Arthur the Asshole

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Arthur the Asshole

Post by A Lotta Moms on Mon Nov 06, 2017 7:49 am

This is a topic I've been meaning to make for some time.  A lot of fans view Arthur's titular character as a nice guy, a good friend and an overall everyman "point-of-entry" to experience Elwood City through.  Having watched the entire series several times over, I honestly can't say I agree.  While giving a character flaws and failings can help to humanize them and make them more complex, I'd venture so far as to say that Arthur doesn't even qualify as a flawed hero.  He qualifies as an almost complete asshole, and in some of the worst possible ways.  As much as I love the show and do find him to be an interesting character in the same way I find Ted Bundy interesting, I certainly wouldn't want him as a friend, a classmate, a co-worker, or to be completely honest, within a 100-mile radius of me.

That said, this topic is dedicated to documenting the many ways in which Arthur is a complete asshole.  To start off...

Manipulative: In Besties, we see Arthur lie and manipulate both his best friend of several decades and another newfound friend (who'd done nothing but show him generosity in the past) into becoming near-bitter enemies.  Why?  Because he was jealous.  Jealous of what?  The fact that they were starting to become friends and enjoy time together.  Seriously, Arthur?  Can you imagine what a possessive nightmare this guy would be in a relationship?

Petty and Dishonest: In Arthur the Loser, we learn how Arthur compensates for his failures and shortcomings.  He learns how to cheat, and deceive those closest to him to stoke his bruised ego.  A bruised ego over what?  Over a game.  Not a failed exam.  Not flunking out of college.  Not over being dumped.  Over a stupid game.  The reason he stops doing it?  Because everyone was starting to hate him.  Not because he realized it was dishonest and disrespectful towards his closest friends who were playing fair, but because he didn't want HIS OWN image tarnished.

Sociopath: In Ungifted, Buster gives Arthur a very sentimental gift that meant a great deal to him.  The real value of this gift wasn't its monetary value, but the fact he meant enough as a friend to receive something of such great personal value.  To Arthur, however, all of this meant nothing.  He just as soon traded it away like it was cold, empty cash.  Would he have really made such an attempt to get it back if he Buster wasn't about to cut him out of his life over it?  Probably not.  I anticipate he'll probably continue to live his life just as oblivious to the sentiments of others, slugging off gifts that people put heart and soul into and selling or trading them off for money or whatever suits his fancy at the moment.

Mean-Spirited, Remorseless Son of a Bitch: In So Funny I Forgot to Laugh, here we have Arthur teasing Sue Ellen about an admittedly unusual looking sweater.  Sure, some degree of teasing and friendly jostling is natural among kids or relaxed friends who are able to laugh at themselves a little.  Sure, Sue Ellen isn't exactly the least uptight character in the series.  But Arthur goes way too far, even long after everyone else realizes what a complete asshole he's being.  And he just doesn't stop, even when it becomes apparent how badly Sue Ellen's feelings are getting hurt.  Okay, at this point maybe it might be wise to point out that hey, kids can be cruel and take jokes too far.  Fair enough.  But with Arthur, it doesn't end there.  It takes full-blown administrative action from Mr. Ratburn to "force" Arthur to write an apology letter.  What does he do?  He drafts a letter that more or less places the blame on Sue Ellen and away from himself, then photomangles a picture of her and proceeds to cyberbully.  It's only after a combination of administrative action, peer pressure, and social scorn that Arthur finally starts to figure out that maybe he did something wrong.  Even then, his final "heartfelt" apology is little more than a tit-for-tat conditional.  He'll only stop teasing her if she forgives him.  In other words, it's still her problem entirely and if she continues to take righteous offense to his callous actions, he'll just keep on treating her like shit.

I'm sure there's more, but I think I've had enough for one sitting.
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by Roabe on Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:58 am

Hey, having a show named after you can go to your head. Smile

For years I'd thought the Arthur we've seen in "Arthur Goes Crosswire" wasn't merely him acting like Muffy, but his true self in a nutshell. He just had Muffy as an easy excuse to get everyone to forgive him for being a dick. But other episodes have shown what a manipulative weasel he can be all on his own.

Edit: Oh yeah, adding to your list of examples of Arthur being a selfish sociopath: in "Arthur's Faraway Friend" he goes to great lengths trying to convince Buster that living in a hole in the ground is preferable to traveling around the world with his father. Like he doesn't even consider the treehouse or David's bakery in the garage as comfortable living spaces for Buster. A cold, wet, air-less hole in the ground!
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by Buster & Molly Lover on Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:49 pm

And he kept making fun of poor Sue Ellen for her sweater and he kept calling her a sheepdog, Which is stupid because she's a CAT! God Arthur can really be a Asshole sometimes! Sue Ellen pale
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by Jekyll Jekyll Hyde on Mon Nov 06, 2017 12:50 pm

Roabe wrote:Hey, having a show named after you can go to your head. Smile

For years I'd thought the Arthur we've seen in "Arthur Goes Crosswire" wasn't merely him acting like Muffy, but his true self in a nutshell. He just had Muffy as an easy excuse to get everyone to forgive him for being a dick. But other episodes have shown what a manipulative weasel he can be all on his own.

Edit: Oh yeah, adding to your list of examples of Arthur being a selfish sociopath: in "Arthur's Faraway Friend" he goes to great lengths trying to convince Buster that living in a hole in the ground is preferable to traveling around the world with his father. Like he doesn't even consider the treehouse or David's bakery in the garage as comfortable living spaces for Buster. A cold, wet, air-less hole in the ground!

Well, considering Buster's relationship with Jane, I wouldn't be sure how David would feel about Buster camping out in his primary living space...

Also Lotta, you forgot 'Arthur's Big Hit' but that one surprisingly seems minor compared to the others you listed (particularly 'Besties', where... yikes, let's just say that the writers have no idea how to use Arthur anymore). And also 'Arthur Sells Out', where he pretty much cons James without any qualms and is more willing to listen to Muffy than his best friend Buster (and also 'All Thumbs', where Arthur pretty much stalks Buster for the entire episode berating him for an (unestablished) mild habit. He's even more of a jerk than the other guy with the glasses).
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by ArthurFrancineFan on Mon Nov 06, 2017 1:56 pm

Well yes, all this ,"Arthur's a really great guy" crap is just that,crap.
Besties proved his jealous side and Arthur the loser showed hypocrisy since the class gangs up on Francine for the same thing in a later episode.
Mocking Sue Ellen repeatedly after he got picked on for his new glasses seems very unempathetic and cruel

It would appear that Arthur us jealous of Buster and his friendships and likability in comparison to his dishrag status.

He is interesting the way cult leaders are. Karesh, Jones and Applegate etc lol at the Ted Bundy comment. There are elements of sociopathy there for sure.

There are nicer male characters.
Binky's character evolves
George is sweet overall
Buster can be a little shit sometimes but only IF he's pushed or bullied. He doesn't go out of his way to hurt people.
I was actually appalled at Arthur's behavior in ungifted. The nerve, the ungrateful Muffy like swine of a bitch.
He basically does follow Muffys lead.
They could end up married lol what a disaster of epic proportions that would be.
Hes at stalker status already and he's only eight.
Don't give him a youwhotube channel. He'd be the most hated public figure on there
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by Jekyll Jekyll Hyde on Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:06 pm

ArthurFrancineFan wrote:
I was actually appalled at Arthur's behavior in ungifted. The nerve, the ungrateful Muffy like swine of a bitch.
He basically does follow Muffys lead.
They could end up married lol what a disaster of epic proportions that would be.
Hes at stalker status already and he's only eight.
Don't give him a youwhotube channel. He'd be the most hated public figure on there

Considering Arthur's on the Slums now, it would be better if he didn't meet Muffy here. Now that would be a disaster of epic proportions.

And another episode to add to the pile, "One Ornery Critter" where the audience is basically subjected to Arthur mercilessly irritating a clearly timid dog. What a jacka*.
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by ArthurFrancineFan on Mon Nov 06, 2017 2:23 pm

Arthur also has a bit of distain for Muffy and the feeling is mutual. I can't see them getting along too well for very long. Its likely to crash and burn after five minutes
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by Roabe on Mon Nov 06, 2017 3:47 pm

"Arthur follow Muffy's lead"

Does that mean Muffy is actually the lead character of the show???   Muffy
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by Muffy Crosswire on Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:11 pm

Roabe wrote:"Arthur follow Muffy's lead"

Does that mean Muffy is actually the lead character of the show???   Muffy

That's just common knowledge - the "big four" are the main characters but I've always lead, and had the better stories too tell.

In order it goes

Muffy
Francine
ARTHUR
Buster

But sexism doesn't allow a female name after the show. That's the only explanation. Matt Damon is the real frog.

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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by ArthurFrancineFan on Mon Nov 06, 2017 4:18 pm

OK I'm confused. Arthur gets capital letters?
I cannot believe I'm writing this but I agree, you are the main four.
Arthur
Francine
Buster
Muffy

Granted there may have been an element of sexism back in the 90s but I doubt it now. The female characters are strong, fiesty and fierce. The males are timid and weak. George is sweet, the most lovable on the show. Binky actually does have some backbone but the rest? They run from the girls
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by Snowth Poogle on Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:11 pm

I'm going to take a step in the opposite direction and suggest that these particular episodes are examples of when Arthur is written pretty much out of character. "So Funny I Forgot to Laugh" is a textbook example of what TV Tropes refers to as "OOC Is Serious Business" because there's no explanation for Arthur's behavior other than he was horribly, horribly out of character, which is certainly one of the reasons it's a universally panned episode.

Having not seen a majority of the others, the only other episode I can really comment on is "Arthur the Loser," and I'm not even sure I can agree with that being an example of him being an asshole . . . honestly, a lot of kids are like this: no kid likes losing at a game, so I can see why Arthur would stoop to the measures he did to prolong his winning streak, even if it was petty and dishonest. Heck, I threw a temper tantrum in Grade 1 because I lost a game of Mouse Hunt, because again, what kid likes to lose? THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW even did an episode about this where Opie becomes a sore loser for not winning a medal for a race at a town picnic; similarly, WIMZIE'S HOUSE did an episode where one of the kids (been so long I can't remember) was a sore winner much like Arthur was - it's just something that happens to kids from time to time.

On the subject of not appreciating a gift, I can't say Arthur is a sociopath for that: a lot of kids don't really understand what it means to hold sentimentality in something - remember, D.W. was initially callous about breaking Clarissa until David explained to her (through a series of flashbacks) how special she was to Thora. Likewise, FRANKLIN did a similar episode in which Franklin isn't very grateful for a handmade gift Bear gave him, which hurt his feelings; ROCKO'S MODERN LIFE even did such an episode where it lead to such a big blowup between Rocko and Heffer they went on a trashy talkshow to discuss it.

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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by A Lotta Moms on Mon Nov 06, 2017 9:48 pm

I'll contend that while some degree jealousy, frustration, and the temptation to cheat and tease others is common for children, Arthur's conduct goes far enough beyond the boundaries of what's normal for a decent kid, and has done so consistently enough, that it's more in-character for him than out-of-character, as pointed out in the above examples.  

It's not just that he felt bad about losing a game, it's that he took it so far he went on a cheating and swindling binge that only stopped because of external factors.  It wasn't just that he was a little jealous over Buster and Ladonna's budding friendship, it was the fact that he was so insanely jealous he went so far as to manipulate them both with insidious lies in a manner that was more akin to a Shakespearian villain than anything else.  Regarding D.W. lacking understanding of sentimental value, I could be more understanding of that given her comparatively younger age and the fact that she's a fairly screwed-up person anyway, but Arthur gets less of a pass.  Buster clearly understood the sentimental value of the gift, and unlike, say, Francine ditching the hand-me-down bike her dad got for her, there was no peer pressure or embarrassment that could have halfway justified it.  Arthur just gave no shits and really probably should have.  

In fact, it only gets worse for Arthur from here on out...(update in the works).
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by ArthurFrancineFan on Mon Nov 06, 2017 10:11 pm

Well yes, with Francine having a hand me down bike because for some unknown reason she's the only poor character in the show thats a main feature, Arthur rejected his best friends present he worked hard on.
Did Arthur need to relentlessly pick on Sue Ellen?
His jealously over Busters friendship with Ladonna was almost like a glimpse into the future... If Arthur is in a few relationships, I doubt they will last long if he gets upset over his spouse befriending anyone. Buster wasn't ditching Arthur, he's allowed more than one friend but in Arthur's mind it appears he can have his cake literally and eat it too but his friends can't????
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by A Lotta Moms on Mon Nov 06, 2017 11:20 pm

So many good points brought up in this thread so far, too.  And again, it's about to get worse...

Homicidal Jealousy: Let's examine Crushed.  Arthur has a crush on the older and probably intangible Sally, and discovers much to his dismay that she already has a boyfriend.  It's natural to feel jealous and upset under those circumstances, especially when you're that young and inexperienced.  It goes too far when Arthur starts to fantasize about Sally's boyfriend being killed in elaborate and terrible ways.  Was there any real rivalry or condescending behavior from Corey towards Arthur that could have instigated this?  No.  Did Arthur observe any shocking late night sexytime between the two of them that could have thrown his tender mind into a state of total irrationality?  No.  The truth of the matter is that Corey wasn't anything other than a friendly, amiable sort of guy.  All Arthur needed to know was that Corey was Sally's boyfriend, and that was enough for him to lust for the poor guy's horrible death.

Selfish Egomaniac: Okay, Frensky Family Fiasco.  We open with Francine proudly strutting down the street, and let's face it, it's about time someone else got the privilege.  Especially for a measly ONE episode that's centered exclusively around that character.  Was Francine trying to hijack the entire series?  Of course not.  Arthur's reaction?  He throws a complete fit, and won't share the limelight for a second.  I think this one has been touched on in previous posts too, but Arthur doesn't even deserve the titular role anymore since he's long since ceased to be the main character.  This is like a no-show, non-contributing heir showing up at a board meeting and trying to boss around all the people who actually work hard and run the company.  Despicable.

And yes, there's still more to come.
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by Kerry9Story on Tue Nov 07, 2017 8:07 am

he'll be killed soon i hope.
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by Wild Starry Moony on Tue Nov 07, 2017 11:10 am

All roads lead to rome, or in this case, all roads lead to bad writers.

arthur can obviously be a shit. this is shown even in the golden age. but he is a child, and he does have redeeming qualities. however in the nine story era it is obvious to me all characters are being written out of character.unless im mistaken, the majority of these examples of arthurs assholery are all from the more recent seasons. dont get me wrong, i have no special love for arthur, but i would not be so quick to assume the writers arent at fault here.

also hey guys Smile
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by A Lotta Moms on Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:02 pm

My gosh Wild Star, welcome back! You've been missed. Smile

Anyway, good points too since the writers are ultimately behind everything that transpires.  I think that, at the same time, given enough of a trend in writing over several seasons, it starts to become part of character canon...for better or for worse.
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by Buster & Molly Lover on Tue Nov 07, 2017 12:49 pm

He also kept weezing and clean Buster's room without his permission when they were study buddies. And butthole Arthur denied he was doing it and you could see Buster almost about to lose It! Mad
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by ArthurFrancineFan on Tue Nov 07, 2017 1:18 pm

Welcome back Lil SiS wildstar xxxx

Yes I mean who does that?cleans up someone else's room because he doesn't like the mess? That's the sort of thing my bitch of an Aunt does but I refuse to call her aunt since she has psychopathic tendencies.

Arthur has some very dark deep seeded issues. I'd say OCD is one of them and trying to control Buster for some reason
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by Muffy Crosswire on Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:00 am

He told everyone Francine looked like a marshmallow. That was Soo rude!
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by Kerry9Story on Wed Nov 08, 2017 5:32 am


^soon i hope.
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by ArthurFrancineFan on Wed Nov 08, 2017 1:32 pm

When did he say that about Francine? ack the nerve of him!!!
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by mike1 on Wed Nov 08, 2017 9:40 pm

he's not an A he's not that way
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by ArthurFrancineFan on Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:32 pm

Hes more of a B
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Re: Arthur the Asshole

Post by Roabe on Wed Nov 08, 2017 10:36 pm

Arthur the Butthole.
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