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"The Big Blow-Up"
Season/Series: 2
Number in season: 8B
Original Airdate: United States October 29, 1997[1]
Canada December 3, 1997[2]
Germany February 4, 2002[3]
Written by: Joe Fallon
Storyboard by: Alex Hawley
"Arthur vs. the Piano"
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"The Big Blow-Up" is the second half of the eighth episode in the second season of Arthur. It was later adapted into the book Arthur and the Big Blow-Up.


Francine and Brain are arguing and seem to be at an impasse, so Arthur and Buster try to help.


We see Arthur in his tree house with Brain and Francine. He tells the viewers that Brain and Francine are great friends, but warns them not to talk to them about sports. Francine holds out a hockey trading card and states that hockey players are the best because they skate while playing. Then Brain asks her if hockey players can play golf. She says yes, but then Brain asks what if they did it in a race car? They fantasize about a hockey player in a race car during a golf match getting a par and landing in a lake after the shot. Afterwards, Arthur asks the viewers if they want to hear Francine and Brain's best argument. He then asks which one of them is the best athlete in school, and then the argument begins. Arthur grabs a bag of popcorn and tells the viewers to "get comfortable" because the argument could be a while.

The Big Blow-Up

We now see a soccer game between Lakewood and Mighty Mountain. Francine dribbles the ball upwards, passes the Mighty Mountain defenders, and gives it to Brain, where he bounces the ball off his head for a goal. According to Fern, Lakewood has been undefeated so far in the season and hasn't lost a single game yet. Prunella feels very confident that the team will win the championship. George also agrees undoubtedly. After the game ends, the team celebrates around Francine and Brain. Buster also feels confident about Lakewood's undefeated season because he thinks Francine and Brain are the reason why they're winning so much. Afterwards, Fern takes a picture of Francine and Brain for the school bulletin board. Arthur says that if Lakewood can win one more game, they will qualify for the playoffs. Brain suggests that everyone should practice.

During practice, Buster throws the ball in to Sue Ellen, who kicks it over to Arthur. Francine calls for the pass, and then steps back. However, Brain tells her that she is out of bounds. Francine protests and says that she is not over the line. Brain believes her foot was on the line and she moved it. Francine accuses Brain of cheating, but he denies this, and says that she is the one who is cheating. Meanwhile, Binky is bouncing the soccer ball on his head. Buster wishes the argument would stop, but Francine and Brain continue to argue. Arthur gets tired and he tells everyone to finish up the practice game. Binky wants the game to finish as well because his head hurts from bouncing the soccer ball. Now Brain has a microscope and examines Francine's foot. Francine suggests that Brain should ask someone instead of using the microscope. He tells Arthur to make the call on what happened. Arthur starts to say that it looked at first like Francine's foot was on the line, but Francine grabs his glasses and puts them on, asking if what Arthur saw can be trusted, because of his wearing glasses. Brain tells her to cut it out and that Arthur is an honest and trustworthy person. He then tells Arthur to say that Francine was out of bounds. Francine states that anything will go (even if Arthur sides with Brain "because boys always stick together.") Arthur starts to say that it then looked like Francine wasn't out of bounds, and Brain interrupts, accusing Arthur of siding with Francine. Francine tells Brain to stop and let Arthur call whatever he wanted to call. However, Binky's mother then calls Binky for dinner, and he goes home. The practice game ends because Binky left with the only ball they had. With a nervous chuckle, Arthur tells Francine and Brain that it doesn't matter who's right anymore, and quickly leaves.

At home, while Jane is mopping the kitchen floor, Arthur attempts to carefully navigate the floor to get an apple from the fruit bowl. As he does this, he tells his mother about Francine and Brain's disagreement. He says that he really couldn't tell who was right, and that it should be forgotten by tomorrow anyway. D.W. then reminds Arthur that he has to help her write a letter to Santa Claus for Christmas. Arthur thinks that it's too soon because it's only May. D.W. states that Santa gets a lot of letters in December, so she's writing her list early so that she can beat the rush. Now we go to Arthur's room where he eats his apple, and is annoyed by D.W.'s pacing around. She tells him to be quiet because she's thinking. Then she tells Arthur what to write in her letter to Santa. She starts by complimenting Santa for being so handsome. Arthur groans at this, but D.W. thinks the letter should have a positive start. She also states that Arthur's bored because he hears nice things too often. Arthur happily understands and then starts to write while D.W. recites her letter.

The next day at school, Buster tells Arthur that Brain and Francine are still angry at each other. Arthur then goes up to them and sees that they are not talking to each other. Muffy comes by and Francine asks her to pick up the pencil that just fell out of her backpack. Muffy suggests to ask Brain, who is standing right beside Francine, but he says that he wouldn't touch her pencil, since he might catch what makes Francine so "Franciney". In Mr. Ratburn's class, the students are about to take a speed test. Brain refuses to pass the test paper to Francine. Muffy hands the paper to Francine, but Arthur didn't get one. He tries to get Francine's attention, but she tells him to get it from Brain. Then Arthur tries to get Brain's attention, but Mr. Ratburn tells Arthur to be quiet. He tries to tell Mr. Ratburn that he didn't get a test paper, but time already expired, which causes him to fail the test. Arthur is really getting tired of Francine and Brain's argument and that they better come up with a solution sooner or later, or else he will fail Math.

In the cafeteria, Brain and Francine fight over a plate of jello. Then the jello flies onto the back of Mr. Haney's head. At the soccer game, Buster hopes that Brain and Francine aren't mad at playing together and Arthur hopes that the argument does not affect the way the team plays. Francine carries the ball up, and Brain asks for a pass. Then Francine passes it to Arthur, who is surrounded by the Mighty Mountain players. The ball is then stolen away, causing Arthur to be trampled by them. Now having the ball, Mighty Mountain scores to win the game. Brain asks Francine why she didn't pass to him. Then Francine claims she doesn't see or hear anyone, and it must be "the wind blowing", which causes Brain to get absolutely infuriated.

As Arthur and Buster are walking down the street, Arthur believes he sprained his tailbone. If the arguments continue between Brain and Francine, Lakewood will keep losing games and will miss the playoffs. Buster believes that they should tell Brain and Francine how much they used to like each other, and Arthur thinks playing fun games might be a good way to do this. First, they try ping pong. However, things do not turn out well, and Francine and Brain whack the ball like crazy- so crazy that the ball disappears and Arthur and Buster get dizzy and faint. Buster suggests mini golf next. At the mini golf course, things are still not going well. Francine hits the ball so hard that it causes the ball to knock over the course obstacles- even the lampposts and the windmill. Then, they try tabletop hockey. Brain claims that Francine's forward is offside, but Francine denies this because "he's on a stick!". Finally, they try playing Go Fish at the tree house. Francine becomes infuriated at Brain, telling him, "GO FISH YOURSELF!" and throwing the cards in the air.

The argument has gone too far, and Arthur is afraid that Francine and Brain will never be friends again. David suggests that they will work it out themselves. The playoffs are next week, and Arthur doesn't know what's going to happen. Then D.W. asks Arthur to revise her Christmas list by adding prices.

At the soccer game, Arthur warns his team that if they keep losing, they'll be out of the playoffs. This causes Buster to get worried and choke, which he believes will convince Brain and Francine. However, during the game, Brain and Francine run into each other, not playing like a team. Francine calls for a pass, but Brain kicks it over to Arthur who is again surrounded by the enemy team, causing him to scream for help before being trampled. Francine then kicks it over to Buster, where he, like Arthur, becomes surrounded by the enemy team, before being trampled. Lakewood ends up losing again.

Buster unties his bunny ears after the trample, and Arthur gets tired from all the rough play. Buster then says that they have one more game, and they have to win. The game is against Mighty Mountain! They have a very bad feeling that they are going to lose. D.W. then comes up to the clubhouse and tells him that he needs to revise the list again! He gets tired of her requests and suggests to call Santa. But D.W. says that a letter is better because it will get her thoughts organized. This then gives Arthur an idea for Brain and Francine to write apology letters to each other in order to save their relationship. Arthur has Brain write his letter and Buster has Francine write her letter. However, in both letters, the writers believe that they are right, and refuse to apologize. Arthur decides to rewrite the letters.

At the game, Francine and Brain read the apology letters. Francine accepts Brain's (Buster's) apology, but is confused that Brain would spell "soccer" with two K's and a Q. Francine's (Arthur's) letter has D.W.'s rough draft of her Christmas list on one side, and Brain thinks these are demands made by Francine. Arthur then turns it around where the apology letter is, and Brain says that is "much better". Then the arguments cease before the game and Francine and Brain shake hands, while Arthur and Buster do the same. Now Brain and Francine play like good teammates and pass the ball. Brain even gets a goal from Francine's pass. Then, Arthur passes the ball to Francine and Brain, in which they bounce the ball off their heads for the game-winning goal. The whole team celebrates and carries Brain and Francine. Brain states that Francine's letter is right; just because they disagree, doesn't mean they can't be friends. Francine says she never said that, and she and Brain realize that Arthur and Buster had written the letters. Arthur asks them if they can hold off on their anger until after the playoffs. Brain says he and Francine aren't mad at each other, and Francine says it's now Arthur and Buster who they are mad at. As they leave the soccer field, Arthur questions Buster about his spelling "soccer" with two K's and a Q.






  • This is the debut episode for Brain and Francine on the soccer team.
  • This is the first episode with Alex Hawley as a storyboard artist.
  • If you look carefully, you will see that Francine was right and that her foot was not on the line of the soccer field when she kicked the ball.
  • This episode marks the second time George has spoken.

Cultural references

  • In the opening sequence, the Cinar and WGBH logos are seen on the golf player's shirt and race-car.

Production notes

  • Although the episode aired in October, it takes place in May.

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