Media Musings: That moment you realize Arthur Read and BoJack Horseman are from the same world

Shaun Underwood, Staff Writer

A sunny day on Magnolia Lawn in Dr. Telford Work’s New Testament class always spurs spiritual conversations of tremendous depth … except that one time when we ended up talking about how Arthur, the aardvark from PBS Kids, and BoJack Horseman, Netflix’s most beloved humanoid horse, are from the same world. 

After three days and hours of grueling research, I found zero leads on the theory. So naturally, I constructed my own: Arthur lives in a community that is anthropophobic — afraid of humans — and takes place years before the emergence of the dwindling comedic star BoJack Horseman. 

If you look at Arthur’s and BoJack’s original animated art, it looks extremely similar. Just Google “original Arthur’s nose” and you’ll find what appears to be a young, unpolished BoJack Horseman. These artistic similarities launched the tinfoil hat brigade that brought us to where we are now. 

For context, BoJack Horseman lives in a world of humans and anthropomorphic animals, whereas Arthur lives in Elmwood, a town of just anthropomorphic animals. 

The only way for Arthur and BoJack to live in the same world is for Elmwood to be anthropophobic, or exist in complete isolation from humans. If you watch the show, this checks out. “Arthur” never shows any signs of humans throughout its 24 seasons. Every episode exists in Elmwood, so we never know what the rest of Arthur’s world looks like. 

Fortunately, Arthur’s friend Buster weaseled his way into a short-lived travel show. “Postcards from Buster” follows Buster as he travels all over the world and encounters humans from Italy to Mexico to Vermont, of all places, where Buster learns to make maple syrup! 

The stark contrast between the outside world and Elwood’s seemingly sheltered suburbs exposes the dark secret of “Arthur.” Isn’t it suspicious that Elmwood exists in a human world, yet contains zero humans? 

The only explanation is that, after someone steals the “D” from the Hollywood sign in season one of “BoJack Horseman” and changes “Hollywood” to “Hollywoo,” the world descends into chaos. 

The robbery spurs city-wide panic. The panic spirals into anthropophobia. Elmwoodonians catch wind of the news, become terrified of humans and choose to close themselves off from the rest of the world. 

How does Elmwood keep all those pesky humans out? I’ll leave the answer to your imagination, but I don’t imagine Elmwoodonians are as nice at the gates as they are throughout their pleasant neighborhoods.   

As to why “Arthur” takes place years before “BoJack Horseman” — an episode of “BoJack Horseman” shows Todd, BoJack’s friend, eating a meal with an anteater. While not an aardvark, this anteater still dons the iconic clothes of the titular Arthur Read — evidence that Arthur’s trend-setting style must have already circulated throughout talking-animal communities.

But wait, there’s more! The original “Arthur” books include both humans and anthropomorphic animals. Regardless of whether or not Arthur becomes a fashion icon, the original copies of “Arthur” give insight into the world Marc Tolon Brown, Arthur’s creator, initially imagined. I guess the world must have gone a little south after Japan supposedly sank, as alluded to in “BoJack Horseman.” Nevertheless, picturing Arthur Read as a fashion icon strutting down the runway makes for a fun conspiracy theory.  

Evidently, this story has zero holes in it. Arthur and BoJack definitely live in the same world. Arthur definitely becomes a fashionista for the ages after outgrowing the community of prejudiced anthropomorphic animals that hampered his creativity. Once free of Elmwood’s confines, Arthur’s fashion goes mainstream, and boom! People, namely Hollywoo anteaters for some reason, begin wearing the trendy clothes of Arthur Read for years to come.

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