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Arthur - Where is the Show Going?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by D'Snowth, Oct 15, 2009.

  1. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Will and I had a bit of a conversation on this a long time ago, but I think it's in need of it's own thread...

    So anyway, Arthur's been on the air for thirteen years, and still shows no signs of coming to a conclusion any time soon... and I think that's very evident on the show.

    In fact, it really shouldn't even be called "Arthur" anymore, as the show is rarely focused on him these days... matter of fact, there's quite a few episodes where he's absent completely; on top of that, I'm sure we've all noticed that over the years (especially recent years), more and more background character become main character (Fern, George, and I hear that gray rabbit with the orange sweater).

    And it's quite clear that the writers are obviously running out of ideas for the show; already they've shown repetitiveness (we've got two episodes where D.W. has trouble getting rid of her hiccups), and some of the character development seems quite odd as well - Brain having been held back in kindergarten (who gets held back in KINDERGARTEN) because of emotional issues? Muffy being much more weasely and coniving? Fern having a hidden egotistical side?

    Back in its prime, the show had some rather intense (for kiddies anyway) episodes that served their purposes - that whole fire in school is a prime example of that... but now we're getting an episode where Mrs. MacGrady has cancer... what's up with that? I mean, I know they'll bring her back to life a season later (Mr. Morris, the janitor supposedly moved away after breaking his ankle, but was right back to being the janitor after that), but I mean seriously... something about this just has "We're so short on ideas, let's just give a minor character cancer and see how the kids handle it" written all over it to me.

    How do you think the show's future stands at this point? I realize this show is meant for little kids, and not grown ups, but it still seems to me that even for such a smart, sophisticated, and (once) well-written kiddie show as this, that's suffering a bit these days, and I don't see it going out on top, like some shows end up facing.
  2. Gelfling Girl

    Gelfling Girl Well-Known Member

    Hmm...haven't seen this show since 3rd grade or so. Although now that you mention it, there were some pretty deep situations in those episodes. I should really try to start watching the show again whenever I get the chance...
  3. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Another thing I forgot to mention to is that the show always had a tendancy to be relatively realistic for a cartoon, but as of late, not so much... I mean, are there seriously Chinese restaurants that only cater to people with peanut allergies?
  4. APRena

    APRena Well-Known Member

    Oh, I loved this show!

    I don't watch it often, (only on sick days when SS is over) but yeah, it's gotten gimicky. "Postcards from Buster" was probably the worst spinoff ever, Binky adopted a sister, the cafeteria lady has cancer now? I think it's taking the idea of "Let's show them people of all backgrounds and challenges and blah blah and teach ACCEPTANCE." way too far. Blind girl, Hispanic neighbors, dyslexic kid, Francine being Jewish... plus the plots are just really unrealistic now.

    I guess to some degree all shows have to evolve after being on for so long, but Arthur will never be as good as it once was...

    **Google's only mention of "peanut-free chinese restaurant" says to AVOID Chinese, Thai, and food like that. I don't think that would be possible.**
  5. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I forgot about the Barnes' adopting a little Chinese girl... I still can't get used to that.

    One major change I really hated was making Pal and Kate talk in their own world... now what is up with that? ! Anytime those kinds of episodes are on, I immediately switch the channel because they annoy me so much, lol.

    And yeah, Postcards from Buster was odd... especially with the redesign of Buster's dad; originally in family photos, he simply looked like an adult version of Buster, but now he looks like a very white man with brown hair and rabbit ears...

    Another little oddity I've noticed? Remember D.W.'s little friend Emily? Her nanny's French, and Emily was always fluent in French, but had an American accent... though now, it seems as if Emily speaks with a French accent.
    MikaelaMuppet likes this.
  6. Gelfling Girl

    Gelfling Girl Well-Known Member

    Yes, it has gotten a bit over the top. Although, think about it: When was the last time we've had anything involving normal kids going through normal kid things? No superpowers, fame, etc. At the moment, the only thing I can think of is a few 80's movies.
  7. GonzoLeaper

    GonzoLeaper Well-Known Member

    Archie Comics has always been pretty good for that.:)
    But yeah- I get what you mean.
    And I catch Arthur every now and then before going in to work or sometimes on lunch break.:D (It'd be great to catch Sesame Street more regularly.)
    MikaelaMuppet and LaniArianna like this.
  8. Ilikemuppets

    Ilikemuppets Well-Known Member

    What? Mrs. MacGrady got cancer? man, I mused have not seen that one.

    Anyway, I know Mark Brown said that he was going to season 14 with no plans to end the show anytime soon.
  9. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    A couple things... I absolutely hated the idea that Brain stayed back in Kindergarten, and somehow, it really seems like it should have been another character. I somehow liken that to Principle Skinner actually being someone else all this time and Ned Flanders is actually 60 (which i really hated). But if you rewatch any Fern episode, you can tell she's quite dark and vindictive a character... something that goes pretty far back for her. That episode where she drew an nasty cartoon of Francine several years back for example.

    Just because a character has cancer does NOT mean they're going to die. In fact, letting her live beyond diagnosis (something I think the writers will do) would send a great message. I really think this is a Fat Albert-esque episode that deals with very heavy subjects, and it's great they're showing no fear in trying to show something so powerful. Certainly a lot better than sending Sesame Street muppets home from war, crippled. (really not happy about that, and I doubt Jim would be happy about it either).

    I don't see how Francine Frensky (which is a very Jewish sounding name) being Jewish is an issue. Not everyone you know is going to be Christian. Plus, that happened about 1998 or so back in the Christmas special. And there will always be dyslexic kids in school, and they really needed to address that somewhere... and I think the character of George (who has a hard time fitting in) was a good choice there. I do agree Postcards from Buster was bad... I'm not even talking about the :controversial" episodes... half the time I watched it, I just fell asleep. Very dull stuff.

    However, am I the only one enjoying these allegorical/literary allusion episodes? I didn't even get the King Lear episode until someone pointed it out for me (the one where D.W. gives up all her toys to see who really loves her... read King Lear then watch the episode)... and I just LOVED yesterday's Macbeth based episode.

    As for the future of the show, I'd say somehow it's starting to ride off into the sunset... It doesn't have signs of completely ending... though they have so many episodes, they could rerun it for years without a new episode in the mix (hence the shorter and shorter seasons)... but my station, WGBH, the producers of the show moved Arthur to 2:00 pm...a very bad time signaling its end. This was to accompany the new weekday Electric Company. I thought they would get rid of one of the Curious George episodes (and I love that show, BTW) they show back to back... especially since the second episode is a rerun of the previous day's episode. I don't think the show's going anywhere soon... but a 2:00 pm time slot (before kids come back from school) isn't exactly a healthy time for it.
    MikaelaMuppet and LaniArianna like this.
  10. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Hmm, yeah you're right, sometimes I kind of forget Fern has had a dark side for years now, though I think the whole nasty cartoon about Francine was her way of getting back at her without really getting back at her... but yeah, even that was a little dark for a "mouse".

    I know that, and we don't even know for sure just yet if Mrs. MacGrady is going to die, I was just saying in the event she might, knowing the show they might bring her back like they did Mr. Morris when he was supposed to have moved away after he broke his ankle during the fire at school; and while I certainly see your point about sending the heavy message across to the kiddies, something about this episode (the timing of it this far into the series and all) to me just screams how short they are on ideas for the show.

    And I agree, I don't think the Frenskies being Jewish is an issue... after all, Baby Bear and his family on SST are Jewish as well; as a matter of fact, this show always did a relatively good job at showing just what kinds of different kids there are out there - there really are kids who act like bullies but have soft creative sides (Binky), there really are kids who obsess over aliens and are sure they'll land one day (Buster), and there really are kids in school that are so smart other kids would want them to think for them (Brain).

    For the record, my station didn't even start playing Arthur (regularly) until 2000, and then it was played at 4:30 everyday for YEARS, until they recently bumped it up to 4:00.

    BTW, did anyone see the recent new episode with Philip Seymour Hoffman as William Fillmore Thompson or whatever his name was? That was a rather interesting episode, lol.
    Jared DiCarlo and MikaelaMuppet like this.
  11. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Well, I think Mr. Morris was a continuity error on the part of the animators. I almost wonder if they either forgot the episode entirely, or they never redesigned a new Janitor character, thus using the old one as a BG character. I've seen new episodes where he is indeed in the background, but I don't think I've seen any where he's mentioned by name. Unless there is one, I can't fault the writers. So, again, it could just be an animation error.

    As for MacGrady... well, I don't see the writers having her die at all, just dealing with the illness. The brilliant idea of having Lance Armstrong guest voice shows that they intend to spread the message that it isn't exactly the end. Similar to Kami from that South African Sesame Street co-production. And I think I like that better than just killing a character off. It shows that there are survivors, and people who live for a long time dealing with it... not that it's an instant kill or a fatal disease. And knowing MacGrady, she's strong enough to beat it.
  12. PurpleHonker

    PurpleHonker Well-Known Member

    I admit it, I love Arthur and watch it almost every day after work.
    I don't think they are going to kill off Mrs. MacGrady at all. I think they are instead, once again, showing how everyone is different but still in one community together. This situation has the potential to be another great display of togetherness assuming the plot gets carried out appropriately (and why wouldn't it be?). I also agree that having Lance Armstrong involved is a powerful message that not everyone living with cancer will have a tragic death from it.

    I really enjoyed those as well. After all these years, there's been some repetition and some inconsistency, but these episodes show there is still some creativity to tap into. The show isn't dead yet... it's just wilting a little.

    Oh yeah, and Letters from Buster stunk. It was great to take a nap to, and that's about it.
    MikaelaMuppet likes this.
  13. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    And when are they going to get a new kid actor who actually sounds like Arthur? It seems like the current kid they have took forever to grow into his voice, but even to this day, he still seems swerve in and out of what his voice usually sounds like and still sounding almost like D.W.

    But I have to say, to me, it seems like ever since 2005 or so (I have trouble know what seasons what with this show, because everyone else's sources aren't consistent with my PBS station), the overall plots and scenarios have been hit and miss/trial-and-error of sorts... I did like a recent new episode though about Elwood City in the middle of a black out on the hottest day of the summer; not only is it relatable to me because the summers in Tennessee can be absolutely miserable, but at the same time, there were countless references to the blizzard episode years earlier, and that was one of my favorites growing up because hey, I love winter and I love snow!
    MikaelaMuppet likes this.
  14. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Is it just me, or did the last one kinda sound like Charlie Brown? That's the trouble with using real kid voices, you know... they go through puberty, their voices change. But I see what you mean... they all sound a little different, while DW sounds exactly the same. What I don't like is the new Sue Ellen voice... something's missing.

    Anyway, even with the new episodes, the only episode I downright didn't like was that one about the Ocean Zone. I think that one had a new writer who just didn't get the tone of the characters down right.
  15. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    Yeah, she makes Sue Ellen sound like a hooker, lol.

    Ironically, I think Sue Ellen's the only kid character that's played by an adult who went through a cast change... Buster, Francine, Muffy, Binky, Prunella, Fern, etc, they all have the same actors since day one. In fact, Bruce Dinsmore does a dual/role voice as Binky and Mr. Read (but then again, Dinsmore uses the exact same voice for Binky as he did for Horace on Wimzie's House and Tubby on The Little Lulu Show). I think the best new kid they had for Arthur since Michael Yarmush (the original) was Mark Rendall, whom they used for a couple of seasons (when the show was still pretty good), then later had him redub all of Arthur's dialogue for a previous season.
    Yeah, we all know new writers have a tendancy to kill the characters, lol.
    MikaelaMuppet likes this.
  16. crazed gonzo fa

    crazed gonzo fa Well-Known Member

    I really hate those episodes too, probably one of the worst 'Jump the Shark' moments the show's had. Also, the show's been on for more than ten years, and they never bothered to move any of the characters up a grade? Couldn't that be a topic of discussion?
  17. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    Not so much kill... the writer really didn't have a handle on the characters or the humor of the show that much. Everything seemed a little off... and the episode itself was pretty dull. The writer came back for a couple other episodes, I think, and got the hang of it quite quickly after that.

    That said, if they're gonna make random background characters recurring characters (AKA the Simpsons), I nominate the old guy Buster tried to sell chocolate to... "CHOCOLATE? I'm allllllleerrrrgic to chocolate, even the WORD chocolate gives me a rash!" :batty:
  18. D'Snowth

    D'Snowth Well-Known Member

    I always wondered about that green rat or whatever it was that used to be seen in the background quite frequently at school in the early days.

    The only time I remember him speaking was when Binky said he enjoys a joke as much as the next guy... then he walks by acting much like Droop, to which Binky says "Okay, the guy AFTER the next guy."
  19. Drtooth

    Drtooth Well-Known Member

    THANK YOU! I thought I was the only one that thought he looked like Droop. And then there's that kid at Miss Sweetwater's class that looks like Baby Rowlf.

    Nahh... gimme the chocolate guy any day.
  20. mr3urious

    mr3urious Well-Known Member

    But when girls go through puberty, their voices don't change as drastically as boys, so that's why they are used more often to voice boys in cartoons as well as girls.

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