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A is for Angry

Introduction

TV Announcer: We interrupt this episode to bring you a special news bulletin.

A reporter is standing on a street corner. Behind her children are running from something.

Reporter: I'm here in downtown Elwood City, where widespread panic has caused a mass exodus.

Muffy: He's angry! Run for your lives!

Francine and Muffy run by. Francine stops.

Reporter: Excuse me, Miss. Can you tell me who or what you are running from?

Francine: You don't wanna know!

She runs on. Buster and Binky run by.

Reporter: Sir, can you describe this… this creature?

Binky: He's horrible! He spits fire and he has these big sharp claws and...

Buster: The fangs! Don't forget the fangs!

Reporter: Then you've actually seen him.

Binky: Er, no, somebody told us about him.

Buster: But it’s gotta be true, right?  He takes the microphone. And I sure don't wanna find out for my…  Oh, no! He's coming. Run!

He, Binky and the reporter run away.

The image briefly shows static, then you see the view from the camera lying on the ground. Arthur appears with a checkerboard.

Arthur: Hey, where did everybody go? I just wanted to play checkers.

Title Card: D.W. catches Frog

Everybody in class is chattering, while Mr. Ratburn writes “NEWS” on the blackboard.

Mr. Ratburn: Okay, everybody, very exciting news today. A new inter-scholastic sports league has just been formed and they’ve asked us to compete, which means one of you lucky lucky students will get the privilege of representing our school in what I personally consider the most thrilling sport event ever devised by mankind... checkers. After looking excited, everybody now looks blank. I know. It seems too good to be true, doesn't it? I too was speechless when I heard the news. Any volunteers?

Buster nudges Arthur.

Buster: Hey, you like checkers. Why don’t you volunteer?

Arthur: I don't know if I'm good enough. I'm kind of... average.

Buster: What do you mean? You always beat me. Come on. Raise your hand.

Arthur raises his hand to shoulder level.

Kids: Come on, Brain!

Brain, who has been reading, looks up.

Brain: What?

Arthur drops his hand.

Mr. Ratburn: Well, Alan, it looks like you're the favorite. Do you want to volunteer?

Kids: Brain! Brain! Brain! Brain!

Brain:Do I have to? Everybody looks shocked. I mean, checkers is kind of boring. It's not really challenging, like, say, chess. Everybody stares. Okay, okay, I'll do it.

***

Francine, Arthur, Buster and Muffy are standing in the lunch line in the school cafeteria.

Francine: Brain is so conceited. "Boring," he says. "Not challenging." Who does he think he is?

Arthur: But everybody thought it was boring. Nobody raised their hand.

Buster: Except you.

Francine: It's different with us. We're not conceited.

Muffy: Francine's right. Someone should go up against him just to prove he's not as special as he thinks he is.

Binky, Jenna, Sue Ellen and Fern join them.

Binky: Can you believe Brain today?

Muffy: I know. We were just talking about it. Arthur's gonna challenge him.

Arthur: Huh?

Francine: Didn't Buster just say you raised your hand?

Muffy: You’re not scared, are you?

Arthur: No, I'm not scared. I've beaten Brain at checkers before.

Kids: (gasp)

Binky: Brain's gonna get it!

Buster: All right!

Binky: Do it, Arthur. Somebody’s gotta prove there's something average kids can win at.

Kids: Arthur! Arthur! Arthur! Arthur!

***

D.W. is playing on the floor in the living room. Arthur talks to his mother, who is working on the computer.

Arthur: And then they started chanting my name.

D.W.: (laughs)

Arthur: What's so funny?

D.W.: You beat Brain in something? I'd like to see that.

Mrs. Read: Well, I think it's great, honey. Just make sure you keep it in perspective.

Arthur: Oh. Sure.

In Arthur’s fantasy he stands in an arena on a giant checkerboard.

Crowd: Arthur! Arthur! Arthur! Arthur! Arthur! Arthur! Arthur!

***

In reality, Arthur is riding his bike to school

Buster: Arthur! Arthur!      

Arthur wakes up just as he crashes into the bike stand where Buster is chaining his bike.

Arthur: Um!

Buster: Are you okay? You should try getting off the bike before parking it.

Arthur: Ohh. I was just, er... thinking about my checker strategy.

Buster: Oh, of course. You know, I'm really glad you decided to enter. I have a feeling you're gonna place a really strong second.

Arthur: It's only me versus Brain, Buster.

Buster: I know.

***

In the school corridor Francine hands out self-drawn flyers for a pep rally.

Francine: Pep rally before the first checkers play-off match after school! Come support Arthur Read before the big game.

Arthur: Wow! A pep rally? I've never had one of those before. What do you think it'll be like?

Other kids crowd around him.

***

Arthur walks into the gymnasium where kids are sitting with signs saying “Go Arthur”. Francine addresses the crowd with a megaphone.

Arthur: This is weird.

Francine: Do we want some conceited know-it-all representing us at checkers?

Kids: No!

Francine: Who do we want?

Kids: Arthur!

Francine: Why do we want him?

Kids: He’s average!

Arthur walks up to Francine.

Arthur: Do we have to call Brain names?

Francine: It's sports, Arthur. Okay, everybody. Hold up your "Ban Brain" signs!

Everybody holds up signs of Brain with a red bar across his face. A boy and Muffy come with a video camera and a microphone.

Muffy: Hi, Arthur. I'm Muffy Crosswire with the Muffy Report. Any words for our internet audience?

Arthur: Internet audience?

Muffy: I'm starting a website for the benefit of all the average kids who aren't fortunate enough to be here in person to see Mr. Conceited finally get what's coming to him.

Arthur: Mr. Conceited? Can we just call him "Brain"?

The other kids pick up Arthur.

Kids: (chant:) A Is For Arthur! A Is For Average! A Is For Arthur! A Is For Average!

Arthur smiles.

***

Arthur and Brain are playing checkers in the middle of the gymnasium. Mr. Ratburn is refereeing. A crowd of kids support Arthur while only George supports Brain. While Arthur concentrates on the game, Brain is reading a science book.

Muffy: I'm here at the first of three play-off matches to determine Lakewood Elementary's representative in the interscholastic checker Olympics. And with me is Francine Frensky, a completely objective average kid, picked at random from the audience. Francine, what is your perspective on this game?

Francine: Brain thinks he's so much smarter than the rest of us. Let's see how bored he is when he loses.

Muffy: So true! Oh, it looks like Arthur's about to make his first move.

Binky: Go, Arthur!

Arthur flinches.

Kids: Ssshh! Arthur makes his first move. Yay!

Brain  makes his first move.

George: Yay!

Binky: You show 'em, Arthur!

Arthur flinches and looks annoyed.

***

Fifteen minutes into the game.

Muffy: It's been a thrilling fifteen minutes and it looks like we're nearing the end. How do you think it’s going, Miss Frensky?

Francine sits beside her.

Francine: I can't really see the board from way back here, but I'm sure Arthur's winning.

Binky: A Is For Average!

Arthur: Quiet already!

Kids: (gasp)

Arthur makes a move, as does Brain.

Mr. Ratburn: And Alan is the winner.

Arthur’s supporters are silent with shock. Arthur waves at them while Brain reads his book and ignores everybody.

George: Yay!

***

Arthur and Buster walk to the exit.

Buster: It's okay, Arthur. There are two more playoff matches tomorrow. If you win both of those...

Arthur: I just couldn't concentrate with all the…

Francine, Binky and Sue Ellen are waiting at the door.

Francine: Arthur! Where are you going? There's still the post-game pep rally.

***

Arthur stands on the steps in front of the school and addresses his supporters.

Arthur: Er, thanks, everybody, for coming out and supporting me and, er, well, I'm sorry I lost this time, er... Francine gestures for him to smile. ...but there's still two matches tomorrow and, er... Francine gestures rooting. Okay, Francine. I mean, er, let's hear it for game number two!

Kids: Yay!

Arthur: And game number three!

Kids: Yay!

Arthur: And the interscholastics!

Kids: Yay!

Francine keeps gesturing.

Arthur: And then...then... Aarrggh! (chokes)

He walks away.

Kids: (gasp)

Francine: What was that?

Arthur: (hoarse:) Will you just get off my back?!

Francine: Why are you angry at us? We're the ones who've been supporting you.

Muffy: Yeah. There are lots of other average kids we could have picked for this.

Arthur: Well, thanks for your help, but I think it's better if I just do this on my own.

He leaves. Francine and Muffy exchange looks.

***

Arthur lies on the couch in the living room. The phone rings. He gets it.

Arthur: Hello?

Buster (on phone): Have you seen Muffy's website?

Arthur watches “The Muffy Report” on the family computer. In a video Muffy sits at a desk with a picture of Arthur behind her.

Muffy (on video): You think you know a person, but today the poor innocent students of Lakewood Elementary found out their beloved checkers favorite was something far different than what he had presented himself to be. This kid is angry.

Footage of the checkers match is shown. Then Arthur’s picture is replaced with a silhouette and a question mark. Footage of the pep rally is shown.

Arthur (on video): And then...then... Aarrggh!

Muffy (on video): Yikes! I wouldn't want to come up against that in a dark alley. Let's look at it again, why don’t we?

Arthur (on video): Aarrggh!

Muffy (on video): Do we really want our beloved elementary school represented in checkers by an angry lunatic? I ask purely as an impartial journalist. It is for you, the student body, to decide.   

A close-up of Arthur’s face is shown repeatedly.

Arthur (on video): Aarrggh! Aarrggh! Aarrggh!

Arthur looks shocked and slumps on the desk.

***

In the school corridor everybody is holding flyers. Arthur confronts Francine and Muffy.

Arthur: What are you guys doing?

Francine: Why do you ask? Because you're angry?

Muffy: Angry.

Arthur: I'm not angry!

Francine passes out more flyers.

Francine: Well, what would you call it?

Binky: Angry.

George: Please don’t hurt me.

He hurries off. Arthur grabs Francine’s stack of flyers.

Arthur: And stop passing these out! I told you yesterday I don't want any more pep rallies!   

Francine pulls all flyers away except one.

Francine: Don't worry, Mr Hyde, it's not for you. 

Arthur looks at the flyer in his hand. It shows an unflattering picture of an angry Arthur.      

Arthur (reading flyer): “A is for angry, B is for Brains. Pep rally for Brain before the game!” I thought you said he was conceited!

Muffy: Wow! Angry and mean. I think you need to chill out!

Everybody looks at Arthur.

Arthur: Why are you doing this? Is it because I asked you guys to leave me alone yesterday?

Francine: If you call what you did "asking". Brain may be conceited, but at least he's nice.

Muffy: We just care about the integrity of checkers.

Arthur: Raarrggh!

Everybody runs away. Binky walks up to Arthur.

Binky: Hey, man, I wanna congratulate you. It took me years to get scary. You did it overnight.

***

The second match in the gymnasium. This time, only Buster sits on Arthur’s side, the other kids sit on Brain’s. George hands Buster his flag saying “Hooray!”.

Mr. Ratburn: And let the second play-off match begin.

Arthur looks at Brain’s supporters. Brain reads a book called “Reverse Polar Kinetics”. Arthur is about to make the first move, then he stands up.

Arthur: You know what? I concede!

He leaves the room.

Brain: Is it my turn?

***

Arthur sits in the Reads’ kitchen with his head resting on the tabletop and his glasses lying next to him. Mrs. Read is cooking.

Mrs. Read: People get a little crazy sometimes when it comes to competition. Don't take it to heart.

Arthur: Maybe I deserved it. It’s not like I tried all that hard to stop them from putting down Brain when they were on my side.

He puts on his glasses. His mom kneels beside him.

Mrs. Read: Well, I don’t think you should quit something you love just because of what other people think.

Arthur: I didn't love it. It's checkers. I just thought it would be fun. It's not fun anymore.      

The doorbell rings. Arthur opens the door and finds Francine outside.

Arthur: Francine?

Francine: Wanna go to the interscholastics for us?

Arthur: Huh?

Francine: Brain conceded too.

Arthur: He did? Why?

Francine: Pep rallies.

Arthur: Ah.

Francine: Listen, I'm sorry Muffy and I got a little crazy. I guess it’s just that you hurt our feelings. We were kind of forgetting that maybe we'd hurt yours...and Brain's.

Arthur: Well, thanks for the apology, but I think I just wanna play checkers for fun right now.

Francine: Oh, okay. But who are we gonna get, then? I mean, I'm terrible at board games.

***

At the checkers interscholastics various kids are sitting at tables playing checkers. Muffy argues with Mr. Ratburn.

Muffy: I don't see why I have to be disqualified from the checkers interscholastics just because I'm adored.

Her supporters are sitting on the side holding signs.

Kids: M is for Muffy! M is for Modest!

Mr. Ratburn: Checkers is a quiet game, Muffy. The judges just think it would be better if you represent Lakewood Elementary alone.

Muffy pouts.

***

On the Reads’ TV Muffy is giving an interview in front of her supporters.

Muffy: These interscholastic judges are so uptight! Check out my website for in-debt analysis of how uptight judges are destroying this sport. Go to www dot…

Arthur turns off the TV. He is playing checkers with Brain. He eats some popcorn while Brain is reading.

Arthur: Your move.

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