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"To Eat or Not to Eat"

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Season/Series: 15
Number in season: 5a
Original Airdate: United States October 14, 2011[1]
Canada February 15, 2012[3]
United Kingdom November 18, 2010[2]
Australia October 3, 2010
Germany December 20, 2012[4]
Written by: Ken Pontac
Storyboard by: Rob Clark
Karine Charlebois
Guy Lamoureux
"Buster the Lounge Lizard"
Read transcript

"To Eat or Not to Eat" is the first half of the fifth episode in the fifteenth season of Arthur.


A brand new candy bar is in town! But why is it making everyone behave so strangely? And what exactly is this ingredient called Tri-Enzomated Zorn Jelly, anyway?


Buster is a private eye, and he talks about how something was in the air and describes it with food. This makes him hungry, so he takes an apple from a cabinet in his desk, but before he takes a bit of the apple, a Big Boss bar as a lady appears asking for help, which causes Buster to drop his apple.

To Eat or Not to Eat

Arthur and Buster are watching Bionic Bunny. In the show, Bionic Bunny is trapped and a villain is about to give him a brain freeze. The scene cuts to black, and a commercial for a new candy bar called the Big Boss bar comes on. After watching the commercial, Buster wants one, so he leaves Arthur's house and goes to The Sugar Bowl. When he reaches The Sugar Bowl, he notices Binky, who has a bag full of Big Boss bars. Inside, he sees that the rack of Big Boss bars are empty, until he finds one left behind the rack. He then decides he will eat it at lunch.

In the cafeteria, Buster shows the bar to Mrs. MacGrady, but she notices that there are several ingredients on the nutrition label that she hasn't heard of, and she warns Buster about eating it. At the lunch tables, Buster sees George begging to get a bar from Binky, but doesn't have the money, which makes Buster start to have a funny feeling about the candy. Buster also notices that after his friends finish enjoying the candy, they become tired, sluggish and begin to have headaches. After talking to Brain and going to the library to learn more about the ingredients, he finds out that some of the ingredients in the candy bar come from beetles and may be radioactive. When Buster tells his mother, she proclaims that they should take a tour of the candy factory.

When Buster and his mother visit the factory, they quickly discover that the ingredients in the candy are addictive. Mrs. Baxter writes the article in her newspaper about it, exposing the candy factory's secret and ending the sales of Big Boss bars. While Binky tries unsuccessfully to sell the now unwanted Big Boss bars, Buster admits of being proud that he never tried the candy, while he eats an apple.






This is the last time in the U.S that the "Buster Arrives on a Spaceship" title card is used.

Episode connections

Cultural references

  • The title of this episode is a parody of the line "To be or not to be," from the famous Shakespeare play, Hamlet.
  • The Bionic Bunny villain is a parody of Mr. Freeze.
  • Buster’s fantasies are a parody of Film Noir, a crime movie genre popular in the 1940s and 1950s.
  • Oxylavamonotrine is fictional, but there is a red food dye called carmine that is extracted from cochineals, a kind of bug.
  • Several Big Boss Bar ingredients refer to creators of Arthur:
    • Boudnikovium Oxide - Igor Boudnikov (animation)
    • Benadrihelenecossette - Helene Cossette (storyboard)
    • Butylated Hydroxydumoulin - Natalie Dumoulin (producer)
    • Catatonic Chiaravillarsulfite - Chiara Villar (production coordinator)
    • Chlorophyllum Ivantankushevellose - Ivan Tankushev (storyboard)
    • Cocoylkeithodonnell…cosimine - Keith O’Donnell (animation)
    • Toxi-RobclarkSB-sulfide - Rob Clark (storyboard)
    • XGbaileytriacid and sulfate - Greg Bailey (director)
  • Buster remarks the Big Boss Bars will last for centuries thanks to all the chemicals in them. This is a reference to the urban legend that Twinkies have so many chemicals, they have an indefinite shelf life.
  • The episode is a metaphor for drug addiction. Like the candy bars, drugs contain harmful substances that affect the body. When the people who eat the candy bars become tired and get headaches, this is similar to a drug user experiencing a crash after getting high from drugs such as heroin, cocaine, or meth.

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