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"Buster's Best Behavior"
Season/Series: 4
Number in season: 9B
Original Airdate: United States October 15, 1999[1]
Canada January 27, 2000[2]
Written by: Gerard Lewis
Storyboard by: Robert Yap
David Thrasher
Guylaine Seguin
"What is that Thing?"
"My Music Rules"
Read transcript

"Buster's Best Behavior" is the second half of the ninth episode in the fourth season of Arthur.


Fun-loving Buster begins to think he's not really good at anything, and smart Arthur worries that he's boring. Their attempts to be more like each other confuse everyone else.


Arthur opens up with the question of what would happen if you could be someone else just for a little while.

In a series of fantasies, he goes into all the things that would make this ability useful, like getting out of trouble with your parents (when he transforms into Grandma Thora after taking D.W.'s TV time), being grown up (when he grows super tall to pick an apple from a tree), or to do something that's difficult (when he transforms into a professional pianist during practicing).

He notes that while this is cool, he knows someone who's happy the way he is and would never want to change. He pulls back the curtains to reveal Buster Baxter. However, he is surprised to see Buster dressed and acting like a biker punk.

Buster's Best Behavior

On the soccer field, Francine and Binky are choosing which people should be on their teams. It's down to Arthur and Buster, and everyone insists that Francine pick Buster, which she gladly does. Binky and his team reluctantly pick Arthur, who sees their disapproval. The two teams play and Francine's team easily beats Binky's. Arthur compliments Buster on a great game, even though Buster explains that he didn't actually do anything and that it was Francine who scored every goal.

Later, in music class, Buster plays a comedic tune on the tuba while they all practice, and Arthur finds it hilarious. However, Buster thinks little of it as Sue Ellen and Binky are the best in the class. Back in Mr. Ratburn's class, Buster presents his science report about the food chain, for which he drew a picture of a shark, but Brain puts on one of the better displays, yet Arthur is impressed by Buster's drawing. Sadly, Buster thinks his project just looks lame.

At dinner, Buster is barely eating as he feels that he isn't the best at anything. When he explains this to his mom, she says he is the best — the best at being her "little boy", much to his disappointment. Arthur, meanwhile, tells his parents about how cool Buster is, and again praises his music and drawing. D.W. suggests that they adopt Buster and replace Arthur by forcing him to move, much to the shock of their parents who disapprove of the insult.

While in bed, Buster feels he needs a new gimmick by which more people will recognize him, and resolves to find a new talent and personality for himself. Arthur does the same, feeling Buster is cooler than him and that he is boring to his friends. So he tries to find a way to be just as cool. At school the next day, Arthur asks Brain what makes him and Buster different. Deciding to approach the problem mathematically, Brain subtracts Arthur from Buster, which equals "X"; he dubs this "Element X". However, he can't actually explain what it means, saying it would take years to translate and a great deal of research. Brain then suggests just reading Buster's joke books to be more like him.

Buster tries various ways to prove he's good at something. He tries to be a great soccer player like Francine and even tries to talk tough to Binky at their next game. However, he fails at both and actually costs his team the win, even scoring against them by accident. Moving on, he sees that Muffy wins a lot of recognition for her unique style of dress, and tries to mix up his fashion a bit to get people's attention. He shows off his raggedy clothes to some of the boys, but they are not impressed. Buster figures that the only way he could be like Muffy was to wear girls' clothes, which is definitely not the attention he wants to have.

Buster then tries to be the mathematical genius, dueling Brain in a series of complex problems in class. However, he cannot make sense of the problem and panics when his turn comes. Later, he tries to be tough like Binky, who is trying to intimidate Rattles. This fails beacuse Binky frightens him away. After school, Francine and Muffy are wondering what was up with Buster all day, so Brain suggests they go talk to Arthur at the library. They find him there, reading from joke books and eating carrots, too busy telling weird jokes to explain what's up with Buster. Realizing that they did find "Buster", they go to Brain to find out why Arthur is now acting weird.

At the playground, Buster is on the see-saw with D.W. and is debating to himself how to be a more interesting person. He decides to be someone he admires, like Abraham Lincoln or Arthur. Figuring a beard would take too long to grow, he decides to be like Arthur instead and leaves D.W. on the see-saw alone. D.W. complains to her mom that Buster is no fun to have around after all.

At The Sugar Bowl, the girls explain to Brain what is going on, but he cannot bring himself to believe any of it — until Buster walks in wearing a yellow shirt identical to Arthur's, while Arthur himself continues telling weird jokes. Buster then starts complaining about D.W., which leaves everyone utterly baffled. When they're alone, Brain realizes that this exchange of personalities must have something to do with Element X. The girls pass it all off as boys just being weird. With Buster and Arthur alone together, they are quickly turned off by the other acting differently, and begin to drift apart.

Buster explains to the others that Arthur is no longer interesting, telling old jokes that even he is tired of. Arthur is sick of Buster complaining about D.W. all the time. Sensing how sad both boys have become, the others try to find out how to get things back to normal. However, Brain is unable to come up with an explanation for Element X.

Francine takes matters into her own hands and tries to invite the boys to play soccer, but Arthur complains that he's hungry, and Buster says that he has books to return. Finally fed up with their behavior, Francine tells both of them to knock it off, saying that they ought to go back to being themselves instead of trying to copy the other. Brain then explains that they did indeed transfer Element X, but Francine shoots this down, explaining that everyone likes Arthur and Buster as their normal selves, and that they do, too.

Francine then tells Arthur to stop with the bad jokes, and for Buster to ditch the sweater and not to complain about D.W. anymore. The boys realize how foolish they have been acting and Francine takes everyone to play soccer — this time for fun.

Before long, Buster and Arthur are back to their old selves, and are much happier together again as they always were. Everyone is relieved that the two of them are back to normal.






  • Morals:
    • There is no need to be jealous of others for who they are. Be yourself.
  • Thora is absent from this episode herself. However, Arthur transforms into her in the episode's opening.
  • During the intro, there's a center circle from the title cards, there's also a blue background that can be used in the end credits.

Cultural references[]

  • The people Buster most admires are Arthur and Abraham Lincoln. Buster chooses to imitate Arthur, noting that it'll take him years to grow a beard like Lincoln's.

Episode connections[]

  • The intro of this episode mirrors that of Buster's Growing Grudge. Both intros end with Arthur opening a small curtain to reveal Buster with an unusual attitude that shocks Arthur.
  • During a portion of this episode, Buster is dressed as Arthur. Earlier in the season, Muffy briefly dressed like Francine in "Muffy's New Best Friend".


  • At the end, Buster is seen in his normal clothes, but when the camera zooms out to Francine, he is in Arthur's sweater again.

Production notes[]

  • This is the first episode written by Gerard Lewis.
  • This is the first episode of the show to be storyboarded by 3 people.


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