|Number in season:||1B|
|Original Airdate:||September 4, 2000|
|Written by:||Kathy Waugh|
|Storyboard by:|| Guylaine Seguin|
"Arthur and the Big Riddle"
"Kids are from Earth, Parents are from Pluto"
Arthur's wish to play Hooky becomes a group pact when the kids start daring and double-daring one another, but things don't go as planned.
The intro begins with Arthur and Buster in the bathroom. Arthur asks the viewers if they knew how something big can start from something small and proceeds to show instances of this. D.W. is playing Crazy Bus and Arthur tells her to stop before he goes crazy and eats the cushions. We then shift to D.W. having a tantrum over sunshine and yelling for rain. Back at the bathroom, Arthur explains that this mess started over less than nothing, foreshadowing what's to come.
Arthur, Buster, Francine, and Brain resent the large amount of homework they are assigned by Mr. Ratburn, which they believe will prevent them from watching a new Dark Bunny TV special. When Arthur states that he will one day not complete his homework and skip school, Francine dares him to prove his point. An anxious Arthur immediately dares her back, with Francine consequently daring Buster, and Buster daring Brain.
Realizing that they need a plan, the four friends devise a simple route they will walk the next morning instead of their usual route to school. After his friends leave, D.W. becomes suspicious of Arthur's behavior, with Arthur repeatedly denying his guilt, culminating in a humorous accidental outburst at his mother in the living room when she questions if he has homework to complete ("I told you, I'm not guilty, so leave me alone already!").
However, after suffering a nightmare of being digested by a giant clam, Arthur telephones Buster at night (who informs him he coincidentally had exactly the same dream as Arthur) and tells him to call Francine and Brain to tell them that they can't go through with the dare. The next morning, Brain receives Buster's message (though he is confused by Buster's referring to the giant clam in his and Arthur's dreams), but Francine fails to receive the message on the Frensky's answering machine due to wearing headphones. As a result, she carries on with the dare.
Arthur and Buster are worried when Francine does not show up to class. Meanwhile, Francine curses the boys for not arriving, and runs up to the school's entrance. Unfortunately, the doors are already locked, and Francine realizes that she is stuck.
Francine attracts Arthur and Buster's attention through the classroom window, and further realizes that she did not receive Buster's message. However, she is forced to hide when Mr. Ratburn (who is discussing last night's TV with Mr. Marco) looks in the friends' direction.
After a failed attempt to get Francine into the school unnoticed through the boys' bathroom, Binky agrees to distract Mr. Ratburn by pretending that something is wrong with his shoe. However, Arthur, Buster and Francine discover that Binky's plan was miscalculated due to the three friends being in the wrong location at the wrong time (Arthur and Buster at the school entrance, and Francine at a side entrance). When Binky's distraction fails, Francine is caught coming into the school late by Mr. Ratburn, and everyone is sent to the principal's office to figure out what happened.
Arthur, Buster, Binky and Francine are sitting outside of the principal's office, while Mr Haney tells Francine's dad what happened. The gang say things about cutting school and about it not being Francine's fault. Buster then tells a story about this kid who got expelled for skipping school. Oliver, Mr Ratburn and Mr Haney come out of the office. Oliver says that he is very disappointed in her and asks her where she got the idea to skip school.
Everyone confesses about the dare to Mr. Ratburn, Principal Haney, and Oliver Frensky, but only Francine receives punishment due to being the only one who actually was not in attendance at school. Mr. Ratburn is also satisfied that Arthur and Buster admitted to him why they didn't do their homework, and resolves the boys' wish for a punishment by giving them an extra assignment. (Binky also good-heartedly requests to be punished, but relents when Arthur reminds him that he had nothing to do with the dare.)
The episode finishes with Mr. Ratburn and Mr. Marco discussing why the students would choose to skip school and not do their homework so as to watch TV instead. Ironically, they begin to watch a recorded tape of 'Dark Bunny'.
- Kate Read
- 3rd Grade Male Cat
- Maria Pappas
- 3rd Grade Male Rabbit
- Jenna Morgan
- George Lundgren
- Ms. Tingley
- Prunella Deegan
- Muffy Crosswire
- Fern Walters
- 3rd Grade Male Dog
- 3rd Grade Male Rat
- 3rd Grade Male Dog (Number 3)
- The subject of taking dares too seriously was also the focus of Buster and the Daredevils. In that episode, Buster and Arthur both learn why they should not accept dares for any reason, and yet in this episode they (also Francine and Brain) initially accept the dare and still believe that they're obliged to go through with it until they are met with the consequences of it. This could be another example of the show's often fluid continuity.
- Mr. Marco's Dark Bunny tape is of the episode seen in "The Last Of Mary Moo Cow".
- When Buster says "Uh-oh" in the bathroom for the second time, the back of his left shoe flashes red for a frame.
- This is the first episode to use the Hot-Air Balloon as a title card.