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This article is about the episode set during the winter. You may be looking for The Blackout.
"The Blizzard"
Season/Series: 4
Number in season: 5a
Original Airdate: United States October 11, 1999[1]
Canada January 21, 2000[2]
Credits
Written by: Joe Fallon
Storyboard by: Alex Hawley
Episodes
Previous
"Prove It"
Next
"The Rat Who Came to Dinner"
Read transcript

"The Blizzard" is the first half of the fifth episode in the fourth season of Arthur.

Summary[]

A big blizzard strikes Elwood City, knocking out their electricity and power, and the citizens struggle to cope.

Plot[]

The episode starts with a polar bear eating a marshmallow, and Arthur regretting his want for snow, whilst walking Pal in a blizzard. He is called home by D.W., who then asks about the polar bear, which Arthur dismisses until they see a penguin roll by; Arthur then says, “I’ve been hoping for snow, but.. this is ridiculous.”

The Blizzard

The weather forecaster predicts a little snow, but Arthur wants more so that school will be closed. David puts Arthur to bed, reinforcing that it'll be just a light dusting of snow.

Unfortunately for Arthur the next morning, despite more snow than was expected, Lakewood Elementary is open — the weather will turn sunny and no other schools are shut either. Arthur then says, "Why do weathermen never say the right thing?" Upon getting to school, Francine informs Buster and Arthur that she didn't finish her report on the pioneers because they were "d-u-u-u-l-l-l".

As soon as Mr. Ratburn walks in, getting ready to start class, the power cuts out, and Mr. Haney tells the class that the storm is getting worse, the building's lost electricity, and that the school is closed. Mr. Ratburn is shocked, but the kids are happy and they cheer loudly. Now the kids have to give in homework on the way out, and Francine is made to do a three-page report while everyone else plays in the snow. Francine continues to struggle with her report. Mr. Ratburn says he could give her an F, but he won't.

Meanwhile, the Reads are cutting paths in the snow and D.W. remarks how deep it is. David says this snow is nothing, and remembers that one time, they had snow so deep it was over his head! Jane reminds him he was smaller than D.W. when that happened. The storm gets worse and they all head inside, which leads to the snow fantasies of Kate Read - a toy factory, and Pal - a BBQ.

Francine's power cuts out, meaning she can't finish her computerized report; she says she's going to build a snowman, but Oliver forces her to continue writing with a pencil and a piece of paper.

At the school, Mr. Ratburn and Mr. Haney are trying to get their cars started, but Mr. Morris forces Mr. Ratburn and Mr. Haney to stay behind and keep the pipes from freezing — otherwise, school may be closed for a month (much to Mr. Ratburn's horror.)

Prunella gives Brain a psychic reading; there'll be more snow and Brain will meet a tall, dark stranger, which is confirmed by the D.J. on the radio. Brain is stuck at Prunella's house, as his power is out, and he is annoyed with Prunella's constant "powers."

Mr. Haney accidentally gets himself and Mr. Ratburn stuck overnight at the school to prevent the pipes from freezing.

Then we see Oliver Frensky and his plower, trying to plow the roads. The wheels, however, get jammed in the snow and he tries to reverse; he sees a power pole snap in half and hit a red car, causing the battery to get dented and the headlights to crack, and also causing the car's car horn to go off as well.

After snow falls, a period of freezing rain then ensues, and an electrical tower collapses from the storm, leading to numerous power outages across Elwood City. As utility transformers short out and light up the night sky, D.W. says that the town is exploding, and it's very pretty.

Meanwhile, we see Oliver and Laverne wrapped up in blankets in their kitchen to keep warm; Oliver tells her he tried to plow the roads, but it didn't work and he got stuck, so now the roads cannot get plowed. Francine tries again to get out of doing her report, claiming that now, it's too cold to write, but Mr. Frensky is having nothing of it and calls the Reads - Francine can work there as they still have power and David will get food in.

No deliveries can get in to the store, and Mr. Crosswire has bought the last of many things. David's supply is looking smaller and smaller. Meanwhile, in the school, Haney's moaning about the beans — why eat them when they have the cafeteria food to choose from? However, all the food is frozen and, according to Mr. Morris, inedible. Mr. Haney appears to be losing it from the predicament they are all in; hungry and wanting to go home, he bitterly grumbles that he hates school, to which Mr. Ratburn assures he is just upset.

The Crosswires also have no power. Muffy tells her daddy everything is broken, but Mr. Crosswire tells her that their power is simply out. Muffy tells him to pay someone to fix their power, but to her shock, Ed tells her that this is something money won't be able to fix.

David picks up Buster and his mom, as they too have no power. Jane invited all who need warmth to the Read house, so the house ends up quite full. Even though he couldn't buy any food, David says that everyone brought some of their own, so he will be able to mix it all up and make stew.

The power finally cuts in the Read household; everyone's going to die in a heap, according to D.W., but David's going to cook on the camping stove and Mr. Frensky has an idea to stay warm: huddle near the fire. Buster warns all to not practice the tuba, as he did at home earlier and it was so cold in the house that his mouth froze to the tuba for two hours. Jane comes in with a pile of logs and says that the radio announced that power is out everywhere. She asks David if they should call the Crosswires to check on them; he replies that the Crosswires probably have a way of keeping warm that no-one else can afford. It turns out they don't, and they run around, panicking, before being invited by the Reads. Mr. Crosswire didn't bring any of the food he had been busy buying, so the stew portions may be a little smaller.

As Francine continues on with her report, she suddenly realizes that what the pioneers used to face is not different from everyone is going through right now. Finally understanding the harsh life the pioneers endured, Francine believes they must have been the toughest people on earth as they had to survive the cold weather without electricity nor weathermen.

As the Reads prepare the stew for everyone, the storm eventually ends. Prunella remarks "I told you so" (presumably to Brain) over and over, and it is time to dig out. Francine realizes that to survive such harsh times, people need to work together and help each other; they all dig out the Reads' garden, clean out the snow on the roads and remove the fallen telephone pole from the car. Ed Crosswire fetches his food and the men inside the school are rescued. Mr. Haney runs to David and cries, while David pats him on the back.

Francine concludes that the pioneers were people like herself, as they need each other's help, but forget about it sometimes. As Francine finally finishes her report, the power returns as everyone has enjoyed the snow, and D.W. brings her snowball into the house to freeze it as a reminder of this day, setting up the events for "D.W.'s Snow Mystery" and finishing the episode.

Characters[]

Major[]

Minor[]

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Trivia[]

  • At the end of the 2000 rerun intro on PBS Kids before this episode, Arthur’s crashing sound changes to a big splash of water.
  • Rattles can be seen twice struggling to ride a bike in the storm.
  • The episode was partly influenced by a real life ice storm that occurred in January 1998 in which eastern Canada (the country where the show was produced) and parts of New England were affected. The electrical tower falling over references when said ice storm similarly damaged such towers in eastern Canada. Peter Huggan confirms this real-world inspiration on a Reddit post.[3]

Episode connections[]

  • This episode is the prequel to "D.W.'s Snow Mystery." The final scene where D.W. saves a snowball and puts it in the freezer is taken from "D.W.'s Snow Mystery." The animation from that episode was re-used (the characters are drawn slightly differently and the colors aren't as bright compared to Season 4's animation), as well as Jane Read's dialogue. D.W.'s dialogue, however, was re-recorded with Oliver Grainger providing her voice for the sake of preserving continuity throughout the episode.
  • In a later episode called The Blackout, the events from this episode are referenced several times.

Errors[]

  • At the end, when Jane closes the freezer, she keeps pushing it. But when the inside view is seen, the freezer door is still open and then it closes. This is due to the animation being taken from the original episode.
  • Catherine's hair is brown in this episode rather than the usual dark red.
  • During the grocery store scene, a female voice can be heard saying the power is out across the entire country. It is likely the actual line was "county," and it was misread by the voice actress.
  • When Oliver hears Francine wants to stop doing her report and he calls David, you can see Oliver's sleeve on his arm from the blanket is missing.

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