A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
Social-emotional lessons can be learned from each episode.
The series promotes positive relationships with friends and family, in addition to the importance of books and learning. Overall, the tone is fun and lighthearted, but the show also explores some complex social lessons, from the death of a pet to serious diseases like cancer.
Positive Role Models
The characters don't always model perfect behavior because they're all still growing up and learning (for example, kids can act selfish or bossy at times). Girls and boys are represented equally and often break gender stereotypes.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that despite the fun, lighthearted nature of Arthur, its social lessons (which cover a wide range of situations) are more complex and original than you'll find in most cartoons. Children of any age can watch alone, but those 5 and over will understand the stories best. The show explores the challenges of sibling relationships through Arthur and his sister DW. It's worth noting that sometimes their arguments can be a little too true-to-life (i.e., loud and whiny).
Is It Any Good?
Just as Arthur is a smart boy with lots of playful energy, the show is both educational and lighthearted, weaving themes in so well that they seem to result from -- rather than instigate -- the story. Viewers of Arthur will find demonstrations of solving problems creatively, appreciating differences, and other lessons on display. Situations resolve creatively rather than predictably. In one episode, for example, Arthur's smart friend, Brain, refuses to go to a birthday party at a water park, and the kids get mad and accuse him of being stuck up. Arthur is torn between sticking by his friend and sticking with the group. Rather than choosing sides, he investigates and figures out that Brain has a fear of water. Brain doesn't get over his fear of water -- instead, the episode helps viewers see that it's okay to be afraid of something and admit to your fears.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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