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"Opposites Distract"
Season/Series: 17
Number in season: 4a
Original Airdate: United States November 14, 2013[1]
Canada November 14, 2013
United Kingdom October 30, 2013[2]
Australia April 26, 2013[3]
Written by: Matt Hoverman
Storyboard by: Gerry Capelle
"Buster Bombs"
"Just the Ticket"
Read transcript

"Opposites Distract" is the first half of the fourth episode in the seventeenth season of Arthur.


Arthur and Buster are best friends. But when a leaky roof forces Arthur to study in Buster's room, they discover that they make better friends than roommates.[3]


Arthur goes over the things he needs before he can study; his pencil, a ruler, and light. As he is ready to work, the roof starts leaking water.

Opposites Distract

While eating breakfast, Arthur learns that the leak could take a week to repair. He attempts to study in the living room, although Jane's call with Ed distracts him. He is unable to study with D.W., and his papers blow away when he works in The Tree House.

Arriving at school, Arthur tells Buster about his room; Buster suggests that Arthur study in his room instead. Muffy and Francine advise against it, citing when Muffy stayed in Francine's house for a week. Arthur and Buster are still confident that they can work together, imagining that they will get twice as much done.

Arthur is annoyed by Buster's messy room, including piles of dirty clothes, and him working on a "United Nations of Vegetation" report where he bites food to look like states. Arthur remembers Muffy's words that "75% of friends who work together don't stay together." He arrives early the next day to clean up Buster's room while Buster is at a club meeting. Buster is disappointed that Arthur ruined his "system," and remembers Muffy's comment of "This is so not going to go well."

Arthur, saying that they will be more productive, starts cleaning his glasses. Buster is annoyed by this, as well as his habit of saying "done" when finishing a math problem and spraying air freshener.

Jane runs into Bitzi at the mall, and asks how Arthur and Buster are getting along. Bitzi compares it to "that old sitcom."

Arthur is annoyed by Buster's messiness, and in an outrage, Buster decides to leave. He attempts to stay with Muffy and D.W., while Bitzi and Arthur have "Spaghetti Marshmallow Balls". Buster and Arthur apologize, but Arthur is outraged once he learns that Buster is using the map he made to hold the desk up. He storms out of the room, only for the doorknob to break.

Bitzi breaks the door down after Arthur and Buster scream for help, and it turns out that they have calmed down while playing Monster Surgery. The leak in Arthur's roof has been fixed, and Arthur and Buster now work in their own rooms while talking to each other on walkie-talkies, agreeing to come over after they have finished their homework. Buster screams as his roof starts leaking.






  • Arthur's first report is dated May 10th.

Episode connections

  • As in "Germophobia," Buster's sloppiness is exaggerated and Arthur has to work out how to deal with it.
  • Francine and Muffy compare Buster and Arthur sharing a room to their own experience in "Poor Muffy."
  • Buster learns that foil hats can supposedly block mind control rays. He has previously demonstrated this in "Phony Fern."

Cultural references

  • This episode's title is a play on the phrase "opposites attract."
  • D.W. thinks the repairmen on the roof are Santa Claus and his reindeer.
  • Buster imagines being able to make a timeline of the War of 1812.
  • Bitzi compares the situation between Arthur and Buster to "that old sitcom." This is a reference to The Odd Couple, and a portion of the show's theme music plays during the imagination spot.
  • When Buster speaks with D.W. in her room, she is sitting in a chair which slowly rotates and reveals her stroking a stuffed bunny, referring to either Vito Corleone in The Godfather or Ernst Stavro Blofeld in You Only Live Twice.
  • Buster eats various foods into the shapes of countries.
  • Monster Surgery is a parody of Operation


  • This episode take place in November, since there is a fall setting, and according to the narrator in Bitzi's imagine spot it's November, but the date on Arthur's report says May 10th.
  • Arthur must have forgot about the library, when trying to find a place to do his homework in, while his roof was getting fixed.
  • This episode contrasts with other episodes such as "Arthur and D.W. Clean Up", where Arthur is as messy as Buster, whereas in this episode, he is a neat freak.

Production notes

  • In the episode, it is proclaimed that the roof started leaking on November 13, which is the day before the North American air date.
  • The title is often misspelled as "Opposties Distract" in PBS program schedules.[4][5]

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