After almost 25 years in production, beloved animated series Arthur will debut its final season in winter 2022.
In an email statement to CBC News, the show’s executive producer Carol Greenwald said the 25th season of Arthur will be its last.
“Arthur is the longest-running kids animated series in history and is known for teaching kindness, empathy and inclusion through many groundbreaking moments to generations of viewers,” she said.
She said the show will continue to be available online and producers will continue to work on additional Arthur-related content.
The show’s Canadian roots
Arthur follows the story of an animated eight-year-old aardvark and his animal friends in the fictional city of Elwood. The show is based on the book series Arthur Adventure illustrated and written by Marc Brown.
While the show was developed by PBS, the education series had several Canadian roots.
Seasons one through 15 were produced by former Canadian media production company Cookie Jar Entertainment. The production house was acquired by Canadian company Wildbrain (formerly DHX Media Ltd.) in 2012.
Many of the voice actors behind the show’s main characters were also Canadian.
Arthur was voiced by several actors over the years including Cameron Ansell from Picton, Ont., and Justin Bradley from Montreal.
Numerous Canadian voice actors including Jason Szwimer and Jake Beale voiced Arthur’s younger sister D.W., and Canadian actor and writer Arthur Holden voiced Arthur’s school teacher, Mr. Ratburn.
Impact on meme culture
While the show was developed for children, it also became a popular focus for meme culture on social media over the years.
I’ll never forget about the memes Arthur gave us. 💀 <a href=”https://t.co/ywJW5rKjXi”>pic.twitter.com/ywJW5rKjXi</a>
The zoomed in image of Arthur’s fist was first posted to Twitter in 2016 and has since accompanied thousands of different captions to express emotions of frustration and anger, according to The Verge.
Other popular Arthur memes include an image of D.W., Arthur’s younger sister, holding onto a fence while wearing a pair of sunglasses.
According to Time, the screenshot was previously used to joke about spying on a crush or partner, but during the pandemic, it resurfaced as a way to express longing for life before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Arthur tackles important social issues
While entertaining, episodes of Arthur also aimed to teach children a variety of important life lessons, including how to manage sibling relationships and how to stand up to bullies.
One episode titled, “Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone,” which aired in 2019, revealed Arthur’s grade school teacher Mr. Ratburn was gay.
After the release of the episode and the attention that followed, creator Brown told CBC News the show was meant to reflect the reality of what kids were going through or talking about.
“With Arthur, we have an opportunity to deal with all kinds of characters. We go into their lives and we want to see how they’re connected with their families,” Brown said in 2019.
“Art reflects life. Life reflects art. And I think that kids need to see what’s happening in the world.”
Arthur first aired in October 1996 and sometimes featured guest stars including Alex Trebek, the Backstreet Boys, Yo Yo Ma, Matt Damon and more.