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"Francine's Split Decision"
Season/Series: 7
Number in season: 2A
Original Airdate: United States October 9, 2002[1]
Canada January 8, 2003[2]
Credits
Written by: Peter Egan
Storyboard by: Stéphanie Gignac
Episodes
Previous
"The Great Sock Mystery"
Next
"Muffy Goes Metropolitan"
Read transcript

"Francine's Split Decision" is the first half of the second episode in the seventh season of Arthur.

Summary

With the big bowling tournament and her cousin's bar mitzvah happening at exactly the same time, Francine tries to figure out a way to be two places at once.

Plot

The episode starts in the ice cream shop, with Buster figuring out what to order. He orders a complicated, and strange order that's obviously unstable. When explaining how he's going to eat it to Arthur, it falls onto the floor. He performs a trick with paddles to get the ice cream back on he the cone. "Looks like I picked as some extra nuts," says Buster, as takes a lick, disgusting Arthur.

Francine's Split Decision

In the school cafeteria: Arthur, the Brain, and Buster invite Francine to sit at their table during lunch. They ask her some questions (like "Is your tongue coated?") Francine asks why they're acting so weird. The Brain explains that they just want her to be ready for the bowling tournament on Saturday. A series of flashbacks of matches against Mighty Mountain are played. Muffy comes along and says that she would like to participate in the tournament. Everyone objects, stating that she knows nothing about bowling but when Muffy promises them expensive bowling shirts, they make her their fashion consultant.

That night, Francine is practicing bowling in her room with Polly Locket dolls as the pins. Laverne Frensky walks in and tells her she can't go bowling on Saturday because of her cousin's Bar Mitzvah. Francine protests, but her mom tells her she'll enjoy it.

The next day, she breaks the news to everyone. Brain and Francine explains what a Bar Mitzvah is before Arthur interrupts reminding them that without Francine, they'll be creamed by Mighty Mountain. Francine apologizes and says "I can't be at two places at one time". This gives Brain an idea.

Later that day, the gang meets in Arthur's tree house while the Brain gives his plan.

Step 1: Francine wears her clothes over her bowling uniform.

Step 2: Seth (Francine's cousin) becomes an adult no later than 12:30 PM

Step 3: Drink one cup of punch and at 12:52 PM and sneak out the front door.

Step 4: Arthur will have Francine's bike at the back of the temple for Francine.

Step 5: Beat Mighty Mountain

Final Step: Return to the party before anyone misses her.

Francine says she likes the idea.

That Saturday, Francine is putting her clothes over the bowling uniform as the plan said. At the Bar Mitzvah, Seth is reading a Hebrew prayer while Francine looks on in amazement. At 12:52, Francine tells her dad she's hungry so he'll bring them back inside the Temple. Francine sees a band performing and thinks the party is really cool. Oliver tells Francine to get her groove on, but Francine checks her watch, now 1:05 (13 minutes late) and ducks out, saying she has to go to the bathroom.

Francine heads out the door and sees her bike parked against the dumpster. She looks inside the basket and sees Arthur forgot her bowling shoes. While riding to the bowling alley, she gets her dress caught up in the chain of the bike and stains her dress.

At the bowling alley, Mighty Mountain bowls a strike. The Brain tells Francine to rent a pair, but the only shoes they have let are six sizes too big. Muffy also didn't bring Francine's bowling ball, claiming that it looked "shabby" and instead got her a much smaller one which Francine can't even fit her fingers in. Brain tells her to just use his. She bowls a strike, however, they're still down 35 points to Mighty Mountain. Francine blames the bowling shoes, Buster goes look for some tape for the shoes. Francine panics and heads back towards the Bar Mitzvah.

Francine makes it to the family table, and they wonder where she's been. Francine lies and says she went outside for fresh air because she was feeling queasy. Oliver feels her forehead and agrees she's a little clamming. A waiter brings her a plate of roast beef, which she thinks looks delicious, but Laverne tells her not to eat it because she is "sick" and requests that the waiter bring her some broth instead.

Back at the bowling alley, Muffy is substituting for Francine. Muffy bowls very slowly, upsetting Francine. The Brain tells her to go back to the party and come back for the final round.

Back at the party, Francine is dancing the Horra. Oliver asks about her dress. Francine lies again and tells him a waiter spilled roast beef on it. Francine is about to sit in the chair before looking at the clock and running away again "to clean her dress". Both Laverne and Oliver look to be catching on to the charade.

Back at the bowling alley, Francine finishes up taping her shoes. Muffy bowls a 7-10 split and wins Lakewood the game. Francine realizes she went all that way for nothing.

Back at the temple, the party is getting wrapped up. Laverne asks where Francine was this time, and Francine lies and tells her that she was at the punch bowl. Oliver replies "You know, I thought it was your nose that got bigger when you told lies, but apparently, it's your bowling shoes." Francine looks down, realizes the bowling shoes are still taped to her feet and gasps knowing that she is busted.

The next day, Francine is washing her dad's garbage truck and tells Arthur and Brain that later she has to mop the kitchen floor and clean out Nemo's litter box. Arthur replies "Harsh, I guess your parents were really upset you missed Seth's Bar Mitzvah". Francine replies that she was as well, saying the party was pretty cool in contrast to the stupid bowling tournament.

Brain tells her to cheer up because she'll be having a Bat Mitzvah in five years. Francine responds by throwing a sponge at his face.

Characters

Major

Minor

Cameo

Trivia

  • This episode may have taken place in September, as Buster commented in "Ants in Arthur's Pants" that the moldy sandwich in his jacket was from "that bowling tournament we won last September".

Cultural references

  • The conversation in the cafeteria lampshades a common trope in TV series: The plot “hero beats dreaded rival against all odds” is used so often, that you wonder why the rival was ever dreaded.
  • Jai Alai (the game at which Mighty Mountain actually won) is a Spanish/Latin American ballgame somewhat similar to squash.
  • A hora is a circle dance that originated in the Balkans and is widespread in the Jewish diaspora. At bar mitzvahs, it is customary to raise the honoree on a chair while the guests dance around him. In this case, they dance to the tune of Hava Nagila.
  • Francine calls a waiter a klutz, a Yiddish term meaning a clumsy person.

Episode connections

  • The events of "The Big Blow-Up" (beating Mighty Mountain at soccer) and "Friday the 13th" (beating Mighty Mountain at baseball) are brought up. The Jai Alai tournament was not featured on the show.

Production notes

Home Video

DVD:

Free on-demand episode courtesy of

PBS (Thirteen)

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