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"To Beat or Not to Beat"

To Beat or Not to Beat Singdrum

To Beat or Not To Beat Title Card

Season/Series: 4
Number in season: 7B
Original Airdate: Flag of the United States October 13, 1999[1]
Flag of Canada January 25, 2000[2]
Written by: Barney Saltzberg
Storyboard by: Jeremy O'Neil
"Binky Barnes, Wingman"
"1001 Dads"
"To Beat or Not to Beat" is the second half of the seventh episode in the fourth season of Arthur.


Francine is practicing her singing and drumming for the talent show, but her friends just think she's making a terrible racket.


In the cold open, Arthur explains how Francine is great at some things, such as baseball and winning an argument. Francine then tries to fly, which she does, until Arthur tells her that kids can't fly.

In the episode, Lakewood Elementary's talent show is coming up, and Arthur, Buster and Brain each discuss what they're going to do. Buster going to tell jokes, Brain decided to answer math questions from the audience until Arthur pointed out what if Mr. Ratburn asked a question. After imagining Ratburn asking a really hard question, Brain decided to juggle. Then they then hear a loud noise coming from Francine's apartment building. As they were walking, they wonder what it is, Buster believe it’s a new sound machine exterminators use to get rid of termites. Arthur believe that it’s somebody driving a big and crazy car.

They discover that Francine is both singing and playing the drums, which is her act for the talent show. The boys hurriedly leave and decide if they should tell Francine that her singing and drumming sounds really bad. Arthur said that they should tell Francine to drop out of the talent show because he doesn’t want to see Francine humiliate herself at the talent show, while Brain said that they shouldn’t say anything because it could hurt her feelings if they told her the truth. Later that night, Arthur dreams about two different scenarios (one where Francine cries after being told the truth, and one where she is relieved at first, but then finds out that her song made someone else famous).

The next day, now Brain thinks they should tell Francine about her singing and drop out of the talent show while Arthur have doubts about telling her. Then Buster comes up with an idea: tell Muffy about Francine's act since she always know what’s popular and what isn’t popular. However, Brain pointed out that Muffy would never say anything bad about Francine because that’s her best friend. So all three they sneak over to the roof of the apartment building and get a recording of Francine practicing disguise as bushes and use a toy car with a tape recorder. They managed to get the recording and leave.

When they give the tape to Muffy, she shares their thoughts and agreed with them that the noise it’s awful. Arthur revealed that it’s Francine singing and playing the drums at the same time. Shocked, Muffy is confused on how why Francine sounds so bad since she’s normally a great drummer, then Brain realizes that the singing is affecting her drumming skills which caused all the four of them to realize that they don’t need Francine to drop out of the talent show, just need to convince Francine not to sing. They head back to Francine's apartment to tell her. They do so one-by-one, but Francine doesn't listen to them.

Later, Arthur, Buster, Brain, and Muffy are at the treehouse, laments about Francine being humiliated at the talent show. Francine shows up with the tape recorder, but she still thinks that that is not her singing on the tape and said that the noise sounds like a elephant crushing Ratburn’s Car. She asks who's voice is it, and Arthur tells her that it's her voice. Francine complains about no one telling her the truth until Arthur says that everyone did but she didn’t listen to them.

Her friends comfort her, saying that she’s still an amazing drummer and Francine decided that she’s not ready to do two things at once and take her friends advice. At the Talent Show, Francine shows up but without her drums. Instead, she sings, and much to her friends' amazement, she sings beautifully. She doesn't win the talent show (George does, as he did in "Buster's Growing Grudge"), but her friends still enjoyed her performance. Francine decided to still practice playing the drums and singing until she get better at it.






  • When Francine's sings, "You can flyyyyyyyy" at the talent show, it will be heard again in the Arthur season 6 ending credits (techno remix, that is) in a different tone as it is in this episode.
    • Because the theme song is in the key of F, while Francine's song is in the key of E.
  • Muffy's talent show clothes are the same as in Arthur's Birthday.
  • This episode continues the running gag of George seemingly winning every talent show in the series, once again by jumping around on a pogo stick like he did in the last talent show featured in Buster's Growing Grudge.
  • Francine's inability to sing and drum at the same time becomes a bit of a running gag in the series, with her still unable to do it later in the episode Citizen Frensky and the special Arthur - It's Only Rock 'n' Roll.


  • Because stock footage from Buster's Growing Grudge is used, Mr. Ratburn is seen wearing his red necktie in one scene, and then his blue bow tie in the next scene.

Cultural References

  • The title of this episode is a pun on "To Be or Not to Be" from William Shakespeare's Hamlet.


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