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Buster's Back

Season 3 Episode 1a

Season 3 starts out with the resumption of “Arthur’s Faraway Friend,” but not before one of the creepier opens of the series. Arthur does say that it was his dream that night before, but it seems like something Buster would dream to me–Arthur comes across as a much more rational dreamer. But back to the show–Arthur’s reaction to Mrs. Baxter telling him that Buster would be home that day will be my exact reaction when me and all of my friends get the COVID vaccine and it’s safe to see them again. The element of surprise is just as big here too, since as I mentioned in my “Arthur’s Faraway Friend” review, they probably only communicated by snail mail and maybe the occasional telephone call while he was away.

That also could be a reason why Arthur thought Buster might act strange when he came home (although the fearmongering from D.W., Francine et al definitely didn’t help). Francine said something I heard from many of my friends after they came back from study abroad: “They came back a different person” (as cringeworthy and cliché as that saying is). Those fantasies of Buster becoming a race car driver, sumo wrestler, cowboy and elephant rider are admittedly funny though. Kudos to Arthur though for trying to learn about the places Buster went, albeit in short order. If they had a better means of keeping up, maybe he wouldn't have had to cram for his reunion with Buster. But as it turns out, Buster was also waiting to get back to Arthur.

I think that "The Ballad of Buster Baxter" is better as far as conveying the mood about Buster coming back, and has far more memorable moments than this. But it is nice to see them reunited and doing what Buster wanted to do all along: play checkers and eat cake.

By Guthrie Edson

The Ballad of Buster Baxter

Season 3 Episode 1b

He gave us hits like “April, Come She Will,” “The Boxer,” and “Mrs. Robinson,” and now the one and only Art Garfunkel gave us the Ballad of Buster Baxter. The rendering of him as a moose was spot-on in my opinion, and some of his lyrics throughout the show are legendary. Especially the “Sad Sad Bunny” thing where Buster tells Art Garfunkel to play that in more of a minor key. He's one of those celebrities where I always see him as his depiction on the show as a moose, rather than his actual person, and imagine that when I listen to his music. Just like Yo-Yo Ma, Mr. Rogers et al.

This is the continuation of “Buster’s Back,” and you really do feel bad for Buster at times throughout this. While it is probably forgivable that the kids got into the Kresblain movies while Buster was gone (like kids do with trends like that), it wasn’t right for Arthur to try and lie and say that they had seen Carpet of Doom, and then use that as a reason to leave him out. And maybe Arthur and the Brain could’ve held off on continuing their book while they were gone. The party though was a big miss on everybody’s part, and it wouldn’t have taken the Brain weighing the facts using logical conclusions to figure out that nobody invited Buster (Yes Binky, that’s why he wasn’t there). Nonetheless though, they get it right at the end, and we do see the same old Buster as they get together to watch his travel slides as he pigs out on popcorn. The episode ends with one of the most iconic lines of the entire series from Arthur: “Mom! There’s a singing moose in front of the house!”

Easily one of the best episodes of the entire series for me, and the song (with an extra verse in there too!) is on the first CD. I wish there was somewhere where we can hear the other lyrics from Art Garfunkel.

“This is the next day, that’s all I have to say, hey!”

“Kresblamania, it’s insania
How did Arthur catch/Buster NOT catch Kresblamania?”

“That’s how it happened, you can see
With Buster and the kids in Elwood City
Now you know you’re close friends
You can always get back together again”

By Guthrie Edson

The Chips Are Down / Revenge of the Chip

Season 3 Episode 5a & b

Without saying anything else, the plotline of “The Chips Are Down” could not be written otherwise; it’s just too good. Arthur and Buster’s fearmongering about green potato chips leads to maybe the most improbable friendship between D.W. and Binky, better known as “Big Head Kid'' in this episode. But it also leads to Binky stepping out of his comfort zone and starting to take ballet, and both of them taking it upon themselves to not fritter away their lives. Good messaging here. The hands down best interaction of “The Chips Are Down” is when Binky explains to Mr. Ratburn and Mr. Haney exactly why he blew off his homework, inspiring “Herb” to go climb Mount Everest. The dumbfounded look on Mr. Ratburn’s face after that–priceless. Also, at the end of the episode Binky talks about wanting to write his own ballet called “Robot Man in the Junkyard''–I would love to see an episode where that actually materializes. (I also think that in the “A Word from Us Kids'' between episodes, it’s great that someone involved in the making of potato chips explained that eating just one green potato chip will not hurt you).

It seems clear that D.W. wanted to put this whole thing behind her, as we see in “Revenge of the Chip,” to the point that she was taking out books from the library about macroeconomics to come off as more grown up (and wanting her parents to read it to her as a bedtime story). As someone who had to take macroeconomics in college, I guarantee that she would fall asleep within minutes upon hearing about GDP and inflation. But the main point is, she may have moved on from it, but the rest of Elwood City didn’t, and we have D.W.’s own mom to thank for that. I think that in many of the early episodes, Mr. and Mrs. Read are shown with an air of infallibility about them, but this is more than just making a mistake: it’s Mrs. Read breaking trust D.W. had in her. To her credit, she apologizes, and to Arthur’s credit, him and his friends let D.W. go to the live taping of Kids Do The Most Embarrassing Things. But both episodes are a cautionary tale of why people shouldn’t believe everything they hear, why even supposedly wise parents aren’t infallible, and how unlikely friendships can form in weird situations.

By Guthrie Edson

Binky Rules / Meet Binky

Season 3 Episode 6a & b

I remember all those years ago seeing the name of the episode for the first time and thinking that it was about Binky Barnes. And at least in the first part, it kind of is. It’s classic that as soon as the DJ is about to name the song, Binky hits the radio with his soccer ball (probably not helping his cause of making the travel soccer team), and subsequently gets caught by Mr. Morris. The whole mystery shtick with Buster and Fern really dominates the first episode, pitting the boys against the girls (although their dueling theories of how the graffiti got on the wall were hilarious–rival soccer team or evil twin, take your pick). But the real question is why the radio station thought it was a good idea to do graffiti on the school to drum up interest in the band Binky. Fern was right that it wouldn’t have been smart for someone to graffiti their own name on the school, but I guess Binky Barnes was an obvious suspect, probably because of his association with the Tough Customers. Luckily though, the radio station, led by none other than Doctor Jake of “The Blizzard” fame (who is the DJ and meteorologist, so that station must be pretty understaffed), takes responsibility and gives everyone CDs but leaves them guessing as to what the song is.

When the concert begins approaching is when things start to unravel, but that didn’t stop people from lining up for six hours outside the auditorium to get their tickets (which in hindsight, that time could’ve been spent doing better else). But the fantasies where the kids imagine their parents meeting Binky, whether it be for an interview or for figuring out what they owe in taxes, are hilarious, and Buster perfectly foreshadows what ends up happening by saying that they aren’t “hard news” (which actually works perfectly because that’s a journalism term meaning serious and important news, and I don’t think this fits the bill there). The other fantasies where they imagine themselves luging back in Finland are classic, but as it turns out, nobody does any luging because the band isn’t real. Also, when looking at the lyrics of “Matalii Ja Mustii” by Värttinä, the song whose “Ui, ui, ui” chorus we hear, it would definitely not be suitable for a typical Arthur audience, but I’ll let you do that Google translate search yourself. In the end, the lesson is that celebrities are often not as they seem, and that one shouldn't have too much faith in them (especially when they've never even done an interview?) But nonetheless, a classic episode here.

By Guthrie Edson

Arthur's Treasure Hunt

Season 3 Episode 9a

Sticking with the theme of inventions, the comparison that Arthur makes of himself to Galileo or Sir Isaac Newton is a lot like that in “Arthur the Wrecker” back in Season 1–both of them just aren’t very apt. With that being said, I’m definitely in favor of the kids digging things up–especially Buster finding an arrowhead which could have been useful in finding out the Indigenous history of the area (maybe Ranger Ruth from "Dinosaur Dilemma" might have leads on that). Clearly, the area where the Brain lives used to be a metal detector factory, because he sure found a lot of those in his yard, and in Muffy's case, just who has a butler that can go into a diamond mine (probably far, far away from Elwood City) to bring diamonds on demand? Credit to Binky though for being creative even though all he found was roots–long live Angua the iguana.

The fantasies in this one are some of the best, with Arthur finding tunnels that lead to Buster’s closet and Arthur utilizing another to buy charcoal for a barbecue. “It’s a good thing you didn’t listen to me,” is a funny thing to imagine Mrs. Read saying and even funnier to hear her actually say it. But as the other saying goes, be careful what you wish for, because the results of everyone’s treasure hunt were underwhelming to say the least. Unless you consider old sippy cups, pennies, digestive biscuits that are most likely inedible after probably 20+ years in the ground, and roots in the shape of an iguana exciting. And it was even more underwhelming because Arthur dug up the entire yard to basically find nothing and had to clean the whole garage. Chances are, if you think that one or both of your parents will be happy that you didn’t listen to them, what you’re about to do is something they wouldn’t approve of.

Nice try, Arthur, but you kind of deserved whatever punishment came to you here.

By Guthrie Edson

Return of the King

Season 3 Episode 9b

Another one of my all-time favorites shows Lakewood Elementary up against Glenbrook at the medieval fair, but really a grudge match between Mr. Ratburn and his teacher, Mr. Pryce-Jones. The seemingly parallel universe between the kids from the schools is striking, especially the doppelgangers of all the Lakewood kids who compete against them in the games. But of course, they acted very differently as prep school students. If this was a competition as to how good the kids were at the medieval games, it really would be no competition because in a public school, one doesn't learn how to live and breathe the Middle Ages. Something tells me Mr. Ratburn never taught his students how to navigate a maze using the sun and tops of the trees. But in the other games, some of the Glenbrook kids are just plain rude, like in the archery competition where Francine’s competitor licks the arrow (gross) to knock hers out of the middle. I barely knew Newton’s formula for constant acceleration as a senior in high school taking physics, but Mr. Pryce-Jones scolded Mr. Ratburn for not teaching it to his students in third grade.

I don’t know of any place where two schools square off against each other in a medieval fair–especially a private school where there may be more emphasis on that type of instruction and a public school where that probably isn’t taught in as much depth. Of course Mr. Ratburn hadn’t taught the Lakewood kids the long song that’s more historical than musical about the kings of England in the order categorical (I watched this recently and for some reason started cracking up at that). Or trivia where to get the correct answer, you need to give what the answer would be in the Middle Ages. But the arrogance that Mr. Pryce-Jones and the Glenbrook kids show quickly gets shot when Arthur goes slow, gentle and steady to successfully pull out the sword from the stone, enough for Mr. Pryce-Jones to be taken aback and kind of humbled for the first time. And good news for the Lakewood kids–Mr. Pryce-Jones won’t be teaching them instead of Mr. Ratburn, but Mr. Haney’s niece and nephew didn’t look too thrilled about being tutored by him. But hey, they’ll definitely be well-versed in the English kings!

Mr. Pryce-Jones and his students may have won most of the games at the fair, but there’s no doubt that the Lakewood kids got a lot out of the day, and Arthur especially, going home as king of the medieval fair.

By Guthrie Edson

Arthur's Almost Live Not Real Music Festival

Season 3 Episode 11b

Definitely a unique episode, as there really isn’t any plot other than Arthur and Buster performing. At the start, D.W. mistakes the two of them beatboxing and scatting (á la Bobby McFerrin) for some weird noise in the house, and tracks them down in the basement with a very creative setup that they use to bring us some classics.

For me, the #1 song from this is “Library Card,” which we hear a verse or so at a time throughout. It showcases how libraries aren’t just buildings with lots of books at them: they are also places where there can be cool events (as we see in several episodes with Mr. Ratburn’s puppet shows and the Joshua Redman/Yo-Yo Ma collab), and community events in general. It’s an interesting segway from that to “Jekyll and Hyde,” which honestly creeped me out when I was younger. To this day, I still don’t really know why they put that in there. On the other hand, though, “Homework” is a classic from this. Mr. Ratburn’s acapella song about all the homework he’s assigning the kids is really good, and on the CD, there’s an extra verse in there.

“Write about global warming for extra credit (Buster: ‘Global what’)
Check the spelling, don’t forget to edit!
Tomorrow’s going to be another day
That’s when you get to hear me say
Just a little homework tonight…”

While “Library Card” is the top song of this for me, “Leftovers Goulash” comes in at a close second. Any chance Arthur might have given his dad in a prior episode goes out the door, and we get a list of all the disgusting-sounding things he makes set to the Hungarian Rhapsody and Eine Kleine Nachtmusik. Jellyfish inside a beet, garlic eels, custard soup, liver cake, curry pie with prunes and squash (a curry pie is actually a real thing, popular in the UK, but without the prunes and squash) don’t sound appetizing in the slightest. No wonder Arthur and D.W. say that they’re not hungry anymore at the end of this.

But we end on “Library Card," and it's especially poignant in this day and age, where there's seemingly a paywall for everything. Libraries are places where one can borrow a book, get on the Internet, or take part in other community activities for free. I've heard people say that one of the first buildings in a community that would be rebuilt after a natural disaster is a library, because of its value and importance. The last lyric of the song is the million-dollar question of the episode: "WHO IS DEWEY???!!!" All these songs and more are available on the CD bearing the same name as the episode, which I'll review in the future.

By Guthrie Edson

Mom and Dad Have a Great Big Fight

Season 3 Episode 14a

We start the episode and immediately the Read family are having a crazy night. We see Jane and David frantically cooking in the kitchen, Arthur, DW and Kate are yelling, all while Pal is barking and running around the kitchen. After Arthur and DW walk out of the kitchen, Jane knocks over the milk and David knocks over the batter he was working on, crashing to the floor. This is what makes Arthur’s parents go from frantic, to frustrated. They raise their voices and try to figure out what to do next. DW hears this and understandably becomes scared. She runs up stairs to tell Arthur about it. At first Arthur doesn’t believe her, but then they start to spiral into the conclusion that mom and dad hate each other.

Then we get to the biggest part of the episode. Arthur and D.W. imagine themselves indifferent scenarios. How their lives would change if their parents split up, if they lived with oneparent only, or if they lived on their own. Dad equals great food, and mom equals free taxi service. Arthur imagines that they’ll be orphans like in “Oliver Twist”. Then we get one of the best Arthur visual jokes. “Please sir, may I have some more.” I really like the imagination sequence where they live on their own in a fairy tale type setting. Everything starts off happy but then reality sets in, Arthur can’t cook and they start to miss their parents. Then D.W. hits the audience with a really impactful line. "I never knew you could feel this lonely, even when you’re not alone." With the sad music playing and everything, that quote kinda makes you tear up a bit, even though it’s just in their imaginations. These imagination sequences are hilarious, and they provide a goofy and light hearted tone to the episode, instead of being too serious.

The episode ends with mom dad explaining that they don’t hate each other and it’s normal for adults to argue once in a while like kids do.The episode wraps up well, it doesn’t feel rushed. For such a serious topic like divorce and parents fighting, this episode is really entertaining and funny. Arthur and D.W. blow the situation out of proportion in their heads to get to the end of the episode which hammers homethe main lesson of the episode. We as the audience are looking in and going down the rabbit hole with Arthur and DW. We also know that Arthur’s parents don’t actually hate each other and the scenarios the kids come up with are ludicrous, which makes the episode more entertaining. This is definitely a solid episode and it was fun to come along with the ride with D.W. and Arthur.

By Eddie Castillo

D.W.'s Perfect Wish

Season 3 Episode 14b

Here we go again, it’s an Arthur clip show episode! Yay! Arthur is wondering why D.W. isn’t excited about her birthday this year. D.W. usually makes sure everyone knows about her birthday but not this year. D.W. was excited about her birthday but Emily ruined it for her. D.W. and Emily are playing Confuse the Goose outside, then out of the blue, Emily gets serious. Emily tells D.W. that she is already five, and makes turning five a bigger deal than it actually is. I guess birthdays are a bigger deal when you’re a kid, because watching this as an adult, it’s funny how Emily makes turning five super serious. D.W. starts to wonder if she wasted her fours. Then Arthur tries to remind D.W. of the great things she’s done over the series. Then we get to see D.W.’s best moments from previous Arthur episodes. We see D.W. meeting the president, meeting Mister Rogers, meeting Walter the deer, ect. We even get a new scene with Mister Rogers which wasn’t in the episode “Arthur Meets Mister Rogers”. It’s a simple scene of Mister Rogers singing a lullaby to D.W. while she sleeps. It's a short scene, but I found it interesting and it was nice to see Mister Rogers again. D.W. thanks Arthur for reminding her of the great things she has done and they go downstairs to eat her normal cake. D.W. struggles to think of a perfect wish, but ends up wishing Arthur face plants into the leftover cake. Although we never get to hear exactly what she wished for.

This episode is nothing special, other than some great lines from D.W. and her family. This is the definition of a filler episode. It’s not even the finale of season 3. “The Long, Dull Winter” is the actual finale of the season and even that episode is a better end to the season. This episode is good for a one time watch, but I bet you’ll find enjoyment out of this episode if you’re a big fan of D.W.. I really want to try that vanilla cake that David made for D.W. though...

I highly advise you not to waste your wish on a pony” - Jane

Why don’t you wish for a new pair of sneakers?” - David

It has to be the perfect wish, you don’t get this kind of power everyday.” - D.W.

Look, Kate’s starving!” - Arthur

By Eddie Castillo

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