Look, we like a good meme as good as the next collection of easily amused brain cells, constantly seeking novelty and easy comedy to keep the knowledge of our own inevitable deaths at bay. But we’re also willing to admit that sometimes we take things a little too far, bringing sadness and pain to the animators, network executives, and cartoon aardvarks of the world.
Boston’s WGBH public TV station, co-creator of the long-running PBS series Arthur, has responded to the recent resurgence of the #ArthurMemes hashtag, the online trend that juxtaposes Marc Brown’s milquetoast African ant bear with any number of vile or inappropriate concepts. A spokesperson for the series—which was created back in 1996, and usually focuses on lessons of sharing and tolerance, not the frustrations of splitting the check, or, um, fucking—said that they know many of the images and tweets “have been created and shared in good fun” but are “disappointed by the few that are outside of good taste.”
“Our hope is that Arthur and his friends will be depicted in a way that is respectful and appropriate for all audiences, including young Arthur fans and their families,” the spokesperson continued, as an unfamiliar sensation known as “shame” briefly flowered in the internet’s collective chest. Still, it seems like children’s public television lends itself to a pretty chill temperament, because the WGBH spokesperson then went on to add, “We certainly are lucky to have a fan base that is so engaged with Arthur, especially those millennials who grew up with him.”
Anyway, on behalf of the entire online world, we’d like to apologize to Arthur, his fans, and everybody else hurt by images of cartoon anteaters with dirty words printed on top of them. We were a real bunch of D.W.’s on this one, and we’re sorry.