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"Arthur, World's Greatest Gleeper"
Season/Series: 1
Number in season: 17B
Original Airdate: United States October 29, 1996[1]
Canada January 28, 1997[2]
Germany January 4, 2002[3]
Written by: Matt Steinglass
Storyboard by: Myron Born
"Meek for a Week"
"Arthur's Chicken Pox"
Read transcript

"Arthur, World's Greatest Gleeper" is the second half of the seventeenth episode in the first season of Arthur.


Arthur thinks it would be cool to be a Gleeper—until he finds out what "gleeping" really means.


In the hallway at school, Molly tells Brain that Arthur gleeps stuff, which spreads to Francine in the gym, but she mishears it as "Arthur keeps beans," which she repeats in music class. Somehow, this leads to the Tough Customers believing Arthur to have a crush on Francine and Prunella, Muffy, and Fern, who are playing jump-rope, to mockingly sing that he "eats fancy spam". A boy comments on how tough Arthur is for allegedly gleeping spam, to which his friend accidentally says, "Arthur gleeps stuff!" to Arthur and Buster. Arthur claims that while it's often hard to tell how rumors start, he knows this one started with him.

Arthur, World's Greatest Gleeper

In the cafeteria, Arthur and Buster sit at the only available lunch table with the Tough Customers, who tease Arthur and say that they bet he's "never even gleeped anything". Buster claims that Arthur "has gleeped lots of stuff" to stop the teasing, only for the two of them to find out later from Brain that "gleep" means "steal."

As Arthur and Buster discuss the lie during recess, the Tough Customers approach and make Arthur part of their group. Molly suggests he could even give them some pointers on gleeping. After recess, Arthur is walking around school and notices that everyone is treating him differently due to his newfound reputation as a "gleeper", with one kid offering him money when Arthur accidentally bumps into him. Arthur lets the lie grow into a school-wide rumor and initially enjoys some of the benefits of his new reputation--like when Molly chooses him over Binky for her football team because he's "the toughest kid in the whole school." Francine learns about the rumor from Binky, but doesn't believe it. She tells Arthur he's not the "gleeping type", but Arthur insists he is in fact "a regular gleeping machine." Now angry, Francine says she never wants to speak to him again. Molly tells Arthur that the Tough Customers are his real friends now.

During lunch, the Tough Customers ask Arthur what he has stolen lately, like Mr. Rathburn's socks and whether they have holes in them. Arthur is having second thoughts due to alienating Francine and attempts to tell Molly that he is not actually a gleeper but she thinks he is just being secretive. Later, everyone leaves except for Arthur, who Mrs. MacGrady notices and asks if he's meditating. Arthur tries to ask Mrs. MacGrady for advice if somebody claimed they did something they'd never heard of to sound cool but later found out it was bad, but he has a hard time articulating this, and just confuses her. Just then, Muffy comes in with Mr. Haney, telling him to arrest Arthur because he allegedly stole her cell phone. Mr. Haney doesn't know what "gleeping" is, so Mrs. McGrady explains to him that it means to steal. Muffy still demands Mr. Haney to punish Arthur for stealing her phone until it rings in her backpack, causing her to realize that she forgot that she put it there.

Nonetheless, Mr. Haney still takes Arthur to his office. He says that not all rumors should be taken at face value, but if Arthur is indeed involved in "gleeping", he should immediately stop that behavior, because he will get caught and be in trouble. After the bell rings, Mr. Haney lets Arthur go back to class. On his way there, Arthur sees the Tough Customers, who are curious what punishment he got. Arthur explains that Mr. Haney just gave him a warning. He tries to tell them he is not a "gleeper" but Binky thinks that Arthur sold out on them in exchange for escaping punishment. Arthur protests that he didn't but the Tough Customers then get mad at him and pressure Arthur to prove that he is a "gleeper" by stealing ice cream bars from the school cafeteria. Arthur decides that he has no other option.

After school, Arthur sneaks into the cafeteria where he is then caught by Mrs. MacGrady, who was meditating and being very quiet. Mrs. MacGrady is surprised that he would be stealing, to which Arthur asks if she'll turn him in to Mr. Haney. However, Mrs. MacGrady instead gets Arthur to admit that stealing is wrong and he really didn't want to do it, and was just scared of the Tough Customers. She encourages him to tell them the truth.

The next day, Rattles and Binky are mad when they find out Arthur lied to them about being a "gleeper", with Rattles sitting on Arthur and bouncing a ball on his head. Binky tells Arthur that he never should have lied. Buster and Francine come over, glad Arthur told the truth, and invite everyone to a game of kickball. Francine and Arthur make up.







  • At the beginning, 3rd Grade Male Dog (Number 2) gasps using one of Arthur's stock gasps.
  • Muffy tells Mr. Haney to shave Arthur's head, referencing how he appears to have no hair.
  • This is one of, if not the, first episodes to show Molly's eyes. Her right eye is visible as she arm wrestles Binky and when Molly picks "the toughest kid in the whole school" (Arthur), part of her bangs are standing off, revealing her left eye.
  • This is Kiefer's first major role.
  • Muffy is more negative towards Arthur than usual in this episode. Most of the time she considers him a close friend, but in this episode, she immediately accuses Arthur of stealing her cell phone because she falsely believed he was the "world's greatest gleeper."

Cultural references

  • The word "gleep" is not a real word in the English language, and thus was likely only conceived for the purposes of this episode.
    • The word "goofus" is a portmanteau of "goofy doofus", even though the word only exists in this story. It could be a nod to Goofus and Gallant, a popular comic strip that’s been around since the 1940s.
    • "Skipped a louie" means "ditching class" and "pulled a fizzler means "pulled the fire alarm".
    • It is possible that "gleeper" originates from the Icelandic term "glæpur," which translates as "crime."
    • "Gleep" was also the name given to an early version of the Sesame Street character Grover, during his first appearance on a Christmas Eve skit in a 1967 episode of The Ed Sullivan Show.
    • There actually are examples from the 1950s and 60s of “gleep” being used as an obscure slang term for “steal” (especially among motorcycle gangs), though it’s not clear if the writers of the show actually borrowed the term or whether they coincidentally reinvented it. However, since the Tough Customers do seem to resemble a younger version of a biker gang, this might have been intentional.
  • Mrs. MacGrady quotes Lao Tsu.

Episode connections

  • Just like in "Arthur Accused!", if Buster hadn't spoken up for him, Arthur wouldn't have gotten into trouble.
  • This subject of stealing would again come into focus in "Nerves of Steal", in which case there is a real theft, Buster is the one who steals, and Arthur ultimately does get in trouble because of his actions.


  • During the intro, Francine can be seen playing the violin with Muffy, despite the fact that she normally plays the drums.
  • Arthur's sweater is a brighter color than in other episodes.
  • Right before Arthur opens the cafeteria freezer, the entire screen is purple.
  • During the intro, when she is playing kickball, Fern is bizarrely discolored for a few frames. She is basically wearing Thora's shirt with solid red pants, matching red shoes, and with a dark pink bow instead of dark red. Her face is sludge green.
  • When Muffy yelled "Arthur stole my cellular phone!", her eyebrows disappear. After a few shots, Muffy's eyebrows reappear.
  • Also, George has bright yellow antlers.

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