I try to avoid bragging about Eila. She’s come up with a few good story analyses before, and I’ve let them pass without mention. But today’s insight demands recording: it was material for an article, if four year olds wrote articles for four year olds. In short, she noticed, and told me — no prompting — that the characters in Arthur are based on the characters in the Archie comics. Arthur is Archie. Buster is Jughead. Francine is Betty. Muffy is Veronica. The Sugar Bowl is Pop’s Diner. She got all that, and if you know both texts it works out perfectly: the hero, the best friend joker-cum-eater, the regular girl, the rich girl, the love triangles, the joint.
To her analysis I added that Mr. Ratburn is Miss Grundy, and the Brain is Dilton. She had the Brain as Chuck, because they’re both “brown,” but I think Marc Brown was making an ideological move here: his Dilton becomes the African American Brain for sound reasons of political correctness, and Chuck becomes maybe Marc Brown’s George. We concluded, Eila and I, by deciding together that Binky Barnes was a combination of Big Moose and Reggie.