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"Dad's Dessert Dilemma"
Season/Series: 3
Number in season: 7b
Original Airdate: United States November 24, 1998[1]
Canada September 14, 1999[2]
Germany March 1, 2002[3]
Written by: Sandra Willard
Storyboard by: Jeremy O'Neill
Alex Greychuck
"Arthur Rides the Bandwagon"
"Popular Girls"
Read transcript

"Dad's Dessert Dilemma" is the second half of the seventh episode in the third season of Arthur.


Dad volunteers to cater a school party. Knowing Dad's dessert "experiments," Arthur fears the worst.[4]


David greets the viewers who are here for Arthur. He calls for him, but doesn't get an answer, so he says that Arthur must be doing his homework; however, Arthur is actually shown to be eating cookies.

David then announces he is working on a special cooking project for the Reads' family. He shows the viewers cinnamon toast soufflé, which he notices that getting them out of the toaster is a struggle. He also realizes that his cooking experiments have been misunderstood. During dessert, he brings out some pudding balls, which disgusts D.W. and Arthur. While Arthur and the rest of the family are watching TV, David brings out "Cranberry Prune Crumble", which is a shortcake with cranberries and prunes. Arthur says he doesn't like broken-up food, but Jane tries it and likes it, much to Arthur and D.W.'s disgust. David realizes that disagreeing with the inventions are worth it. He offers a volunteer to taste one of his cooking projects.  Arthur arrives, but he shortly leaves.

Dad's Dessert Dilemma

One day at school, Mr. Ratburn teaches Arthur and the class about the physicist Galileo, who invented the first astronomical telescope in 1609. He tells the class that tomorrow is Galileo's birthday, and the class will celebrate by studying his theory about the solar system. Binky suggests a party, and Mr. Ratburn agrees. Buster says that every birthday party needs cake and ice cream. Arthur says that to celebrate someone's birthday and not have cake seems disrespectful; Brain agrees, saying that they can't disrespect Galileo. He then says he'll bring ice cream, Francine says she'll bring cake, and Arthur says his mom will bake chocolate chip cookies. Mr. Ratburn announces that 5 questions will be cut from the quiz about Galileo. Buster tells Arthur that he wishes that peanut brittle would have been brought instead.

When Arthur comes home, he announces to Jane about Galileo's birthday and mentions that he said she'd bake cookies, but Jane tells Arthur that she has a few business deadlines she is attempting to keep track of. David notices this and decides to bake Arthur something. Arthur wonders if there won't be anything weird. David is puzzled, but decides to give up on the conversation and check on muffins he is making. Arthur is disappointed and Jane tells him that there will be something unique (i.e. the clue).

Later that day, David reveals Arthur's surprise: Honey cake in the shape of the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Arthur says, "But I said I'd bring cookies, not a whole tower of pizza!" — to which Jane says "Arthur!" in a serious tone. However, he thanks David for the cake while sounding disappointed. When David drives to school, Arthur has a bad dream: some of Arthur's friends and Mr. Ratburn refuse to eat the cake and Mr. Ratburn says "I give this cake and its owner a D — D for disgusting!"

The scene cuts back to the present when Arthur arrives at his school, he sees his friends having the party. He brings in the cake and hides it with a book. Francine compliment's Brain's mom's ice cream. Buster agrees, and asks Arthur if he did bring something. Arthur gets terrified when Mr. Ratburn uncovers the cake; he cuts a piece, and then actually thinks it's delicious, much to Arthur's surprise. Arthur's friends want some as well. Ms. Sweetwater comes in and Mr. Ratburn convinces her to try the cake. She does and likes it as well. Arthur tells her that David can make it without any issue and Ms. Sweetwater compliments him.

Arthur tells his parents about the cake and says that it was the most popular one of all. David is impressed as Arthur was about to say about Ms. Sweetwater and the class sing-along, and David agrees with the future plan. D.W. is jealous about this and thinks that it's against the law. David decides to make D.W. a cake for her school as well.

The next day, Arthur sees Ms. Sweetwater's class eating cake. Mr. Ratburn goes to drop off an important letter. Arthur sees the class enjoying his cake when Francine catches him honoring the class. Mr. Ratburn returns and tells the class about spring reading. Mr. Ratburn shortly leaves again to have a piece of cake. Arthur realizes that everyone liked his cake, the same manner.

When Arthur comes home, he tells David about making another dessert for a band recital. Arthur tells David that performers need the kind of energy from sugar. David sees some important orders, Arthur pleads David for another dessert and tells him that he's the most popular and also 20 members in Arthur's band. Jane sees Arthur walking out and says to David that he's getting carried away with the idea. David also remembers the time Arthur wasn't able to taste the "chocolate-dipped ham". David thinks he could cope with making a few more desserts. That night, David is making the desserts and notices one type of frosting that tastes disgusting.

The next day, Buster tells Arthur that the cake was the best dessert. Mr. Ratburn comes in and notices cake inside, he grabs a plate and serves himself a piece. Francine compliments Arthur as being "the popular kid in school".

Later the next day, Arthur goes down the hallway and some students high five him about the cake. He spots Fern and offers to have her a cake made for her upcoming birthday. At lunch, Francine and Muffy are eating outside and Muffy unwraps a snack cake that greatly resembles the Hostess Ho-Ho and the Little Debbie Swiss Roll. Arthur bears witness to this and scoffs at her dessert of choice. Now clearly developing an ego, Arthur even goes as far to tell Francine and Sue Ellen to give him a call the next time that Francine's mom is having a bake sale.

When school is out, Arthur is about to get on his bike when he spots the Brain and the Brain's mom giving her extra ice cream to Buster, Francine, Binky, and an unnamed male sheep. Binky states that ice cream is the best dessert in the world. Arthur is horrified and convinced that the Brain is "moving in on his dessert turf." At home, Arthur has created his most demanding order yet, consisting of: 4 cakes, 6 pies, and sachertorte (a type of Austrian chocolate torte). He asks his mom if she knows where David is, but she tells him that while David does like to do the things for Arthur, all the extra desserts have been putting a real toll on his regular cooking, and then asks Arthur if he believes it is fair for David to be doing all this extra works. Arthur admits it isn't, and decides to wait awhile before asking him to make any more desserts. Jane approves of his answer and kisses him on the head.

A mere hour and a half later, (which Arthur decides is enough waiting), Arthur goes into the garage to see David talking to Ed Crosswire about why the food for his party isn't ready. David apologizes and says that he had a "special cake order" to fill (obviously the cakes that he made for Arthur) and promises that everything will be done in two hours. Ed agrees to this, and informs him that otherwise he would have to take his business somewhere else.

D.W. discovers a disappointed Arthur and asks what's wrong. He informs her that David's business has been behind with all the cakes being made and because of him, David may end up losing Mr Crosswire's business. D.W. misinterprets this to mean that David would lose his catering business, thus causing the family to have no money and lose their house and end up on the street.

Arthur corrects her, only for D.W. to then believe that they would have almost no money and their furniture would end up on the street. When Arthur wonders what to do now, as he needs those desserts (while holding up the piece of paper with the orders on them), D.W. demands "Throw it away — your crazy demands will destroy us!"

She then tries to take the piece of paper away from Arthur, and Arthur replies with "Give it back!" A tug-of-war ensues over the paper.

When David appears and asks what's going on, they stop fighting; D.W. tells David that Arthur ruined the business and to "put him on the street first."

A surprised David turns to Arthur, who admits that he was only using the desserts to make himself popular. He rips up his order, apologizing for making him get behind in his work. David is understanding and reaffirms what Jane said about his willing to help out Arthur, but only if he is asked instead of told. To make it up to him, Arthur agrees to help fill the Crosswire order. D.W also volunteers, but not before reminding everyone that Arthur is to blame for the mess.

The trio gets to work — doing everything from cutting up vegetables to measuring ingredients to washing dishes. Pal even assists by transporting bowled ingredients across the kitchen via the red wagon. By the time they are done, Arthur and D.W. are exhausted. Arthur is shown to have a new-found appreciation for the amount of work that cooking requires.

David thanks them for their help before revealing that thanks to their assistance, he had enough time to make a second cake for the family.

As if on cue, Mr. Ratburn appears at the door with the spring reading list, once again saying, “Oh, are you having cake?” This, in turn, causes Arthur to roll his eyes and proclaim, “Oh brother.”

Mr. Crosswire, now once again on friendly terms with David, returns and leaves with his order. Mr. Ratburn gets a whiff of brownie cake, and hungrily drives off after Ed.






  • Arthur mentioned that Fern's birthday was "coming up", meaning that her birthday is shortly after February 15, Galileo's birthday (unless he was mistaken).

Episode connections

Cultural references

  • Mr. Ratburn teaches the class about Galileo Galilei, who did not invent, but greatly improved the telescope.
  • The Leaning Tower of Pisa cake likely references the apocryphal story of Galileo dropping objects of different weight off the tower.


  • When Arthur tells his dad, "You're more popular than Bionic Bunny!" David is replaced by The Brain.
  • Prunella is seen in Mr. Ratburn's class, although she is in the 4th grade.
  • Galileo's birthday is one day after Valentine's Day, yet no leftover decorations are seen in the hallways.
  • When Arthur looks at the clock, it says 6:50, but Mr. Crosswire says it's 4:00.

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