The Ballad of Buster Baxter

Art Garfunkle sings on an episode of Arthur.

For those of you with young children, or with no cable and reception good enough only for PBS, you are likely familiar with the episode -- The Ballad of Buster Baxter -- and may have been fortunate enough to see it a few times. It is about Buster (a bunny) and his relationship with Arthur and his other friends after he returns from an extended trip around the world with his father. The eposiode focuses on his feelings of an outsider and works in singing by Art Garfunkle who appears as a moose and usually at the fringe of the action, seemingly like an unseen narrator.

Let me tell you why it is better than The Contest, another great episode:

  • Art Garfunkle is a singing moose. Sure, he might have appeared as something closer to a human had he shown up in the Simpsons or as a head in Futurama, but a moose isn't bad, and Arthur has a pretty big following. Judging from the ration of Arthur DVD's to other DVD's at the local library, I'd say Arthur pulls in at least 35% of the viewing public -- pretty good exposure for the non-Simon part of Simon and Garfunkle.

  • The gags appeal to adults. This is the hallmark of any good kids show; the writers provide material for the adults who get roped into watching with the kids. For me, having Art Gurfunkle in the show is enough of a "gag" to reel me in. It would not have been the same with Madonna.

  • The lyrics are entertaining. Corny but entertaining.

  • Ends with a twist. That M. Night kid may have seen dead people, but these kids see a singing moose. At the end when the Art is singing, Buster asks Arthur when the moose showed up. Arthur says he thought the moose came with Buster. Arthur runs off to ask his mom as Art walks off down the sidewalk singing.

It is a decent episode punctuated by what I consider one of the better theme songs done by none other than Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers. You can't go wrong. It is included in a collection entitled "Music Videos" and is likely available at your local library. Grab the contest too and see what Arthur would be like if he lived in Southpark or hung out with Beavis and Butthead. Pretty funny stuff.

That purple dinosaur never had any material for adults.

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