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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. They then hear a loud noise coming from Francine's apartment building.

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. 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, the boys decide that they're going to tell Muffy about Francine's act, but first, they sneak over to the roof of the apartment building and get a recording of Francine practicing.

When they give the tape to Muffy, she shares their thoughts and the four of them 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 decide to have Francine meet them at the treehouse. Francine shows up with the tape recorder, but she still thinks that that is not her singing on the tape. 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.

After her friends comfort her, Francine takes their advice---and decides to show up to the talent show, 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.






  • 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.
  • 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 loosely based on "To Be or Not to Be" from William Shakespeare's Hamlet.


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