"Desk Wars"



Season/Series: 8
Number in season: 7a
Original Airdate: Flag of the United States December 23, 2003[1]
Flag of Canada March 3, 2004[2]
Flag of Germany December 25, 2007[3]
Written by: Glen Berger
Storyboard by: Gerry Capelle
"Postcards from Buster"
"Desperately Seeking Stanley"
Read transcript
"Desk Wars" is the first half of the seventh episode in the eighth season of Arthur.


It is the hottest school day of the year, and tempers are even hotter. To keep the peace, Mr. Ratburn moves Brain and Arthur away from their usual desks ... and sets off a chain reaction resulting in the most explosive desk war in third grade history![4]


Arthur starts off by looking (unsuccessfully) through his classmates' desks. They all debate why he's allowed to start the show; because it's his show. They all want it to change, including the Binky Barnes Variety Hour. Then Mr. Ratburn claims to the viewers that the teachers don't blow things out of proportion, but in the teacher's lounge, viewers can see that they do.

One morning, it's a hot day and all are sweating in the classroom. The Brain calculates that his seat's getting the most cool air. But then arguing breaks out on desk over Muffy's stickers and dust ruffle, meaning that he's sent to the second hottest spot in the room (behind Binky's desk) by Mr. Ratburn. Arthur, Buster, and Francine have an argument which eventually leads to Arthur being sent to Brain's desk, and Binky seizes Arthur's desk. Arthur messes with the Brain's desk-sorting pencil thing, which angers him.

Mr. Haney comes in and calls Mr. Ratburn into the office to take a call, and Ratburn tells the kids that he has to go and to work on their assignments while he's gone. The Brain plots to try to get his desk back, after discovering the gum from George's (who's absent) dinosaur model. Muffy moves to the sharpener after her pencil breaks.

This is Brain's chance to get back to a cooler spot! But Muffy sees this and scrambles back to her seat. George returns early to discover his seat is missing, and he can't sit anywhere. George is duped into sharpening Muffy's pencil.

Then a lot of threats start off — if George doesn't give the pencil to Brain, then his gummy dino is squashed; if this happens, then Sue Ellen will throw Binky's rubber band ball out the window, Brain's desk will get covered in judo kitten stickers by Muffy if she doesn't get the pencil; this isn't fair on Francine, who was promised these, so she'll cut the dust ruffle in half, Buster's comic book will be shredded by Fern if the ruffle is cut, despite saying “Cut up that dust ruffle and, Arthur's comic book gets shredded”. Then Buster will eat Arthur's cookies.

The pressure builds on George, and the pencil keeps snapping; if these continues, then Sue Ellen's UN report is history, according to Brain. A book falls onto the dinosaur, so all threats are carried out, which leads to mass destruction of the classroom. Mr Haney comes in to warn them, but he’ll let them off so long as they tidy up. All refuse to do the hard jobs, as none of them believe they’re at fault.

When Arthur turns to George, he is puzzled when he sees that George is doing the cleaning up, as he “didn’t make any of this mess”. When Arthur asks why, George replies that he doesn't mind and adds that they all make a big deal about everything. They all muck in and clean up, and Brain rewrites Sue Ellen's UN report. Ratburn returns and gives the good news — he's an uncle. Everyone is invited to Muffy's pool to cool off. They debate what started the fight, but no conclusion is reached. Then Binky’s rubber band ball bounces through the pool, so it’s chased.






  • The students wear different clothes in this episode because it's almost summer vacation.
  • Sharky was seen in the pool in this episode, even when D.W. was not seen in the episode at all. Although, it's possible that Arthur purchased it or Muffy's parents may have bought it.
  • There are four extra students seen in the classroom, in contrast to the fact that they are not on Mr. Ratburn's class roster.

Cultural references

  • Muffy's Judo Kittens stickers appear to be reminiscent of The Powerpuff Girls.
  • This episode seems to be an allusion to World War I and II, regarding the fact that one thing led to another, until it got chaotic. The students were also studying about the United Nations, an international organization that was established after World War II, which aimed for world peace.

Episode connections

  • In this episode, Mr. Ratburn gets a call from his sister, and he tells the class that he became an uncle, which meant that she'd given birth to a child; even though in her exclusive appearance in "Arthur's Substitute Teacher Trouble," she was single and she wasn't pregnant, nor did it reveal whether or not she had children. This may be a continuity error - or Ratburn's sister was only just pregnant and it didn't show, or maybe he may have another sister. Given the time that has elapsed between the two episodes, it's likely just a new addition to the ongoing continuity, which is not always consistent.
  • A binder with a Love Ducks sticker on it can be seen in Buster's desk. Love Ducks first appeared in "That's a Baby Show!" and was later referenced by D.W. in "The Secret Life of Dogs and Babies".


Main article: Desk Wars/Gallery