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The Frensky Star
what arthur means to me

Caroline from Arthur Read: Between the Lines

July 5, 2022

To say Arthur left an impression on my young brain would be an understatement. For years I’ve ached to articulate the “je ne sais quoi” that makes the show such an enduring hit. Could it be its timeless quality, its ability to craft stories so reflective of American/Canadian life without ever devolving into a 1-to-1 parody of real world pop culture? Or perhaps it’s the dignity with which it treats its audience, daring to depict the beauty and difficulty of interpersonal relationships with nuance, never too heavy-handed in its morals. Or maybe it’s the impressively large ensemble of relatable characters, each so lovable that I can’t pick a favourite, all becoming more detailed in their strengths and their flaws as the seasons progress.

Arthur is all of this and more, and that “more” is the unique personal connection that each of us brings to our viewing experience. For me, it’s the way in which this little kids’ show allowed me to bond with my older brother. When we were young, the profound impact of Thomas’ developmental disability was not so apparent to me. We enjoyed many activities together: day trips with our parents, playing with toy trains, and of course watching TV. But as the years passed, I became painfully aware that, unable to talk and unable to comprehend our world to the same degree that I could, he wouldn’t be growing up with me. I envied my friends’ relationships with their siblings, realizing my brother and I would never be like them.

One day during my teenage years, I caught Arthur on the TV guide. I had fond childhood memories of the show and, evidently, so did Thomas. Through the remainder of my time in high school, we tuned in to PBS Kids every day at 4:00 PM, a ritual that my routine-oriented brother appreciated. Together we laughed at D.W.’s dramatic outbursts and through every song in “Arthur’s Almost Live Not Real Music Festival.” With the gift of Arthur, my brother and I could finally connect over a shared interest. Even my parents got in on it; my dad still gathers us around the computer to watch clips of “Baxter Day” each Christmas.

The connection doesn’t stop there. Several months ago, I finally realized my teenage dream of starting an Arthur review show, something I’m honoured to share with my best friend Gabe. We had no expectation that there would be an audience for our humble passion project, so imagine our surprise when we received an email from The Frensky Star, who had somehow stumbled across our show, welcoming us to the lively online community of Arthur fans. I have very little experience existing in online spaces and I had no idea there were so many others wanting to talk about Arthur like us. Finding fellow fans is a joy I’m continuing to discover.

Just as Arthur’s plotlines often centre on relationships, the show’s own legacy helps us spark new connections and strengthen old ones. I’ll always be grateful for this show and for viewers like you. Thank you!

Carter Lage

July 5, 2022

I’ve been reading Arthur books and watching The Arthur TV show when I was a kid, I still read and watch Arthur, I’m 19 years old, and I can’t wait to see the 25th season, even since it aired in 1996. Marc Brown had a good team for making books and television, and kids learned from Arthur, D.W., Binky, Buster, Francine, Muffy, The Brain, and all their friends about all the problems they have. I can’t wait to see the additional Arthur content soon.

Arthur and Marc Brown can teach me and others of wanting to become a Children’s Author and Illustrator, like tips on reading many books, keep a journal, write what is the best stories, and stuff like that. I’m already working on my first book for all the kids to read, I hope.

Arthur and D.W. had been voiced by many different people. The Voices of Arthur Read: 1. Michael Yarmush (Season 1-5) (1996-2000) 2. Justin Bradley (Season 6) (2001) 3. Mark Rendall (Season 6 Redub, 2001) (Season 7-8) (2002-2003) 4. Cameron Ansell (Season 9-11) (2004-2007) 5. Dallas Jokic (Season 12-15) (2008-2012) 6. Drew Adkins (Season 16-17) (2012-2014) 7. William Healy (Season 18-19) (2014-2016) 8. Jacob Ursomarzo (Season 20-21) (2016-2018) 9. Roman Lutterotti (Season 22-25) (2019-2022). The Voices of D.W. Read: 1. Michael Caloz (Season 1-3) (1996-1999) 2. Oliver Grainger (Season 4-6) (1999-2001) 3. Jason Szwimer (Season 7-10) (2002-2006) 3 1/2. Ryan Ehrenworth (Season 11 Episode 1A, 2007) 4. Robert Naylor (Season 11-15) (2007-2012) 5. Jake Beale (Season 16-17) (2012-2014) 6. Andrew Dayton (Season 18-19) (2014-2016) 7. Christian Distefano (Season 20-21) (2016-2018) 8. Ethan Pugiotto (Season 22-25) (2019-2022).”

Jason Szwimer did a great job of working on a podcast called Finding D.W. where He found all the other seven voices of D.W. Read, I hope He would do a Season 2 of it. I also think someone like Jason Szwimer or Dallas Jokic would do a podcast about chatting with The Nine Voice of Arthur Read, that would be really cool to hear.

Hopefully, in the future,there will be new Arthur merchandise for online and in person stores, like toys, coloring stuff, clothes, party supplies, a complete series DVD set of Arthur and Postcards from Buster, and more.

Arthur, you’re doing great with all the books and shows, so I’m gonna do best to Believe In Myself, because that’s the place to start, and hope Marc Brown can wish me luck on my children’s author and illustrator career.

Thomas Lillja

July 5, 2022

It is currently 12:00 AM on February the 21st, 2022. I had been watching the ,Arthur Mega Marathon that PBS Kids was broadcasting for the past couple of days, and knew that this childhood favorite of mine would be ending later in the day. As I scrolled through my Twitter feed, thinking about Arthur and its impact on my life, I couldn’t help but bawl my eyes out. It’s interesting. Arthur was the first show in a long time where I cried over its ending. While I was sad about shows like The Office, Steven Universe, and Regular Show ending, they didn’t move me to tears quite like Arthur did. As much as I adore those three shows, they can’t even hold a flame to the profound connection that I have with Arthur.

During the formative years of my life, there was nothing I loved more than to watch Arthur with my parents when the opportunity arose. While Thomas the Tank Engine and Friends was another show that I loved during this time, I felt that Arthur was a show that truly had universal appeal in my household. While humble in nature, the adventures of Arthur, his friends, and the citizens of Elwood City captivated my family with their grounded sense of writing, witty character interactions, and feel-good tone. I even remember dressing up as Arthur for Halloween when I was four––my mom made custom Arthur ears for my costume (I still can’t thank her enough for making them for me!). When my family adopted my sister from Korea in the mid-2000s, I knew that I had to share my love for Arthur with her. One of my fondest memories of watching the show with my sister was when we watched the episode “Big Brother Binky.” As an adopted child, it was heartwarming to see the episode resonate so strongly with my sister! Granted, I eventually got annoyed with her repeating the episode on a daily basis, but I’ve now look back on those days fondly, as they helped to make my sister feel welcome in the United States of America.

Years went by, and Arthur would find itself undergoing some drastic production changes. For example, the show switched from traditional to flash animation in 2012. In addition, the show’s writing had a different feel compared to previous seasons. When I first discovered these changes in early 2013, I remember having mixed emotions. On one hand, I felt that Arthur was starting to lack the integrity that made it such a fantastic show in the first place. However, I also recognized that there was a drive from the production crew to replicate the writing from previous seasons. Despite these changes, I still kept close tabs on Arthur. After all, no amount of production changes could take away my childhood memories of the show. This continued passion would pay off in 2021, when I met my current girlfriend. One summer day, we were discussing shows that we loved during our childhood. I had mentioned that I loved Arthur, and my main squeeze was elated with this discovery! She told me about her fondness of the show, as she watched it with her older brother when they were both kids. Since then, we have shared countless Arthur-related memes and TikToks with each other, and have sung the “Crazy Bus” song to each other enough times to drive Arthur up the walls!

By the time that I am writing this, it is currently 11:30 PM on February the 21st, 2022. By now, Arthur has concluded its 25-season long run and has provided me with countless experiences that I will never take for granted. As I am writing this essay, I am trying to fight back tears that are building up inside of me. Having a show like Arthur end is like having to put down your childhood pet, as both symbolize the end of simpler, happier times. However, I also recognize that Arthur reruns will continue to air for many years to come. In addition, I look forward to the little aardvark and his friends continuing to captivate audiences via new media like podcasts, online shorts, and games. As a matter of fact, with a world as diverse and expansive as Arthur’s, I would love to see an open-world adventure game inspired by the series, à la The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild. Not only could the game help introduce the open-world video game genre to younger generations, but I could also see the game being enjoyed by older generations; just like the TV show that it’s based on.

While Arthur’s end may be heart-wrenching to me, I would still like to thank Marc Brown, Carol Greenwald, and the rest of the show’s production team for crafting an amazing, smart, heartfelt, and powerful series that provided me with unforgettable experiences and helped me forge the closest relationships I could ever have with other people. Thanks to these incredible people, the memories I have of the show will never stop me from having a wonderful kind of day.


July 5, 2022

I was Born in Houston, Texas on February 13th, 1996 The Year that Arthur Comes on the air. The funniest part is The Scream, the gasps and Other Silly thing that made me laugh Hard. So funny I Just Peed my pants for Laughing Hard.

Now arthur is Coming to an end and I Wanna Bid Farewell to arthur. Thank you for being A Wonderful Kind of day to our hearts. We will Never forget you. Forever Arthur Read!!

Toy Junk Stuff

February 28, 2022

I have so many fond memories surrounding the show. The show taught me the importance of being a good friend, sibling, and person in general! I would watch the show before and after school every day. I even remember how excited I would be whenever I got to pick an Arthur book from the school book fairs! I dreamt of trying the Little Bo Peep Pot Pie, owning my own Woogle, and meeting Binky… and if I’m being honest, I still do.

I go back to watch the episodes and I catch the more subtle jokes, relate to the different characters, and truly appreciate how well the show handles difficult topics. I had a few Arthur toys growing up, but it wasn’t until I got older that I started seriously collecting anything and everything “Arthur”. It’s something that brings me so much joy and it makes me so happy that other people appreciate my collection as well! I’ve connected with so many amazing people through a mutual love for Arthur.

Growing up with Arthur has been such a privilege. He isn’t just a character from a show, or an illustration in a book. Arthur is a best friend!

Matthew (AKA Peeebs)

February 22, 2022

My memories of Arthur go back all the way to early childhood. I was only two years old when the TV show started on PBS, so Arthur has pretty much always been there for me, both on TV and in print. One of my earliest memories from preschool is listening to the teacher read "Arthur's Halloween" to my class. Marc Brown's books were always some of my favorites. I love his artistic style and especially the little hidden "Easter eggs" and unique details in his drawings. I would often find myself doodling Arthur characters in my school notebooks. I like to think that some of Marc Brown’s work had an early influence on the creative side of my brain.

Beyond the books, I’ve become more and more connected with the TV show as well. Arthur was something that my older brother and I both enjoyed. We were big Arthur fans as kids. We memorized a lot of the early episodes, and would competitively guess what episode was coming on next, as soon as the theme song ended. Growing up with 5 TV channels, PBS and Arthur were staples in my after-school routine.

Eventually, by my teenage years, I drifted away from Arthur a bit, but I would still check in occasionally when I heard of new episodes. By the time I was in college, a renewed interest in the show was sparked somewhere inside of me, and around that time, the show was celebrating 20 years on the air! That’s also when the memes started taking over online. I was beginning to recognize the cultural impact Arthur has had. I was just shocked that it was all happening to my favorite show from childhood. And even more recently, it's amazing to see the online Arthur community continuing to grow and flourish, and all the wonderful friends I've met thanks to it!

I don't think anyone knew how popular and long-lived the show would become, but I believe it goes to show just how timeless the stories and characters are. I think everybody can relate to one or more characters and their personalities. With 500 TV episode segments, we are able to really get to know the characters as they grow and develop. There’s a multitude of classic childhood conflicts to relate to, like losing baby teeth or dealing with a bully, in addition to more nuanced situations, such as helping a grieving friend or understanding different cultures and religious traditions. All these real-life situations are presented in a respectful way that depicts the mistakes and lesson-learning that happen to all of us. There’s also many episodes that are just plain fun, like the music video episode or seeing life through the eyes of dogs and babies. And thanks to the brilliant writing, the show is even enjoyable for adults, with humor and references intended for older viewers and special celebrity appearances from time to time. Callbacks to past episodes also serve as a little reward for longtime viewers. The show has successfully appealed to a wide range of ages for all these reasons.

After 25 years, I think it’s safe to say Arthur has joined the ranks of other monumental public television shows like Sesame Street, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, and Reading Rainbow. It will be sad to see the series go into reruns with no more new episodes, but it’s great to look back and appreciate all that has happened already, and look forward to what PBS has planned for the future of Arthur and his friends in new media coming soon!

Lucas Mancini from Elwood City Limits

February 20, 2022

Ever since I was very young, I was drawn to compelling conflict-based writing. This is anachronistic to much of the children’s TV canon. The world of children’s television Is usually a world where education or merchandising are put first-- far more important than things like “characters” and “narrative”. As a result of this many beloved children’s characters feel inhuman to an uncanny degree (I of course mean inhuman in the thematic sense, we are dealing with the world of talking sponges and purple dinosaurs after all). Characters with relentless positive attitudes and aggressively conflict free friendships showing off their abilities of basic reading and arithmetic bore no interest to me and as a very young school age child. In those days I could already feel myself being drawn towards the type of programming aimed at a more decerning older audience. I liked the transgressive and idiosyncratic sensibilities of the likes of SpongeBob Square Pants and Fairly Odd Parents, which in-turn led to a lifelong love of Adult Swim’s programming as I grew older.

However, there was one glaring exception to this dislike of early-childhood television and that was of course Arthur. Funnily enough, I wasn’t the only one in my household that thought this way. My mother, father, younger sister and even grandmother would all watch the show with me if they were party to my regular viewings. There are many possible reasons for Arthur to have generational appeal like this. The animation was very good in the early 90’s, the show was peppered with jokes that would only land with older viewers (now a staple of animated children’s cinema), but I think the depth and emotional complexity of its beloved characters is what gives it this appeal.

Everyone knows art imitates life and vice versa. From my personal experience the 8-year old’s in my life had a lot more in common in the characters from Arthur than other shows aimed at that age group. This is because just like adults, 8-year old’s have the capacity to be relentlessly cruel, surprisingly selfless, and hold an unbridled imagination. Every character on Arthur, especially its titular protagonist, is filled with these multitudes. Arthur lashes out with anxiety induced maliciousness, he goes mad with power, he's even capable of doling out physical revenge for his (equally beloved) sister DW’s transgressions. This was a children’s show that didn’t only look to entertain and educate children like most, but instead reflected their own lives back at them in a manner that I don’t believe we’d seen before or since. It’s a show that’s not afraid to forgo sugary sweet obvious morals like “sharing is caring” for conclusions such as “How does it feel to have an aging relative that’s too proud to ask for help?”. It is this respect for the viewer’s emotional intelligence that I believe made Arthur so compelling in its heyday and continues to do so to this day.

Allison McClain Merrill

February 18, 2022

Arthur Read has been a special part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a toddler, I loved reading Marc Brown’s books and seeing the same friendly aardvark on PBS. I would even attempt to draw Arthur myself, perhaps inspired by a Marc Brown tutorial or a “Now a Word from Us Kids” segment.

Since I was born in the ‘90s, I enjoyed episodes that really are old enough to be deemed “classics.” I was always hoping the snowball story (“D.W.’s Snowball Mystery”) would air. I had a VHS tape compiling “Arthur’s Celebrations,” including two of my favorite episodes: “Arthur’s Birthday” and “Arthur’s New Year’s Eve.” Years after those stories, the “Arthur’s Perfect Christmas” special would become a beloved tradition for me and my family. I can’t think of a better film when it comes to sharing holiday celebrations from different cultures. All year round, there were everyday delights in all Arthur’s friends and family members, especially Buster, but the special guests were also memorable, from Mister Rogers to the Backstreet Boys, Joshua Redman and Yo-Yo Ma, and other celebrities and public figures.

The PBS schedule was perfect as I entered elementary school because I could watch Arthur before and after school. We had a little TV/VCR combo in our kitchen, and my mom would sit with me and let me watch Arthur while I ate breakfast. That’s one of my most treasured childhood memories. Though I never had a dog named Pal, I could certainly relate to Arthur getting used to baby Kate, as I got a cute baby Kate of my own (a sister named Katelyn). As I reflect on my connection to the series, I’m struck by the timelessness of its themes. For example, I’ll never forget when the “Woogles” were introduced. Whether it was a Potato Head, Furby, Neopet, Webkinz, or other toy, many of us have been through fads and felt like we had to have what everyone else had.

I also appreciate that so many different people can be friends on Arthur, and they are not limited to stereotypes. Binky Barnes is sometimes a bully, but he can also be a very sweet kid. Muffy Crosswire’s rich-girl persona is stretched at times, and she and Francine Frensky complement one another. Even the troubled D.W. shows moments of thoughtfulness and emotional growth. Arthur is quirky, smart, and full of humorous touches that I still appreciate as an adult. I’m so thankful that this show is part of my life, and that my parents supported its message. Marc Brown created a special world that has forever changed children’s television for the better. I never imagined that in my late 20s, I’d connect with fans of all ages who love Arthur and friends as much as I do. My stroll down memory lane to Elwood City is turning into much more, as I catch up on so many important episodes and remember a television show that has taught literacy, kindness, acceptance, equality, empathy, an appreciation for the arts, and the necessity of loving our neighbors.

Karie Cheung

February 16, 2022

When I think of my childhood, I think Arthur. When I think about my transition to adulthood, I still think Arthur. Growing up, my parents constantly worked two jobs each to sustain our household. We didn't have cable television at home, but I knew that every day after school Arthur would be waiting for me at 4:00pm (along with my probably very unhealthy consumption of Kraft American cheese slices). Arthur made me feel included... especially when the narrator always thanked viewers like me. Arthur was just like me. He wore glasses, he had trouble spelling, he slept with a nightlight... the list goes on. His friends were just like me too! Francine's dad was a garbage man and felt ashamed about it. That episode taught me the meaning of appreciation and to have pride in what my parents did so my brother and I were safe and supported. The list goes on and on. Along with working two jobs each, family holidays were different in our household. We didn't do much celebrating, but I do remember that joy "Arthur's Perfect Christmas" brought me each Christmas while I waited for my parents to come home.

On my parents' days off, Arthur would help us bond. My dad would watch me play "Arthur's Reading Race" on our very first computer. In hindsight, he'd probably seen me play it a million and one times, but each time he would make all types of facial reactions--especially when Arthur sat on the "wet paint" bench. My mom would take me to our local library (cue song!) and we'd check out Arthur books together. Arthur was there with me as I went from the OG books to chapter books. One of my greatest childhood memories was when my mom took me to meet Arthur on the ground level of our local JcPenney's where I got my first Arthur plush.

Transitioning to adulthood, that Arthur plush followed me through high school, undergraduate, and nursing school graduation. Fun fact: my very first credit card purchase was the "Arthur and Friends: The First Almost Real not Live" CD. Back at the height of Tumblr, I remember creating a page for Arthur fans. It was so amazing to see how a children's show could connect so many people around the world. I remember the very first person I met in university was someone who I connected with on Tumblr through our love for Arthur. She lived 1 floor down and had a different major. I wonder if we'd ever cross paths if it weren't for Arthur!

As an adult now, rewatching Arthur episodes has brought me a different joy. I'm catching the jokes planted in the episodes for adults. Like in the episode "Brain's Shocking Secret" when Binky declared himself "the Brain" and suggested to the Brain that he should be called 'the Esophagus," or in the episode "DW Goes to Washington" and the Read family are on the Washington Monument. D.W. has her own little monologue where she complains about how they were "down there looking up here" and now they're "up here looking down there...what's the point?" I hope to someday be able to share the memories, books, and episodes with my kids and still belly laugh over these puns.

Thank you, Frensky Star for reaching out and giving me this opportunity to put my memories into words. Thank you, Marc Brown for creating Arthur and all his friends. They are near and dear to my heart and I can't wait to share them and their adventures with my future kids. (Still working on convincing my fiance that "Arthur" is a great name for a baby!)

Micaela Gibson

February 14, 2022

Arthur has always been a big part of my childhood, especially because my parents only let me watch PBS Kids growing up. I remember coming home from school and turning on the TV to see what Arthur and his friends were up to that day. Man, that show fueled my love for going to the library, and whenever I would visit my grandparents, I would check out all the Arthur VHS tapes from their local library. Even when I was “too old” to be watching Arthur (and let’s be real, there is no such thing as being too old for Arthur!) I kept on watching it because it stood up to the test of time that well. I recently went through cancer treatments and both the show itself and the fanbase community were there to support me in some amazing ways.

Needless to say, Arthur is awesome. I’m so glad that it impacted my life, as well as others, for so many years on TV and in books. Although the chapter of new TV episodes is coming to an end, I’m so stoked for what Marc Brown and his team has in store for Arthur in the future. And of course I can count on today’s Arthur fanbase to keep the show alive and well for years to come

Will Young from Elwood City Limits

February 10, 2022

When I started a podcast about Arthur in 2016, there was no “Arthur community” online aside from a semi-active subreddit and some old forum posts. I was living alone in an unfamiliar town, and I mainly spent my days working and playing video games, just passing the time. I had been listening to podcasts with devotion since 2009 and they were a constant source of background noise and entertainment to accompany practically every waking step. I decided, with the free time I had, to start my own podcast but it had to be one about something no one was talking about; it couldn’t be professional wrestling or gaming, as the pool of shows covering those subjects was already far too dense. I decided to take inspiration from a show called “Sailor Business” and decided to dedicate my time to covering one of my many childhood fixations.

My mind has always been one prone to obsession. I get on jags where I can hardly think about anything except the cool thing I just saw, or the delicious food I ate, or at worst, the stupid thing I said in the company of friends that I really wish I hadn’t. Arthur was one of these from the moment it debuted in 1996 to the point where, as a child, I would have entire episodes completely memorized, down to exact line readings and physical choreography. In a way, Arthur itself was a podcast for me before podcasts existed; I often entertained myself simply by parroting episodes quietly, reliving them over and over. There were other television shows and movies and even books-on-tape that I did this for, but never as intensely or with as much range or commitment as I gave to Arthur. It was special, somehow.

I wish I knew exactly what secret sauce “Arthur” had to grip me like it did but, as special a show as it is, I think it comes down to that it does everything right in a way that anyone can enjoy. “Arthur” involves a cast of likable characters with motivations that anyone can understand and even empathize with, put into situations that can push them either to be the best versions of themselves or to see parts of their identity that they feel they should change for the better. The stories range from relatable to fantastic, in much the same way that childhood adventures in the real world can seem at times simultaneously mundane and reality-altering. The balance is such that the sadness of a friend moving away can be presented on equal footing with aliens stealing a little girl’s snowball. The magic of “Arthur” is where questions and disbelief fall away, as both young and old experience a slice of life so unlike their own and yet so unmistakably familiar.

Arthur is an icon. For every story like mine, there are thousands more children who have grown up to remember him, or adults with now grown-up kids who remember watching the show and reading the books as positive memories of a long-gone childhood. It means the world to me that a little aardvark with glasses has been a beacon for kids of all backgrounds and life experiences for five decades now and will likely continue in new and evolving forms. I’ve never felt ashamed of having a podcast about “Arthur,” because I’ve never felt there’s any reason to be bashful about a TV show that left an impact on me; a show that is, in a way, a part of me. I only hope that I have continued to spread the messages of author Marc Brown that his work imprinted within me:

Be kind. Embrace differences. Grow and learn from mistakes. Appreciate life.

Believe in yourself.

Guthrie Edson

February 3, 2022

Arthur celebrated its 25th anniversary last year, and to say that it was a big part of my childhood is an understatement. While I can’t put a finger on exactly when I began watching, it quickly became a daily ritual during my elementary school years. Get home from school, get a snack, put on Arthur, or whatever other PBS Kids program was on. And now at age 24, with the show going into its final season, I can safely say that very few things have had more of an impact on me than Arthur has.

Arthur normalized so many different things for me. When I was in first grade, I got my first pair of glasses, but rather than be scared of what other kids would think of me, my thoughts were “I’m going to be just like Arthur.” I never was called a “four-eyes” at any point, which is very much a positive reflection of the people I was in school with, but I definitely think that Arthur had something to do with it because I wasn’t worried. Let’s not forget–him seeing Wilbur Rabbit wear glasses (the same kind that Arthur had) on the Bionic Bunny set was what helped him feel more comfortable in his glasses and wear them without fear of being insulted. And also, in episodes like “The Boy With His Head In The Clouds,” we see it normalized that kids have learning disabilities, and that they can’t simply be “cured” (as Binky tries to do by trying to make George into a tough guy)–they need to be accepted for who they are and be allowed to do things in a way that suits their strengths, as we see with George making a Da Vinci-esque flying machine for his project in lieu of an essay.
The series’ willingness to dive into difficult topics is something that really is, in my view, unparalleled amongst programs I watched growing up. The prime example of that was “April 9th,” the series’ response to the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but unfortunately, the episode is relevant for many tragic events in the course of my 24+ years on this earth. “April 9th” goes to show how everybody copes with trauma in different ways, that it’s okay to not be okay, and that it’s always good to be gentle with yourself and others in the wake of a traumatic event. It also shows how the community comes together to help each other out, whether it’s Buster befriending Mr. Morris, Mr. Frensky helping Binky cope with his PTSD from the fire or Sue Ellen proposing painting a mural over the part of the school the fire destroyed. While it’s unfortunate that it still is poignant 20+ years later, it presents it in a way that’s accessible for everybody, appreciating that these events are traumatic but maybe in a lighter way than other programs might depict it.

But one of the main things it did for me was that it affected my view of the world for the better, and Postcards from Buster was instrumental in that, from its debut in 2004. While I was too young to understand, 2004 was right at the height of the Iraq War during a time of increased Islamophobic and xenophobic sentiment in America. So having a program where different cultures were shown in a positive light, from Muslim to Jewish to Asian-American and beyond, was one of the most important things that could’ve been on public TV during that time. In the course of the regular Arthur series and specials, we get introduced to traditions like Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and Yom Kippur with Francine’s family, Kwanzaa with the Brain and his family, and they even get the perspective of a “third culture kid” (a kid who’s grown up predominantly in a culture different from theirs and their parents’) in Sue Ellen.

While the upcoming 25th season of Arthur might be the last one, my hope is that kids of all ages continue to watch the classic episodes and get as much out of them as I did. Who would’ve thought 25 years ago that anthropomorphic aardvarks, bears, rabbits, monkeys, pitbulls, etc. would have such an impact on an entire generation of kids? My hope is that they still will for another 25 years.
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