By Maeve Bunga
Learn to laugh at yourself
Episode: Revenge of the Chip
When D.W. and Binky each eat a green potato chip and are tricked into thinking they are poisonous, they decide to live every day like their last. After being informed that the chips are, in fact, perfectly safe, D.W. suffers from the embarrassment of her story being spread. When she finds out her mom has been telling people what happened, she feels betrayed. Binky goes on a show called “You Do The Most Embarrassing Things”, where he tells his story with a ballet performance. Binky’s friends go to the taping of the show to support him, laughing with him and cheering him on. This teaches D.W. that we all do embarrassing things, and it’s good to be able to laugh at yourself sometimes.
Don’t fear the unknown
Episode: Sue Ellen Moves In
Arthur and Buster look into a house through the windows, trying to figure out who their new neighbors are. Suspicious of the new girl, Sue Ellen, they theorize she is an art thief on the run, or an alien from outer space. Buster’s mom interviews the family for the local paper and invites them over for dinner. After hearing about their life and travels all over the world, Buster and Arthur change their stance on Sue Ellen. It’s not uncommon for adults to fear the unknown—let alone kids—and this episode is a helpful lesson in accepting and learning about new things and people, rather than rejecting them out of fear.
Put yourself in someone else’s shoes
Episode: Poor Muffy
Muffy discovers she is allergic to the carpet in her house and has to stay with Francine while it is removed. While there, she misses all the luxuries of her upper-class lifestyle. She is baffled by everything in Francine’s life like her two-bedroom apartment, and her leftovers for dinner. She doesn’t understand why Francine’s dad doesn’t have a job where he makes more money, and when she questions him about this he tells her he likes his life and appreciates the time his job allows him to spend with his family. She leaves, but reflects on how much fun Francine and her family are, and returns for one more night with her best friend. This is a common theme in Muffy and Francine’s story line. As unlikely friends from different financial backgrounds, their friendship takes a lot of openness and respect.
Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not
Episode: World’s Greatest Gleeper
Buster tells the tough kids that Arthur is great at stealing. Arthur is welcomed into the ‘Tough Customers’, and gains a bad reputation. Some of his friends even start to believe it. When Mr. Haney gives Arthur a warning, his lack of punishment makes the group suspicious. They tell Arthur to steal the ice cream bars from the cafeteria in order to prove his thieving ability. Arthur gets caught and decides to come clean, resulting in his immediate rejection from the group. This episode demonstrates the slippery slope that comes with lying to look cool. Who knows, maybe Arthur could’ve been stealing cars by now.