"The Lousy Week"

The Lousy Week 19

The Lousy Week 12

Season/Series: 5
Number in season: 5a
Original Airdate: Flag of the United States October 23, 2000[1][2]
Flag of Canada January 12, 2001[4]
Flag of the United Kingdom August 15, 2001[3]
Written by: Peter K. Hirsch
Storyboard by: Stéphanie Gignac
Patricia Atchison
"The Cave"
"You Are Arthur"
"The Lousy Week" is the first half of the fifth episode in the fifth season of Arthur.


An army of lice has descended on the heads of Lakewood Elementary. Who or what is strong enough to defeat them? Principal Haney? Nurse Flynn? Mayonnaise?[5]


All day in school, Muffy has been scratching her head, in art, music, and gym class with her friends. After Francine scolds her she explains how itchy she is and Francine suggests it may be head lice, but Muffy doesn't think it's possible. She explains how her French nanny Suzette always washes and does her hair to maintain it, but she soon finds out she does indeed have lice!

She begs the nurse not to tell anyone and exits the room to find everybody waiting for the results. She claims it was only because she was thinking too hard while walking away. Francine notices her hat and picks it up, she tries to tell Muffy, but she doesn't hear her. So Francine tries on the hat, commenting how soft it is.

Meanwhile at home, Muffy's French nanny is washing her hair and putting the Nit Hit medicated lice shampoo into her hair. She claims that is the worst thing that's ever happened to her and life is so unfair. Her mother tries to calm her down, saying that she had head lice as a child too and claims it's not a big deal... though apparently as a child it was, as shown in a flashback. She said the same thing that Muffy said. Her mother then explains they'll need to really clean her room to rid of all the lice, though Muffy cheers up, hearing the chance of getting to redecorate her room!

At school, everyone is playing with Muffy's hat, trying it on, nuzzling and snuggling it. The nurse then announces they'll be holding a lice check in her office since they had caught Muffy's the other day.

She warns them not to try on others' clothing, as it's easier to spread lice that way. Mr. Ratburn is checked, and unfortunately had head lice while at home, and Arthur's dad is putting mayonnaise on Arthur's head.

D.W. mocks him and claims how funny it is, but not wanting to take risk, they plan to put some on her head (much to her surprise), and rid of her stuffed animals for a week or so to make sure they have no lice in the home. At Binky's house, his mother is brushing his head and she notices he has plenty of nits in his hair. He loves it though, considering the lack of homework he'll have to do...

At school, Francine angrily states how they can't get rid of her lice and she blames Muffy for starting to begin with. Muffy is just happy she no longer has it, but to her shock she finds them at home on her head again!

Meanwhile, Binky is beginning to grow tired of mindless television and begs to go to bed, but his mom tells him he can't just yet. Arthur now is trying to use olive oil; he even remarks to Buster that it seems to work, and Pal doesn't like to eat it.

Later at the diner, Muffy and Francine are fighting over who gives who lice, until Brain stops them. He then tells them it's impossible to tell exactly who gave it to who, and to stop blaming each other. Of course, Brain also warns them that lice can be hard to get rid of if you have long hair. So both girls cut their hair very short, and boyish. Although they dislike it at first, they eventually change their minds, finding it to be beneficial (as short hair is said to be easier to wash) and even funny. Such as they used their new short haircut to go to the boys room and freaked out Binky, who thought he was in the girls room due to seeing Francine and Muffy.

Meanwhile, the single head louse is on the very top of George's antler. He tries to jump onto Buster as he walks by so that he can hatch a new army. Fortunately, he misses and fell to the ground. He was heard shouting for help before a squish sound cuts him off as a student steps on him with a SPLAT!, ending the episode.







  • Francine and Muffy had their hair buzzed off for purposes of lice elimination, but in all later shows, they still have their long hair.
  • D.W. said that she did not have "mice", which rhymes with lice.
  • There was a toy marketed for Insight Pharmaceuticals based on this episode which was released in 2006. It resembles Arthur with mayo on his head with a string on his back, a 8-inch hole in his head, and many things that remove lice from someone's hair that can be put into the hole. When the string is pulled, an odor will appear and get rid of the lice on that person's head. It was discontinued in 2007.[6]
  • Both Muffy's mother and Catherine had lice when they were younger.
  • Mr. Ratburn's first name is changed from Emil to Nigel starting with this episode. Later, in "Bitzi's Beau" in the same season, his middle name Charles is revealed.

Cultural references

  • The General of the Louse Army greatly resembles United States General Douglas MacArthur.
  • The Louse General's line "I love the smell of hair gel in the morning. It smells like a-" is a reference to the movie Apocalypse Now, in which the character Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore says "I love the smell of napalm in the morning. It smells like victory."

Episode connections


  • When the general lice says that the comb took off its fifth leg, it was mistaken as its fourth leg.

Home video




Main article: The Lousy Week/Gallery