Arthur Wiki
"Messy Dress Mess"
Season/Series: 18
Number in season: 7b
Original Airdate: United States June 1, 2015[1]
United Kingdom March 10, 2015[2]
Australia February 20, 2015[3]
Written by: Raye Lankford
Storyboard by: Mitch Manzer
"Two Minutes"
"Arthur Read: Super Saver"
Read transcript

"Messy Dress Mess" is the second half of the seventh episode in the eighteenth season of Arthur.


Ladonna is thrilled when Muffy loans her a beautiful recital dress. But a run-in with a painted bench leaves Ladonna wondering how to break the news to her fashionista friend.[4]


In the introduction, Arthur gives examples for things you do not want after someone else has used them: the Tibbles give D.W. a scrawled-over coloring book, Buster uses Arthur's toothbrush, Binky wants to lend Arthur his smelly gym socks, and Pal uses a newspaper as a chew toy. Ladonna appears and claims that she has an even worse example.

Messy Dress Mess

Ladonna sings Alice Blue Gown for her mom and Bud. She is supposed to sing the song as a solo at a school performance and wants a new dress. She sees a beautiful one in a shop window.

Instead, Mrs. Compson changes an old dress (possibly Madison’s) to Ladonna’s size. Ladonna says that she hates being a middle child, and imagines how her “new” dress was handed down from the times of the Romans and eventually ends up as part of a space suit.

When Ladonna tells Muffy that she wants to drop out of the performance, Muffy offers to lend her a dress.

In Muffy's enormous closet, Ladonna sees a dress just like the one in the shop. Muffy lends it to her, even though it is very new. Ladonna promises to be extra careful with it.

At home, Ladonna tries on Muffy's dress. Almost immediately, she has to dodge Bud's muddy hands, Madison's juice, the Tibbles throwing mud, and water from a car going through a puddle. After protecting the dress from everything, she sits down on a bench which happens to be freshly painted.

Ladonna at first plans to confess, but when she hears Muffy tell Jenna about the cute dress she lent Ladonna, Ladonna she does not dare. When Arthur gives her a new eraser in exchange for one that he lost, she decides to buy Muffy the dress from the shop.

The dress from the shop turns out to be much too expensive, and Ladonna has a fantasy of being an old lady and still having to pay off her debt to Muffy.

On the night of the performance, Ladonna wears an overcoat. She only gets on stage after Jenna waves to her, then reveals that she is wearing the handed-down dress. Jenna remarks that it really is cute. Ladonna starts singing shyly, but then with confidence.

After the performance, Muffy is peeved, because she bought the dress from the shop so that she and Ladonna could be “matchies”. Ladonna confesses about the ruined dress. Muffy tells her that it was not her color anyway. She is merely upset, because Ladonna did not tell her right away. She would have lent her another dress. Mrs. Compson takes a picture and the girls hug.







Episode connections

  • In the introduction, Arthur and Ladonna argue about who gets to do the talking, just as in "Based on a True Story."
  • Fern is not part of the third-grade choir, even though "Arthur - It's Only Rock 'n' Roll" revealed her to be an excellent singer.
  • Arthur sits on a bench with wet paint in the book Arthur's Reading Race.

Cultural references

  • The song "Alice Blue Gown," which Ladonna performs in this episode, dates back to 1919. It was reportedly written in tribute to then-President Theodore Roosevelt's eldest daughter, Alice Roosevelt Longworth, who grew up to become a prominent Washington, D.C. socialite. She was noted for wearing azure blue gowns, which eventually led to the song title.
  • In Ladonna's imagination of Ancient Rome, the Canadian national motto A Mari Usque Ad Mare can be seen in the background.
  • In Ladonna's Roaring Twenties fantasy, she dances the Charleston.

Production notes

  • This is the first episode where Tommy is voiced by Devan Cohen, and James is voiced by Christian Distefano.[5]
  • This episode's existence was known on IMDb since at least October 2013 at latest.[5][6]
  • This episode was first announced in May 2014, when a fan sent an email to 9 Story Media Group, asking for season 18 episode titles, and received four of them.[7]


Main article: Messy Dress Mess/Gallery