Arthur is an educational television series, created by Cookie Jar Entertainment and funded in part by the No Child Left Behind Grant. The show is set in the fictional American city of Elwood City, and revolves around the lives of 8-year-old Arthur Read, an anthropomorphic aardvark, his friends and family, and their daily interactions with each other. In late July 2021, it was announced by PBS that Arthur would end after 25 seasons on the air.
The show is based from the illustrated series by the illustrator Marc Brown. Cookie Jar Entertainment group started to product the animated series in 1994 and the first episodes were aired in 1996. The television show includes a large cast of notable characters.
Arthur: The protagonist of the series. He is an elementary school-aged aardvark with round glasses and a yellow long-sleeved shirt. He also has a dog named Pal.
DW: Arthur's younger sister. Seen mostly as a pest and annoyance to Arthur, she is stubborn, bossy, and loud. She is a pre-school-aged aardvark who has been a part of the supporting cast since the show's pilot. She has also had multiple episodes revolving around her and her life. She has an imaginary friend named Nadeen who leaves later on in the series as part of growing up. She enjoys a fictional series Mary Moocow (a spoof of Barney) which irritates her brother and family.
Buster Baxter: Arthur's best friend and one of the most popular characters. He is the same age as Arthur and reads the same comic books as his best friend about Bionic Bunny and Dark Bunny (satires of Superman and Batman.) He is a victim of asthma and loves to eat excessively. A spin-off starring him was created in 2003 called Post-Cards from Buster which was filmed part-animated part real life as he travels the world with his father documenting the lives of children he meets along the way. It ran from 2003 to 2008, before being revived in 2012.
Francine: Francine is an 8th grade anthropomorphic monkey in the series in the same class as Arthur and Buster. Her demeanor is headstrong and willful. She is a Jewish-American living in an apartment complex with her family. Despite being from a low-income family, her best friend is the daughter of the richest man in town.
Muffy: best friend of Francine. Muffy is the spoiled daughter of Elwood city's local tycoon and is used to an expensive lifestyle. Owning all the latest electronics and "in" fashions she comes off to most as snobbish and bratty. She has moments of humility, however, when finding out money really can't buy you happiness.
Brain: earning his namesake for being the smartest in his class, Brain sometimes has inferiority complex and hides that, while he is intelligent, he was held back early in his life due to his emotional maturity. He is African American and celebrates Kwanzaa and other African cultural festivities.
Binky: the eldest of the casts' children, Binky is the playground bully when others are around while secretly being having soft hobbies like opera, clarinet, and nature watching. His temper and image make him come off as a mean person, but it is all a ruse.
On July 13th, 2021, Kathy Waugh revealed on Jason Szwimer’s Finding D.W. podcast that Arthur had ceased production. The news went unconfirmed until July 27th, when Arthur’s executive producer Carol Greenwald sent the following via email to IGN:
In the winter of 2022, the 25th and final season of Arthur will debut. Arthur will continue to be available on PBS KIDS for years to come. Producer GBH and PBS KIDS are continuing to work together on additional Arthur content, sharing the lessons of Arthur and his friends in new ways.
Arthur ended its time in production as the longest-running kids' animated series of all time. Reactions to the news quickly overtook Twitter where users reacted with sadness at seeing their childhood favorite being taken off the air, as well as its many contributions to meme culture. This tweet by @BabyLamb5 (seen below) is one of the earliest examples, gaining 6,629 retweets and 32,600 likes within 27 hours.
Predictably, the announcement of Arthur’s ending led to a number of memes. This one from Redditor u/stowboy1995 on /r/memes  is the earliest known Arthur cancelation meme (shown below), uploaded immediately after news broke on the night of the 27th.
The show has earned four Daytime Emmy Awards since its debut in 1994. It is one of the longest-running cartoons in the United States next to the Simpsons and Spongebob Squarepants. The series has been praised for highlighting issues such as cancer, dyslexia, allergies, violence, and Asperger syndrome. The show has had guest stars ranging from the late Mr Rogers and Philip Seymour Hoffman to Lance Armstrong, Matt Damon, and YoYo Ma.
Arthur has generated both sincere and humorous appreciation on social media. In the former category, there are Tumblr blogs such as "Fuck Yeah, Arthur!" and "a-a-r-d-v-a-r-k," and the Arthur Facebook page has over 1,000,000 likes. In the latter category, there are blogs such as "Arthur Out of Context" and the Twitter account @ArthurScenes, which as of July 28th, 2016, has over 15,000 followers. Both sites post Arthur screenshots that could be misinterpreted when taken out of context for humorous effect.
Arthur Comic Creator
Arthur Comic Creator is an online comic series based on the educational children's television cartoon Arthur made via a generator hosted by PBS Kids. Similar to Law For Kids PSA Parodies and Stop Bullying Comics, internet users began using the comic generator application to create humorous parodies with inappropriate messages.
He Does It For Free
He Does It For Free is an expression used to mock 4chan moderators, also known as "janitors," who are accused of abusing their power or being overly sensitive. Is it often associated with images of the anthropomorphic cartoon dog John Morris from the cartoon television series Arthur, who is employed as an elementary school janitor on the show.
Go On the Internet and Tell Lies?
"You Really Think Someone Would Do That? Just Go On the Internet and Tell Lies?" originated in Season 9, Episode 2 “Buster the Myth Maker”, used sarcastically to mock another internet user's gullibility.
Arthur Punches D.W.
Arthur Punches D.W. is an infamous clip from the children's TV show Arthur, in which he punches his little sister D.W. The short clip eventually became a target of parodies, remixes, and YouTube Poop videos.
"You've Got To Be Kidding!" Parodies
"You've Got To Be Kidding!" was a quiz game on PBS's website. It showcased Arthur characters sharing a personal issue and presents 3 solutions. The player is rewarded when answering with the best decision and is meant to promote good choices. Photoshopped versions of the game have surfaced online however, giving a shocking question and presenting equally inappropriate answers.
Arthur on Black Twitter
On July 27th, 2016, Black Twitter began tweeting pictures from Arthur with relatable, mature captions. The next morning, Buzzfeed covered the trend in a listicle called "14 Times 'Arthur' Summed Up Your Struggles Perfectly."
One picture of Arthur's balled-up fist was popularly used as an image to express anger, which soon enough spawned several Twitter parody accounts, the most popular being "@ARTHURSFIST," who has regularly gained between 10 and 50 retweets on their posts in its first day of existence.
Arthur and DW Slash Pairing
The Arthur tweetstorm also resulted in a high amount of sexual tweets. Some even implied incest; one image in particular, of Arthur putting on his pants while DW lays on his bed with her face in her hands, got popular enough that "Arthur and DW" were trending on Twitter the next morning.