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"D.W.'s Imaginary Friend"
Season/Series: 1
Number in season: 4a
Original Airdate: United States October 10, 1996[1]
Canada January 9, 1997[2]
Germany December 12, 2001[3]
Written by: Ken Scarborough
Storyboard by: Sylvain Proteau
"Buster's Dino Dilemma"
"Arthur's Lost Library Book"
Read transcript

"D.W.'s Imaginary Friend" is the first half of the fourth episode in the first season of Arthur.


D.W. has a new imaginary friend named Nadine, who goes with her everywhere. When Arthur and Buster find out about a new amusement ride, they do not want D.W. to come along and embarrass them because she would bring Nadine along, too.


Arthur and his family are having spaghetti with cauliflower balls for dinner. Jane and David get things prepared for David's catering business, (including burning the rolls). D.W. shares her cauliflower balls with her imaginary friend, Nadine.

David comes in with a stack of trays, and D.W. tells him he is standing on Nadine's tail. Her father begins shaking about and nearly drops the trays. In reaction, D.W. stands up on a chair, but begins to lose her balance. David grabs her foot to help and D.W. flings her dinner high into the air.

It falls right towards Arthur's head, but just before it hits, Arthur stops it in mid air to tell to the viewers that if they do not have a younger sister, they likely think it's "really cool" to have one. D.W., however, "is a different story."

Arthur explains how D.W. sometimes charges her friends for tours of his room and shows them his stuffed bear, Stanley, and his "secrets" box. Arthur claims that now that she has an invisible friend, things are even worse before unfreezing the scene, prompting the bowl of spaghetti to land on his head. D.W. scolds Nadine for what she did to Arthur.

D.W.'s Imaginary Friend

After the mess is cleaned, D.W. apologetically tells her father on Nadine's behalf that she apologizes for what happened. Her father forgets about it and has her finish dinner. After he leaves, Nadine appears and thinks she should not come to the house anymore, for she is convinced that Arthur hates her.

D.W. denies this and tells her friend that Arthur likes her. She also says she gave her brother a a picture of Nadine to hang on his bedroom wall. We then cut to the bathroom, where Arthur tears up said picture before cleaning the spaghetti off his head.

Before he can finish cleaning up, the telephone rings, which causes Arthur to frantically dash down the stairs and answer it. The call is from Buster, who tells him to quickly go to channel 4 on the TV.

Arthur does so and sees a commercial about a new Wonderworld ride called the Hurl-a-Whirl that allows riders to set their own speed. Arthur is hyped to hear that the ride even has motion sickness bags provided. He begs his father to let him go to the opening. At first, David is not sure about this, but Arthur is determined and D.W. wants to go too.

Eventually, David agrees. D.W. asks if Nadine can come too. He agrees to that too, which shocks Arthur. At the cafeteria the next day, Buster claims that it is bad enough that D.W. is going, but with Nadine, it will be much more terrible.

Arthur worredly imagines himself and D.W. going on a horror ride. D.W. says that Nadine is frightened, and she screams to have the ride stop. The ride does stop and the top of the chair she was sitting in flies off, and then bumps into the decorations of the ride, which causes a chain reaction, with everything falling over. D.W. scolds Nadine for what happened. Francine and Muffy, who are behind them and see that D.W. has an imaginary friend, call her a baby, and then both chant that Arthur is also a baby.

Arthur tells Buster that they have to stop D.W. from going with them to the amusement park. Buster speedruns his lunch by offering his library card to Prunella for half of her piece of cake, and then sharing his chocolate swirls with Arthur. However, this gives Buster an idea.

After school, the boys try to bully D.W. into staying home by spinning on the school merry-go-round by spinning it around as fast as they can. This backfires horribly as D.W. is not tall enough to go on the rides and this does not seem to affect D.W., but it does affect Buster as he is knocked down on the ground. D.W. then tries to go down the slide a hundred times, including headfirst, while Arthur tries to help Buster recover from his dizziness.

D.W. bests Arthur to the point where Arthur has no back-up plans. Arthur and Buster bully D.W. more by having her hang upside down on the jungle gym. D.W. notices it is getting late and reminds Buster that his mother will worry if he does not go home soon.

As they walk home, D.W. thanks Arthur for "training" him and says that she is ready for the new ride, which she mispronounces as 'Twirly Whirl'.

Arthur asks her how she could ride on something if she can not even say its name correctly, yet she insists she proved her toughness and is trained enough. Arthur admits that she can come. D.W. claims that Nadine will be so scared that they will probably have to stop the ride for her, which worries Arthur.

On Saturday morning, Buster calls Arthur and thinks D.W. might forget about wanting to go to Wonderworld with them, but Arthur sees that this is not the case, for D.W. is outside camped out in the driveway lying on a chair, waiting to go. Buster then tells Arthur that the only thing left that he can do is to pretend to be sick. This makes Arthur get an idea.

While waiting to go, D.W. has Nadine spin around and around for practice. Arthur comes up, but D.W. warns him not to "try anything funny", for she will go no matter what.

Arthur asks D.W. if Nadine looks funny to her. He says that Nadine has spots all over her face and claims that it may be the chicken pox. D.W. is concerned, and goes to the house to get the thermometer. Arthur says he would understand if D.W. wants to stay home with her friend, but she knows what he is trying to do.

Arthur's family is finally at Wonderworld, but at the parking lot, D.W. begins to worry about Nadine and says they need to go back for her. Arthur rebukes this and says that Nadine is imaginary, and he lied about being able to see her. D.W. realizes that Nadine is not sick and demands that they go home to get her.

Arthur disagrees and thinks that only babies have imaginary friends. D.W. complains to David about what Arthur said, and Arthur complains to him that they should not go back home. Just then, their father gets an idea and pretends he hears something from the back of their car.

He opens it and says that Nadine is inside, stowed away in the trunk. This brightens D.W.'s day (and slightly disappoints Arthur). Jane arrives and gives Arthur tickets for the rides, but warns him to use the tickets carefully because there is a limited amount of them.

After Arthur meets up with Buster, the boys go and enter the Hurl-a-Whirl. Before the ride starts, they are handed a pair of barf bags, which they seem to adore. The ride begins and they pick the maximum speed known as liquify.

The ride begins to whirl, twist, spin, and turn in a crazy formation, having the boys screaming. After the ride is over, they throw their filled bags into the trash can. They decide to go on the Hurl-a-Whirl again and end up with the same results.

Just then, Francine arrives with D.W. and asks if Arthur wants to go on the Hurl-a-Whirl with her. But Arthur says he and Buster have run out of orange tickets and only have green tickets left, which are for "baby" rides such as the merry-go-round.

D.W., Jane, and David arrive and Buster runs away. D.W. says that Nadine has something for Arthur, but Arthur tries to avoid embarrassment, and tells Francine he will go with her on the merry-go-round after all. Francine asks who Nadine is, and D.W. says that what she has to show Arthur is important, but he insists on leaving with Francine. Francine asks Arthur what is wrong with him, and, realizing it is no use, Arthur prepares to have D.W. tell Francine about Nadine. To his surprise, D.W. shows Arthur the orange tickets that she found on the ground and she says that Nadine wanted to give them to Arthur, for she wants to be his friend.

Arthur, initially taken aback by this sporadic generosity, gets touched by this and invites D.W. to ride the Hurl-a-Whirl with him and Francine. D.W. knows she is ready to go on the ride, but admits that Nadine will probably get scared, and they should probably wait until she has grown up some more. Arthur tells D.W. that Nadine is lucky to have her for a friend. She also says that she can look around and perhaps find tickets for the merry-go-round, for she saw that Arthur wanted to go on it.

Before leaving, Arthur tells his sister that when he gets back, he will go on any ride with her and Nadine. The ride D.W. chooses is the bumper cars and a regretful Arthur ends up getting bumped all around.

D.W. is proud of Nadine for being so good and promises her a tour of Arthur's room when they get home. She and Buster both ram Arthur's car simultaneously, which annoys Arthur.






  • According to former Arthur animation production member, Peter Huggan, this episode was the very first episode of Arthur ever produced, predating "Arthur's Eyes." This information explains why the voice actors, specifically Arthur, Francine and D.W., sound younger and why the animation is noticeably rougher. Production started in May 1995.[4]
  • 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.
  • D.W.'s friends that she gives a tour of Arthur's room to are in Arthur's school. The two girls (Helen and Nancy) are 4th graders while the boy (3rd Grade Male Dog) wearing the red cap is a 3rd grader.
  • The cold open was included on the sample VHS included with the Microsoft ActiMates TV Pack.
  • This is the first time Stanley's name is mentioned and the first appearance of Wonderworld and Nadine.
  • D.W. mispronounces spaghetti as pasghetti.
  • This is the first episode to be written by Ken Scarborough.
  • The male bear kid seen riding the Hurl-A-Whirl in the commercial appears in the Lakewood cafeteria during lunch.
  • This is the first episode to use the "D.W. Chases Toady" title card.
  • In this episode, D.W. has just invented her imaginary friend Nadine supposedly, but in a later episode "Baby Steps," it is revealed that D.W. invented Nadine when she was 3 years old, so a year prior to the present time. This means that this episode might take place when D.W. is 3 and Arthur is 7.
  • In April 2024, PBS Kids rereleased this episode and 18 other titles with the addition of an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter on screen, allowing individuals who are deaf or hard-of-hearing to fully immerse themselves in the program. For more information about all of the ASL-interpreted episodes, see American Sign Language.

Episode connections

  • In Arthur's fantasy, Muffy wonders who D.W. is talking to, similar to her asking that in "The Friend Who Wasn't There".
  • Arthur lies to D.W. about Nadine getting the chicken pox, which is what he gets himself in "Arthur's Chicken Pox".
  • From the moment they see the Hurl-A-Whirl ad, Arthur and Buster are excited about the barf bags. But when they get on the ride and the attendant gives Buster a barf bag, he asks what it is. Buster's lack of intelligence is featured in many other episodes, notably "Buster Makes the Grade".


AKOM production slate

Production slate is briefly visible

  • When Buster calls Arthur about the Hurl-A-Whirl, a production slate is seen for a split second.
  • In the close up shot of Arthur, after the shot where he and Buster spin D.W. around on the merry-go-round, his eyebrows repeatedly appear and disappear in multiple frames.
  • When D.W. is outside watching Nadine spin, David's catering van is blue, but in all other episodes (including an earlier appearance in this episode) it is yellow.
  • When Arthur and Buster are upside down on the Hurl-a-Whirl, Buster's ears briefly stick outside of the glass.
  • The cap D.W. wears at Wonderworld is blue, but when she says they might find more green tickets, it turns green.
  • At the end when Arthur moans, his lips do not move.

Production Notes

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