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"Desk Wars"
Season/Series: 8
Number in season: 7a
Original Airdate: United States December 23, 2003[1]
Canada March 3, 2004[2]
Germany December 25, 2007[3]
Written by: Glen Berger
Storyboard by: Gerry Capelle
"Postcards from Buster"
"Desperately Seeking Stanley"
Read transcript

"Desk Wars" is the first half of the seventh episode in the eighth season of Arthur.


It is the hottest school day of the year, and tempers are even hotter. To keep the peace, Mr. Ratburn moves Brain and Arthur away from their usual desks ... and sets off a chain reaction resulting in the most explosive desk war in third grade history![4]


Arthur starts off by looking (unsuccessfully) through his classmates' desks. They all debate why he's allowed to start the show; because it's his show. They all want it to change, including the Binky Barnes Variety Hour. Then Mr. Ratburn claims to the viewers that the teachers don't blow things out of proportion, but in the teacher's lounge, viewers can see that they do.

One morning, it's a hot day and all are sweating in the classroom. The Brain calculates that his seat's getting the most cool air. But then arguing breaks out on desk over Muffy's stickers and dust ruffle, meaning that he's sent to the second hottest spot in the room (behind Binky's desk) by Mr. Ratburn. Arthur, Buster, and Francine have an argument which eventually leads to Arthur being sent to Brain's desk, and Binky seizes Arthur's desk. Arthur messes with the Brain's desk-sorting pencil thing, which angers him.

Mr. Haney comes in and calls Mr. Ratburn into the office to take a call, and Ratburn tells the kids that he has to go and to work on their assignments while he's gone. The Brain plots to try to get his desk back, after discovering the gum from George's (who's absent) dinosaur model. Muffy moves to the sharpener after her pencil breaks.

This is Brain's chance to get back to a cooler spot! But Muffy sees this and scrambles back to her seat. George returns early to discover his seat is missing, and he can't sit anywhere. George is duped into sharpening Muffy's pencil.

Then a lot of threats start off — if George doesn't give the pencil to Brain, then his gummy dino is squashed; if this happens, then Sue Ellen will throw Binky's rubber band ball out the window, Brain's desk will get covered in judo kitten stickers by Muffy if she doesn't get the pencil; this isn't fair on Francine, who was promised these, so she'll cut the dust ruffle in half, Buster's comic book will be shredded by Fern if the ruffle is cut, despite saying “Cut up that dust ruffle and, Arthur's comic book gets shredded”. Then Buster will eat Arthur's cookies.

The pressure builds on George, and the pencil keeps snapping; if this continues, then Sue Ellen's UN report is history, according to Brain. A book falls onto the dinosaur, so all threats are carried out, which leads to mass destruction of the classroom. Mr. Haney comes in to warn them, but he'll let them off so long as they tidy up. All refuse to do the hard jobs, as none of them believe they're at fault.

When Arthur turns to George, he is puzzled when he sees that George is doing the cleaning up, as he “didn’t make any of this mess”. When Arthur asks why, George replies that he doesn't mind and adds that they all make a big deal about everything. They all muck in and clean up, and Brain rewrites Sue Ellen's UN report. Ratburn returns and gives the good news — he's an uncle. Everyone is invited to Muffy's pool to cool off. They debate what started the fight, but no conclusion is reached. Then Binky's rubber band ball bounces through the pool, so it's chased.







  • This is the last episode where Patricia Rodriguez voices Sue Ellen.
  • Sharky appears in Muffy's pool, despite D.W. being absent from the episode. However, D.W. appears in the title card.
  • There are four extra students seen in the classroom, in contrast to the fact that they are not on Mr. Ratburn's class roster.
  • This episode is reminiscent of World War I because various alliances and incidents dragged countries into the conflict just like how the students were forming alliances and causing conflict amongst one another.
    • The students are also writing reports on the UN, an intergovernmental organization.

Cultural references

Episode connections


  • When Sue Ellen looks at Binky, her body is stretching out.
  • Jenna's arm color the same as Sue Ellen's in the same scene.
  • Fern's leg disappears but it reappears when Brain looks at his desk.
  • Muffy disappears for a second when Mr. Ratburn tells Arthur to go sit at Brain's desk.
  • Buster is seen wearing his blue pants.
  • When Francine said "That's so like Arthur, he’s always betraying his friends!" the red lines on her shirt disappear, but then they reappear when Sue Ellen tells Brain "It just doesn't matter."
  • The words on Francine's report are not written but when she says "If I were you, I would take a deep breath then work on my report." the words on her report are already written at different scenes.
  • The word 'World' changes from white to blue when Muffy said she was going to put Judo Kittens on Brain's desk.
  • Fern's dress turns dark-green when Buster says he was going to eat Arthur's cookies.


Main article: Desk Wars/Gallery