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"Buster's Amish Mismatch"
Season/Series: 7
Number in season: 7b
Original Airdate: United States November 26, 2002[1]
Canada January 27, 2003[2]
Credits
Written by: Peter Egan
Storyboard by: Jean Saro
Sylvie Lafrance
Episodes
Previous
"D.W.'s Time Trouble"
Next
"The World of Tomorrow"
Read transcript

"Buster's Amish Mismatch" is the second half of the seventh episode in the seventh season of Arthur.

Summary[]

Inspired by a field trip to Amish country, Buster vows to forgo all modern conveniences when he gets back home—but that is easier said than done.

Plot[]

The episode starts with Mr. Ratburn's class riding through grass fields, with Arthur telling the viewers about how Buster always brings home a souvenir from all of their class field trips. For example, taking a dinosaur fossil at Rainbow Rock State Park, the time he accidentally took a detective's badge from the police station, and their trip to the fudge factory when he brought home a bad stomachache. Arthur wonders what Buster will bring home from this field trip.

Buster's Amish Mismatch

Buster looks out the bus window and stares in amazement at a wheat harvester. He daydreams about driving one himself that has a built-in breadmaker. As he prepares to eat a loaf, aliens appear in their saucers, daring Buster to chase them. Buster turns the machine into a space vehicle and chases the aliens into space just as Mr. Ratburn interrupts his daydream.

Mr. Ratburn announces that they are now in Amish country. Buster confuses this as there is an actual country called "Amish". Mr. Ratburn asks if he was paying attention in class yesterday, to which Buster replies, "That's a trick question, isn't it?" Mr. Ratburn explains that the Amish are immigrants from Northern Europe who wanted to live free on their beliefs. Arthur looks outside and notices they aren't using machines to harvest; instead, they're using wagons and rakes. Mr. Ratburn explains the Amish don't rely on the modern conveniences that they do. When he asks if anyone knows why, Buster incorrectly guesses that it's because they can't afford them, to which Brain confirms it's because they choose not to use them. Arthur and Buster are shocked at the idea of them never watching television.

The class approaches a farm, where they are greeted by Mrs. Lapp and her son, Daniel. Mrs. Lapp explains that the "outside world" has changed drastically since her great-great-great-grandfather immigrated here, and her family farm has hardly changed. She invites them into the house as Buster greets Daniel and compliments his hat. Inside, Mrs. Lapp explains that the Amish make their furniture and don't play any musical instruments. Next, they go into a room where the Amish are quilting clothes. Daniel reveals to Buster he can't wear buttons or zippers on his clothes because they're "too fancy." In the kitchen, Mrs. Lapp explains that they cook their food on stoves heated with gas or wood. Buster gets interested in the butter churn, but Mr. Ratburn moves the class along. Daniel stops Buster to give him a taste of apple butter.

Outside, the Amish community is doing a barn-raising. Buster asks if they can help. Mr. Ratburn agrees since they are ahead of schedule. After the barn-raising, the class eats lunch with the Amish people.

Later that day, everyone is heading back onto the bus. Having greatly enjoyed himself, Buster asks Mr. Ratburn if they could come back tomorrow and help put the roof on the barn, but Mr. Ratburn says they can't. Daniel thanks Buster for helping with the barn-raising. Buster, in turn, thanks Daniel for the opportunity, as he's never made anything with his own hands before. He comments that the Amish really know how to live, to which Daniel states one doesn't have to be Amish to live their lifestyle. Daniel suggests he try it at home and gives Buster his hat to help him get started.

On the bus, Buster tells Arthur that his new hat inspires him to live the Amish way and invites the class to join him. However, he sees that no one is willing, with Arthur playing a handheld video game and Muffy complaining to her dad on her cell phone that she chipped a nail on a saw. Brain points out that it's virtually impossible to function in "their world" without technology, and Arthur reminds Buster that he couldn't handle going one week with no TV. Buster claims he's done with "modern junk" before giving Arthur his jacket because it has buttons.

Back in Elwood City, Buster walks home instead of riding in the car, much to Bitzi's confusion. He explains that it isn't the Amish way to ride in cars. Bitzi then asks what he would like for dinner, to which Buster answers, "a stew of corn meal ground up by hand, and fresh kale and sweet potato slow cooked over a wood-burning stove." At home, Buster and his mother are eating pizza for dinner by candlelight. Buster suggests that next time, they should grow their own tomatoes and make their own dough. Bitzi says it would be difficult but compliments his idea of a candlelight dinner. She turns the lights back on, but Buster quickly turns them off, saying they can't use electricity as it is against the Amish beliefs. The phone rings, and he attempts to stop his mother from answering it, saying they can't use telephones. Bitzi states that she isn't prepared to adhere to the Amish lifestyle, leaving Buster disappointed about going it alone.

In his room, Buster is reading about barn-raising by moonlight when Bitzi comes in with a hand-cranked flashlight. Bitzi notes how cold the room is, and Buster explains he had to turn the heat off because it's electric. Bitzi gives him some extra blankets and asks if he could be just a little Amish, which Buster refuses to do.

The next morning, Buster is running late for school because he is having trouble finding clothes that don't have buttons or zippers. At school, during math, he asks Mr. Ratburn if they could have a barn-raising in Elwood City. Mr. Ratburn, while pleased that Buster got something out of the field trip, says that he doubts anyone in town needs a barn raised. The class laughs, with Brain pointing out the lack of farmland in the city. At recess, Buster forgoes playing tag to attempt to sew a quilt but ends up pricking his fingers. At lunch, Mrs. MacGrady is serving a tuna surprise. Brain questions if it's "Amish enough" for Buster to eat because it was made in an electric oven. Buster just takes an apple instead, stunning Mrs. MacGrady. After school, he miserably walks home through the rain.

In his room at night, Buster's arms get tired from constantly charging the crank flashlight. Bitzi comes in with organic vegetables she bought at the farmers' market and smells something odd. Buster shows her that he was trying to churn some butter in a bucket but made mayonnaise instead. Finally fed up, Bitzi throws the bucket away and proclaims that Buster will be sleeping with the heat on that night.

Buster has a dream where he finds himself in an Amish home, sitting in a freezing room with a candle as his only source of warmth and light, which gets blown out once he sneezes—the aliens from his earlier dream return. Buster tries to give chase on a plow pulled by a mule, but the animal won't go anywhere, and the aliens flee.

The next day, in school, Mr. Ratburn tells his class that their report on their favorite educational TV program is due on Monday. Buster tells Mr. Ratburn that watching TV is against his beliefs, prompting his classmates to laugh again. Mr. Ratburn suggests it can be a report about his favorite educational book instead, but it can't be a picture book.

At lunch, Buster is sitting alone eating radishes when Mrs. MacGrady comes over with a bowl of homemade soup for him to eat. She reveals she has spent a lot of time with the Amish people, and what Buster is doing isn't Amish; while they don't use modern technology most of the time, it doesn't mean they can't. Mrs. MacGrady gets Buster to realize that he's feeling lonely and miserable because he's all by himself, while the people at Lapp farm were happy because they had each other. She leaves him with a wise saying: “It’s no use cooking dinner for six if you end up eating alone.”

After school, Buster walks by Arthur's house and sees that Arthur is practicing the piano. He sadly remembers how he used to play the tuba along with him. When Buster gets home, he gives up being Amish and uses the phone to call Arthur, saying there's an Amish thing he'd like everyone to do together.

At Arthur's house, the gang builds a dog house for Pal, the same way the Amish built their barn. Bitzi comes by with pizza, which she made herself from scratch. Noting it the best he's ever eaten, Buster saves a slice as the first pizza ever made from Baxter hands.

Characters[]

Major[]

Minor[]

Cameo[]

Trivia[]

  • Moral: Although it is great to learn about different cultures, trying to implement them in your life without any understanding can lead to disaster.

Episode connections[]

Cultural references[]

  • When Mrs. MacGrady first greets Buster, she says "Guten Tag", which translates to "Good Day" in German. This may refer to the fact that the actual Amish community are of Swiss-German heritage.

Errors[]

  • Throughout the episode in Mr. Ratburn's classroom on the board is a math problem saying 2 x 4 = 7 when the answer is actually 8; he also put a + between the 4 and 7 instead of =.
  • After Buster suggests doing a local barn raising in class, Brain says that there is a "lack of farmland in the area". However, other episodes such as "Meet Binky" and "The Long Road Home" show that there is farmland just outside of Elwood City.
  • At the end, Buster takes a bite from his slice of homemade pizza, but when he holds it up, it is still whole and lacking any bite marks.

Storyline analysis[]

  • Buster calls the pizza Bitzi made "the first pizza made by Baxter hands", which means this episode takes place before "The World Record."

Home Video[]

DVD:

Gallery[]

Main article: Buster's Amish Mismatch/Gallery

References[]


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