"The Great MacGrady"

The Great MacGrady

TGM Title Card

Season/Series: 13
Number in season: 1
Original Airdate: Flag of the United States October 19, 2009[1]
Flag of Canada May 7, 2010[3]
Flag of the United Kingdom March 1, 2010 [2]
Written by: Peter K. Hirsch
Leah Ryan
Storyboard by: Zhigang Wang
"D.W.'s Furry Freak-out"
"The Silent Treatment"
Read transcript
"The Great MacGrady" is the first episode in the thirteenth season of Arthur. It is a two-part episode.


When Mrs. MacGrady is diagnosed with cancer, Arthur and his friends behave differently to the news - Arthur and D.W. rush to her side with heaps of chicken soup and stuffed animals, Muffy tries to pretend that nothing in her life has changed, and Francine is so upset that she can't even bring herself to visit Mrs. MacGrady.


Everyone loves Mrs. MacGrady, the school's cook for the cafeteria, with her warm friendly ways and her excellent cooking. Until one day, while Buster is keeping record for the school lunch and making predictions for that day's lunch menu in his school lunch almanac, he and his friends observe that she did not come to school, and her nephew, Skip Bitterman is the substitute chef. Skip is completely devoid of any culinary skills; the lunches became so appalling that the students cannot even eat them. After about a week without Mrs. MacGrady, Mr. Ratburn reveals the shocking news that she is on leave because she has cancer.

The students all react differently to the news: Muffy does not entirely grasp the situation and stays optimistic while she shops for gifts for her father's birthday. Francine, who lost her grandfather to cancer, starts acting out in various ways, including intentionally losing a soccer game because it won't make Mrs. MacGrady feel any better. Arthur and D.W. pay Mrs. MacGrady a visit, bringing some homemade chicken soup and learning a bit about the illness from her. They promise to visit her every day with further gifts.

At Mr. Crosswire's birthday, Muffy laments about Francine being too sad to help her shop for a proper gift. Her father explains that Francine is just upset about Mrs. MacGrady's illness and encourages her to visit Mrs. MacGrady and maybe bring her a care package.

Francine stays home after having a nightmare that Mrs. MacGrady will never return to work. After school she is visited by Binky and Buster, who are planning to bring gifts to Mrs. MacGrady. Francine declines, but before they leave Binky tries to cheer her up by giving her Lance Armstrong's email address, which he got during the Elwood City Bike-A-Thon. He tells her about Lance's struggles with cancer and eventual recovery, and encourages her to reach out to him. Francine reluctantly does so, but to her and her friends' surprise he writes back and offers to meet with her when he visits Elwood City the following week. Muffy, who is planning on visiting Mrs. MacGrady, offers to bring Francine along so she can share the news, but Francine again refuses to visit.

Muffy arrives just as Arthur and D.W. deliver more gifts to Mrs. MacGrady, including more jars of soup and a giant stuffed bear. Muffy compliments Mrs. MacGrady's bandana, only to learn Mrs. MacGrady is wearing it as she has lost her hair from the Chemotherapy treatment. After Arthur and D.W. leave, Muffy takes a moment to talk with Mrs. MacGrady, who assures her that she intends to get better.

Lance arrives in Elwood City and he and Francine go for a bike ride, where he talks to her about how he got through his cancer diagnosis through medicine and the support of his friends. Francine gets the idea to hold a "Pedal For A Cure" bike race to raise money for cancer research. She gets the help of her friends to promote it. Muffy encourages her to tell Mrs. MacGrady about it, but Francine still shows reluctance to see her.

Muffy returns to Mrs. MacGrady's house just as her sister Martha is taking her to the doctor's office. Noticing the state of the house, she offers to clean the dishes while they are gone but has trouble doing so. When Arthur and D.W. arrive with more gifts, they pitch in and clean up the entire house, leaving a note for Mrs. MacGrady when she returns assuring her that they are her "support team."

The "Pedal For A Cure" is a huge success, with a massive turnout. At the finish line Francine is greeted by Mrs. MacGrady and apologizes for not visiting her previously. Mrs. MacGrady assures her she understands, remarking it can be frightening to see someone you care about when they're sick.

After more than a month of Skip Bitterman's terrible foods, Buster and the rest of the students almost start a revolt. Their uprising is quelled by the return of Mrs. MacGrady, who is not quite cancer-free yet but is healthy enough to return to work. Buster corrects his school lunch almanac with a prediction that the food will be unknown, but will absolutely taste great.








Episode Connections


  • In the soccer game, Francine was goalie, although she is the star forward of the team.
  • When D.W. is shoving the supposedly stuffed polar bear toy, Chilly Billy, through the doorway and drops him on the floor, he winces and closes his eyes as though he were alive.
  • For a brief moment near the beginning of the second half of the episode, Marina is seen at a lunch table in the background. This is the second time that she appears due to an error, the other time also being in Season 13 in MacFrensky.

Production notes

  • In Francine's dream, Mrs. MacGrady was going to walk into light at the end of the hallway.[4] This was decided to be "too much" for kids, so a green wall was placed over the light effects.[5]
  • Reruns of this episode are rare following the Lance Armstrong doping case.




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