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"Arthur and the True Francine"
Season/Series: 1
Number in season: 14B
Original Airdate: United States October 24, 1996[1]
Canada January 23, 1997[2]
Germany January 1, 2002[3]
Written by: Marc Brown (original)
Kathy Waugh (adapted)
Storyboard by: Angus Bungay
"Arthur the Wrecker"
"Arthur's Family Vacation"
Read transcript

"Arthur and the True Francine" is the second half of the fourteenth episode in the first season of Arthur. It is based on the book The True Francine.


Muffy and Francine remember when they first met in second grade, and how their friendship was almost ruined.


At the beginning of the episode, we see Francine climbing up a tree, through Arthur's window. Despite this, Arthur does not seem to notice Francine at all. Francine then screams, which Arthur now seems to hear. He goes down to the backyard with Pal and doesn't seem to find anything. While Arthur is in the backyard, Francine climbs back up and sneaks into Arthur's room and takes out a pair of Bionic Bunny underwear which she declines, and then takes out a pair of socks, one black and one white. It turns out to be a dare from one of the girls at Francine's sleepover. Francine then asks Muffy, "Truth or Dare?" Muffy replies "Truth," to which Fern asks her if she has ever lied before. Muffy takes great offense to Fern even suggesting that she would do that, but eats her own words when Francine reminds her of a time when she lied in second grade.

Arthur and the True Francine

In the flashback, Arthur's class is being rowdy while their teacher Mr. Marco is away. When he comes back they all pretend to be studying. Mr. Marco then introduces the class to Muffy Crosswire, their new classmate, and allows her to say a few words about herself. Muffy instead puts on a video presentation about her family history, which goes on for a long time. When it's done, she puts on another video about her birth, but Mr. Marco cuts her video short and tells her to take her seat, as they have to do their math lesson. At recess, Buster and Brain are unimpressed by Muffy, thinking her to be conceited and out of place. Francine, meanwhile, is giving Muffy a tour of the playground, and teaches her how to play kickball but kicking the ball out from under Buster. Muffy asks if there are any prizes like at her old school, but Buster tells her she's not at her old school, but Lakewood Elementary, and calls her "Smartypants." She corrects him and says it's "Miss Mary Alice Smartypants." Francine is shocked to learn that Muffy's middle name is Alice, as it is also her middle name, and both Alices have the same spelling. The girls are ecstatic and at that point become best friends.

At Muffy's mansion, Muffy gives Francine a tour of the place, and shows off some of her valuables from around the world. She gives Francine a bracelet as a gift, saying it came from Antarctica. The two girls go swimming in Muffy's pool, but Francine is studying for a math test. Muffy doesn't seem concerned, saying she taught math at her school (but later displays that she doesn't know the word "subtraction"). They then do some "wheelies," in Muffy's limo, with Muffy's chauffeur James going on a wild run with Francine and Muffy in the back seats.

At the library, Francine and Buster are studying for the test, but Muffy goes to watch movies in the library (she was allowed to as long as she was quiet), and Buster tags along. Francine tries to remind her that they should study, but it is to no avail.

In Mr. Marco's class, everyone takes the math test, and Francine seems to be confident in her ability to pass. When the tests are collected, Mr. Marco is impressed by Muffy's work, until he sees Francine's paper. He calls them up and points out that the tests are exactly alike, meaning one of the girls copied off the other. Muffy immediately denies doing it, so Mr. Marco sternly holds Francine accountable for cheating and forces her to stay after school for detention for a week (Buster was listening in but said he was sharpening his pencil as a cover up).

After school, everybody is concerned about Francine, as she will not be able to play in the softball game against Mighty Mountain, which for them means certain doom. Muffy insists she can help them win, but then sees a downhearted Francine. Muffy offers Francine a ride in her limo, but Francine coldly refuses. Muffy apologizes for cheating, but insists that as a Crosswire, she has a reputation to uphold. Insulted that Muffy would betray her like that, Francine gives back the bracelet Muffy gave her, much to Muffy's dismay. Muffy later leaves a balloon and a gift basket for Francine as an apology, but Francine pops and throws them out, respectively.

On the day of the game, Brain tells them that after talking to Mr. Marco, Francine is still being punished and can't play so Muffy will be taking her place. Francine is in detention while the team is up against Mighty Mountain. As the game comes near its end, Lakewood is losing 0–12. Muffy tries to bat, but evidently has no clue how to play the game. Realizing their precarious situation, Muffy goes to Mr. Marco and tells the truth about what she did. After accepting her punishment (which she finds totally unfair), she tells Francine that she can play now, and gives her the bracelet again as an apology. Francine forgives her and arrives just in time to earn her team their first home run, much to the shock of Mighty Mountain. The team ultimately loses, but Francine gets two home runs before it ends. She then rides Muffy back home in the basket of her bike, now best friends with her again, telling her that that they want her on the team, as the scorekeeper. But Francine tells her she has to learn to add, and one more thing: No cheating!






  • In this episode, Muffy's chauffeur/butler is named "James." He is later renamed "Bailey."
  • It is revealed in this episode that Muffy and Francine have the same middle name with the same spelling: "Alice."
  • This episode proves Muffy has only been at Lakewood Elementary School for a year.
  • This is the first episode in which Arthur is not a major character.
  • This episode marks Fern's first speaking role.
  • This is the first appearance of Mighty Mountain's team.

Differences from the book

  • This episode talks about how Muffy transferred over to Lakewood Elementary School and became best friends with Francine, and it took place during Mr. Marco's second grade class. In the book, Muffy is introduced in the series and Arthur and his friends are sorted into Mr. Ratburn's class when they start third grade.
  • In the book, while Francine is studying hard, Muffy plays with the former's gerbil and makes prank calls to strangers on the phone (specifically asking a stranger, "Is your refrigerator running? Well, you better catch it!"). In the episode, on the other hand, Muffy swims in her bathtub, does "wheelies" with Francine, and watches videos in the library.
  • Lakewood was competing against Mighty Mountain; although in the book, Mr. Ratburn's class was competing against Miss Sweetwater's class.
  • Muffy waits for Francine after detention, but the latter walks right past the former, and the former herself is not able to eat or sleep.
  • In the book, when Francine finally plays, Lakewood Elementary wins, and Mr. Ratburn treats all of his students, including Muffy, to ice cream sodas.
  • In the book, Muffy was well like by Mr. Ratburn while in the show, Mr Marco was glad to meet her.



Binky in Mr. Marco's classroom.

  • Binky is shown in Mr. Marco's classroom, even though he's supposed to be in Mr. Ratburn's classroom, since he repeated third grade in the series' continuity. This is likely due to the fact that most of Mr. Ratburn's students were previously in Mr. Marco's class.
  • Sue Ellen is seen in the cafeteria, but she did not come to Elwood City for another year as seen in "Sue Ellen Moves In."
  • Arthur does have the talent for baseball until in "Arthur Makes the Team," which is during his third grade year.
  • Muffy transfers over to Lakewood Elementary in this episode, and Arthur already has glasses. In "Arthur's Eyes," Muffy is already at Lakewood before Arthur gets glasses.
  • Mr. Marco tells Muffy when introducing her that “these are your future friends and classmates”, and even though they became Muffy’s friends, they did have the right not to be friends with her.
  • When Muffy tells Mr. Marco that she "wouldn't cheat in a million years," the name on her test reads Nuffy instead of Muffy.
  • When Muffy gives Francine the bracelet, she says it's "one of a kind," but a minute later, she says she has one exactly like it. 
  • Mr. Marco tells his class to do forty questions. Only seven questions are visible on the test, including the backside.
  • When Mr. Marco tells the class to start their test, "Starting..." the second hand on the classroom's wall clock moves past the "12". But in the next shot showing a close-up of the clock, the second hand is suddenly back at the "10", with the hand hitting "12" again signaling Mr. Marco to tell the class to begin.
  • Francine already has her new bike from "Stolen Bike."

Home video




Main article: Arthur and the True Francine (episode)/Gallery