What would you say is the worst season of the show?

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What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by Jekyll Jekyll Hyde on Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:11 am

A show as great as Arthur has few missteps, but even then, everyone most likely has that one season they just don't find as enjoyable as the others. In some cases, this can even refer to multiple seasons, depending on one's tastes.

For this potion-addled enigma, seasons 15 and 16 are the worst seasons thus far, mainly because both feel very bland and 'lazy' at times, lacking the effortless spark of seasons 1-4 almost entirely and seeming very bareboned and uninspired by comparison. For a quick briefing of my thoughts:
The only episode of season 15 I would consider worth watching again is 'Muffy's Classy Classics Club'. While flawed in several aspects and sort of blandly written, Muffy was in-character and parts of the episodes actually felt a little inspired (the inaccurate but amusing American Girl lampoon, although I'm surprised they forgot to acknowledge the absurdly high price of said toyline). I also enjoyed 'Buster's Secret Admirer' for Buster's characterization (it felt closer to earlier seasons than some of his other appearances around this time) but the admirer being his mother felt sort of anticlimactic, despite it being a nice idea.
Other than those two, I would cite my main issues with season 15 as being an uncharacteristically mean-spirited tone in several episodes ('To Eat or Not to Eat', which actually had some nice Buster character development, was dragged down heavily by this as was 'The Last King of Lambland' , while 'Best Enemies' and 'Through the Looking Glasses' are dominated by this tone, which drags them into my bottom 20 of the show) and a lack of flavour or compelling characterization ('Prunella the Packrat' had Buster act uncharacteristically angelic, which robbed him of much of his earlier nuance that made him a character, while the vast majority of other episodes such as 'Cents-less' or 'S.W.E.A.T' felt extremely weak and uneventful with very few gags or plot elements to distinguish themselves from the 175 episodes before them).
Season 16 I feel was better (because I could at least remember something about every episode) but it still suffered heavily. Much of the season was plagued by bad episodes (albeit a more interesting breed of bad than in seasons 9-15), most disappointingly the one and only Ladonna Compson's introductory episodes, Ladonna herself was not well integrated into the cast ('Based on a True Story' promised her integration into full-time Elwood City Kid (TM) before the rest of the season was largely Ladonna-free (save for a few anomalies such as 'Fern and the Case of the Stolen Story') which presumably shed a weird light on her role in the show going forward) and the animation was abysmal, but at least we got 'The Last Tough Customer' (the best episode of the show since 'April 9th', an impressive achievement considering that they aired a little over a decade apart) and the gradual return of some of the season 1-4 style humour slowly began with a quick gag in 'Baby Steps'. Unfortunately, this could not save the season from mediocrity and an overabundance of clichés and missteps.

Anyone else prepared to give their thoughts?
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by Snowth Poogle on Thu Oct 26, 2017 12:58 am

Seasons 5, 6, 9-15, and 18-present.

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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by Mr. Eight-Three-One on Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:23 am

5 was definitely the first dud season. Way too many dull and uninteresting plots, some feeling so ridiculously forced. It doesn't have a lot of episodes that are particularly painful to sit through, but the season as a whole is just bad in general and honestly not worth your time. 6 was a small improvement, at least enough of one that I don't usually consider it bad, but I know other people have their disdain for it.

Of the Cookie Jar seasons (9-15), I actually enjoyed Season 10 quite a bit. The rest are pretty hit and miss, but 14 and 15 are easily my least favorite (which is just as well, they're actually the same production season). The only positive I have to say about 14 was the El Boomerang arc, and even that was mildly interesting at best. The rest of it is just dull and painful, and the one special episode we got out of it (Fifteen) got destroyed by a dumb talking baby and pet subplot. And don't even get me started on "In My Africa", ugh.

Those are definitely my worst. I could sit here nitpicking a lot of the others, but generally 5 and 14-15 come to my mind when I think about the hardest ones to make it through.
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by Jekyll Jekyll Hyde on Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:50 am

Mr. Eight-Three-One wrote:5 was definitely the first dud season. Way too many dull and uninteresting plots, some feeling so ridiculously forced. It doesn't have a lot of episodes that are particularly painful to sit through, but the season as a whole is just bad in general and honestly not worth your time. 6 was a small improvement, at least enough of one that I don't usually consider it bad, but I know other people have their disdain for it.

Of the Cookie Jar seasons (9-15), I actually enjoyed Season 10 quite a bit. The rest are pretty hit and miss, but 14 and 15 are easily my least favorite (which is just as well, they're actually the same production season). The only positive I have to say about 14 was the El Boomerang arc, and even that was mildly interesting at best. The rest of it is just dull and painful, and the one special episode we got out of it (Fifteen) got destroyed by a dumb talking baby and pet subplot. And don't even get me started on "In My Africa", ugh.

Those are definitely my worst. I could sit here nitpicking a lot of the others, but generally 5 and 14-15 come to my mind when I think about the hardest ones to make it through.

I also found myself enjoying Season 10 more than I expected. It's the last season of the show I would consider solid before the show's seasonal rot began to kick in with season 11. Some of the episodes were forgettable ('Arthur Changes Gears') but there were also several winners ('Happy Anniversary', 'The Squirrels', 'Flaw and Order', 'Family Fortune'), no Pal/Kate episodes and only one real dud ('The Secret About Secrets', courtesy of Elwood mastermind Dietrich Smith).

Season 14 is my third least-favourite season, but it had a few good episodes ('Tales of Grotesquely Grim Bunny', 'All the Rage') that I found at least passable, and the El Boomerang subplot was unique to the show at the time (and still is). Season 15 had only two episodes that were even okay, the rest were disappointingly blah.
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by ArthurFrancineFan on Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:52 am

Season 15 yes. The "In my Africa" tragedy was painful. Kate being able to talk to Pal pissed most fans off and its just stupid.
Oh that frickin ball going across the world really annoyed me, Im not sure why but it did. Francine and Molina blah blah blah and Mac Frensky, I wont start on that as it angers me.
The season Ladonna appears to add another character for characters sake was just unneeded and frustrating, plus the pathological lying was pathetic and then Carl too. How many retards does Arthur need?
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by Jekyll Jekyll Hyde on Fri Oct 27, 2017 12:16 pm

ArthurFrancineFan wrote:Season 15 yes. The "In my Africa" tragedy was painful. Kate being able to talk to Pal pissed most fans off and its just stupid.
Oh that frickin ball going across the world really annoyed me, Im not sure why but it did. Francine and Molina blah blah blah and Mac Frensky, I wont start on that as it angers me.
The season Ladonna appears to add another character for characters sake was just unneeded and frustrating, plus the pathological lying was pathetic and then Carl too. How many retards does Arthur need?

I honestly feel Carl is a complete waste of potential. Instead of taking the time to gradually develop a well-rounded, realistic character out of him, it feels as if the writers read the PBS Kids mandate for an autistic character, watched an autistic kid for five minutes at a therapy session, then wrote Carl's introductory episode. He feels paper-thin (and detracts time that should be devoted to more deserving characters, such as Alex, Maria and GODDESS OF THE WOOL Mary) and his episode are painfully one-sided ('Carl's Concerto' is the worst example, where Carl, as always, learns squat from the experience and the episode implies that he is always in the right for disrupting production of the show because he's autistic (isn't that why autistic kids go to therapy though? Shouldn't Carl also mutually try to learn to live around people to make his episode less one-sided and him less of a selfish jerk?) Now THAT is how to screw up political correctness).

Ladonna was a pain when she was first introduced, and, from what I remember during my Elwood City Central-lurking days back during Season 16's original run, many users thought so as well. The issue was that the season never really established why they were adding Ladonna anyway, and her random lengthy disappearances during the season when her introductory episode (ironically one of the worst of an already-dire season) hyped her up as the newest main cast member added salt to the wound.

The El Boomerang arc, while interesting, also suffered from being rushed (it began over halfway through a season of only 20 11-minute  segments and felt painfully shoehorned into most of them) and the ridiculous situations the ball was subject to (it is was in orbit in 'Buster Spaces Out', why wasn't it incinerated upon re-entry in the cold opening to 'The Long Road Home'?). Still, at least the arc was something in a dull, unimpressive season, and I appreciate it for being that.
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by ZeGermanArthurFan on Fri Oct 27, 2017 1:38 pm

Jekyll Jekyll Hyde wrote: GODDESS OF THE WOOL Mary
Okay that's funny! Very Happy

I have this thing with Season 6. Every time I watch it or see pics of it, this strange feeling won't let go of me. A deeply emotional feeling that says "things have changed, but we continue our lives"
Must be because it premiered barely two weeks after 9/11.
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by Mr. Eight-Three-One on Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:49 pm

I haven't seen Carl's Concerto yet (still gotta make it through seasons 18 and 19 before I've seen every episode), but yeah, I would agree that he's way too paper-thin. I actually kinda liked his introductory episode, but I was expecting him to develop a bit more as time went on. Instead, they try too hard to justify his bad behavior with his Asperger's, which anyone who ever grew up with AS knows that you still have rules to stick to just like everyone else. While it sucks that it doesn't come as naturally to you, you still have to learn to adapt, and his introductory episode even touched on this! I grew up with Asperger's too and really wanted to like Carl, but his inclusion just feels so forced and shoehorned. And what really amazes me is that there are grownups who applaud his inclusion, making me think they didn't even bother to watch any of the episodes he's in.

Season 6 I give a pass for being marginally better than 5 (come on, don't tell me you didn't laugh at the end of "Best of the Nest"), though it definitely committed some crimes. By far the worst thing was the fact that it has the weight of introducing the talking baby and pet episodes (most people agree "The Secret Life..." was entertaining and would have been passable had it been a one-time deal, but making them a recurring feature was a mistake on monumental levels), but there were other stinkers in there like "More!" and "Brother, Can You Spare a Clarinet?" And some were just dumb, like "Crushed" and "Buster's Sweet Success". Still, I give it credit for having at least one or two passable episodes, where 5 just kinda seems to be bad all the through.
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by ZeGermanArthurFan on Fri Oct 27, 2017 2:51 pm

I hated "More!" It was basically all the main characters being grumpy, no jokes or a smile whatsoever.
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by Mr. Eight-Three-One on Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:07 pm

To me, "More!" just felt like a giant Flanderization of D.W., similar to a level that "D.W.'s Very Bad Mood" brought us. She gets super nosy and into everyone's businesses, and acts insufferably ungrateful. Why in the world was she so bent on knowing everyone's allowances? What the heck do kids as young as her even buy? The only thing I remotely even laughed at during the episode's run was everyone wondering why D.W. was so nosy about everyone's allowances, then Buster asking exactly about that after she left the room.
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by Jekyll Jekyll Hyde on Fri Oct 27, 2017 3:38 pm

ZeGermanArthurFan wrote:I hated "More!" It was basically all the main characters being grumpy, no jokes or a smile whatsoever.

That's the issue with nearly all of Dietrich Smith's post-season 5 work. See other atrocities such as 'Buster Gets Real', 'On This Spot' and 'All Thumbs' for the nadir of this issue.

'More!' itself is a bad episode (probably one of the worst episodes of the Cinar era) and fits unfortunately with season 6's trend of transitioning from the 'old' (the Fallon era, Michael Yarmush voicing Arthur, Mr. Sippel, no Marina, Pal and Kate being silent, amazing comedy) to the 'new' (you can probably guess) Arthur. Season 7, and to a lesser extent season 8, were still good seasons, but they felt markedly different from the first four seasons due to the shift in tone finalized by season 6. It's probably the most transitional season the show has seen, and agreeably it's pretty hit-and-miss as a result. Airing weeks after 9/11 obviously couldn't have benefitted it either.
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by ArthurFrancineFan on Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:26 pm

Yes it seems Carl has little to no character development whatsoever. The others have gone into their back stories and changed mostly for the better but Carl appears to be this sympathy blanket for Autism without really being given a decent story or cause. Its as though the team said "let's throw in an autistic kid" and they left it at that.
Heck even Ladonna develops character and on the whole is a nice character, she just irks a lot of people due to her lack of reasoning yet again for being there.
Can they not focus more on the background characters from the early seasons and leave out throwing new ones in?
Marina, Alex and Maria deserve more episodes. Yes Prunella and Marina are besties and Marina is a pretty sweet girl and doesn't let her blindness define who she is. Unlike Carl she isn't going around hating noise and saying "I have a disability" every time which isn't much.
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by Jekyll Jekyll Hyde on Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:54 pm

ArthurFrancineFan wrote:
Can they not focus more on the background characters from the early seasons and leave out throwing new ones in?
Marina, Alex and Maria deserve more episodes. Yes Prunella and Marina are besties and Marina is a pretty sweet girl and doesn't let her blindness define who she is. Unlike Carl she isn't going around hating noise and saying "I have a disability" every time which isn't much.  

That's the major advantage Marina has over Carl. She can be given focus for her disability, but it doesn't define her character, and she knows it (the majority of Marina's episodes actually revolved around her averting this issue), which gives the sense that she was a character created more out of a creative decision instead of a clearly mandated one as Carl is. I understand Carl is kind of a different animal (both literally and metaphorically) as his condition is mental (characterization is a mental construct) and not physical as with Marina's, but they truly did fall flat with his portrayal and it's a crying shame they did. How can the show actually decrease the quality of its minority depictions over seven seasons? Wouldn't the more logical progression involve Carl as an even stronger minority representation? But of course, seasonal rot.

Maria has her focus episode now, but they need to provide focus episodes for Alex (he had better be the class bunny in future) and various other background characters - the writing team are conspicuously running dry on material for the main cast by this point (they're completely lost with Arthur himself, Buster is now typically just an extraterrestrial fetishist (his love for aliens has been ridiculously exaggerated since around the beginning of the 9 Story era), Francine only has sports-related focus episodes now and has almost been completely neglected, Muffy is now a vehicle for the writers to protest use of modern technology, Brain barely does anything anymore and Binky's reformation arc has been complete for almost a decade now, which again gives him nothing to actually do) and it would be neat to see them work with new personas. Maybe write an episode centered on Mrs. Sweetwater/Miss Fink's class(es) and their daily exploits for a fresh perspective. Anything over another tedious Pal and Kate farce.
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by ArthurFrancineFan on Fri Oct 27, 2017 4:59 pm

Yes I agree. Arthur pretty much observes and asks questions now.
Muffy promotes what's wrong with the youth of today
Francine plays sports..and?anything else? Nope
Buster and the damn aliens ....
DW is at preschool woohoo
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by Jekyll Jekyll Hyde on Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:13 pm

ArthurFrancineFan wrote:Yes I agree. Arthur pretty much observes and asks questions now.
Muffy promotes what's wrong with the youth of today
Francine plays sports..and?anything else? Nope
Buster and the damn aliens ....
DW is at preschool woohoo

The preschool episodes seem to become staler with every season. They were cute at first, back when they actually focused more on D.W, but some of the more recent installments have felt increasingly disconnected from the show's typical tone.

Arthur really does do virtually nothing now. He lost a good chunk of characterization when the production team lost Michael Yarmush as Arthur's VA. He brought this fun and inquisitive but mature and big brother-ish quality to Arthur which gave what could have been a bland straight man character a ton of various layers. Because none of the subsequent voice actors for Arthur (save for maybe Mark Rendall) have been able to carry Arthur's personality in this way, and because the writing team are aware of this, Arthur has pretty much evolved into little more than a loaf of docile white bread with glasses over the past 17 years.

And Francine honestly must have swallowed some of that potion of mine. 'Flippity Francine' depicts her as not desiring attention... wait, WHAT? Wasn't she always seeking attention back in the Fallon era? Much of Francine's close family ties and internal sweetness ('Stolen Bike' in particular, although we got 'Surprise!' recently, I guess) have also faded over the years until only a generic competitive tomboy remains. Francine is no longer the multifaceted and nuanced character from bygone seasons - she's now just a tool for more sports-related episodes.
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by ArthurFrancineFan on Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:17 pm

Yeah I miss the episodes where Francine's nice side showed. When she invited DW to her birthday and did projects with Arthur etc. She would realize when she was being a bitch and end up apologizing, amidst floods of tears but its preferable to the sport sport sport sport...
What about an episode like the treehouse one?
Or one where the core four sit on the grass together and talk about the years that have been and what may lay ahead in the future?
I always enjoyed watching Arthur, Francine, Buster and Muffy together as a group. The depictions of the future episodes too, they were all still friends.
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by ZeGermanArthurFan on Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:23 pm

On the plus side, DW has lost a vast amount of her bitchiness ever since the flash era. Now she is more often on Arthur's side, helps him and accepts his help.
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by Jekyll Jekyll Hyde on Fri Oct 27, 2017 5:26 pm

ArthurFrancineFan wrote:Yeah I miss the episodes where Francine's nice side showed. When she invited DW to her birthday and did projects with Arthur etc. She would realize when she was being a bitch and end up apologizing, amidst floods of tears but its preferable to the sport sport sport sport...
What about an episode like the treehouse one?
Or one where the core four sit on the grass together and talk about the years that have been and what may lay ahead in the future?
I always enjoyed watching Arthur, Francine, Buster and Muffy together as a group. The future episodes too, they were all still friends.

I always wondered if the finale for the show should be similar to the ending of 'The Contest', where Arthur and co. are sitting in the treehouse on the day before they leave Lakewood Elementary for middle school and reminisce about the events of past episodes, before all walking into the sunset while a power ballad rendition of the theme song plays.

What frustrates me about the recent Francine episodes is that they also seem to have a weird fondness for placing her in the moral wrong for the sake of it. In her upcoming episode, the plot summary sounds like an atypical example of this - Francine is portrayed as uncharacteristically competitive and unsympathetic (because nowadays tomboys apparently can't be sympathetic in media - just look at Buttercup from the PPG reboot) for the sake of sports. It feels extremely cheap on the part of the writers and makes it painfully obvious that they have virtually no ideas left for Francine, to the point where they have to lower her and force her out-of-character to manufacture more conflict.

On a side note, I always found that Francine's little talk with D.W in 'Very Bad Mood' was the highlight of an otherwise sub-par episode - it showed a neat 'big sister' side to Francine (noticeably drawing parallels with Arthur's role towards other characters at the time - the episode seems to be aware of this) and displayed her various layers of characterization to the audience.

ZeGermanArthurFan wrote:On the plus side, DW has lost a vast amount of her bitchiness ever since the flash era. Now she is more often on Arthur's side, helps him and accepts his help.

I wonder how the writers considered this. Honestly, I wouldn't be sure if we're witnessing a case of character derailment (D.W, while she could go overboard at times, was a tour de force of a preschooler back in the Fallon era yet was surprisingly complex despite this), character development (which is definitely a positive, as several episodes following the end of the Fallon era flopped in portraying D.W in her original personality ('More!' in particular) - I would honestly prefer a nicer D.W to the jerka* we had in 'More!') or censorship. D.W's mellowing to me varies depending on the episode - sometimes, it's a nice change and an aversion to some potentially disastrous/mean-spirited scenes, but at other times it feels as if she's merely a shadow of her former eccentric self.
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by Roabe on Fri Oct 27, 2017 6:53 pm

I'm glad I'm not the only one to have noticed Francine being reduced to a one-note character as of late. It's like they took most of her quirks and gave them to Ladonna, leaving her with barely anything. Ladonna seems to have stolen Francine's usual role in a lot of the recent episodes too, especially ones where Arthur is the protagonist. Arthur has a problem, he goes to Ladonna for advice rather than Francine. One more reason to dislike Ladonna, I guess.
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by ArthurFrancineFan on Fri Oct 27, 2017 7:44 pm

Yes that hick is taking over which sucks. Francine was Arthur's best friend who was s girl and its kind of been washed over now new writers have taken over Sad
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by Jekyll Jekyll Hyde on Sat Oct 28, 2017 12:58 am

Roabe wrote:I'm glad I'm not the only one to have noticed Francine being reduced to a one-note character as of late. It's like they took most of her quirks and gave them to Ladonna, leaving her with barely anything. Ladonna seems to have stolen Francine's usual role in a lot of the recent episodes too, especially ones where Arthur is the protagonist. Arthur has a problem, he goes to Ladonna for advice rather than Francine. One more reason to dislike Ladonna, I guess.

Now that I consider it, this is exactly the problem. Ladonna is now screwing up the show's character dynamic more than ever when she honestly never needed to be added anyway (five seasons after her introduction and we're still waiting for the show to justify why exactly they added her anyway) and unlike Francine, who was a character with numerous layers of complexity from her very first appearance, Ladonna's characterization has seldom extended past her accent and excitably, so to prop her up, the writers having increasingly been reducing Francine's role to an unsympathetic and overly competitive tomboy. There's something mildly nefarious behind all of this, and it would be neat to see an episode where Ladonna goes on vacation and Arthur and Francine need to reconnect in response to this.
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by ArthurFrancineFan on Sat Oct 28, 2017 1:06 am

Completely agree with your statement.
Are the writers phasing out Francine? Ladonna never needed to be there in the first place, her accent is stereotypical of a "Southerner" without any real character back story or development. I'm saddened they've halted any more development in Francine aside from her interaction with George occasionally. Muffy isn't much more than a puppet for spoiled children and Busters literally gone down the rabbit hole

Ladonna and Carl and a talking dog are ruining the show. I see why so many older fans don't bother with the newer seasons, we rarely see Brain, George or Sue and Fern. Ladonna is taking over
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by Jekyll Jekyll Hyde on Fri Nov 03, 2017 6:19 pm

ArthurFrancineFan wrote:
Ladonna and Carl and a talking dog are ruining the show.

That's an awfully harsh thing to say about Fern Walters Razz .
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by ArthurFrancineFan on Fri Nov 03, 2017 7:49 pm

Lol yeah damn Fern haha.
Pal Darling is who I meant
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

Post by MatthewHecht on Fri Nov 10, 2017 10:32 am

I marathoned the show two years ago. Season 16 was by far the worse. I think it was eight episodes I declared to be worse than anything in seasons 1-15. The callbacks are inaccurate, the expressions are too over the top for realistic fiction, yet too mild to be funny, the acting is bad, the characters are out of character and horribly boring except for Ed Crosswire, Molly, and Buster, the writing is atrocious. When rewatching it I was completely convinced the creators were trying to get the show canceled so they could move on, and they gave up half way through season 17 an then made good episodes again.
Early on Season 5 was the worst mostly due to them still recovering from losing the top two writers, and Binky was the only consistently good part.
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Join date : 2015-06-05
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Re: What would you say is the worst season of the show?

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