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"Fernfern and the Secret of Moose Mountain"
Season/Series: 8
Number in season: 2a
Original Airdate: United States September 16, 2003[1]
Canada November 26, 2003[3]
United Kingdom June 24, 2006[2]
Germany December 18, 2007[4]
Written by: Stephanie Simpson
Storyboard by: Ivan Tankushev
"Bitzi's Break Up"
"Thanks a Lot, Binky"
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"Fernfern and the Secret of Moose Mountain" is the first half of the second episode in the eighth season of Arthur.


Fern can't wait to climb Moose Mountain and have exciting adventures like Zutzut, the famous comic-book hero, but she and her assigned hiking buddy, Francine, end up fighting all the way up the trail.


The introduction begins with spoofs of Tintin, Captain Haddock and Snowy crossing a chasm on a tightrope. Just as the rope breaks, Fern's mother tells Fern to stop reading comics and go to sleep, since she will be climbing a real mountain the next day.

Fernfern and the Secret of Moose Mountain

Mr. Frensky is taking Francine, Fern, Muffy, Jenna, and Prunella on a hike up Moose Mountain. At the Ranger Station, the girls ask Ranger Jackie questions. Jenna wants to know about birds, Prunella about minerals, and Muffy about shopping. She uses her GPS and is shocked that they are twenty-seven miles from the next mall. Fern asks Ranger Jackie about “the dark side” of the mountain, like perished pioneers and lost explorers.

Francine already knows the mountain well, since she has come often with her father. She intends to beat her record of three hours to the top and is angry when Mr. Frensky assigns each girl a partner and she is paired with inexperienced Fern. Francine tells Fern to “Keep up or get lost”.

When Fern has to tie her shoe on the trail, Francine is impatient. In Fern's imagination, she turns into Zutzut, while Francine turns into the captain, whose “Plotting, perambulating pedestrian!”, and a loud stomp causes a rockslide.

The group has lunch at a rest area. They see a squirrel and Fern and Francine's map blows away. Francine is in a hurry and wants to leave without the map, since she knows the way.

When they reach a rope bridge, Fern has to go to the bathroom. Francine wants her to go in the bushes, but she insists on going back to the rest area. The others catch up with them, and Mr. Frensky orders Francine to accompany Fern.

After the bathroom break, Francine suggests a shortcut. They soon get lost. Fern is delighted at the chance to have an adventure, as she thinks it will be like the Zutzut comics. She suggests following a stream upriver as it must come from near the top of the mountain.

When they come to a swamp, Fern suggests building a catapult and flinging themselves across like Zutzut. Francine reminds her that Zutzut is not real. Fern attempts to wade through the swamp, but gets stuck. Francine pulls her out, but Fern loses a shoe. Fern admits that she is no Zutzut, but Francine says that she is good at figuring things out when she is just being Fern. Fern remembers from Zutzut, that moss on trees grows mostly on the northern side. Francine has learned the same thing from her dad.

They continue with Francine supporting Fern, who is hopping on one foot. They cross a stream and climb up a hillside but can not find the mountain top. They shout for help, which causes a hawk to fly up. Francine remembers that hawks live near the top. They reach their goal in two hours and fifty-nine minutes. The others are not there, but they find a shiny rock and a hawk feather.

Ranger Jackie comes running. The others had given up the hike when they noticed that Francine and Fern were missing. Ranger Jackie takes them to the car at the Ranger station. Mr. Frensky is relieved, but does tell his daughter that there will be consequences. The other girls are angry, because they did not make it to the top. Francine and Fern give Prunella the rock (which turns out to be yellow quartz) and Jenna the feather. Muffy is still angry, but when Fern tells a Zutzut-like story about their adventure with Francine rescuing her from a condor and a crocodile, Muffy is mollified and wants the movie rights. The car passes a billboard advertising that same movie.






  • Arthur does not appear in this episode, except for the title card. He is also absent from "Thanks a Lot, Binky," making this episode pair the only one in which Arthur does not appear at all.
  • Ranger Jackie's computer seems to resemble a pink Apple iMac G3 (1998-2003).
  • Fern has her usual yellow pillow on her bed, but instead of her two pink pillows, she has a purple one.
  • Francine's full name is mentioned in this episode.

Cultural references[]

  • Zutzut is a parody of the Adventures of Tintin comic books. "Zut" is a mild French expletive, comparable to "rats". It is also worth noting that another Canadian company, Nelvana, created a Tintin adaptation that aired in the late 90s.
  • Both the Haddock spoof and Francine (in Fern's imagination) have Haddock's short temper and his unusual alliterative expletives ("Treacherous topographers!"; "Plotting, perambulating pedestrian!").
  • Although Tintin's adventures take him to mountains and jungles, the comics do not give much advice on outdoor life (either realistic or fantastic).
  • The Sherpa Image is a parody of The Sharper Image.


  • A yellowish tint is seen on a close-up of Francine.


Main article: Fernfern and the Secret of Moose Mountain/Gallery

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