Arthur Finale: Creator Comments on Show's Ending and Iconic Meme

The Arthur series finale won't have fans clenching their fists, so says creator Marc Brown. The Arthur Adventure writer and illustrator reflects on the show's ending after a 25-year run and the iconic meme it inspired, showing a close-up of the aardvark's fist from the 1999 episode "Arthur's Big Hit." On Monday, PBS closed the book on Arthur as the longest-running kids' animated series on television, airing 253 episodes over 25 seasons. The series finale, "All Grown Up," jumps forward 25 years into the future to reveal Arthur (voice of Roman Lutterotti) and friends as adults in celebration of Arthur's 25th anniversary. 

"I think we wanted to satisfy the most often-asked questions we get from kids. What happens to Arthur when he grows up? What do Arthur and his friends become?" Brown told Salon. "The future is always uncertain. And you can point to just about any place in time, and there have always been obstacles that we have to overcome. So I believe in the power of kids, and what they can do. I don't think things are gonna get in their way. I think they're going to march forward. I'm encouraged by how positive the youth in our country is." 

On Arthur scenes that found new life as part of the Internet's cache of memes — including Arthur's clenched fist, and little sister D.W. pointing at a sign and saying, "That sign can't stop me because I can't read!" — Brown enjoys the jokes. It's "amazing" that celebrities like LeBron James and John Legend have shared such memes or brought them to life in a Google ad, Brown said, adding the punching episode taught Arthur a valuable lesson.

"You put your finger on what I think kids find most relatable about Arthur," he said. "He's not perfect. Yeah, he does fight with his sister. He does make mistakes. He's navigating the mud puddles of life, but he can't do it alone. He needs help from his friends. He needs help from his family to solve a lot of these problems, but kids see that he's got a good heart and that he's a good person and he's like them – he makes mistakes. We all do." 

All 25 seasons and more than 250 episodes of Arthur continue to be available on PBS KIDS. The Arthur: 25 Years marathon continues with back-to-back episodes on the PBS KIDS 24/7 channel and livestream, as well as on the PBS KIDS YouTube channel until 5:00 p.m. EST on February 21. The four brand-new episodes aired on PBS stations Monday and are streaming free on PBS KIDS, concluding the show's 25th and final television season. 

See reactions to the Arthur series finale