Arthur Wiki
"My Dad, the Garbage Man"
Season/Series: 1
Number in season: 26A
Original Airdate: United States November 11, 1996[1]
Canada February 10, 1997[2]
Germany January 17, 2002[3]
Written by: Kathy Waugh
Storyboard by: Sarô
"Arthur Cleans Up"
"Poor Muffy"
Read transcript

"My Dad, the Garbage Man" is the first half of the twenty-sixth episode in the first season of Arthur.


Mr. Ratburn's class is taking field trips to see parents at their jobs, but Francine isn't sure she wants everyone to know what her father does.


David is trimming hedges while Arthur asks the audience if they ever wondered what the most perfect dad would be like. Arthur says he likes his father but imagines him as a drag racer (being able to drive Arthur to school really fast in a race car) and as a transformer (he imagines David turning into a digging machine that allows him to dig up a quarter Arthur found with a metal detector). Arthur then says that having a father like Francine's would be good too since "he's pretty cool" just as he is. (Mr. Frensky is shown playing football with his daughter. They then go off to play golf.)

My Dad, the Garbage Man

Mr. Ratburn's class is doing work in the classroom, which makes Arthur bored. Mr. Ratburn then announces to the class that since they have been studying about careers for the past several weeks, they will be going on a field trip to work places in town. The parents of Muffy, Brain, and Francine have volunteered to have the class tour where they work. Everyone gets excited and cheers. 

Back at Francine's apartment, Catherine, who is very shocked, asks if Francine is out of her mind with having a field trip with her father. Francine asks why that is a problem and Catherine says that if the students know that their father is a garbage man, they'll get disgusted. Meanwhile, Francine's father is loading trash in the truck and then he throws a can to Francine. Catherine asks him when he will get a "real" job. He then worries about all the things in a "real" job such as wearing a suit and tie, carrying a briefcase, and staying at the office until 7 P.M. He says he couldn't do something like that because... he can't tie a tie- no one ever showed him how! Then Francine and her father laugh because it was all a joke and Catherine angrily walks away. 

The next day, we see Mr. Crosswire getting ready for the students. Then, one of his employees tells him that they have arrived. Outside of the dealership, he welcomes the kids, but tries to speak over a marching band that is performing. Before the class goes to the first room, Mr. Crosswire tells them to stick together, do not touch the merchandise, and not to get excited. If they get too excited, they can put their head between their knees and breathe. Buster tries to do this, but is unable to. The first room is the salesroom, which Mr. Crosswire calls the busy hub of the auto universe. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be as busy as it should. The next room the kids go to is the strategy room, where the employees meet to help meet the customers' needs. It looks busy with people working, but when Mr. Crosswire pushes the button, they hear someone saying that if one of their cars loses its engine once it's off the lot, it's no longer the dealership's problem. The final room they go to is the garage where he says the class can test drive the cars. The class gets excited, but Mr. Ratburn simmers them and says that they'll pass and that it's time to get back on the bus. The class gets disappointed and leaves, except for Muffy, who happily waves goodbye to her father. 

The next stop is Brain's mother's Ice Cream Shop. Mr. Ratburn tells the class that they'll be visiting Francine's father tomorrow. Sue Ellen asks Francine what he does, but Buster and Muffy get disgusted from the smell of the garbage truck passing them. In nervousness, Francine sees her father and tries to tell everyone the truth, but then decides to show a trick about her spitting her gum into the air and catching it. However, the gum sticks to the bus ceiling and everyone laughs. Muffy thinks that Francine is "such a child".

Inside the invention room of the ice cream shop, Sue Ellen asks what the tubes are and Brain's mom says that flavors come out of those tubes- such as candy and chocolate. In honor of Mr. Ratburn, everyone is going to combine their favorite flavors to and make their own ice cream called "Rocky Ratburn". The kids mix pizza, bananas, and other flavors of the ice cream. Buster then pushes the button and out comes the Rocky Ratburn.

On the bus ride back, Buster, proud of the ice cream, gives it to Mr. Ratburn. He tries a lick and finds it "very unusual", and lets Buster have the rest. Mr. Ratburn once again reminds everyone that they will visit Francine's dad tomorrow. The garbage truck passes by again. Francine, worried, imagines what is going to happen tomorrow and how everyone will be disgusted by all the garbage. 

Back at her apartment, Francine asks her mother to cancel the field trip so the others won't find out what her father does. Francine's mother assumes she's been talking to Catherine about all of this. Francine wonders why on Earth her father would have such a stupid job and why he can't do something really exciting like everyone else. Then her mother tells her to go discuss this with her father. 

When Francine goes up to her dad, he shows her a cool machine he found at the dump. It's an electronic pitcher. He puts a baseball in the hole and then it bounces off a wall. Francine's mother then gets angry. He then asks Francine if she wants something, but she says "nothing". Then, Francine tells Catherine that she couldn't tell her father. Catherine tells her that she better think of something to get herself out of trouble, and then Francine gets an idea.

The next day, the school bus stops at the dump, and Buster asks Francine if her father is a garbage man. Francine then asks everyone to keep a secret. She then tells everyone that her dad works for a very secret organization. Buster asks if it's the FBI, but Francine shushes him and tells them that her father just acts like a garbage man, which is his cover. She warns everyone not to tell or else they're toast.

While Mr. Frensky introduces himself, he gives everyone a hard hat. Muffy is disgusted by the dump and the atmosphere of it, and says that if her shoes get ruined, she'll be suing the dump. Francine's dad sees how many long faces there are and believes they're thinking how honored they are to meet a garbage man. Sue Ellen comments on the smell of the dump, and Mr. Frensky agrees and thinks the smell is "fantastic". He then tells everyone enthusiastically that the best part about being at the dump is that you get to drive a bulldozer.

While Mr. Frensky is driving the bulldozer, Buster asks if he works for the FBI, and Arthur elbows him in the ribs, saying his name in annoyance. Actually, Francine's dad reveals, he does work for a secret organization, and it's called F.O.S.E. At first, Buster thinks F.O.S.E is short for the Federal Office for Spy Experts. But, Mr. Frensky reveals that F.O.S.E is actually short for the Fraternal Order of Sanitation Engineers. Mr. Frensky then tells everyone the second best part about working at the dump. That is, crushing things into little pieces! After he says go, everyone puts their garbage bags into the crusher; it crushes all the garbage.

Finally, Mr. Frensky tells everyone the really great stuff they can do with garbage; in the future, cities and roads could be built from compacted garbage, which disgusted Muffy. Then he leads everyone to a playground built with items that were in the dump, saying that it shows what you can do with a little imagination and a lot of trash. While the class runs off to play, Francine holds her father's hand and he says that the secret is out before asking if Catherine will ever forgive him. Francine thinks that they shouldn't tell. Francine's dad then remarks that maybe one of these days, he will do like Catherine says and get one of those jobs that comes with a tie and a briefcase.

Sue Ellen says to Francine that her father is the best. Buster then asks her if he really is with the FBI. Francine says no, he actually is a garbage man!






  • At the end of the 2000 rerun intro on PBS Kids before this episode, Arthur’s crashing sound remains the same.
  • This episode and the next episode were encoded to work with ActiMates Arthur and D.W. on June 29, 1998
  • Morals: Never be ashamed of the career path your parents are in. Be proud of what they do.

Episode connections

  • Students in Mr. Ratburn's class visit parent workplaces again later in "Citizen Frensky", another episode with Francine Bangs Gong.


  • The sign for Westboro Apartments lacked the letter S in the word "Apartments"
  • Helmets usually have holes in them. But while they are at the dump, there are no holes in them. Since George is a moose and has antlers, it would be impossible for the helmet to fit on him.
  • There are only five kids from Mr. Ratburn's class seen during the visit to Crosswire Motors.
  • Francine is misplaced frequently at Crosswire Motors
  • George Pants Error

    George's pants are miscolored.

    George's pants were miscolored at the ending.

Home Video