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Background Blues

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"Background Blues"
Hamburger Castle.png
Background Blues Title Card.png
Season/Series: 3
Number in season: 4A
Original Airdate: United States November 19, 1998[1]
Canada September 9, 1999[2]
Written by: Peter K. Hirsch
Storyboard by: Robert Yap
"Sue Ellen and the Brainasaurous"
"And Now Let's Talk to Some Kids"
Read transcript

"Background Blues" is the first half of the fourth episode in the third season of Arthur.


A class project gets the kids tracing their family trees. Will they turn out to be descended from royalty-or just from "plain folks"?[3]


R4 was playing at the hologram with his robotic dog Hal when her sister 3W came and destroyed his hologram. His mom told him to do some homework. Later, he does his homework, then 3W shows up and asks R4 to play with him, which he agrees to. They were still fighting while playing, so their mom asks them to watch a datagram.

After the title card, Mr. Ratburn teaches the students about his family. Later at art class, Muffy and Francine begin to fight about their ancestors, but Arthur and Buster stopped them. Later at Buster's condo, he discovers he has more family. The next day while Arthur and Buster were looking at their family history, Muffy tries to find the Crosswire section, but to no avail. Then Francine showed up and told Muffy her grandfather owned a castle. Muffy then told her the Crosswires are too important to be in the library. At Muffy's mansion, Muffy's father suggests she visit her aunt. The next day, Arthur, Francine, and Buster were chatting about their report when Muffy showed up. Francine told her that her great-great grandfather was an advisor of Abraham Lincoln. Muffy then tells her she's going to see her great aunt. She then thinks if her great aunt's a queen, then she's her princess. Later, she arrives at her great aunt's house, and she gave Muffy a lawn gnome for her report. Meanwhile, Francine's grandpa gives her a picture for her report. Later at the Sugar Bowl, Francine and Muffy were fighting which led Muffy to admit her family were just plain people. That night, Francine was thinking about what to do when her grandpa showed up and encouraged her. The next day, Francine was about to give her report when her grandpa came in and told her she forgot her album. The report was great, then Buster showed his 1955 sandwich, which grosses everyone out.

Back in the future, R4 and 3W were talking about the video, ending the episode.



  • The "DVD" that R4 and 3W watch is labeled "53B." Episode 53B is the previous one, "Sue Ellen and the Brainasaurous."
  • Patty Ratburn is missing from the family tree diagram that Mr. Ratburn presents to the class. She was most likely written into the show specifically for "Mr. Ratburn and the Special Someone," which was released over two decades after this episode.
  • Irony: Buster could have contacted his dad Bo Baxter to get information on the Baxter family history.
  • Moral: Never be ashamed of where your family came from. Even if it's the humblest beginning imaginable, it's still your family history.

Cultural references[edit]


The title card that R4 and 3W see is different than the one the viewers see.
  • At the beginning of the episode, when R4 and 3W were watching Background Blues, when it showed the title card, the title "Background Blues" was in blue, but when it showed the title card to us, the words were red instead of blue.

Home video[edit]