"Messy Dress Mess"

Messy Dress Mess main image

Messy Dress Mess title card

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

"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]


The episode begins with Arthur doing up the zipper on a black jacket and noting that there are some things you really don't want once someone else has used them. The Tibble twins come over, give D.W. a coloring book as a present, laugh, then leave. D.W. is shocked to see that somebody has scribbled in it. Arthur, narrating, cites coloring books as an example. D.W. yells "Thanks for nothing!" and storms inside. Arthur goes into the bathroom and sees Buster using his (Arthur's) toothbrush because he forgot his own. Arthur then cites toothbrushes as another thing you don't want if someone else has used it. While in the locker room, he forgets his gym socks and Binky lets him borrow his but they smell bad, so Arthur thinks gym socks are another thing like that. Pal then brings the newspaper but it has been chewed through. Ladonna says that she would rather have any of those used items than what she is about to tell. Arthur thinks it is not fair that she is narrating but Ladonna just shrugs.

Messy Dress Mess

Ladonna is singing and doing a little dance. When she finishes, her mother and her brother Bud clap and her mother compliments her on her voice sounding sweet. Bud wants the kiddie ride hippo but his mother reminds him that he already has a hippo bath toy. Ladonna states that she is the only person to be in a solo and therefore doesn't want to look like "something the cat dragged in." Bud, who had been walking across the park benches, takes her expression literally and notes that they don't have a cat and proclaims he wants a cat because he had like to see a cat drag Ladonna. As they cross the street, Ladonna and Mrs. Compson say that Bud is just "pulling (Ladonna's) leg" about wanting to see a cat drag her but Ladonna accuses her mother of not listening. The mother apologizes and Ladonna explains that she wants a new dress that is pretty and special, then she gasps, having noticed a dress in a shop window, and wants a dress like that one. She then imagines herself in the sky, wearing the dress and dancing. Cisley says that Ladonna is right about needing a new dress.

Mrs. Compson takes out a dress and has Ladonna try it on, but she is unhappy because the dress isn't "new." Madison, who is getting orange juice, points out that the dress is new to Ladonna, but that only seems to make Ladonna irritated.

Ladonna goes into her room, growls, does a dramatic groan and, in an equally dramatic manner, flops onto her bed. Bud pops out from under the bed asking where his hippo is but Ladonna only replies with stating that she hates being the middle child as she wants new clothes and bets the dress her mother gave her must have been in the family for as long as anyone could remember, wondering if the Romans had it first and if it will continue to be handed down in the future. Finally, she throws it onto the floor, stating that it is too old to do a solo in and she never gets anything new. Bud picks it up, telling her to be careful as someday it might be his, but Ladonna just says that she won't do a solo in that "mess" and that's final and that she will just have to be replaced.

At school, she tells Muffy, who asks why she wants to be replaced. Ladonna says she has nothing to wear, to which Muffy says that she could just lend her something as she's always wanted to give her a "makeover" and takes her by the hand, surprising Francine and Jenna, who are nearby.

At Muffy's house, Muffy shows Ladonna a room full of clothes which she calls her "office" and says that she will use her phone on her app and type in the colors of Ladonna's skin, eyes and hair. While the app loads, Ladonna sees a dress and decides she wants it. Muffy says that the dress is very new and Bailey hasn't even checked it into her database yet. Ladonna gets sad, but perks up when Muffy lets her borrow it, thinking that, due to her taking fashion very seriously, it's for a "good cause". Ladonna thanks Muffy and promises not to touch, wear or look at the dress until the concert the following night.

Back at Ladonna's house, Ladonna puts the dress into her closet but breaks her promise and chooses to try it on to see if it fits.

In the garden, Bud finds his hippo toy in the flower bed. He then goes into Ladonna's room, where Ladonna is posing in the new dress and Bud tosses the hippo to her. Ladonna screams in surprise, uses her teddy bear to prevent the hippo from touching her, and tells Bud, whose hands are muddy, to go away and runs out of the room. Bud, who had gotten the wall dirty, apologizes and states it was the hippo's fault, but Ladonna doesn't seem to accept her brother's apology. She dashes into the kitchen and skids in slow-motion past a surprised Madison, who is still carrying the jug of juice. Ladonna runs into the garden where the Tibble twins tease her and ask if she wants a mud pie. They throw mud pies and Ladonna uses lids from two trash cans to shield herself from the mud pies thrown by the boys plus some water splashed up by a passing car. She blocks out two more mud pies and the twins run off to get more mud. She then sits on the bench. Madison comes outside, drinking a glass of juice, and tells her that the bench was just painted.

Ladonna gets up to find that paint had gotten on the back of the new dress, and does a dramatic "No!"

In her room, she is pacing and speaking aloud to herself, telling herself to tell Muffy the truth.

At school, Ladonna is fumbling about in her locker, telling a story about a pygmy hippo named Fred. Muffy tells Jenna about the new dress and Ladonna tries to tell them what happened to it but instead just nervously agrees with them. Arthur then gives Ladonna an eraser he bought to replace another one, giving Ladonna the idea to buy a replacement for Muffy's dress. She tries to buy one but it is too expensive and she imagines it taking more than a hundred years to pay back.

At the concert, Jenna wants to see the dress. Ladonna tries to explain what happened and starts her sentence with "I'd rather--" but Jenna interrupts, thinking she was going to say "make a big entrance". She then comes onto the stage in the hand-me-down dress which she dislikes (but Jenna thinks is cute anyway) and starts singing. Bud waves and she waves back.

Backstage, Muffy is outraged. Ladonna explains what happened to the dress, and apologizes. Muffy is wearing a replica of the dress, and she explains to Ladonna that she bought one like it to match. Jenna thinks that Muffy's dress looks nice too, but Muffy is still annoyed. Ladonna says that she will pay Muffy back, which will probably take a hundred years, but the Compsons have longevity in their family. Muffy explains that she couldn't have worn that dress as it is a slightly different shade of blue than the one she is wearing, which she thinks makes all the difference. However, she is still in a bad mood, because Ladonna didn't ask her for help as she could have given her a new outfit. Ladonna thanks Muffy for her kindness, but says that her house is no place for fancy clothing, and she prefers wearing her own clothes. Ladonna's mother hugs her and compliments her singing, and Bud compliments her look. Then Mrs. Compson takes a picture of Ladonna and Muffy, and the episode finishes.






Episode connections

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.

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


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.