Arthur - Where is the Show Going?

mr3urious

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I just watched the new Arthur special, and I enjoyed it more than I thought. It's nice to see Alex and Emily get a lot of focus, and I liked how Samir was treated as a character who happened to be a Sikh, not the other way around (i.e., he never brought up his religion at all). And a big plus for the writers resisting the urge to shoehorn a Pal & Kate subplot to drag everything down. That was one of the biggest things hurting the Thanksgiving special, which took away precious time that could have been better used to show how other families in Elwood City celebrate the holiday.

Also, Emily finally gets a last name in "Leduc", along with Cheikh in "Diouf". And it's interesting how Ryan, one of the new kindergartners, is a tapir. Now that's a species they've never depicted on this show before! :smile:

 

DatH

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Species diversity has been weirdly poor in Arthur (typically it's rabbit, dog [poodle, beagle, or bulldog], aardvark, cat, Francine and Muffy for Monkey, or moose), so this was interesting. Rip the S1-4 Ducks, and the ever occasional Gator though
I kind of wish they spent a bigger budget hand drawing this special though. S25 has less than 5 episodes as is, so it still feels jarring to folks checking in on Arthur after not seeing it for over a decade (though it has been over 8 years flash...)
And sadly, Muffy is still...Hirsch co's consistently worst developed character. It's a shame, though at least Emily finally got more character dev. Last time that happened was with Binky over 6 seasons ago. But these are just from first glances

Anyway, the full (annoyingly live) view (SPOILERS)
So right off the bat, the special...starts off extremely like vanilla. For a supposed hallmark show ender, I feel it...should've deviated. Both the Christmas Special and the CG movie bothered to do a different "intro", so it just feels...incredibly vanilla

We then get to DW making excuses not to leave. I found it weird she passively accepts leaving, but eh. Hirsch DW is legit all bark no bite or wit most cases
So far, Arthur's rocking that green with yellow striped sweater. DWs blue dress is so-so, and then we see Buster
It's...ok. Pretty bland. Admittedly Turquoise with pink was really bad color combo for buttoned shirts (probably why S10-15 used the alt summer wear way more often), so the colors are fine in comparison to before

But back to the story, where Arthur and DW walk to school
Buster comes over and...randomly brings up the lucky pencil for luck. Sheesh, ignoring Arthur giving DW one for her operation, and the fact that the original was destroyed, this just seems unnecessary to ref
And then he...refs the other part of that ep with the hat and charms. Well I guess it's a way to throw the ref away all at once

The concern of being in the same class is fine though. DW also had minor malice in tempting Buster for charms with her lucky unicorn, so there's that. Finally, bite
Not happy with the comment "you two negatively influence each other" though. That's been randomly creeping for a theme since S16 (with an entire ep just misrepping them to match it)

But no time to lull over that, cuz we see how Francine's handling the advancement to 4th Grade. And then we get Muffy...
Ironically Muffy's attire barely changed. They just recolored the straps, then made the lower part pink. It still is a somewhat modern way of handling it
Francine's goldenrod over red feels weirdly 80s, but still serves her tomboy look. No complaints

Muffy unfortunately is randomly acting "ma-ture" again. Guess Katherine didn't help stop that. Her general attitude to Francine over the advancement is mediocre so far. Will accept that she wanted them both to "Arrive in style" though

Going back to DW, we see Emily. It's been a while we've had focus on the 2 given Bud, so her and DW bonding is nice. Though the moment's short, ending with DW noting that she doesn't have her lunch, and Emily offering her pate

We go back to the main Arthur Buster route. As expected, they're split (Arthur to Ratburn, Buster to Mrs. Grimslid), though both take it reasonably well after the initial shock.

We see Buster's classroom and deskmates and...they seem kinda lame bar the big kid (Kevin), while the boy next to Buster (Samir) failing at card tricks (Buster could teach him a thing or two), while the girl (Cressida)...just comes off as unapproachable/rude/snobby. Buster then notices a key with a hint in his desk, though dismisses it for now. Weirdly we don't see Arthur's side before cutting to DW

DW unfortunately, is unrightfully bratty. We had an entire ep revolving around her signing her own name for a library card, she's aware her full "Dora" name is going to be used in most cases. A snappy retort of "I prefer to be called DW" would be better, and show her maturity. At the very least, this becomes a none issue almost immediately, especially since her teacher happens to also be named Dora. and before anyone gets this out of context
"I never met another girl named Dora"
Cue Nick Jr's atrocity
We then see Emily struggling to put on her name tag. The Teacher...honestly doesn't help the situation, so while DW is socializing, Emily is just sitting alone, annoyed. It sheds sympathetic light on her, something that never really happens outside the ball ep (which was entirely her fault) so it's an interesting perspective

We then cut to Arthur in Mr Ratburn's class. He interacts pretty well with Alex (the other background character this show has that finally speaks). The special really starts playing into his interests for the graphic novel and love for reading and...I like it. Aggravatingly once again, Oasis animation shows they can draw...it's just the main animation sucks in comparison. So while the pictures in the book look dynamic, it...contrasts heavily with the rest of the show

At the other side of the room, Ratburn announces Kindergarten buddy signups. Muffy volunteers (which the vie-I mean Francine is skeptical)
Speaking of, this bothers me. Francine so far has done little in these 19 mins for the special. And as of writing, I fear it'll remain that way

While DW befriends her new classmates (A rabbit girl named Fatima, and a Tapir boy named Ryan), Emily is seen frustratingly drawing a pcture. DW notes she can use the paints, which Emily then spills onto her clothes. Things get worse when Mr Read arrives and gives DW her lunch, with her noting how she doesn't have to eat Emily's food. The other kids jeer at Emily's tastes, leaving her feel miserable, while DW enjoys the attention from Mr Read bringing cupcakes (wouldn't be the first time a Read kid benefits from Dave's catering)

Later at the hallway, Samir once again fails his tricks for Buster. Buster realizes he still has the key from earlier, and both realize the hint was referring to Samir's desk, which he was too busy flubbing tricks earlier to notice the hint there. Both then find that they need to go to a locker with the number of the note hidden, and then proceed to locker 39, with the next hint being "No man is an island". Given the kids aren't classical poem buffs, this just confuses them, but they realize it's a hint of some kind....

We cut to Francine and Muffy holding papers- hang on, the pic for the Kindergarten buddy is using the Preschool design for Tommy and Emily....and it's hand drawn
Weird
But anyway, Francine notes her misfortune of getting Tommy, while Muffy gets Emily. Muffy aggravatingly acts like she knows French when she doesn't, and Francine has to remind her that they can't leave school to go shopping with the buddy, so she offers Muffy some advice in just giving her a tour of the school. Muffy decides to take Emily to the computer lab as a result
Despite the nuisance of that scene, when the two get to the PreK room, Muffy surprisingly is cool with Emily, even finding the paint stains to "look cool like a fashion statement" (Francine meanwhile has to endure giddy up with Tommy). Emily is for now happier than before, but right before we see more of their budding friendship, we cut to the Cafeteria where Arthur and Buster recount their new friend

At first Buster notes the weird hints, which while Arthur doesn't understand, Sue Ellen in the lunch line happens to overhear and know that it's a poem. Seems like something Fern would be interested in, though Sue Ellen has been well cultured in her own right so it's fine.
This event reminds Arthur of the great book Alex showed to him in class
Now here they...weirdly act awkward in not being with each other, even though both only interacted with 1 friend. Nothing prevented Arthur or Buster from inviting the new friend to the same table, yet they both decide to separate to go to their friend
It's not like Buster or Samir had an onscreen positive relationship with the rest of the deskmates, and vice versa for Arthur and Alex. It just feels contrived.

We cut back to Muffy and Emily in the Computer Room (kicks self), who both are enjoying an MS paint drawing Emily did of the two. Muffy suddenly realizes the time, and immediately rushes out with Emily to the halls
Unfortunately despite Emily mentioning that she needed to wash up in the restroom, Muffy's too distracted with the display case showing pictures of her 3rd grade year, and pretty soon, accidentally abandon's Emily
Sigh
After talking for a bit, Muffy realizes her mistake, and goes to the PreK room to notify the teacher
Emily of course gets out of the restroom suddenly realizing she's alone. She wanders around lost, until seeing the Tough Customers causes her to cower behind the locker, despite them...being generally nice. Hurray for Molly!
They return her to the PreK room after sharing their stressful first days in Kindergarten. More Tough Customer goodness
Emily is returned to her class. Muffy apologizes, though not without getting a stern disapproval from Molly. Even Emily is pretty steamed with Muffy, ignoring her outright with a frown
We cut to Buster and Samir in the school library looking for the book with the poem. They find another hint, and it's getting obvious who wrote em...
This
Old
Work
Earns
Respect!
Only
Few
Prosper
After
It's
Nowledge (yes it's misspelled)
Both don't know who though, despite noting that the person is poor for grammar, so it's open ended for now as both rush to class

in the Hall, Arthur gets to borrow the cool book from Alex. While heading back to class, he sees Buster and Samir rushing forward,. He calls to them, but the boys are too busy playing planes to notice, and Arthur's left feeling left out
We cut to DW at recess showing the kids how to make a triple layer castle mudcake (that absolutely flops down despite their impressionable minds). She remarks how Emily was good at making "frosting" for it, only to notice her alone at the merry-go-round trying to open a juice box. One of the kids insults her by calling her "liver girl" which DW takes great offense to, calling Emily her friend, and that she likes liver pate (no she doesn't)
The kids suddenly change opinions, and it was at this moment, DW realized
These kids were sheep
She consoles Emily (since juice got squirted on her face), and invites her to help make "frosting". Emily's too concerned of how poor today was, and imagines how bad tomorrow would be-Wait I thought they removed imagination segments-whatever
Segment in question has noticeable none anthropomorphic bunnies, Emily reenacting Rube Goldberg from a mere crayon, and getting fed up with her name being wrong to where her exasperated cry shakes down a wall. Pretty wack
So Emily feels she shouldn't be in PreK, but DW encourages her that PreK will be fine (After all, ARTHUR made it she says), and gives her the lucky unicorn from earlier. Emily at first feels it's too much to take, but DW insists

We cut (ok screw it, too repetitive)
We mosey on down (ugh) to the Ratburn classroom, where Francine notes how Tommy drew a permanent mark on her hand. Ouch
Muffy lies that "everything went fine", then....flat out notes she lost Emily as one of the things they did
Smooth
Francine is...pretty calm/disappointed at the news, harking earlier that "If 4th grade is all about responsibility, you just flunked it"

Mr Ratburn then announces that students will read their summer reading reports (hah, suckers). Binky is first, with his about Peter Pan
Soon he will learn how much of a monster Peter Pan was
But before that, Muffy has an imagination segment, of her being Muffy Pan, luring Emily to never grow up. They freaking managed to add a smartphone map for when they go to Neverland
And like real life, Muffy loses her (and making an incorrect remark of Binky being stuck in 4th grade. He only flunked 3rd)
She finds Emily with the pirates, but Emily flat out states that she's too responsible for Muffy, noting her abandonment. Muffy breaks down, stating she can be responsible enough, but the pirates just dismiss her and leave
end of segment
So Binky wraps up his report on the book. Muffy is still shook from her thoughts, remarking how the story is sad. Binky despite making the reports seems to miss the point, thinking it's a comedy
I'll give Hirsch props for depicting Pan in a negative light. Not many do despite the implications. Curse ye Disney
At the end of class, Muffy goes to Ratburn, telling him that she was too irresponsible to care for Emily, and that she was to resign from the program. Ratburn understands her concern, though notes that what she was doing was ironically, taking responsibility. He suggests finding a way to make up to Emily in being there for her, which Muffy considers...
To the hallway, we see kids going to different classes. Arthur passes Buster and notes about meeting up after school, but Buster notes how he and Samir were getting close to solving the hints. Feeling left out again, Arthur heads to arts class
While operating the Clay pedal and making a vase, Arthur imagines a scenario similar to the book of him and Buster entering a portal to multiverses. In the dream, Buster asks if Arthur has his lucky pencil (darn it, again?) which he responds no. Buster just tells him to wear it on him, but notes his own lucky charms are enough. They clearly aren't, as after a couple seconds of entering the portal, Buster is separated from Arthur
Arthur finds himself in a time where he can see himself at different ages. Old Future Arthur welcomes his present self, though isn't helpful in helping Arthur find Buster, nor even remember him at first. He points to another bunny which....is wearing Buster's old turquoise pink shirt? Whatever, it's Alex...who somehow isn't old. And is white instead of tan....
Arthur isn't happy to find that he stops being Buster's friend in the future, nor wants to replace his best friend. But Old Arthur doesn't care, and goes to feed.....Arthur headed Swans?
His screams are unconvincing, VA critique
Man Arthur needs to lay off the drugs, though it makes me wonder if the writing shifted during dev. Imagination segments typically have some basis, but the swans ruin it. Or it's just random writing, I dunno
Arthur snaps out of his dream staring at his mediocre vase. Francine just wants her turn in screen time, darn it
Whipping back to the halls later, Arthur rushes to find info of where Buster is in his classroom. Mrs. Grimslid is...honestly not that helpful besides stating the obvious that he's with Samir, so Arthur just rushes to the library
He finds Buster and Samir in the hall. Apparently they were looking for him to help for the hint. Samir is excited to show his tricks, though Buster blocks that attempt. Arthur relatively figures that there's a word hidden in the vertical order
Tower of Pain
Should be obvious who did it
So excited they solved it, Buster and Samir rush to recess, prompting Arthur to join. Arthur however notices Alex walking by, also inviting him for recess
After having an indecisive fit for 5 min seconds, Arthur realizes he simply could just invite Alex to go with Buster and Samir. Gee, could've worked earlier at lunch

At the PreK, Emily and DW note that she can't keep the Unicorn forever. So Emily makes a wish (to make friends), then gives the unicorn back. She then goes around trying to make friends, but is overall ignored
Way to help there DW

To the halls!

We see Muffy running over to Sue Ellen's locker asking what time the Kindergarteners finish. She notes 15min, so Muffy rushes to the computer lab to print the drawing Emily did earlier. A kid is there, so no dice getting it in time
(Also why does the school use both Yahoo and Google search engines? Stick to one!)

Wrangling to the jungle gym, We see Binky at top, not permitting entry without a password. After enough guesses, he admits there was none, and just notes that an envelope was at the top, despite his sign. He then makes a quick getaway on the slide
Smooth
Buster and co find that it contains a map, leading to the janitor door near the cafeteria. They all rush down

...but we have to check Muffy first

After harassing the kid enough, she manages to get a turn to the PC, though gives a consultation coupon for Crosswire Motors. Unfortunately there's a printer jam, so no dice

Man God was vengeful that day

So Buster and Co get in there Mystery Machine (nah I kid)
So the kids find the door, and open to find the tough customers in hooded disguises, and a neat lava lamp
For completing the hints, they gained....a freaking apple
Well at least it's a golden delicious and not a red "delicious". Red sucks
The kids realize that it's just them, and demand to know why they bothered making this wild goose chase. Turns out Rattles and Molly just wanted to help kids with no friends in 4th grade break the ice
Kinda weird given they should know that Buster and Arthur are friends. Unless they were guessing it'd be random background characters (honestly, they probably just rolled with it, so kudos)

We steer back to Muffy rushing in to the PreK room, finding that everyone already left. She sees Emily's car leaving, then rushes outside

Emily manages to hear her cries, and tells her mom to slow the vehicle. Muffy hands her the much maligned printed drawing, and re-apologizes and promises to be a better buddy. Emily...honestly probably didn't give a cent about the drawing at the point, but respects Muffy's efforts, and incidentally, notes that her wish of making a new friend came true
Oh and DW incidentally was walking by with Mrs. Read, telling Emily that "she told her so that it'd come true"
Girl please, you didn't even know what she wished for

And so, we end with the boys on a stone bridge noting their first day being good. Samir once again fails to do a card trick (Alex seems to like magic), and Buster's eating the prize.

Overall it was fine, but felt padded despite little happening. It definitely felt TV ep tier
I still find it annoying they're trying to test Arthur's friendship AGAIN, and Francine was weirdly sidelined the entire thing. DW also weirdly got sidelined midway, as development went to Emily. Though oddly she wasn't interacting with Emily much throughout. At the very least, Emily got something
Muffy got something despite a mediocre start, but sadly I think the character dev will be regressed next we see her. Just like the OG Cancer ep

I will say, better than the past post S16 specials, and it's better than a good chunk of S12-15. It just feels wasted though, especially for a supposed part of the show ender...
I'm somewhat unsatisfied, but Hirsch is improving. I couldn't say that for most of 16-23
Oddly noted Muffy's S1 gasp being used in the imagination segment
At the least, most of the new characters for the 4th graders don't bug me. DWs friends are drones, but that's almost always the case, so meh
Meh, I'm a poor judge
 

wiley207

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I kind of wish they spent a bigger budget hand drawing this special though. S25 has less than 5 episodes as is, so it still feels jarring to folks checking in on Arthur after not seeing it for over a decade (though it has been over 8 years flash...)
Though to be fair, at least Oasis Animation's work on the show is a noticeable step up over 9 Story Entertainment's animation, despite being Flash-esque. And it seemed to improve a bit more with Season 22.
But even with that, why am I not surprised Glen Kennedy's Arthur storyboards look a lot more alive than the finished animation?

Of course, Kennedy's animation on "A Pup Named Scooby-Doo," "Tiny Toon Adventures" and the Disney shows he worked on is known for being pretty fluid and bouncy, even if the characters aren't always on-model.
 

DatH

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The same occurs for Cyberchase. The storyboards are more visually dynamic
Unrelated, I hate how Arthur's face is clearly pasted here
 

DatH

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Made this earlier this year, so some things changed
Like Slink finally having an ep focus on him, Arthur slipping to "meh"
the bottom middle 3 (DW, Sue Ellen, George) bugs me a lot though
What do you guys think?
 

D'Snowth

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I've been terribly conflicted about the Compsons . . . part of me wants to automatically hate them simply because they were new characters who were thrown into the mix unnecessarily so late into the series' run, and there really seemed no point to including them, but at the same time, nothing they did warranted any hate from me, because I never found them to be bad characters at all. As a southerner, I do have some critiques regarding their accents (they sound like the typical Cajun dialect, but their Canadian voice actors still pronounce certain vowels more like northerners do), but otherwise, they didn't really bring anything bad to the show - it's not like they just more diseased/disabled characters added for the sake of addressing said disease or disability (i.e. Carl).

Other specifics I'll comment on are your selections for Horrifically Undeveloped, as I feel they fit better under your Got Better, But Then Stopped Having Focus/Underused category, because that's how I see Marina, Jenna, and James - at some point for each of them, they each had a bit more focus, and with it, came some character development for each of them, and then they just kind of faded away into obscurity again. I think Grandpa Dave would fit better into that category, but I'm not entirely sure . . . I will say I feel like giving him Alzheimer's was a big cop-out of an excuse for not doing much with him beyond Season 1. Not exactly sure what you mean by how George simultaneously got better and worse; would you care to elucidate on that?

Otherwise, I would say characters like Cheik and Mr. Ratburn's husband (see, I can't even remember what his name was because we never saw him before), Rattles's mom would fall under Why Do You Exist?!
 

DatH

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I've been terribly conflicted about the Compsons . . . part of me wants to automatically hate them simply because they were new characters who were thrown into the mix unnecessarily so late into the series' run, and there really seemed no point to including them, but at the same time, nothing they did warranted any hate from me, because I never found them to be bad characters at all. As a southerner, I do have some critiques regarding their accents (they sound like the typical Cajun dialect, but their Canadian voice actors still pronounce certain vowels more like northerners do), but otherwise, they didn't really bring anything bad to the show - it's not like they just more diseased/disabled characters added for the sake of addressing said disease or disability (i.e. Carl).

Other specifics I'll comment on are your selections for Horrifically Undeveloped, as I feel they fit better under your Got Better, But Then Stopped Having Focus/Underused category, because that's how I see Marina, Jenna, and James - at some point for each of them, they each had a bit more focus, and with it, came some character development for each of them, and then they just kind of faded away into obscurity again. I think Grandpa Dave would fit better into that category, but I'm not entirely sure . . . I will say I feel like giving him Alzheimer's was a big cop-out of an excuse for not doing much with him beyond Season 1. Not exactly sure what you mean by how George simultaneously got better and worse; would you care to elucidate on that?

Otherwise, I would say characters like Cheik and Mr. Ratburn's husband (see, I can't even remember what his name was because we never saw him before), Rattles's mom would fall under Why Do You Exist?!
The Compsons bug me in replacing characters
Ledonna mostly replaced Fern in terms of storyteller, and it got worse when they outright had an ep of Fern stealing her stories (which is weird cuz Ledonna also had issues coming up with new tales...). Bud has completely replaced Emily most of his run, and the Dino imaginary friend schtick just reminded me how Nadine was mostly missing. Otherwise eh, not outright hatred, and Emily was kinda blah regardless

For George the issue is despite his true introduction ep in S3 noting that he didn't need Wally....he immediately regresses back after S6
Granted there's still a lot of good eps (dyslexia, noting his instances of being ignored, growing a spine to not be pushed over by Buster) that explore his character. It's just the Wally angle weakens him heavily, and makes me concerned how he'll end up in life if that continues
Also for some infernal reason there were a lot of eps that required him singing despite his VA being too old until the switch. Even Yarmush wasn't this plagued, since they used a different VA for singing S5/Christmas

>Cheik, Mr. Ratburn's husband
I can legit agree (this list was more for noted regulars. Else Bubba would be in Never got bad). The fact S23/24 made no ref to the latter makes the marriage even more of a farce
The former also aggravatingly was introduced in the ep written by Ken Pontac, who I already heavily dislike for writing for Sonic after 2010, so
>:[
Also he's bland, though most Preschool based eps are
 
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