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"Kung Fool"
Season/Series: 13
Number in season: 2b
Original Airdate: United States October 13, 2009[1]
Canada February 24, 2010[3]
United Kingdom May 1, 2009[2]
Germany December 10, 2012[4]
Written by: Claudia Silver
Storyboard by: Robert Yap
"The Silent Treatment"
"Arthur's Number Nightmare"
Read transcript

"Kung Fool" is the second half of the second episode in the thirteenth season of Arthur.


Fern helps an elderly neighbor, who was once a Kung Fu star, with his household chores.


In the introduction, Arthur talks about how people you know can surprise you. Examples are D.W. liking foreign food and Mr. Haney doing a difficult plate spinning act. Then Arthur meets Fern, who does martial arts.

Kung Fool

Fern's mother takes her to elderly Tony Wu, whom Fern has volunteered to help around the house. Mr. Wu is a nice man with an odd sense of humor. He watches golf with Fern and Fern is restless.

When Fern mentions Tony Wu at school, Sue Ellen recognizes him as a former Kung Fu master. She shows Fern a martial arts movie in which Tony plays a wise master who teaches a student that even housework can be Kung Fu.

When Tony gives Fern some ordinary household chores to do, she tries to do them Kung Fu style. She even wears an Asian headdress to school. She dreams about Kung Fu while washing dishes at Tony's house and breaks a plate. When she talks to Tony about learning Kung Fu, he tells her that she was merely helping him, but he could teach her some things.

Tony starts teaching Fern Tai Chi. It is not what she expected, even though Sue Ellen envies her for having Tony as a teacher. During another session, Tony tells Fern that he grew up in California rather than China and learned Kung Fu from his aunt. He advises Fern to let go of her preconceptions and "go with the flow," a phrase he learned in Berkeley in the sixties. Fern is able to talk Tony into having their practice sessions in the park. At first, Tony does not want to leave the house, but in the park, some ladies ask to join the session and Tony begins to enjoy himself.






Episode connections[]

Cultural references[]

  • Mr. Read serves yaprak dolması.
  • Kung Fu means a "skill acquired through training." Along with Wu Shu, meaning "martial art," it is an umbrella term for various Chinese fighting styles, including Tai Chi.
  • Tai Chi is short for t'ai chi ch'üan, meaning "supreme ultimate fist." It is a Chinese martial art that in most forms focuses on fitness and meditation rather than actual fighting.
  • Despite Fern wanting to learn Kung Fu (Chinese), her clothes in the fantasy are a karategi suit (Japanese) and a mongkon headdress (Thai).
  • Master Wu in the movie is based on Bak Mei, a legendary shaolin monk. Fictionalized versions of him have appeared in various martial arts movies. He always has huge white eyebrows and a long beard.
  • "Go with the flow" was a hippie slogan. Tony Wu mentions learning it in Berkeley, which was a major hub for the hippie movement.