Season 5 Episode 7

Franklin's Big Game / Franklin's Reading Club

Aired Weekdays 11:00 AM Mar 27, 2004 on Noggin

Episode Recap


"Franklin's Big Game"

Franklin and his friends are outside playing a baseball game. Raccoon catches a hit ball and tosses it to Franklin, who's pitching. Franklin catches the ball. His friend Bear is up at bat. He tells Franklin that he wants to "see that smoke:" he's planning to hit the ball out of the park. Franklin responds that he's going to fool him with his "extra-tricky fast-spin ball." He throws and Bear connects, but it's a pop fly, an easy out. As Bear rounds the bases, the ball heads towards Raccoon in the outfield. Raccoon miscalculates and misses the catch. Bear slides into third base, being guarded by Badger, for a triple. Grabbing a hold of the base, which he's knocked out of its position, he realizes that nobody is paying attention to him. He hears the scraping of tires and spots what everyone else has already noticed: a bus pulling up. From it emerges a polar bear in a blue jersey. A group of similarly outfitted polar bears follows and the first one tells them to stretch their legs. As Franklin's group watches them stretching, Franklin wonders just who they are. The first one walks up, saying that they're the Churchill Bears baseball team. He starts to introduce himself, but starts as his name is yelled out by Mr. Mole, who's happy to see him. It turns out that they know each other: Mr. Mole did some travelling up north last year and met Coach Polar then. Coach Polar's team is on their way to a big tournament down south, but before they get there, Mr. Mole invited them to stop by on their way. Coach Polar says that he really appreciates it and hopes that they don't mind if his team borrows the field for a little while. Franklin agrees that it'll be no problem and then Mr. Mole gets an idea: the Churchill Bears and Franklin and his friends should play an exhibition game. He says that it would help the Bears to warm up, so everyone happily agrees. Mr. Mole says that he'll make the arrangements and leaves. Bear wonders just how good this team is and Franklin tells him that he'll go easy on them and won't even use his special pitch, his "backspin ball." They watch as the Bears play, turning "bang-bang double-plays" and hitting balls so high they appear to reach the clouds. They begin to wonder if they stand a chance agains them, Fox worried that they'll be "murgalized." Franklin tries to remain cool, saying that they can take them, when suddenly one of the players smacks a ball right towards the group. Fortunately, before it can hit them, one of the polar bears makes a diving catch. He tells them that he hopes they're not hogging the field and asks if they want to join the practice. Fearing that they would get laughed at, they make a series of excuses for why they can't join in. The polar bear says that he'll see them tomorrow then, saying that they're really looking forward to the game. Raccoon tries to say that Franklin and his friends aren't, but the polar bear has already walked off and can't hear. Franklin suggests that maybe they just need some help and they should go see Coach Porcupine. They go to see her, but find her packing her car to head to the train station. She's going to visit her sister and will have to miss the game. She gives them some parting advice: "just have fun." She bids them goodbye and Beaver wonders just how much fun they could have getting creamed. Bear thinks that it might not be so bad as long as they get in some extra practice. Everyone agrees, so long as the Churchill Bears aren't watching: they'd laugh their heads off. So Franklin guides them to a small, hidden, forested area. They're pestered by mosquitoes, but managed to make it to the clearing. They start their practice, but soon find themselves not doing very well, tottering, bumping into each other trying to catch balls and hitting terribly. They're worried that they can't do anything right and are terrible. They start arguing with each other about how bad they are until Bear says that it won't help. Franklin says there's only one thing to do. The scene changes to Mr. Mole's hardware store, where Mr. Mole is reminiscing with Coach Polar about his trip up north. Franklin comes in, saying that there's "something we need to talk to you about." Mr. Mole wonders who this "we" is. The team comes in, saying that they won't be able to play in the game. They make the same sad excuses as before, also explaining that Coach Porcupine can't be around, so they won't have a manager. Mr. Mole says that he could coach them and Coach Polar says that it would be a real shame if they had to cancel. Mr. Mole's organized a picnic and the whole town is planning on coming to watch the game. Franklin's really worried about it now. Coach Polar says that they can just play and enjoy themselves, giggling good-naturedly. Franklin and his friends leave, lamenting their fate once again. Franklin says that they can't back out now, but everyone else seems less than confident. The next day comes and it's time for the game. Franklin is sitting unhappily by himself on a bench when Bear shows up, asking if he's ready to play. Franklin's surprised, thinking that he was the only one that was going to show up. The rest of the group shows up, saying basically that they're in it together: "all-for-one and one-for-all." They cheer and Franklin says that it's funny, that losing can make you feel good inside. Bear figures it must be what being part of a real team feels like. Franklin talks with the Coach Polar of the Churchill Bears team, saying that they're as ready as they'll ever be. Coach Polar says that the first thing they should do is even up the teams: swapping players to make things more even. He wonders if they mind and Franklin asks the same of him. He figures that they'd want to "murgalize" them and Coach Polar responds that it wouldn't be any fair. If they split the teams, the game would be a lot more fun. His team could even give Franklin's some pointers. So they agree to this and they begin the game. Franklin is up at pitching and Coach Polar has some advice for him: the guy batting right now is weak against the "backspin ball." Franklin says that he's been trying to learn it and shows him how he's been holding the ball. Coach Polar adjusts his position and Franklin makes the pitch for an easy out. Later, Bear gets some batting tips, scoring a nice hit. The game ends and Mr. Mole wonders who won. They respond that they don't even know who won. They don't even care. Franklin says that he enjoyed the game, but still wishes he and his team could be as good as the Churchill Bears. Coach Polar says that they can: with practice, hard work and teamwork, which they already have. They dive into Mr. Mole's picnic, happy to "murgalize" it as a team.


"Franklin's Reading Club"

Franklin and his friends are all at the library. Mrs. Goose announces the new summer reading club. There's going to be a special prize for reading thirty books. Rabbit figures this is going to be something lame, like a bookmark, but it turns out that the prize is actually a very neat looking shirt. Franklin whispers to Bear that they should try to read thirty books each first, so that they can be the first ones to get t-shirts. They load up on books from the library and start having competitions to see who can read them the fastest. However, it would seem they're not paying much attention to the books. When Franklin mentions to his parents that he read The Tortoise and the Hare, Mr. Turtle says that was one of his favorites when he was a kid. He especially loved it when the Tortoise beat the Hare. This is news to Franklin. The Tortoise beat the Hare? How'd he do that? Still, Franklin and Bear press on, reading their thirty books way ahead of the others. But while they're picking up nothing from it, the others are having a good time - learning how to paint, making pioneer inventions and putting on an awesome play. When Franklin and Bear show them their t-shirts, they're impressed, until Franklin and Bear act completely ignorant about the contents of the book which is the subject of the play that's being put on. Franklin and Bear admit that they rushed and Beaver tells them missed out on all the fun. Franklin and Bear return to the library, this time to check out all the books they read before. They want to read them again, but this time really read them, so they won't miss out on all the fun. Bear can't wait to read about the fire-breathing dragon that was part of the play. And Franklin can't wait to read about how the Tortoise beat the Hare... and now neither can Bear. The Tortoise beat the Hare? No way!