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"The Contest"
Season/Series: 4
Number in season: 4a
Original Airdate: United States October 8, 1999[1]
Canada January 20, 2000[2]
Credits
Written by: Ken Scarborough
Storyboard by: Robert Yap
Episodes
Previous
"The Fright Stuff"
Next
"Prove It"
Read transcript

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

Summary[]

The kids think about entering a contest to write story ideas for their favorite TV show.

Plot[]

Arthur and his friends are outside in the park when they see Buster writing something down. They think he's doing homework, which freaks them out, since this would be very unlike Buster. It turns out he is writing a story for the Andy and Company contest.

The Contest

Arthur and his friends are watching Andy and Company when Buster presents his story.

The Day The Earth Was Saved (Presented in the art style of 'South Park')

Buster is waiting for aliens to come down to earth. The aliens don't come at first, and Buster gets frustrated. Francine, Arthur and Brain leave, not believing that aliens will come. After they leave, the aliens arrive, and the UFO crushes Buster. Francine comes back and says "Hey, you squished Buster!" The aliens come out of the UFO, and 2 of them carry Arthur into their UFO. They take off his clothes, leaving him in just his underwear. The aliens do not want to eat Arthur, so they throw him out of the UFO. The UFO flies away. And Brain tells Arthur "It appears that you were too high in cholesterol for them, Arthur. These aliens, though evil, must be health conscious." Arthur, Brain, and Francine then scream "THE EARTH IS SAVED!" Buster then wakes up from being knocked out and asks his friends "What happened?"

THE END.

After Buster's story, Arthur seems offended by being referred to as "high in cholesterol", and claims he's "just as edible as anybody!" Everyone wants to write a story. In the kitchen, Arthur is writing a story when D.W. sneakily appears to get a cookie from him, bothering Arthur. He begins to call for Jane, but then, he looks at the camera, smiles, and continues his story. At The Sugar Bowl, Muffy presents her story.

My Life As a TV Show (Presented in 'Beavis & Butthead' art style)

At a fashion show, Muffy comes out on stage in a green costume that resembles a Teletubby. In the audience, Buster and Arthur make a comment about her and laugh to which Muffy hears this and goes backstage upset. Then D.W. appears on stage with a white and purple dress and a purple hat to which Buster and Arthur find her to be attractive. Behind the stage, Muffy reveals that she knew that D.W. would be better than her, and decides to switch to plan B, which is a "stink bomb."

THE END.

After Muffy's story, everyone argues until Brain interrupts with his story.

Hair Growth Formula (Presented in the style of 'Dexter's Laboratory')

In his laboratory, scientist Brain shows his friends Francine, Muffy, and Binky his new invention: his hair growth formula, which he discovered when he was inventing a new cherry soda. He turns a bowling ball into a hairy bowling ball and a carrot into a hairy carrot to which Binky asks "Why would anyone want hairy carrots?" Brain replies "To go with hairy fish"; he shows his friends a hairy fish on a plate, which makes his friends feel sick, and they leave. Brain then reveals to the viewers that his new invention is unappreciated. Later on, Arthur shows up and asks Brain if the formula is his new invention. To which Brain replies "Yes. It's some kind of deodorant." Arthur replies "Good. Because I ran all the way here and I stink." Before Brain can stop him, Arthur uses the formula and gets turned into a hairy being resembling a couch with glasses. When Arthur sees his reflection in a mirror he runs into the woods to hide and meets Bigfoot who looks like a big hairy couch himself. Arthur asks Bigfoot if he used Brain's hair growth formula invention too, to which Bigfoot nods in agreement.

THE END.

After Brain's story, Francine and Binky present their story.

The Amazing Fight (Inspired by WWE events)

In a wrestling match, Arthur faces off with the famous wrestler Hulk Hogan and Arthur manages to win the fight by just kicking his right foot on the mat which causes Hulk to scream like a girl and run away scared. The announcer then announces that Arthur will fight John L. Sullivan, Floyd Patterson, Barney Rose, and the United Press International.

THE END.

After Francine and Binky's story, Francine questions why Arthur fights the United Press International, to which Binky admits he accidentally copied that from under the picture. Then, Arthur presents his story.

The Troubled Sister (Presented in the style of 'Dr. Katz')

10 years into the future, Arthur (who is now 18 years old) visits his psychologist and tells him that his sister D.W. has been troubling him. He then tells the psychologist a story of how last week, he had D.W. go and get his car while he went to get his new house. When D.W. gets to Arthur's new house Arthur asks "Where's my car?" And D.W. replies "Your car was just blah! I traded it in for something much nicer." The new car that D.W. bought for Arthur is a girl's car with a pony on it, to which Arthur lets out a horrified scream.

THE END.

After Arthur's story, everyone mails their story. Five years later, they eventually find out the winner: Holly Holland. While they're in the park, Arthur says they could come up with more stories, and Binky replies, "Without a contest?" Arthur then asks if they remember how much fun they had, and Buster says that Arthur's right: "Who cares who won?"

Muffy then suggests that they can write about things that happened to them; Francine replies that there is just one thing wrong with that: "Nothing's ever happened to us."

Arthur replies "Are you kidding? What about when we first had Mr. Ratburn? We thought he was a monster."

Buster adds, "Right, or when I moved away."

Francine says, "I guess you could do something about when I taught Arthur to play baseball."

The episode then ends with the characters thanking the people who came up with the stories throughout the episode.

Characters[]

Major[]

Minor[]

Mentioned[]

Trivia[]

  • At the end of the 2000 rerun intro on PBS Kids before this episode, Arthur’s crashing sound changes to pots and pans.
  • As revealed after the episode, the idea for "The Contest" was by Holly Holland. She won TV Guide's "Create Your Own Arthur Episode!" contest in 1998.[3] Her entry was one of over 10,300 submitted story ideas. Five other entries, while not winning entries, were included in "The Contest" as the stories that Arthur and his friends send into the Andy and Company contest. Holland is featured in the A Word from Us Kids segment following the episode.
  • Arthur and Francine argue about what animal Andy is, which is a reference to the fact that people mistake Arthur as a bear or a mouse instead of an aardvark.
  • Jodie Resther, the voice of Francine, provided the uncredited screaming voice of Hulk Hogan.[citation needed]
  • The ripple effect used to transition in and out of the various stories is unique to this episode and is considerably different than the usual effect used for fantasies and flashbacks. The sound effect accompanying it is also different.
  • Despite the writer's contest for this episode ending in 1999, the segment of the characters announcing the winners is still included in airings of this episode after - both PBS and internationally.
  • This is Muffy's 100th appearance in the series.
  • According to animation production member, Peter Huggan, the animation for the South Park parody was made by constructing the characters out of felt and shot using the tradition stop-motion camera method,[4] similar to how the first episode of South Park was made. This is the last example of a camera being used to capture drawn frames (excluding the A Word from Us Kids played in PBS releases of Arthur).
  • The Doctor Katz parody was met with discontent by AKOM animators for how divergent the art style was from Arthur with its Squigglevision-style outlines.[5]
  • Andy and Company is a parody of Arthur itself mocking the common Arthur and D.W. dynamic. The art style is similar to The Little Lulu Show (In the story, D.W. is wearing a similar-looking outfit that the titular character wore) which was produced by CINAR (now WildBrain), like Arthur.
  • TV Schedule is a parody of TV Guide.
  • This episode shares the title from the Seinfeld episode of the same name, which is also from that show's season 4.
  • Several parodies of other animated series that were popular at the time are prominently featured in this episode:
    • Buster's story "The Day the Earth Was Saved" parodies South Park, in particular, the series premiere entitled "Cartman Gets an Anal Probe".
      • The flying saucer falling on Buster and Francine yelling "Hey! You squished Buster!" is a reference to South Park's running gag of the character Kenny McCormick dying coupled with the phrase "Oh my God! They killed Kenny!"
      • The aliens resemble the most common type of aliens found in the South Park show.
    • Muffy's story "My Life as a TV Show" parodies MTV's Beavis and Butt-Head with Arthur as Beavis and Buster as Butt-Head.
      • Buster pokes fun at Muffy in a fashion show calling her the fifth Teletubby, as her fashion show outfit resembles a character from the Teletubbies.
      • After Buster jokingly tells Arthur of Muffy's resemblance of a Teletubby, the two do the iconic Beavis and Butt-Head laugh.
      • Arthur's AB/CD T-shirt parodies the AC/DC logo.
      • This is the second reference of the MTV animated series, Beavis and Butt-Head. The first instance happens in the episode "Buster and the Daredevils" with the comic Peabrain and Nuthead.
    • Brain's story parodies Dexter's Laboratory, with Brain as Dexter and Arthur as Dee Dee (although not physically, as Muffy and Francine instead share Dee Dee's tall body and long limbs).
      • The story briefly features the legendary Bigfoot, along with the infamous fur-bearing trout hoax, though the latter may be a coincidence.
      • The shape of Brain's desk is based on the original Boomerang logo.
      • A screenshot of this reference is seen again in the season 19 episode, "Brain's Brain."
    • Francine and Binky's story "The Amazing Fight" is based on the real-life WWE (then known as WWF). Except for Arthur, everyone's a moderately, realistically drawn human.
    • Arthur's story parodies Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist. The original was computer-animated using a method called "Squigglevision". The Arthur segment uses normal animation but imitates the wiggling lines.

Episode connections[]

The Contest 341

Arthur's skin tone is briefly off-model.

Errors[]

  • In the scene from five years later, Arthur's skin tone is momentarily a lighter color.


Home Video[]

VHS:

DVD:

Gallery[]

Main article: The Contest/Gallery

References[]


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