Search This Blog

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Arthur's Perfect Christmas

What?  How can there be only one week left until Christmas morning?  Where did the time go?  Whatever will we do?

(Oh.  Wait.  I have my holiday stuff completed.  Nevermind.)

That being said, if you do have time today, why not give Day #18 of A POP CULTURE ADDICT'S ADVENT CALENDAR a try?

In fact, I promise you that this TUBE TALK THURSDAY blog entry will not only celebrate Christmas, but a couple of other holidays as well!  I thought that the cartoon Rugrats did a phenomenal job with taking two holidays and merging them together as the Pickles family celebrates both Christmas and Hanukkah.  But believe it or not, I found another example of people celebrating different holidays coming together to understand each other's celebrations and traditions.

Would you believe that I happened to come across this special on PBS of all places?  Very intriguing, isn't it?

Anyway, the reason why I wanted to talk about a special that incorporated all holidays is simple.  Yes, there are seven days left until Christmas.  But there are also eight days left until Kwanzaa kicks off on December 26.  And Hanukkah is already in full swing with festivities beginning on December 16.  Even though my family traditions are always centered around Christmas, I would actually love to take part in other holiday celebrations, just so I could learn more about them.

And that's one thing I will say about this holiday special.  The writers did a brilliant job researching all of the different holidays and writing a one-hour holiday special that is intelligent, heartwarming, and most importantly, entertaining.

I'm sure that most of you from a younger demographic than I have seen at least one episode of "Arthur".  The television series debuted in 1996 on PBS and is still going strong today!  The series, of course, was based on the long-running children's book series penned by author Mark Brown that kicked off in 1976 with "Arthur's Nose".

Wait.  Arthur is 38 years old?  Wow, he looks good.  Still has his baby face and everything!

I know.  I josh.  Arthur ages about as slowly as "The Simpsons".  But really, the show is one of PBS' huge success stories.  I wouldn't be surprised if it were one of the most watched shows on PBS alongside "Sesame Street" and "Downton Abbey".

Well, on November 24, 2000, "Arthur's Perfect Christmas" first aired on PBS.  Since then, the show is re-aired on PBS around the holiday season, and has since been released on VHS and DVD.  And, in one word, Arthur's Perfect Christmas is as close to perfection as a children's holidays special could be.

I should probably note that I was nineteen when this special first aired, so I was quite out of the target demographic at this point.  I just happened to come across it when flipping through channels one Christmas Eve, and this happened to be on the air.  I sat and watched it and loved the whole thing.

The title of this special basically describes the main plot of the show.  Arthur wants to have the perfect Christmas celebration ever, and he even made a list of all of the things he wants to have happen for Christmas.


1.  A large amount of snow
2.  An amazing dinner - turkey and the whole works
3.  A spectacular Christmas tree - most importantly, one without tinsel
4.  Everyone will love the presents he gets for them

Wow.  Arthur's Christmas list do I put this...grown-up!  Instead of asking for every toy ever found inside the Sears Wish Book, he asks for some practical things.  I especially love his fourth item on the list.  Isn't that what we all want?  For people to love the gifts that we gave them?  Oh, and on a personal note, I so agree with his third item.  I HATE tinsel on Christmas trees.  Do you know how aggravating it is to vacuum up tinsel that has fallen on the floor?

But does Arthur's Christmas go exactly as planned?  Well...not exactly.  You see, there are other subplots that are unfolding in the community of Elwood City, and these subplots may cause Arthur's Christmas to become less than perfect.

Take Arthur's little sister, D.W., for example.  D.W. only has one thing on her Christmas list this year - Tina the Talking Tabby.  Problem is, she sent her Christmas list out late in the season, and by the time Santa gets the letter, there are no more Tina the Talking Tabby dolls to be found.  Instead, D.W. is given a substitute gift of Quackers the duck, which puts her in a rather foul mood, and causes her to have a self-pity fueled temper tantrum in response.

Uncle Fred is excited to be spending the Christmas holidays in Florida, but his car breaks down in the middle of Elwood City, and he is forced to stay with the Reads family for Christmas instead, which causes his plans to be shelved.

Arthur's friends Muffy and Francine have a huge falling out just before Christmas.  Muffy is set to plan the largest holiday bash ever seen in Elwood City, as her family just happens to be the richest family in Elwood City and can afford to throw a party.  And Muffy insists on inviting the whole school to her party.  The problem is that Francine cannot go.  As Francine is Jewish, her family celebrates Hanukkah, and a key event in their family Hanukkah celebrations coincides with Muffy's party.  And when Francine declines Muffy's invitation, a furious Muffy tells her that she doesn't understand why she won't go, as she doesn't consider Hanukkah to be as important as Christmas.  This naturally ticks Francine off, and she refuses to even have anything more to do with Muffy!

And even the happy-go-lucky Baxter Bunny is having issues getting into the holiday spirit.  Since his parents got divorced, he has found it hard to deal with the new reality that his parents will be separated this Christmas.  Arthur and his friends give Baxter a rather interesting suggestion - create his own holiday and call it Baxter Day.  The idea is met with great trepidation on Baxter's part, but he agrees that it might be worth a try.  But in preparation for the event, Baxter's brain seems to be in overdrive.  And, let's just say that his scrambled egg brain causes him to bake some rather...interesting treats for the homeless shelter residents to whom he delivers goodies to every Christmas.

Elsewhere in the city, Brain's family carry out the traditions of a typical Kwanzaa celebration, and George's family observes Saint Lucia Day to pay tribute to their Swedish heritage.

So, we have a whole lot of different plots and different celebrations going on, and a lot of conflicts between Arthur and his friends.  What do you think happens?

Well, while it lasts on YouTube, why don't you click HERE?  The link will take you to the full episode of "Arthur's Perfect Christmas".  But as I said, you should probably watch it now.  Usually full length episodes don't last too long on YouTube.

Oh, and do stick around.  The final stretch of the advent calendar is fast approaching.  And I have saved the best for last!

No comments:

Post a Comment