Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

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Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

Post by Snowth Poogle on Mon Feb 22, 2016 10:02 pm

I found this on YouTube: Matt Hoverman was recently awarded the Humanitas Prize for writing "The Tardy Tumbler." This is his acceptance speech.


I actually didn't know that this was based on a true story, but I think it's wonderful.

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Re: Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

Post by Salty on Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:14 am

Nice find, Snowth! It puts this episode in a new light, knowing that it's based on a true story. This episode definitely one of the diamonds in the rough from the latter seasons (even if it is rather unfortunately named, for an episode featuring a handicapped/handicapable character)...



...It also doesn't hurt that this episode has lots of good Prunina moments.

I really wish Arthur would have an LGBT character, but I doubt they'd be willing to consider the issue since the Postcards from Buster fiasco with the two moms. PBS is on thin ice as it is, and I'm sure they receive a considerable portion of their funding from conservative groups/religious parents. Maybe they would benefit from moving the show to a network like HBO where it would get more funding.
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Re: Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

Post by MatthewHecht on Tue Feb 23, 2016 1:38 pm

I know I do not like Hoverman as well as most posters here I do acknowledge that he has written some really good episodes. I consider most of his episodes to be bad (even by dark age standards), but his good episodes like "Tibbles to the Rescue", "The Case of the Girl with the Long Face", and our current discussion are very good. I am glad the writing has improved over the last few seasons.
I could guess the episode was based off a real story since it is very realistic and true to life. Good job Hoverman and I hope you keep writing on Arthur.
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Re: Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

Post by Snowth Poogle on Tue Feb 23, 2016 8:12 pm

Salty wrote:This episode definitely one of the diamonds in the rough from the latter seasons (even if it is rather unfortunately named, for an episode featuring a handicapped/handicapable character)...
I think a lot of us here can agree it's certainly one of the better episodes we've had, not just since the switch to Flash, for in along time in general.
Salty wrote:I really wish Arthur would have an LGBT character, but I doubt they'd be willing to consider the issue since the Postcards from Buster fiasco with the two moms. PBS is on thin ice as it is, and I'm sure they receive a considerable portion of their funding from conservative groups/religious parents.
I'm really wondering just how much longer it'll be until this is a reality. More and more we're seeing more of these kinds of people on TV that were considered taboo years ago: you've got commercials with mixed families that you couldn't show ten years ago (a recent episode of ALVINNN!!! AND THE CHIPMUNKS showed such a family as well), not to mention there was a Campbell's soup commercial featuring a boy with two fathers. But like you say, these parental and moral groups are a vocal majority - there would probably still be all kinds of stumbling blocks if they tried to include such a character on the show. Either that or they could do like HEY ARNOLD! did with Mr. Simmons and just not outright say anything at all.

MatthewHecht wrote:I know I do not like Hoverman as well as most posters here I do acknowledge that he has written some really good episodes.  I consider most of his episodes to be bad (even by dark age standards), but his good episodes like "Tibbles to the Rescue", "The Case of the Girl with the Long Face", and our current discussion are very good.
Like we've learned from the show, we can all agree to disagree; and you're not alone in feeling that way, as Julz is in a minority of fans who actually don't care for Crazy Joe's writing, even though many consider him to be the "voice" of the show. My main problem with "The Case of the Girl with the Long Face" is I feel the resolution of the episode fell flat with Fern basically saying she felt sad "for no reason," it almost feels like they couldn't even think of a reason for why she felt depressed and decided to not even bother trying to come up with one.

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Re: Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

Post by Salty on Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:08 pm

Snowth Poogle wrote:My main problem with "The Case of the Girl with the Long Face" is I feel the resolution of the episode fell flat with Fern basically saying she felt sad "for no reason," it almost feels like they couldn't even think of a reason for why she felt depressed and decided to not even bother trying to come up with one.

I liked that episode because it introduces the concept of depression, but I agree that it doesn't properly explain why Fern had those feelings. I think it's difficult though to thoroughly explain depression in terms that 4-8 year-olds can understand. My understanding of depression is that it doesn't really manifest until the teen years or later. There is also the matter of physical causes of depression, relating to neurotransmitters, serotonin, etc., which is also not addressed in the elementary health curriculum. Essentially they ended up glossing over the issue, but I do like they introduced the concept that depression isn't caused by something that happens to you, like getting into a fight with your friend. Most children's shows teach that sadness is a direct reaction to something that happened to you, which doesn't take into account that depression is a persistent/recurrent mood disorder that has much more to do with brain function than life events, which I think this episode actually recognizes or at least alludes to. Additionally, it also conveys the message that it's okay to feel sad or depressed sometimes--a message that was repeated in Pixar's Inside Out about 9 months later. Coincidence?
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Re: Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

Post by A Lotta Moms on Thu Feb 25, 2016 1:52 pm

A very well-deserved win, too.  I agree about Tardy Tumbler being one of the best episodes the show has had over the course of the past few seasons.  It felt like it could have been straight out of one of the fabled Golden Era.  While I'm somewhat more accepting of the direction the show's gone in recent years than others, it could benefit from more episodes like this.  I can't entirely put my finger on what it was that made this episode so enjoyable; I suspect it was something about its simple and concise portrayal of a complicated interpersonal situation.  That might be the single aspect of the show that I've come to appreciate above all others.

But anyway, I think a majority of us are also in firm agreement about the need for a LGBT character, regardless of how like it is to actually happen in the near future.  A good point has been raised regarding it possibly becoming a reality at some point as our culture becomes more and more accepting.  While intolerance and discrimination still exist (and have been dealt with in our own backyard as recently as a few months ago), I think we've come a long way as a society since 2008.  

I think that the show has included a lot of subtle LGBT elements over the course of the past few years, as we often discuss in great detail here, and may be rapidly nearing the point of outing someone or introducing an entirely new LGBT character.  Some characters in the show, whether children or adults, bear so many hallmark traits that are common to LGBT stereotypes (for better or for worse), arriving at the conclusion is no hard task.  With younger characters, of course, there's always an element of speculation since they're still on the cusp of puberty, but I maintain that if it would be every bit as legitimate to portray a grade school student with a early-stage homosexual feelings as it has been to sparsely portray them with early-stage heterosexual feelings (Arthur and Sally, for instance).
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Re: Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

Post by MatthewHecht on Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:28 pm

A Lotta Moms wrote:I can't entirely put my finger on what it was that made this episode so enjoyable; I suspect it was something about its simple and concise portrayal of a complicated interpersonal situation.  That might be the single aspect of the show that I've come to appreciate above all others.)
     I think it worked so well because it is a very relatable topic.  Not necessarily the gymnastics angle but we have all let down friends before and worried that we were destroying their dream.  The episode also does a very good job at making Prunella slowly feel worse and bringing her to a very low emotional point so she can go back up.
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Re: Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

Post by Salty on Fri Feb 26, 2016 9:48 pm

MatthewHecht wrote:
A Lotta Moms wrote:I can't entirely put my finger on what it was that made this episode so enjoyable; I suspect it was something about its simple and concise portrayal of a complicated interpersonal situation.  That might be the single aspect of the show that I've come to appreciate above all others.)
     I think it worked so well because it is a very relatable topic.  Not necessarily the gymnastics angle but we have all let down friends before and worried that we were destroying their dream.  The episode also does a very good job at making Prunella slowly feel worse and bringing her to a very low emotional point so she can go back up.

I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that it's a Marina episode. Everyone seems to like Marina, because she works hard and doesn't try to get special treatment. She and Prunella also really have good chemistry, and this episode helps develop their relationship. It also seems to allude that Prunella and Marina may be more than just friends. As Bellows says, "When you find what you really care about, be like the tiger--don't let anything keep you from it." Immediately after he says this, Prunella quits gymnastics. It's obviously not her passion. But then Marina has car trouble, and Prunella has a flashback to Bellow's words. It's at this point that she realizes that Marina is the thing she really cares about, and then helps Marina overcome her fears and get to practice on time. Prunella even emphasizes this by saying, "I found something I really cared about." It's a trust exercise for their friendship, and Prunella passes with flying colors.

It's also really satisfying to watch someone work hard at something and accomplish their goals. It's a big part of the reason why I like the episode Maria Speaks.
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Re: Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

Post by Wild Starry Moony on Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:58 am

I really like this guys writing. Hope he keeps writing in the future! The tardy tumbler, obviously one of the best weve had in awhile, and also the girl with the case of the long face, which i enjoyed very much. when watching it i almost felt like id gone back to some of the earlier seasons. not quite golden era, but close.

of course then i go back and WATCH older episodes and think "wow these are so much better" but hey, at least he almost got it back!
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Re: Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

Post by Salty on Mon Feb 29, 2016 9:36 pm

Wild Starry Moony wrote:of course then i go back and WATCH older episodes and think "wow these are so much better" but hey, at least he almost got it back!

I think the animation is partly to blame. Good animation can carry a mediocre story, but stilted low budget animation puts limits on the story being told and is less visually engaging.
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Re: Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

Post by Snowth Poogle on Tue Mar 01, 2016 11:43 am

Salty wrote:
I think a lot of it has to do with the fact that it's a Marina episode. Everyone seems to like Marina, because she works hard and doesn't try to get special treatment.
Marina's moe quality aside (which I know is part of it), she really is a realistic and respectful representation of disabled people, who, like you say, don't like getting special treatment simply because of their disability. I think another thing too is that this episode really added some much-needed depth to her character as well; admittedly, Marina was a bit of a flat and static character up till this point: she was always Prunella's blind friend who didn't like being fussed over because she's blind. That's all well and good, but that was just about it. "The Tardy Tumbler" really expanded on her character by showing us that she too has dreams she wants to pursue (in this case, being an Olympic gymnast) but also has hidden fears and insecurities that are brought on because of her disability (and I love the descriptive and narrative way Matt put it in his acceptance speech). That's another reason why, to me, Matt has been such an excellent addition to the show, as he managed to take a little-used character with little personality and really enhance it with added depth that adds more dimension to the character.

But, with that said, again, I think the real main reason Marina's so popular with people is her moe quality, as we've even discussed on this very forum (and even have an entire thread about it), she's very cute in appearance and they designed her really nicely - I've noticed a few people out there saying they love how she dresses in an elegant and lady-like, almost old-timey fashion.
She and Prunella also really have good chemistry, and this episode helps develop their relationship. It also seems to allude that Prunella and Marina may be more than just friends. As Bellows says, "When you find what you really care about, be like the tiger--don't let anything keep you from it." Immediately after he says this, Prunella quits gymnastics. It's obviously not her passion. But then Marina has car trouble, and Prunella has a flashback to Bellow's words. It's at this point that she realizes that Marina is the thing she really cares about, and then helps Marina overcome her fears and get to practice on time. Prunella even emphasizes this by saying, "I found something I really cared about." It's a trust exercise for their friendship, and Prunella passes with flying colors.
Also don't forget even Marina added something to this: "Make a commitment to this!" There's so much out-of-context gold in that one line.
Wild Starry Moony wrote:I really like this guys writing. Hope he keeps writing in the future! The tardy tumbler, obviously one of the best weve had in awhile, and also the girl with the case of the long face, which i enjoyed very much. when watching it i almost felt like id gone back to some of the earlier seasons. not quite golden era, but close.

of course then i go back and WATCH older episodes and think "wow these are so much better" but hey, at least he almost got it back!
Like with Matt, having Ken Scarborough back has been wonderful as well, and although the episodes he's written so far have the feeling of classic Arthur to them, again my main problem with them is they seem to fall flat in the end. I think "Surprise" was a perfect example of this, as much of the episode is Francine and her friends plotting different ways Francine could spoil Catherine's party to get back at her for not inviting her, but the ending felt rushed with Francine deciding Catherine's made her feel like crap so many times and she didn't want her to feel that way so she didn't go through with any of it.

Salty wrote:
I think the animation is partly to blame. Good animation can carry a mediocre story, but stilted low budget animation puts limits on the story being told and is less visually engaging.
That's not always necessarily true: Rocky and Bullwinkle is considered one of the greatest animated series of all time, but it was very much a product of the late 50s and early 60s, where limited animation was not only embraced, but it was actually standard practice . . . not only that, Rocky and Bullwinkle was the first animated project that actually outsourced its animation, in this case, from a Mexican studio where the animators actually had very little to no experience in animation resulting in all kinds of flaws and goofs.

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Re: Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

Post by Salty on Thu Mar 03, 2016 8:34 pm

Marina is definitely designed to be a visually attractive character. Definitely more cute than the long-faced characters like Prunella or Ratburn, or Jenna--who with her human nose and stringy hair is just kind of a hot mess. Personally though, I find her characterization most appealing. She has dreams and goals and talents and it's afraid to stand up for herself. She also is pretty good at reading people, and isn't unnecessarily loud or abrasive like Ladonna.

Snowth Poogle wrote:
That's not always necessarily true: Rocky and Bullwinkle is considered one of the greatest animated series of all time, but it was very much a product of the late 50s and early 60s, where limited animation was not only embraced, but it was actually standard practice . . .
But by today's standards, with so much other competition out there and since the medium has advanced, a show like Rocky & Bullwinkle would not be considered very good. It's not memorable for it's quality so much as for the nostalgia factor. Even so, it's hand drawn, and even though stilted, the animation has some charm. Compare that to a new Arthur flash episode where the characters are shown in a medium or close-up shot, and make slight, unnatural (rather than flowing) movements every couple seconds to prevent them from being a static head with a moving mouth. In that regard, the new animation is almost Southpark-ish. But unlike Southpark, which began as paper cut-outs, Arthur originated with fluid and dynamic hand-drawn animation. I know anime does this a lot as well, but it's definitely a departure from the Disney style fluidity that western animation fans are familiar with.
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Re: Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

Post by MatthewHecht on Thu Mar 03, 2016 10:37 pm

I always thought third grade male dog number 2 was the background character with the best design.
http://arthur.wikia.com/wiki/3rd_Grade_Male_Dog_(Number_2)

    I really like his prison shirt for whatever reason.
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Re: Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

Post by Wild Starry Moony on Fri Mar 04, 2016 1:30 am

@Salty I completely agree with you about the character animation. in fact pretty much everyone agrees in that regard. Laughing

watching recent Arthur episodes is like playing an easy game of spot the mistake. every episode (and i mean EVERY episode, no exception) looks like a cartoon made playing around on the cartoon game at pbs.kids. I'm pretty sure the exec responsible cries into his/her pillow every night. And I still love the show. I just have no idea how the clusterfucking hell these episodes animation got past the editors to be put on television. the writing is... only half bad. recently there have been some pretty great suckerpunch episodes (the one this thread is about), and with any luck at all the team behind our favorite anthropomorphic cartoon will expand on that creative avenue, and possibly (s20) even be changing the animation process. now all we have to do is hope and pray to the almighty aardvark lord that the same team who brought us Ladonna somehow brings back a show that was in its heyday more than five years ago.



(honestly, ive typed this same paragraph so many times. by now I'm mostly just hoping that someone in marketing or something is reading this and taking it to heart (if you are WE LOVE YOU AND THANK YOU FOR CREATING WHAT YOU DO but here is some loving advice? Buster ))
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Re: Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

Post by pokemonlover731 on Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:01 pm

I really do hope the animation improves for season 20
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Re: Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

Post by Wild Starry Moony on Sat Mar 05, 2016 10:43 am

A Lotta Moms wrote:A very well-deserved win, too.  I agree about Tardy Tumbler being one of the best episodes the show has had over the course of the past few seasons.  It felt like it could have been straight out of one of the fabled Golden Era.  While I'm somewhat more accepting of the direction the show's gone in recent years than others, it could benefit from more episodes like this.  I can't entirely put my finger on what it was that made this episode so enjoyable; I suspect it was something about its simple and concise portrayal of a complicated interpersonal situation.  That might be the single aspect of the show that I've come to appreciate above all others.

But anyway, I think a majority of us are also in firm agreement about the need for a LGBT character, regardless of how like it is to actually happen in the near future.  A good point has been raised regarding it possibly becoming a reality at some point as our culture becomes more and more accepting.  While intolerance and discrimination still exist (and have been dealt with in our own backyard as recently as a few months ago), I think we've come a long way as a society since 2008.  

I think that the show has included a lot of subtle LGBT elements over the course of the past few years, as we often discuss in great detail here, and may be rapidly nearing the point of outing someone or introducing an entirely new LGBT character.  Some characters in the show, whether children or adults, bear so many hallmark traits that are common to LGBT stereotypes (for better or for worse), arriving at the conclusion is no hard task.  With younger characters, of course, there's always an element of speculation since they're still on the cusp of puberty, but I maintain that if it would be every bit as legitimate to portray a grade school student with a early-stage homosexual feelings as it has been to sparsely portray them with early-stage heterosexual feelings (Arthur and Sally, for instance).


I think there are really good ways for them to incorporate LGBT characters if they tried (and they already have Wink ), although they might have just have subtle hints for a couple more years until the conservative parents stop boycotting things, since that's where they get the majority of their views from. But they could do things like have gay couples in backgrounds or as a background characters parents, and slowly have speaking characters and main characters who make subtle references to being L, G, B, or T, and as our culture progresses, have them confirm it. It would be good for them to start laying the groundwork for incorporating LGBT characters, and actually do in a couple more years unless they grow some huge balls and fuck the haters. lol! although as we the slums have discovered, they've probably already been doing that for a long time. prunella   I love you    Marina
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Re: Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

Post by Salty on Sat Mar 05, 2016 7:29 pm

Great points, Wild Starry Moony and A Lotta Moms!

A Lotta Moms wrote:With younger characters, of course, there's always an element of speculation since they're still on the cusp of puberty, but I maintain that if it would be every bit as legitimate to portray a grade school student with a early-stage homosexual feelings as it has been to sparsely portray them with early-stage heterosexual feelings (Arthur and Sally, for instance).

I find it bizarre that people in this day and age still consider homosexuality and LGBT issues a "mature" subject that children under 13 can't understand, yet children as young as 3 or 4 are supposedly fully capable of understanding heterosexuality and normal gender roles. Meanwhile, I've seen many LGBT persons describe their feelings as manifesting between ages 4-10, which is right in the Arthur demographic, and any 6 year already knows what being gay means. To even insinuate that any discussion of homosexuality with young children must necessarily include a detailed tutorial of how to have sexual intercourse, or will somehow magically turn them gay, is ludicrous. There is literally no plausible reason for refusing to educate children on LGBT issues other than personal bigotry and prejudice. I sincerely hope that the writing team at Arthur will engage this issue on the show, but if not, I know there will be others.
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Re: Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

Post by Wild Starry Moony on Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:03 am

I entirely agree. Most adults, even ones who consider themselves pro-LGBT, are still uncomfortable with the idea of inclusion in kids shows. Some of them associate the adult connotations with being LGBT, even though a loving relationship between two people isn't actually something 'adult,' or needs to be in a kids show. Love is just love, and kids of all ages can usually get that pretty easily.
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Re: Matt Hoverman Acceptance Speech

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