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"Based on a True Story"
Season/Series: 16
Number in season: 1
Original Airdate: United States October 15, 2012[1]
United Kingdom April 2–3, 2013[2][3][4]
Australia December 12, 2012[5]
Written by: Peter K. Hirsch
Storyboard by: Gerry Capelle
Cilbur Rocha
"The Trouble with Trophies"
"Flippity Francine"
Read transcript

"Based on a True Story" is the first episode in the sixteenth season of Arthur. It is a two-part episode.


There's a new kid in town: Ladonna Compson, the Louisiana native with the gift of gab. Ladonna charms Arthur and friends with her amazing "true" stories. But are her stories really fact...or fiction?


Arthur tries to introduce a new friend of his, Ladonna Compson, to the viewers, but she keeps interrupting the intro. Arthur and Ladonna then decide to just start the show.

Based on a True Story
Part 1:

After the title card, Ladonna and her family are seen leaving their home in Louisiana for a sixteen-hour move to Elwood City. They soon arrive and unpack their things at their new house, which is a few houses away from where the Read family lives. Arthur and D.W. walk down the street to meet the Compson family.

When they get there, Ladonna invites them into the house. After introducing one another, Arthur then gives Ladonna a rhubarb pie that his dad made. Ladonna likes the pie and begins to tell stories to Arthur and D.W., but the pair have to go to their Grandma Thora's house. After Arthur and D.W. leave, Bud shows up, revealing that he had been spying on Ladonna and says that she talked too much and scared them away. Ladonna tells Bud that he should not spy, since it is against the law, but Bud blames his toy dinosaur Rapty instead. Bud goes on to tell Ladonna that she should not be herself and act less "Ladonna-ish."

The next day at Lakewood Elementary, Mr. Haney introduces Mr. Ratburn's class to Ladonna, their new classmate. Ladonna is nervous until she sees Arthur inviting her over to sit next to him. At lunch in the cafeteria, Arthur and his pals ask Ladonna questions about where she is from and what she does. Ladonna tells them a story about when her older brother Gussie was working at an alligator sanctuary one summer, until Mr. Ratburn calls the class back for history.

Over the next week, everyone starts listening to her stories. Many are impressed with her stories and she even went as far as telling them to the Tough Customers.

Meanwhile, Bud tries to impress D.W. with his animal sounds, doing a pig sound and a whale sound. D.W. isn't impressed and subsequently leaves. Bud feels upset that D.W. did not like his animal sounds, claiming that she said his pig sound was "too oinky." Ladonna tells him that it takes time to make friends. Bud then questions how Ladonna made friends, and even asks if she is paying them. Ladonna tells him that her new friends like her partially because she tells great stories. Bud then asks what will happen to her if she runs out of stories to tell, and Ladonna claims that the Atlantic Ocean will dry up before she runs out of stories.

The next day at the playground at school, Ladonna is telling stories, but this time Arthur and Buster have heard of her stories before. Soon, Arthur and Buster start talking about an episode of Dark Bunny that they saw the night before, and Ladonna feels sad and left out. She soon starts to leave, but her friends ask her where she is going, to which she replies she is going to get her mittens. Arthur and Buster look at each other concerned.

Later that night, Ladonna is sleeping and she soon dreams about what may happen if she no longer has any interesting stories to tell her new friends. She then wakes up and starts writing down a made-up story to tell her friends.

The next day at school in the cafeteria, Ladonna starts to tell her "new" made-up story to her friends. After Brain corrects a flaw with her story, some of the others start to question it, as she did not tell them in advance that her story was made-up in the first place. Eventually, Ladonna admits that she fibbed the story, and most of her new friends abandon her.

Part 2:

The next day at school in the cafeteria, Arthur wants to give Ladonna a second chance, but Francine and Muffy disagree with his idea. Arthur and Buster decide to give her another chance, and move over to the table where Ladonna is sitting. They tell her that they like her just the way she is and to just be herself. Arthur, Buster, and Ladonna are once again friends.

Meanwhile, D.W. and Emily are having a tea party with Bud, but instead, he changes the pretend tea to tomato soup. D.W. tells Bud that they are playing tea party, not lunch. Afterwards, Bud thinks that D.W. does not like him. His toy dinosaur Rapty talks to him, and Bud decides to try telling jokes to D.W. to impress her.

Later, Ladonna is going to go exploring, and her mom makes her wear a hat that her Aunt Bo bought that Ladonna states is itchy and ugly. As Ladonna is exploring, she sees an eagle and pulls out her cellphone to take a picture of it, but she ends up missing it. She turns to get her hat that she threw to the ground after it kept slipping over her head, but discovers that a raccoon took it. Annoyed, Ladonna chases the raccoon to get her hat back, but she trips on a tree root instead. However, she finds a lost gold watch in the snow, and decides to return it.

Ladonna returns the watch to its owner, who in turn gives her four quarters. Ladonna, annoyed at the fact she only got four quarters for returning a watch that was lost for seven years, decides to get juice from a vending machine and receives a lot of change from the vending machine, much to her excitement. As Ladonna is walking along with the change from the vending machine in her pockets, she sees a hat almost identical to the one that the raccoon had stolen from her earlier in the day in Care to Ware, and decides to buy it with the change from the vending machine.

The next day at school, Ladonna tells everyone about what happened to her the previous day, but her friends do not believe her. Ladonna tells Arthur she will prove it to him after school.

Meanwhile, Bud is telling a joke to D.W. as they are building a snowman. D.W. notices that the carrot is missing, and wants to know what happened to it. Bud admits that he ate it, and he replaces the carrot nose for a rock, much to D.W.'s displeasure. Then Timmy and Tommy Tibble throw a snowball at the snowman they were building and knock the head off, after which the twins start chortling. Bud then confronts the Tibbles, despite D.W.'s warning to him. The Tibbles are scared of Bud, and run off after he gives them the "Bud Compson Power Stare." D.W. is impressed by his staring, and the two become friends.

After school, both Arthur and Ladonna look to find proof of Ladonna's story by going to the various places that Ladonna visited, but after not finding proof, Ladonna is very disappointed that she cannot prove that her story is true, but Arthur believes that it all happened, making Ladonna happy. As they are about to go back home, Arthur spots the raccoon wearing Ladonna's old hat.

At school the next day, Ladonna and Arthur tell everyone about it, and show them the hat as well. Ladonna gives the hat to Francine, who likes the hat and apologizes to Ladonna for not believing her. Muffy thanks Ladonna for not giving the hat to her, and states that she really is a good friend. Ladonna is delighted.

Afterwards, Ladonna tries to wrap up the show, but Arthur outsmarts her and wraps up the show. Ladonna then is about to tell another story, but Arthur stops her, and she runs off, saying "The End!" to the viewers. The episode then finishes.







  • The sixteen hour drive from Louisiana to Elwood City is one of the many references in this season to the fact that this is Season 16; some other examples include Buster having read sixteen other books aside from Goodnight Universe in the episode "Buster's Book Battle," also in Season 16, and Mr. Crosswire having to go through sixteen more grades of sandpaper for Muffy's Lakewood Derby car project in "Muffy Takes the Wheel," also in Season 16.
  • As revealed by Arthur in this episode, Bionic Bunny's real name is Sue.
  • The scene in the title card is slightly altered. In the title card, Ladonna's mouth remains shut, while in the episode, she yells at the raccoon.

Episode connections

  • Just like Sue Ellen in "Sue Ellen Moves In," Ladonna moves to Elwood City in the winter.
  • Ladonna and Bud move to Elwood City from Louisiana, and they later move again to Oregon in "When Duty Calls."
  • The soap opera that the alligators watch is the same one that Arthur watches in "Is There a Doctor in the House?," though in that episode Sheldon/Shelby has a lighter complexion and Karen/Kara's hair is blonde, not brown.
  • D.W. compares Bud's whale noise to that of the Reads’ car before it died. This may refer to "Pick a Car, Any Car," although the car sound was more like a rattle.
  • Muffy is particularly offended by Ladonna's lies, forgetting that when she was new to Lakewood in "Arthur and the True Francine," she told much worse lies.
  • The Tree House has building materials in front of it, and has two ladders leaning against the tree. This suggests it was recently rebuilt, as it was in "Castles in the Sky."

Cultural references

  • Art Radley's pocket watch may be a reference to Arthur "Boo" Radley giving Scout and Jem a pocket watch in Harper Lee's To Kill A Mockingbird.
  • D.W.'s line "Bud Compson, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship," is taken from the 1942 film Casablanca, in which Rick (Humphrey Bogart) says the same thing to Louis.


  • When Ladonna writes a story at night to tell at school, the word "grizzly" is spelled wrong. However, it is possible this is an error on Ladonna's part rather than the animators'.
  • The Tibble wearing blue earmuffs is addressed as Tommy. Normally, Timmy wears blue.

Production notes

  • This is the first episode for several things:
    • The first episode produced by 9 Story Media Group.
    • The first episode to be broadcast in the United States on PBS Kids in widescreen high-definition, though this option had been available in some non-US markets for at least a couple of previous seasons, and savvy US viewers could find recordings of these broadcasts online.
    • The first episode to use flash animation instead of traditional (hand-drawn) animation.
    • The first episode where the characters have white tongues again, as they did in some Season 1 episodes.
    • The first episode where Drew Adkins, Jake Beale, and Siam Yu voice Arthur, D.W., and Brain, respectively.
    • The first episode in which Geoff Adams is the live action producer.
  • Both halves of this episode were first broadcast separately from each other in the UK; part 1 aired on April 2, 2013, and part 2 aired a day after part 1.
  • In Korean, this episode is called "거짓말쟁이 라도나," which translates to "I'm a liar."


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