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This article is about "Arthur Cleans Up". You may be looking for "Arthur and D.W. Clean Up".
"Arthur Cleans Up"
Season/Series: 1
Number in season: 25B
Original Airdate: United States November 8, 1996[1]
Canada February 7, 1997[2]
Germany January 16, 2002[3]
Written by: Matt Steinglass
Storyboard by: Jean Charles Fink
"D.W. Thinks Big"
"My Dad, the Garbage Man"
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"Arthur Cleans Up" is the second half of the twenty-fifth episode in the first season of Arthur.


The kids volunteer to help clean up Elwood City's neglected park.


Arthur tells the viewers about how his father has the habit of getting into some weird things that he also drags Arthur into doing. Arthur remarks how one time David took him to the Fisherman and Son's Sunrise Breakfast, where the breakfast turned out to be seafood (LIVE seafood). Another occasion was when David arranged for his son and his class to sing in a ballad about dental health, with Arthur delivering the big finish in what turned out to be a silly musical. And then he brings up the time his dad got him into the "Clean-up Brigade".

Arthur Cleans Up

Arthur, Buster and Pal are playing Frisbee in the park, which has become disgusting because of the huge piles of trash that people have dumped there. The Frisbee lands in a polluted fountain, so the two boys go home, and express how angry they are at how badly polluted the park has become.

Arthur tells Buster how he wants to do something about it, but just as he backs out on that statement, saying maybe not him and Buster, specifically, David shows up and is immediately excited about the idea of kids cleaning the park themselves so that grown-ups might start to care. Arthur mentions that an army would be needed to clean up the park, and at that point, his father suggests that their army could be called the "Clean-up Brigade". Buster runs off at this idea and David, in his excitement, calls up all the parents to get their kids to join in.

The next day, Arthur's friends Sue Ellen and Muffy are both angry at him for getting them entangled in something they do not want to do, and completely reject the offer. The Tough Customers then show up and make fun of Arthur, calling him "Cleanup Boy" and "Captain Cleanup".

Later at school, Francine tries to talk to Arthur in private about the Clean-up Brigade, but before she can, her father shows up and takes Arthur for a ride in his garbage truck.

He takes Arthur to see the local recycling center, where Arthur finds a massive command center for all garbage-collecting and recycling activities in Elwood City. There, Mr. Frensky shows Arthur how the park will get cleaned up. They show him how if only one kid joins the Cleanup Brigade, garbage in the park will continue to build up, but if he can get more kids to join, the park will eventually be cleaned. Arthur is thrilled with the idea, until they decide to give him a uniform. Arthur later finds himself in full garbage man gear and is later given a garbage can and 'pointy stick' with which to collect the garbage. Mr. Frensky explains the importance of the job to Arthur, as only together can they hope to create a world that is clean, safe, and fun to live in. He sends Arthur on his way and says he will meet him and his volunteers the next day. Arthur's not so sure there will be any volunteers.

The next day, Arthur suits up and his parents send him and Pal off, proud of what he is doing.

Arthur goes to each of his friends' houses to see if they will help him, but they are either not at home or avoid him altogether. Francine says she has homework, and tells Arthur that the job is impossible to do alone.

Arthur does his best to clean up the park, but is overwhelmed by the large amount of trash there is to pick up. Meanwhile, a boy and his family are heading home but the boy does not know where to put his trash, so he just throws it on the already polluted ground. Disheartened, Arthur and Pal head home, only to run into the Tough Customers. Rattles and Molly immediately pick on Arthur for being such a 'cleanup boy', and dump trash on the ground for him to pick up. Binky tells them to leave Arthur alone, and a nearby park patron wonders what all the fuss is about, but his young friend tells him not to get involved. Arthur storms off but Pal tries to eat some of the trash Rattles dropped, and starts choking on it. Arthur panics and calls for help, so the friendly man from nearby performs the Heimlich maneuver, saving Pal's life. Everybody is relieved, and the Tough Customers start to leave. Arthur stops them, angry that they nearly choked Pal with their trash, and has had it altogether with the pollution. He orders the Tough Customers to help him clean up the park, as he cannot do it alone. Mr. Frensky shows up with some clean-up equipment, and gives it to the group to use in cleaning the park. At that point, Francine shows up with Sue Ellen Armstrong, Muffy and Buster behind her, and apologizes for trying to get out of helping Arthur. She's shocked to see the Tough Customers helping out, but quickly gets into helping Arthur clean the park, along with Sue Ellen, Buster and Muffy. After a while, the group begins to enjoy their work, and Buster finds the Frisbee. A few days later, the kids and Pal are playing Frisbee in the park, now clean and beautiful thanks to the Clean-up Brigade.






Cultural references

  • The pointy-stick is called a "litter picker" or "trash picker".
  • The old man who helped a choking Pal performed the Heimlich maneuver, a technique done by wrapping both arms on the choking victim's diaphragm before pressing to expel the foreign object the victim was choking on.


  • In several shots, Arthur's basketball is missing the horizontal line that cuts across the three vertical ones.
  • When Francine puts on the green suit, she was wearing her red shirt and blue jeans underneath; but in the next few seconds, she has on a white shirt underneath the suit.
  • When Buster arrives to help Arthur clean up the park, he's wearing his regular clothes; but in the next few seconds, he is in the green suit right away.
  • When Arthur is playing basketball, Prunella is wearing her baseball jersey.
  • Arthur puts Molly, Binky, and Rattles under a lot of pressure into helping him clean up the park after almost killing Pal with all their garbage, and they're wearing their regular clothes while cleaning, but when Francine arrives coming to apologize to Arthur for not helping him clean up earlier on and finding out he's already got volunteers helping him, they're wearing green suits (garbage clothes).

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