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"Nerves of Steal"
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 made. One of the brownies has been eaten, and D.W. plays detective to find out who. She first suspects Arthur, but he explains that he just got back from the dentist, and has no interest in eating sweets for the rest of the day. D.W. searches around the house and outside, when she finally discovers Pal eating brownie crumbs off the living room floor. D.W. demands to know why Pal 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 that the "suspect" was her own father and runs out of the room. Arthur claims that it's just a brownie.

Nerves of Steal

Buster is sadly looking out his bedroom window, watching a model airplane fly by being controlled by Brain. Brain wonders why he's inside on such a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and Buster replies, "Blame it on CyberToys." Brain asks 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 when the basket suddenly moves, freaking Muffy out. The movement is from a CyberToy owned by Binky, who is pulling a prank behind the bushes. He shows Buster how much fun the toys are and how much he's missing. Muffy sees Binky and starts to chase him.

Later at Francine's apartment, Nemo is following a CyberToy carrying a ball of yarn around. Francine suggests that Arthur and Pal should get a CyberToy as well, causing Arthur to sigh in dismay with the fact he doesn't own one.

At The Sugar Bowl, Brain shows off his CyberToy, and asks Arthur and Buster when they plan on getting one. Buster laments that his mother won't give him a CyberToy until his birthday, as they're too expensive. Arthur replies the toys are weird-looking and his parents told him he has to buy it himself. Francine and Binky walk into The Sugar Bowl and announce that the nearby toy store is getting a new CyberToy action set. Brain leaves with them. Buster is disappointed because everyone owns a CyberToy except for them. Arthur tries to cheer him up by insisting it's 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 admiring the new CyberToy when he's met by Arthur. He asks Buster if his mother is going to buy him one, but Buster says that he's only looking. Buster then has 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 gush over how cool his CyberToy is, and Buster replies, "Of course. Because he's mine." The CyberToy shrinks down to its original size, and gives Buster a high five.

Back in reality, Buster, still holding the CyberToy. He quickly glances around the store to check if nobody is looking, and then sneaks the figure into Arthur's book bag while Arthur is preoccupied with a Bionic Bunny puzzle. As they head out, D.W. exclaims, "I saw that," causing Buster to yell in alarm. However, D.W. was just talking about a lunch box that she saw at school, much to his relief. As D.W. and Arthur prepare to leave, Jane offers to give Buster a ride home but he declines, stammering. Buster asks Arthur if he wants to come over to his house, but Arthur says that he has homework. D.W. points out a security camera, which Buster also notices. He gets a lump in his throat from the guilt, and leaves the store.

Outside, Buster is walking through the streets and starts to feel guilty. He has another daydream where Arthur is being arrested at his house for shoplifting the CyberToy. However, Arthur tells the police that Buster is the thief, which begins a chase for Buster. Around town, there are wanted posters of him, to which Buster says that 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. He asks the students what they've done over the weekend. The students reply something law-related, while Buster reveals that he stole a CyberToy. Mr. Ratburn declares that it does indeed make Buster a real crook and hits his gavel, which magically puts Buster into 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, but it's just a fire truck. Buster is relieved until he sees shadows from a fence making his shirt have vertical stripes like a prisoner's uniform, to which he screams and runs to the park. There, Francine and Binky yell, "He stole second base" and "Go for broke, steal third". Buster cuts in and orders the person to put it back, but it's just a baseball game. He then runs away, embarrassed.

Unable to bear the guilt anymore, Buster goes to Arthur's house and nervously asks to talk in his room. In Arthur's room, he wonders why Buster is acting so weird. Buster takes out the CyberToy from Arthur's book bag, much to the latter's shock. Buster confesses that he put the toy in there because he couldn't help his urge since everybody else had one, except for them. Arthur gets upset and Buster apologizes for risking getting him in trouble, truthfully admitting that he doesn't even want the CyberToy anymore. Arthur quickly forgives Buster and suggests that they return it first thing the next morning. They're able to sneak the CyberToy 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 explains that he was busy writing an apology note to the drugstore. The note says that they have no idea how the toy got in Arthur's book bag, and didn't mean to take it. Arthur points out that it's not right to frame him by mentioning his name and revises the note, also correcting the spelling of "anonymous". Buster insists that his poor cover-up letters are proof that he's no criminal.

The boys arrive at Jim's Drugstore, prepared to drop off the CyberToy in secret, but the store clerk catches them while doing inventory and invites them in. Arthur plans to keep the clerk busy while Buster puts the CyberToy in the back of the store. However, Buster finds that the CyberToys have been sold out. Knowing that they'll get caught if they leave it there, Arthur puts the toy on the floor by the Bionic Bunny puzzle. However, the CyberToy was left on, and follows them back to the front of the store.

When the clerk asks what they came in for, Buster lies that it was just to get some jawbreakers. As the boys try to leave, the CyberToy suddenly approaches the front of the store. The clerk finds the note, and demands to know who's idea it was to steal the toy. Ultimately, Buster snaps, sobs, and confesses it was all his doing, telling the clerk to check his security camera if he wants proof. The clerk reveals that the security camera isn't working, but the telephone is, and he decides to make some calls. Even though the clerk is pleased the boys returned the toy, stealing it in the first place was where they went wrong — very wrong. The clerk calls Buster's mother and Arthur's parents.

Sometime later, Arthur apologizes to his parents as they leave the store. David and Jane each point out that Arthur should have come to them when he found out what Buster did, and even though he didn't take the toy, covering up the situation only made matters worse. As they go home, Jane says that they're both very disappointed in Arthur and Buster, to which Arthur replies that he's disappointed in themselves too.

Buster and his mother then leave the store. Bitzi angrily 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 wraps up that the reason he's stuck in his room is over a toy he just had to have. Brain simply replies that he's glad he got his CyberToy on his birthday. After Brain leaves, Bitzi comes into Buster's room to tell him to wash up for dinner, but reminds him he can't have dessert — only dinner — much to his dismay. Buster crosses out a day on his calendar, which reveals he has four more weekends of being grounded. Brain's model airplane flies past his house as the episode ends.






Episode connections

  • Buster previously stole a fossil in "Buster's Dino Dilemma."
  • Buster steals a toy from a store; D.W. tries to do the same thing with a Princess Sneeze-and-Wet doll in "Go to Your Room, D.W."
  • Buster puts a toy into Arthur's backpack and frames Arthur for it; Francine does the same thing in "MacFrensky." However, Buster did not intend to get Arthur in trouble.
  • This is one of the few episodes where Jane or David say they are disappointed in Arthur. The other episodes are "Arthur the Wrecker," "Arthur's Treasure Hunt," and "Flaw and Order."
  • 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, and in "Arthur Sells Out," he sells a CyberToy that is rebranded as a Robotron figure to James.
  • 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.
  • Brain's model plane was seen in “What is that Thing?
  • In Buster's Fantasy about the court Mr. Ratburn is the judge. Francine and Brain previously imagine a court with Mr. Ratburn as the judge in "Love Notes for Muffy".

Cultural references

  • The episode's title is a play on the metaphor "nerves of steel."
  • In Buster's fantasy, Francine mentions reading Crime and Punishment.


  • In the opening, Pal is eating brownie crumbs, whereas in real life, chocolate is poisonous to dogs (in very large quantities).
  • During Buster's dream, when he said, "Oh no!", his mouth does not move.
  • After Buster's dream, he sees shadows of the bar fence covering his shirt. However, the shadows should be vertical like the bars, not horizontal.
  • When Bitzi tells Buster he's going to have a long time to think about what he did to himself and the store, she doesn't look angry.

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