For as long as I can remember, I have been a fan of Arthur. Yes, Arthur… The PBS Kids show about an anthropomorphic aardvark that is perpetually eight-years-old.
It all started back in high school when what was then Disney’s Doug was no longer being run in syndication, and I needed something to watch while I got ready in the morning. Split into two roughly 15-minute halves, Arthur was great for this. I found that if I ate breakfast during the first show and got ready during the second, I was out the door and at school in plenty of time. (Though pledge drives always messed me up!)
Then in college, it became a thing to watch in the afternoons after class. It was a quick way to decompress, and was a familiar touchstone in a somewhat unfamiliar land. Most of my friends chuckled at my routine at first, but more often than not, they admitted that they had seen the show every now and then, and watching Arthur quickly became a thing that we did together.
I lost touch with the show a bit in graduate school and when I first moved to Washington, as I didn’t have a television in most of my apartments, but when the Mysterious Mr. C and I moved in together and got a DVR, Arthur was one of the first things I added to our queue.
To be sure, the vast majority of the episodes we record are familiar to me, but there are some that I haven’t seen before. And when a new season started a couple of weeks ago, I was ridiculously excited – partly because it meant there would be even more new episodes to watch, and partly because it meant Arthur was still on the air!
Like many of the children’s shows that run on PBS, or just television in general, there are various lessons to be learned from each Arthur episode. While the tales are clearly geared towards a younger audience, I have found the morals to be good refreshers as an adult.
For instance, there are shows about not spreading yourself too thin, to be involved with a variety of activities that make you happy, but knowing that we all have limits that need to be understood and respected. Others remind us that our differences, such as our individual interests, religions, or even physical characteristics, are what make us unique and should be celebrated as such. And still more emphasize the importance of being yourself (an idea I wholeheartedly embrace), whether that’s the class brainiac, a ventriloquist, or a sports star.
So while I realize that, at 29, I am not in the show’s key demographic, I can firmly say no, I won’t grow up… I’m a PBS kid!