Arthur's Perfect Christmas is an hour-length Christmas special based on the Arthur children's books by Marc Brown and the animated series on PBS. It debuted on VHS and DVD on September 12, 2000, before airing in prime-time on PBS on Thanksgiving Day of that year.
The special opens with scenes of citizens of Elwood City 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:
- A large amount of snow
- An amazing dinner-turkey and the whole works
- A spectacular Christmas tree—most importantly, one without tinsel
- Everyone will love the presents he gets for them.
However, matters don't always work out quite as Arthur wanted it to. As the special progresses, a number of other storylines are revealed: D.W. wants a new toy called "Tina the Talking Tabby," for Christmas and Santa Claus is unable to find it at any store as soon as he gets the letter. So on Christmas morning, D.W. gets a duck called Quackers and throws a big temper tantrum. However, she changes her mind and eventually takes a liking to the duck.
Uncle Fred is going on a trip to Florida, but his car 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 car is fixed.
The timing of Francine's family's celebration of Hanukkah conflicts with that of Muffy's "holiday extravaganza," causing her to miss the party. When Muffy states that Hanukkah isn't as important as Christmas, Francine feels offended because she is Jewish, and yells "Well it is to me!" and stops speaking to her and calling her. Eventually, she and Muffy make up after Francine shows her how important Hanukkah can be; all because her family is Jewish.
And 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's Christmas Day. Then he has to explain to her that it isn't Christmas yet. While Arthur, Buster, and their friends are at the party, they suggest he create his own holiday, Baxter Day. Buster is unsure, but he agrees to give it a try.
Every Christmas, Binky volunteers at a homeless shelter with his Dad, and this year, he's trying to bake something special to bring. However, he's forgetting some things in every recipe, like not removing the shells of the pecans when he makes pecan pie, unpeeling the bananas when he makes banana bread, and adding sugar when he makes brownies. As soon as Muffy's party is over, Arthur walks into the living room.
Meanwhile, Brain's family is celebrating Kwanzaa.
George's family is revealed to be Swedish and they celebrate Saint Lucia Day.
In the end, things don't work out quite as everybody may have hoped they would, but it seems to be for the better (assuming Arthur can ever get D.W. to stop her new toy "Quackers" from singing "Quick, quack, quaddy-quack") as Arthur wishes the audience a happy holiday.
- "Perfect Christmas" (by Arthur and the Read family)
- "Boogie Woogie Christmas" (Rock and roll song by The Squabs)
- "What's the Use of Presents?" (by Muffy, with Arthur on soundtrack version)
- "Baxter Day" (by Buster)
- "Santa Lucia" (by George and the Lundgren family)
- "Perfect Christmas [Reprise]" (by Arthur)
- 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 aired right after Season 5 had concluded.
- This is the last time Michael Yarmush voices Arthur.
- This is also the last time that Ricky Mabe voices Timmy Tibble.
- After D.W. walks in on Arthur and laughs, stock audio by Michael Caloz is used.
- The Brain and his family are shown preparing to celebrate Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa does not start until December 26, the day after Christmas Day.
- 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 television series.
- Even though both the televised and home video version are almost identical, there are some slight differences:
- 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's going fast.
- After Uncle Fred's video, Arthur and D.W. laughed immediately right after. In the home video release, they didn't laugh until a few seconds after.
- In the televised version during the "Baxter Day" song, a vintage "tires screeching" sound effect is added when Buster and Bitzi's rocket skids to a halt in front of the Mill Creek Mall. At the end of the song, the word "baby" is cut from Buster's lyrics in newer versions of the special.
- During "What's the Use of Presents?" a fade effect is missing in the home video release. Also, Muffy's singing in both versions are slightly different.
- Unfortunately, Grandma Thora was not in the Christmas Special.
- This is the second episode seeing Arthur cry when he gets disappointed about Jane's Christmas present, he was first crying in Lost!.
- 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, but seconds later we see him in a red vest talking to Brain, but when Mr. Ratburn asks him if he put sugar in the brownies, the rabbit is white and is wearing a green shirt.
- When Francine groans, her mouth doesn't 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 was imagining his family in the stable, Grandpa Dave offered his roasted camel to Arthur. Camel is not considered kosher in Judaism, so they wouldn't have eaten it (although Arthur probably doesn't understand that).
|Michael Yarmush||Arthur Read|
|Oliver Grainger||D.W. Read|
|Bruce Dinsmore|| Binky Barnes|
|Daniel Brochu||Buster Baxter|
|Jodie Resther||Francine Frensky|
|Melissa Altro||Muffy Crosswire|
|Arthur Holden||Mr. Ratburn|
|Sonja Ball|| Mom|
|Joanna Noyes||Grandma Thora|
|Jonathon Koensgen||Tommy Tibble|
|Ricky Mabe||Timmy Tibble|
|Mark Camacho|| Oliver Frensky|
|Mitchell Rothpan||George Lundgren|
|Ellen David|| Bitzi|
|A. J. Henderson|| Grandpa Dave|
|Harry Standjofski||Uncle Fred|
content from Wikipedia (view authors).