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"Mr. Ratburn's Secret Identity"
Season/Series: 19 (US)
Number in season: 9a[1]
Original Airdate: United States May 25, 2016[1]
United Kingdom June 22, 2015 [2]
Australia May 8, 2015[3]
Credits
Written by: Matt Hoverman
Storyboard by: Allan Jeffery
Episodes
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"Little Miss Meanie"
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"Besties"
Read transcript

"Mr. Ratburn's Secret Identity" is the first half of the ninth episode in the nineteenth season of Arthur.

Summary

Arthur and his friends learn not to jump to conclusions when they wonder if Mr. Ratburn is a superhero.

Plot

In the introduction, Arthur and Buster come out of a Dark Bunny movie and wonder, why no one ever notices that Deuce Dwayne is really Dark Bunny. While they walk home, a lady, a man and a baby perform superheroic deeds right next to them, but the boys do not notice anything. Buster says, that if there was a secret superhero in Elwood City, they would surely figure it out.

Mr. Ratburn’s Secret Identity

Mr. Ratburn’s cell phone rings during class. He cancels a pop quiz and lets the kids watch a video while he leaves the room because “duty calls”.  The kids, especially Buster, are very surprised at this unusual behavior.

During lunch, Buster discusses Mr. Ratburn with Arthur and Ladonna. Ladonna suggests that Mr. Ratburn is a voluntary fireman. Buster instead imagines Mr. Ratburn has escaped from aliens and now uses their technology to be a superhero. Arthur compares this to believing that Mr. Ratburn was a nail-eating vampire and demands more proof.

In the teacher’s lounge, Mr. Ratburn tells Mr. Haney that famous singer Sir Chester Wimple will be performing in the community theater’s production of ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ where Mr. Ratburn is in charge of costumes and props. He sings a few lines from the opera and strikes a heroic pose. Buster sees his silhouette and is certain that he is a superhero.

In Buster’s fantasy, aliens destroy all the kids’ schoolbooks. Mr. Ratburn changes into Rocket Rat and scares them away, but the alien general damages his costume, causing him to spin out of control. Buster, as Rocket Man’s sidekick Sparky, fixes the costume midflight and they carry the alien off to detention.

When Buster tells Ladonna bout his theory, she compares it to her own stories. Meanwhile, Mr. Ratburn receives some props for the opera. Buster and Ladonna see him lift a papier-mache rock and Ladonna is convinced.

Ladonna imagines being attacked by a monstrous toad in a Lousiana Swamp. Swamp Rat saves her and leads her out of the swamp while teaching her irregular verbs.

Arthur is annoyed at his friends' wild imagination and leads them to Mr. Ratburn’s house to prove that he is not a superhero. Mr. Ratburn is just trying out some tight pants he made for the opera when the door blows shut. He ties his jacket around his neck and climbs on the roof to reach an open upstairs window. Just then the kids arrive and, seen against the sun, he looks like a caped superhero.

Arthur has a fantasy in which D.W. has eaten her dad’s experimental high yeast cookies and grown to gigantic size. She terrorizes the family until Mr. Ratburn, as Silkworm Man, restrains her with silk. Then he and his sidekick Larva Lad (Arthur) trick her into eating salty popcorn, which causes her to shrink.

The next day, Arthur, Buster and Ladonna tell Mr. Ratburn, that they would gladly cause a distraction so he can change into his alter ego. When Mr. Ratburn’s phone rings, the kids try just that, and he demands an explanation.

On the night of the premiere, Arthur, Buster and Ladonna have to watch the opera from the wings as punishment. Sir Chester arrives, but cannot perform due to laryngitis. He wants Mr. Ratburn to sing the part. Mr. Ratburn hesitates, but the kids encourage him to “save the day”. Mr. Ratburn performs on stage and Buster asks Arthur “Do you believe me now?”.


Characters

Major

Minor

Cameo

Songs

  • "Silkworm Man"

Trivia

Episode connections

Cultural references

  • Deuce Dwane, Dark Bunny's secret idenity, is a parody of Bruce Wayne, Batman's secret idenity.
  • Mr. Ratburn’s line “Merciful Mikado” references another Gilbert and Sullivan opera, The Mikado.
  • Mr. Ratburn’s alleged rat phone references Batman’s bat phone from the 1960s Batman television show.
  • In the teacher’s lounge, Mr. Ratburn sings No, I’ll Be Brave from The Pirates of Penzance.
  • Rocket Rat is a possible reference to Iron Man.
  • Swamp Rat is a possible reference to the Swamp Thing.
  • Silkworm Man is a parody of Spider-Man.
  • Baker’s yeast causes bread to rise by producing gas bubbles in the dough. Salt slows down this process. That is the scientific basis (as it is) for D.W. shrinking.
  • At the end of the episode, Mr. Ratburn sings I Am the Very Model of a Modern Major-General from Pirates.

Errors

  • David Read is listed on the credits as "Mr. Reid."
  • In Buster’s fantasy, Alberto is among the Lakewood students, though he should be in high school.
  • In Arthur’s fantasy, a picture of Alfonz is hanging in the Reads’ living room.
  • Just before the premiere, the truck driver and Mr. Marco both push the fake rocks into place using both hands. Mr. Ratburn was able to lift a rock with just one hand.

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