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"What's in a Name?"
Season/Series: 15
Number in season: 7b
Original Airdate: United States April 16, 2012[1]
Canada May 23, 2013[2]
United Kingdom January 26, 2011
Australia October 16, 2010
Germany December 31, 2012[3]
Written by: John Marsh
Storyboard by: Gerry Capelle
Robert Yap
"Prunella the Packrat"
"Muffy's Classy Classics Club"
Read transcript

"What's in a Name?" is the second half of the seventh episode in the fifteenth season of Arthur.


Muffy threatens to reveal Binky's real name, Shelley, after she thinks his winning the class award for most improved student is undeserved after she is in trouble.


Arthur is busy when D.W. brings in a new stuffed animal and she makes him help her name her stuffed animal. Arthur goes over how it is an elaborate process, and as such, D.W. must be blind-folded and spun around, then the first letter of the first thing she sees will be the first letter of the objects name. Then she drinks milk with cinnamon and chants random words before kicking her legs and sipping the drink through her curly straw. She then takes a nap with the doll under the pillow where she proceeds to dream of the doll or stuffed animal. Arthur mentions then she eventually gets a name. The penguin shall be named Xeno. Arthur then asks why names are so important to some people.

What's In a Name?

Mr. Ratburn goes on to give a special award to a student who truly deserves it, stating that he only gives out one normally, but this was a very special award, so he's given a second one to Binky! Binky is very surprised and is asked to say a few words. As he stands up, he hears Muffy discussing something over the cellphone during his speech until Mr. Ratburn scolds her and asks her to be quiet.

Muffy is then in trouble as Mr. Ratburn claims she has done this four times previously and she has been very rude to Binky. So he takes her cellphone away, as well as Muffy is punished for an entire week from recess. Everyone is in shock as Muffy grows angry, she goes to leave, but is reminded that she has to stay back, starting the day she got punished. While inside Muffy staples together papers when Mr. Haney comes inside and mentions how beautiful and nice today is, unaware that Muffy is actually in trouble. He asks her to give the class list to Mr. Ratburn and looks over it to see her name, then notices someone named "Shelley Barnes". She asks who that is and is quick to recognize the name.

At the end of the day she sits in her limo as Binky walks by. She then confronts him over it, but Binky denies this accusation and she shows him the class list to prove how right she is. It is then Muffy threatens to reveal his name on Monday.

At home, Mrs. Barnes even tells him that his name is really Shelley. Binky is noticeably upset and mentions how annoyed he is by being named Shelley. She tries to tell him that she will keep it a secret and right away Binky sends a message to Muffy and asks her what she wants in order to keep his secret a secret. Unfortunately, he is unable to provide either thing and he lays in bed that night imagining what everybody will do when they hear of his real name. He expects that everybody will mock him, including Mr. Ratburn.

It is then Mrs. Barnes comes into the room with some food. She then shows him a very old photo of his great grandfather: Shelley Barnes.

Binky asks her about his position in the circus and she mentions he eventually owned the circus. Originally he was in a, somewhat-bad circus and nobody really had fun. While nine years old, Shelley would help the trapeze artist prepare, a heartbroken clown, the lion tamer as his apprentice. Eventually nobody would come anymore and one day while on a walk, Shelley found his talent! He became known as the world's strongest boy and with all of the money they were making, they managed to fix the problems. Such as providing a real, friendly lion, a trapeze artist partner, and they gave the old lion (a cat) to the sad clown. So Shelley saved the circus.

Binky begins to feel a happier now, knowing how amazing his ancestor was and soon the following Monday he resumes his speech. But not before Muffy interrupts and asks to introduce Binky, really planning on giving away his secret. However, she then quits, stating that she was never really going to spoil his secret. At the front of the class Binky then reveals it himself! Everyone is surprised at this revelation. Arthur questions this and Binky explains how he just found out his real name was Shelley. But he still wishes to be known as Binky, but maybe someday he will become Shelley.







Episode connections

  • Like "Nicked by a Name," this episode explores how names affect people.
  • The ending uses music from the Trucks movie from "The Agent of Change."
  • In this episode, George thinks he has won the "Thinky," until Mr. Ratburn corrects him to say Binky was the actual winner. This is a subversion of the ongoing running gag in which George tends to win most awards and contests.
  • Lionel the Lion Tamer looks exactly like Gus Grim the Child Trainer from "Mind Your Manners."

Cultural references

  • D.W.'s naming ceremony is somewhat similar to a Sikh's naming ceremony (Hukamnama) as she has to point to a random thing which will be the first letter of the toy's name, but in Sikhism, they have to open the holy book at a random page and the first letter on that page will be the first letter of the baby's name.
  • Binky mentions Machiavelli, a political scientist of the Renaissance who described the deceitful and violent measures used by the rulers of his time.
  • Ferdinand the Flying Fox may be named for a genus of fruit bats.


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