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"D.W., the Picky Eater"
Season/Series: 2
Number in season: 3A
Original Airdate: United States October 22, 1997[1]
Canada November 26, 1997[2]
Germany January 28, 2002[3]
Written by: Marc Brown (original)
Anne-Marie Perrotta (adapted)
Storyboard by: Denis Banville
"Arthur's Lucky Pencil"
"Buster and the Daredevils"
Read transcript

"D.W., the Picky Eater" is the first half of the third episode in the second season of Arthur. It is based on the book of the same name.


D.W. is a very picky eater, and her reluctance to eat unfamiliar foods will keep the whole family from celebrating Grandma Thora's birthday at a special restaurant, unless Arthur can persuade her to be more open-minded and learn to try new foods.


Jane and Arthur return from the grocery store and start to put away the groceries. D.W. comes in and asks if Jane bought her red freezy pops, because she only likes the red kind.

Arthur tells her that the orange and purple flavors are also good, but D.W. insists that red tastes better. Jane tells D.W. she can have a freezy pop if she helps put away the groceries and hands her a fish. D.W. drops the fish and exclaims that it's looking at her. Jane reminds her that she's eaten fish before, but D.W. states never the kind with the head still intact.

Arthur taunts her in a sing-song voice for being scared of the fish. D.W. says she isn't scared, but says she hates food with a characteristic smell, such as fish. Jane hands D.W. a jar of olives and D.W. asks if they're green eyeballs. Arthur explains that they're olives and they're not looking at her. D.W. goes to the shopping bag and unpacks it herself.

D.W. continues on unpacking the remaining groceries from the given bag. She takes out cucumbers and tomatoes and calls them both "yucky," but then happily unpacks white bread (although she doesn't like the "yucky" crust) and jars of peanut butter and jelly due to liking them. Arthur breaks the fourth wall by telling the viewers that D.W. is a very picky eater. D.W. takes out a package of spinach and exclaims that she hates it and that it's "the worstest, most disgustingest food in the universe".

D.W., The Picky Eater

One night at dinner, D.W. lists off more foods that she doesn't like eating, much to Arthur's annoyance. David serves everyone Hawaiian shrimp (a new recipe). As the rest of the family, including Kate, enjoys the shrimp, D.W. immediately refuses to eat it because they're "from the smelly fish family". Arthur tells D.W. that she doesn't like eating anything. D.W. disagrees with him, and states that she likes to eat peanut butter and jelly, strawberries, chocolate ice cream, birthday cake and chocolate (without nuts), to Arthur's disappointment.

The next night, the Read family goes out to eat at a restaurant. David orders a steak, Jane orders soup, Arthur orders fried chicken, and D.W. orders a salad. She immediately removes the cucumbers, mushrooms, and onions but when she finds out that there's also spinach in the salad instead of lettuce, she gets very angry, yelling that she hates spinach, and pounds the table and the plate with her fists, which sends the salad flying into the air. It lands on the waiter, shocking all the other customers. The waiter gets quite frustrated and decides to quit his job as he marches away, much to David and Jane's anger.

When the family returns, Grandma Thora asks if they had a good time and Arthur explains all the trouble D.W. had caused. Jane says she will not take D.W. to any more restaurants until she proves that she can behave better by controlling her behavior and eating what she is given. Arthur asks about Grandma Thora's birthday party at the Once Upon a Restaurant next week and Jane explains that D.W. will not be joining them. While Arthur is secretly happy about this, Grandma Thora asks to instead have her birthday at their house because she wouldn't enjoy it without D.W. being there. Arthur gets mad at this and wonders if he has to do everything with his little sister, imagining that he is an astronaut who is denied a space trip to Jupiter because D.W. isn't there with him. While marking off the days until Grandma Thora's birthday on his calendar alongside his dog Pal, Arthur decides that he has to convince D.W. to like spinach.

The next morning, Arthur and D.W. ride bikes together and Arthur takes her to Once Upon a Restaurant. Arthur then tells D.W. she can see the princess and the unicorn at the restaurant if she eats new foods (i.e. imagining that). D.W. gets excited about the unicorn, but misses Arthur's point and asks if she can take the unicorn home with her. Then Arthur hatches a plan thanks to Buster and calls D.W. up into the tree house. Arthur and Buster offer D.W. a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and D.W. happily starts eating it. Buster "lets slip" that there is spinach in the sandwich D.W. is eating, and she spits it back out.

At school the next day, Muffy suggests that D.W. needs to see someone that she admires eat spinach and volunteers herself for the task. Arthur takes D.W. to Muffy's house as Bailey serves Muffy a plate of hot spinach. Muffy tells D.W. that spinach is her favorite food and starts to take a bite. A fly eventually lands on her fork and Muffy freaks out, tossing the spinach in the air. D.W. folds her arms and smirks at Arthur in a satisfied way, thinking Muffy has good taste for "not liking spinach". With only two days left until Grandma Thora's birthday, Francine gets an idea.

Later on, Arthur and Francine feed Kate some spinach and praise her for eating it. D.W. frantically runs into the kitchen, telling Kate it's a trick and not to eat the spinach. Arthur corrects her by saying that Kate is a big girl because she, unlike D.W., doesn't throw her food and have tantrums like a baby. D.W. exclaims that she's not a baby, and starts to argue with Arthur. Francine stops them and tells D.W. that if she's not a baby, then she has to prove it by eating the spinach. D.W. takes the spoon with spinach on it and is about it eat it, but then Kate spits up a mouthful of spinach. D.W. says she's glad she's not the only one with good taste and hastily puts down the spoon, which makes the spinach stain Arthur's shirt.

Arthur and Buster ride bikes the next day. Buster tells Arthur he might as well forget about going to the restaurant because everything they've tried has been unsuccessful. Arthur suddenly stops and says, they've tried "everything but Plan X." He turns around and starts to bike home as Buster asks what Plan X is.

Arthur is seen later on talking to Grandma Thora on the phone, saying he's glad she's changed her mind and wants to go to Once Upon a Restaurant after all. D.W. walks up and asks what they're talking about, but Arthur ignores her. He then tells Grandma Thora that they'll have a good time without D.W. at the restaurant. D.W. gets mad and demands to talk to her, but Arthur refuses to let her talk and holds the phone out of her reach. D.W. gets more mad and still demands to talk to her, and exclaims she can go wherever she wants. Arthur reminds her that she said she didn't want to go to restaurants, and there might be spinach on the menu.

D.W. calls to Grandma Thora that she'll go to the restaurant for the party, and runs off to tell Jane and David. She even promises she'll try new food and eat all of it. Arthur says that the plan worked into the receiver; "Grandma Thora" was actually Buster on the other line. Buster replies in an old-lady voice "Glad I could help you, sonny!"

The interior lighting a candle.

On the night of Grandma Thora's birthday, the family goes to Once Upon a Restaurant. They are taken to their table via a swan boat and D.W. is able to see the unicorn and the princess, like Arthur promised. They take their seats at a pirate-themed table and look at their menus. D.W. hopes they have Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches without spinach in them, but Jane reminds her that she promised to try a new food.

Their waiter (the same one who quit in the beginning of the episode) arrives with their food: Jane and David's Tweedledee and Tweedledum lobsters, Arthur's Wicked Witch weenies, and D.W.'s Little Bo Peep pot pie. All eyes are on D.W. as she takes a bite of the pie. To everyone's delight, D.W. thinks her food is delicious and eventually digs in. The waiter looks especially relieved that he won't be covered in food again. Towards the end of the meal, D.W. says she loves the Little Bo Peep pot pie and would eat it every day if they made it for her at home. David eventually asks the waiter for the recipe. The waiter tells him that it is simple to make; a pie pastry is used and it has to be filled with a tremendous amount of spinach. D.W. gasps and everyone stares at her in horror. To their surprise, D.W. says she loves spinach now. Arthur rolls his eyes as she finishes the rest of her pie with a smile.






  • The waiter who had a bowl of spinach salad land on his head and the waiter at the Once Upon a Restaurant (who tells her the Little Bo Peep pot pie is full of Spinach) is the same character. The reason is that he got a new job at Once Upon a Restaurant after quitting his old job at the restaurant where D.W. made a scene by punching her salad while having a tantrum about spinach. He was polite enough to ask D.W. if something was wrong (e.g. "Is something the matter"?). He also said, "That's it! I quit!" when he got very angry with a headful of spinach salad with the dressing dripping off of his head.
  • A fan has found a reference to another media character. The woman who gives The Reads their menus at Once Upon a Restaurant. The outfit she wears greatly resembles that of the Harvey cartoon character, Wendy the Good Little Witch. Since Once Upon a Restaurant is fairytale themed, it is more likely to be Little Red Riding Hood because of the brown clothing up front and red hood and because Little Red Riding Hood is well known among fairytale characters. There is still some possible reference to Wendy because of the blonde hair and red outfit.
  • When D.W. is listing foods she enjoys, she doesn't specify which type of birthday cake she enjoys (chocolate, vanilla, etc.) but it is proven in "D.W.'s Perfect Wish", that she enjoys "white cake", in this case, vanilla.
  • The computer voice in Arthur's fantasy is Mr. Ratburn (or at least sounds similar to him).
  • At the Sugar Bowl, Buster appears to be dipping his French fries into his ice cream (although it would be more accurate to say he's dipping his fries into the chocolate syrup on the ice cream).
  • There is a clean splotch in the piece of sandwich D.W. spits out .
  • Someone who looks a lot like Buster's mother can be glimpsed at the restaurant, as the Reads' boat first starts out toward their table.
  • This is the first episode written by Anne-Marie Perrotta.
  • It's revealed in this episode that D.W. hates fish, cucumbers, mushrooms, tomatoes, Lima beans, tapioca, stinky cheese and olives.
  • Francine narrates the title card on both the home video and DVD releases and also when it aired on television.
  • This is the only Season 2 episode based on a book.
    • It is also the last episode to be based on a book. After this episode, all episodes would be completely original stories not adapted from the books.
  • In 2015, the episode was made available freely on the official Arthur website as part of the nutrition section of a feature titled Arthur Family Health. The episode can be watched here. It is also available on the PBS KIDS Video app and website.
  • Like D.W., Muffy is also a picky eater. They both kind of share the same personality.
  • Muffy hints that her butler ate dog food in order to get her dog to eat it. Ironically, her butler is a dog.
  • This is the first episode Muffy calls D.W. by her name.
  • The scene of D.W. throwing a bowl of spinach at the waiter became the popular meme as it appears in many YouTube videos.
  • There is a computer game based on the book version of this episode.

Episode connections

Cultural References

  • Arthur's question “Isn't there some dancing vegetable on T.V.?” is a reference to the children's Christian themed show VeggieTales.

Differences from the book

  • When Arthur and D.W are helping their mom unpack the groceries, they are wearing the clothes they normally wear. But in the book, they were in their summertime outfits. (D.W. wore a swimsuit.) This could imply that the story took place in the summer.
  • When the family is eating the Hawaiian shrimp, D.W. complains that they're "part of the smelly fish family" and pushes the plate away from her. In the book, D.W. secretly feeds Pal the shrimp while Arthur watches and whispers "I saw that!"
  • When D.W. receives her salad which has spinach in it, she quickly shouts 'I HATE SPINACH!!!" (similar to the Living Books version), and pounds on the bowl, which lands on the waiter's head. In the book, D.W. pounds on the bowl with her fist, which causes the spinach to fly around, shouts "NO!!!" and spills her carton of milk.
  • When everyone gets very angry with D.W.'s behavior at the restaurant, Jane says D.W.'s full name, although in the book, she simply says she's very embarrassed about the way D.W. behaved at the restaurant.
  • Jane tells D.W. that she cannot go out to eat at any more restaurants as a punishment for her unacceptable behavior; in the book, David tells D.W. that.
  • Arthur's friends Buster, Francine and Muffy are seen; in the book, Arthur's friends were absent, but D.W. went to her friend Emily's house, since the book focused mainly on D.W.
  • Arthur gets advice from his friends on how D.W. should learn how to try the spinach and like it; in the book, Arthur's family went out to eat without D.W., and D.W. stayed home with a babysitter named Mrs. Cross, who only allowed carrot sticks for snacks.
  • For Grandma Thora's birthday, the family goes out to Once Upon a Restaurant; in the book, they went to The Derby.
  • In the book, Kate went out with the family to the restaurant where D.W. had the tantrum over spinach. In the episode, she stays at home with Grandma Thora.
  • After hearing the main ingredient in the pot pie is spinach, D.W. says she loves spinach. In the book she's surprised and disgusted to hear that.
  • In the book, when the Reads go out to eat (until D.W. is tolerant of different foods), D.W. stays at home with a babysitter and Arthur plays with a tiny paper umbrella that he got from a Chinese restaurant. This doesn't appear in the cartoon.


An animation error

  • At the beginning before the title card, D.W. says she doesn't like bread crust. But when Buster serves a PB&J sandwich to her, she eats the crust and likes it. Although, given her coming around to spinach at the conclusion of the episode, it is possible that D.W. is more open to food than she would like others to believe.
  • The spinach around Kate's mouth after she first eats a spoonful of the spinach disappears without anyone wiping her mouth.
  • When the waiter is pouring water into Arthur's cup, there are lines going through Arthur's ears, face and body; this happens before D.W. throws a tantrum.
  • Muffy mentions a family dog, though the Crosswires are never shown to have one.
  • As soon as the waiter gives D.W. her Little Bo Peep Pot Pie, he leaves and walks away as he's heard leaving with his foot steps, but just as D.W. takes a fork full piece of her pie sniffing it and almost about to try it, he's suddenly standing right behind her watching her try it.

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