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Francine's Bad Hair Day

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"Francine's Bad Hair Day"
Francine's Bad Hair Day title card.png
Season/Series: 1
Number in season: 1b
Original Airdate: United States October 7, 1996[1]
Germany December 10, 2001[2]
Written by: Kathy Waugh
Storyboard by: Sarô
"Arthur's Eyes"
"Arthur and the Real Mr. Ratburn"
Read transcript
"Francine's Bad Hair Day" is the second half of the first episode in the first season of Arthur.


Muffy helps Francine create a new "look" for school picture day, but Francine has trouble holding it together long enough to get the picture taken.


The episode begins in Mr. Ratburn's class. Mr. Ratburn tells the students that school pictures are scheduled for next Thursday. Arthur gives the viewers advice about school pictures, like not to drink soda before their picture is taken.

Buster is shown taking his picture but burps loudly right when the picture is taken. And Arthur also says that it's not wise to rub on a carpet and sit on a metal seat. Prunella rubs her feet on the rug and sits on a metal stool, causing her hair to stand on its ends due to static electricity (and getting frightened by a housefly).

Arthur adds that you should not wear a flower if you have allergies. Binky is waiting for his picture to be taken but sneezes from the flower he is wearing, destroying the backdrop behind him at the moment the camera snaps.

After the title card, we now see a kickball game at the ballfield. Arthur's team is in the ball field planning out a strategy against the fourth graders. They need to get the fourth graders one more out to win. The plan is for the ball to go to Francine no matter what. The game resumes and Arthur pitches the ball.

The kicker kicks the ball on the first shot, it hits Arthur's face and then it flies toward Francine, but Buster gets in the way and knocks over Francine. Quickly, Francine grabs the ball, manages to tag the fourth grader out and win the game.

In the girl's restroom, Muffy, Sue Ellen, and Prunella are talking about what they will be wearing to school pictures. Francine arrives and is happy about the winning game.

Muffy asks what Francine is wearing to school pictures, but Francine doesn't really care. Muffy thinks that Francine would have the most beautiful picture in the class (besides herself that is) and that she could be like Muffy.

Francine doesn't believe it though. At Francine's house, Francine and Muffy look in Francine's closet and end up finding a pink dress. Francine tries it on, Muffy thinks it is perfect. Continuing on, Muffy now wants to do Francine's hair too, but Francine thinks there's nothing wrong with it.

Muffy is irked at this and has Francine close her eyes while she does her hair. She does so and opens her eyes to a hair disaster. Francine becomes frustrated at this and tries to get out of it, but Muffy yet has another idea. She calls Flossie, a manicure lady, for professional help.

Muffy tells Francine to meet her at the Salon de Beauté, tomorrow. When they meet, Francine is disappointed to see that it was a beauty parlor, and she refuses to enter, but Muffy came prepared with a "secret weapon".

A photo of last year's school picture of Francine with unclean hair and dirt on her face, giving a somewhat goofy smile is handed over to Francine. Francine is convinced and enters the parlor. Flossie is pleased to see Muffy and Francine arrive.

She takes Francine and takes a screenshot of her, she uses the snapshot and shows her various hairstyles for Francine to pick, such as the "Queen of the Nile" look and a tall curly style, Francine asks if she has something more normal, she does so and shows her the Prom Queen hairstyle which Francine accepts.

Flossie gets to work and works on Francine's hair with rinsing, cutting, combing, etc. She then puts a hair drying machine over her head and has her rest and to wake up with her finished hairdo.

In her sleep, Francine has a dream of her at a professional kickball game with her new long hair. The game starts with Arthur pitching, Francine pulls the kicker down with her hair, causing him a strike.

We cut ahead and watch Francine launch a flying ball back towards Arthur with her hair, giving the opposing team an out. At the finishing part of the game, she runs toward the home plate and touches it with her hair just before the ball is returned. Francine's team cheers and carries her (and her hair) out happily.

Francine wakes up and sees her hair results, it is nothing that she expected. Her hair is instead curly, and is a Jewfro, while Muffy ended up being the one with the Prom Queen style. Muffy thinks it's wonderful. Francine pays Flossie the money she saved up for her new soccer ball and leaves the beauty parlor.

She prepares to get on her bike, but Muffy stops her for curly hair and bikes don't go together. Back at home, Francine tries on the pink dress again. Muffy sees it as rather splendidly and thinks it looks good with her hair.

She reminds her not to swim, ride in convertibles, and to wear headgear in rainy weather. Francine's Mom tells Francine that Arthur called to remind her to bring the kickball to the next game tomorrow. This reminds Muffy, and tells Francine not to play kickball. Francine highly regrets this, but Muffy reminds her of her 'secret weapon', making Francine go for it.

The next day of school, Arthur and Buster run down the hall, kicking a ball of paper and come up to Muffy and Francine. The boys are shocked at Francine's new 'do. Francine asks if they like it, but the boys just laugh at it, angering the girls.

At lunchtime, while Francine is eating, one of her hair clips jumps out of place and nearly hits Buster. In reaction to this, Buster, along with Brain, make fun of her hair style.

Francine becomes infuriated and grabs a bottle of ketchup to use on them, but Muffy stops her and accidentally slams her hand down, causing her to squirt ketchup on her dress. In the girl's bathroom, Muffy attempts to clean as much off as possible and covers the remaining stain with a bow. Francine begins to feel reluctant of her new looks.

The kickball game begins and Arthur is surprised to see that Francine can't play, for she has to stay pretty looking for school pictures. The game starts without her, Buster and Arthur are still confident and think they can do it without her, but problems start when they have trouble getting the ball.

The fourth graders begin winning by two to nothing. At the benches, Muffy and Prunella try hard to keep Francine restrained in her position, but as Prunella claims that it's just a silly game, a kicker kicks the ball toward her.

Francine quickly jumps out of the benches and catches the ball, outing the fourth grader. Francine is now in the game and is up to the home plate, the catcher mocks at her hair, but she isn't bothered by this.

The pitcher pitches and Francine kicks it far over the trees. She starts to dash around the bases and reaches home base, winning the game.

School pictures start and Muffy is upset that Francine ruined her looks, but Francine says that she was getting tired of staying good-looking and that she liked the way she looked before.

Buster's picture is taken with him reminding the cameraman that he was the one that burped; the photo comes out with Buster's eyes closed. Arthur gets his picture taken, but due to the flash, it reflects off Arthur's glasses and causes beaming light.

Muffy tries to prevent Francine from getting her school picture taken, but Francine tells Muffy she's making it worse and then Francine eventually escapes from Muffy's grasp as the man says "Next" and has her picture taken while she's her filthy self, but with a pleasant smile.

Muffy's turn comes, then she taunts "Oh, that Francine!" and she looks rather angry than smiling when her picture is taken.

We cut to the school hall, Francine's hair is finally back to normal, Muffy is throwing away her picture, and she suggests to Francine to burn her photos. But Francine disagrees and actually likes her picture. Arthur comes up and asks Francine for a trade of pictures.

She agrees, Arthur looks at her picture and likes it, Francine likes Arthur's also. Muffy walks off regretting that Francine will never be like her. Arthur asks for a game of kickball and Francine answers yes. Arthur and Francine both run and open both school doors inward and outward.



  • This is the first episode to use the gong as a title card.
  • Prunella says that her mother said that she could get a new dress for picture day and Muffy says that she's getting new shoes and a dress. On school picture day, they both are seen wearing their exact same clothes.
  • Patrick had various voices, once he sounds like Binky, then he sounds like Buster, then he sounds like himself.
  • Even though the title was not narrated on the home video and DVD releases, Binky narrates the title of the episode when it is aired on television.
  • This is the 1st episode where Arthur isn't the main focus (instead Francine is).
  • This is the first episode written by Kathy Waugh.
  • This is the first episode having Binky narrate the title card.
  • This is the first episode where D.W. doesn't appear in the main story.
    • This is also the first episode where David and Jane Read don't appear.
  • Timeline: It is shown in the intro that Binky is allergic to flowers, yet in the later episode "Binky Goes Nuts", he is not allergic to flowers, but to peanuts.
  • Moral: Never try to change who someone is for your own benifits.
  • Karma:
    • Buster and Arthur make fun of Francine's hairdo and dress. They find out that she can't play in the game because of it. Cue the two failing to get the ball, with the fourth-grade runner making fun of them for it.
    • Muffy tried to change Francine, so her school picture went wrong.
    • Francine made fun of Arthur in "Arthur's Eyes", so she got teased by him and Buster

Cultural references

  • Plot is simliar to Picture Perfect where Muffy/Lincoln change Francine/his sisters looks until the end.
    • Muffy manipulated Francine with her dirty picture is simliar to Lincoln manipulated his sisters with a polar bear picture in The Green House
  • The Simpsons - The premise of this episode is also vaguely similar to the Tracey Ullman short "Family Portrait".
  • The "Queen of the Nile" hairdo resembles an ancient Egyptian queen's.


The school doors swinging both inward and outward
  • At he start of the kickball game, the ball is the color red but after it knocks Arthur down and is headed towards to Francine, it changes to the color brown.
  • Possible: Coach Grimslid can be seen working at the Salon de Beauté, although she is a P.E. coach at Lakewood Elementary School in her later appearances.
  • For the dress that Francine is wearing for school pictures, Muffy said that there was a tear in the dress, but the tear was not visible.
  • When Francine quickly gets out of the dress that Muffy made her try on for school pictures, the laces to her shoes were shown as loops like Buster's; even though she usually has the laces like they're criss-crossed like Arthur's when in a zoomed-out perspective.
  • In the scene where Francine and Muffy are both looking in the mirror at the Salon de Beauté, Flossie's face was seen directly on the screen right when she appeared there, although the girls were standing directly at the counter in that perspective.
  • When Francine and Muffy walk up to Flossie's desk, Francine was wearing the dress, even though she didn't change into it until she and Muffy came to her home; and in the next shot where Francine pays, she is still wearing her red shirt and jeans.
  • The apron that Francine was wearing was pink, but it was red in a zoomed-out perspective.
  • When Francine was getting her hair wet, she first wasn't wearing an apron; but in the next few seconds, she is now wearing an apron. While Flossie was almost done wetting Francine's hair, Francine's pants were colored red like her shirt instead of blue in that shot. Also, the client must wear the apron first and then get his or her hair wet.
  • When Muffy takes out Francine's second grade picture, its background is green instead of a castle backdrop. This was probably done in order to simplify the animation process.
  • When Francine and Muffy enter the Salon de Beauté, the door swings inward; but when they leave, the door swings outward.
  • When Francine and Muffy were leaving the Salon de Beauté, Francine's bike was parked outside; but when they arrived there earlier, Francine did not bring her bike.
  • When Francine looks in the mirror of her and Catherine's closet sliding door in their room, she and her mirrored self are aside from each other, despite that she's touching it.
  • When Muffy, Francine, and Sue Ellen are eating lunch at the table, their trays were not visible in the first shot; but in the next few seconds, the trays appear.
  • When Muffy discards her school picture, the waste basket was first shown to be empty, but in the next few seconds, there is a load of discarded papers in it.
  • In Francine's imagination of playing kickball with new very long hair, she was first wearing a sleeveless dress; but with the uniform that had the short-sleeved shirt underneath, the sleeves were not visible when she was briefly wearing the dress.
    • Also, after the dress vanishes, Francine was still wearing the gloves for most of the dream; but while her teammates carry her to congratulate her, the gloves are gone.
  • After Francine's dress gets stained with ketchup, the stain was still on the dress when Muffy tried to wipe it off and cover it with a bowtie. When Francine and her friends get their pictures taken, the ketchup stain is gone.
  • In the kickball scene while Francine's sitting in the benches, she was briefly seen without the bow, but she was really still wearing it. When she runs around the bases and reaches home plate, the bow is gone and never seen again in the episode.
  • While Francine was running around and made a home run, Binky was with the fourth graders; but after Francine reaches home plate, Binky is cheering with all of the other third graders.
  • When Francine gets her picture taken, the ribbon loops were in the middle while she was getting her picture shot; but in the developed photo, the loops are on the side.
  • When Muffy gets her picture taken, her buck teeth were sticking out of her mouth while her mouth was closed, despite that they normally were visible with her mouth open.
  • After Arthur and Francine trade each other's school pictures, Francine's eyebrows disappear.
  • In the end, when Arthur and Francine run out the back door for another game of kickball, the doors also swing inward when they close; but if they swing one way, they can't swing the other way.
  • When Francine wins the game for the 3rd graders, there were no other players on the other bases.
  • At the beginning when Mr. Ratburn tells Buster to turn around, he is looking in the right direction but a minute later it is shown that Buster was sitting in the left direction, not the right direction.

Home video