Logo Francine

Arthur's Perfect Christmas

Special #1

Earlier this month I reviewed the soundtrack for Arthur’s Perfect Christmas here on the Frensky Star, so now it’s time to take a look at the show as a whole. I’ve watched this almost every holiday season I can remember, and these holidays will be no different. Every year, no matter what, I’ve looked to APC for something familiar to watch around the holidays, and it’s delivered for me every time.

One reason why is because it shows the diversity of the kids’ holiday traditions very well. While Arthur and his family opt for a more traditional Christmas (except for the food), we see the Brain celebrating Kwanzaa and George talking about Lucia Day celebrations, the Swedish festival of light which takes place on December 13th. Perhaps none of the other holidays get more spotlight here than Chanukah, which Francine’s family celebrates and over which Francine and Muffy have a falling-out of sorts. I do appreciate the way that played out in the end, with Francine taking the time to call Muffy in and explain why the holiday was so important to her (to this day though I still wonder what Mr. Frensky did with that giant ham the Crosswires got them–hopefully he donated it). I know that other people would probably not be as forgiving as Francine was, but hearing her tell the story of her menorah was special for me, as a Jewish person.

Some of the scenes are just plain funny. The whole shtick with Uncle Fred is funny, from his video Christmas card to his unannounced arrival at the Read residence to the whole thing where D.W. mistakes him for Santa in their bathroom, with the latter being one of the funnier scenes in the entire series in my opinion. Another scene I’ve always found funny is Binky’s attempts at baking. While I don’t fault him for trying, it’s kind of a no-brainer that brownies should have sugar in them, bananas should be peeled for banana bread, and pecans should be shelled. Good thing that it was just his friends trying his food, not Gordon Ramsay. Sticking to the topic of food, while Arthur is skeptical of Mr. Read’s plan for Christmas dinner at first, I like how he decides to try something different from the usual turkey (hot take–turkey is overrated, even on Thanksgiving). And at the end, everyone likes it! Roast lamb with turmeric, unleavened bread, puls, halva for dessert and ground bark instead of coffee may not be the first Christmas dinner you’d imagine, but Mr. Read’s ambition is definitely commendable.

Baxter Day is maybe my favorite thing of the whole show, not only because the idea is just genius, but because in 2020, people will undoubtedly be finding alternative ways to celebrate the holidays. And with Baxter Day being a big part of the show, there is a precedent to follow! (Minus the going out to brunch and hitting your waiter with a profiterole, of course.) But even in non-pandemic times, it’s so important to show that the holidays don’t have to be a huge deal every year. My grandfather always told us at each of our holiday gatherings when he was still alive to think of those who we wish we were able to be with us but couldn’t be, and since his death six years ago, the holidays haven’t been the same for me. After all those years, and now at the ripe old age of 23, I’m firmly in the camp that the holidays shouldn’t be all that stressful and just a time to step back and appreciate what you do have.

So, this year, in the year 2020, if the holidays is going to look different for you than it usually does, take a page out of the Baxter Day playbook. Stay in pyjamas all day, have hot fudge sundaes on toast for breakfast, and maybe opt for takeout from your favorite local restaurant instead of going all out for dinner. And of course, cue up APC to watch, because it’s a classic. The whole point of the holidays is to relax, and we deserve that just for getting through 2020.

By Guthrie Edson

An Arthur Thanksgiving

Special #6

With the holiday season right around the corner, the Arthur team has given us a special Thanksgiving treat. The brand new special "An Arthur Thanksgiving" is presented as a magical mess of your dreams, that is hard to follow yet entertaining. The beginning of the episode sets the tone for the chaotic atmosphere, and what better way to do that then have Dad Read cooking in the kitchen. We also a nearly 8 minute scene in the kitchen here which I found was completed in a very interesting and creative way. Once Aunt Minnie arrives is when you need to start really focusing to get the full affect of this episode. As there are three our four clear plot lines that can often get intertwined and tangled together in your first viewing. It is pretty clear that this is the introduction that Aunt Minnie, and what a great one it is. But before we get to Aunt Minnie, we get the introduction to probably the most boring and unoriginal plot line of this episode. Pal is tied down outside and gets cut lose and chases Francine's cat Nemo. Despite the animal plot in this story being the worst part in this episode, I do have to say that I did transition into Tony Daniels new voice acting of Nemo very well. It sounds almost like the Late Greg Kramer, who did a fabulous job voicing Nemo. In this plot of the story, Pal runs away while chasing Nemo. I found this the very unbelievable, because Pal has chased Nemo in several other episodes down the street and has found his way back home. Not to mention Pal also gets lost downtown in "Arthur's Lost Dog." However, we do get an introduction to several other characters because of Pal getting lost. Such as characters like Mrs. Prendergast (who was seen for only a few moments back in season 21), Nicky (a dog at the shelter), Petunia (random dog), and Sharina (Street Vendor). The character that I found most facinating was Sharina. It isn't too often we get an introduction to a Hispanic character in Arthur, and I loved Sharina's warm and friendly personality and willingness to help. I really hope that she gets to be featured in another episode in an upcoming season. However we do get an introduction to a pretty dull charcater as Pal is running away, and that is of course Petunia. I really thought that it would have been a great opportunity to make Pal get in even more trouble when Petunia offered him some of the Thanksgiving meal. I was very confused when she just let Pal go to town on those tortellini without cornering him and getting him in trouble. Petunia didn't show anything too special throughout the rest of the episode either, but was just average. I don't see the creation of Petunia into the Arthur universe as a total let down. She is as sweet dog with a very kind heart, but I just viewed her as a missed opportunity for the writers.

The second plot of the story is this strange Thanksgiving parade that is occuring in Elwood City. Not to mention the 3rd grade class's float is just ridiculous, but yet amusing. As soon as Arthur mentioned that his class was going to do a parade float based on Hickory Dickory Dock, I was so confused on what this parade was. Then when I actually saw the parade portion of the episode, I realized that this had some of the funniest parts of the special entirely. Buster with a great line about putting his make-up on without a mirror, and Binky with his vampire mouse costume. Then we have the run through of this ill-planned out parade float with Francine flapping her wings like s bird, the bell props being used not fitting in with the float, and all of the kids so confused about what is happening. Definetley the greatest part of this special comes within this short two minute segment here.

After the parade practice, Arthur decides to go out and join the search party for Pal. It is here where we get another great appearance, and this time it's of Mr. Ratburn's husband Patrick. I love how they did this subtle little appearance of Patrick without making an entire production out of it. I really hope that he also get's more appearances in episodes. Then we get to what's happening at the Read's home during all of this. I think that this introduction episode to Aunt Minnie has actually left me more puzzeled about her before I watched it. Like what happened between this Thanksgiving special and The Rhythm & Roots episode. Also, I really don't see why D.W. and her have such a great relationship at the end of this episode. I thought she wasn't particularly the nicest to her and Bud. However, Minnie and D.W.'s relationship seems to come together throughout the episode and works very nicely in the end. Now getting back to the dogs part of the episode, while Arthur is on a wild goose chase trying to find these dogs, Pal and Petunia run into an animal shelter and decide to bring the rest of the left over Thanksgiving food to the shelter. This was really a heart warming and was a really cute way to sum up the lackluster of a plot during the dog portion of the episode. After, Pal get's a lead from one of the dogs named Nicky on where his family is.He then runs into this bizare look alike family that look absolutley horendous. I thought that this was absolutley hilarious, as the way this family looks is so hard to describe. They look like a cross between a 70's hippie family and the "Adult Arthur" video series on YouTube.

The special ends in an odd but predictable way, as Gobbler the Thanksgiving turkey gets loose and blows away while Muffy is vloging about the parade. Then Pal gets taken in by the fire department and take down Gobbler the. Despite this, the ending of the episode was great, as everyone who helped out was invited to Thanksgiving. We also get to see the nicer side of Aunt Minnie as she addopts Nicky from the shelter, which I thought was a fitting ending. Overall this is by far the craziest Arthur special to date. There is so much going on, and happening which makes it so entertaining. The animation in this episode didn't seem up to par from what we are used to from Arthur. It seemed more akin to a season 16 or early 9 Story episode. I'm not sure if that is because this was made during the pandemic, or what but the characters movements didn't flow quite like they should have. Another thing that I also enjoyed about this episode was the music. The first thing in this episode that I noticed was the Ratatouille-esque music that was playing at the very beginning of this episode while Mr. Read was cooking. So we got some new music, but the episode still retained the classic Arthur score that we are all used to hearing. A great Arthur episode for the Thanksgiving holiday that I encorage everyone to watch!

Total Visits Web Hits