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Postcards from Buster

Season 8 Episode 6

This serves as the pilot for the spin-off series Postcards from Buster, and it starts on a snowy night in Elwood City with Arthur, D.W. and Buster eavesdropping on their parents discussing something over the phone. I remember when I was younger and could eavesdrop on my parents discussing a big trip, and it always was thrilling. But Buster understandably was apprehensive about leaving Elwood City for a long time and leaving his mom behind. As we see in other episodes, they were pretty close and although Buster had been on trips with his dad before, this was going to be a much longer one.

One of my favorite aspects of this episode is how very little attention gets paid to the tourist trap attractions in New York. While the Statue of Libertrees, the Vampire State Building, and Rocks Are Falling Center might be the things to see, Arthur, Buster and Mr. Baxter spent most of the trip off the beaten path. And honestly, it was for the better. Buster never would’ve discovered what a Chinese tamale is, or saw hip-hop dancers in the subway. Or gotten cake at the Valencia Bakery (I checked and they’re still going strong–they have several locations throughout Queens, the Bronx and Harlem!) after getting lost in the Bronx. Sometimes when you’re lost, it’s just as well. Similarly, in the two Postcards from Buster episodes where Buster revisits NYC, he doesn’t really see any of the tourist trap attractions there either, instead spending time with his Orthodox Jewish friend Aryeh and his Lebanese Orthodox Christian friend James.

Moral of the story: get off the beaten path. D.W. was hell bent on seeing Unicornicopia on Broadway, and that turned out to be a big disappointment. Even though Arthur and Buster got lost and their trip didn’t go according to plan, it was still a good time. (Also, they probably wouldn’t have had this adventure had Mr. Baxter not parked their rental car in a no parking zone. There’s no reason to drive a car into Manhattan.)

By Guthrie Edson

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