Because of the show's longevity, many characters have appeared throughout the show, each with a wide array of personalities and other character traits.
- 1 Common character tropes
- 2 3rd/4th grade cast
- 2.1 Arthur Timothy Read
- 2.2 Buster Baxter
- 2.3 Francine Alice Frensky
- 2.4 Mary Alice "Muffy" Crosswire
- 2.5 Alan "The Brain" Powers
- 2.6 "Binky" Barnes
- 2.7 Sue Ellen Armstrong
- 2.8 Fern Walters
- 2.9 Prunella Deegan
- 2.10 George Lundgren
- 2.11 Jenna Morgan
- 2.12 Tough Customers
- 3 Younger cast
- 4 Adult cast
Common character tropes
- Book Dumb: Depending on the writer, any one of Arthur's immediate friends (except Brain), Arthur himself, or even the grown ups may be subject to this.
- Bookworm: Every child character in the show has been seen in the library at least once.
- But Not Too Foreign: Do any of the characters appear to be their ethnicities or nationalities? Then again, they are anthropomorphic animals...Or are they?
- Cartoon Creature: One of the commonly asked questions about the show is the subject of which animal some of the characters are. Arthur and his family are the most confusing since they do not look like aardvarks at all.
- Prunella is another character that's debated upon; it is undecided on whether or not she is a poodle or a rat.
- Comic Book Time: Even though some characters have birthdays over the course of the show, the characters are shown to never physically age, outside of occasional flash-forward or fantasy.
- Lampshaded by D.W. in S1's, "Arthur's New Year's Eve", suggesting that shes trapped in some kind of time warp that causes her to never get any older.
- Free-Range Children: Arthur and co. are about only eight years old and are in third grade, yet they run all about Elwood City much like teens several years older. None of their parents seem to be concerned, with the exception of what happens in S2's "Lost!" where Arthur accidentally rides the bus line to the city limits.
- Played With in an episode where for some reason, Brain and Binky think they're trapped at the soccer field and their moms forgot to pick them up. But they go everywhere else in their neighborhood, but can't walk home?
- Good Parents
- 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 the 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 (in 15 seasons, the male one has only talked twice, and the female one never!). S13's "MacFrensky" had a class list with the names Alex & 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 in that episode).
- Punny Name: Most characters. The Crosswire family is probably the most obvious.
- Rounded Characters: One of the top reasons for the show's success.
- Rotating Protagonist
- Species Surname: Averted. See below.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Very subtle, but just about EVERYONE on this show likes snacking on popcorn.
- There's a trademark favorite drink, at least in earlier seasons anyway, for the Read family. They are almost always seen drinking milk at meals.
- Wise Beyond Their Years: A number of characters, from D.W.'s friend Emily to Arthur and his friends himself certain degree. They're not your average third-grade kids, after all.
- One of the best examples is D.W. and her zany Batman Gambit to trick Arthur and The Brain to take her to the science exhibit in S4's "Prove It!", and it worked.
- Zany Scheme
3rd/4th grade cast
Arthur Timothy Read
The titular character of the show. He and his family members are aardvarks, though it is not obvious due to the lack of elongated nostrils.
- Art Evolution: Applies to the book version, where he starts out as an actual aardvark (looking more like an anteater), and would slowly change in design until he came to his current look.
- Big Yes: When he finds out that Buster is coming home from a Long Bus Trip with his father in S3's "Buster's Back".
- Answering the phone* Hello? Yeah. Yeah? YEAH!
- Butt Monkey: Would become one in later seasons.
- Crazy Consumption: D.W., when imagining Arthur in a negative light, sometimes has him digesting cake either in one bite or in a mess.
- In "D.W. Gets Lost" this actually does happen.
- Crowd Chant: Arthur gets one when he is cleared for embezzlement in "Arthur Accused!"
- Eye Glasses
- The Everyman: In sharp contrast to a Nakama of 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 season's episodes focus less on Arthur.
- Flanderization: His interest in Bionic Bunny.
- He is The Hero in the traditional Five-Man Band.
- Full Name Ultimatum: Unlike D.W., he has only ever been issued one once throughout the show in S4's "Arthur's Big Hit", and it is lampshaded.
Jane Read: Arthur Timothy Read, come here!
Arthur: Uh-oh, middle name.
- Game Show Appearance: Arthur winding up on in-universe Riddle Quest in S5's "Arthur and the Big Riddle".
- Guilty Pleasures: Arthur is secretly a fan of in-universe toddler's show "Love Ducks". He keeps it a secret because (per the title of the S4 episode) "That's a Baby Show."
- Head Desk: He is so exhausted from Pandering to the Base in S1's "Arthur Writes a Story" that he does a Double Headdesk.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: With Buster.
- Jerkass: At times.
- Jerkass Has a Point: In ‘Arthur’s Big Hit’, he DID REPEATLY told D.W. not to touch his model plane. However, D.W. just kept on disobeying the order. While hitting his sister was viewed as shameful, Arthur was justified when he was forced to punish D.W.
- Nice Guy
- The Other Darrin: He is one of the regular characters that gets a different voice actor as the show progresses.
- Official Couple: He is shown married to Francine in the future on multiple occasions, despite massive denial between each other in S2's "Arthur and the Square Dance".
- Pinocchio Nose: Has an all-too-obvious habit of fiddling with his glasses when he lies.
- This Loser Is You: Arthur could be described as this, Depending on the Writer.
- You're Insane!: Arthur to D.W. after the latter announces plans to live with Mary Moo Cow in S5's "The Last of Mary Moo Cow".
Best friend of Arthur. He and his divorced parents are rabbits.
- Against My Religion: In S7's "Buster's Amish Mismatch" when he became Amish after a field trip.
- Agent Mulder: Firmly believes in the existence of aliens.
- Alliterative Name
- Amateur Sleuth: One of Buster's trademarks, often imitating hard-boiled Private Detective stories when he's on a case.
- Clear My Name: "Arthur Accused!"
- Big Eater: So much so that during a fantasy sequence in S3's "I'd Rather Read it Myself", D.W. imagines him as a robot that only exists to eat. One wonders just how the kid can stay lean. Often leads to Crazy Consumption.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Extremely superstitious, and is very, VERY obsessed with extraterrestrial life.
- Ears as Hair: Buster's mother makes him wear an embarrassing shower cap when he goes swimming, but his ears are more prominent than most, and it would be dangerous to get water inside of them.
- Eureka Moment: How Buster usually solves his cases. "Overflowing?" "That song!"
- Expressive Ears: They droop when Buster is upset. If "Buster Makes the Grade" is any indication, he doesn't take school exams seriously.
- Flanderization: His interest in Bionic Bunny.
- In the traditional Five-Man Band, he is either The Lancer or (when something happens to him, prompting worry from his friends) The Chick.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: With Arthur.
- Hypno Fool: In S11's "Buenas Noches, Vicita", one of D.W.'s friends (Vicita) can't go to sleep. D.W. tries several methods, including trying to get Buster to hypnotize her to sleep. A couple of seconds later...
- Little-Known Facts: Buster will believe anything he reads on the internet, as shown in S9's "Buster the Myth Maker".
- Name's the Same: Not to be confused with that other rabbit named "Buster". It gets even more confusing when a PSA has Buster refer to himself as "Buster Bunny" instead of "Buster Baxter".
- Not So Different: With, of all characters, Mr. Ratburn. They seem opposites in most respects, especially in regards to anything school-related. Buster has a (rather silly) fear of his teacher's love for learning. Despite this, the characters share many other definitive personal tastes. The biggest examples? Both obsessively love desserts, both watch cartoons, and Mr. Ratburn seems to have been much more like Buster in his youth according to what was seen on an old videotape from his high school days.
- Nerd: His aforementioned obsession with extraterrestrial life.
- Put on a Bus: S2's "Arthur's Faraway Friend" has Buster leave the show to travel the world with his airline pilot father. The Bus Came Back at the start of S3.
- Stranger in a Familiar Land: The main plot points of S3's "Buster's Back" and "The Ballad of Buster Baxter".
- Terrified of Germs: Plot point of S11's "Germaphobia".
Francine Alice Frensky
2nd best friend of Arthur. She and her family are monkeys.
- The Ace: Exceptionally good at almost every sport that exists, always has the last word with some witty or sarcastic reply, and is usually the one that ends up having to bail out one or all of her friends in some way or another.
- Alliterative Name
- Ambiguously Brown: Many people pictured Francine and her family as being rather tan-skinned or even black, but considering that they're Polish Jews... Still, being Polish doesn't mean you're Caucasian.
- Berserk Button: Beating her in anything sports related.
- "A griffin. A griffin. A griffin..." Note that this was in an Imagine Spot in S1's "Meek for a Week", showing what would happen if Francine kept her anger bottled up for too long.
- Break the Haughty: Francine has needed a little attitude adjustment from time to time when she gets a little too abrasive.
- Deadpan Snarker
- She is The Lancer in the traditional Five-Man Band. If Buster takes The Lancer Role in an episode, Francine is The Chick
- Among the Four-Temperament Ensemble of the main girls in Arthur's class, Francine is sanguine.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: With Muffy.
- Hollywood Tone Deaf: Subverted by the end of S4's "To Beat or Not to Beat"; she isn't a bad singer, she just can't sing and drum at the same time.
- Hypocritical Humor: Francine often criticizes other people for being mean, despite being a textbook example.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Depending on the writer, as there are plenty of episodes where Francine is not a jerk.
- Official Couple: She is shown married to Arthur in the future on multiple occasions, despite massive denial between each other in S2's "Arthur and the Square Dance". She insisted on doing the rescue scene in "Arthur Makes a Movie" and was ken to play spin the bottle at Arthur's party, possibly in the hope of getting to kiss Artur.
- Prima Donna Director: In S1's "Francine Frensky, Superstar".
- Slobs Versus Snobs: Between her and Muffy.
- Token Minority: Francine's family is Jewish in an apparently mainly Christian community.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Her and Muffy.
- Tsundere: Comes off as this occasionally, especially towards Arthur.
- Tyrant Takes the Helm: Main plot point in S1's "Francine Frensky, Superstar". Only when Mr. Ratburn intervened (after what amounted to the entire class sabotaging the play rehearsal) that everything was put back into place.
- We Want Our Jerk Back: Happens in S1's "Meek For A Week"', which nearly caused the group's team to lose a hockey match. They got the jerk back when her Berserk Button was pushed.
- With Friends Like These...: Her and most of the cast, but it is more prominent between her with Muffy.
Mary Alice "Muffy" Crosswire
Best friend of Francine, since her arrival in 2nd grade. Like the Frensky's, she and her family are monkeys.
- Alpha Bitch
- Lovable Alpha Bitch: As demanding as she is, Muffy has a good heart and is usually a good friend.
- Big Fancy House: A sign of her unknowingly vast wealth, to the point where it actually has a mini amusement park inside of it.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: When she was first introduced in the main cast in S1's "Arthur and the True Francine".
- Break the Haughty
- Catch Phrase: "Vomitrocious!"
- The Clan: Part of a family that is shown to be influential in the transportation industry.
- The Fashionista: Mostly in episodes where she has an opportunity to be in other clothes besides her standard dress.
- She is The Chick in the traditional Five-Man Band, and is in this role more often than Francine when Buster is The Lancer.
- Even Snobs Has Standards: She’s be somewhat arrogant, but she even calls out on Arthur for hitting D.W.
- Flanderization: In an odd sense. She and her family seem to get more wealthy as the series goes on.
- Among the Four-Temperament Ensemble of the main girls in Arthur's class, Muffy is choleric.
- Heterosexual Life Partners: With Francine. The two do nearly everything together, from playing together to performing pranks on their friends.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Melissa Altro is also the voice of Pippi Longstocking in the 1997 animated adaptation of the character. Is it a coincidence that both of Altro's characters happen to have long strands of red hair at the sides of their heads?
- Melissa also voiced Paige Logan from Grossology, another snobby rich girl.
- Hypocritical Humor: Muffy regularly accuses people of being snobs despite being the textbook example herself.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Muffy is demanding, sometimes rude, snobby and self-absorbed, but she's a good person deep down. She really does care about her friends and treats her butler as if he were like family to her. She also sometimes shows sincere kindness towards people she doesn't know, but can also be quite nasty towards people she doesn't know.
- Manipulative Bitch
- Nice to the Waiter: To her butler/chauffeur, Bailey. She and Bailey get along very well and are great friends.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Nobody, not even her parents, call Muffy "Mary".
- Rich Bitch
- Slobs Versus Snobs: Between her and Francine.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Her and Francine.
- Upper Class Twit: In S13's "The Great MacGrady", it's shown that she literally does not know how to do dishes. She simply squirts some dish-washing liquid onto the sink full and expects that to do the job.
- When she learns her family history, she's actually shocked and disgusted when she finds out her family is not akin to royalty, but rather she's descended from commoners and most of her family's wealth comes from her dad's used car business.
- With Friends Like These...: Her and Francine.
- A particularly egregious example is in the episode "My Club Rules" where in Muffy basically decides the treehouse isn't good enough for her and that she'll start her own club. Muffy basically begins a chain of everyone acting like jerks to everyone else to go form their own clubs.
Alan "The Brain" Powers
- The Ace: Besides his intelligence, it is shown that he is also good at various sports. He and Francine are often partners for sport-centric episodes.
- Academics seems to come more naturally to him. Sports, he has claimed that he practices hard for.
- He's even shown to be quite good at architecture and design for his age, as he was able to build a model treehouse with toothpicks.
- It's not brought up much, but he's also shown to be a pretty good artist all things considered. He drew a detailed noose when he thought he was no longer smart and a treehouse after the treehouse was destroyed.
- Ambiguously Brown: Brain is confirmed African-American but doesn't particularly look it since he's a bear.
- In later seasons, his mother is lighter skinned than her son and husband, and is also blonde, meaning the Brain is possibly of mixed race.
- The "B" Grade: Brain gets a B- on a test in S9's "Breezy Listening Blues" and concludes that the breezy listening music his parents recently started playing in their music shop is having a deleterious effect on his studies.
- Big Words: He was the one working on Antidisestablishmentarianism before the spelling bee in S1's "Arthur's Spelling Trouble".
- Black Best Friend: Brain and Binky seem to be quite close, despite being polar opposites.
- When Buster was away on an extended vacation with his dad, Arthur and Brain started spending much more time together. They're great friends who love each others company and do a lot for each other. Brain seems to look out for Arthur and to a slightly lesser extent, Buster and truly cares about their well-being.
- Although he doesn't hang out with her as much, he's also really good friends with Francine. When they had a fight that nearly ruined their friendship, Arthur and Buster tried to make the two "realize how much they used to like each other".
- But Not Too Black
- Black and Nerdy: Not as nerdy as Arthur or Buster, but he has his moments.
- Child Prodigy
- Known Only By Their Nickname: "The Brain" is only referred to as such by his peers.
- Insufferable Genius: Can slip into this at times, but he's usually respectful to others. A good example was when Buster was convinced a comet was going to destroy Earth, which lead Brain to tirelessly try to debunk Buster's claims.
- Mr. Exposition
- Name's the Same: Should never be confused for the other The Brain, even though the former has shown a scary tendency to act like the latter in a few episodes.
- Nerds Love Tough Schoolwork: The only one in class who doesn't groan when given a big homework assignment.
- Nice Guy: Brain is a really affable guy, friendly, respectful and down-to-earth despite his intelligence. He often uses his intelligence to help others out rather than to demean them by helping them with homework, teaching them or giving them advice. Outside of his intelligence, he's a generally kind-hearted guy who shows regularly concern for the well-being of his friends, usually Arthur.
- Old Shame: S11's "Brain's Shocking Secret" reveals that he was held back in Kindergarten due to a lack of emotional development.
- Opening Shout-Out and Internal Homage: The latter of the two is an Episode Title Card, shown in S3's "And Now Let's Talk to Some Kids".
- Sanity Slippage: Brain is usually the most calm and approachable of all the kids, but when he feels he's been wronged in some way, he'll become darn near psychotic and start giggling crazily, trying to plot revenge. He once went to great lengths in order to get revenge against Muffy, but eventually just got tired of it and went about his life.
- The Other Darrin: Another one of the characters to get a regular voice change.
- He is The Smart Guy in the traditional Five-Man Band.
- Techno Babble: Though is usually a more down-to-earth example.
- Token Minority: Brain and his Family seem to be the only major Black characters in the show.
- Why Did It Have To Be Water?: He was afraid to go to a pool party because of his aquaphobia, though later seasons remove it, implying that The Brain got over his fear.
Another one of Arthur's friends, though also a bully. He, and his family, are bulldogs. First name: Shelley
- Adult Fear: Even if the concerns that Mrs. Barnes expresses in "Binky Goes Nuts" seem a bit excessive, they are realistic.
- Ambiguously Gay: While some may raise their eyebrows at this, many fans of the show have acknowledged Binky as potentially being gay. As the series progresses, we learn that he has Hidden Depths when it comes to a variety of things including the theater, dance, art, music, culture, etc.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Sleeps with a night light and takes ballet classes. It seems the longer the series continues, the less he tries to hide it. Heck, his shirt is even sort of pinkish-orange!
- Big No: Binky busts out an epic one after a nightmare in "Binky Goes Nuts".
- The Bully: Moves away from this as the series progresses. Hidden Depths are eventually revealed and moves towards the Gentle Giant.
- He is the Big Guy in the traditional Five-Man Band.
- Friend to All Children: While Binky is still a child himself, he befriends D.W. in S3's "The Chips are Down" and her friend Emily in S13's "The Good, the Bad, and the Binky".
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Seems to vary from a sensitive soul who acts tough to genuinely stupid depending on the writer.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: S15's "What's in a Name" reveals that Binky is indeed not his real name. It is, in fact, Shelley, named after his great grandfather. Not only do his parents not call him this, even Binky himself, didn't know.
- Even Blinky Has his Limits: He may be a bully but gives his victims a break and chance to stand-up for themselves. If one of his victims is hurt to the point of tears, that's when he knows where he needs to stop. When he punches Arthur, thanks to peer pressure, Blinky tells how sorry is he as it made him feel rotten, despite being told by Arthur, it was necessary to teach him a lesson for what he did to D.W. In "The Last Tough Customer", after seeing Gergore breakdown after Molly taunted his dyslexia, even Binky felt that was taking it too far.
- Talking to Himself: The actor who voiced him also voiced Arthur's father.
- We Want Our Jerk Back: Happens to Binky occasionally.
- Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: A focal point in S2's "Night Fright", as Binky can get really scared in the dark.
Sue Ellen Armstrong
Arriving in the show in 3rd grade, she and her family are cats.
- Action Girl: Shown to the skilled in martial arts, particularly Tae-Kwon-Do.
- Carnivore Confusion: Sue Ellen is a cat. Ratburn is a rat. But they seem to get along fine.
- Cats Are Mean: Averted, as she is one of kindest in Arthur's group of friends.
- She is sometimes the Sixth Ranger in the traditional Five-Man Band.
- Among the Four-Temperament Ensemble of the main girls in Arthur's class, Sue Ellen is phlegmatic.
- Granola Girl: She becomes one in S8's "Sue Ellen Chickens Out".
- Only Child Syndrome: Main plot point in S2's "Sue Ellen's Little Sister". Come to the point where she spends time with D.W. however...
- Ship Tease: S2's "Sue Ellen's Lost Diary" hints that Sue Ellen may have a crush on Arthur, following a debacle with her diary. This is a throwback to the book "Arthur's Valentine" where Arthur has a crush on the new student (Sue Ellen).
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Plays the tomboy to Fern's girly girl on occasion.
Originally a background character, she and her family are dogs.
- Amateur Sleuth: Fern, like Buster, has this as one of her trademarks. In sharp contrast to Buster though, Fern prefers classic novelized detectives like Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple, sometimes imitating any of them when she's on a case.
- Ascended Extra: Until S1's "I'm a Poet", she was a relative Living Prop. Lampshaded by Francine once Fern is finally driven to speak after a pushed Berserk Button courtesy of Binky.
Francine: That's the most she's said all year!
- Beware the Nice Ones: Francine and the Brain find out first hand in S2's "Draw!" and S12's "War of the Worms" respectively.
- Episode Title Card: A shot, taken from S10's "Fern and Persimony Glitchet", that shows her writing. The difference between the other, louder title cards is symbolic of her quiet nature.
- She is sometimes the Sixth Ranger in the traditional Five-Man Band.
- Among the Four-Temperament Ensemble of the main girls in Arthur's class, Fern is melancholic.
- Nerd: She is a Mystery Novel Fan Girl, being shown in S2's "Fern's Slumber Party" playing with a Sherlock Holmes action figure. S11's "Phony Fern" even has her (and George) role-playing as Hercule Poirot.
- Nightmare Fetishist: Along with mysteries, Fern is very fond of reading and telling scary stories.
- Shrinking Violet: As the show progresses, she becomes more out-going and socializes more, though she still retains a bit of shyness.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Plays the girly girl to Sue Ellen's tomboy on occasion.
One of the few 4th graders in the show, she and her family are poodles.
- Alpha Bitch: During the earlier seasons. She mellows out a bit once Henry Skreever and Marina Datillo are introduced to the show in S6's "Prunella's Special Edition".
- Episode Title Card: I PREDICT THAT YOU WILL SHORTLY SEE... (episode title read out loud), taken straight from S4's "To Beat or Not to Beat".
- She is sometimes the Sixth Ranger in the traditional Five-Man Band.
- Nerd: Earlier seasons would show that Prunella and her sister Rubella were obsessed with paranormal phenomena. Her massive love for Henry Skreever would later become one of her signature character traits.
- Phony Psychic: Just like her big sister. Oddly, she still believes her sister even though she's using the same tricks.
- Yet Another Christmas Carol: She goes through one in S4's "Prunella Gets it Twice". Lampshaded when the "Ghost of Presents Past" interweaves Tiny Tim into the story.
Originally a minor character in the background, he is a moose; a rare sight in the show.
- Ascended Extra: Though George existed since the beginning of the show, it was quite a long time before he was made into a full-fledged character, in S3's "Arthur's Dummy Disaster". Since then there have been more George-centric episodes.
- Big No: Two instances:
- S8's Desk Wars, when his bubble-gum stegosaurus model is destroyed.
- S14's "Follow the Bouncing Ball", where his painstakingly arranged dominoes are knocked over by Francine.
- Butt Monkey: He is often the subject of Binky's bullying in the earlier seasons prior to his characterization. He would be friends with Binky despite the latter acting like a jerk to him sometimes.
- He is sometimes the Sixth Ranger in the traditional Five-Man Band.
- Cross-Dressing Voices: Voiced by Eleanor Noble seasons 9 onward.
- L Is for Dyslexia: Although the original portrayal is closer to Attention Deficit Ooh Shiny
- Long Speech Tea Time: George gets Carl going on a monolougue about trains. Since he can't get him to stop, it turns into the framing device for the story of how they met.
- Mr. Imagination
- Mysterious Protector: This is George's entire relationship with his classmates, until they get to know him.
- Nerd: George is incredibly awkward around other people (in part because of his horns), and spends less time talking to living people than he does to his ventriloquist's dummy, Wally, which he made himself.
- Ventriloquism: With Wally...
- Consulting Mr. Puppet...Who is regularly poached for advice.
- It's a Wonderful Plot: The basis of S13's "The Silent Treatment". George feels that nobody ever notices him, so his dummy, Wally, takes him into a Wonderful Life fantasy scenario.
- Lampshaded by George, talking about the aforementioned movie.
Another former background character in Arthur's class, she is a cat, entirely different from Sue Ellen though.
- The Ace: It is mentioned that Jenna is also good at sports, mostly at the ones Francine is not good at.
- Ascended Extra: Like George, it was quite a while before she became a character with a personality. Despite having only one episode with her as the main focus in the show's 15 seasons (S7's "Jenna's Bedtime Blues"), she is maintained as a prominent secondary character.
- She is sometimes the Sixth Ranger in the traditional Five-Man Band.
- Informed Ability: In S6's "The Good Sport" we're told that Jenna excels in a number of sports that it's hard to imagine her doing.
- This seems like a one-off joke at first, but later episodes actually show her playing those sports.
- Why Did It Have To Be Pull-Ups: Jenna's reluctance to put on her pull-ups as shown in her only focus episode, S7's "Jenna's Bedtime Blues".
Formally a group of bullies, but gradually became more of a rebellious group as the show went on.
For Binky's tropes, see here
- Big Brother Mentor/Cool Big Sis: Molly and Binky both have younger relatives and treat them very well. Binky has also had this kind of relationship with other characters, like when he tried to teach Muffy the beauty of balet or D.W. how to dance. Slink also has a younger sister named Nancy, but their relationship has never really been shown off.
- Breakout Characters: Downplayed examples, but they did get much more screen time as the show went on, which coincided with their growing fanbase, but was probably coincidental.
- Character Development: Each of the characters have had their own individual character arcs, even Slink, who has gotten the least screen-time of the core four members, has noticeably grown and matured. This has had the logical effect that the group itself has changed, going from a group of bullies to a slightly rough group of friends that is friendly with most people.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Though honestly they're all varying degrees of Nice Guys after their Character Development. Slink and Binky are arguably the nicest of the group with Binky being a bonafide Gentle Giant half the time.
- Rounded Characters: One of the many things Arthur is praised for is its sheer amount of rounded characters, and the Tough Customers are not exceptions. Due to screen time reasons, they're not as fleshed out as the main characters, but virtually every appearance they have fleshes them out in different ways, with consistent character development and growth.
An academically inclined kid, despite his rough appearance, Rattles is generally shown to be the smartest and arguably second friendliest member of the Tough Customers.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Like Slink and Molly, he was shown to have strong principles even at his worse. Became more of a Nice Guy in later episodes.
- The Smart Guy: He's usually shown as being the smartest person in the group, at least academically correcting his friends spelling mistakes, caring about his education, having the most common sense, etc.
An entertainer with aspirations of being a television host, though was shown to be a more athletically minded kid in earlier episodes.
- Character Development: Like the other customers, Slink gradually became a nicer overall guy. By the time Rattles was essentially a friendly person all around, Slink was still a bit rude and crude but became a friendlier person after he nearly lost his job as a newspaper boy.
- Early Installment Weirdness: In his first appearance, he was a member of Mighty Mountain instead of Lakewood.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Even at his worse, Slink had his principles. He also really cares about his friends.
Dora Winifred "D.W." Read
Sister of Arthur, and often the main character of episodes focusing on the younger cast.
- All Girls Like Ponies: D.W. adores them. Her favorite idea for a holiday is Pony Day. Oh, and she loves unicorns too.
- Annoying Younger Sibling: To annoyingly frustrating degrees.
- Berserk Button: Teasing her about her full name, anything involving her snowball, or saying that Unicorns and other fantasy creatures are not real.
- Bratty Half-Pint
- Companion Cube: Her snowball
- Cross-Dressing Voices: D.W. is typically voiced by a boy.
- Does Not Like Spam: "I! HATE! SPINACH!!!" Cue Full Name Ultimatum.
- Embarrassing First And Middle Name
- Full Name Ultimatum: Heard often due to the amount of trouble she gets in.
- Go to Your Room: A frequent punishment of hers. Usually the worst she gets.
- Idiotic Partner Confession: Usually something like, "Wow, Arthur. This person isn't as scary as you say."
- Informed Deformity: S10's "Operation, D.W.!" has her with hearing problems. First she doesn't hear her teacher call her and later she turns the volume up on the television way more than it should be. It's determined that she needs an operation to remove fluid in her ears. However, throughout the rest of the episode, everyone talks to her normally and she hears everything just fine.
- Instant Expert: Usually at things that Arthur failed at.
- Karma Houdini: She breaks Arthur's plane and we never see her get any comeuppance. Even when Arthur punched her, we're not supposed to sympathize with him, we're supposed to see him as being in the wrong.
- Kick the Dog: "MOOOOOOM! Arthur broke a window!"
- Little Miss Snarker: Usually towards Arthur.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Nobody calls D.W. "Dora" or "Dora Winifred" unless it's her parents issuing a Full Name Ultimatum or they want to deal with a major tantrum. In S2's "D.W. Goes to Washington," Mr. Read actually didn't seem to remember her full name.
David Read: Her name is D.W.
Secret Service member: That's it? Initials? You didn't give the kid a full name?
- The Other Darrin: Because D.W. is voiced by boys, it is inevitable that voice actors would be changed.
- Real Time: In "D.W. Gets Lost," Ed Crosswire asks for five minutes of Jane Read's time. This is how long she and D.W. are separated.
- Stock Yuck: D.W. has a long list of foods which she does not like, most of which are vegetables.
- She is often the Tagalong Kid in the traditional Five-Man Band.
Timmy and Tommy Tibble
A pair of twin bear cub boys, they're often the other major characters in episode focusing on the younger cast.
- Anything You Can Do I Can Do Better: Sometimes with each other, but usually with D.W. Their web page spells it out.
- Bratty Half Pints
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: Tommy wearing a red scarf, Timmy wearing a blue scarf.
- Episode Title Card: The boys use fake squid tentacles to scare D.W. off.
- Lions and Tigers and Humans, Oh My!: In the original books, the Tibble Twins and their Grandma were drawn as humans. They have since been anthropomorphized for the television series and latter books.
- Raised by Grandparents
- Sibling Team
- Spoiled Brats
- Trickster Twins
- Twin Banter
- Unnecessary Roughness: They spend an episode basically imitating the Power Rangers, and D.W. ends up needing stitches. The boys do apologize, though.
- Whole-Plot Reference: "My Fair Tommy."
D.W.'s best friend and major character in D.W.-centric episodes. She is unique among the show's characters as she is part rabbit, and part monkey.
The third grade teacher of the Arthur gang, and the primary adult character featured in the show. He is a rat, obviously.
- Everyone Went to School Together: S1's "Arthur's Almost Boring Day" showcases Grandma Thora's old home movies, revealing that David Read, Mr. Ratburn and Mr. Haney all attended the same high school at the same time.
- S15's "The Butler Did... What?" also reveals Bailey and Mr. Ratburn were in the same high school class.
- Genius' Sweet Tooth: S3's "Dad's Dessert Dilemma" reveals that he LOVES cake.
Mr. Ratburn: I just wanted of the Spring reading list-OH! Are you having cake?!?
- Would carry over in S4's "The Rat who Came to Dinner".
D.W: There was no cake Arthur. Mr. Rathead was very disappointed.
- Hidden Depths: Mr. Ratburn is often seen by the Arthur gang as a cruel teacher who has no life outside of making kids miserable. At the same time, he likes Spooky Poo, and he volunteers as a puppeteer for children's puppet shows. Oh and of course, he goes giddy over cake.
- I Was Told There Would Be Cake: S3's "Dad's Dessert Dilemma".
- Sadist Teacher/Stern 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.
- Species Surname: Played straight. Guess what animal he actually is!
Herbert Francis Haney
Mild-mannered, well-to-do, absent-minded bear principal of Lakewood Elementary School. Often involved in episodes taking place at the school, though he is also involved in community work.
- Butt Monkey: The early seasons often had some form of bad luck or misfortune happening to him, usually in the form of things falling on him, from raw hamburgers, to baseballs, to a bucket of popcorn, to Binky Barnes.
- Everyone Went to School Together: Attended the same school as Mr. Read and Mr. Ratburn. Even back then, as shown in the old videos in S1's "Arthur's Almost Boring Day", he had bad luck.