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"Binky Barnes, Art Expert"
Season/Series: 2
Number in season: 2a
Original Airdate: United States October 21, 1997[1]
Canada November 25, 1997[2]
Germany January 25, 2002[3]
Written by: Joe Fallon
Storyboard by: Harry Rasmussen
"Arthur's Lucky Pencil"
Read transcript

"Binky Barnes, Art Expert" is the first half of the second episode in the second season of Arthur.


Arthur and Buster dread having to work on an art project with Binky the bully, but he surprises them.[4]


Arthur and his classmates are making clay sculptures in Art class. Arthur says that the best part of the class is when they go on a field trip. Their art teacher, Ms. Bryan, announces that next week, they will be going to visit the Elwood City Art Museum, to everyone's excitement. Ms. Bryan says that everyone will be split into teams, and will be assigned to report on a work of art. To their horror, Arthur and Buster are grouped with Binky. They imagine Binky making them do all the work, and him mooching off of them. Binky comes up to Arthur and Buster, and tells them he has "lots of ideas" for their report.

Binky Barnes, Art Expert

At the Art Museum, all the kids find paintings that suit their tastes except for Arthur, Buster, and Binky. While Arthur and Buster observe a highly ornate water fountain, Binky rushes in and excitedly shows them an art piece that he says is perfect for their report. He shows them an abstract painting that the two of them don't understand, but Binky thinks a great report can be made because, apparently, the painting is hanging sideways. The boys don't see what Binky's getting at, and assume that he has merely misinterpreted the painting. Binky insists that the painting was in fact posted wrong, so much so that he rejects the museum catalog which shows it hanging in the current position as well.

After school, Arthur and Buster dwell on their report, worried that Binky will humiliate them if they are forced to do this painting for their project, and they imagine the entire class laughing hysterically at them as Binky claims the painting is sideways. The two of them decide that, since it's two against one, they will tell Binky they don't want to do the report. Unsure of how to do this, Arthur and Buster practice telling off Binky, with Arthur playing Binky and Buster playing Arthur and himself. However, it doesn't go anywhere as Buster doesn't put up much of a fight as he just gives up. Francine thinks they ought to just tell Binky straight out that they're not up for it, but when she recalls his size, strength and aggressive nature, she suggests they make a run for it instead. Buster and Arthur imagine Binky throwing them into space if they tell him they don't want to do the painting, barely missing a satellite in Earth's orbit. They go to Brain for help, and he says Binky would never be able to throw them that far, and instead suggests that they compromise with him. The boys approach Binky at the library and explain that he can do his painting if he lets them do their painting, and then they will do them together. Binky readily agrees, and the boys are relieved. Binky then believes that he has discovered another upside-down painting in the book he is reading, until Arthur points out that the book was upside down.

The boys relax in the tree house with a few joke books, having yet to start their own report. Francine comes by to remind them that the report is due the next day. Terrified, the boys rush to select a painting for their paper, but they don't like anything they see. They lament that even if they manage to make a good paper, Binky would still make them look bad, so Arthur comes up with a plan to see to it that Binky never gets to school. They call him the next day to tell him school is closed because it burned down. However, from his house, Binky can see the school completely intact, so the boys claim it only burned on the inside. Binky catches onto their game and says Francine told him they had done their report late. He assures them that his half will be great, to their dismay.

The boys go to school, only to realize in all the time they spent worrying about Binky, they have no report to give. Arthur and Buster quickly write up a report directly from the museum catalog about an artist who specialized in cowboy paintings. They and Binky are the first to present their work to class. Ms. Bryan quickly finds out that Arthur and Buster copied their report from the catalog when Francine recites everything they say from her own catalog. The boys realize they are about to fail, but Binky steps in to show his half of the report. As Buster and Arthur brace for humiliation, Binky shows that in his effort to prove his claims that the painting was in fact sideways, he researched the painting and sent it in to several art experts for examination. He eventually tracked down one who was able to give him recorded evidence that the artist had in fact placed his painting in a different position, proving that Binky was in fact correct about the painting being wrongly displayed, to Arthur and Buster's surprise.

Back at the museum and in front of a whole news crew, the boys watch as the museum director puts the painting up the correct way, and the news crew interviews Arthur and Buster on how they discovered this accident. They say that Binky deserves all the credit for the discovery, so Binky is congratulated for his work. Ms. Bryan is impressed with the boys' display, but still wants a proper report the next day. Arthur and Buster observe a painting while thinking what other paintings might be misplaced at the museum. Meanwhile, the nearby exit sign falls from its fixed position and goes upside-down.






  • Morals:
    • Don't misjudge others on what they cannot do. Sometimes they may appear to do much better than you would imagine.
  • At the end of the 2000 rerun intro on PBS Kids before this episode, Arthur’s crashing sound changes to a big splash of water.
  • At the beginning of the episode, Arthur can be seen sculpting Pal out of clay.
  • Arthur dials 732 on the phone. 732 is an area code in New Jersey.
  • Coincidentally, more than 20 years after this episode aired, an abstract painting by Piet Mondrian (whose work this painting resembles) really was discovered to have been hanging upside down in an art gallery for decades.[5]

Episode connections

  • Francine points out that Arthur and Buster plagiarized from the museum pamphlet for their report. In "Francine's Pilfered Paper," Francine plagiarizes a work herself. Unlike in "Francine's Pilfered Paper", the plagiarism in this episode only plays a small role at the end and is not the focal point of the episode. In this episode, Buster and Arthur plagiarized from the art museum's information booklet when they were attempting to finish their art report at the last minute, but the art teacher caught them right away.
  • Arthur lies to Binky and tells him that the school burned on the inside. Lakewood Elementary later does burn on the inside in "April 9th."

Cultural references


  • At the beginning of the introduction, Arthur is seen sitting next to Buster, but in the next shot, Arthur is seen sitting next to Fern.
  • In the beginning, Buster is shown to already have his clay shaped into a hamburger. But a moment later, he gets started on shaping his clay into a hamburger. Another shot shows sesame seeds on the bun.
  • When Buster says, "What makes you say that?", the colors for his tongue and the inside of his mouth are reversed.
  • In the fantasy of the class laughing at Arthur, Buster, and Binky, Ms. Bryan is wearing an apron. Then, when she tells the three that they failed, she doesn't have an apron on.
  • When Buster puts on Arthur's glasses, his eyes become dots. Then right before he takes them off, his eyes are normal.

Production notes

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