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"The Boy Who Cried Comet"
Season/Series: 6
Number in season: 5a
Original Airdate: United States October 22, 2001[1]
Canada January 9, 2002[3]
United Kingdom April 12, 2002 [2]
Credits
Written by: Peter K. Hirsch
Storyboard by: Elie Klimos
Zhigang Wang
Episodes
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"Brother, Can You Spare a Clarinet?"
Next
"Arthur and Los Vecinos"
Read transcript

"The Boy Who Cried Comet" is the first half of the fifth episode in the sixth season of Arthur. It was later adapted into the book Arthur and the Comet Crisis.

Summary[]

Buster uses Muffy's new telescope in an effort to prove that the UFOs he has been seeing are real, but discovers something even more frightening: a comet headed straight for the Earth!

Plot[]

Arthur walks through a desolate area. He tells the viewers to imagine they could go to another dimension where teachers are aliens (Mr. Ratburn appears and pulls his mask off, revealing he was an alien), principals who are robots (Principal Haney appears as a robot and explodes) and more UFOs than stars in the sky. He then concludes the intro, saying "Your next stop, the 'Buster Zone.'"

The Boy Who Cried Comet

Arthur and Fern are at Arthur's locker, with Fern deducing that Arthur slept in late and was in a rush to get to school, when Buster rushes up to them, saying that something is happening. They go over to the ice cream parlor, where Buster explains that he saw a fleet of UFOs the night before. Brain debunks this theory, saying that it is crazy. 

Determined to prove Brain wrong, Buster (along with Arthur) sets up a telescope that was borrowed from Muffy and looks through it. One night, after several failed attempts, Buster discovers a comet. After observing the comet's position for several days, he puts calculations onto a computer, and finds out the comet is projected to hit Earth in 37 days. At dinner, he asks his mom about the ramifications of a comet hitting Earth. She says that depending on its size, there could be a big explosion, and dust could block out the sun, leading to another ice age. She also mentions the theory that a comet killed off the dinosaurs. This makes Buster very nervous. Later that night, he dreams about a comet hitting Earth after Bionic Bunny fails to stop it from doing so.

The next day, Buster tells Arthur about the comet as well as a few other kids, but they pay no attention. Buster then turns to Brain, who reluctantly agrees to see if Buster's findings are correct. 

At the tree house, Brain confirms that Buster was right, confirming that a comet is actually bound for Earth. As the others run around screaming, Fern steps on a screw and finds out that it was missing from the telescope. The next day, Fern explains to Arthur and D.W. that the missing screw was the reason why the readings were wrong: the comet wasn't going to hit Earth after all. Buster and Brain show up with newspapers that talk about Buster's comet discovery.  

In the end, it is revealed that there is an alien director and that the kids are actually portrayed by alien actors.

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Trivia[]

  • The telescope part that Fern picked up appears to be a fastening bolt for the telescope tripod and the telescope; however, this part does not appear to be a computer part, so the computer shouldn't have malfunctioned without it.
    • The problem was most likely that, without the piece, the direction the telescope was pointing to was getting shifted, and this led to Buster misreading the comet's position.
  • The fact that Mr. Ratburn pulled off his head to reveal he was an alien in the teaser is a reference to the episode's ending.
  • This was one of the first Season 6 episodes to be redubbed by Mark Rendall.
  • When Arthur and Buster pull off their rubber masks, their alien forms are seen. However, Brain's, Fern's and D.W.'s alien forms are not seen. However, as the screen zooms out to show Arthur-alien and Buster-alien walking out, if the screen is paused at the right time, the viewers can see a yellow alien wearing a pink dress (D.W.), a purple alien with a gray shirt (Brain) and a blue alien with a purple shirt (Fern) walking away.
  • When Buster screams, the dramatic sting heard on Cyberchase is played
  • The Justin Bradley version of this episode story is available on the VHS and DVD editions of Arthur Gets Spooked.

Episode connections[]

Cultural references[]

  • The title is a reference to one of Aesop's Fables, The Boy Who Cried Wolf.
  • The opening of this episode is a parody of the opening of the show The Twilight Zone.
  • Mrs. Marble's "Handbook for Young Detectives" alludes to Miss Marple, a fictional amateur detective created by Agatha Christie.
  • The way the aliens in Buster's fantasy communicate with colored lights and sounds is a reference to the film Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
  • The discovery via computer that a large comet is headed towards Earth after it being sawn on a telescope is likely a reference to the opening of Deep Impact.
  • Buster mentions Heather McCurdy who, with two other high school students, discovered an asteroid (not a planetoid) in 1998.

Errors[]

  • D.W., the Tibble Twins, and several preschoolers are seen briefly in the background when Buster climbs up the jungle gym.

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