|This article is about the episode set during the winter. You may be looking for The Blackout.|
|Number in season:||5A|
|Original Airdate:|| October 11, 1999|
|Written by:||Joe Fallon|
|Storyboard by:||Alex Hawley|
"The Rat Who Came to Dinner"
A big snow and ice storm knocks out the electricity in Elwood City, and the citizens struggle to cope.
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.
The weather forecaster predicts a little snow, but Arthur wants more so that school will be closed. Mr. Read 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".
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 3-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 wouldn't.
Meanwhile, the Reads are cutting paths in the snow and D.W. remarks how deep it is - not as deep, however, as Dave remembers it once was - over his head -, but Jane reminds him he was smaller than D.W. at the time. The storm gets worse and they all head inside, which leads to the snow fantasies of Kate - a toy factory, and Pal - a BBQ. Francine's power cuts out meaning she can't finish her computerized report and has to go in the snow, but her father 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 Ratburn and Haney to stay behind and keep the pipes from freezing - otherwise, school may be closed for a month, to 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 weatherman on the radio. Brain is stuck there, as his power is out, annoyed with Prunella's constant "powers". Mr. Haney accidentally gets himself and Mr. Ratburn stuck overnight to prevent the pipes from freezing.
Then we see Oliver Frensky and his plower, trying to plow the roads, But the wheels get jammed in the snow and he tries to reverse but then 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 it also causing the car's car horn to go off as well.
After snow falls, a period of freezing rain then ensues, leading to numerous power outages across Elwood City. Flashing blue lights up in the night sky, and D.W. says that the town is exploding, and it's very pretty.
Meanwhile we see Oliver and Laverne wrapped up in blankets in the kitchen to keep warm Oliver tells her he tried to plow the roads but it didn't work and it got stuck so now the roads cannot get plowed. Francine tries again to get out of doing her report 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 Dave will get food in.
No deliveries can get in to the store, and Mr. Crosswire has the last of many things. Dave'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, it is all frozen and, according to Mr. Morris, inedible. Mr. Haney wants to go home - he hates school. Mr. Ratburn reassures the school it was only a joke. The Crosswires also have no power and no one can fix it even for a million dollars. Muffy tells her daddy everything is broken. But then Mr. Crosswire tells her that their power is simply out.
Dave picks up Buster and his mom, as they too have no power. Jane invited all who needed warmth, so the house is quite full everyone brought food so stew will be made.
The power cuts in the Read household everyone's going to die in a heap, according to D.W., but Dave'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.
The Crosswires may have a way of keeping warm that no-one else can afford, but they don't and are soon invited over to the Reads, however Mr Crosswire didn't bring food, so the stew portions may be a little smaller. Francine realizes that they are today much like the pioneers and her report is nearing completion.
The storm ends, Prunella remarks "I told you so" (presumably to Brain) over and over, and it is time to dig out. Francine concludes that we all need each other to help each other - they all dig out the Reads' garden, Crosswire fetches his food and the men inside the school are rescued.
Eventually, Francine's report is done. 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.
- Arthur Read
- D.W. Read
- David Read
- Jane Read
- Francine Frensky
- Buster Baxter
- Nigel Ratburn
- Francis Haney
- Mr. Morris
- Ed Crosswire
- Oliver Frensky
- Kate Read
- Prunella Deegan
- The Brain
- Mrs. Powers (voice only)
- Muffy Crosswire
- Santa Claus (Fantasy)
- Thora Read
- Millicent Crosswire
- Dr. Jake
- Maria Pappas
- Sue Ellen Armstrong
- George Lundgren
- Fern Walters
- Jenna Morgan
- Binky Barnes
- 3rd Grade Male Aardvark
- Laverne Frensky
- Leah MacGrady
- Bitzi Baxter
- Mrs. Wood
- Catherine Frensky
- Mr. Powers
- Wanda Deegan
- Rattles can be seen twice struggling to ride a bike in the storm.
- The episode may have been influenced by a real life ice storm that occurred in January 1998 in which Canada (where the show was produced) was affected.
- 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 (notice how the characters are drawn slightly differently and the colors aren't as bright), as well as Jane Read's dialogue, however D.W.'s dialogue was re-recorded with Oliver Grainger providing her voice for the sake of preserving continuity throughout the episode.
- At the end, when Jane closes the freezer, she keeps pushing it. But when the inside view is seen, the freezer door is still a few seconds, and then it closes.
- 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 power is out across the entire country. If the entire United States truly was without power, it would result in mass civil unrest and leave it vulnerable to invasion by a hostile country. It is likely the actual line was "county", and it was misread by the actress.
- Ed answers the phone even though their power is out although it may be a battery powered phone.
- Jane states that the radio said the power was out everywhere however if the power is out then the radio would not be working although she may have been listening to the radio in the car.