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"Nerves of Steal"

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Season/Series: 5
Number in season: 2b
Original Airdate: United States October 2, 2000[1]
Canada January 9, 2001[2]
Written by: Bruce Akiyama
Storyboard by: Eric Bergeron
Greg Huculak
Patricia Atchison
"Kids are from Earth, Parents are from Pluto"
"It's a No-Brainer"
Read transcript

"Nerves of Steal" is the second half of the second episode in the fifth season of Arthur. It was later adapted into the book Arthur and the Nerves of Steal.


Buster hates being the only kid without a CyberToy, so he plans to "borrow" one from the store...until his own conscience catches him.


The episode begins with a plate full of brownies which D.W. and Grandma Thora have made. One of the brownies appears to have been eaten, and D.W. plays detective to find out who. She suspects Arthur, but he claims he's innocent by telling her that he just got back from the dentist, and has no interest in eating sweets for the rest of the day. D.W. looks all around the house and outside, when she finally discovers Pal eating the brownie crumbs off the living room floor. She demands Pal to tell her why he ate the brownie when Mr. Read, who is reading the newspaper and munching on a brownie, asks her what she's doing. D.W. then realizes it was her own father that ate the brownie and runs out of the room. Arthur questions that it's just a brownie, right?

Nerves of Steal

We cut to Buster looking out his bedroom window, watching a model airplane fly by being controlled by Brain. Brain questions why Buster is inside on a beautiful day, and Buster replies, "Blame it on CyberToys." Brain questions if he finally got one, and Buster replies "Well, not exactly" before the scene cuts to a flashback.

Muffy and Francine are setting up a picnic in the park where suddenly the basket moves, freaking Muffy out. The movement turns out to be because of a cyber toy, owned by Binky who is pulling a prank from behind the bushes. He shows Buster how much fun they are and how much he's missing. Muffy sees Binky and starts to chase him.

At Francine's apartment, where Nemo is following a cyber toy who's walking with a ball of yarn, Francine tells Arthur that he and Pal should get a cyber toy which Arthur sighs in dismay with the fact he doesn't own one.

At The Sugar Bowl, Brain shows his CyberToy, and asks Arthur and Buster when they plan on getting a CyberToy. Buster says his mom won't give him one until his birthday, and that they're too expensive.

Arthur replies the toys are weird looking and that his parents told him if he wants it, then he has to buy it himself. Francine and Binky walk into The Sugar Bowl, and tell the others about the toy store getting a new cyber toy action set. Brain leaves with them.

Buster becomes disappointed because everyone owns a CyberToy except for them. Arthur tries to cheer him up by saying not everyone only for the Tibble Twins to walk by with a pair of CyberToys; Buster replies "Yeah, everyone."

At Jim's Drugstore, Buster is taking a look at the new CyberToy, when he's interrupted by Arthur. He asks Buster if his mother is going to buy him one, but he says he's only looking. Buster then gets a daydream on what it'd be like having a CyberToy.

In his fantasy, the CyberToy enters the Sugar Bowl in a giant form and announces that Buster has arrived. His friends tell him how cool his CyberToy is, and he replies "Of course. Because he's mine." The CyberToy goes back to its original size, and gives Buster a high five.

Back in reality, Buster, still holding the CyberToy, takes a quick look around the store to see nobody is looking, and then sneaks the CyberToy into Arthur's book bag while Arthur was preoccupied with a Bionic Bunny puzzle.

Buster tells Arthur that they should head out, when D.W. shouts "I saw that," which causes Buster to scream. However, it turns out that D.W. was talking about a lunch box she saw at school, causing Buster to take a sigh of relief.

D.W. tells Arthur that Mom is ready to leave. Buster asks Arthur if he wants to go over to his house, but Arthur says he needs to do his homework. D.W. points out a security camera, which Buster also notices. He gulps a lump in his throat from the guilt, and walks out of the store.

Outside, Buster is walking the streets while he starts to feel guilty. He has another day dream where at Arthur's house, Arthur is being arrested for the belief he shoplifted the CyberToy, but Arthur tells the police that Buster is the thief which begins a chase after Buster.

Around town, there are wanted posters of Buster, to which Buster says he never stole anything before, and asks if that makes him a real crook. The location changes to a courtroom with Mr. Ratburn as the judge and asks the students what they've done over the weekend.

The students reply something crime related, and Buster admits he stole a CyberToy, which has the class respond with a gasp and Mr. Ratburn telling Buster that it does indeed make him a real crook. Mr. Ratburn hits his gavel, which magically puts Buster in a black and white prison uniform. The dream ends with Buster crying, "Nooooo".

Back in reality, Buster is shaking in fear as he hears sirens, thinking it's the police after him, but it's just a fire truck. Buster gives another sigh of relief and sees shadows from a fence make his shirt have vertical stripes like a prisoner, which he yells and runs away in the park.

Francine and Binky are yelling "He stole second base" and "Go for broke, steal third". Buster cuts in and tells the person to put it back, but it's just a baseball game. Buster then runs away, embarrassed.

Buster then arrives at Arthur's house and tells him he needs to talk to him in his room. In Arthur's room, Arthur asks Buster why he's acting so weird.

Buster replies, showing him the CyberToy he put in his book bag, to which Arthur asks how it got in there and how Buster knew about it. Buster confesses that he put it in there himself, because he couldn't help his urge because everybody else had one, but them.

Buster apologizes to Arthur for putting him at risk of getting him in trouble, and then goes on to say he truthfully doesn't even want it anymore. Arthur suggests that they return it first thing the next morning, but wants the CyberToy out of his room. They're able to sneak the toy out of the house and past Jane through Arthur's trash basket.

The next day, Arthur is waiting at a street corner for Buster. Buster comes running in, out of breath, and Arthur asks him where he's been. Buster says he was busy writing the note to the drugstore.

The note says that they have no idea how the toy got in Arthur's book bag, and they didn't mean to take it. Buster also signed the note "Unanimous". Arthur tells his friend it's not right to name him, and that it's "anonymous," not "unanimous". Arthur takes the note and revises it, while Buster says that his poor cover-up letters are proof he's no criminal.

The boys arrive at the store prepared to drop off the CyberToy, but the store clerk catches them while doing inventory and invites them in. Arthur tells Buster he'll keep the clerk busy while Buster puts the CyberToy in the back of the store.

Buster goes to the back, only to find that the CyberToys have been sold out. Knowing that they'll get caught if they leave it, Arthur tells Buster he'll handle it and takes the toy. Arthur puts it on the floor by the Bionic Bunny puzzle, but the CyberToy was left on, and follows Arthur back to the front of the store.

Arthur tells Buster that they'd better leave, but the clerk asks what they came in for. Buster says it's just to buy some jawbreakers and buys them, and the two boys are about to leave, when suddenly, the CyberToy approaches the front of the store.

The clerk takes a look at the note, and demands to know whose idea it was to take it. Ultimately, Buster snaps, sobs, and confesses it was his doing, and that if the clerk wanted proof, to check his security camera.

The clerk says the security camera isn't working, but the telephone is, and he thinks he'd better make some phone calls. As he is pleased the boys returned the toy, he explained that stealing it in the first place was where they went wrong — very wrong. The clerk then calls both Buster's mother and Arthur's parents, even though the latter is innocent.

Arthur apologizes for what he did to his parents, who each explain to him that he should have come to them when he found out what Buster did, and even though Arthur didn't take the toy, covering up the situation only made matters worse. As they leave the store, Mrs. Read then tells Arthur that they're both disappointed in him and Buster. Arthur replies that he's disappointed in both himself and Buster as well (quite possibly because of the fact that they got caught).

Buster and his mother leave the store some time later. Bitzi tells her son that he's going to have a long time to think about what he did to the store and to himself; Buster remorsefully replies that he will.

Back in the present, Buster is in his room wrapping up that the reason he's in his room is all over a toy he just had to have. Brain says he's glad he got the CyberToy on his birthday, and walks off, telling Buster he'll see him in school tomorrow.

Bitzi then goes into Buster's room, telling him to wash up for dinner. She then reminds her son he can have dinner, but no dessert — much to Buster's dismay.

Buster then crosses out a day on his calendar, saying he has four more weekends of being grounded as Brain's model airplane flies past his house when the episode ends.






  • In this episode, Arthur does not have a CyberToy. However, in later episodes such as "The Long Road Home," a CyberToy cameos in Arthur's room.
  • This is one of the few episodes where Jane or David say they’re disappointed in Arthur. The other episodes are Arthur's Treasure Hunt, Arthur the Wrecker and Flaw and Order.
  • Also, several of the CyberToys were also present in "Buster and the Daredevils," but back then, they were not named as such, indicating that they were recycled and rebranded as CyberToys for this episode.
  • This is the only Season 5 episode that came out with a bad ending.

Episode connections

Cultural references

  • The episode's title is a play on the metaphor "nerves of steel."


  • After Buster’s dream, he sees shadows of the bar fence covering his shirt. But the shadows should be vertical like the bars, not horizontal.
  • During Buster's dream, when he said, "Oh no!", his mouth doesn't move.
  • In the opening, Pal is eating brownie crumbs, whereas in real life, chocolate can kill a dog (in very large quantities).

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