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"Arthur the Loser"
Season/Series: 2
Number in season: 17b
Original Airdate: United States April 14, 1998[1]
Canada September 15, 1998[2]
Germany February 15, 2002[3]
Written by: Joe Fallon
Storyboard by: Brian Anderson
"Francine Redecorates"
"Arthur vs. the Very Mean Crossing Guard"
Read transcript

"Arthur the Loser" is the second half of the seventeenth episode in the second season of Arthur.


Arthur keeps losing at the new No Guessing! board game and other things as well, so he starts cheating to win.


In the intro, Arthur's basketball team is facing Binky's team at school. Arthur confidently assures his team that if Francine passes him the ball, he will score the winning point.

Once Francine passes the ball to Arthur, he dodges Binky and scores the winning basket, earning him the praise of his team. However, the whole event turns out to have been a daydream. Arthur comes to in the middle of the game and takes the shot, but misses and his team loses. Arthur remarks how hard it is to win sometimes.

Arthur the Loser

One day at home, Arthur watches TV and sees an ad for No Guessing!, a trivia board game where you have to answer questions correctly in order to win. Arthur really wants the game and eventually buys it with his own money.

He goes up to play it in the tree house against himself and wins. Suddenly, Brain shows up so they play the game together. Unfortunately, Arthur gets the questions wrong so Brain wins, leaving Arthur disappointed.

Later, he plays against Francine, and loses once again. Finally, after losing to Sue Ellen, Arthur, now feeling resentful, becomes a sore loser and stashes the game under his bed, too frustrated to try again.

In the days that follow, Arthur is on a losing streak, losing at every game against his friends, including video games, checkers and bowling, among others. His dad assures him he will get lucky and start winning again, but Arthur is not so sure.

D.W. offers to play a game of cards with him to help his luck change (even though she just wants to beat him before that happens). After a while, Arthur has only one card left and D.W. is about to beat him for the first time ever.

When she asks if Arthur has a seven, he does, but lies and says he does not, afraid that she will tell everyone. He then tricks her into looking in another direction and looks at her cards, and easily beats her by cheating.

D.W. is shocked at her loss and leaves disappointed. Arthur decides that in order to win, all he has to do is cheat, so he pulls out No Guessing! again to find the easy questions. He plants these questions in his sleeves and then plants them in the card stack for his friends to ask him, allowing him to win easily.

Arthur starts playing No Guessing! with his friends again, and cheats at every game. At first, no one suspects him in the slightest, but Arthur starts winning everything all the time, and Sue Ellen begins to think he is cheating.

Brain does not believe that Arthur would do that. Arthur starts being a "sore winner" and brags about how he wins at everything, and begins cheating in all of their other activities. Francine even states that Arthur is even worse as a "sore winner" than a "sore loser."

When he and his friends play cards in his tree house, he puts up mirrors so he can see their cards, but says that they only "make the room seem bigger". After they play, his friends glower at him as they all leave, but he carries on and insists he is just a winner no matter how they feel. He also sneezes on purpose during a mini-golf game with Brain, causing him to miss a perfect shot and scold Arthur in return.

Arthur's friends decide Arthur will only go back to normal if he loses again, so they convince Binky to play against him because he has no problem cheating, and thus will win. Binky challenges Arthur and he accepts, with everybody watching him.

Arthur gets nervous and finds it harder to cheat. However, Binky is losing because he has no idea how to cheat at No Guessing! (the game requires you "to know stuff!") Finally, Arthur gets a question wrong, much to the joy of his friends. Fern walks up and tells Arthur that everyone is cheering against him because he has been a jerk to everyone.

Arthur then has a daydream where Buster (who is still away on a trip with his dad) asks him what is wrong. Arthur says that everyone wants to see him lose, and Buster says it would have been better if he had never cheated at all. He then tells Arthur that since cheating got him into this, he should cheat to lose.

Arthur's daydream ends and he finally asks Binky a question, as he was waiting the whole time for the former to speak up. Arthur gives Binky all of the easy questions instead, allowing Binky an easy victory. Everyone is ecstatic that Binky won.

Unfortunately, when Arthur shakes Binky's hand, the cards fall out of his sleeves, exposing his cheating. The jig is up, and everyone berates Arthur for lying to them and tells him that they hope he learns that trying to win a game is not worth cheating, and Arthur apologizes for what he did. Everyone forgives him and they all go out to celebrate everything being normal again rather than celebrate Arthur losing the game.

That night, Arthur writes to Buster to thank him for all of "his" advice, apparently forgetting that everything Buster told him was all a dream and the episode concludes with the latter reading the letter on his father's plane, except he does not understand what Arthur is talking about, because the Buster that gave the former the advice was in a daydream.






Episode connections[]

  • Francine mentions this episode in the later episode Francine Goes to War during the intro.
  • Arthur mentions this episode in The Boy with His Head in the Clouds but reveals in the episode he did not cheat like he did in the previous episode.
  • Arthur says that he could not lose at cards to D.W. because she would tell everyone, revealing the time she bragged to everyone about the time she beat him at checkers in Play it Again, D.W.


Sue Ellen I win
  • In the scene when Sue Ellen beat Arthur in No Guessing, the word "Egypt" in the poster behind Sue Ellen is misspelled "Eygpt".
    • In the same scene, a line appears in the middle of Sue Ellen's dress, splitting it into a shirt and skirt.
  • When Arthur is explaining to Brain that making someone mess up is part of the game, the hole behind him is physically impossible, as the hole is on a 90 degree position.
  • In the dream sequence at the beginning of the episode, Molly MacDonald is briefly shown on the Mighty Mountain team. This is incorrect, as Molly attends Lakewood Elementary.
  • When the kids cheer for Binky after he finally beats Arthur, if you listen closely, Brain cheers in Arthur's voice (Michael Yarmush) and not his own (Luke Reid).

Production notes[]

  • This is the first episode to use the Family Photo as a title card.

Home Video[]