|"Rhyme for Your Life"|
|Number in season:||8a|
|Original Airdate:|| November 12, 2001|
January 9, 2002
|Written by:||Peter K. Hirsch|
|Storyboard by:||Robert Yap|
"For Whom the Bell Tolls"
Binky wants to write a poem for his mom for her birthday but is unable to write one. He has a dream where everyone speaks in rhyme and finds himself able to do the same.
This episode begins with Arthur and Buster about to see a play by Mr. Ratburn at a Renaissance fair. Before the play starts, Arthur encounters Binky, who is dressed in a beige-colored cloak and holding a cane in his right hand and he is also speaking in rhyme. Arthur is confused and Binky mentions that all will be clear when Binky tells Arthur the story of how it happened.
In Binky's story, Binky is trying to figure out what to give his mother for her birthday, so he chooses on giving her a poetic birthday card. Unfortunately, Binky finds himself unable to write a birthday poem for his mother. Muffy suggests he finds somebody to write the poem for him, so he goes to the library and attempts to bribe Fern into writing it with a sandwich and a pickle. Fern turns him down, saying that he can't buy a poem, and suggests that he look for one himself, giving him a poetry book to read.
Later that evening, after reading the book and trying to write the poem, he gives up and falls asleep. In his dream, he finds himself in a strange land that is far away. Francine, who is a coach driver, and Muffy as a rich person in the carriage, tell him that he is in a land called Verseburg, and that it is a crime to speak in prose. He begins to notice that everyone in the village is only speaking in rhyme. He stumbles upon a girl named Clementine, daughter of Dr. Rhymenstein, who takes her back to the doctor's castle (and she looks and sounds a lot like D.W.). Dr. Rhymenstein (who looks a lot like Mr Ratburn) tells Binky about a hideous monster he created, ruining his reputation. The monster, called the Purple Orange by the doctor, eats him up and kidnaps Clementine, who claims she doesn't like fruit at the best of times. Binky goes to the police station to tell Fern as a policewoman what he saw, but she arrests him for failing to speak in rhyme. Hans and Frans, who look like the Tibble twins, place him in a cell with poet William Carlos Williams, who believes that people should be able to speak in prose. They both escape through a tunnel that William dug with a pen. William gives Binky his rhyming dictionary so he can learn how to rhyme, then tells him to find the Purple Orange and clear his name. Binky learns how to speak rhyme, able to ask for eggs from Buster as a farmer going by "Meg", and while walking through a blizzard. He rescues Clementine from the Purple Orange and then screams, starting an avalanche that crushes it. Binky is rewarded with a mounted barracuda for his bravery when he returns to the town. Binky then wakes up from his dream and goes to bed.
The next morning, Binky wishes he could have remembered the dream so that he could tell it as a poem to his mother for her birthday, but ends up giving her a blank birthday card. When Binky tries to explain why he starts to involuntarily make a poem of why he loves his mother. His rhyming soon gets out of control and can't stop, so he puts on the cloak and uses the cane to express his sorrow. Back at the Renaissance fair, Binky continues to speak in rhyme, but finds out that nothing rhymes with "Arthur." Binky gleefully realizes that the "curse" is broken and he is free, dropping the cloak and cane and heading off to see the play. Unfortunately, Arthur accidentally says a rhyme. Upon realizing this, he puts on the cloak and carries the cane, for he is now "cursed" by rhyme, thus finishing the episode.
- Muffy Crosswire
- Fern Walters
- Buster Baxter
- Nigel Ratburn
- Arthur Read
- D.W. Read
- Gula's Candy Shop Worker
- Mrs. Barnes
- Mr. Barnes
- Slam Wilson (picture)
- Several poets are referenced in this episode:
- Props used in Mr. Ratburn's play The Collected Works of Edgar Allan Poe references a few of Poe's works: the heart to The Tell-Tale Heart, the pendulum to The Pit and the Pendulum, and the raven puppet to The Raven while Mr. Ratburn quotes "Nevermore!"
- When Binky gives up on writing a poem for his mother, he mentions and butchers the names of poets Dante, Baudelaire and Ntozake Shange.
- William Carlos Williams was a real poet. Some of his poems include The Red Wheelbarrow (most likely referenced by the wheelbarrow Williams finds in the cell) and Shadows. He also mentions Sylvia Plath, whose works include Two Lovers and a Beachcomber by the Real Sea, and Ennui.
- Binky says that he learned the "barbaric yawp" he used to defeat the Purple Orange from Walt Whitman (Song of Myself, Verse 52).
- Pablo Neruda, claimed to be the founder of Verseburg, was another famous poet.
- Binky and William escape the cell through an escape tunnel hidden behind a poster of Rita Hareworth. This refers to the movie "The Shawshank Redemption" in which the protagonist hides an escape tunnel behind a series of posters, one of them being of actress Rita Hayworth.
- When Binky awakes from his dream and can't remember it, it is a reference to the poem Kubla Khan. A famous a poem, written by Samuel Taylor Coleridge after a dream, sadly incomplete after he was interrupted while writing it down.
- Arthur counts "Brain" and "name" as rhymes. Binky counts "rhyming" and "combining" as rhymes. These are what is known as "slant rhymes", "half-rhymes", or "near-rhymes", which are things that almost rhyme, but not quite.
- Binky mentions twice the "giant clam" nightmare from the episode Double Dare: first when he finds himself in Verseburg in his dream, and then in the morning after.