and Bud attending some sort of summer camp or craft class at the community center, which I do not think we have seen in the series up until this point. The set up was promising, with D.W. meeting the teacher Hana, but truly seemed to turn into a very dull episode.
Most of this episode takes place in the craft room while the kids were making puppets. During this time, we slowly see D.W. turning into Hana whom she idolizes a lot, saying "fierce," and changing her style of clothing. Really did not mind this message of idolizing Hana, but wasn't too crazy about it. What I did like, and would have prefered to see more of, was the slow deterioration of friendship between D.W. and Bud. This secondary plot was in there, but wasn't really focused on too much throughout the episode.
The ending of this episode really suprised me and left me very confused on what the overall moral was. Katinka Mink, Hana's favorite singer, is coming to Elwood City for her Scapes of Paper Tour. D.W. just assumes that she would go to the concert with Hana and her other teenage friends. When Hana tells her she would not like it and it was for older kids, D.W. starts to sing this song titled "You're Wrong." I wasn't too crazy about this song, but it wasn't bad, It just felt very out of place to me. Also I was very confused when Hana apologized at the end for not inviting her, as I thought Hana's answer was completely justified. I mean, would it be appropriate for a 4 year old to attend a concert with some teenage girls who are doing who knows waht? Of course not.
After viewing this episode numerous times, I think I have found that the main moral is to be friends with people who are your age, and not to grow up too fast. However, I think this episode conveyed the message in a very clunky way. The Arthur writers are usually very good at putting out episodes that connect with the viewer right away, and have an interesting plot as well. This has neither.
By: Nicholas DeMarco
Season 24 Episode 3b
"Oh No," is exactly what I said when I read the episode description and saw that Arthur was doing a parody of Freaky Friday. Therefore I buckled up, and came in with very low expectations for this episode. But just maybe, the preconcieved ideas pushed me to see out the beauty of this episode. As Arthur and the class take their test, Mr. Ratburn has to go to the teachers' lounge. Buster then goes to find him because he broke his pencil, and if we connect back to the episode "Buster the Lounge Lizard," he finally gets to visit the lounge in this episode. Anyhow, while in the lounge, Mr. Ratburn and Buster touch a tray at the same time to induce an electron transfer. The tray of food was spanakopita cooked by lightning. Really loved the choice of using spanakopita as the food, as it is a very fun word that is said throughout the episode and a great dish!
The best part of the episode starts here after Mr. Ratburn and Buster switch bodies. It is very funny to see Buster talk with Ratburn's voice and Ratburn with Busters. To fix this Buster (in Ratburn's body) needs to go and teach the class, while Ratburn (in Buster's body) must find a way to reverse the effect of the electron transfer. Buster's then goes to the classroom, which is very funny and awkward, and must find a lesson plan. He decides to teach about Ancient Egypt by role playing. This leads to the students fanning Buster (who is the Pharaoh or "Sparrow" as he says), and stacking the desks into Pyramids. I loved Buster's hilarious teaching, as well as his absurd grading system.
While Buster is teaching, Ratburn is off trying to reverse the switch, while keeping away from Mrs. Tingley. This chase was very entertaining, as well as thrilling. The one thing that confused me in this episode was when Mr. Ratburn ran into the man who cooked the spanakopita, and that was Mr. Ranbacher. He is supposedly the 8th grade science teacher, but why is there an 8th grade in an elementary school. The ending was a little predicatble, as it was a dream, but it did bring us into Buster's mind for about 11 minutes.
By: Nicholas DeMarco