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