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"Arthur's First Day"
Original Airdate: United States September 6, 2021
Written by: Peter K. Hirsch
Storyboard by: Gerry Capelle
Hélène Cossette
Allan Jeffery
Glen Kennedy
Tapani Knuutila
Tom Nesbitt
Jeremy O'Neil
Tahir Rana
Tony Tupilano
"Special: An Arthur Thanksgiving"
Read transcript

"Arthur's First Day" is a one-hour TV special that premiered on Labor Day, September 6, 2021, on PBS.[1][2]


"It's finally the first day of fourth grade and Arthur couldn't be more excited - until he learns Buster is in another class! Meanwhile, D.W. is nervous about her first day of kindergarten."[1]


It is a new school year which means a new start for all of the Elwood City kids.

Arthur wakes up and asks the audience whether they ever wake up right before their alarm goes off. Pal then jumps on his bed and David Read comes in and asks Arthur if he is up. Whilst brushing his teeth, Arthur explains that he was probably up early because he was nervous due to today being the first day of fourth grade. He fears a large wart growing on his face and the Tough Customers laughing at him. After packing his school bag, Arthur tells the audience that he's not sure wherever he's nervous or excited. He explains that there's one thing which he knows he is, which is ready for the new school year.

Arthur's First Day

Downstairs, D.W. fakes a call to the principal and tells her parents that kindergarten has been canceled due to an outbreak of turkey pox in the school. D.W. furthers questions why she can't stay in preschool, to which her mom replies that she's too old. D.W. argues that soon they'd be making her get a job.

Finally agreeing to go to school, D.W. says that she wants Arthur to take her to school, much to his annoyance. D.W. tells Arthur to tell her what to do in kindergarten, to which he replies to just have fun. The two of them meet up with Buster, who asks Arthur if he has brought his lucky pencil. Arthur tells him he forgot, but Buster says he has enough charms for both of them. These include his lucky horseshoe, his yam, Yamlet and his lucky hat. The two of them hope that their lucky charms will ensure that they're in the same class.

Meanwhile, Francine and Muffy make their way to school in Muffy's limo. They recap the events of "The Last Day" and Muffy exclaims what a great time she had at Camp Elysium. Muffy says that she is mature enough for fourth grade but she's unsure whether Francine is.

At school, Emily expresses her excitement of starting kindergarten and D.W. realizes that she forgot her packed lunch. Meanwhile, Buster and Arthur discover in horror that they are in different classes. They mournfully separate and agree to meet up at lunch.

In Mrs. Grimslid's class, Buster attempts to go and sit with Sue Ellen and Maria, but he is stopped and told it is assigned seating. Instead he finds himself sitting with Kevin Brouder, Samir Chopra who is into magic tricks and Cressida Billings-Thorpe who smugly tells Buster how she skipped a grade. On opening his desk, Buster finds a clue with a key taped to it.

In kindergarten, D.W. discovers, to her horror, that her name tag says "Dora." She angrily tells Ms Velez that she hates the name 'Dora' and that she goes by "D.W." Ms Velez tells her that her name is also Dora and like D.W. she hates it, so instead she goes by "Dotty." Meanwhile. Emily is struggling to get her name tag to stick.

In Mr Ratburn's fourth grade class, Arthur finds himself sat next to Alex. The two of them get talking about the book series, Multiverse, and Alex agrees to lend The Dimension of Darkness book to Arthur. Arthur comments that it's strange that him and Alex have never really spoken despite being in the same class for years. Mr. Ratburn asks the class if any of them wish to sign up for the "Big Buddy" scheme where a fourth grader looks after a kindergartener. Muffy, and eventually Francine both sign up.

Back in kindergarten, D.W. is busy making friends with Fatima and Ryan. However, things go badly for Emily as she accidentally spills green paint over herself and the other kindergarteners tease her about her 'liver' (pate) sandwich.

After class, Buster tells Samir about the clue in his desk and the two of them decide to team up to solve it. The clue in Samir's desk leads them to a locker which contains another clue, hidden behind a smiley face sticker.

Muffy and Francine head to the kindergarten classroom after discovering who their buddies are. Francine is paired with Tommy Tibble and Muffy is paired with Emily.

In the cafeteria, Buster meets up with Arthur and tells him about the clue, to which Sue Ellen overhears and helps him. Arthur and Buster plan to sit together at lunch but Arthur is called over by Alex and Buster is called over by Samir. The two of them agree to meet up after school instead.

In the computer lab, Muffy realizes that she's missing lunch, so her and Emily rush to the cafeteria. On the way, Muffy attempts to give Emily a quick tour of the school, but fails to hear Emily say that she's going to the bathroom. Emily finishes in the bathroom to find that Muffy is gone and she's now lost in the school. She comes across the Tough Customers who take her back to the kindergarten classroom. Muffy is already there trying to explain herself to Ms. Velez. Muffy tries to apologize to Emily but Emily turns away in anger.

In the library, Buster and Samir comes across the next clue hidden in a book. Meanwhile, Alex shows Arthur more of his The Dimension of Darkness book. Arthur spots Samir and Buster playing and tries to talk to Buster but Buster doesn't hear him.

In the playground, D.W. stands up for Emily when Ryan teases her calling her liver girl. The two of them talk and Emily tells D.W. that she doesn't think she's ready for kindergarten. Emily has a vision of her second day of kindergarten being worse than the first with the entire classroom falling apart. D.W. reassures her that kindergarten will get easer and if Arthur can make it through, then so can she.

In Mr. Ratburn's class, Muffy lies to Francine and tells her that everything is going well with Emily. A slip of the tongue means she accidentally tells Francine that she lost Emily. Binky reads his report of the summer reading, which is Peter Pan, and Muffy has a vision of herself and Emily in the story. She sees herself as Peter Pan, renamed Muffy Pan, who awakens Emily and takes her to Neverland. Mid-flight, Muffy realizes she has lost Emily and finds her on the deck of the pirate ship. She tries to save Emily from the pirates played by the Tough Customers, but Emily explains that she'd rather be with the pirates as she feels safer with them. At the end of her vision and Binky's report Muffy says that Peter Pan is the saddest story she's ever heard.

At the end of class, Muffy tells Mr. Ratburn that she has to resign from being a Big Buddy due to what happened, but he encourages Muffy to instead keep trying.

In art class, Arthur has a vision set in The Dimension of Darkness universe. He meets the 86-year-old version of himself in the future. Arthur asks where Buster is to which his 86-year-old self answers that there is one bunny there. Arthur runs over to who he thinks is Buster but is actually Alex wearing Buster's shirt. 86-year-old Arthur explains to Arthur that him and Buster lose touch after third grade.

Worried, Arthur rushes to Mrs. Grimslid's class to find that Buster has already left. She tells Arthur that she might find Buster in the library. Arthur bumps into Buster and Samir in the corridor and Buster asks for his help with the last clue. The three of them work out the clue which leads them to the Tower of Pain. Alex asks Arthur if they want to walk home together and Arthur invites him to join them. The four of them head to the Tower of Pain to solve the last clue.

Meanwhile, Muffy is in the computer lab begging a boy to let her use the computer so she can print out the picture she and Emily drew. Back at the Tower of Pain, Binky gives the four of them the last clue. Finally, Muffy manages to get a computer only to find that the printer isn't working. Back in the school, Arthur and his friends come across the Tough Customers in the janitor's closet. In turns out that they came up with "Project Icebreaker" where they wrote the clues in order to help the next fourth graders get to know each other. Buster concludes that "Project Icebreaker" was a success.

After finally managing to print the photo, Muffy rushes to Emily's car in order to give it to her. She apologizes to her for everything and begs her for another chance at being her best buddy, to which Emily agrees. The episode ends with Arthur, Alex, Samir and Buster walking across a bridge agreeing that their first day had been a good one.







  • This special takes place on the first day of Arthur's fourth grade school year, which is a major change from the rest of the series, which takes place almost entirely during his third grade year.
  • For the new school year, several teachers at Lakewood Elementary have started teaching a different grade level. Mrs. Sweetwater now teaches second grade, Mr. Ratburn and Mrs. Grimslid now teach fourth grade, and Mr. Marco now teaches fifth grade.
  • In this episode, most of the characters are seen wearing the same clothes, but they are different colors. Examples include D.W.'s outfit being completely blue, Francine's barrettes are their original red from the original books, and Arthur's sweater is green with a yellow stripe.
  • This is the first time Nadine has been mentioned since Season 21.
  • The class list refers to Binky Barnes by his nickname. In "What's in a Name?," Mr. Ratburn's third grade class list referred to him by his legal name, Shelley Barnes.
  • Many of the background students' names on the class lists are names of credited production crew members.
  • Ladonna and Bud are not seen in this special because their family moved during the summer.
  • Emily's last name is finally revealed to be Leduc, as seen on the kindergarten class list. Prior to this special, her last name was never mentioned.

Episode connections

  • Muffy and Francine talk briefly about the blog they used while Muffy was away at Camp Elysium, which is a direct reference to "The Last Day."
  • D.W. is still bothered by anyone who uses her first name, Dora, which is a callback to numerous past episodes.
  • Arthur and Buster's lucky charms were first seen in previous episodes:
  • The fact that Francine lives practically next door to the school is also brought up in "Poor Muffy."
  • Emily previously offered D.W. pate in "D.W.'s Backpack Mishap." Her Big Buddy program file shown in this special has it listed as her favorite food.

Cultural references

  • Samir is a Sikh character. He wears a patka (head covering) and a kara (bangle/bracelet).[3]
  • Binky's report and Muffy's imagination sequence are about J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan.
  • Sue Ellen quotes poetry by John Donne.
  • The GPS on Muffy's phone makes a sound from Siri.


  • There are multiple errors regarding the class lists:
    • In some scenes, the class lists are printed on yellow-tinted paper and hung with colorful tacks, but in other scenes, the papers are white and hung with plain tacks.
    • When Emily gets lost and when Arthur finds Buster and Samir in the hallway, some of the names on the class lists are different from the original scene.
    • The class list refers to the kindergarten teacher as "Mrs. Dotty" instead of "Ms. Velez."
    • The class list refers to the second grade teacher as "Mrs. Sweetwater" instead of "Miss Sweetwater."
    • Samir's last name is written as "Chopra" on Mrs. Grimslid's class roster, but she says his name as "Patel" when she speaks to Arthur.
  • In the cafeteria, Fern and George are seen in their usual third grade outfits instead of their new fourth grade outfits.
  • In the cafeteria, Maria's ear is covered up partially by a door in an apparent layering error.
  • In the class list scene, Binky is seen wearing his orange shirt, but for the rest of the episode, he is seen wearing a white shirt.
  • Cressida is actually incorrect when she speaks Italian. The actual way to say, "You'd better not cheat off me" in Italian is Faresti meglio a non tradirmi. However, this may be intentional to show that Cressida isn't actually as smart as she claims to be.


Main article: Arthur's First Day/Gallery