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"D.W.'s Time Trouble"
Season/Series: 7
Number in season: 7A
Original Airdate: United States November 26, 2002[1]
Canada January 27, 2003[2]
Written by: Dietrich Smith
Storyboard by: Gerry Capelle
Rojer Pernette (uncredited)
Annette Laverse (uncredited)
"Jenna's Bedtime Blues"
"Buster's Amish Mismatch"
Read transcript

"D.W.'s Time Trouble" is the first half of the seventh episode in the seventh season of Arthur.


A magical trip through time lets D.W. see what life would have been like if she had been Arthur's older sibling instead of the other way around.


D.W. wants to see a young children's movie called Doll Story 2. Arthur takes her to the theater, showing her a shortcut to get there sooner. However, when they get there, Arthur meets up with his friends, who are going to see Slappy Blackhead's Way Cool Journey Through Time, a time-travel movie geared towards their age group. Arthur and D.W. end up seeing the other movie, and D.W. is unhappy. D.W. goes on to tell the viewers that she feels unhappy being a little sister. She gives the viewers examples, such as being refused a kitten because Arthur has a dog, Pal. Then, she is given Arthur's old jacket, which D.W. doesn't like. Then, D.W.'s preschool teacher, Miss. Morgan gushes about a finger-painting that Arthur made when he was in preschool. Arthur then cuts D.W. off and the screen goes blank.

After the title card, Arthur and his friends are leaving the movie with D.W., who doesn't understand why the older kids find it funny.

She tells Jane about it, who responds by saying that Arthur won't be going to any movies for anytime soon. D.W. asks her mother why she wasn't born first, wishing that she could make Arthur do things. Jane responds by saying that's how it was. After Jane leaves, Nadine appears with a tricycle-like time machine (similar to the bike in the "Slappy Blackhead" movie). She suggests that D.W. goes back in time to make Arthur fall in garbage. But instead, D.W. wants to go back in time to make sure that she was born first. Nadine agrees to this, and the two go back in time.

D.W. and Nadine find themselves in the mall's parking lot, where they see David and Jane (dressed up as a cowboy and a princess, respectively) parking their car. D.W. is told not to hide, for David and Jane would not recognize her. But when D.W. and Nadine follow them into the "baby store" at the mall, she is told to hide. D.W. sees the baby store and overhears David and Jane talking to the salesman. They want a little girl who is "partial to pink jumpers and unicorns", but the salesman suggests a boy, who are on sale. The boy the salesman picks out is Arthur, who burps in David's face. The salesman convinces David and Jane to get Arthur, and they take him.

Upset with this, D.W. and Nadine go back in time and repeat the process - with one major exception. D.W., disguised as a salesperson, leads David and Jane to a baby version of D.W. surrounded by people. Driving the other people away by saying David and Jane pre-ordered the baby D.W., she successfully convinces her parents to buy the baby. D.W. and Nadine then go forward in time, seeing D.W. being applauded as a "perfect child" given attention and pets. David and Jane say that they do not need another child, since firstborn D.W. is so perfect.

Feeling bad for baby Arthur, D.W. goes back to the baby store. She finds baby Arthur and leaves him at the Reads' doorsteps. Firstborn D.W. suggests that David and Jane keep him. The real D.W. and Nadine go forward in time to see how an older D.W. and younger brother Arthur are doing. Older D.W. is teaching Arthur what is good and what is bad, giving him cookies as a reward.

Later, older D.W. and Arthur go to a "Mary Moo Cow for President" rally, where Arthur suggests going to Doll Story 2. The real D.W. and Nadine think everything is going great - until Arthur throws a tantrum, because older D.W. ran out of cookies, and ends up breaking his glasses in the process.

At home, older D.W. is scolded by her parents, and she has to be responsible for her younger sibling. Arthur then decides that he wants to see Slappy Blackhead, which he calls "Sloopy Bloopy". Older D.W. is forced to comply, and to get him new glasses. The real D.W. and Nadine follow behind on the time machine. Looking at the clock, Arthur says that they are going to miss the movie. Older D.W. decides to take a shortcut, using the same route that the real D.W. was shown in the beginning of the episode. Only this time, older D.W. and Arthur get lost - older D.W. doesn't know the way out. The real D.W. and Nadine watch them, and D.W. states that she doesn't know the way out either. Feeling scared, the real D.W. tells Nadine that they should go back in time and prevent them from taking the "shortcut".

Arthur finds the time machine before D.W., unfortunately, and disappears. Older D.W. then sees the real D.W. and Nadine. D.W. tells her that she is her. Shocked, older D.W. calls for an older version of Nadine. Asked if she knows the way out, the real D.W. says no. Both D.W.s and Nadine's call out for help, but to no avail. The real D.W. then decides that she no longer wants to be the oldest.

Back in the real D.W.'s room, D.W. is still asleep. The real Arthur finds her and asks if she's okay. D.W. wakes up and is glad to see him. When she says that she's glad that Arthur is not "that broken baby at the baby store," Arthur reminds D.W. that babies don't come from stores, because their parents explained to her where babies came from when Jane was pregnant with Kate. D.W. remembers that and realizes that she was having a bad dream. Her toys are given by Arthur to comfort her, and D.W. tells him that she's glad that he's her older brother. Arthur then goes back to his room. D.W. then joins Arthur in his bed and the two fall asleep.






  • It's revealed the reason D.W. can't have a kitten is that Arthur already has a dog. Besides that, not only is one pet enough, but cats and dogs are said to not like each other since dogs chase cats, and Pal is known to chase them (especially one time when he barked and growled at Francine's cat, Nemo). However, this isn't the case in the real world, since cats and dogs do get along, and that they just have to be introduced first and be trained.
  • This episode currently holds the record for the longest opening, with 2 minutes and 22 seconds before the title card.

Cultural references

Episode connections

  • Jenna is shown as her background appearance at the movie theatre. This is foreshadowing back in the previous episode, "Jenna's Bedtime Blues".
  • Arthur references "Arthur's Baby" when he says, "Babies don't come from stores. Remember when Kate was born? Mom and Dad explained it to you."
  • The finger painting Ms. Morgan praises in D.W.'s dream bears a striking resemblance to the painting D.W. made in "Arthur Babysits."
  • According to Alternate D.W.’s chart, Crazy Bus and Mary Moo Cow are good, while Bionic Bunny is bad.
  • Alternate Arthur wears glasses as a preschooler, while the real Arthur got them in Elementary School. Then again, Alternate Arthur is defective.

Home Video



Free on-demand episode courtesy of

PBS (Thirteen)