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Arthur - Where is the Show Going?

D'Snowth

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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.
 

Gelfling Girl

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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...
 

D'Snowth

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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?
 

APRena

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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.**
 

D'Snowth

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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.
 

Gelfling Girl

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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.
 

GonzoLeaper

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When was the last time we've had anything involving normal kids going through normal kid things?
Archie Comics has always been pretty good for that.:smile:
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.:big_grin: (It'd be great to catch Sesame Street more regularly.)
 

Ilikemuppets

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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.
 

Drtooth

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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?
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.


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?
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 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 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.
 

D'Snowth

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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.
 
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