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Animation What happened to Arthur?


CastletonSnob
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Arthur has gone downhill the past few seasons. Not QUITE as much as Simpsons or Spongebob, but still noticeable. There’s an episode where Arthur tells Ladonna and Buster that the other has been talking bad about them behind their backs so they won’t be friends anymore, and an episode where Thora scares the shit out of DW with spiders. Could you see the characters acting like that in the earlier seasons? I doubt it.

 

What happened to the show?

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@Denim&Venom @Discordian

There are currently 21 seasons of the series. The show is now animated in Flash as opposed to being hand drawn as it used to be. I haven't watched the recent seasons but I have seen clips from them and it looks terrible. I'll be the first to admit that I still re-watch old episodes of the series every once in awhile.

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3 minutes ago, Venomous said:

@Denim&Venom @Discordian

There are currently 21 seasons of the series. The show is now animated in Flash as opposed to being hand drawn as it used to be. I haven't watched the recent seasons but I have seen clips from them and it looks terrible. I'll be the first to admit that I still re-watch old episodes of the series every once in awhile.

Damn. I thought it ended in like 2002 or something. All these years. All these decades, and I had no idea it was still a thing. 

No wonder it's apparently gone off the rails. 

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25 minutes ago, Venomous said:

@Denim&Venom @Discordian

There are currently 21 seasons of the series. The show is now animated in Flash as opposed to being hand drawn as it used to be. I haven't watched the recent seasons but I have seen clips from them and it looks terrible. I'll be the first to admit that I still re-watch old episodes of the series every once in awhile.

Ha, seriously? I always thought it ended in the 90's and it's just getting popular again because of a random nostalgia wave. :laugh:

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I am also just sitting here wondering, "Arthur is still going?". Literally, the most recent memory I can remember concerning Arthur is seeing ads for Postcards from Buster, that spin-off that started airing in 2004. :laugh: I liked the show for the most part when I was younger, but so long as it's still keeping the kids happy, I'm not going to lament over it having a slight decline in quality.  

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1 hour ago, ~Dusky~ said:

 I thought Arthur ended years ago... Interesting.

 

As for what happened to it, more than likely seasonal rot. The show's been around about as long as freaking SpongeBob, so it's almost bound to have some...

 

It's been around longer than Spongebob. Arthur premiered in 1996. 

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Arthur's decline is debatably a more tragic one than Simpsons or SpongeBob because it happened prematurely and the show never recovered. The Simpsons declined due to general fatigue (following eight shockingly consistent seasons), talent drainage in both the writers and animation departments (causing both the show's writing and visuals to became flatter and more baseline) and competition from South Park. SpongeBob declined following the departure of the original team following the end of S3, but Hillenburg and Kaz's return circa S9 improved its fortunes drastically. By comparison, Arthur  exists within a far different circumstance to either of those shows - being a PBS show, the content of Arthur is generally majorly regulated by the network's requirements (or the requirements set upon the network), therefore executive meddling (particularly considering the fact that the show is more educational in nature than Simpsons or SpongeBob, which are both primarily mainstream comedies) is more of an issue with Arthur, and I suspect that this issue began to increase its grip on the show around the turn of the century, coinciding with the departure of original head writer and story editor Joe Fallon and Ken Scarborough following S4 in 1999. Both Fallon and Scarborough were former Doug alumni, and it shows on their influence on the tenor of Arthur's first four seasons - the show was basically educational, but elevated itself above the pack with simple-but-relatable characters, well-written dialogue and plots and a specific wit and underlyingly intelligent sense of satire/humour, as if the show was continually on the cusp of being self-aware. A ton of people nowadays tend to praise the show for tackling more mature topics with a level of respect and nuance, but these were not originally the strengths which made the show great; the show was great because it was an educational PBS cartoon with a brain and a strong emotional centre, and it knew it.

In regards to the current perception of the show, I suspect that the replacement of Fallon and Scarborough with Peter K. Hirsch (who runs the series to this day, nearly 19 years later) combined with increased PBS mandates transformed the show from a sharp-witted depiction of the lives of ordinary American kids into a moralistic vehicle, which led to much of the humour and satire being replaced with heavy-handedness and the characters becoming more vehicles for morals than well-rounded generalizations of archetypes. Just compare the tone of "Buster Hits the Books" to "Arthur and Los Vecinos" and the difference is plainly evident. Of course, the perpetually decreasing quality of the animation (from solid traditional animation to sloppier outsourced traditional to poorly-rendered Flash by season 16), the gradual worsening of the voice acting (particularly Arthur's high-pitched tone circa seasons 12-15) and the addition of Ladonna and Bud (neither of whom were necessary additions nor have actually benefitted the show's well-established character chemistry) have not aided in this. To me, the show is trapped in a depressing cycle of decline - the loss of its greatest creative talent occurred at the show's peak period after only four seasons (or 75 episodes) and the budget/talent has decreased to the extent where creating a show anywhere near its 1990s incarnation is simply not a likely possibility, yet the writers also are forced to contend with PBS demanding them to shoehorn in more hamfisted educational content, worsening the pretentiousness of the show further. The later (6-present) seasons have produced a number of good episodes, but these are generally more ambitious moral-driven stories ("April 9th" and "The Great MacGrady") essentially far removed from the Arthur  of the 1990s and are generally the exception as opposed to the rule. 

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  • 3 years later...
On 2022-03-29 at 10:55 AM, ZiggWheelsManning said:

Well, everypony, as of 2022, Arthur is officially over, lasting 25 seasons:fluttershy:  Adding that Ladonna and Bud weren't good:okiedokieloki:  

You know, seeing these characters as kids when you were a kid, growing up and have a job kinda gives me existential crisis. Like daaamnn- it made you feel much more older...

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