Season 1 Episode 10

Arthur's Birthday / Francine Frensky, Superstar

Aired Daily 4:00 PM Nov 11, 1996 on PBS
out of 10
User Rating
24 votes

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Episode Summary

Arthur's Birthday / Francine Frensky, Superstar

"Arthur's Birthday"

Arthur is excited about his birthday. After shopping for party supplies, he makes invitations and passes them out at school. He then finds out that Muffy is having her party on the same day, at the same time. This starts a huge battle between the boys and the girls in the Ratburn Fortunately, Francine and Arthur devise a great solution to the problem.

"Francine Frensky, Superstar"

Francine has always gotten the worst roles in school plays, so everyone in the Ratburn asks Mr. Ratburn to give her a good part in the next one. The play is about Thomas Edison, and Francine is given the role of Edison himself. She takes her role very seriously, to the point where she starts to trying to run everything her way and insults her friends. After the hurt and the anger, they set out to show her that she can't just forget their needs.


Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • I don't like Muffy

    I don't like this ep because Mufy is in it! ! ! ! Muffy sucks shes my least favorite character she's a snot. I had this book too but I never read it because I would never want to share my birthday I would just move it rather than share it with somone like Muffy. They are to mean to Francine on this ep. She has every right to be a bossy butt shes the greatst character. She should have hit Arthur in the head with a chair when he disagreed with her. But thats probably not good public telivison.moreless
Jodie Resther

Jodie Resther

Francine Alice Frensky

Arthur Holden

Arthur Holden

Mr. Nigel Emil Ratburn

Michael Yarmush

Michael Yarmush

Voice of Arthur Timothy Read (1996-2001)

Sonja Ball

Sonja Ball

Janet Read

Bruce Dinsmore

Bruce Dinsmore

David Read / Binky Barnes

Danny Brochu

Danny Brochu

Buster Baxter

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (4)

    • When the clock in Arthur's living room strikes 12:00 noon, it strikes the quarter-past Westminster chimes before tolling the hour. Typically striking clocks that have the chimes set to do Westminster quarters play the full chime sequence before striking the hour.

    • During the scenes in Mr. Ratburn's classroom, there are math problems all over the board. However, they disappear from the right side of the board when the camera switches out to a wider angle. The problems are rather complicated for a third-grade level, such as 2365 + 6128 = ?

    • Arthur says D.W's birthday is 6 months away. However, Arthur's birthday is in May and in "D.W.'s Perfect Wish," her birthday is in March.

    • In the play for the parents, Francine can be seen in the audience! Watch the scene carefully. As the camera pans to the left, she can be spotted on the left side of the audience, in the front. Apparently, Buster, Muffy, George and Sue Ellen can also be spotted!

  • QUOTES (21)

    • Arthur: (after the failure on the tug-of-war) I guess nobody wins.

    • Binky: (describing his acting resume in class plays) I was the wall in Humpty Dumpty, I was Plymouth Rock at Thanksgiving. I hope there's a wall in this play because I'm real steady!

    • Boys VS Girls in Tug-a-war.
      Muffy: Who needs boys, pull!
      Buster: Who needs girls, pull!

    • Francine: I guess I was a little self-centered. ... ... Okay, I rot, but we could still do a good show together.

    • Francine: Prepare to be amazed.
      Arthur: (he is supposed to be playing a phonograph) All operators are busy. Please hang up and dial again.
      Francine: (she hisses in his ear) You're a phonograph. Play music.
      Arthur: If you are calling from a touch-tone phone, press one now.

    • Brain: It needs air holes, Francine. (Buster can be seen turning colors and gasping for breath)
      Francine: (making as if she's looking over some notes) Hmm. Uh huh... no, it's perfect. (she walks away)
      Buster: Can't! Breathe!

    • Mr. Ratburn: Francine?
      Francine: You're wrong, Mr. Ratburn. (class gasps)

    • Muffy: We're talking about the mall! Stuff to buy, clothes to try on... fun!
      Francine: My inventions are not boring! Without lights, you'd be shopping in the dark. (she appears to give a quick glance over Muffy and Prunellas' wardrobe) Oh, sorry. I guess you already do.

    • Arthur: Francine, want to come to the Sugar Bowl with us?
      Francine: I have to study my inventions. I have no time for ice cream and childish small talk.

    • Francine: (after being told the library doesn't have a Thomas Edison section) What does a man have to do to be considered important in this crummy library?!

    • Mr. Ratburn: Thomas Alva Edison invented the phonograph. (class stares in confusion) The record player? (class continues to stare) It was before CDs. It played music with a needle.
      Binky: Is that a joke?
      Mr. Ratburn: No. I think this play will be very educational for everyone.

    • Binky: (as Sue Ellen suggests an idea for a play) I don't wanna do some girl's play.
      Sue Ellen: How about a spooky story, with thunder, and lightning... (lightning actually goes off with crashing thunder) ...and a massive monster made of mucous, who gets his arms pulled off! (She appears to actually turn into one, pulling off her arms. Binky claps.)
      Muffy: (smiling) Oh no!
      Sue Ellen: Don't worry, they grow back... being mucous and all.
      Mr. Ratburn: Imaginative, but a bit too complicated for us, Sue Ellen.

    • Mr. Ratburn: What could be a better way to start the day than with a 100 exciting math problems?

    • Francine: Duck! (Arthur rears back as a quacking duck person passes by him)

    • Francine: This is just terrible. What's a party without boys?

    • Muffy: Anyone who doesn't come to my party can't be my friend anymore.

    • Arthur: Can't you change your party to another day?
      : Are you kidding? The rock band and Pickles the Clown have been booked for months!
      : You got Pickles? He did my cousin's wedding. He's a genius!
      : Ooh, Pickles.
      : But I can't change my party either. All my relatives are coming from Ohio.
      Kids: Ooh, Ohio.
      : Well, then, everybody will just have to choose which party to attend.

    • D.W.: Huh? How do you get square balloons?
      Female Cashier: Blow square breaths.

    • D.W.: Arthur, your dog can't tell towels from food.

    • Brain: I realize I'm the obvious Edison, but might I suggest Francine?

    • Mrs. Read: (to Pal, who is tugging on a towel) Give me that, you scamp!

  • NOTES (13)

    • In the Edison play, the characters have the following roles:
      Francine plays Thomas Edison
      Arthur is the first phonograph
      Buster is the first incandescent lamp
      Sue Ellen plays a kinetoscope
      Binky is the train in the filming of The Great Train Robbery
      Fern, Maria and Alex (the two rabbit "extras" in the class) are news reporters
      and Muffy and Jenna are cowgirl bandits. (Muffy also introduces the play.)

    • Mr. Ratburn's line about Thomas Edison inventing the record player can be heard echoing in the remixed version of the main title theme available on the Arthur's Really Rockin' Music Mix album.

    • Francine actually yells directly in Mr. Ratburn's face in "Francine Frensky, Superstar," when complaining that Sue Ellen's film has no sprocket holes.

    • "Francine Frensky, Superstar" introduces the title card in which Francine bangs on the title card circle like a drum and rattles Arthur, sort of like in the play when she was crashed as a cymbal.

    • Francine's previous class play roles include a cherry tree, Sir Isaac Newton and the mighty cymbal.

    • Watch for a hilarious recurring gag in "Arthur's Birthday" in which Mr. Read gets obsessive over trying to break a piñata, eventually taking some rather drastic measures with it.

    • Muffy says in "Arthur's Birthday" that she booked a band and Pickles the clown for her birthday party. They were apparently stood up.

    • The official website for Arthur tells us in the FAQ section that Elwood City isn't in any state, but that you can pretend it's your neighborhood if you want. We learn from this episode though that it's definitely not in Ohio. Binky and several of Arthur's friends don't seem to know where Ohio is.

    • Stefanie Gignac is credited as Stephanie Gignac.

    • Haney Abuse Tracker: Mr. Haney's head can be seen oddly portrayed as a balloon in "Arthur's Birthday."

    • "Arthur's Birthday" is based in part on a book by Marc Brown. "Francine Frensky, Superstar" is Arthur Chapter Book #22 under the title Francine the Superstar.

    • "Arthur's Birthday"

      Title Card: Arthur Swims by and Says "Hi!"
      Card Reader: Francine

      "Francine Frensky, Superstar"

      Title Card: Francine Gongs Arthur
      Card Reader: Binky

    • And Now a Word From Us Kids: An elementary school class pretends that it's the birthday of everyone in the class.