Monday, October 31, 2016

My Top 20 Favorite "Arthur" Episodes to Celebrate 20 Years!

Credit: BBC
OMG, YOU GUYS!!! Did you hear??? "Arthur" is celebrating 20 years on the air and had its 20th season premiere on October 10, which makes this a perfect opportunity for my October 2016 blog post!!! Oh, what a wonderful kind of day! :D

My favorite TV show is a cartoon kids' show. I am 25 years old. LOL! I still drop everything and fangirl every time it comes on.

"Arthur" is a very innovative cartoon that premiered in 1996 based on children's books by Marc Brown about an anthropomorphic aardvark third grader named Arthur Read and his family and friends. The show is the second longest running animated show on TV, the first being "The Simpsons", (Added 11/13/16 At 3:30 AM.) the second longest running show on PBS Kids, the first being "Sesame Street" (End addition.), and the longest running children's animated show in the United States.

Take THAT, Spongebob! :P

I've always wanted to write a blog post about "Arthur" episodes, so I decided to go back down memory lane and talk about some of my favorites to celebrate the milestone. Now, this isn't going to be a countdown and a list of EVERY single one of my favorites in a particular order because there are WAY too many to sift through, but I will include my favorite episode of all time at the end. :) This will be a list of some of the show's most memorable moments for me that have influenced my development as a person or represent a certain aspect of myself.

I had to do some research and also search depths of my mind for some episodes that have stuck with me through life. This was totally difficult to narrow down, because the more I think about it the more I remember episodes that I feel deserve a spot on my list. As I was reaching back into my memories and looking up episodes, I remembered many episodes that I have enjoyed, some I have even forgotten until now, although too many for a blog post. These are the ones that have made the cut, at least for this discussion piece. This was actually one of my most fun times I've ever had researching for and writing a blog post. So much nostalgia! Enjoy, friends and fellow "Arthur" fans! :D

Also, spoilers ahead!

"Popular Girls" (Season 3, Episode 8a)

Fern and Sue Ellen are two secondary "Arthur" female characters. It's safe to say that the show's leading ladies are Francine and Muffy, as well as D.W. The two girls often get episodes dedicated to them as individuals, but this is the main (and maybe only) time we see them focused on as a duo, which I appreciate for a specific reason.

Growing up, I never related to Francine's athleticism or Muffy's wealthiness and fashion sense, but I did identify with Fern and Sue Ellen regarding their certain attributes. Like myself, they are both only children, and although they are polar opposites (very obviously so - one is a dog and the other is a cat), I often saw myself as a hybrid of them. Out of the two, I associate myself with Fern more because, like me, she is a writer, artistic and literary, and is often quiet. However, I am also outgoing, opinionated, and talkative to a certain extent, so these characteristics I feel like I share with Sue Ellen. This connection to them was particularly evident for me in this episode. The kids get a hold of Catherine's magazine and decide to take an "Are You Likable?" test within its pages. Fern's score results tell her that she is too quiet, whereas Sue Ellen's say that she is "too good to be true," meaning she is too smart, talented, and overall knowledgeable about things that the other kids find her intimidating. So then they start acting like each other, Fern to get noticed and Sue Ellen to tone down her "excellence." The other kids get fed up with them and tell them that they like them for who they are, and the girls then realize that they are happy with being themselves.

At one point in the episode Arthur asks Sue Ellen how to do something. She responds, but then follows up with saying that she isn't sure and that she could be wrong. This was so profound to me because Sue Ellen is the type of kid who is completely confident without any hint of doubt. I wished I had her attitude instead of often questioning myself and my abilities, and here she was actually forcing herself to act like she had low self-esteem and uncertainty.

"Sue Ellen's Little Sister" (Season 2, Episode 20b)

This is the episode in which I really relate to Sue Ellen. As a kid, being an only child can sometimes lead to loneliness, which is what Sue Ellen experiences in this episode. She sees her peers with their own brothers and sisters and longs for that type of relationship. However, she eventually sees how trying it can be to have a sibling, so then she learns to be grateful for her only child status.

The older I get the more I am happy with not having a sibling, so Sue Ellen and I are in agreement. The episode ends with Sue Ellen telling her friends that her parents are sponsoring a kid in Tibet, so Sue Ellen could write to him and think of him as a brother. I always thought that this was a cute substitute for her and I sometimes use creative ways like this to fill my own siblingless void. For instance, I sometimes regard my friends as my sisters. :)

"What Scared Sue Ellen?" (Season 3, Episode 12a)

Sure! Let's continue talking about Sue Ellen! :P I never realized that so many of my favorite episodes focused on her. Although, considering that Sue Ellen is based on Marc Brown's childhood girlfriend, it makes sense that some of the best episodes would be dedicated to her.

This episode actually sees Sue Ellen a bit out of character. She hears a noise in the woods and gets scared of it (a trait that is uncommon with her), and then enlists her friends' help to investigate. Their imaginations run wild as to what the creature might be with Sue Ellen speculating that it could be a creature from international folklore.

This is one of those episodes I forgot all about but then found once again researching for this blog post. I'm including it because I have realized that, like a lot of these episodes, I have associated this one with life memories even though the rest of the plot may be a blur. For example, whenever I crunch leaves or walk through a brisk fall breeze, scenes from this episode sometimes manage to briefly breeze through my mind. It is among my favorites not just for its creative story, but for the aesthetically pleasing setting because it takes place during my favorite season, autumn/fall. You can feel the whole chilly environment through the screen, whether it is from the fear the kids endure or the actual weather.

"Arthur Writes a Story"/"Locked in the Library!" (Season 1, Episode 12a/Season 1, Episode 6a) 

Let's take a look at some of the original episodes from the very first season! No, these two episodes aren't in the same entry because I rank them the same way. I actually used to have them both on the same VHS. So yes, I have a special bond with them. :) Incidentally, I'm kinda considering this a one episode entry.

I was actually given this VHS because even as a kid I was a writer so therefore "Arthur Writes a Story" was deemed appropriate. The plot is simple enough. Arthur is given the homework assignment to write a story, so he decides to write about how he got his dog Pal. The others give him tips on how to enhance his story, but the more superfluous details Arthur includes, the more chaotic it becomes. Mr. Ratburn suggests that Arthur stick to the original material and it turns out that the story was great the way it was. It just goes to show that writers don't have to overdo or accommodate their readers. Sometimes simple is enough and better and will reach the right audience. It's also cute because I love dogs and Arthur's relationship with Pal is adorable.

"Locked in the Library!" establishes the relationship between Arthur and Francine pretty well, and I mean all angles of it. Francine gets mad at Arthur because he said that she looks like a marshmallow (yeah...that's what sets her off...) and so she holds it against him. The two are then paired together to do a report and go to the library for research. They fall asleep in the library and realize that the library closes with them still locked in the building. Then they remember that because it is Saturday, the library won't open again until MONDAY. Panic ensues between the two characters.

Considering this is one of the first episodes ever, it sets the aura for the rest of the series. It is suggested here and there earlier in the series that Francine has a thing for Arthur. In fact, in a handful of episodes the show itself even seems to try to ship them. In this particular episode we see her getting angry at Arthur, threatening him, berating him, bossing him around, and then showing him affection and friendship. It basically exhibits every reaction Francine has towards Arthur throughout the series in one episode. She's almost kind of like the Helga Pataki of the show, only WAY more pleasant.

"D.W. , the Picky Eater" (Season 2, Episode 3a)

This is one of D.W.'s debut spotlight episodes. I consider it an original because it is based on one of Marc Brown's books that I used to read as a child. D.W., as we all know, is a picky eater to the point where she makes a scene in public. Arthur needs to find a way to persuade her to try new things or else they won't go to the Once Upon a Restaurant for Grandma Thora's birthday.

This one makes this list simply because of how creative the food is. I still, to this day, want to try some Little Bo Peep Pot Pie. Maybe I should try to make it. All I need to do is buy pie pastry and lots and lots of spinach! Unlike D.W., I actually like spinach, but I will say she kinda made me concerned about it before I tried it. lol This episode is actually one of explanations as to why I from time to time order pot pies.

Another reason why I like this episode is the restaurant's creative ambiance. My father is a food and hospitality writer (and eventually I became one as well), so we would go out to eat often because of the work he does. Because of this, I have seen a lot of various restaurants and cuisines, so this episode reminds me of that.

"Misfortune Teller" (Season 1, Episode 23b)

I was just always really fascinated by the cootie catcher from the way it is folded, to the way they maneuver it, to the way it strangely controls their lives. I even tried to make my own. I failed, but I tried. lol

When Prunella celebrates her half birthday (which she observes for some reason), her sister Rubella gives her the cootie catcher, a paper fortune teller, as a gift. The kids ask it questions and its answers mysteriously coincide with what actually happens in their lives, forcing them to obey it or else fear the consequences.

"Jenna's Bedtime Blues" (Season 7, Episode 6b)

This one doesn't necessarily represent me in any way, but I still enjoy it. The episode centers on Jenna, Francine's athletic friend and brief rival. Jenna never gets her own episode. This is the only one to my knowledge, so it is very refreshing to see and I decided to include it. The episode is also quite humorous, which is the main reason why it's on the list. 

It is revealed to the viewers, unbeknownst to the rest of the kids, that Jenna has a bedwetting problem, which is very progressive for the show to acknowledge. Jenna gets invited to Muffy's sleepover and hesitantly accepts for she fears her dark secret being discovered.

When she finally attends the sleepover is when certain funny things start to happen. First of all, she joins the rest of the girls in drinking soda so she wouldn't have to go to sleep and possibly christen Muffy's room. Prunella notices her doing this and says that if she were to constantly drink soda, she would, and I quote, "be PEEING all night." This line blew my mind simply because of the language that was used! I had never heard the word "pee" uttered in a kids' show before this and was so shocked. Later on, while watching TV to further keep herself awake, literally EVERY channel Jenna comes across involves leakage. One show even parodies "Sesame Street" with the Letter of the Day. Guess what the letter it just happens to be?? The puppet characters are all like, "Say it with me now. P." The way this scene is delivered is kinda creepy but yet so hilarious. Their use of "pee" sounded so adult to me. lol

The best part though is when the girls tell each other secrets and Jenna mentally prepares herself to tell them hers. They finally turn to her and with all eyes on her she cracks under pressure and instead tells them that she has a crush on George. Now George is that awkward moose kid who carries around the giraffe marionette named Wally because he's shy and anti-social to kind of create an ice breaker between he and his peers. He is not very popular and is somewhat considered a little strange, so the girls react accordingly to Jenna's revelation. This scene resembles the sleepover in the Season One episode of the Nickelodeon series "As Told by Ginger" called "Sleep On It" when Ginger tells the popular girls that she has a crush on this kid Ian (however, in Ginger's case, her crush was real lol) whereas her true dark secret was that her mother didn't let her shave her legs.

What's funny to me is that in the third grade (or even in the seventh grade like Ginger), telling the girls in my class who I have a crush on was the LAST thing I would want to do! The fact that Jenna would use that as an alibi with absolutely no truth to it takes courage! lol!

Speaking of adult language, "Bleep" is a great episode that covers adult/bad words and censorship.

"Buster Hits the Books" (Season 2, Episode 11b)

Jenna wasn't the only one with secrets these past 20 years. 

Out of all the boys, Buster Baxter is probably the character I see myself in the most, with a little bit of Arthur mixed in. He's another only child, happy, neurotic, and with a huge imagination. He is actually my favorite character overall. This Buster-centered episode has helped me accept my somewhat odd reading habits.

In the episode, the kids have to write a book report and Buster writes his on a movie, assuming that all movies come from books. He then admits that he has never read an entire book his whole life, much to the shock of his friends. The rest of story follows the kids practically forcing him to read a full book, but nothing captures his interest until he reads Robin Hood. He realizes that the other books didn't work out because he needed to read something he really liked in order to finish it.

I have realized that Buster and I are the same type of reader. In order for us to get through books, we have to REALLY like what we're reading. Otherwise, our attention spans drift elsewhere or we tend to procrastinate. This was my problem reading for school and this episode helped me diagnose myself with my issue.

"Francine Redecorates" (Season 2, Episode 17a)

I like plenty of Francine's episodes, but this might be one of the very few times I connect with her. I never talk about this, but I somewhat have an interest in interior design and am lately thinking about redecorating my own bedroom. I think it's interesting how people design rooms with differing tastes and that people like different things. Perhaps this episode has something to do with it.

Francine shares a bedroom with her older sister Catherine, but the two constantly disagree on how to decorate it. Catherine likes lace, whereas Francine brings a lot of weird stuff into the room, such as lizard statue, an ice cream cone lamp, a volcano clock, and a bat mobile. At a family meeting Catherine decides to move out and into the living room, leaving Francine the room to herself. Francine tries to find ways to fill up the newly extra space, but then the two decide that they aren't happy with their current sleeping arrangements and combine their conflicting styles into a cool new room, which is what their parents originally suggest.

At one point, when Francine is looking for stuff to accommodate her new capacity, she exclaims, "There's nothing that's ME!" I respond to that with, "Join the club!" I tend to also feel this way here and there and occasionally think of this line usually when I am shopping for something. Also, growing up and even now as an adult I sometimes find it difficult to find stuff in common with other people, depending on the group. I feel like I am the odd one out for liking things that no one else likes and vice versa. I was the weird kid that was different and liked different things and here Francine, although regarded as one of the popular kids, is the same way.

I've found that a lot of the episodes that showcase Francine's relationship with Catherine are among my favorites. Much like how "Sue Ellen's Little Sister" made me happy with being an only child, Francine and Catherine made me wish I had a sister. They also remind me of my friend Lucero and her older sister, whose name is also Katherine.

"MacFrensky" (Season 13, Episode 4a)

Continuing the spotlight on Francine, "MacFrensky" is the "Arthur" retelling of William Shakespeare's Macbeth. Of COURSE it's going to be on this list (even though it was one of the last additions).

This episode doesn't have just one reference. The entire storyline is a modern kid version of the tragedy. Francine is in the running to become the class's Student of the Month, and she starts to believe that she would receive the honor because of Prunella's prediction. However, she and Muffy notice that Brain (of COURSE) is her main competition. They plot to frame Brain for stealing Buster's robot toy to make him lose points. After doing the deed, Francine wins the contest but then starts to see visions due to her guilt. Arthur and Buster suspect that Brain is innocent and Muffy keeps trying to convince Francine to further cover their tracks.

There are two separate scenes in this episode that I feel are executed brilliantly. One is the spoof of Lady Macbeth's "Out, damn spot!" scene. When Macbeth's greed for power spirals out of control, Lady Macbeth becomes ill and begins to sleepwalk and envision imaginary blood on her hands because she was initially his co-conspirator. Francine too sleepwalks before she and Muffy frame Arthur and Buster of cheating on a spelling test to deem them untrustworthy and tries to wash off the robot's green ink from her hands, even going as far as quoting the line without using the "damn." Another scene is the one mirroring how no one born of a woman would kill Macbeth, so therefore Macbeth felt secure in his position. However, Macduff reveals that he was born of a Cesarian section and kills him, ending his evil reign. Prunella, who represents the Three Witches/Weird Sisters throughout the episode, tells Francine and Muffy that they wouldn't get caught unless the moon was swallowed whole, another thing seemingly impossible. However, Buster swallows a moon cake during lunch, which ultimately seals Francine's fate. These are both very clever ways of working around blood, c-sections, and death to present Macbeth for kids.

In fact, this episode isn't the only one with this type of format. Binky and the Brain star in "Waiting to Go" as they wait to get picked up from soccer. This is similar to Samuel Beckett's play Waiting for Godot.

"World Girls" (Season 10, Episode 9b)

You know when you watch something and it gives you a strange comforting feeling and you often remember it? That's how I feel about this episode. I don't really know why I like it and often go back to watch. I just do. I just always remember this one. 

Muffy and Sue Ellen are obsessed with the new World Girl (parody of American Girl) franchise, so when a World Girl World opens up locally, of course they would go to opening day and drag Francine, a World Girl criticizer, with them. Muffy's goal is to collect every single World Girl product. However, the girls manage to come across the factory portion of the mall and discover that the World Girl merchandise is way more involved than they had originally realized. Muffy breaks down in tears and the girls break their obsession.

This is an interesting story about the dangers of trends and consumerism. I like how it's told from the girls' adventures in this mall to their sleepover afterwards.

"No Acting, Please" (Season 13, Episode 5a)

I mentioned before about how I identify with Fern the most, and this is one my favorite episodes starring her. Fern inadvertently auditions for a play and then gets the part instead of Muffy. Muffy gives Fern tips on how to deliver her one line, which leads to some funny moments. The nice thing about this episode is that it focuses on the beauty of theater and straight plays (meaning non-musicals) that aren't Shakespearean or other classics and it's kinda rare to see that. Plus, the episode guest stars the late Philip Seymour Hoffman as the playwright and director Will Toffman who shares his wisdom with Fern, which makes it a nice keepsake of him before his passing.

(Edit: The show actually does cover a play before this in its Season 1 episode, "Francine Frensky, Superstar". However, that play is more like a school pageant with Francine playing Thomas Edison and each of the kids playing Edison's inventions. I can't believe I forgot that one! That one is a classic with some classic lines. :) )

"Arthur Makes a Movie" (Season 2, Episode 4a)

The series has a collection of episodes of the kids just creating artistically. Writing, drawing, dancing, acting, singing, etc. This is one of the episodes to kick off this trend.

Arthur and his friends are too young to see the new PG-13 "James Hound" movie (an obvious spoof of James Bond). Upon finding out that Muffy has a new video camera, they decide to make their own James Hound movie, with Arthur playing the lead. Plenty of scenes go wrong and the one scene that actually goes right accidentally doesn't get recorded due to Muffy's poor filming skills. They put the film together and show it to Prunella, who has actually seen the real James Hound film. At first it seems like she doesn't like it, which erupts an argument among the kids. Prunella then shushes them because she actually is enjoying the real movie - the bloopers. She then concludes that it is a lot better than the James Hound movie.

When making the movie the kids are very creative with their special effects, and the fact that Prunella prefers their home movie bloopers shows that their movie doesn't have to be perfect or even correct to be enjoyable.

I love behind the scenes footage and bloopers. I sometimes prefer and often watch them more on DVDs than the actual movie. Behind the scenes footage is something I watch on YouTube from time to time as well. It's so fascinating to see what goes into production and how it's done. One of the things I enjoy doing and aspire to do more is filmmaking. Perhaps my interests in this has stemmed from this episode. Even if it wasn't, it certainly has something to do with it and I'm just coming to that realization now.

"On the Buster Scale" (Season 16, Episode 8b)

This time Buster and Brain review movies in this episode, and if you can't figure out why I love that, then you probably haven't checked out my YouTube channel lol.

Buster writes a movie review for the newspaper his mom works for and then gets his own column. A dream of mine, really. Anyway, he tends to critique the same type of movies with the same rating: 10+. Brain calls him out on this and starts writing his own reviews to combat Buster's and the two start a brief rivalry.

Brain questioning Buster's reviewing abilities reminds me of a time back in college when my friend and fellow theater critic Dave asked me, "Is there any play you DON'T like?" I guess this is in reference to how I tend to like everything and usually write positive reviews. I just think it's funny how the same thing somewhat happens in this episode.

"Germophobia" (Season 11, Episode 1b)

If you grew up with Nickelodeon, you might notice that this episode is extremely reminiscent of "Hey, Arnold's" Season 4 episode "Sid and Germs". I immediately thought about it as soon as I watched this for the first time. It's exactly the same.

In order to get Buster to curb some of his disgusting habits, Arthur and his friends convince him that he is surrounded by germs. However, this causes Buster to lose his mind constantly seeing germs everywhere he goes and is unable to function properly. As someone who suffers from mysophobia, this episode and "Sid and Germs" are accurate depictions of how germaphobes see the world. I laugh at what Buster and Sid do at extreme lengths in order to keep germs under control because of how true, although exaggerated, they are to my life and they make me feel less alone in my struggle. Maturing, praying, and working at Mighty Quinn's have actually started helping me get through life with this, but these episodes have helped me as well. Both stories end with Buster and Sid accepting the fact that germs are around and there's nothing they can do about it except live with it. I watched "Sid and Germs" as a child and never forgot this lesson. Watching "Germophobia" as an adult reinforced it. I keep trying to remember this end result anytime I begin to panic about contamination.

"Crushed" (Season 6, Episode 9b)

This episode almost didn't make the list but it's too good not to include so I had to make room for it. In this episode, we actually witness our eponymous friend experience both his first crush and heartbreak. Who would have expected that???

Arthur develops a crush on his teenaged babysitter, Sally. His attraction to her is driven by her enjoyment of playing the same video games as he, something he didn't expect from a babysitter. He draws romantic fantasies about rescuing her from an evil sheep zombie and tries to come up with excuses for his parents to go out just so Sally could come over. Unfortunately, he soon discovers the terrible truth - Sally has a boyfriend, and she invites him over one night when she babysits. Thereafter Arthur changes up his fantasies by refusing to rescue her when the sheep zombie attacks and saying, "Why don't you ask Cory to help you? He's your BOYFRIEND!" 

Poor Arthur! What a shame!

Anytime I experience a heartbreak, I think of this episode and how Arthur reacts to his. It captures his feelings of lovesickness, pain, shame, and acceptance to just being Sally's video game playing friend well. We never see Arthur ever show any affection for a girl except for this story, so it's intriguing seeing him go through something pretty grown up and out of the ordinary for the show.

I also really appreciate the play on words in this. "Crush" obviously refers to Arthur's puppy love, but it is also a pun used as a verb referring to how the evil cow villain in the video game, the Mummy of all Moomies, retaliates against her opponents. Arthur asks Buster for advice, not straight up telling him about Sally, and Buster says that he was "crushed," but instead is referring to the cow and unaware of Arthur's crush. Buster, speaking of, is also great in this. He's sweet and sensitive to Arthur's feelings in the cold open by gently saying "It's a good story, Arthur." before the the title card rolls.

"The Fright Stuff" (Season 4, Episode 3b)

This episode could very well make my list based on the Washington Irving reference alone. In the middle of a prank war with Francine and Muffy, Arthur, Buster, Brain, and Binky collaborate on ways to scare them at Muffy's costume party based on classic chilling stories. Binky suggests reenacting "The Legend of 'Creepy' Hollow" story about "The Headless Horseguy," which is a parody of Irving's short story about the Headless Horseman in "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". Washington Irving is my father's favorite author, so therefore I grew up with the guy's eerie tales. I also write for The Hudson Independent, whose home base is in Tarrytown, New York, the setting for "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow". Therefore, the story and this reference of it represent a huge part of my life.

The boys eventually devise a plan. This then leads to a spooky twist ending that I'm not going to give away because its eeriness is what makes the episode stand out to me.

"In My Africa" (Season 14, Episode 9b)

I learned more about Africa in these fifteen minutes than I did in my ENTIRE LIFETIME thanks to this episode. Brain's cousin, Chiekh, moves to America from Africa and attends the same preschool as D.W. D.W. finds it difficult to befriend him because she doesn't know anything about his culture. She, Chiekh, and the Brain then scribe and perform a jingle detailing Africa's many countries, many of which I never knew even existed until I watched this. The song still plays in my head from time to time. :)

"Fern and Persimmony Glitchet" (Season 10, Episode 2b)

"I'm published!" happily exclaims Fern when she finds out her story has been published in the Lakewood Elementary Reader, her school's literary journal. Her reaction always comes back to me whenever I see any of my articles published, for I echo the exact same sentiments. This one line earned this episode a spot on my list.

However, the rest of the episode is just as good. I may have said that "No Acting, Please" was one of my favorite Fern episodes, but this is the one is which I relate to her the most, or at least try to. Fern is a fan of author Persimmony Glitchet's (representing Lemony Snicket) book series, Horrendously Horrible (a spoof of A Series of Unfortunate Events). She corresponds with Glitchet through handwritten letters asking for some writing advice and he writes back to her, prompting her to pen her own story Happy Happenings under her own pseudonym, Agatha Shelley. But it turns out that the kids don't like her story because it lacks conflict.

This episode touches upon the idea that writing is rewriting, which is a motto I have grown up with thanks to my writing father. It also shows Fern getting 100% honest feedback because the kids don't know that she is Agatha Shelley. Sometimes when people give writing critiques they might tweak it a bit in order to spare the author's feelings, but what writers love is sincere straightforwardness about their work. This is what normally happens at writing workshops.

In a brand new Season 20 episode called "Fern's Flight's of Fancy", Fern enters a story writing contest where the winner gets her story published in the newspaper and must learn how to face rejection, another constant thorn in any writer's side.

Fern truly is my alter ego in this show, from personality to her interests. Many of her episodes motivate me to write more and submit my work.

"Arthur's New Year's Eve" (Season 1, Episode 30b)

Okay, okay, okay! I know I am kinda getting over my limit here, but here is my final addition before my big reveal. In this episode Arthur gets to stay up for New Year's Eve for the very first time, so his friends tell him about all sorts of spectacular events he should expect. However, he ends up sleeping through it, making him feel like he missed out on all of the epicness. However, his grandmother reminds him that remembering all of his experiences from the past year is what New Year's Eve is all about.

I often think of this episode whenever New Year's Eve or any big special day comes around. There's a lot of pressure to make these days special and perfect and there is always that concern that you are going to miss out on something. The lesson here is that it doesn't matter. Simplicity and just living your life with happiness and loved ones is what matters.

And now, without further to do, my favorite "Arthur" episode of all time is...


"I'd Rather Read it Myself" (Season 3, Episode 2b)

Surprisingly my favorite "Arthur" episode stars D.W. and not the titular character himself...or even Sue Ellen or Fern or Francine or Buster. 

D.W. is tired of the Tibble Twins (easily my least favorite characters on the show, I really can't stand these kids) always one-upping her. So, in an effort to show that she can do something they cannot, she attempts to read one of Arthur's books about Leonardo Da Vinci to them. However, actually unable to read herself, she makes up the entire story, instead telling them the tale about Special Agent B.W., who is an alter ego of herself bent on defeating her evil big brother and "mega transformalizer" (Arthur) and his sidekick "Bustrantor" (Buster). 

This episode is a cool intertwining epic adventure recap of all of D.W.'s past storylines, which include: her desire for a pony on her birthday ("D.W.'s Perfect Wish", actually a later episode in the season), her "stolen" snowball ("D.W.'s Snow Mystery"), the deer Walter she befriended on a family camping trip ("D.W.'s Deer Friend"), her struggles with the balance beam in gymnastics ("D.W. Flips") and riding a two-wheeler bicycle ("D.W. Rides Again"), her fear of octopuses ("D.W. All Wet"), her distaste for spinach ("D.W., the Picky Eater"), the time she saved her Aunt Lucy's wedding because she was small enough to fit into the organ to retrieve the wedding ring ("D.W. Thinks Big"), her lost "blankie" ("D.W.'s Blankie"), her imaginary friend Nadine ("D.W.'s Imaginary Friend"), the time she got lost in the store ("D.W. Gets Lost"), her love for "Crazy Bus" ("Play it Again, D.W."), her parrot Spanky that passed away ("So Long, Spanky"), and finally when she got lost (she seems to do this a lot) in the White House and met the President ("D.W. Goes to Washington"). Essentially, she is reciting her whole autobiography on the spot and her imagination runs wild, which I absolutely love about it. The ending result with the Tibbles, which I am not going to spoil, is very satisfying. 

Listing all of these made me find and think about her other crazy adventures that were not included, such as when she was afraid of fire drills ("D.W. All Fired Up", which actually airs right before this episode) and that one epic episode when she was obsessed with safety and got stuck at the top of a tree so she could oversee any safety measures and wrongdoers ("D.W. Blows the Whistle").

This was the episode I recorded and always rewatched. The writing is so clever. They incorporate all of her details so smoothly and the visuals are so appealing. This was the episode that inspired me to write more about my life. As a kid I wrote and drew stories combining elements about my own life in this episode's style, and I think this brings us to now. Here on "Taking it One 'Stef' at a Time" I write a lot about not just one aspect of my life, but several. They are organized by topic on the right-hand side. And currently I am also working on a personal project that somehow implements plenty of my experiences (it's still in a work in progress). Incidentally, D.W. also inspired me to create my own imaginary friend. Her name was/is Sena and she had pink hair. :) 

You could say that "I'd Rather Read it Myself" and "Arthur" as a series is a huge influence on my writing and creativity from childhood to adulthood. 

Happy 20th Anniversary, Arthur! Thank you for a lifetime of influential lessons and memories! To many more! :D

Maybe in the future I'll create other blog posts to showcase other episodes with other themes. But for now, which are some of your favorite "Arthur" episodes and why? There are plenty of others that I could have included. :)

Photo Credit: Arthur Wiki, PBSWGBH, Cookie Jar, and Marc Brown

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