Arthur (animation)

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

And I say, "Hey!
What a wonderful kind of day."
If we could learn to work and play
And get along with each other.

Ziggy Marley"Believe in Yourself" (opening theme)

Arthur is a book series by Marc Brown and a kids' show that started on PBS in 1996, where everyone in the series is some sort of animal. The show follows mild-mannered, bespectacled aardvark Arthur Read and his band of friends as they go through the third grade and some seven summer vacations. They have to deal with bullies, various issues like allergies and learning disorders, and tons of homework given out by their overly enthusiastic teacher, Mr. Ratburn, all in the show's own way.

Sometimes the episodes follow Arthur's sister, D.W. (Dora Winifred, but don't you dare call her that), an amusing Bratty Half-Pint who basically says and does everything every little kid has ever wanted to say and/or do, sometimes to the Moral Guardian's chagrin.

The show is quite witty and funny and contains many Shout Outs, most of which fall into the Parental Bonus category.

Like many shows, it has a Wiki, and now has a character sheet.

Should not, for one second, be confused with another cartoon aardvark. Seriously. He'll kill you. Cerebus, not Arthur.

Tropes used in Arthur (animation) include:
  • Action Girl: S14's "The Agent of Change" involves Francine, Muffy, and Molly creating a cartoon out of frustration with no good movies about female heroes. To top it off, they call her "Agent XX".
  • An Aesop: Often played straight, but reasonably often played with in some way. For example:
    • At the end of S3's "Mom and Dad Have a Great Big Fight," Nadine stated that the moral of the story was "Don't put your milk close to the edge because someone's going to knock it over."
    • At the end of S4's "What Is That Thing?," Buster suggests that "Maybe there's something to be learned from all this." Beat ... ... "Nahhhhh!"
  • Adaptation Decay: In-universe example -- S10's "Unfinished" has Arthur finding and enjoying an old out-of-print book 93,000,000 Miles in a Balloon. However the last few pages are missing and he desperately tries a number of ways to find out the ending including renting an old 16mm film adaptation. But whereas Arthur's book is a fantasy exploration, the film is a backstage musical about a producer and a starlet who wants to make a movie of the book, and the starlet wanting make the film to use as a springboard into starring in Broadway musicals.
  • Alliterative Name: Non-PBS news tend to refer to the show Arthur and Arthur Read as "Arthur the Aardvark."
    • Buster Baxter, Binky Barnes, Francine Frensky...
  • Amicably Divorced: Buster's parents.
  • And That's Terrible: S6's "For Whom the Bell Tolls", D.W. loses her voice to a case of faked laryngitis. Arthur celebrates the fact of not having to deal with a noisy sister for a few days, but Francine annoyingly scolds him several times throughout the episode: "You're mean, Arthur Read! M-E-A-N, mean!" "That's what you get for being mean, Arthur!"
  • Animal Talk: Starting with S6's "The Secret Life of Dogs and Babies", there would be episodes involving Kate, Pal, and the non-furry animals with their own stories. Later would expand to stuffed toys and imaginary friends.
  • Animation Bump: The differences between the first half of Season 1 and the latter half of Season 1 and onwards are extremely noticeable.
  • Antidisestablishmentarianism: Showed up in S1's "Arthur's Spelling Trubble".
  • Apple of Discord:
    • S6's "More!", when D.W. asks how much allowance everyone has,
    • S2's "Draw!", when Arthur asks Francine and the Brain which of them is better at sports. (This is before Jenna, described by Francine as "the only person who ever beat me at sports".)
  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: This exchange from S1's "Arthur's Birthday":

Binky: What are you thinking about?
Francine: About whose party to go to. Why, what are you thinking about?
Binky: Where's Ohio?

  • Artistic License History: Played for Laughs. When Buster finds a message in a bottle, he says it could be a million years old.
  • Art Shift: Used frequently when they are parodying another work.
  • Ascended Extra: Fern and George in Arthur's group, James in D.W.'s group.
    • Don't forget Prunella, or even Molly. They both got a few episodes later on.
    • Also Bailey, Muffy's butler.
  • Aside Glance: D.W. gives a definite wink to the audience at the end of "Best Enemies" when she says that she's sure that she and W.D. will find something they have in common with each other.
  • Atlantis: Buster believes in it, and tries to contact its king.
  • Author Filibuster/Take That: Parodied. In S3's "Buster's Growing Grudge", Buster ends up replacing his comedy act for the school talent show with a long tirade against Binky (whom he blames for the poor grade he got on a report). He doesn't even try to make it funny. When George wins the talent show, Buster proceeds to pin this on Binky as well.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal: Nadine.
  • Behind the Black: In S1's "D.W. Gets Lost", she doesn't notice that Emily's ears have turned green until the camera pulls back.
  • Be Yourself: The theme song, naturally.
  • Big "Shut Up!":

"People think I can't write a poem,
But they are so wrong, I can write a poem,
I wrote this one, I wrote this poem,
And I gave it the title 'Binky's Poem'... so shut up! Thank you."

  • Bile Fascination: In-universe examples:
    • S13's "Brain Gets Hooked" has Brain hate a show due to how illogical it is, but becomes obsessed with watching it nonetheless.
    • S14's "Muffy and the Big Bad Blog" has Arthur and the others admit that they can't look away from reading Muffy's and Francine's blogs, even though they're disgusted by the blog wars between the two.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: In "D.W. Thinks Big" Cousin Cora acts like a brat when she's alone with D.W. and acts like an angel when grown-ups are around. In the end her true Spoiled Brat nature is exposed in front of everyone at the wedding when she refuses to recover the lost ring from inside the church organ, when she could easily fit in there, because she'd get dirty.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Arthur without his glasses in the post-1997 episodes (in the first season he had normal eyes when he wasn't wearing his glasses), and Prunella in most cases.
  • Blah Blah Blah: Played straight in the Kate and Pal episodes, when listening to anyone speaking from their point of view.
  • Bland-Name Product: Muffy collects World Girl dolls.
  • Book Dumb: Depending on the Writer, any one of Arthur's immediate friends, Arthur himself, or even the grown-ups may be subject to this.
  • Bratty Half-Pint: D.W. and the Tibbles.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Nearly every episode's beginning teaser has Arthur talking to the audience. There have been instances where other characters besides Arthur introduce the show like with Fern's mother in S2's "Fern's Slumber Party" ("Look into the camera like when Arthur does it"). There have been instances though where it happens in the show proper:
    • S2's "Arthur and the Square Dance", where Francine looks at us and says "What's gotten into him?" after Arthur hastily leaves the Sugar Bowl ice cream shop following a silent teasing from Brain and Binky.
    • S5's "You are Arthur", an episode entirely shown in Arthur's perspective, has Buster asking the former if there is somebody watching everything he's doing from a TV screen.
  • Brick Joke: The aftermath of the big snowstorm was when D.W. got her special snowball.
  • Broken Aesop: The first book, Arthur's Nose, was about Arthur wanting to change his nose because of the suffering he endured from having it, and then deciding not to because he realized looks aren't important. That didn't stop Marc Brown from redesigning him over the next decade until his nose became invisible, though.
  • But Not Too Foreign: Do any of the characters look their nationalities? Then again, they are anthropomorphic animals... Or are they?
  • Butterfly of Doom: In S14's "Follow the Bouncing Ball", the intro imagines Brain taking his friends back in time to see the dinosaurs, when Buster accidentally drops his container of raisins. When they arrive at the present, everyone is a lizard and they have to take a fly eating class.
  • Butt Monkey: Principal Haney always seems to have bad things randomly happening to him. Arthur would become one in later seasons.
  • Call Back: One of the reasons the show is so popular with the Periphery Demographics is it's clever use of this trope in the series' continuity. For example, S9's "Breezy Listening Blues" contains numerous references to the TV special "Arthur, It's Only Rock 'n' Roll".
  • Canon Immigrant: Killer, Grandma Thora's dog was first seen in the books.
  • Captain Obvious: "I don't know any strangers!"
  • Cartoon Creature: One of the most frequently asked questions about the show is the subject of which animal the characters are. Arthur and his family are the most confusing since they do not look like aardvarks at all.
  • Catapult Nightmare: A higher incidence than usual, because of all of the Imagine Spots.
  • Cats Are Mean: Subverted in S3's "Francine and the Feline", where Francine gets a cat, and Arthur believes cats are mean and bite off kids' ears. But in the end he learns An Aesop about giving them a chance. But during the Animal Talk episodes this trope is played completely straight.
    • Averted with Sue Ellen, who may be one of kindest of Arthur's group of friends.
  • Censorship by Spelling: Arthur casually tells a friend that someone "lost her P-E-N" while D.W. is in earshot. D.W. then complains about Arthur doing this, since she can't spell yet.
  • Character Title
  • Christmas Special: "Arthur's Perfect Christmas".
  • Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: Done quite often with a TV:
    • In S2's "Arthur VS the Piano", Arthur had given up playing the piano, and was subjected to a televised concert performance, the organ-playing Phantom of the Opera, and a spoof of a piano-playing scene in Casablanca.
    • In S7's "Jenna's Bedtime Blues", Jenna, trying to get through a night without wetting the bed, tries watching TV and sees a diaper commercial, an actor with a mock Scottish talking about his broken bagpipes ("It's got a wee-leak!"), and a Sesame Street-esque skit involving the letter P done with Wimzie's House Expys.
  • Collectible Cloney Babies:
    • Woogles become this in "Arthur Rides the Bandwagon". Arthur at first scoffs at the idea of Woogles, saying they look "dweeby". Soon enough, however, everyone in his class has a Woogle; by the time Arthur has a nightmare about being ostracized due to not having a Woogle, they're all sold out of the stores. Muffy has the rare ones, and has a guidebook on how much each is worth; the one she offers to sell to Arthur is worth thirty dollars. Grandma Thora tries to explain that it's just a fad, using David's pet rock as an example, but Arthur doesn't understand until he makes bottlecaps the new trend.
    • D.W. gets into a not-My Little Pony franchise of unicorns in "D.W. Tricks the Tooth Fairy." The plot starts when her mother tells her that it would take months for her to save her allowance to buy a clothes toy barn that comes separately. Realizing she can't earn that much money sooner and her birthday already passed, D.W. opts to try and lose a tooth so that the tooth fairy will give her some dollars.
  • Comic Book Time: Most of the main cast has been eight years old and in the third grade for 14 years.
    • This evolves into an Exaggerated Trope. According to S14's "D.W. Unties the Knot", the events of S1's "D.W. Thinks Big" are said to have happened "a few months ago."
  • Completely Missing the Point: This exchange in S14's "Muffy and the Big Bad Blog"

Mr. Ratburn: You need to do other things in life besides... (searches for word) blogging.
Muffy: That's true. If I don't do other things, I won't have anything to blog about! Thanks!

    • Also in the episode when Prunella wants Flash Pants.

Rubella: You can't sit in your room eating soup and peanut butter all winter!
Prunella: You're right... I'm gonna need some crackers!

  • Concept Album: Arthur's Really Rockin' Music Mix, released in 2001. Besides a remix of the show's theme song, every single song in the album is entirely new and never played once in the show. The songs in this album double as musical summaries of select episodes and Image Songs of characters, composed in a variety of musical styles.
  • Conspicuously Light Patch
  • Competence Zone: Parodied. When Arthur complains about DW, Binky says she's just a kid, and it's not like she's in third grade.
  • Cool Old Lady: Grandma Thora and Mrs. McGrady
  • Crossover: Mister Rogers made a guest appearance in one episode where he befriends Arthur. Marc Brown later returned the favor when he appeared in an episode of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, and Arthur (a puppet of him, anyway) visited the Kingdom of Make-Believe.
  • Darker and Edgier: Dark Bunny, in contrast to the other established in-universe show, Bionic Bunny.
  • Day of the Jackboot: S13's "The Pride of Lakewood" involves Arthur, Francine and Muffy setting up a pride committee as a way of supporting school activities, with Buster as their spokesman. They end up putting flyers on the lockers of non-members Brain and Sue Ellen announcing they have no school spirit (as well as George, who WAS a member, but didn't cheer loud enough at track meets), and the two have to hide just to avoid being publicly harassed. In the end, they successfully recruit Buster to make a speech on why they feel the organization is unjust and membership shouldn't be compulsory to express school spirit.
  • Deader Than Disco: In-universe: At the beginning of S1, D.W's room was filled with Troll look-a-like dolls. 14 seasons later, long after they stopped being a fad in real life, they're still there.
  • Death by Newbery Medal: "So Long, Spanky"
  • Deathbringer the Adorable: Grandma Thora's dog, Killer. Apart from a bit of a Hair-Trigger Temper she's nice.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In Binky's report on Ancient Egypt -- "Mummies were dead people who died and got embalmed and tightly wrapped in cloth after they died." Another episode has Binky writing a poem for a contest with the word "poem" written four times.
  • Desert Skull: At the start of the episode "Feeling Flush," there's an Imagine Spot where the kids are walking through the desert. The very first shot we see is of a skull.
  • Digging to China: One forlorn summer project according to S2's "The Short Quick Summer". Presumably repeated every year.
  • The Disease That Shall Not Be Named: "Grandpa Dave's Memory Album" is about Grandpa Dave developing Alzheimers, but they never once call it by name.
    • Averted in "The Great McGrady" where it's explicitly said Mrs. McGrady has cancer.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: When Mr. Ratburn does a puppet show, Buster laughs and explains why the puns are funny. "It's so subtle!"
  • Dream Sequence: About once an episode.
  • Dream Within a Dream: One chapter book adaptation of a story had Arthur have one of these and then lampshade it on waking up for real.

Man, I hate double-dreams!

    • S3's "What Scared Sue Ellen?" had one in which Sue Ellen dreamed that the mythical Baba Yaga was after her. Then she "woke up," only for the Baba Yaga to appear outside her window.
  • Embarrassing First Name: Binky's first name is actually Shelly.
  • Enforced Trope: The "no hitting" Aesop in "Arthur's Big Hit" was portrayed as one-sided so that children wouldn't justify hitting each other, and talk things out instead. PBS prides itself on discouraging violence on its children's TV shows.
  • Episode Title Card: Varies depending on who's involved in the episode, and, in some cases, what happens to them. S5 would see the use of a slot machine title card where Arthur would just spin the slots and it would show the face Muffy, Sue Ellen and George if the any of those three are the main character of the episode. Specific title cards would be retired by S14, where sneak peaks of the episode are shown instead.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: Two examples:
    • S1's "Arthur's Almost Boring Day", where Grandma Thora's old home movies reveal that David Read, Mr. Ratburn and Mr. Haney all attended the same high school at the same time.
    • S15's "The Butler Did... What?", which reveals Bailey and Mr. Ratburn were in the same high school class.
  • The Everyman: Arthur, in sharp contrast to his widely varied friends with telling character traits. Lampshaded in S6's "Best Of The Nest", when Arthur settles on "Just Plain Goose." This is extremely poignant when one considers that most of the later seasons episodes focus less on Arthur.
  • Evil Laugh: Both Pal and Nemo give one in S14's "Pet Projects," but Nemo comments that Pal's needs work.
  • Extremely Overdue Library Book: In the Unfinished episode, Arthur was searching for the last few pages of "93 Million Miles in a Balloon", when he discovered them missing (Which was later revealed to have been in his jacket pocket and therefore was ruined in the washing machine). Luckily, the Elwood City Library did have another copy, but it was checked out a decade ago and was never returned, since the last guy who checked it out moved and didn't leave a forwarding address. Ms. Turner vowed that if that man ever returns to the Elwood City Library, she'll revoke his library card personally.
  • F Minus Minus: Arthur jokes that Buster may not just fail an assignment, but get a G or H.
  • Fake Band: The Finish band Binky (Not the character) (who ends up literally being a Fake Band), and the several bands created within the special movie-length episode "Arthur, It's Only Rock & Roll". The latter would have the Backstreet Boys as a guest star.
  • Fantasy Helmet Enforcement
  • Fiction Isn't Fair: The Persimmony Glitchett books are an in-universe example.
  • Filing Their Nails: In the episode aptly titled "Francine's Stolen Bike," Catherine Frensky paints her nails while hearing her sister's cock and bull story about how her dad's old bike, which she had to use to go to school, was "stolen". She points out how unlikely it is while blowing on the polish.
  • Five-Man Band
  • Flanderization: Arthur's interest in Bionic Bunny, Buster's interest in aliens, and Muffy's (claimed) marketing knowledge.
  • Free-Range Children: Arthur and co. are only about eight years old, and are in third grade, yet they run around Elwood City much like teens several years older. None of their parents seem concerned with the exception of what happens in S2's "Lost", where Arthur accidentally rides the bus line to the city limits.
  • Friendly Tickle Torture: S2's "Sue Ellen's Little Sister" focuses on Sue Ellen and her feeling lonely at being an only child. She meets up with the Frensky sisters, practicing cheering. Catherine gets her to put her arms higher over her head, and then...
  • Full House Music: You can tell D.W's upset because they always play the same music.
  • Full Name Ultimatum: D.W. gets this often, while Arthur has only been issued this once, in S4's "Arthur's Big Hit".

Mrs. Read: Arthur Timothy Read, come here!
Arthur: Uh oh, middle name!

  • Furry Confusion: Plenty. See Fridge Logic for most of them, but one that makes sense in-universe but is still amusing is Mr. Morris. He has various food allergies, "but not chocolate. Thank goodness!" Did we mention Mr. Morris is a dog?
  • Gainax Ending / Mind Screw: the ending of S6's The Boy Who Cried Comet had many fans throwing their hands up in the air, and announcing that they'll never be able to see Arthur in the same way ever again.
    • In S14's "Through the Looking Glasses" Arthur loses his glasses and has to get new ones. The episode ends with a dog walking into frame carrying a toad on its back that's wearing Arthur's old glasses. We never learn how Arthur's glasses got from his nightstand to a toad's face.
  • Game Show Appearance: Arthur winding up on the in-universe Riddle Quest in S5's "Arthur And The Big Riddle".
  • Gender Equals Breed: Both Emily and her mother are rabbits, while Emily's father is an ape.
    • But what on earth is Molly and James's mother? Her kids are rabbits whereas she obviously hasn't got the ears or face, but she does have the same hair as her daughter so I'm assuming the Macdonald children are not adopted. Is Ms. (Mrs.?) Macdonald some kind of dog? Molly rules out this trope.
    • And apparently this trope is played straight again with Carl (a rabbit child) and his mother (an aardvark).
    • Their parents were divorced and remarried.
    • When I learned of Emily's dad I immediately equated it to Pokemon breeding: The father could be anything, the offspring will be the species of the mother.
      • As aforementioned, this is jossed by Molly Macdonald's existence.
    • Since all of the above mentions are rabbits, could it just be that rabbit genes are extremely dominant?
  • Genius' Sweet Tooth: Mr. Ratburn.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Just read the English translation of the "Binky Song."
    • Also, the lyrics to Crazy Bus: "Absolutely screwy-louie, high as a plane or balloonie." Considering the context, there is NO WAY it's not meant that way.
    • This South Park parody
    • There are also a surprising amount of Shout Outs to Beavis and Butthead.
    • This exchange from S13's "The Secret Origin of Supernova":

Arthur: I can't dress up as a girl.
Buster: That's sort of narrow-minded, don't you think?

  • Guilty Pleasures: In-universe: Arthur is secretly a fan of "Love Ducks". He keeps it a secret because it's a baby show.
  • Heterosexual Life Partners: Arthur and Buster. Francine and Muffy are their Distaff Counterpart.
  • Hey, It's That Voice!: Most of the voice actors on this show have also done work for other animated programs, like Caillou, Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat, and Samurai Pizza Cats.
  • Hidden Depths: Mr. Ratburn is often seen by the class as a cruel teacher who has no life outside of making kids miserable. He also goes giddy over cake, likes Scooby Doo Expy (Spooky Poo), and volunteers as a puppeteer for children's puppet shows. He also has no kids or family that we know of. He does extra research in his spare time to better educate his students (Francine's pilfered paper)
  • Honest John's Dealership: Mr. Crosswire.
  • Hollywood New England: With Expys for both the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. Even the curse has an expy.
  • Hologram: Binky (the band, not Binky Barnes).
  • Hologram Projection Imperfection: In Meet Binky, because Arthur threw some trash into the CPU case, mistaking it for a trash can.
  • Improbable Species Compatibility: See Gender Equals Breed entry above.
  • I Can't Believe It's Not Heroin!: Big Boss bars in "To Eat or Not to Eat".
  • Identical Grandson: One episode of Arthur had D.W. curious of her grandmother Thora's antique doll prompting a story on how she got it. In the flashback, Thora a spitting image of D.W. right down to the voice. Thora's three brothers also resemble Arthur to an extent.
    • Binky's great grandfather looked exactly like him as a child.
  • If You Can Read This...: Many of the lists seen on the show include names of show staff members.
  • Imaginary Friend: Nadine.
  • Imagine Spot: THE FREAKIN KING OF THIS TROPE! And they are hilarious.
  • Incessant Music Madness: DW likes the song "Crazy Bus", which drives Arthur crazy. Everyone else his age enjoys it too, but not as incessantly as DW.
  • Inexplicably Identical Individuals: In S9's Lights, Camera, Opera!, Rodney Gilfry's ink suit is very, very similar to Oliver Frensky, Francine's dad. You may get confused if you tuned in halfway through the episode, and this is the first time around you're seeing it, and wasn't informed of it in advance.
  • Ink Suit Actor: MANY real life guests appear as Furry versions of themselves, from Mr Rogers, to Yo-Yo Ma, to the Backstreet Boys, to Neil Gaiman. They have more celebrity cameo appearances than The Simpsons.
    • Frank Gehry, Michelle Kwan, Larry King, Alex Trebek, & Lance Armstrong have the distinction of guest-starring on both Arthur and The Simpsons.
      • Neil Gaiman too, now.
  • Innocent Swearing: In "Bleep," D.W. hears a bad word and wants to know what it means. (She doesn't know at all that it's a bad word.) She imagines her accidentally getting her entire preschool class saying it. Her mother finally tells her, "You could say, it means 'I want to hurt your feelings.'"

That's what it means? Why didn't somebody just say so?!

    • This happened in an earlier episode - "Arthur's Perfect Christmas". On the shot of the house, before D.W. says that it's the worst Christmas ever, it sounds like she says "D*** it!"
  • Irony: In Prunella's title card, she "predicts" that her audience will shortly see... something, but then the lights go out.
  • Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery
  • I Fell for Hours: In "Night Fright", at the end of Binky's dream, after he flies of a cliff, his flying power loses and falls all the way down.
  • I Was Told There Would Be Cake: Ongoing gag with Mr. Ratburn in S3's "Dad's Dessert Dilemma." When Arthur brings one his father's cakes to a class party, it turns out to be a hit with the entire class, especially with Mr. Ratburn. Mr. Ratburn soon takes to turning up at other events where Mr. Read's cakes are being served, under the increasingly flimsy excuse that he just wanted to hand out a reading list. "Oh, are you having cake?!"
  • The Jeeves: Muffy's butler/chauffeur Bailey.
  • Jerk Jock: The Tough Customers, particularly in the earlier seasons.
  • Joker Jury: S5's "Nerves of Steal" was about Buster Baxter stealing an action figure from a toy store, causing him to think that he is a criminal. About halfway through the episode Buster has a nightmare where he is arrested by the police and is taken to court where the judge is none other than Mr. Ratburn and the jury his other classmates (including his best friend Arthur Read).
  • Just Eat Gilligan: If the Reads gave D.W any form of consistent discipline, at least 25% of Arthur's problems would be diminished. Admittedly, this happened in one episode, but since then it's been sporadic.
  • Kangaroo Court: Arthur and his friends subject D.W. to one when they suspect her of doing something make Pal sick in S1's "Sick as a Dog."
  • Kayfabe Music: The band Binky is made of up Hologram musicians and synthesized sounds. It's apparently an open secret, as the episode on the band has them materialize from nowhere during a live performance.
  • Keep Circulating the Tapes:
    • The show's Screwed by the Network (and thus subsequent seasons became No Export for You) in certain countries, notably Malaysia. Only S10 and S11 received boxset releases, and only selected episodes from earlier seasons are available on DVD. iTunes Music Store does not sell episodes to many Asian and African countries either, iPlayer blocks non-UK IP addresses, and iView blocks non-Australian IP addresses.
    • In-universe example: S10's "Unfinished" has the book 93,000,000 Miles in a Balloon, but since it had been so long out of print, Arthur tries desperately to find another printing of it that has the last few pages, since his doesn't.
  • The Kiddie Ride: A school bus ride with a figure of Arthur next to the rider's seat was made in the early 2000s.
  • Kids Shouldn't Watch Horror Films: Subverted. Muffy's parents try to ban the "Scare Your Pants Off Club" books (an Expy of Goosebumps) after she has nightmares from reading one. It turns out that she reads them all the time and that the nightmares were caused by her sneaking ice cream.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Though the characters lampshade being animals all the time, one of the more prominent instances is in S4's "The Contest". S3's "The Ballad of Buster Baxter" also has an instance with the guest appearance of Art Garfunkel.
    • The teaser of S13's "The Pride of Lakewood" has Buster saying the reason he has a pin button with his face on it is a long story. Arthur argues it could be told in 10 minutes.
  • Lawyer-Friendly Cameo: S14's "The Agent of Change" shows Molly having a green Domo-kun doll lying around her room.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In S8's "D.W. Dancing Queen", Binky teaches D.W. how to dance. Shortly after D.W.'s big performance, this conversation occurs:

Binky: Always remember, dancing comes from inside you. you gotta listen to your heart, listen to the beat, listen to the rhythm, the rhythm of the street!
D.W.: Okay, I will! Hey, did you just make that up?
Binky: Nah, I heard it somewhere. but I can't remember where.

    • In S3's "And Now Let's Talk to Some Kids", Arthur, Buster, and D.W. are watching a television show that has a segment called "And Now a Word From Us Kids" just like Arthur's show has, prompting discussion about such segments, and D.W. does her impression of what she thinks Arthur would be like if he were to be on television. The class goes on to star in a segment.

D.W: This is my impression of Arthur on television. (Puts her fingers around her eyes like glasses, talks in a dumb voice) "I'm Arthur and my dog's name is Pal and blahedy blahedy blah." And here's my impression of the people watching Arthur on TV (pretends to fall asleep and snores)

  • Lethal Chef: Grandma Thora. Arthur's dad is actually fairly good at it, when he doesn't experiment.
    • Also Skip Bitterman, the substitute chef in S13's "The Great MacGrady."
  • Licensed Games: One for the Game Boy Color, one for the PlayStation...
  • Limited Special Collectors' Ultimate Edition: There is a spoof of the Lord of The Ring Special Edition Director Cut DVD boxset, that Buster watched in S12's "The Chronicles of Buster". The DVD had 1001 hours worth of special features, commentary, and uncut footage. He watched it for about a month.
  • Limited Wardrobe: The characters all have characteristic outfits by which they are identified. Depending on the episode or the setting, they may be changed.
  • Living Prop: There are a number of such characters in Arthur, mostly recurring townspeople and students in D.W.'s class. Of important note are a pair of rabbit kids who've been in Arthur's class since the S1, but are not as developed as their classmates. S13's "MacFrensky" had a class list with the names Alex and Maria on it, but some fans refuse to believe those are their names, since Arthur has had several other one-shot classmates over the years (Never mind that the two rabbits were the only other two kids besides the already named regulars shown in class that episode).
  • Local Hangout: The Sugar Bowl, an ice cream shop. Later seasons would introduce another ice cream shop, this one run by Brain's family.
  • Long Runner: 15 seasons and still going. Since King of the Hill's cancellation, it is the second longest running cartoon series still on, with the first being The Simpsons
  • Long Runner Tech Marches On: Seeing that this is a Long Runner, you see this when comparing the show's tech in early episodes to newer ones.
  • Male Pack Mule: The season 1 episode "Arthur Bounces Back" shows Muffy using her dad's arms -- and credit cards-- to get all the toys that she wants at the toy store.
  • Meaningful Name: A main point of the show is to get kids interested in reading; thus, the Read family.
  • Message in a Bottle: Buster finds one on a beach vacation.
  • Metaphorgotten: From Arthur Sells Out

Buster: It's bad enough when adults cheat kids, but when kids cheat kids, it's like a total meltdown of the fabric of our society! And who needs melty fabric?

  • Mexican Standoff: A family-friendly, non-weapon version is used in S8's "Desk Wars" where it's obnoxiously hot in the classroom and everyone is extremely agitated. If George sharpens one of Brain's pencils for Muffy, Brain will drop a book on George's bubble-gum stegosaurus model, so Sue Ellen will throw Binky's rubber-band ball out the window, Muffy will put Francine's Judo Kitten stickers on Brain's desk, so Francine will cut up Fern and Muffy's shared desk ruffle, Fern will tear all of the pages out of Buster's Bionic Bunny comic book, Buster will eat all of Arthur's chocolate chip cookies. Then Brain accidentally knocks the book onto the stegosaurus model and chaos ensues.
  • Misplaced Kindergarten Teacher: Mr. Ratburn's sister, who the kids actually find worse than her strict brother.
    • Also one of the other third grade teachers. Or possibly both.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: In S6's "Best of the Nest" Brain is left dumbstruck when his character is eaten by a shark in a river. Can be subverted since there are real river sharks.
  • Mirror Universe: Mr. Pryce-Jones's third-grade class from Glenbrook Academy in S3's "The Return of the King".
  • Mood Whiplash: S15's "Grandpa Dave's Memory Album." Joan Rivers --> Alzheimer's Disease --> Joan Rivers
  • Moon Logic Puzzle / Only Idiots May Pass: In S6's "Best of the Nest" the kids play a game full of these kinds of puzzles.

Francine: Who knew that the way to scare off a bear was to do the hokey-pokey?

  • Moose Are Idiots: George the Moose can come across this way, being dyslexic and having poor social skills.
  • The Movie: Arthur's Missing Pal, an All CGI Cartoon released directly to DVD. Reaction among the core fandom was mixed, though it was well-reviewed by the public in general.
  • Musical Episode: S3's "Arthur's Almost Live Not Real Music Festival". Warning: Major Ear Worm fuel.
  • Mysterious Teachers' Lounge: Several bizarre imagine spots about what goes on in the teachers' lounge.
  • Never a Self-Made Woman: Played with; a number of moms on this show have jobs. Jane Read balances her commitments, working from home as an accountant.
  • Never Say "Die": Surprisingly, the show generally averts this, with three separate instances:
    • Done for laughs by Buster near the end of "Ratburn's Homework" song in S3's "Arthur's Almost Live Not Real Music Festival".
    • S3's "The Long, Dull Winter"

Buster: The dullness of the lack of holidays is like being dead. Only with homework.

    • The teaser of S9's Emily Swallows A Horse.

Miss Morgan (D.W.'s preschool teacher) : There was an old lady who swallowed a horse!
Preschoolers : She died of course! <laugh>

  • Next Sunday A.D.: S14's Buster Baxter and the Letter from the Sea, takes place in 2012.
  • New Media Are Evil: In S14's "Muffy and the Big Bad Blog", when Francine tells Muffy that she doesn't want to read her blog anymore, Muffy posts a poll on her blog asking people if they think that's okay, then posts an angry e-mail that Francine sent her. Francine retaliates by creating an online edition of her newspaper, The Frenksy Star, with the first issue talking about the situation, designating Muffy "Bully of the BlogOSphere."
  • No Antagonist: Unless you count in Ratburn, D.W., the Tibble Twins and Mighty Mountain. The show primarily focuses on slice-of-life issues.
  • Noble Shoplifter: Arthur does this in an Imagine Spot.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Capri DeVapida is a family friendly parody of Paris Hilton.
  • No Export for You: S6 onwards is this to many Malaysians that are unable to get Singaporean TV, after the show got screwed by NTV7 over 7 years ago.
  • No Ending: S10's Flaw And Order, which cuts to black just as another stone is about to hit a replaced cake plate.
    • "S.W.E.A.T." justs ends with the kids getting over the stress of the test and we never learn how they did.
  • No Fourth Wall: Very regularly during the show's opening teaser sequences, but much less often during the show proper.
  • Not Me This Time: After Francine's bike was allegedly stolen, Muffy and the others suspected that Binky may have stolen the bike. During a meeting, Binky stormed over to Muffy and asked if she was the one who is accusing him of stealing her bike. After she confirms it, Binky then reveals, while looking timidly to the others, that he's innocent.
  • Not So Fast: On several occasions, Arthur pulls off something cool at school despite screwing up, then ends up with extra homework, or having to redo it. Buster is occasionally included.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Averted with Nadine. She's never shown as anything more than a figment of D.W.'s imagination.
    • At least in earlier seasons this was true. In S11's "Baby Kate and the Imaginary Mystery", she's able to communicate with Kate and Pal, and it is hinted that she may become Kate's imaginary friend in the future.
  • Official Couple: Arthur is shown married to Francine on a couple of occasions, despite massive denial between the two in S2's "Arthur And The Square Dance".
  • One Steve Limit:
    • Unintentionally done in S3's "Buster's Back", which includes the titular character and musician Arthur Garfunkel (though in this case, his name is never mentioned).
    • There is more than one Binky.
    • Arthur has a father named David and a Grandpa Dave.
    • Mary Moo Cow and Mary Alice "Muffy" Crosswire.
  • Opposing Sports Team: Mighty Mountain.
  • Or So I Heard: The various New Year's Eve / New Year's traditions spouted by Arthur's friends in S1's "Arthur's New Years Eve". Includes the "Green Flash," the New Year's Police who arrest you if you don't throw away your old calendars, the New Year's Eve wrestling match and the meeting in which parents discuss the things they did to make their kids miserable throughout the year and what else they can do in the new year.
  • The Other Darrin: Arthur, D.W., Brain, Sue Ellen, George, and the Tibble Twins have all gotten voice changes throughout the 15 seasons, mostly due to the aging of the voice actors.
    • Justified, in that most of them were originally voiced by young boys whose voices broke when puberty hit.
    • Averted with Muffy, Francine, Mr. Ratburn, Prunella, Buster, Binky, the Reads and a few others, who've had the same voice since the beginning.
  • Pac-Man Fever: Despite having a ton of Shout Outs to famous book series, TV shows, movies and most other pop culture icons (Even Webkinz of all things), video games are still portrayed as primitive and Atari-like. Also, video game and computer game music tend to sound like chip tunes despite having graphics that look at least 16-bit.
    • Technology seemed to be marching forward in the first few season, as by S6, they have had full computer voice acting, cutscenes, (relatively) realistic computer graphics, and actually pretty decent computer music as shown in S6's "Best of the Nest". Also, in the S10 episode, "The Squirrels" and the S11 episode, "Arthur Sells Out", video games were played on a console that looks a lot like a Sega Dreamcast which is a 64-bit console, but the games played have 8-bit graphics and sounds. By S12's "D.W.'s Stray Netkitten, the technology seemed to have marched slightly backwards -- graphics are less realistic and the music sounds a little more primitive, and not many games seem to have voice acting as long or elaborate.
  • Parental Bonus: S4's "The Contest" included obvious parodies of WWE, South Park, Beavis and Butthead, and Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist.
    • They referenced Bevis And Butthead twice - in the above instance, and in a Show Within a Show called Peabrain And Nuthead.
    • S12's "Bats in the Belfry" , which dares to reference the movie Child's Play.
  • Parental Obliviousness: Binky's parents seem completely unaware of his bad traits.
  • Pinocchio Nose: Arthur has an all-too-obvious habit of fiddling with his glasses when he lies.
  • Punny Name: Most characters. The Crosswire family is probably the most obvious.
    • Alan's last name, revealed in a later season, is Powers. Coupled with his nickname, his name is "Brain Powers."
    • Dr. Fugue, the piano teacher, and his cat, "Fur" Elise.
    • Arthur's name sounds almost like the word "author." And his last name is Read.
  • Put on a Bus: Happens to a number of characters:
    • Mr. Sipple, a minor rabbit character who is The Read's neighbor and appears in most episodes as a comic relief character. Moved away to make way for the Molinas.
    • Mr. Morris, the (dog) janitor at Elwood Elementry, retires and moves to Roswell, New Mexico with his daughter after injuring his leg when the school partly burns. (Episode: April 9th)
      • Although he still continues to appear in various shots of Lakewood even into more recent seasons.
    • D.W.'s pet toad, Toady Wartface. S7's "The Great Sock Mystery" revealed that Toady escaped.
  • Rashomon Style: S1's "D.W.'s Snow Mystery and S5's "Arthur's Family Feud".
  • Recap Episode: The end of S1's "Arthur's New Years Eve" and S3's "D.W.'s Perfect Wish"
  • Recursive Adaptation
  • "Reading Is Cool" Aesop
  • Retcon: A few:
    • S1's "Arthur & the True Francine" showed that Muffy officially joined the gang in 2nd grade. Later episodes have established that she's known them since kindergarten.
    • S1's "So Long Spanky" established D.W.'s toad Toady Wartface as a male. S7's "The Great Sock Mystery" showed that Toady is a female.
      • That one could be justified. Little kids don't always actually know the gender of their pets.
    • In his first appearance in S2's "Buster and the Daredevils", rabbit bully Slink had a bear friend named Tobey, and both were students of Mighty Mountain. A few seasons later, Slink now attends Lakewood Elementary and is a member of the Tough Customers.
    • "Binky vs. Binky" featured a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of Lance Armstrong called Vance Legstrong, but in the "The Great MacGrady" he was retconned into his real life counterpart, only he's still a rabbit, but his design was changed to closely resemble Lance Armstrong.
  • Running Gag: S14's "Follow the Bouncing Ball" has Alberto Molina losing an autographed soccer ball "El Boomerang," signed by a player who carries that nickname. This soccer ball then resurfaces at a random point in each story for the remainder of the season until it finally finds its way back to Alberto in the S14 finale "The Long Road Home".
  • Sadist Teacher : The kids complain about Ratburn being this. Also frequently subverted when they realize he's not that bad of a guy and he's actually succeeding in teaching them things.
  • Screwed by the Network: One of the shows screwed over by NTV 7 in Malaysia- those in South Malaysia are lucky that they'll be able to pick up Singaporean TV which does carry Arthur. Those in Central Malaysia and further north are just plain screwed.
  • Seadog Beard: They meat an old sea captain with a big beard.
  • Second-Person Attack: "Arthur's Big Hit" is one of the rare cases where no Hit Flash is used.
  • Secret Ingredient: Arthur and Buster enter a cooking competition and bake a cake; their secret ingredient is double the amount of chocolate the recipe calls for.
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Arthur is an aardvark, though in the show he doesn't look like one. He looks more like one in the original books, but the look was changed because it was hard to see his mouth.
  • Self-Serving Memory: Often done with D.W. and Muffy.
  • Senior Sleep Cycle: Grandma Thora averts this, but Grandpa Dave plays it straight.
  • Separated by a Common Language: In "Follow the Bouncing Ball" an argument between Muffy and Vicita is based around this.
  • Series Continuity Error: S3's "And Now Let's Talk to Some Kids" has Francine mentioning having wanted to get something for Christmas. The special "Arthur's Perfect Christmas" made her and her family Jewish.
    • That's just the tip of the iceberg. There are many many examples of characters being introduced as new students in early episodes only to have known the characters for years before their supposed introduction. Muffy and Sue Ellen especially. As for the Christmas thing - it may originate from the fact that there was a book in the Arthur Adventures line called Arthur's Christmas. Much of what was in this book was later contradicted by the aforementioned "Arthur's Perfect Christmas".
  • Serious Business: Reading. In S2's "Buster Hits the Books", when the gang discovers Buster doesn't like reading they act like he's on drugs.
    • And in S1's "Misfortune Teller", Prunella's "cootie catcher", with all of the kids obeying whatever it says they should do.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: S1's "D.W.'s Snow Mystery" ends with it turning out that Buster was right and the snowball was stolen by aliens.
  • Shown Their Work: A number of episodes, and is one of the reasons the show gets critical acclaim.
  • Short Run in Peru: A number of episodes are now being released in Canada, Australia or other non-U.S. markets well before being seen on PBSKids in the United States. Those remaining episodes are now being shown in the U.S. as S15, roughly one year after they originally aired outside the U.S.
  • Shout-Out: So much of it!
    • S14's "Falafelosophy" has guest-star Neil Gaiman appearing in Sue Ellen's falafel as her personal muse. Not unlike what the The Lord of Dreams might get up to.
    • S10's "The Curse of the Grebes" is a play on the real life rivalry between the fans of the New York Yankees and the fans of the Boston Red Sox.
    • S13's Prunella Deegan and the Disappointing Ending.
    • S13's "The Secret Origin of Supernova" was basically one big Shout-Out to comicdom, including a reference to Jack Kirby.
    • The Cold Open of S8's "Bleep" features a clip from an episode of The Altos. Apparently, Marc Brown is a fan of the show.
    • S6's "Sue Ellen Gets Her Goose Cooked" contains a reference to Citizen Kane with Muffy's old game room containing a sled with the word "Rosebud" written on it.
    • In S8's "Desk Wars", Muffy had stickers of cute little critters resembling The Powerpuff Girls.
    • In S7's "Pick a Car, Any Car", the names of Mr. Crosswire's salesmen are Romero, Gorshin, and Meredith, named for the actors who played the Joker, the Riddler, and the Penguin respectively in the original Batman series.
    • In "That's a Baby Show!", Buster mentions a Dark Bunny villain named Doctopus, which totally flips the concept to an octopus going to medical school and becoming a doctor.
    • In an Imagine Spot, Brain imagine he gets trapped in a Wizard of Oz type land.
    • Mr. Ratburn's goldfish are named Vladimir and Estragon.
    • An old sea captain tells them about all the ships doomed by Toby Rick. Arthur asks if he was a giant whale, but the captain says no, just a terrible captain.
    • Buster writes to the king of Atlantis and asks him if octopuses really have gardens.
  • Show Within a Show: Several, including "Mary Moo Cow", a send up of Barney, and "Bionic Bunny", which is Superman meets The Six Million Dollar Man. (And actually originates from the picture book The Bionic Bunny Show, which Marc Brown wrote to show readers the behind-the-scenes aspects of television.)
    • Also done with "The Dark Bunny", a Batman parody. It's even shown as taking place in the same 'verse.
      • Let's not forget "Love Ducks", a parody of Teletubbies. Arthur even watched it a few times, skipping Dark Bunny.
        • And then there's one in S10's The Squirrels, with squirrels in colorful suits, teletubby-style antennas and a number prominently pinned to the front of the uniform. The writers must be awfully fond of Teletubbies...
      • Heck, there was even a parody of the show itself. The characters naturally lampshaded the obvious tropes.
      • S6's "The Secret Life of Dogs and Babies" has Baby Kate and Pal watching a show that was a very obvious parody of Rugrats. They later watch a Teletubbies analog.
    • S10's The Squirrels, which is a send-up of Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. Lampshaded when the latter film title was dropped at the end of the story.
    • Trucks: The Musical, a Show Within a Show featuring cars and trucks, is a movie that Francine and Muffy didn't like that much because it had only three female characters.
  • Sibling Seniority Squabble: Tommy and Timmy Tibble in S15's "Whistling in the Wind." Tommy claims he was born two minutes earlier.
  • Smurfette Principle: Lampshaded in one episode featuring the Movie Within a Show, Trucks: The Musical and Agent Double X
  • Something Only They Would Say: Arthur knows when he gets mail from Buster, because Buster "can read all right, but he can't write Read."
  • Species Surname: Averted.
    • Played straight with Mr. Ratburn, however. Guess what animal he actually is!
    • However, for Alliteration many of the characters have names that start with the same letter as their species (Arthur is an aardvark, Buster is a bunny, Muffy is a monkey, Binky is a bulldog, Prunella is a poodle, and so on).
  • Spin-Off: Postcards From Buster, based off the pilot S8 episode of the same name.
  • Start My Own: Several times, but when the kids try to make their own "James Hound" movie in S2's "Arthur Makes a Movie" they find out their outtakes are So Bad It's Good.
    • In "Muffy's Classy Classics Club," Arthur, Brain and Francine start their own book club when Muffy refuses to allow the book club that she started to be run democratically. And nobody could blame them - Muffy basically just strong-armed them into joining her book club in the first place by sending them each a free copy of the book and demanding that they show up.
  • Stock Sound Effect: Arthur's gasp.
    • And Baby Kate's cry.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: In "Home Sweet Home" a kid in Fritz's flashback happens to look exactly like a kid in Buster's earlier Imagine Spots.
    • In "Arthur and Los Vecinos" D.W. manages to correctly guess what Alberto's little sister Vicita looks like before meeting her.
  • Stylistic Suck: The kids' drawings.
  • Take That: Most Arthur fans know the S8 episode "Bleep" as a stab at censorship.
    • S12's "The Chronicles of Buster" poke fun of the The Lord of the Rings extended edition DVD sets and similar products, though it's not really bashing them so much as fans' obsessions with watching the features on them.
      • This troper always thought that episode was more of a generic fantasy parody. After all, there were references the The Neverending Story and Narnia in there.
    • S13's "Brain Gets Hooked" has Brain becoming obsessed with a Lost-style show. He berates the characters for forgetting facts between episodes.
  • Talk Like a Pirate Day: Binky talks like a pirate in S15's "S.W.E.A.T." and says that he's doing it because it's this holiday. Later, he does it again, and Mr. Ratburn reminds him "Binky, International Talk Like a Pirate Day is over." He disappointedly knocks it off.
  • Technology Marches On: Unavoidable, seeing that the show is a long runner. Seasons aired during the 90's showed Muffy being the only kid who had a cell phone due to her wealth, but as cell phones became more common place, the cast all eventually got them. Muffy now has WiFi, while Mr. Ratburn continues to struggle with basic computing... at least until he gets himself a "BoysenBerry" and finally figures it all out.
    • Most third graders don't have cell phones. Adults not having them would be this.
      • Not always, where I live, I've even seen kindergarteners with smartphones.
      • Since Arthur and Co. seem to be Free-Range Children, it's pretty sensible that their parents would give them cellphones.
  • That Cloud Looks Like...: The teaser of S1's "Arthur's Substitute Teacher Trouble" showcases two kids in the other 3rd class doing this. Later in S14's "Around the World in 11 Minutes." Pal and Amigo do the exact same thing.
  • Tickle Torture: Parodied in a Dream Sequence in S1's "Buster's Dino Dilemma."
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Francine and Muffy, as well as D.W and W.D in "Best Enemies."
  • Token Minority: The Molinas, a Latino family.
  • Trademark Favourite Food: Very subtle, but just about everyone on the show likes snacking on popcorn.
    • There's a trademark favourite drink, at least in earlier seasons, for the Read family. They're always seen drinking milk at meals.
  • Treehouse of Fun: Their treehouse/clubhouse
  • Umpteenth Customer: Arthur picks up a Sci Fi Shoot'Em Up video game from a store simply for being an umpteenth customer. His life promptly goes down the drain as he struggles with addiction to the game.
  • Unwanted Glasses Plot: The first half of The Pilot S1 episode, "Arthur's Eyes".
  • Useless Security Camera: Subverted. A store that Buster steals an action figure from has a broken camera, but Buster thought it was working and confesses.
  • Very False Advertising: In "Arthur Sells Out" Arthur saves up for a new video game and Muffy encourages him to twist the truth when selling his toys online. In the end, the hyped-up video game turned out to be an example of this too; high quality graphics in the trailer, but 8-bit graphics in the actual game.
  • Very Special Episode: A fair few episodes, but perhaps never more so than with S13's "The Great MacGrady," a special episode about Mrs. MacGrady being diagnosed with cancer, airing every weekday throughout Breast Cancer Week.
    • S11's "Big Brother Binky" where Binky's family adopts a Chinese baby girl, Mei-Lin.
    • S13's "When Carl Met George" introduces a character who has Asperger's Syndrome.
      • Before meeting Carl, George was diagnosed dyslexic in S6's "The Boy With His Head in the Clouds."
      • S14's "Buster Spaces Out"
    • Prunella meets and befriends Marina Datillo, a blind rabbit girl, after she mistakenly gets a braille copy of the latest Henry Skreever book. The two of them quickly became best friends and have had a few episodes together. Marina's blindness is sometimes an issue discussed on the show.
    • After he hurt his leg and was temporarily forced into a wheelchair, Brain met Lydia Fox, a smart girl in a wheelchair, who taught him how to play basketball from a wheelchair and showed him what handicapped life was like.
    • The S7 finale "April 9th" is a reflection of 9/11.
    • In S15's "Grandpa Dave's Memory Album", Arthur and D.W. learn that Grandpa Dave has Alzheimer's Disease.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: The computers in the universe are never seen running more than one application at one given time, and hardware failures can result in horribly frightening things like scary clowns or noisy ninjas being displayed and acompanied by appropriate nightmare-inducing sounds and music instead of the more mundane textual error messages and beeps.
  • Virtual Celebrity: Binky (no, not that one)
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: In S8's "Vomitrocious!"
  • We'll See About That: In S15's "Buster's Secret Admirer," Buster suggests that his secret admirer could be Fern-- that this shy girl doesn't want anyone to know that she's fallen for the most popular guy in the school. Arthur tells him that he thinks all of those chocolates (that his secret admirer sent him) have gotten to his brain. Buster's response? "We'll see about that."
  • We Sell Everything: The All-in-One Mart in S1's "D.W. Gets Lost".
  • Wham! Shot:
    • "D.W. Gets Lost" has D.W. interested in earrings, but her parents tell her that they'll turn her ears green. D.W. scoffs and says she doesn't care if that happens. Towards the end of the episode, Emily appears at the supermarket and her ears have turned completely green. Her parents are returning her earrings.
    • "Attack of the Turbo Tibbles" features the twins whacking D.W. in the face with a swing. She curls into a ball and starts crying. Emily realizes that something is wrong, checks on her, and runs off screaming for Mrs. Tibble because D.W.'s mouth is bleeding!
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?: Arthur's friends are very impressed that he has relatives from... Ohio. (Marc Brown grew up in Ohio himself.)
  • What Do You Mean It's Not Heinous?: S4's "Arthur's Big Hit." Type 1. Also, S5's "Arthur's Family Feud." Type 2.
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?: The end of S3's "Buster's Growing Grudge".
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Of Law and Order of all things.
  • Will Not Tell a Lie: In "Spoiled Rotten!" when Muffy asks Bailey if he thinks she's spoiled, rather than lie, he justs avoids giving a direct answer.
  • Wise Beyond Their Years: A number of characters, from D.W.'s friend Emily to Arthur and his friends to a certain degree. They aren't your average third-grade kids, after all.
    • One of the best examples is D.W. and her zany Batman Gambit to trick Arthur and Brain to take her to the science exhibit in S4's "Prove It!", and it worked!
  • The Worst Seat in the House: S3's "Meet Binky" has Arthur not buying his ticket for a big concert on time so he gets a much worse seat than all his friends. He has various fantasies about how bad a seat it will be. Luckily for him, his father is catering the event so Arthur can get to go backstage and meet the band, and Binky, the resident Jerk with a Heart of Gold, offers Arthur one of his tickets, which are in a great section.
  • You're Insane!: Arthur to D.W. after she announces plans to live with Mary Moo Cow in S5's "The Last of Mary Moo Cow".
  • Zany Scheme
  • Zombie Apocalypse: Played in Imagine Spots of the characters.