After 25 years, 26 seasons, and over 200 hundred episodes, The PBS kids’ television show Arthur is officially ending. Because the show is coming to a close, here are YEM’s top 10 episodes from Arthur’s two-and-a-half-decade run.
1. Arthur’s Perfect Christmas (Special Episode aired in 2000)
What’s better than a Christmas special? Nothing. In this hour-long episode, Arthur starts it off by singing “Perfect Christmas” on the piano. Arthur then tells the viewers his list of the things he wants in the upcoming Christmas which is lots of snow, a turkey dinner, an amazing Christmas tree (specifically without tinsel), and that everyone will love the presents he gets for them. While there are a few twists and turns throughout the episode, Arthur always manages to look on the bright side of things.
2. Arthur’s Big Hit (Season 4 Episode 2, 1999)
It’s normal to get upset at a friend or your parent, but in “Arthur’s Big Hit,” Arthur begins to wonder if it’s ever okay to hit someone you’re angry at. The short answer is no but it’s okay to be confused about what next steps to take when you feel upset or angry inside. It is when Arthur finds himself on both sides of his question that he finds clarity.
3. April 9th (Season 7 Episode 10, 2002)
In this two-part episode, Lakewood Elementary must close due to a fire in the teacher’s lounge. This episode holds weight as it shows how each character deals with a traumatic event. Sue Ellen is heartbroken because her journal was destroyed that had a letter from her friend in Bolivia inside. Binky tries to keep his cool, but in reality, he is terrified of the flames. Buster slept through the whole event and feels left out, and Arthur now anxiously worries about his father’s safety.
4. Arthur’s Eyes (Book 1 1979) (Season 1 Episode 1, 1996)
Taking it all the way back to the pilot episode, Arthur talks to D.W. about when he first got glasses and all the teasing that he went through. The entire story is told in a flash black through Arthur’s point of view. This teaches the audience that it is ok to be different and to not care what others think about you. How wholesome is that?
5. Arthur and the True Francine (Book 4 1981) (Season 1 Episode 14, 1996)
Muffy, perhaps the most snobby and selfish friend of Arthur’s, finally learns the value of friendship over material things. She and Francine take a look back to second grade when their friendship was almost ruined. Muffy copied Francine’s math test because she was too worried about swimming in her large pool or looking over all her jewelry. Francine becomes quite upset. Muffy finally realized she won’t be making any friends at her school if she continues on the way she has been acting, so she tells the teacher she cheated on Francine’s math test. Way to take the blame, Muffy.
6. Mr. Ratburn and That Special Someone (Season 22 Episode 1, 2019)
Making headlines across the country, “Mr. Ratburn and That Special Someone,” was a monumental moment in children’s cartoons. Arthur’s teacher, Mr. Ratburn married his partner, Patrick. To Arthur and his gang, they just couldn’t believe their teacher had a life outside of school, but to the whole world, we were seeing the LGBTQ+ community represented in kid’s television.
7. The Scare Your Pants Off Club (Season 1 Episode 28, 1998)
Who gets to say what you can and can’t read? Apparently, the group called, “Parents Against Weird Stories” thinks they can. These parents want to permanently ban ghost stories from the library, but Arthur and his crew fight for what is right. The friend group starts a petition to bring the Scare You Pants Off Club books back. A great line from this episode is when Arthur’s father tells him to not “be afraid to look foolish for something you believe in.”
8. D.W. Blows the Whistle (Season 2 Episode 16, 1998)
License to tattle? Absolutely not. D.W. is made a junior safety officer and sees this as her opportunity to ruffle a few feathers with her fellow classmates. D.W. quickly learns two morals, one being that safety is the most important part of her job, and holding a place of power does not mean she can abuse it.
9. The Rat Who Came to Dinner (Season 4 Episode 5, 1999)
When Mr. Ratburn’s ceiling collapses he stays with Arthur and his family while his home gets repaired. This proved to be nerve-racking for Arthur because he was afraid Mr. Ratburn would be grading his every move. Arthur quickly learned this was not the case and he and Mr. Ratburn became quite close. Arthur learned it’s best not to judge people too quickly.
10. My Dad the Garbage Man (Season 1 Episode 26, 1997)
It is career day at Arthur’s school and Francine is nervous about her dad talking to her class about his job as a garbage man. Francine fears her classmates will be disgusted by her father’s job and begin to view her differently. Because Francine is known to be frank with her friends, it is unlike her to show her vulnerability. Francine creates an elaborate lie on the day of the field trip that her dad is a part of a secret organization and he is only posing as a garbage man. To no one’s surprise, her secret falls apart, but her friends actually think her dad is awesome and want to learn more about what he does. In the end, it’s always best to be honest.