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"Lights, Camera... Opera!"
Season/Series: 9
Number in season: 5a
Original Airdate: Flag of the United States December 31, 2004[1]
Flag of Canada May 17, 2005[2]
Credits
Written by: Peter K. Hirsch
Storyboard by: Stéphanie Gignac
Episodes
Previous
"My Fair Tommy"
Next
"All Worked Up"
"Lights, Camera... Opera!" is the first half of the fifth episode in the ninth season of Arthur.

Summary

Muffy's dad gives her tickets to the opera, and she worries about whether she'll understand what's going on—or even be able to stay awake. But opera singer Rodney Gilfry shows her how much fun Bizet's Carmen can be.

Plot

The episode begins in an art gallery where Arthur discusses how the world can sometimes appear to be divided into the interests of adults and the interests of children. He reminisces about such an experience when he saw a movie with his parents, with his mom and dad discussing how the film was "wonderful"; Arthur on the other hand does not understand this as he remembers the film being about "two people who never even meet". Arthur then gives another example using art as he looks up into an abstract painting. As he begins to tell the audience how he doesn't know any child who would appreciate this type of art, Muffy interrupts him as she appreciates the painting. Arthur asks her if she can honestly say that she likes it, and she agrees that she doesn't really; however, she immediately states that she wants to like it as her father owns six of the paintings by the artist in question. Ed Crosswire immediately walks into view with the artist in tow and tells Muffy how great the painting will look in her room, which she agrees with halfheartedly.

Lights, Camera... Opera!

At breakfast in the Crosswire household, Muffy excitedly finds tickets on her plate, which she assumes to be for the "Tween Dream" concert. While thanking her father, he replies that they are actually for the opening night of an opera in which he hopes she will enjoy just as much. The opera in question is Carmen by Georges Bizet, which happens to be one of her father's favorites; her mother also seems excited by the opera, especially by the prospect of hearing Rodney Gilfry, but is disappointed as she has a charity auction to attend. Since her mother is unable to go, Muffy will go to the opera in her place. She then hints slyly that she'll need something to wear, which her parents agree with.

Muffy is then seen dress shopping with Francine and Prunella. Prunella tells her that opera is nothing more than "people in silly costumes singing in a language you don't even understand." Muffy then replies, indicating that Prunella is not sophisticated enough to appreciate the experience. While Muffy tries on dresses, Prunella recounts her experience at an opera, which she found boring, tiresome, and long; Prunella then says she doubts that Muffy will even make it through the overture. Muffy comes out wearing a white dress, and Francine comments by saying that she resembles a rice pudding.

Muffy begins to worry about whether or not she will be able to enjoy the opera and seeks out Bailey for advice. She asks him if she should listen to some opera before opening night. As he sings, she begs him to stop; Muffy demands if she'll have to listen to four hours of that, and Bailey tells her that the length depends on the specific opera and that the excerpt he sang was from an opera called Wagner's "Ring" Cycle that had a running time of sixteen hours.

Two days before the opening night of the opera, Ed Crosswire is tucking in his daughter and thinks that she is excited. Muffy realizes in fear that there really are only two days before the opera and falls asleep. She dreams that she is watching an opera next to her father where she falls asleep. The play continues, but her snoring attracts the attention of not only the audience, but of the performers as well. As all goes quiet, Muffy awakens and, thinking that the play has ended which resulted in the silence, she applauds the performers, shouting, "Bravo!" She then realizes that the play is not over and sits down in embarrassment, trying to hide her face.

The next day, Muffy paces in the playground in front of Francine and ponders aloud what she should do if she falls asleep and what she should say to her father when he asks whether she liked it. Francine advises Muffy to just tell him that she doesn't want to go, but Muffy rebuffs this piece of advice, saying that her father would be extremely disappointed if she didn't go with him as he was very excited. Francine then asks if she even knows the plot of Carmen; Muffy tells her she does not and wonders if it's about auto mechanics. Binky, apparently eavesdropping, exclaims that Carmen is a great opera as he throws a water balloon at a disheveled George. Binky states that the play is about "passion, betrayal, and revenge," comparing the opera to professional wrestling, but "set to great music." A surprised Muffy is then invited by Binky to listen to the soundtrack at his home.

At his house, Binky summarizes the plot for Muffy and hints that it ends ominously. As he plays the soundtrack, Muffy visualizes the opera in her head. In the dream, she sings of her love of boy bands and disdain for opera, to the tune of "Habanera" from Carmen; the dream includes Binky, in the role of a soldier whose invitation to the opera Muffy is refusing, and Rodney Gilfry as a bullfighter singing to her of opera, "So you adore that teenybopper trash / Don't you get bored? / There's more to explore / Open your heart to different kinds of song / Who knows, you could be wrong!" Within the dream, Muffy struggles in an attempt to follow the bullfighter as the jealous soldier sprinkles a magic powder to make her sleep through the opera if she attends with the bullfighter instead. Once she leaves the dream, Binky tells her she fell asleep. Then Muffy exclaims how she couldn't make it through the overture. Muffy leaves discouraged.

The next scene is Muffy telling her mother she doesn't want to go. Muffy's mother tells her how she didn't like it at first, but now enjoys opera even more than shopping. When Muffy protests that her mother's adulthood is the real reason she was able to enjoy opera, her mother admits the possibility, but tells Muffy she'll never know for sure unless she tries it herself. As an encouragement, she offers Muffy opera glasses as an ideal accessory, noting that the performance is more enjoyable when the actors' expressions are visible.

Muffy watches the opera and doesn't fall asleep. Both she and her father are visibly moved by certain scenes, sharing a handkerchief to dab at their eyes. The final scenes show Muffy on the phone with Francine as she says she can't go with her to the movies because her father has tickets to another opera. Francine exclaims how she thought Muffy hated it. Muffy tells her she had a change of heart. The last scene is Bailey taking down the painting shown in the part before the title card and putting a signed autograph by Rodney Gilfry.

Gilfry appears again in the interstitial "A Word From Us Kids," inventing operatic material around the theme of dodgeball to show a group of children how opera is basically a series of dramatic songs about human problems.

Characters

Major

Minor

Cameo

Trivia

Cultural references

  • The opera in Muffy's fantasy is "The Barber of the Valkyries", a combination of Rossini's The Barber of Seville and Wagner's Die Walküre.
  • The opera Muffy watches and gets moved by is Carmen.

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References


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