15Francine Frensky — Arthur
For years, I was wondering what Francine Frensky was. Buster Baxter is a bunny, Arthur is an aardvark, and, as it turns out, Francine is a monkey. Looking at her now, I can see how she's obviously a monkey — but my mind never made the connection as a kid.
Considering that Francine is a monkey, there are a number of racially insensitive things about her character that people have found offensive in recent years.
To start, Francine is obviously meant to be an African American. To start, in one of the episodes, Muffy tries to get Francine's hair done for picture day, but it puffed right into an afro. This is more or less proof that Francine is supposed to be the character that brings diversity to the characters. However, the fact that she's a monkey is a poorly thought out decision from the show's creators. Additionally, Francine is one of the poorest characters on the show and has to share a room with her sister (which no other characters on the show had to do). Finally, Francine's father was a garbageman, which Francine finds embarrassing. If you put all of these things together, you realize that PBS slipped up a bit and inserted a little racism into Arthur.