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"Ants in Arthur's Pants"
Season/Series: 7
Number in season: 3A
Original Airdate: United States October 10, 2002[1]
Canada January 13, 2003[2]
Written by: Glen Berger
Storyboard by: Robert Yap
"Muffy Goes Metropolitan"
"Don't Ask Muffy"
Read transcript

"Ants in Arthur's Pants" is the first half of the third episode in the seventh season of Arthur.


Mr. Ratburn offers extra credit for science projects. Arthur and Buster start an ant farm, but the ants end up everywhere in Arthur's house instead. In order to get them back, Arthur shows he has PANTS (e.g. he is patient, attentive, nosy, thoughtful, and systematic) and ends up combining his project with Francine's.


Buster and Francine are watching ants in the park and remark that they look like people. Buster asks if Francine ever has the feeling that they're being watched. From a hill, Arthur and D.W. watch them through a telescope, and remark that everybody looks like ants. Earth, meanwhile, is being watched by ant-like aliens. One asks if there are ant-people down there, but the other answers that they are just earthlings.

Ants in Arthur's Pants

Mr. Ratburn shows an educational film in class that teaches that scientists are patient, attentive, nosy, thoughtful and systematic: PANTS for short. He offers extra credit to anyone who can design a project using those five virtues.

On the way home Arthur's friends discuss their projects. Francine wants to make rock candy to observe the crystals. Brain wants to cultivate parameciums in pond scum. Arthur and Buster find that boring, but notice ant farms in a store window. They have a fantasy in which ants dressed as farmers sing about being the easiest assignment for extra credit.

They take an ant farm home, only to discover that the ants must be ordered extra and take about one week for delivery.

Two weeks later, the ants arrive in a plastic tube. While Arthur tries to get them into the ant farm, all ants but one escape. Arthur promises D.W. “anything” if she will not tell their parents.

D.W. wants Arthur to read “Waffles the Rabbit” to her while Arthur waits for the one ant to do something. D.W. likes the ant and calls it Penelope.

On the playground Arthur, Buster and Francine compare their progress. Francine has not been able to get any sugar crystals so far. Buster tells Arthur that he has teamed up with Brain, since he really needs the extra credit.

Meanwhile, ants pop up everywhere in the Read home. The parents scold Arthur and want to call an exterminator. D.W. tells Arthur that if he saves Penelope's family, he will not have to read to her anymore. The parents give Arthur until the end of the week to get rid of the ants.

Arthur and D.W. stage a picnic in the living room hoping to attract ants. When that does not work, they try to find out the ants’ favorite food by putting out various foodstuffs in bowls. They methodically check for ants, but catch none.

Arthur builds an ant queen out of clay, hoping the ants will bring it food. D.W. adds a crown.

Near the end of the week, Francine visits Arthur to show him a small sugar crystal inside her jar. She asks if the clay ant is his project. Arthur calls the project a failure and throws away the clay. It hits Francine's jar and spills sugar water all over the floor. It soon attracts ants. Using a saucer of sugar water the kids remove the ants from the house.

Arthur is relieved, even though he will not get extra credit. Francine tells him that with his ant studies he has plenty to report, but she does not. Since Francine's project helped Arthur's, the two team up.

At the project presentation, Brain and Buster present a collection of molds on Buster's food collection, since the parameciums took too long to grow.









  • This episode takes place over a four-week period, during which the season transitions from the end of winter into the beginning of spring.
  • Arthur's home address is written on the ant envelope: 562 Main Street, Elwood City.

Cultural references

  • The PANTS film shows Galileo Galilei’s Leaning Tower of Pisa experiment. Most historians believe that this was merely a thought experiment and did not actually happen. Galileo did, however, predict that objects of different mass would fall at the same speed, but only if there was no air resistance.
  • The PANTS film also shows Gregor Mendel, who established several rules of heredity while studying pea plants. One trait he studied was indeed whether the seeds were round or shriveled.
  • Arthur and D.W. staging a picnic to attract ants may have been inspired by a 1994 Far Side cartoon called Hunting Techniques of the Modern Anteater.


  • After D.W. says "Oh no you don't! It's my TV time," the sound of the TV is muted, but she does not push any buttons on the remote control.

Episode connections

Production notes

  • During production, this episode was named "Ants in Arthur's P.A.N.T.S."[3] (a reference to the "P.A.N.T.S." video seen in Mr. Ratburn's class). The title was simplified to "Ants in Arthur's Pants" for the final cut.

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