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The End Of An Aardvark's Era

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

A true star knows when it's time to take his last bow.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #1: A-A-R-D-V-A-R-K. A-A-R-D...

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD #2: V-A-R-K.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Arthur the aardvark will air just one more season, his 25th, in the winter of 2022. For those of you not in the know, he's an 8-year-old with a sister named D.W.

SHAPIRO: The show has multiple Emmys and a Peabody. Kids love Arthur because he struggles and relies on various animal friends who help him out, and they all feel like real kids.

CHANG: Arthur deals with being bullied for having glasses, for not being the greatest kickball player. And like most PBS kid shows, Arthur helps with life's scary side.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "ARTHUR")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #1: (As character) What's a fire drill?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #2: (As Ms. Morgan) It's a plan we follow to make sure we get out of school safely in case there's a fire.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As Arthur) Fire? Did Ms. Morgan say we're going to have a fire?

CHANG: And he shows that regardless of age, you are never too small to help, even at a wedding.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "ARTHUR")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As D.W.) How about me? I can do it.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #5: (As character) That a girl, D.W.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #4: (As character) Please hold this, Arthur.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As Arthur) D.W., you carry the ring, you found it. You deserve it.

SHAPIRO: Arthur made it cool to read.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "ARTHUR")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS #1: (As characters, singing) Having fun isn't hard when you've got a library card. Having fun isn't hard when you've got a library card.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As character, rapping) Come on inside. We've got everything you need. There's plenty to do, or you could just sit and read.

SHAPIRO: And Arthur's teacher, Mr. Ratburn, made it cool to do schoolwork

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "ARTHUR")

ARTHUR HOLDEN: (As Emil Nigel Ratburn III, singing) Just a little homework tonight. Read 19 chapters of history. List 63 adverbs alphabetically.

SHAPIRO: Like any iconic show, celebrities made cameos from Yo-Yo Ma to Matt Damon to Mr. Rogers.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "ARTHUR")

MR ROGERS: (As himself) I wondered where you were hiding, Arthur.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR #3: (As Arthur) I think maybe I'm sick. In fact, I may be too sick to go to school tomorrow.

CHANG: As "Arthur" fans grew up, they brought him into social media to express themselves, often with a close-up on his very frustrated fist. Dami Lee (ph) is a 31-year-old cartoonist and writer, and to her, the fist meme symbolizes...

DAMI LEE: Maybe, like, the millennial, like, anger or something. It's just like the lot that you're handed in life, and you can't really do anything about it.

CHANG: Well, you can always watch "Arthur" on demand. Congratulations on 25 seasons.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "ARTHUR")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTORS #2: (As characters, singing) And I say, hey, what a wonderful kind of day. You can learn to work and play and get along with each other. You got to learn to your heart, listen to the beat... Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.