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"Arthur's Perfect Christmas"
Original Airdate: United States September 12, 2000 (home video)
November 23, 2000 (television)[1][2]
Canada December 19, 2000
United Kingdom December 24, 2000[3]
Australia December 19, 2001
Israel December 13, 2004
South Korea December 3, 2007
Germany December 31, 2016
Credits
Written by: Marc Brown (original)
Peter K. Hirsch (adapted)
Storyboard by: Eric Bergeron
Marie Blanchard
Angus Bungay
Mario Cabrera
Gerry Capelle
Emmanuelle Gignac
Stéfanie Gignac
Lyndon Ruddy
Nick Vallinakis
Robert Yap
Episodes
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Read transcript

Arthur's Perfect Christmas is an hour-long Arthur special that first aired on November 23, 2000.[4][5] It has since been released on home videos.

Summary

While the residents of Elwood City get ready for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and even "Baxter Day," they want their holiday celebrations to be perfect—but just what does that mean?

Plot

The special opens with scenes of Elwood City citizens busy preparing for Christmas, while Pachelbel's Canon is played in the background on piano. Arthur then sings the first of many of the special's musical numbers, "Perfect Christmas," in which he lays out his list of the things he wants in the upcoming Christmas: his pajamas change into dress clothes as well.

  1. A large amount of snow
  2. An amazing dinner-turkey and the whole works
  3. A spectacular Christmas tree—most importantly, one without tinsel
  4. Everyone will love the presents he gets for them.

However, matters do not always work out quite as Arthur wanted it to. As the special progresses, a number of other storylines are revealed.

Arthur makes sure he gets some great gifts for his parents, including the same glass bird belonging to his mother that he broke over the summer. He wraps it up and puts it under the tree. When Arthur's Uncle Fred comes to stay, his dog gets a hold of the bird, resulting in a chase; Arthur decides to put it in the linen closet. Sadly though, when he attempts to get the bird from the closet to give to Jane, the box falls, and he unwraps it to find the bird has been broken. Thankfully, Uncle Fred replaces his name on one of his gifts for Jane, signing it off as Arthur's gift. He later tells Arthur that the gift "was a whole lot nicer coming from [Arthur]."

D.W. wants Santa to bring her a new toy called "Tina the Talking Tabby" for Christmas, but Jane is unable to find it at the mall while shopping for presents with Arthur. So, on Christmas morning, D.W. gets a toy duck called Quackers instead, and she tearfully throws a big temper-tantrum. However, she soon changes her mind and finally takes a liking to the duck after it can talk and sing.

Uncle Fred is going on a trip to Florida, but his truck just so happens to break down in Elwood City on the way there. So for the meantime, he and his dog, Rory, are staying at the Reads' for Christmas. Eventually, on Christmas Day, the truck is fixed, and Fred and Rory are able to go on their trip after all.

The timing of Francine's family's celebration of Hanukkah conflicts with that of Muffy's "holiday extravaganza," which will cause Francine to miss the party. Unfortunately, Francine's exclamation falls on deaf ears for Muffy, who still thinks she's coming. It isn't until the night of Muffy's party when she learns that Francine didn't come and yells at her on the phone. When Muffy exclaims that Hanukkah is not as important as Christmas, Francine feels offended because she is Jewish, and yells, "Well, it is to me!" She stops speaking to and calling Muffy. Eventually, Francine shows Muffy how important Hanukkah can be, and they make up.

Ever since Buster's parents got divorced, Christmas has been a difficult time for him and his mother. She wakes him up early on the days before Christmas and makes him pancakes, thinking that it is Christmas Day. Then he has to say to her that it is not Christmas yet. At Muffy's party, Arthur and Brain suggest that he create his own holiday, Baxter Day. Buster is not certain, but he agrees to give it a try.

Every Christmas, Binky volunteers at a homeless shelter with his parents, and this year, he is trying to bake something special to bring. However, he is forgetting some things in every recipe, like not removing the shells of the pecans when he makes pecan pie, not peeling the bananas when he makes banana bread and not adding sugar when he makes brownies.

Meanwhile, Brain's family is celebrating Kwanzaa.

George's family is revealed to be Swedish and they celebrate Saint Lucia Day.

At the end, things do not work out quite as everybody may have hoped they would, but it seems to be for the better (it even starts to snow, which Arthur had been hoping to have for Christmas.) Arthur wishes the audience a happy holiday, and tells D.W. to turn off her new toy "Quackers", which is singing "Quick, quack, quaddy-quack".

Characters

Major

Minor

Cameo

Songs

  1. "Perfect Christmas" (by Arthur and his family)
  2. "Sankta Lucia" (by Swedish singers in a flashback)
  3. "Boogie Woogie Christmas" (Rock and roll song by The Squabs)
  4. "Baxter Day" (by Buster)
  5. "What's the Use of Presents?" (by Muffy, with Arthur on soundtrack version)
  6. "Nur är det jul igen" (by George and the Lundgren family)
  7. "Perfect Christmas" (Reprise) (by Arthur)

In Other Languages

Language Name Meaning
Romanian Craciunul Perfect a lui Arthur Arthur's Perfect Christmas

Trivia

  • Two versions were aired on PBS: an uncut version aired during prime time on the original Thanksgiving Day airing and an edited version aired during a pledge drive.
  • This special premiered four days prior to the conclusion of Season 5.
  • This is the only TV special (not counting "Arthur's New Friend", which was released on VHS) in which Michael Yarmush voices Arthur as a child. He would be replaced by Justin Bradley (Mark Rendall in the U.S. redub) beginning in the Season 6 premiere episode. However, Yarmush would return to portray Arthur as an adult in the series finale, "All Grown Up."
    • This is also the only TV special for Ricky Mabe to voice Timmy Tibble.
  • After D.W. walks in on Arthur and laughs, stock audio by Michael Caloz is used.
  • There is a stocking with the name "Chip" hanging in Muffy's house. This is the first time Chip, Muffy's older brother, is acknowledged in the TV show.
  • Starting in the 2010s, during the final chorus of "Baxter Day," the word "baby" is muted from Buster's vocal track. However, the original transcript is still used in the closed captioning.
  • The plot of this special is completely different from the original Christmas-themed book, Arthur's Christmas, published in 1984.
  • The companion book version of the special includes some differences:
    • In the book, Arthur's coat is brown but in the cartoon, it is green.
    • In the book, Arthur was thinking about all the things he wanted to make Christmas perfect, but in the cartoon, he sings about it.
    • In the book, Christmas was on Wednesday when Buster showed his mom the calendar, but in the cartoon, Christmas is on Monday when Buster shows his mom the calendar.
    • In the book, it was snowing when Arthur came back outside later that night. In the cartoon, it starts to snow when Arthur and his family are heading back inside after saying goodbye to Uncle Fred and Grandpa Dave.
    • The book started off with Arthur thinking about the perfect Christmas, while the cartoon version starts off with Elwood City getting ready for Christmas with Arthur's piano music playing in the background.
    • During D.W.'s tantrum about not getting Tina the Talking Tabby, she angrily stomps around the room as she shouts. In the cartoon, D.W. just kicks her legs and bangs her fists lying on the floor in a stereotypical temper tantrum fashion. Additionally, Quackers comes in his own retail packaging with a clear plastic window on the front, while in the cartoon version, Quackers has no packaging aside from the gift box he's placed in.

Episode connections

Cultural references

  • Saint Lucy's Day on December 13th commemorates a 4th-century saint who brought food to Christians hiding in the catacombs of Rome, while wearing a wreath of candles on her head.
  • Stardoes (at the mall) is a parody of Starbucks.
  • Cindy Crawfish refers to Cindy Crawford.
  • During "What's the Use of Presents?", the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Great Sphinx, the Taj Mahal, and the Eiffel Tower are seen outside the train window.
  • The game that Muffy plays during "What's the Use of Presents?" is a parody of two Nintendo games: Super Mario Bros. and Donkey Kong.
  • Bitzi states that she and Buster are going to watch It's a Wonderful Life (for the sixth time). This is a famous Christmas film starring Jimmy Stewart.
  • The parade in Arthur's fantasy features Albert Einstein and Mahatma Gandhi. The announcer refers to Einstein's Theory of relativity and Gandhi's concept of passive resistance.
  • Brain and his family are shown preparing to celebrate Kwanzaa. In reality, as Brain mentions in the ice cream shop, Kwanzaa does not start until December 26, the day after Christmas Day.
  • Brain's Kwanzaa Ice Cream Special is red, black, and green. The colors stand for black liberation respectively black pride and are also used during Kwanzaa celebrations.
  • When Muffy is shocked after Francine angrily hangs up the phone on her after Muffy tells her that Hanukkah is not as important as Christmas, the phrase "How rude!" is a possible reference to Stephanie Tanner (portrayed by Jodie Sweetin) from Full House.
  • The Crosswires have a Rolls-Royce, a very exclusive car.
  • When Francine explains Hanukkah, the Frenskys recite the first Hannukkah blessing in Hebrew.
  • Since ham is pork and therefore not kosher, it is an inappropriate Hanukkah gift. Mr. Crosswire is ignorant to this fact.
  • The song "What's the Use of Presents?" is a parody to the song "Beauty School Dropout" written by Jim Jacobs and Warner Casey and is sung by Frankie Avalon.
  • Santa Cruz is a real-life city located in Northern California.

Errors

  • George's family is said to be from Sweden (sometimes Norway). The flags on his backpack are from the United States, Canada, and Denmark.
  • When "$5.99" is reflected in Arthur's glasses, it should be inverted, but it is not.
  • During the scene where Mr. Ratburn eats one of Binky's brownies, we see in the background a brown rabbit on the other side of Mr. Ratburn in his normal wear. Seconds later, we see him in a red vest talking to Brain, and when Mr. Ratburn asks Binky if he put sugar in the brownies, the rabbit is white and is wearing a green shirt.
  • When Francine groans, her mouth does not move.
  • In Arthur's fantasy when his mom opens the gift, she pulls the top off, but when Arthur opens the gift to see if it is okay, he pulls the ribbon off to open it.
  • When Arthur is imagining his family in the stable, Grandpa Dave offers his roasted camel to Arthur. Camel is not considered kosher in Judaism, so they would not have eaten it (although Arthur probably does not understand that).
  • At the start of the special, Arthur and D.W. bring up that it is three days until Christmas (meaning it is December 22nd). The next day, Muffy brings up at school that her Christmas party is the next evening, and when Buster tells Arthur about Bitzi waking him up early that morning, he mentions how he told Bitzi it is only December 23rd. But the next morning when we see Bitzi waking up Buster early again, Buster sees on the calendar it is actually December 23rd, when it should be the 24th.
  • In the song Arthur sings at the start of the episode, he says he wants so much snow that he will have to use his foot to get the morning mail, but there is no mail service on Christmas Day.
  • The SAP audio narration describes Muffy's house as "Francine's mansion."
  • The subtitles accidentally misspell Catherine's name with a "K".

Home video and streaming

Arthur's Perfect Christmas 2012 DVD

2012 DVD

Arthur's Perfect Christmas 2012 DVD Back

The back of the box - 2012 DVD

The special has been released on DVD as well as on VHS prior to the format's demise in the late 2000s. VHS copies are no longer in production. The original DVD and VHS releases were made available on September 12, 2000. This makes it the first piece of Arthur media to be released on DVD; no normal episodes would be released onto the format until 2002.

A DVD re-release carrying the PBS Kids logo was released on October 9, 2012. This release includes printable coloring pages and activities on DVD-ROM, two "A Word from Marc Brown" segments, and the usual promos for PBS Kids programming of this era. Closed-captioning and descriptive-video features are available on this release.

On November 27, 2023, the special was released on YouTube, streaming free in the United States. Notably, the special also remains available as a separate video for $4.99 on YouTube, which had been available for purchase for several years. Beginning on December 4, 2023, PBS also began a repeating livestream version of the special on YouTube, sandwiched between brief promos for other PBS Kids programming. Additionally, the special is typically available on-demand during most holiday seasons on the PBS Kids website and PBS Kids Video app.

Home Video Differences

Although roughly the same, there exist some slight differences between the televised version of this special and the home video version from Sony Wonder:

  • In the beginning before the title card, the animation on the smoke from the Reads' chimney is going slow. However, in the home video release, it is going fast.
  • After Uncle Fred's video, Arthur and D.W. laugh immediately right after. In the home video release, they do not laugh until a few seconds after.
  • In the televised version during the "Baxter Day" song, a vintage "tires screeching" sound effect (Sound Ideas' Series 1000 Sound Effects Library) is added when Buster and Bitzi's rocket skids to a halt in front of the Mill Creek Mall.
  • In some televised versions, the audio of Buster and Bitzi's rocket opening up is slightly delayed.
  • D.W.'s excited chatter to David about seeing Santa is out of sync.
  • During "What's the Use of Presents?" a fade effect is missing in the home video release. Also, Muffy's singing in both versions is slightly different, and the toy train's whistle is muted on the televised version.
  • In the end credits on the home video release, the song lyrics are delayed.

The 2012 DVD sticks much closer to the original televised version, apart from the omission of "baby" during "Baxter Day."

Funding

Free YouTube version only:

Gallery

Main article: Arthur's Perfect Christmas/Gallery

See also

References


External links

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