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"For Whom the Bell Tolls"
Season/Series: 6
Number in season: 8b
Original Airdate: United States November 12, 2001[1]
Canada January 9, 2002[2]
Written by: Kathy Waugh
Storyboard by: Stéphanie Gignac
Sanei Tanei (uncredited)
"Rhyme for Your Life"
"The Good Sport"
Read transcript

"For Whom the Bell Tolls" is the second half of the eighth episode in the sixth season of Arthur.


Arthur takes care of a sick D.W., and he finds himself at the mercy of her sign language.


During dinner one day in May, D.W. and the family were sitting around the table talking. Or at least, listening to D.W. talking to them. Suddenly, her voice becomes harder to hear, and is very hoarse. Later, as Arthur is watching Dark Bunny, Jane Read comes in and informs Arthur that D.W. has lost her voice. Dark Bunny says, "Did I hear that correctly? She's lost her voice? WHOO-EE! No more 'I don't like that show! It's scary! I want to watch Mary Moo Cow!'. It's kids like that who spoil the ratings. Well? What are you waiting for?" Dark Bunny grabs Arthur by his shirt and pulls him into the TV. Arthur finds himself sitting in Dark Bunny's car, and a parade begins. There is some dialogue between Arthur and Francine, who is standing on the sidewalk; she says Arthur is "mean, M-E-A-N, mean". The car becomes airborne, and it goes to the title card.

For Whom the Bell Tolls

Arthur enjoys D.W.'s lost voice... for a while. With more work for her accounting job at the moment than usual, Jane places most of the responsibility of catering to D.W. on Arthur, and he is soon waiting on her hand and foot. Arthur tells Francine later that he might have to be D.W.'s slave, then imagines himself as exactly that, while also speaking for her during his fantasies of talking to Emily and a dinner party. After the fantasy ends, Francine says, "She can't be that bad if you understand her."

Arthur replies, "That's just it. Except for Mom, I'm the only one who does. Oh, what if she never gets better? What if I have to spend my whole life speaking for D.W.?"

Francine, however, turns and begins walking away while saying, "That's what you get for being mean, Arthur. Don't say I didn't warn you."

As he gets a glass of juice (along with a crazy straw), Arthur remarks to Pal, "Francine's right, Pal. I am being punished. I guess I shouldn't have been so happy when she lost her voice."

At that moment, Arthur catches D.W. talking out loud to herself, so he runs to Jane telling D.W.'s little secret. She doesn't believe him, though, and D.W. is a lot more careful about speaking.

Arthur is at Francine's house later, talking with her. Arthur says Francine is also mean. She looks as if she is thinking, and Arthur says "Oh come on you can't remember being mean." Francine says she was trying to remember. They get a call on the phone, and it is D.W. calling with a bell. After the call is over, Arthur tells Francine what she said. Francine remarks that "this calls for drastic action."

Arthur, Buster, Brain, and Francine set up a trap to trick D.W. into speaking. They mute the TV, unplug the phone and do other various things to make everything quiet. D.W. comes in, falling for the trap, and finally screams that she has gone deaf. Jane comes in, and realizes that Arthur was telling the truth. D.W., Francine and Jane leave the room, while D.W. says hello to different things in the house.






  • This episode took place around May 5, as seen on the calendar.
  • The crazy straw seen in one scene is a nod to the episode "Arthur's Chicken Pox."
  • Arthur really shouldn't have been around D.W. as much as he was, as Laryngitis is highly contagious.
  • It is unknown what happened to D.W. after Jane found out that the former was faking after her voice recovered, but it is very likely that she got grounded for what she did.

Cultural references

  • The phrase "for whom the bell tolls" was coined by John Donne in 1624 and originally referred to funeral bells. It is also the title of a novel by Ernest Hemingway, as well as a song by the band Metallica.

Episode connections


  • D.W. says, "Hello, computer!" However, the room she left with Arthur, Buster and Brain still in it housed the family computer.
  • In the scene Arthur and Francine are listening to D.W. on the telephone, Francine's skin color is the same as Arthur's.

Production notes

  • This episode's original title was "The Great Pretender."[3]

Home Video






Main article: For Whom the Bell Tolls/Gallery