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Arthur's Birthday (episode)

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"Arthur's Birthday"
Arthur's Birthday Title Card.png
Season/Series: 1
Number in season: 10a
Original Airdate: United States October 18, 1996[1]
Canada January 17, 1997[2]
Germany December 20, 2001[3]
Written by: Joe Fallon
Storyboard by: Stéphanie Gignac
"Arthur's Cousin Catastrophe"
"Francine Frensky, Superstar"
Read transcript

"Arthur's Birthday" is the first half of the tenth episode in the first season of Arthur. It is based on the book Arthur's Birthday.


Much to his horror, Arthur discovers that he and Muffy are having birthday parties on the same day—and Muffy refuses to change hers.


Early one morning, Arthur and Francine send out invitations to their friends for Arthur's birthday party. The last one was the one for Muffy. As they go to the Crosswires' campus, Francine suggests that Arthur should hide somewhere quickly if he puts the invitation in the Crosswires' mailbox, because Muffy and her parents might hear them. If Arthur finds out that Muffy has the same birthday party as Arthur, his birthday party will be ruined!

Arthur's Birthday

Arthur is writing invitations for his birthday party, in which he will be turning 8 years old. D.W. starts writing invitations for which might be her birthday too, but Arthur points out that her birthday is not until after six months, but D.W. doesn't care since she writes slowly.

Downstairs in the laundry room in the basement, after Jane takes a pink towel out of the dryer, Pal grasps onto it with his mouth, angering Jane. When Arthur and D.W. come downstairs, Arthur shows Jane the invitations he is giving to his friends.

Arthur picks up Pal, and then uses Pal's paw to count down the remaining days on the calendar until his birthday: May 25. Jane then asks Arthur if he's ready to buy party supplies, and he says yes.

Arthur and D.W. then visit the party shop with Jane to buy some party supplies. Arthur and Jane then blow on squeaky party noisemakers, and after that, D.W. shows Arthur a plate with a unicorn on it, but Arthur only rejects those plates and he prefers the Bionic Bunny plates, like the show he enjoys watching.

Back at home, Grandma Thora asks Arthur what kind of cake she would like to bake, and Arthur suggests chocolate, but on the other hand, Grandma Thora can't cook very well.

Arthur then heads to school and starts handing out invitations to his friends. Francine asks Arthur if he would like to play Spin the Bottle. Arthur and Muffy then meet with each other on whose party to go to, and Arthur learns that Muffy's party is scheduled for the same day.

Arthur asks if Muffy can change her party to another day, but she refuses on the grounds that the entertainment had been booked months ago. Arthur cannot change his party to another day either because all his relatives from Ohio are invited. Muffy then tells her friends that they must decide whose party they should attend.

Outside at recess, the boys: Arthur, Buster, the Brain, and Binky agree they should all go to Arthur's birthday party. Arthur then asks if the girls were to attend his party, too. Buster angrily decides they don't need girls anyway.

On the playground, Muffy then decides that she and the other girls: Francine, Sue Ellen, Fern, and Prunella don't need the boys at her party either. Muffy suggests that she might end her friendship with someone who doesn't come to her party.

Francine says that a party would not be fun without the boys, and she is a tomboy. Meanwhile, Coach Grimslid calls up the boys and girls for some tug of war. The coach assigned Buster to be the captain of the boys' team, and Muffy to be captain of the girls' team.

If the boys win, everyone will go to Arthur's party, but if the girls win, everyone will go to Muffy's party. The coach then blows the whistle to start the tug of war. Both sides begin pulling the rope back and forth.

While they are pulling, Muffy taunts as she yells, "Who needs boys? Pull!" twice, and then Buster furiously does the same back, but he taunts and shouts, "Who needs girls? Pull!" twice. Then Binky ties the rope around his waist, and Prunella does the same thing by tying the rope around one of the bars of the playground equipment. Then both sides break the rope, and Arthur decides that nobody wins the tug of war.

After school, Arthur and his friends go to Mrs. Powers' Ice Cream Shop. At the counter, Arthur tells Francine that everyone is beginning to hate each other as Buster (who pulls his ears down), Muffy, Sue Ellen and Fern blow raspberries at each other.

Francine says that it's boring to have a party without boys. Arthur wished Francine could come to his party, but Francine promised Muffy, because she is best friends with her, and says it is hard to go to both parties. Arthur suggests he has an idea for Francine, and he whispers it in her ear.

Francine agrees, but Arthur tells her that they need to keep it a secret from the others. Then Arthur and Francine go to the tree house, write invitations for everyone, and Francine decides to make her handwriting look like Muffy's for everyone while Arthur writes a special note to Muffy himself. That night, he explains the plan to his parents, whom think it is a great idea.

The next morning, just like in the beginning of the episode, Arthur and Francine deliver the invitations to their friends. When they arrive at the Crosswires' campus, Arthur hides so Muffy won't hear him and Francine.

There are green ducks putting in new grass mats on the Crosswires' campus. Then Muffy and her mother Millicent walk out of their house, and Millicent requests Muffy to go check the mailbox.

In a flash, Arthur puts the invitation in the mailbox, Francine warns Arthur that Muffy is coming, then Francine hides behind the fence pole, and Arthur hides under the grass mats. Muffy then rushes to the mailbox, and takes out the invitation that Arthur put in there in less than ten seconds. Muffy then runs to Millicent, and tells her she received a note from Arthur.

Back at home, Arthur's relatives have arrived at his party. Arthur's cousin George hands him the birthday present, but spoils the secret by telling him it's a chemistry set inside, and Arthur thanks him in disbelief.

Arthur's relatives are setting up his birthday party, and then Arthur receives birthday kisses from Jane and eight birthday hugs from Grandma Thora. DW attempts to pinch Arthur so he can grow an inch and chases him around the house. Then Arthur's friends arrive: the first were Buster and the Brain, then Prunella, then Francine, then Binky, and last but not least, Sue Ellen.

When 12:00 noon arrives, Arthur tells his friends to find some place to hide, because Muffy will arrive any minute. Buster asks Arthur what he wrote to Muffy, and Arthur said he wrote: "Dear Muffy, I have a special present for you. It is so big, I can't carry it by myself. Please come to my house today at noon to get it." The doorbell rings, and Francine reminds everyone to be quiet. When Arthur opens the door, there is Muffy standing in the doorway, and she tells everyone she arrived just for her birthday present, then everyone says, "Surprise! Happy birthday!"

Arthur tells Muffy that her present was too big to carry. Francine then asks what a birthday party would be like without all your friends. Then everyone puts on cone-shaped birthday hats, except Muffy who is wearing a birthday crown, plus Prunella and Sue Ellen are excepted from wearing the hats.

They all start having fun by doing the limbo dance and hitting the clown pinata with a baseball bat. The kids could not get the pinata to break open, so David tries to help them out, but it does not pop open with his attempts either.

As Arthur is holding the cake, Muffy agrees it was a wonderful party, and that they should do it every year, but Jane suggests that they will celebrate the party at the Crosswires' house next year for Arthur and Muffy's 9th birthday.

Francine tells Arthur it is time for him to open presents, and carries a present to him, then tells him he should promise her he will use it right away. When Arthur opens the present, it is revealed to be the Spin the Bottle game.

Francine shows Arthur how to play Spin the Bottle, the objective was to make the bottle spin in one place, and it would point to a certain person, but when the bottle pointed to Pal, he came right over to Francine and licked her face, which then in response, Francine pets Pal. Meanwhile, in the front yard, David is still trying to open the clown pinata with a chainsaw.



  • A "deleted scene" where Arthur, D.W. and his friends play "Pin the Tail on the Donkey" can be found on the prologue of "D.W. Rides Again".
  • The intro scene and the scene within the episode are not duplicates; they are animated slightly differently.
  • For some unknown reason, neither Arthur nor Muffy invited George, Alex, Maria, or Jenna to their party. For another unknown reason, not even the Read parents thought of telling the Crosswire parents that their daughter would miss her own birthday party.
  • When Francine yells "Duck!", an anthropomorphic duck walks by. The duck/duck ambiguity is used again in "What Is That Thing".
  • Although Arthur's birthday is May 25, he says that D.W.'s birthday is not until after six months, which is November 25. However, in "D.W.'s Perfect Wish," her birthday is revealed to be March 1, which is actually 280 days (281 days if a leap year) after Arthur's birthday; "six months" is therefore either a miscalculation or the date of D.W.'s birthday got altered later on in the series.
  • 4th wall break: The calendar is the same layout as the May 1996 calendar, which references the fact that the series first aired on television in 1996.
  • Moral:
    • Try to coordinate parties ahead of time.
    • Don't force people to come to your birthday party just so if she/he don't come, you can't still be her/his friend.
  • Timeline:
    • When Sue Ellen asks whether or not she's at the right place when she arrived for Arthur and Muffy's birthday party, it is due to the fact that her family had recently moved to Elwood City.
    • The events of this episode is set a few months before the events of "Arthur and the Real Mr. Ratburn".
    • Francine is shown in this episode riding her father's bike which became her bike, although its story wasn't revealed until in "Stolen Bike" that took place in third grade.
    • Kate was born in "Arthur's Baby" that is supposed to be set during the second quarter of Arthur's second grade year. Since this episode is set near the end of Arthur and his friends' second grade year, Kate is shown as a toddler even though she's supposed to be an infant in this timeline.


  • Plot Hole: Grandma Thora requested Arthur what kind of cake he would like for her to bake, although in "The Half-Baked Sale" that aired later, it was revealed that she cannot cook very well.
  • In the tug of war scene with the boys against the girls, Fern was in it, but was replaced by Jenna later on.
  • Although Arthur's birthday is May 25, he said that D.W.'s birthday is not until after six months, which is November 25. However, in "D.W.'s Perfect Wish", her birthday was revealed to be March 1, which is actually 280 days (281 days if a leap year) after Arthur's birthday, where "six months" is therefore a miscalculation.
  • At the tree house, Francine was writing with her left hand, although she is usually right-handed.
  • Arthur was writing with his right hand while at the tree house, but in the scene where he was checking off the list of people to send invitations to, he was using his left hand, although he also is usually right-handed.
  • At Mrs. Powers' ice cream shop, the interior shows two windows with the front door in the middle, despite that the exterior of that ice cream shop shows only one window on the left of the door with neither one in the middle.
  • Muffy was holding a stack of birthday hats for everyone to put on their heads; but in that scene, she was wearing her long-sleeved blouse there, even though she was wearing a short-sleeved one while at the party.
  • Also, Jane was wearing a normal long-sleeved shirt while she picked up some of the hats from the stack, even though she was actually wearing a sweater.
  • During Francine's turn to bat the clown pinata, she positions her hands the way a right-handed batter does, yet swings in the direction a left-handed batter swings. This is clearly an error.
  • The washing machine and clothes dryer are in opposite positions compared to other episodes.
  • When Arthur was inviting everyone in, he had a red bowtie like in the book, but in the next scene he had his normal purple bowtie.

Cultural references[edit]

  • Although Arthur's Aunt Bonnie and Cousin George are from Ohio, most of Arthur's friends do not know where Ohio is, and Elwood City where Arthur and his friends live is very far away from Ohio, presumably in Massachusetts (where author Marc Brown lives) or Pennsylvania (where Marc Brown was born and raised).

Differences from the book[edit]

  • At recess, the boys and girls are seen doing tug-of-war against each other. This did not happen in the book, and instead they were around different playground equipment, making a debate about whose party to go to.
    • Coach Grimslid is a character exclusive to the TV series.
  • Fern attended Arthur and Muffy's birthday party in the book, but she did not in the episode, though she was seen at school, and at Mrs. Powers' Ice Cream Shop, and it was never explained why she was unable to attend the party.
  • When Francine told Arthur she wished she could go to both parties on the same day, and he whispered a suggestion to her, they were at Mrs. Powers' ice cream shop, although in the book, Arthur ran to catch up with Francine on the way home from school while they were making a suggestion.
  • Some of the following sequences were re-arranged, such as when Arthur went shopping for party decorations, in contrast to the book.
  • In the book, Arthur receives a big package in the mail, as one of his birthday presents, in addition to some birthday cards, including one from one of his uncles with three dollar bills in it (to which D.W. says "Some people have all the luck!") This is one of the few moments no longer present in the TV adaptation.
  • Arthur and his friends plus D.W. were wearing their birthday hats, except for Prunella and Sue Ellen. In the book, only Arthur, Buster, Binky, David, and Kate were wearing the birthday hats, and then took them off in the following pages.
  • Arthur's dog Pal appeared in this episode; although the book was first published in 1989, and Pal was not a character until in Arthur's Pet Business that was first published seventeen months later, but didn't become Arthur's pet until Arthur's New Puppy that was first published the next three years after.
  • After Arthur wrote the letter to Muffy and delivered it, he told Buster what he wrote to her while at the party before Muffy showed up; although in the book, the letter was read in the illustration where Arthur was putting it in the mailbox, and it is implied to whether or not she actually read the letter.
  • When Muffy arrives at the birthday party, she wore her hair in normal pigtails; although in the book, it was still braided.
  • In the book, the Crosswires' mailbox was shown for the first time, was the shape of a common mailbox and said "CROSSWIRE RESIDENCE", though the mansion was not seen in that book; although in the episode, the Crosswires' mailbox is shaped like a birdhouse, is perched on the brick fence, has a mail slot on the top, and said "CROSSWIRE" in the bottom box.
  • When Arthur goes to put the invitation in the Crosswires' mailbox, Muffy is standing outside the mansion about to check the mail, then Arthur and Francine hide after putting the invitation in the mailbox and Muffy rushes to get the invitation; although in the book, after Arthur puts the invitation in the mailbox, Muffy does not run outside to get it, he and Francine leave right away.
  • Arthur and Muffy's birthday cake is completely out of chocolate; although in the book, it had white frosting around it, and it said "HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUFFY AND ARTHUR" on the sides, but it is still implied to be chocolate on the inside due to Arthur requesting Grandma Thora that she bake a chocolate cake.
  • Arthur and Francine were delivering invitations while riding on bikes, although in the book, there were doing it by foot.
  • When George hands Arthur his birthday present, he spoils the surprise by saying it's a chemistry set; although in the book, George only wished Arthur "Happy Birthday!" and held the present behind himself.
  • In the end, Francine was showing Arthur and the others how to play Spin the Bottle, although in the book, it was still in the box after being opened and just ended as "Happy Birthday, Arthur!".
  • During the party, everyone was having fun doing the limbo dance and taking turns hitting the clown piñata; although in the book, they did not limbo dance, nor was there a pinata.
  • At the party, Arthur was wearing a blue tuxedo with a purple bowtie, although in the book, he was wearing his yellow sweater with a red bowtie and blue jeans.
  • When Francine came to the party, she was wearing a shirt, overall shorts, and her barrettes; although in the book, she was wearing a dress and bows.
  • Fern did receive a birthday party invitation, but she never attended their birthday party in contrast to the book.

Home video[edit]