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"Francine Frensky, Olympic Rider"
Season/Series: 2
Number in season: 5B
Original Airdate: United States October 24, 1997[1]
Canada November 28, 1997[2]
Germany January 30, 2002[3]
Written by: Kathy Waugh
Storyboard by: Denis Banville
"Arthur's Underwear"
"Buster Baxter, Cat Saver"
Read transcript

"Francine Frensky, Olympic Rider" is the second half of the fifth episode in the second season of Arthur.


Francine dreams of being an Olympic equestrian (horse rider), but her dream starts to turn sour when Catherine outshines her at riding lessons.


In Art Class, everyone is asked to draw pictures of a special dream they have. Arthur can tell what a few of his friends' dreams are: Buster's would be to have a robot that can do his homework for him; Muffy would like a clone of herself, with whom she could have tea parties, and would give her compliments on her fashion. However, it is Francine's dream that "is the most obvious of all"- her very own horse, that she can ride. While drawing her picture, Francine fantasizes about riding her horse to school, and impressing her friends with it. Looking over her shoulder, Binky mocks Francine's dream, telling her that she's "never even been on a horse!" Francine tells Binky to "just wait!"

Francine Frensky, Olympic Rider

Francine saves enough money by herself for equestrian lessons. She is devastated when her parents say no, despite agreeing to take her if she earned the money. Because the lessons are only available during the time when both Oliver and Laverne are away at work, they suggest Catherine, who is available, takes her. Neither sister wants to go with each other, but their parents bribe Catherine into going by paying for her lessons.

At first, Catherine hates going to the riding lessons and Francine is the more interested one. It doesn't take long before Catherine becomes more knowing and experienced. She has a small crush on Stanley the instructor, a teenager close to her age. Francine's dreams were much more difficult than she thought, while Catherine is a natural talent at riding. Francine eventually succeeds, but is nowhere near the same level as her sister. Because Catherine has become much more experienced, Stanley offers a job that includes free lessons to Catherine, but not Francine. Jealous of her sister's success, Francine rips up a picture of a horse that she previously hung on the wall. She announces at dinner that she is quitting the lessons.

She appears to be happy, and claims she just finds horses and riding boring now, but does not want to talk about it. She skips a riding lesson and says that she is going to have fun with her friends. But when she sees her friends, Arthur, Buster, and Brain, they are bored and keep asking each other what to do. D.W. says that if they aren't doing anything, then Jane suggested that D.W. plays a horse game where "Arthur is the horse who dies of thirst". The three boys decide that it is much more fun to do chores, and decide to fold Arthur's socks. Francine agrees to play "Horsey" with D.W. but D.W. then says that it isn't just a simple game of "Horsey". It is a game about horses that run wild and free in the desert. She keeps describing it to Francine, who loves the description but is very sad that she quit the riding lessons. She breaks down and yells at D.W. to stop.

Later, Catherine departs for another lesson. Francine says, "Aren't you going to ask me if I want to come today?" Catherine says "No", and shuts the door. But then she opens the door and says "Hey, Francine, I was just thinking ..." and then they both go, but Francine is still stubborn, and insists she is just going to watch Catherine. Stanley and Catherine talk with each other, and Stanley says that Francine will never get better unless she gets back on a horse. Catherine decides to give Francine extra lessons so that Francine can catch up. Francine then says "YOU, teach ME?!" but then agrees half a second later.

At the end of the day, Francine gives another picture of a horse to Catherine. Catherine says that if she saves her money from babysitting for the next three years, they can buy a horse of their own, which they can share with each other; Francine likes the idea, saying that the horse could live in the garage's storage bin, which she says is sort of like a stall.

Catherine then says they could call the horse "Stanley". But Francine hates the name, saying that she would never ride a horse named Stanley in the Olympics. But then Catherine says that she agrees, because the money for the horse is most of her money. Catherine says "Who says that you can ride in The Olympics?!"

They then start a pillow fight with each other; Oliver overhears the sisters having fun and quietly shuts the door.






Episode connections

  • Arthur imagines Buster playing "Deep, Dark Sea" on a robot. The game features prominently in "Arthur the Wrecker".
  • Francine joking to Catherine that there is a hole in her pants is a possible reference to this episode's twin: "Arthur's Underwear".
  • Catherine's riding skills are brought up again in "Francine's Big Top Trouble", in which episode Francine also turns a fun activity into a competition with her sister.
  • When taking down her horse poster, Oliver asks Francine if she is redecorating. This would actually become a storyline for Francine later in the season in "Francine Redecorates"
  • Catherine mentions babysitting as part of her and Francine's way to get their own horse. During Season 2, we actually see Catherine babysitting, both times being the sitter for D.W. and Arthur. The first time is in "Play it Again, D.W." and the second time is in "D.W.'s Name Game".
  • In "Francine Goes to War", Francine is at Algeria Farms again, riding horses with Mrs. Pariso.

Cultural references


  • When the announcer makes the announcement to Muffy that she thought Francine was too bossy, Francine's parents are seen sitting right behind her but in the next shot, when the gang cheers for Catherine, Francine's parents have mysteriously disappeared.

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