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Arthur's Big Hit

Episode #401

"D.W.'s Library Card" / "Arthur's Big Hit"

Synopsis by Dave, comments by Dave and HFein. Season Four ones are in a class by themselves... this one's no exception.
Synopsis

The scene's a cavernous auditorium, with a boxing ring in the center. Francine's the announcer.

A microphone comes down on a long wire from the ceiling. Nice detail.

Arthur enters the ring, and goes to his corner. Buster's his manager. Arthur's logo is a book on his robe... the crowd goes wild, because Arthur's the champion.

Tonight's fight looks to be a bit of a mismatch though. Announcer Francine introduces the challenger, or as she says the "challanga"... Dora Winifred Read...

D.W. comes down a ramp into the auditorium on a bike, flys up into the air off a ramp, and lands in the ring. Her manager is Nadine. D.W.'s logo is a sad Arthur.

The two combatants face each other. Arthur makes a menacing comment to his opponent.

Arthur: Prepare to lose!

Only since he's got a mouthguard on, his voice is too muffled to understand what Arthur's saying. Luckily there's captions at the bottom of the screen.

D.W. doesn't know what Arthur's saying.

He says it again, and again it's muffled, but there are the captions...

D.W. comments about them; she sort of gestures towards the captions with her boxing glove:

D.W.: This doesn't help, I can't read!

Anyway, it's time to fight.

Francine: Get ready to fight.

(I was expecting "Let's get ready to rumble", but "Get ready to fight" works too...)

Arthur figures this'll be a cakewalk, since he's a lot bigger than D.W.. The fight is just about to start when Arthur glances to the audience. In the front row is D.W., munching a big container of popcorn.

Huh? If D.W.'s in the audience, then who's in the ring?

Arthur (muffled, because of the mouthguard, again with captions): Two D.W.'s ?

Nope. The D.W. on stage starts to come apart down its front. Turns out it isn't D.W., it's a disguise! Binky steps out of it, and looms over him (How Binky managed to fit inside D.W.'s dimensions and mimic her voice is a mystery...)

Binky laughs menacingly.

Arthur says that Binky would probably prefer to pick on somebody his own size... Arthur says he'll go look for someone.

Arthur beats a hasty retreat and runs out of the ring, and up the ramp out of there as fast as he can.

Binky: Come back and fight!

D.W. sits in her front row seat, laughing.

* * * Arthur's Big Hit * * *

Arthur has something interesting, which he's working on in his room. D.W. comes in to find out what he's doing.

It's a model kit of the Bell X-1, the first plane to break the sound barrier.

D.W.: The sound barrier must be pretty hard, because this plane is all smashed up.

The box is full of white plastic parts on sprues, your typical model kit. D.W. thinks the idea of a toy that comes already broken is kind of dumb. Arthur gets annoyed and tells her to go away, and leave him to work on it in peace.

D.W. says she's going, she's going...

D.W.: ...and if you say please, I'll go even faster.

Arthur growls.

* * *

After Arthur finishes gluing it together, he paints it orange. D.W. comes to have a look at it while it's sitting drying unattended. She picks it up while it's still tacky.

D.W.: Ewww.

In her haste to put the nasty thing down, she knocks over the paint pot and it pours all over the table. Luckily there are newspapers to catch the puddle.

Arthur just happened to have Buster over at the time... he invites Buster to come see how his model is progressing -- but it's covered in fingerprints. Arthur looks angry... he told D.W. not to mess with it.

Buster: I never thought of it before, but being an only child is nice.

* * *

Anyway, Arthur eventually completes the Bell X-1. He places it on its stand, and contimplates how great it looks.

Arthur: It's the best thing I've ever made.

Arthur figures it's a blue ribbon winner, it's so good.

Pal woofs in agreement. Arthur decides that the successful completion of the plane calls for a celebration.

Arthur: This calls for a celebration snack.

Arthur and Pal go downstairs for the snack, leaving the plane to sit in all it's glory in Arthur's room on it's stand. It sparkles in the sunlight.

D.W. notices it sparkling, and since Arthur's not upstairs, she sneaks into his room to check it out. D.W. takes it off its stand, and starts to pretend to fly it in his room.

Since it's an airplane, D.W. decides to make it fly -- by hurling it out of an open window.

* * *

In the kitchen, Arthur is having his snack.

Arthur's imagining himself getting a ribbon from the Air Force for a great model, and then going off and piloting his Bell X-1.

Outside, something goes whizzing past the window.

Arthur goes upstairs to his room. The stand is there, but the Bell X-1 model is not on the stand.

Arthur goes outside. He finds the plane on the pavement, or what's left of it, since it's nothing but a hunk of junk now.

Arthur imagines flying the plane again, only to have it break up around him and go crashing to Earth. Arthur's left floating up in the air for a second before plummeting to Earth as well.

D.W. is outside too, muttering about the plane being crumby for not being able to fly.

Arthur is very angry.

Arthur: I told you not to touch it.

D.W. keeps muttering about the plane being no good.

It's not a super hard punch, but it's enough to send D.W. running into the kitchen crying.

A few seconds later, there's an ominous shout from inside.

Mom: Arthur Timothy Read!

Arthur heads in. He knows he's in big trouble now.

Arthur: Uh oh. Middle name.

* * *

Inside, D.W. is being attended too in the kitchen by Dad. D.W.'s sitting on the countertop, and Dad's putting ice on her arm, which has a small bruise on it.

D.W.'s afraid that her arm might have to amputated, but Dad figures that the ice should be enough to take care of things.

Mom and Dad are angry at Arthur, but to my mind, they aren't particularly hard on him. Check out what happens:

Mom and Dad say that Arthur should be ashamed of himself for hitting D.W., and that he should apologize to her.

Arthur: No way. She should apologize to me!

Arthur figures D.W. should apologize to him for trashing his model. D.W. doesn't appear to be too willing to do that.

D.W.: You're bad.

Mom and Dad come down hard on Arthur. -- No TV for a week.

Arthur: What?

Arthur thinks that's very unfair. D.W. wrecked his plane, and he's getting punished?

Mom and Dad say that what D.W. did was wrong, but what Arthur did was wrong too.

* * *

Arthur discusses what went down at his house the next morning with Buster just before school starts.

Arthur describes what happened.

Buster says he can't believe it.

Arthur thinks Buster means that he's siding with Arthur, but Buster's shocked that Arthur hit his sister. Buster think's it's "terrible". Arthur says that Buster must be kidding, but Buster's not. Buster's never hit anyone...

Binky and some of his Tough Customers overhear the conversation as the two pass by. Binky's with Molly the rabbit, and Dog Guy, the dog who wears a dog collar armband.

Binky: I, for one, am shocked.

Dog Guy: How can you be shocked?

Molly and Dog Guy are surprised, to put it mildly -- Binky's the head of the Tough Customers... Hitting people is one of the cornerstones of their organization. Molly suggests that Binky's always fighting, but then pauses.

Molly: You always... I can't remember.

Molly can't remember the last time Binky was in a fight with someone.

Dog Guy (with a cocky tone): Binky does not have to remind us of his past glorious fights...

Binky looks relieved.

(Since he's no fighter. The reason nobody can recall his fighting is because Binky hardly ever fights anyone... the last time he was actually in a scuffle was in #21902 - "Finders Key-pers" -- Binky would rather read books or catch butterflies, or go to the ballet than fight. But then, we all knew that anyway, didn't we?)

Dog Guy continues. He's so confident of Binky's toughness -- that Binky can take on anybody, anytime, anywhere -- that he states that Binky will prove his toughness by "socking the next kid" that he meets. That will prove that Binky's not afraid to hit people.

Molly and Dog Guy take a long hard look at their leader. It's evident that Molly for one is starting to doubt Binky's leadership capabilities.

Then Arthur ambles past. That makes Arthur Binky's target. Binky's gotta hit him. Arthur walks off, totally unaware of the fact that he's now a marked man, err, aardvark.

Binky starts stammering and delaying... he doesn't want to go hit Arthur.

Molly: You'd better or you're out.

That's not fair, figures Binky -- he's the boss of the club!

Binky: It's my club, I founded it.

Molly and Dog Guy walk off, leaving Binky to contimplate what he's going to do next. Molly comments as she walks off.

Molly: If you wanted everything your own way, you shouldn't have let anyone else join.

* * *

Place: Mr. Ratburn's class.

On the blackboard, there's a diagram of the Earth going around the sun. The Earth's tilted towards and away from the sun -- the diagram explains the equinoxes.

Arthur has a different topic though, which he's discussing with Muffy. Even Muffy doesn't side with Arthur on this though. Arthur doesn't understand why nobody will see his side of things.

Muffy: Puh? 'Cause you're wrong?

Binky comes into the classroom, but he's holding a book up to his face, like blinders on a horse, so that he doesn't see Arthur as he passes by.

Francine notes this.

Francine: Binky's so upset at what Arthur did, he won't look at him!

* * *

Place: Cafeteria, at lunchtime. Binky continues to avoid Arthur. Instead of coming to sit with Arthur and the others, Binky goes outside to eat.

Francine's concerned. Without mentioning it to Arthur, she comments to Buster. Buster agrees that Francine's right to be concerned.

Buster: We should bring them together.

* * *

Place: Playground. Some of the gang are playing with a ball. The ball goes bouncing away, and Sue Ellen goes to retrieve it from the bushes near the school. She's surprised to find Binky hiding in the bushes.

Sue Ellen asks him what he's doing.

Binky says he's hiding from Arthur.

Sue Ellen's puzzled. Why?

Binky: If I don't see him, I don't have to hit him.

(Now we know why Binky's been acting the way he has around Arthur.) That's even more puzzling. Why does Binky have to hit Arthur then?

Binky: I don't!

It's too weird, even for the likes of Sue Ellen. She picks up the ball and walks off.

Sue Ellen: Boys are weird...

* * *

Arthur and Fern are walking in the hallway. Fern is a little more reasonable than the rest of Arthur's friends so far -- she sees his point. Still, it wasn't right to hit D.W...

Fern: She's just a little girl.

Arthur says that saying that D.W. is just a little girl is like saying that "a tornado is just a little wind".

Binky goes past, notes Arthur in time, and covers head with book as he passes by. But Binky drops his pencil in his mad dash to avoid Arthur. Arthur's helpful trait is his downfall this time.

He picks up the pencil, thinking that Binky will be pleased to get it back off him.

* * *

Place: After school. Arthur finds Binky with the Tough Customers. Binky's explaining to them that he hasn't had a chance to thump Arthur yet since he just hasn't seen him around.

Arthur doesn't hear this though, and comes up to Binky.

Arthur: You dropped your pencil.

Binky: Ulp!

Dog Guy and Molly look at Binky. There's something Binky's gotta do...

Binky hits Arthur in the arm.

Arthur wasn't expecting that!

Dog Guy: All right Binky, you're still in the club!

Molly comments that she guesses she was wrong... Binky WILL hit anybody.

* * *

At home, Arthur's injury gets tended to by his parents in the kitchen, the way D.W.'s injury was treated. Arthur feels bad about being punched by Binky. He discusses it with his parents.

Arthur: It hurt, it was embarassing...

The point that Arthur now knows what it's like to be hit is made gently... Arthur understands. Fighting is wrong. Maybe Binky did Arthur a favor by punching him.

Arthur apologizes to D.W., and she makes amends with him, since Arthur's plane DID get wrecked. D.W. claims it wasn't completely her fault though, since she didn't know what would happen.

D.W.: What kind of stupid plane doesn't fly?

Arthur: A model plane.

D.W.: I didn't know, I'm just a child.

Well anyway, that's things smoothed out at home.

Arthur has one last thing to do.

Arthur meets up with Binky.

Arthur THANKS Binky for making him see the error of his ways by hitting him. Now Arthur sees that hitting was wrong.

Binky is unsure of this -- he's puzzled. He wasn't trying to teach Arthur "some boring lesson"... still, Binky's glad that things are back to normal between them.

Dog Boy and Molly show up. They recognize Arthur.

Dog Boy: ...you got hit by Binky and lived!

For proving that he's so tough, by withstanding Binky's punch, they want to have Arthur join their club. Arthur's in. The group decides to go for sodas when Binky makes an announcement. A club that includes hitting people is "dumb", and he's dissolving the club.

Dog Boy and Molly look sad at the demise of their club.

Binky (tough voice): Anyone want to make something of it?

Dog Boy and Molly don't want Binky thumping them... um, no...

Binky says that he's going to form a new club, which they can all be in. Only there's a rule that there's no hitting -- and if anyone breaks that rule,

Binky: I'll clobber 'em.

And as the sun sets, that's...
The End.

Comments

There was a lot of interest in this episode in the Yahoo! Arthur club before it aired.

That's a lot of paint for such a little pot.

The Bell X-1 is a real plane, and it's available in model form -- one manufacturer is Hobbycraft -- their catalogue is where the picture on the right comes from.

Wasn't Chuck Jager the one who broke the sound barrier in it? (The real plane I mean, not a scale model) :)

[IMAGE: Bell X-1 painting, from the 1995 Hobbycraft catalogue]

This is picky. If I was selling models of the Bell X-1, I'd have made it in orange plastic, since the aircraft is actually predominantly orange. It would save a lot of painting. :)

Someone went to a lot of trouble to draw the boxing ring accurately... and there's a wrestling ring in #40401 - "The Contest".

I guess one reason why they didn't use "Are you ready to rumble" is that they wanted to emphasize the fact it was Arthur fighting... that and the fact that it's probably copyrighted.

Did you notice the tall rabbit guy from Season 1 hanging around? You see him around the time when Arthur picks up Binky's pencil for him. Glad to see he's still around.

Arthur's already been in Binky's clique before. Remember #11702 - "Arthur, World's Greatest Gleeper"? Had Binky's gang remembered, they all might have had reasons to want to see Arthur thumped. :)

Funny that Rattles wasn't around. He's easily the smartest of the Tough Customers, and the most rational.

Depending on how much fighting and hitting and smacking and spanking that went on in your childhood, you'll either find this story reasonable, mildly unrealistic, or downright phony.

I guess Arthur had to learn his lesson somehow, since he was pretty unrepentant.

Arthur's parents seem to act as if Arthur got what he deserved when Binky hit HIM. Their smug what-comes-around-goes-around/see-how -YOU-like-it attitude completely overlooks the fact that Arthur had to be provoked in order to hit D.W., but Binky was carrying out a random dare that Arthur just happened to be the victim of. In this case, two wrongs defininitely do NOT make a right, but Dave and Jane's smug satisfaction is very inappropriate!

Funny how Dad wraps a small bruise in a huge tourniquet.

Seeing Binky having to teach Arthur a lesson unknowingly because of he was dared might not have been the best way to do it though... I thought Binky was smarter than that... maybe a ghost sequence like in #40602 - "Prunella Gets It Twice"? Eeeee.... Maybe not. :) Plus we already know that clubs can be bad news -- as in #12901 - "My Club Rules"?

Note that had D.W. apologized right at the start, Arthur probably wouldn't have hit her, since it's not like him. D.W.'s excuse that she's just a kid is weak -- total cop-out...

Also note that Arthur's "no TV punishment" is actually almost lighter than the punishment he got for digging up the lawn in #30901 - "Arthur's Treasure Hunt"...

The fact that Cinar's current financial woes can be traced back to a case of "borrowing" an idea is ironic, wouldn't you say? Check the Arthur Yahoo! Club for more on this.

Oh, almost forgot. This one's not a particular favorite of mine.


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