Pairing Discussion 1

[Written February 28]

So I really enjoyed my entry about the Tough Customers, which I’m glad you all enjoyed and commented on. Because I loved it so much, I figured I’d do another one, at home, to discuss some other things in the fandom. Today’s entry will discuss some of the pairings, both canon and fandom pairings, to show you all what I think about them. I have quite a few pairings listed and discussed here, but I want you all to weigh in as much as possible. I may even have to break this up actually…. It’s a little long.

Pairings discussed:

  • Arthur x Francine
  • Arthur x Sue Ellen
  • Buster x Fern
  • Buster x Kate
  • DW x James
  • Binky x Molly
  • Brain x Sue Ellen

Arthur x Francine

Many people see this as the canon pairing in the Arthur fandom. This is because of some early episodes where Arthur and Francine appear together various times. I’m not the best source of information on this, so if anyone wants to fill in the gaps in the comments, feel free.


Despite this being THE canon pairing, it’s caused the most disagreements between members of the fandom. Some people see these two together and only these two together, and yes, they are willing to fight to make others see thing their way. The problem is this: The pairing isn’t fully spelled out in these episodes. In the Square Dance episode, the two dance together, yes, but they aren’t “going out” or “dating” or whatever else you want to call it. They’re just two people dancing together.


This is the problem with most of these pairings. I mean, we’re dealing with characters who are eight years old (well, most of them. I’ll be covering some pairings from DW’s generation later on, and possibly some discussion on other kids as well). Just because you can fast forward doesn’t mean any of these kids are going to end up together whether they danced together or not.


But this pairing has other issues as well. It’s canon that Arthur is Catholic and Francine is Jewish, and lawd has this caused some problems. Because they aren’t the same religion, several people who support this pairing think that one or both need to convert to another religion in order to make their relationship work in later years. This would be all fine and dandy if the conversions were equal (and made any sense whatsoever). Usually Francine is forced to convert to Catholicism in these pieces, forcing her to shun her heritage while Arthur’s remains untouched.


In discussions with other users, we’ve decided the two don’t have to convert to the other’s religion (or a different one entirely) in order to make things work between them. They could meld the cultures together for the next generation instead of ruthlessly destroying one or both of their traditions. That’s how interracial couples do it, I’m sure, and religion is apparently the same level to these people because of the problems that have started.


My stance: I’ve written both for and against this pairing in many of my pieces. Because Arthur and Francine are two of the main characters (which in this case means the characters with the most appearances in the series. No one is really THE main character anymore, even Arthur), I tend to write about them more often than some of the others. Most of the pieces I’ve written against them were inspired by the fandom’s drama. Some of you know this about me–I tend to get a little touchy about things. I honestly could care less about the war, because, as we’ll see throughout this post, THEY’RE CHILDREN, aka, they may not even talk the next school year, let alone ten years later in community college. But I hated seeing people treat Francine the way they did.


But the biggest point I’ve made throughout this pairing’s discussion is this: Arthur and Francine’s personalities do NOT match. Arthur is passive; Francine is aggressive. While they both can be bullies, usually it’s Francine bullying Arthur rather than the other way around. I never saw this relationship working out because of that, a point I highlight in most of my anti-ArCine pieces.


However, I can see this relationship working with plenty of compromise. Francine needs to calm down whereas Arthur needs to step things up. They’ll have to meld traditions (which I see no problem with them doing), but overall, I think the couple could last…in certain situations.


Probability of them ending up together AND staying together: 50/50.


Arthur x Sue Ellen

This is the other canon pairing. Because Sue Ellen wrote about crushing on Arthur in her diary, they think these two just have to end up together. I find the notion romantic myself, but let’s hash this out like we did the last one.


This is the other pairing that has caused a war between fandom members. Because of that diary crush incident (and again, someone else should elaborate in the comments about this), some people think these two will end up together and only they can end up together. All in all, it doesn’t matter if they end up together or not because again, they’re a little young to decide who they’re going to spend forever with, but there’s more to this: The Sweater Episode.


I’ll be honest, this episode if from like 2013 and I’ve just now seen it in the last month or so. And I was shocked! Arthur was such a mean guy. I mean, he was horrible to her! He didn’t realize how much of an effect his words had on Sue Ellen, but let’s be honest: Just because everything wrapped up nicely in the end doesn’t mean she won’t magically forget how he treated her.


So let’s pair up those episodes: In one, she’s writing about her crush, and in the other, she’s writing about what a horrible human being Arthur is and how much she hates the sweater she once loved. I see this as normal childhood behavior, and some of you can attest to this. Did you maintain a years-long crush on one person from elementary school all the way up that wasn’t a celebrity? My answer is a huge no, and I honestly didn’t maintain crushes for that long on celebrities either.


My point here is this: Just because of that one episode doesn’t mean they’ll end up together. But let’s go deeper here and see the allure that this pairing has.


Sue Ellen is the new kid. She shows up suddenly with a long history of world traveling and exotic hobbies. She looks different too from the other girls, from her worldly clothing to her (probably) unruly hair. She’s honestly the girl that everyone would go for…in later years. In elementary school, you just want to get to know her and hopefully be her friend so that you can eat some awesome foreign food or maybe meet her important father.


Arthur can be dopey at times, and klutzy, though not always in ways that he can control (aka the split pants episode). A girl like Sue Ellen could also bring some color to his life. I mean, the dude can be boring compared to his friends, especially Sue Ellen. Their personalities would complement each other as well: she can bring him out of his shell and he can be a good friend for her, a rock of sorts.


My stance: I like this pairing, but I don’t recall writing much for it. I feel like Sue Ellen is going to move off at some point, and after seeing the sweater episode, I see her being a little resistant of his charms even if she does stick around later. I just don’t see these two being anything more than friends, though they would be very good friends.


Probability of them ending up together AND staying togethera: 40/60–40% yes, 60% no (and I’m being generous).


Buster x Fern

I don’t know how canon this pairing is, but it’s gotten some hype in recent years. I think TheUltimateCombo might’ve written for it first, but I quickly followed suit. Somehow seeing these two together just felt right for whatever reason, but let’s discuss it.


So Buster is the dopey joke-maker who eats some of the weirdest food on the entire show, which is sad considering how much Sue Ellen travels and how adventurous she is. He’s always either laughing or making others laugh, you know, when he’s not going all aliens/conspiracy theories on the rest of the cast.


Fern seems like the opposite. She’s quiet and doesn’t necessarily want a bunch of attention, though she will read in front of people and organize mystery parties. While she’s more of an introvert, I think she does enjoy sharing her creations with the world.


So how do these two end up together? I don’t know honestly. I mean, Fern is clean and intelligent, whereas Buster can be dirty and average, sometimes below average when he’s been watching too much Bionic Bunny. These two seem even more opposite than the other pairings I’ve discussed thus far. I mean, at least both Arthur and Francine can be dominant at times, and at least Arthur and Sue Ellen seem to be good friends. I feel like Buster offends Fern more than anything, yet it’s one of my favorite pairings.


My Stance: I think Buster provides Fern something she doesn’t always have, a sense of humor. While I could see him embarrass her a lot, I also see her coming back no matter what because he makes her happy. He genuinely cares about her too, which is a huge plus. In the episode where Fern has the blues, he fights to make sure he knows what’s going on with her, and I feel like that would really impress her.


The downside to this pairing is that they come from two different worlds. I commonly have her living in the city somewhere working while she writes, and Buster’s just somewhere working in a joke shop. I rarely have him attend college whereas she would probably attend no matter what, and I just see them going two different directions.


Probability of them getting together AND staying together: 60/40, with a 60% chance they will get and stay together, and a 40% chance of them not.


Buster x Kate

Okay, okay, hear me out on this one before you vomit. When I first thought of this pairing, I was like ‘Chrys, what the hell are you thinking?’ But let’s discuss this through the numbers first: Kate is officially 7-7 1/2 years younger than Buster. When she turns 18, he’ll be 25. That’s the number I focus on because she has to be legal for this pairing to work.


But let’s break it down. People get crushes on who they’re around, and I see Buster always being a part of the Read household through his friendship with Arthur. Unless Buster moves away to live with his dad or something, I see these two always staying in touch, at least until college. So, Kate would see him often, and as she gets older, she might just have a little school girl’s crush on him.


What if that goes further though? I have a piece where Buster comes back to the Read household to comfort the family after David’s sudden passing. The two end up spending time together, then romance blossoms. Buster, being a gentleman, would want to take care of her, and Kate would possibly look up to him like a brother. But teenager’s hormones are intense, so I could totally see her going after him, and depending on the situation, like in my piece, I could see the two ending up together.


I understand that this is a hard pairing to take in. As soon as it came out, some people fell for it and wrote pieces…and the bad reviews poured in from people wondering what the heck they were thinking. Well, guys, I came up with this pairing, and I kept the numbers in mind the whole time. I can’t help what others do, so I see how some writers could turn this into a problem. If Kate is 16, she’s technically not legal in most states here in the US (readers from other countries can weigh in on this in the comments). So yeah, you have to watch the age. But is it a sick pairing? I don’t think so because of what I’ve said above.


My stance: Probably my favorite pairing, and I can’t wait to write more pieces for it. The only problem I see here is age and interest. If Buster gets a career and moves away from the Read’s, I see this pairing falling flat. But if Buster and Kate find a way to cross paths once she’s legal, I can see the sparks fly.


Probability of them getting AND staying together: 60/40. Just because I like the pairing doesn’t mean it has more of a chance to succeed than the others, so yeah, 60 together, 40 not.


DW x James

I want to switch gears to the next generation for a second to discuss a pairing I’ve seen come up a few times, DW x James.


To start with, the reason I see Kate and Buster together is because of DW’s personality. This little firecracker has been loved and hated since this show started. I’ve never really liked her, but I will try to see her charms as I continue this discussion. I just wanted to say that first, both to tie in with my last part and to set up my discussion here.


DW’s personality makes it hard for me to see her with anyone, honestly, but I’ve seen people put her with a few guys, and James is one of them. I’ve always found this hard to take in because James is so quiet. The poor kid seems to always be someone’s target despite having such a tough older sister, and he is so quiet that I’m sure some readers not fully familiar with the fandom might be looking him up right now. He’s almost forgettable, especially compared to DW, who is entirely unforgettable. I can’t see the letters D and W together without seeing this pink-clad aardvark because she’s that powerful.


So what could make this pairing work? I haven’t written for it myself (I think), but it reminds me of Arthur x Francine because of what we’re working with her. Maybe their opposites attract. DW brings out the best in James and makes him more outgoing, and James helps DW tone herself down and maybe even be more kind. Together they make a loving couple and live happily ever after.


But let’s be honest here: DW is a bully. She always wants her way, which reminds me of Muffy, a character I won’t be discussing here (I think. I haven’t decided yet) because she’s too powerful for me to put her with just anyone. DW and Muffy classify as divas to me because of their attitudes, and the guys that end up with them need to be able to handle that sort of behavior. Can James do that? I don’t know.


My stance:The good news for this pairing is that there’s plenty of time for them to change. DW might be so fiery because she’s small and young. She wants to grow up, and once she gets what she wants, she might calm down, but that’s not how I see things with her (once a diva, always a diva). James has plenty of time to, no offense to the guy, but grow a pair. He’ll need ’em if he wants to be with a girl like DW, and all those years going through school should help him out a little. Plus he’s got Molly to train him, so that should help.


My problem with this pairing is that I just can’t see it working. I feel like DW will become cliquey, and James will probably find a friend or two and stick with them, probably remaining quiet. I see him being an intellectual as well, and while DW might respect that, I think she’d prefer looks and money over smarts.


Probability of getting AND staying together: 30/70. Sorry, but I don’t see this pairing working, so I only give it a 30% chance.


Binky x Molly

Alright, back to the 8-yr-old crowd. So this is a fairly common pairing among the community, though I’m not sure of the background episodes that lead people to this conclusion. My guess is that these two are in the same friend circle, so that puts them together to pair up, but would it work?


I’ve never understood why it’s always been Binky x Molly instead of Rattles x Molly. I hold them in the same light, yet Binky seems to be the more common of the two. He is a gentleman, and we know a lot more about him. I mean, why wouldn’t you want your favorite tough female to end up with the cinnamon roll that is Binky Barnes? He’s big and tough, but in all reality, he’s a gentle giant who loves his little sister very much.


I see Binky treating his girlfriends well because of this, and I see he and Molly being a healthy couple because of their history together. They know quite a bit about each other thanks to all those days hanging out at the jungle gym.


But I have a problem here, and I’ve already mentioned it: Why not Rattles?


This is where I see this pairing going wrong right here. Binky and Rattles are equals in my eyes, so what happens when they start dating? If they both want Molly, I see a huge fight starting. I have a drabble series about this called Love by Love by Love. Molly ends up getting involved with both guys at once because she just can’t pick, and the rivalry gets pretty intense because of this.


So who did Molly end up with? You’ll have to read the series to find out (I’ll post it in its entirety here eventually), but let’s just say I’m 100% torn on this situation.


My Stance: I don’t knowD: I agree they’re great for each other, but I can’t get Rattles out of my head. I mean, yeah, it works sometimes that best friends can date among each other without issues, but I just…I can’t decide.


Probability: ???


Brain x Sue Ellen

This is a pairing I’ve dabbled in because it has some perks. As we’ve discussed, Sue Ellen is pretty smart and worldly, whereas Brain is just, well, brainy. So how does this pairing work?


I see these two getting pushed together because of their intellect. I’m pretty sure it’s canon that these two share a high level of intelligence. Brain might be leading the push in Mr. Ratburn’s Lakewood classroom, but I think he just holds his intellect at a higher value than Sue Ellen. What I mean by that is that she actually has hobbies, namely things she’s picked up from her travels.


That’s the difference between these two that could cause serious problems. Sue Ellen might be bookish, but she learns more from experience than anything else. Despite her young age, she’s already smart in the show because she’s already been so many places. If I recall, she’s even proven Brain’s “facts” to be false before thanks to her experience, and I see this causing major problems in their relationship, if they even end up together in the first place. If this issue comes up before romance can bloom, these two don’t stand a chance.


Yet I sort of see them together. I feel like her outgoing nature and desire to have fun and learn all at the same time will help Brain, and I see them having a fulfilling relationship on those grounds.


My Stance: Some of you may’ve seen my drabble series where this couple dates in high school but ends up at separate colleges. This is the biggest problem with this relationship’s dexterity: Brain and Sue Ellen are not going in the same direction. In order for them to get and stay together, they’ll have to fight their pulled interests. They might have to maintain a long distance relationship for some time in order to make things work, and that’s a tall order for any couple. In my drabble series, well…I haven’t finished posting it yet. I’ll let you all read my stance for yourselves within that piece, which I’ll post soon. But that’s my two cents: Unless they fight, I see this couple faltering fast.


Probability of them getting AND staying together: 50/50. It’s literally a coin flip how these two could end up with the evidence I’ve given.


Alright, we’re going to wrap things up here. If you want me to discuss other pairings, please let me know. I hope to continue this in the future, and I may even do another discussion if enough is said about one of the pairings here.


Disclaimer: I’m one of those writers who looks beyond pairings. I’m discussing these here for entertainment and discussion purposes only, and my writings don’t always follow along certain lines. I write for myself and to get my ideas out there, not to please anyone or follow rules.


Also, I will not discuss Ladonna. I know nothing about her, and I honestly don’t like her character very much, so yeah, I won’t discuss her. If you want to discuss her, you may in the comments or on your own blog. If you want me to read it, fine. Leave a link in the comments and I’ll get to it when I can.




  1. Well, not sure how I feel about this, but honestly, the sweater episode pales in comparison to all the crap Francine’s put Arthur through, but we won’t discuss that…

    But I’ll admit, you’ve made points, but then again, you’re a realist.
    If you know me, realism is boring. Besides, a lot of couples go through bad periods, and let’s not forget that was one episode, he sincerely apologized, and hasn’t acted that way since.

    Francine has never showed a true change of character throughout the show. Now sure, she can be nice, but frankly her and Arthur being 50/50 is ahem, pure Bullcrap.

    And, since yes, people can change… do you see where I’m going with this? Hint, it’s in favor of the opposite pairing.

    Now of the pairings that made me laugh, Brain and Sue Ellen were among them. Aside from a few episodes, you rarely see them interact (some hypocrite I am, aren’t I?) but that’s not really fair since people can fall for people they don’t hang around often. But, just because they’re both smart, that doesn’t bode well for either in a relationship, since shared intellect doesn’t make a match.

    That said, similar interests but different personalities are compatible. That way, both parties can grow together with each other. That’s what defines the healthy relationships from the unhealthy ones. Healthy relationships encourage growth.

    With that said, let’s evaluate the pairings, shall we?

    Arthur and Francine: Could sprout something good, I won’t be biased.

    Arthur and Sue Ellen: Sweaters aside, they’re good friends, just like Buster and Fern, but one has a lower probability… hmm… Could sprout something good. Besides, no matter how long ago a crush was, you never forget that person. And given the chance, you’ll appreciate the attention from that person.

    Buster and Fern: Like you mentioned, I see growth occurring.

    Buster and Kate: Now I know I’ve found the idea interesting, but seriously? This is more than a pipe dream? 60/40? Compared to a certain pairing with 40/60? Really? I have no problems with age gaps, but Kate’s even worst than the others in that we don’t even know her personality. Well, not completely. And certainly not around Buster. I call for a switch in probability. Good thing I know a certain mutant with just that ability (look them up)

    PS: 16 is legal in more than a few states in well, the States. Michigan, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts (for girls), pretty much where it counts in Arthur. And I looked up both PA and MA because that’s where people think Arthur happens. Oh, and Michigan just cause that’s where I live.

    DW and James: The Arthur and Francine of the small kids gets a lesser chance than their older counterpart? Now I admit, you make good points, but out of all the kids, James and Emily get the least of Darth W’s wrath. That tells me something…

    Binky and Molly: I agree with you here, but a teeny contradiction here. If Rattles and Binky are really good kids who are misunderstood, would they fight over Molly in an S-hits-the-fan type of way? And if Molly’s a good chick, would she date two guys at once? Btw, I see both options working out just fine.

    Brain and Sue Ellen: I’m gonna be honest. Sue’s fun enough to keep Brain in check. But didn’t I say–? I only said that they didn’t interact much, both spend more time with Arthur than each other, if you understand me well. But the point about being smart is not true. It doesn’t make a match. If it did, then I would be forever alone, because either a girl would be too smart, or too dumb for me, by those standards. That said, Brain and Sue Ellen could spark growth, and so, that’s not a problem.

    All in all, an interesting take on the pairings in Arthur, but Buster and Kate compared to Arthur and Sue Ellen? Not a chance in hell.


    • You and I do always think differently about pairings, but it makes for some awesome discussion. I meant to get to this sooner but life probs. Gotta love those life probs.

      Anyway, I agree CatVark has a good chance compared to some of the other pairings we’ve had to put up with over the years, and even some of the ones we’ve created and support. There isn’t a huge personality difference that completely dooms them at least half the time, but I thought of some things while writing this that made me question them. History is important, especially for young couples. People have rejected suitors for less, so I just don’t know. Maybe they are 50/50 like ArCine, but I was really bothered by that sweater episode. I know they haven’t brought it up since but I feel like she wouldn’t forget that. It’s too important.

      But I’ve noticed one major difference that I think would keep them apart since writing this and reading your response–She’s adventurous and wants to travel or do new things, but Arthur doesn’t seem to like being out of his comfort zone. I feel like Sue Ellen would want more than Arthur can offer. While she might bring out the best with him, I kind of see them how I do ArCine on this point–Things start off great, then suddenly things aren’t. With ArCine, Francine is the bully that Arthur gets tired of being the bitch of, so they get divorced, probably after a few kids so yay, custody battles<3 With CatVark, I see them starting out the same way–happy and content. Sue Ellen convinces Arthur to go on some wild trips, endure some strange career choices, etc. Life is good. If they do settle down, they have dinner parties and one of those TV-like social lives that I know absolutely nothing about.

      But I see things changing. I don't know why, but I see them waking up one day and realizing they have separate lives. That's probably why I felt 60/40 to begin with–if they can make that hump, cool, but I don't think they can, not without a battle from hell.

      The point to remember–it makes for good drama when you're into realism. Couples don't just end up together without conflict. Keith has taught me that–yeah, things seem okay, but sometimes his behavior and his brother make me wonder what the hell I'm in for. The problem is going to come the day our lives change, the day I decide I want the fuck outta here and that I'd rather go it alone if he can't fend for himself. That's life, actually. Why do you think there's so many divorces? It's not that everyone ends up hating everyone in the end, it's that things change, and most people can't accept that, especially young-somethings who have no idea what they're in for.

      Moving on because we've hashed this out before (and if anyone still reading wants us to hash it out, we could talk all day on this point and never get anywhere. Just be happy with what you have, and if you have something to say, comment. I'd love to talk with you as would he).

      On the Buster x Kate point: I keep my discretion line at a firm 18 to fulfill the rules of most online places that actually give a damn about what's being posted on their websites. I agree–the age of consent is younger and I would LOVE to do a steamy 16/23 mashup with those two, but I'm sticking with 18. Also, this pairing is one of those, If it happens, I love it; if it doesn't, no chance in hell. I love age gaps, but we don't know Kate. We truly don't know any of these people, even the adults (especially the adults. Most don't even have names, which is annoying af).

      DW and James: I see DW turning on him as soon as she realizes popularity is a real thing and he doesn't have what it takes to be popular. Again, with the evidence we have, you're right and I'm just speculating. They remind me of ArCine for that reason. Yeah, Francine isn't always ripping into Arthur just as DW isn't always ripping on James, but it won't take much to change that.

      Binky and Molly: I think we both agree it could work, just as Molly x Rattles would work, but we have no idea how it would end up. Three-way? Idk. Brawl? Idk. We just have no idea but we all want it work because they seem the closest. Thinking back on it, I hope they all find different people but remain close friends, just to keep the drama down. But I love my piece Love by Love by Love because wow, who ends up with who? Will she stick with both? Being a horny teenager has its issues, and these young thangs have found it.

      Brain and Sue Ellen: I think we agree here. They don't exactly spend a lot of time together, and I think that could cause sparks later on if they can get their heads out of their textbooks long enough to realize they have hormones. I also think they'd be adorable together, but I don't know if it'll happen or not. It's just interesting to think about.

      Wrapping up, all of this is speculation but I like the debating process. The Arthur fandom is great that we have nothing canon to go on, just a bunch of kids hanging out. We can go any way we want with these pairings, if we pair them at all, and still be right. But it's fun to debate as long as you think it through. I know my brain has been *flatline* lately but I hope I'm keeping this interesting, and I plan to do another one with more "what if?" pairings. I'll start working on it soon but I have other projects to work on;)


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