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Best of the Nest

Episode #601

"Sue Ellen Gets Her Goose Cooked" / "Best of the Nest"

Synopsis by Dave
Comments by Dave, sue_ellen_armstrong, George4Browne, and Esmeraude.

Synopsis

Since the teaser is just a clip from the episode, I'm not going to include it here. I'll just jump into the story.


* * * Best of the Nest * * *
The title card circle hatches like an egg with with the kids inside. When a giant bird appears, the kids quickly scurry out of the nest, which is appropriate, if nothing else. :)
Written by: Peter K. Hirsch
Storyboard by: Zhigang Wang

Brain's tending his Mom's ice cream shop. He scoops an ice cream for Buster, predicably it's a horrible flavor yet again, a mixture of French Vanilla and fresh fish. Arthur covers his mouth so he isn't sick as Buster notes how you can "really taste the cod". Brain hands Arthur a clothespeg to stick on his nose. Brain's already put one on.

A horrible flavor, but not the first time Buster's had fish-flavor ice cream: He enjoyed "Rocky Trout" in #20601 - "Buster Baxter, Cat Saver"

Sue Ellen walks into the ice cream shop. She figured they'd be playing "Virtual Goose", seeing how today is "the Final Match of the Playoffs to the Elimination Round of the Nineteenth Championships". Arthur knows that was the case, but ever since D.W. started playing, they've lost interest. She always wins.

Besides, notes Buster, who wants to spend all their time inside playing computer games?


If Sue Ellen wanting to play computer games was out of character, now Buster favors an active livestyle and nutrious ice cream. Has the world gone topsy-turvy? :)

Speaking of fish ice cream, check this out: It was in the Calgary Sun on August 6th, 2001.

[IMAGE: Newspaper article on fish ice cream]

Suddenly Muffy appears at the door of the ice cream shop. She just downloaded "Virtual Goose Version 5.0". She's impressed with it. The boys are stunned. Buster notes it must be good -- they skipped versions 2 through 4. They all stop what they're doing -- Arthur abandons his still full glass of orange juice, and rush out of the ice cream shop. Brain takes off his uniform and flips the sign on the door of the shop before he leaves, closing the shop.

When did Brain inherit the ice cream shop? I don't think his parents would appreciate his closing it in the middle of the day.

Sue Ellen sits down at the counter in the abandoned store and sighs to herself.

Sue Ellen: Addicts...

I won't ask how Muffy and Sue Ellen knew to visit the ice cream shop, which they hardly ever frequent. Usually everyone's in the Sugar Bowl, but that goes without saying.

* * *

We're now subject to "Virtual Goose Version 5.0".


The screen goes black, and the background story scrolls up and away up the screen, like on Star Wars.

In a time
before time...
In a place so remote 
it has never been  seen
before by upright mammals.

Note that there's two spaces between "been" and "seen", if you're really, really, really, really fussy.

We see our old friend the goose from "Virtual Goose" in a nest in a palm tree surrounded by volcanoes. The virtual goose laid four eggs, which hatched into...

  1. Sporty Goose, sporting a tae kwon do outfit...
  2. Stylish Goose, who's outfitted in a nice dress and a scarf...
  3. Strong Goose, who's a muscular goose...
  4. Silly Goose, with a face like a clown...
  5. Smart goose, clutching a diploma, and wearing a mortar board, and a suit. He turns his diploma into a paper airplane with one hand and throws it at you.
  6. ...and finally, Just Plain Goose, which looks like Arthur, if he was a goose, even down to the sweater and glasses.

To me, they look more like penguin children than geese. :)

Virtual Goose had to leave her gifted children, and "pursue a career in online gaming". She vowed to return with "fame and fortune", but while she was gone, an "evil wind" blew the nest out of the tree. Now the geese children must "fend for themselves in the "deep dark woods".

Only one will survive, passing all of the trials to become "Best of the Nest"...

...and there you have it.


Arthur and his friends all pick the geese they want to be.

Arthur sighs -- he gets stuck with "Just Plain Goose".

* * *

We see them playing the game.

Brain, as "Smart Goose" comes to a rushing river he must cross, and is given three options.

Brain picks A, and watches his goose fall into the river and get eaten by a shark. A tombstone appears, reading "Game Over". Brain's shocked, and recoils in his chair.

Brain: What!?

* * *

Brain consults a book at the library. Meanwhile, Binky kicks George off the library computer -- Binky got sick of waiting for George to finish his research. Brain points to an article in the book and tells Binky that his goose should have been large enough to fly. Binky says that if Brain was right, he's still be in the game. Brain says the game is "dumb", and goes on to say that sharks don't live in rivers.

Looks like Elwood City's library system has given up on the Dewey Decimal System for shelving non-fiction books and has elected to go with alphabetical order instead.

Nearby, Muffy's sitting at a desk using her laptop computer. She sides with Binky, and claims that Brain's just upset because he "couldn't last one day in the wild". Brain replys that he could.

Muffy: I guess we'll never know, will we.

Muffy then squeals with delight. Her goose has come to another trial.

"Stylish Goose" is standing on an iceberg. There are some mushrooms growing on the iceberg. Should she:

Muffy elects to eat the mushrooms, which was the correct response, allowing her to pass on to level four.

Brain: But that's ridiculous! They could have been poisonous!

Muffy: Spoilsport!

* * *

In school, Brain approaches Francine, Buster, and Arthur, who are standing by their lockers. He wants them to sign up to go on a real camping trip with him on the weekend. Buster wants to know if there'll be real food. Brain says his Dad makes "amazing s'mores".Good enough for Buster -- he signs his name under Francine and Arthur's.

Muffy overhears them talking. She dismisses camping as a bad idea, since there aren't showers, beds, or TV.

(not that that's stopped Muffy from going "camping" in the past -- #10701 - "Arthur Goes To Camp")

She then changes her story -- she can't go because of her "fragile health". She makes a few phony-sounding coughs, and walks off, wishing them well.

As soon as she's gone, Francine makes a face. She says she knows what Muffy is up to -- she wants them to leave so it will be easier for her to become "Best of the Nest"!

Arthur asks them to imagine what it will be like if Muffy wins.


He imagines Muffy going on and on at lunch in school about how she's the best. When Francine asks for the salt to be passed, Muffy doesn't let her have it, since salt is "only for the best". Muffy continues to prattle on about being the best and everyone groans.

We see Brain's sign-up sheet, as Buster strikes a line through his name; Arthur and Francine having already done so. Francine explains that they would like to go, but it wouldn't be fair "to the rest of the class" -- presumably they'll prevent Muffy from winning and having it go to her head.

* * *

Brain tries to get other people to go on the trip with him. He visits Sue Ellen, who is practicing her martial arts in her backyard. She says she has a karate tournament this weekend. She tries to chop a piece of wood in half with her hand. Her hand just hits the wood though. Sue Ellen runs into the house.

Sue Ellen: (sounding like she hurt herself) Make that a trip to the doctor's...

* * *

Brain's desperate. He asks Prunella if she'd like to come camping. Prunella consults her cootie-catcher, which tells her not to travel on days with the letter "Y" in them.

* * *

Brain walks into class on Friday still with no one to go camping with. Mr. Ratburn's erasing the chalkboard. He overhears Brain say "camping trip" and walks over to him. Ratburn says he enjoyed camping when he was a boy.

We flashback to Mr. Ratburn as a boy walking through the woods with a book, identifying the things he sees by their scientific names.

Mr. Ratburn says he'd love to go camping, and Brain lets him sign up.

Brain: (sheepish grin) Great...

* * *

Class lets out for the weekend. As the class leaves, Mr. Ratburn tells them to have a good weekend, and to work on their copper-smelting dioramas. Mr. Ratburn stops Brain before he leaves, and shows him a pile of books he's going to bring with them.

Brain doesn't seem to be too interested in learning while he's camping, or eating bark for that matter. He tells Mr. Ratburn that the books sound interesting, but he thinks they could print off the information they'll need off of the Internet -- it would be easier to carry.

Mr. Ratburn frowns. He's never used the Internet. He tugs on his collar.

Mr. Ratburn: Well, ya see, I've uh, never actually skiied the webbing of the, uh, information freeway, as it were.

Brain says it's as easy as tying your shoes.

* * *

Mr. Ratburn is given a crash course in using computers and the Internet by Brain. Ratburn has to be shown how to use a mouse -- you don't tap it against the monitor. Mr. Ratburn is also impressed by a closing CD-ROM platter and a computer card game.

Brain looks bored.

* * *

It's nighttime, but Brain and Ratburn are still using the computer.

Computer: Welcome.

Brain looks like he's bored and tired. He says they're finally on the Internet. Brain wants to start looking for trail maps, but Mr. Ratburn gets distracted by the prospect of "chat rooms". He starts chatting away in a chat room related to puppets, and gets into a flame war over a discussion of Japanese musical instruments.

Mr. Ratburn is glad that Brain's shown him how to use the Internet, and claims he could "surf the web all weekend".

Brain closes his eyes and sighs, and then crosses Ratburn's name off the sign-up sheet.

* * *

Brain has a lot of free time. He sits at his desk in his room. Brain's set up a line of dominos, and knocks over the first one with his pencil. The dominoes topple, go around his room, and knock a hammer, which launches a tiny rocket, which closes the mouth on a nutcracker when it lands. The nutcracker breaks a nutshell open, and the nut falls into Brain's hand. Brain eats the nut.

Brain's Dad walks into his son's room.

Brain's Dad: You know Alan, it's not too late -- we can still go on the trip, just you and me.

Brain appreciates his Dad's offer, but he says he really wanted to go camping with his friends; but they're too busy using their computers.

Brain's Dad turns around -- that reminded him; he has to update the website for their ice cream shop.

The ice cream shop may not do any business, but it has a website.

The doorbell rings. Brain answers it. It's Mr. Ratburn in his explorer's outfit. He shows Brain what he bought online: A canoe!

* * *

Brain, wearing his camping gear, gets into Mr. Ratburn's minivan. The canoe is on the roof. As Brain does up his seatbelt, Mr. Ratburn tells him that they have to make a few brief stops before they go.

* * *

They roll up to Arthur's. Arthur's waiting on the sidewalk with his camping gear. Brain's surprised. Arthur explains how he was playing "Best of the Nest", but his game ended at level ten.


His goose was faced with the dilemma of it being nighttime, and the temperature falling. His choices were:

Arthur figures the answer is "A". He then gets up though, and leaves the computer. D.W. walks into the room, and we hear her tap on the keyboard.

We don't see what choice D.W. made, but we do see a crocodile burp and some leaves flutter out his mouth.


Arthur says his goose never had a chance.

* * *

They pick up Buster as well.

Buster: My Mom made me stop playing she said stareing at the computer was bad for my eyes. Isn't that crazy?

Buster squints at Mr. Ratburn.

Buster: Hey Prunella! When did you learn to drive?!

* * *

Binky loads his camping equipment into the back of the van. Ms. Turner stopped him from hogging the computer at the library. Binky then asks Brain if there's going to be cold weather. Brain asks why Binky wants to know. Binky says his Dad said he'd buy him a computer when it snows in July.

* * *

Mr. Ratburn says that they've got everyone, gets into the van, and they drive off.

Mr. Ratburn: Now it's off to the mountains.

* * *

It's late at night, but Muffy and Francine are up playing "Best of the Nest". Muffy gets a phone call on her cell phone and answers it. It's Francine, taunting her in a very tired voice. Francine claims to have faster fingers. Muffy replys (in a tired voice as well) that she has a faster computer. Francine says Muffy should give up.

Muffy: (tired) Never.

Muffy hangs up, and goes back to her game. The game congratulates her for passing on to level eighty-seven. Muffy does a faceplant into her keyboard.

* * *

We come to the part where the teaser began.

It's nightfall, and Brain, Buster, Binky, and Arthur are sitting around a campfire with Mr. Ratburn. Brain pokes the fire. Buster feeds his face.

Buster: This is the life. A warm fire, good friends, and three pounds of beef jerky.

Some nearby bushes rustle. Buster wonders if it was a lion. Brain tells him there aren't lions in North America. Then he remembers. There ARE mountain lions...

Everyone starts trembling. Ratburn tells them all to stay calm, but he's nervous himself.

Binky then starts losing it. He grabs his head and says he wants to push the escape button. The only trouble is that this isn't a game, this is real, as Arthur points out. Everyone gasps, and the camera pulls in.

(That was the teaser)

Out from the bushes emerges not a mountain lion, but Muffy's chauffeur with a big rail-type backpack.

Tired Chauffeur: Mr. (catches breath) Ratburn, I presume...

Then he faints. Behind him, Muffy follows, talking on her cellular phone. She tells her Dad she's made it, and gives him a report on how good the cellular phone reception is out here. She's surprised. Francine pops her head around a tree.

* * *

The gang all toast marshmallows. Mr. Ratburn offers something to them that he's cooked, something made out of elm bark. Buster samples it.

Brain asks who wound up being "Best of the Nest".

Neither Muffy or Francine. Francine laments that she didn't know the way to scare off a bear was to "do the hokey-pokey". Buster, Binky, and Arthur find this amusing.

Binky: The hokey-pokey?! That's just stupid!

A growl is heard from the bushes, which are also rustling.

The kids all jump up. Binky starts singing and doing the hokey-pokey. The kids all join in, and as the bushes continue to rustle, Ratburn does too.

The camera zooms out.

END.

The credits then roll, to the sound of the Arthur Theme Dance Remix.

Comments

The cliffhanger ending was a little surprising, but it reminded me of a similar ending to an episode of the Simpsons when the scout troop found the abandoned camp and met a bear. Since there are episodes after this one, we'll assume that the hokey-pokey was successful in fending off the bear. :)

I didn't like this episode as much as the first one, but it was still enjoyable.


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