"The Chips are Down"

The Chips are Down

The Chips are Down Title Card

Season/Series: 3
Number in season: 5A
Original Airdate: Flag of the United States November 20, 1998[1]
Flag of Canada September 10, 1999[2]
Flag of Germany February 27, 2002[3]
Written by: Joe Fallon
Storyboard by: Stéphanie Gignac
"And Now Let's Talk to Some Kids"
"Revenge of the Chip"

"The Chips are Down" is the first half of the fifth episode in the third season of Arthur.


D.W. eats a gigantic green potato chip - then hears a rumor that the green ones are poisonous!


At the Sugar Bowl, D.W. decides to poll Arthur and Francine, telling them that "children should seek out the opinions of elders they respect." She asks each of them to name something that they have always wanted to do: Arthur says he wants to play a real piano concert. Leaving D.W. unimpressed, Arthur tells her that it's more exciting when you do it while skydiving. Francine says that she would like to practice hockey on Saturn (on its rings in the dream), where there is no friction or gravity. D.W. spots Binky, calling him "Big-Head Kid" before asking him the same question. He thinks for a while, and comes up with something he always wanted to do: Binky tells Arthur and Francine to look outside, then drinks their milkshakes whole while they are not looking. Binky then walks off proudly.

On a rainy day at the Read house, as part of the Potato Chip Club, Arthur and Buster classify a bag of potato chips based on their traits, such as size, burnt ones, ones that look like ducks, and ones that look like familiar people. As D.W. sneaks in on them to get a potato chip, they refuse to give her any until they're done. As D.W. goes to tell Jane that they won't share, Arthur and Buster find a big green potato chip in the bag. They put it down on the board they are organizing all the potato chips on before Jane calls them to negotiate with them about sharing with D.W. While they are talking with Jane, D.W. sneaks into the dining room where their potato chips are. She is surprised and amazed to see the big green potato chip, and eats it. She rushes upstairs before Arthur and Buster see her. Shocked, and assuming that D.W. ate the big green chip, they try to scare her into coming down by having a fake discussion between each other about big green chips being poisoned, and that there is no cure. Believing as well that green potato chips are poisoned, Nadine advises D.W. to tell Jane about what she did. D.W. refuses since Jane told her not to eat any of Arthur and Buster's potato chips, and instead, decides to find out for sure if green potato chips really are poisoned. At the playground, D.W. ask the Tibble Twins, and surprisingly, they mention green potato chips being poisoned. Binky, at the swings trying to ride up over the bar, is also shocked to hear this, declaring that he ate a green chip two days before. D.W. convinces Binky, who refers to her as "Arthur's sister", to start living out the last days of their lives before they die from eating a green potato chip. Binky and D.W. start doing a series of activities within one day: fly a kite using five rolls of string, sail toy boats on a pond, go swimming in a lake, watch a fireworks show, make jack-o'-lanterns, play and jump in a pile of leaves, and make a unicorn and castle entirely out of snow.

Even on their own, D.W. and Binky start making a big deal out of the activities they do over the next few days. Despite it being May, D.W. watches Christmas videos, hoping to see all of them before she dies. At school, Binky shows The Brain a short bucket list he made, referring to is as "a list of my three biggest goals in life", asking him how he can complete it. When Mr. Ratburn asks Binky for his homework, Binky blatantly questions Mr. Ratburn on the point of doing homework, shocking everybody in the class as well as Mr. Ratburn. At kindergarten, Ms. Morgan talks to her class about careers they can have when they grow up. D.W. asks if there is a career that she can have "by my next birthday", mentioning that she does not want to just sit around and watch the Tibbles eat paper paste. Binky is turned in to Mr. Haney about refusing to do homework, but motivates him to not let the gift of a beautiful life pass them by. Shockingly to Mr. Ratburn, Mr. Haney thanks Binky: he calls him a "budding Walt Whitman", and supports him on such ideas of life. He then goes off, hoping to not be a "life-fritterer-awayerer" and inspired to climb Mount Everest. At lunch, the Brain discusses Binky's life goals with him: Binky's first goal is to "take a bite out of the Sun", but Brain tells him not to do it since it is simply way too hot to handle; he also advises against Binky's second goal - to drink a whole ocean, saying that saltwater makes people sick. Left with one last goal, Binky goes off nervously, but proudly into a ballet school.

At the treehouse, Arthur brings a board game to play with Buster and Francine. He tells them that D.W. had the game last, and neatly put everything back, and even kissed him good-night last night. Buster brings up his invitation to Binky's upcoming ballet recital, to which Arthur and Francine were also invited to. They all acknowledge these two events as "eerie". They also spot D.W. and Binky discussing how amazing it is to closely examine leaves. Binky personally invites D.W. to his ballet recital, since she was an inspiration to him to follow his dreams; Arthur, Buster and Francine are left stunned about D.W. inspiring Binky. Back at the Read house, D.W. shows Jane her outfit to Binky's recital, disappointed that she may not wear it again. Meanwhile, Arthur is eating from another bag of potato chips, and pulls out another green potato chip. Surely enough, D.W. swipes the chip from Arthur's hands, claiming that green potato chips are poison. Arthur laughs and finally tells D.W. that it is simply not true, and that it is just something people say for fun. It's from D.W.'s efforts to save his life that Arthur finds out D.W. did eat the big green potato chip at the beginning of the episode, and that D.W. was only being nice, weird to Arthur, because she spent all that time thinking she will die from poison. This leaves D.W. embarrassed. Nadine tells D.W. that she should've told Jane right away when she thought she was poisoned.

At Binky's ballet recital, Arthur and his friends watch him dance, which Binky does really well. Off stage, D.W. whispers to Binky that green potato chips really aren't poisoned. Shocked, and nervous to be performing ballet without a sure reason anymore, Binky runs off stage and sits down with the audience wearing a leather jacket over his leotard. Arthur and his friends, as well as Binky's friends, the Tough Customers, admit that they liked his performance, calling him "the best part". Encouraged, Binky quickly gets back on stage to finish the recital, catching fellow ballerina Rubella at the end of her grand jeté. After the recital, Jane tells D.W. that she "does not have to worry alone." Binky also thanks D.W. for inspiring him to do ballet, saying that he really likes it, and that he would not have gotten into it otherwise. D.W. proudly says that it was all thanks to green potato chips. Binky and D.W. give each other formal introductions, telling each other their real names, and walk off with Binky hoping to start working on his own ballet. Arthur, Buster and Francine are still left surprised that all of this has happened, as well as Binky and D.W. becoming friends, while Buster whispers to Francine that it's because of space aliens. The episode ends while to nobody's attention, a UFO appears outside a window, where two aliens claim to be "ballet fans".







Cultural references

  • Mr. Haney reveals that his lifelong dream is to climb Mount Everest.


  • When Binky asked D.W. what she was talking about Binky jumped off of the swing. It is not possible for the swing to stay up for more than 7 seconds.




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