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NOTE: Because D.W. caused so many of these on her own over the series' run, she now has her own folder. Please regulate all examples regarding her and her alone to said folder. Thank you.
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Caused by D.W. alone
In "Arthur's Big Hit", Arthur attempts to build a model plane and is continually pestered, insulted and generally annoyed by D.W. She even knocks over his jar of paint and touches the model while it is still drying (the latter of which she tries to blame Arthur for), despite his constant warnings not to interfere or touch anything. A week later, the model is finished and D.W., believing the plane can fly, throws it out the window. Naturally, Arthur is upset when he finds the broken model and subsequently punches D.W., resulting in him being punished by his parents. From this, you'd expect a "fighting doesn't solve problems" Aesop, which, in and of itself, isn't badů but there are two massive problems with how it's handled here:
While Arthur's actions are most certainly wrong (even this is debatable, remember the tropes Violence Really Is the Answer and Violence Is the Only Option since it would seem nothing else is able to knock some sense (no pun intended) in DW, be it reasoning with her, being nice (being overly nice may have helped mold her into a Spoiled Brat) to her or just giving her a stern warning), D.W.'s complete lack of empathy towards him, even when she sees Arthur's quite visibly upset (seriously, she doesn't even apologize), makes it very hard to sympathize with her.
Nobody really seems to take Arthur's loss into consideration or acknowledges D.W.'s actions as wrong, too. Arthur actually points out to his parents that he warned D.W. not to mess with his model plane and his mom says, "We'll deal with what she did. But what you did is wrong, too," yet we never get to see or hear them call D.W. out. When Arthur has to apologize to her at the end, she still justifies what she did. If her parents even bothered to call her out on her behavior, they did a shoddy job at it.
Regarding the above entry, is it any surprise that Arthur initially felt no remorse for his punching D.W.? People tend not to feel remorseful for their wrongdoings when no one seems to care about their side of any conflict.
Additionally, why didn't Arthur ever let his parents know about D.W.'s lousy behavior (as useless as they are)? You would think that knowing him, he would do anything to put a stop to it, but he didn't. He continued to let her act like a complete bitch until it was too late, which completely goes against his character. Maybe Arthur told his parents about D.W.'s behavior off-screen (or deemed them too useless to help), but that makes things even worse because it only proves that his parents are terrible.
To make matters worse, Arthur left his plane in plain sight in his room instead of putting it in a place that D.W. couldn't (easily) access. He knows how bothersome D.W. is, so why did the writers hand him the Idiot Ball?
...and when Arthur finally realized the error of his ways, D.W. is seen smiling behind her mother. Either she was happy that Arthur finally understood how she felt, or she was just being a smug, little brat. Probably both.
Binky hits Arthur later in the episode purely out of peer pressure... and not one person gets mad at him for it. When Arthur comes home after being hit, his father says something along the lines of "Well, maybe that's how D.W. felt when you punched her." WHAT?! Even taking into account the supposed "taste of his own medicine" aspect of this incident, what parent says something like that after their (normally nice) kid gets punched by someone at school?! (It would seem comparable to a judge (even though there isn't an "official" law to punish brats) sentencing a criminal for prison as punishment for their misdeeds, and the criminal, after purging their sentence, hiring crooks to offer the judge a taste of that bitter medicine, or even something worse, but in the sole goal of proving they are still dangerous, I doubt telling the judge "you got what you deserve" would make any sense) Binky himself gets off scot-free, except for the guilt he feels - not that it seems to matter; the next day, Arthur actually THANKS Binky for hitting him, which entirely defeats the purpose of the episode.
They could have made the Aesop work better by using some character other than Arthur. He's not an aggressive person by any means, so to make it realistic for him to hit someone, they had that person push so many buttons that once he actually did punch, you were kinda congratulating him for standing up for once. Francine, on the other hand, or Binky, seem more aggressive, and would have worked.
The most unbelievable part of this episode was Arthur's friends being disappointed with him for hitting a little girl. I've never seen a child yet who thought hitting a younger sibling was wrong. And just add the impetus of having their toys broken.
This gets even worse when Buster, who had witnessed some of D.W.'s meddling with the plane and even said, "I never thought about it before, but being an only child is nice!", is in utter disbelief that Arthur hit D.W.
Francine and Muffy also acted very irritating in this episode. In class, Francine told Binky about what Arthur did to his sister without considering how it would make Arthur feel, and Muffy said that no one saw Arthur's side of the story simply because "he was wrong." That's not how you resolve conflicts, little Miss Covered-In-Diamonds.
The writing is simply too messy for anyone to figure out exactly what the writers were trying to teach. Are we supposed to feel sorry for Arthur, D.W., both, or neither?
"Play It Again, D.W.", where she won't stop playing the "Crazy Bus" song (this was established in the previous story, "Buster Baxter, Cat Saver"). Despite Arthur complaining that she needs to stop playing it, their parents don't do anything about it until the end of the episode. Also, when it goes missing and D.W. accuses Arthur of stealing it, despite her lack of proof, the parents and Arthur's friends are willing to take her side of the argument!
Arthur did nothing except threaten to break the CD if D.W. didn't stop playing it. This was why everyone suspected Arthur of taking the CD. This is understandable, and we are supposed to sympathize with him, but the events leading to this go over the top. When Arthur makes this threat, he had been constantly listening to D.W. playing the song over and over and over again and had unwillingly taken her to the Crazy Bus concert. He made the threat because D.W. blasted it at full volume while he was trying to do his homework. His parents' response to a threat to break a CD so he could finally get some peace and quiet to study? They send him to his room for the rest of the night and ground him from watching TV. "Not fair" does not even BEGIN to describe this.
Yet another D.W. example, this time from the episode "For Whom the Bell Tolls" where she has laryngitis. Basically, she's been bothering Arthur with her non-stop talking; when she loses her voice, he's happy to have some peace and quiet, which he tells Francine. She reacts by calling him mean. Oh yes, because perfect Francine's never quarreled with her sister, and she's never wanted some peace and quiet in her life. The worst part? D.W. starts treating Arthur like a slave; when he discovers that her voice has returned and she's only pretending otherwise so that he has to keep doing whatever she wants, Francine only agrees to help because she wants Arthur to stop complaining, not because what D.W. is doing is dishonest and wrong. At least she does have some form of Laser-Guided Karma that wasn't a punch to the face.
The annoying part is that when Arthur tells his mother D.W. is faking, she immediately jumped to defend DW, despite the fact that DW has in the past faked an ailment in order to get attention and special treatment. She doesn't even investigate the possibility that Arthur could have been right, and immediately blew him off.
"D.W. Goes to Washington". Arthur's family decides they want to go to DC. D.W. complains that she'd rather go to "Pony Land", and boy, does she bring it up! She complains all week before they go to DC, barely accepting the trip. Along the way, she annoys the family by talking about ponies at every opportunity. When they're finally in DC, D.W. complains about EVERY LANDMARK. Finally, she decides to escape, causing the family to panic and get help from the secret services. D.W. is found by the president, who LOVES her, and goes on to make Arthur's life miserable. Karma Houdini may as well be renamed "The D.W."!
Dad tells a Secret Service agent to look for a girl named D.W. The agent asks, "D.W.? You didn't give her a proper name? Only initials?" Dad just stammers while Mom rolls her eyes. Newsflash, Mr. Read: HER NAME IS DORA WINIFRED. How does a parent who knew their child SINCE BIRTH not know their full name? When you say someone's name is D.W., are you talking about Dora Winifred, Darrell Waltrip, or someone else with those initials?
Also, why didn't Mrs. Read say anything to defend her husband? You would think that she would have told the secret agent that "D.W." is actually her first daughter's first and middle initials, but you would be wrong.
"Arthur's Chicken Pox". Basically, she spends the entire episode complaining about how Arthur gets "special treatment" just because he got the chicken pox... even after her parents and her grandma tell her that having chicken pox is not fun. So, how does it end? DW gets the chicken pox, and she acts as if it was the best thing in the world. Seriously? No comeuppance for her? No realizing that having the chicken pox sucks?
The book version of the episode has a much more satisfying ending. Doesn't make the episode any less of a Wallbanger, though.
She at least later admits it sucked having them in "D.W.'s Perfect Wish," but still.
In the episode "D.W. Flips", DW begs her mom to let her join a gymnastics class. Long story short, after trying to do a flip on the balance beam (which she clearly is too young and inexperienced to do), her mother manages to catch her and reprimand her for her dangerous behavior. How does DW react? Does she apologize and promise never to do it again? Nope, she just tells her mom that she now wants to take horseback riding lessons... Hand meet face.
In the episode "Bleep!", DW learns a "swear word"/"curse word" (we have to take the story's word for it, since the producers want to avoid Do Not Do This Cool Thing) and accidentally goes around telling it to everyone without understanding what it means. When her parents find out, her mother tells her it means "I want to hurt your feelings". What? For a show that has handled topics like death, 9/11 (in the form of a school fire), Aspergers, and even cancer with surprising maturity, this is overly childish and insulting. Why not just say "it makes people feel uncomfortable" or "it's an impolite way of talking about something you're too young to understand"? "I want to hurt your feelings" makes it sound like DW was calling people "doody-heads" instead of swearing.
To drive the Wall Banger further, let's compare "Bleep!" with a similar episode of The Berenstain Bears in which Sister learns a pseudo-swear word in the form of "Furball". In that episode, the whole "It hurts people's feelings" explanation actually works since, in the Bears' universe, the term "Furball" is something of a bear-esqueracist insult and therefore would be emotionally offensive for someone to be called that. In "Bleep!", however, since the word is never revealed (nor do they simply go with the pseudo-swear approach), we are never given ANY indication as to why the word D.W said "hurts people's feelings". See, people, you can't just go "Swear words make people feel bad, Mmmkay?" You need CONTEXT to give people an idea why the word is considered offensive.
From the same episode, DW complains that her parents "treat Arthur better than her". Huh!? Since when!? Go back up and read these entries again, and you'd know that most of the time, her parents side with her! It may be in character, but it defies Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
WORST OF ALL, Lisa had only ever been seen as an unnamed extra in D.W.'s classroom, AND we'd never never seen Lisa talk ANYTHING about a birthday party prior to this.
In the episode "Prove It", D.W. drives the Brain and Arthur crazy making up ridiculous fake science to force them to take her to a science exhibit. She is lying to her friends, making them GIVE HER MONEY to lie to them, and generally being a terrible little child, all of which the parents did nothing to prevent. The Brain is unable to counter her 'science.' One would expect him to at least own a prism. There are many things he could have done to show how her science was untrue. Instead of "science is based on evidence, and lying is wrong," we got "if you can con your way into something, it is perfectly all right, no matter who gets lied to in the process - as long as you are D.W., miniature sociopath."
As for Brain refuting D.W.'s "facts", you try reasoning with a determined four-year-old.
The episode "Go To Your Room, D.W." has her declare the fact that she is running away from the rules, only to stop at the corner realizing that it was against the rules to cross the street alone. What the heck? Crossing the street alone is a rule and she is FREE from them, and THIS gets her to stop!?! She completely has the Idiot Ball now and cannot lose it!
The only thing that drove me batty about the episode is why D.W. allowed Kate to play with her toys that the heads could pop off pretty easily. CHOKING HAZARD, PEOPLE!!
And in the presence of HER MOTHER TOO!! You'd think she would at least show a little common sense and take the toys away from Kate but no! Great parenting, there!
In the original book (where the episode was based on), D.W.'s toys were wooden blocks, which were big enough for Kate to chew on. Why the writers changed the blocks to dolls for the adaptation is beyond me.
"D.W's Perfect Wish". D.W. is upset about her birthday coming because she's afraid of getting any older. Arthur helps her by recapping all the things she'd done at this age, telling her to cherish those memories, and make new ones when she gets older. And how does D.W repay this act of love from her brother? By making a birthday wish that Arthur gets humiliated by landing face-first in her birthday cake! Wow, what a little Ungrateful Bitch!
It doesn't help that this episode has Arthur being absolutely (and undeservingly) nice to DW. Arthur, who tends to find his sister as little more than a Bratty Half-Pint (Seriously, we may as well just have the term "The DW" as a redirect for it), is showing nothing but concern and compassion towards his sister and her plight. Of course, considering that DW is a little self-centered egomaniac (Just check out her imagination spots and her views on her family), it's no surprise she would "repay" her brother's kindness in such a disgusting manner.
How about the episode "More!" where DW receives her first allowance, and is initially happy, but then learns not only do her friends get an allowance, but they also get more than her, and having been getting one longer. It was mentioned by Arthur that DW thinks she should receive equal shares of everything her friends have, but her "my parents were probably saving up so I could receive more than you" comment to Emily makes it seem as if she feels a need to be superior to her "friends". Not to mention she basically demands that her parents give her more money. Luckily, she gets called out on this behavior, but DW really shows her Ungrateful Bitch and Bratty Half-Pint side in this episode.
Also, when DW gets Arthur and his friends to tell each other how much allowance they get, why is anyone surprised that Muffy, who constantly brags about being rich and lives in a mansion that they've seen, is getting more allowance than them all?
Arthur's Perfect Christmas has one. D.W. was anticipating a "Tina the Talking Tabby" doll for Christmas, and spent most of the episode asking for one. When Christmas Day finally came, D.W. got a cute, talking duck toy instead, which caused her to throw a temper tantrum big even for D.W. standards. However, that is normal and expected of her at this point. No, the true Wall Banger comes from the parents. They obviously knew D.W. wouldn't be happy with the duck, as they both exchanged nervous looks when she expected it that morning. The true Wall Banger comes from the fact that Mom rubs D.W.'s back and sympathizes with her, despite the fact that D.W. is acting like a brat about one toy she didn't get that they, the parents, couldn't find/afford.
My Music Rules is another instance of D.W.'s self-superior attitude being taken to an extreme. When Grandma Thora takes D.W. to a concert to listen to famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma, she quickly writes it off as boring and yet after hearing a few songs proclaims classical music to be better than any other genre of music. When she suggests he play at a children's show at the school library, she is immediately confronted by Arthur who wants to suggest Francine's uncle, jazz saxophonist Joshua Redman for the show. It immediately erupts into a rabble as D.W. spends the rest of the episode insisting that she knows everything about music and that, despite presumably never having listened to any true jazz music, it and all other forms of music are inferior to classical in a clearly self-righteous crusade to prove that once again, she knows better despite her very one-sided understanding of music as a whole. Granted, Arthur and his friends also commit the same crime in their unfounded prejudice against classical music, but whereas they come around after listening to both musicians play back to back, D.W. still insists that she knows better and remarks that Yo-Yo Ma "doesn't know a lot about music". Yes, the pretentious four-year old who only ever listens to Crazy Bus in her spare time knows all about something that until recently she had barely any firsthand exposure to, as opposed to two musicians who have been at their respective crafts since long before she was even born. The only thing that makes her change her mind in the end? A jazz/classical interpretation of Crazy Bus by the duo; granted, it's much easier on the ears than the actual song, but even after everyone else came to understand what the two men had to say about learning to like different things and that not everything is a contest to see what's "better", D.W. still had the audacity to suggest she knew way better than adults once more about something she's barely listened to firsthand.
Cast Away, specifically the part where just before leaving for his fishing trip with Arthur, David gets a phone call for a catering job next weekend which he was supposed to spend with D.W. Disaster Warning rather unsurprisingly whines about how it's not fair how Arthur gets to have two weekends, so the whole family goes on the trip where D.W. becomes an expert fisher and shares her extra fish with the other campers becoming a hero of sorts, while Arthur sprains his ankle. What makes it a wallbanger is the fact that the solution was super obvious. Arthur gets to spend the fishing weekend with David while D.W. gets the next weekend David has off.
Caused by anyone else
As evidenced by the section dedicated to D.W., you could easily call Arthur's parents walking Wall Bangers in every episode in which they fail to punish D.W. whenever she's the one at fault for the troubles between her and Arthur, which more often than not is the case. The fact that they constantly rope Arthur into doing things D.W. wants to do that he doesn't, like watching Mary Moo Cow or seeing Crazy Bus Live when he can simply spend his time with his friends like he does in every other episode doesn't help matters. One could swear that they favor their Bratty Half-Pint daughter over Arthur given their utter failure to recognize her bad behavior and selfishness except for the rarest occasions.
From "Arthur's Eyes", the very first episode of the series, where Arthur first gets his iconic glasses. After he gets them, he's mocked the very moment he walks into class, with Francine starting a short-lived trend of calling him "four eyes". Not only is this a somewhat self-esteem-damaging thing to put in a kids' show, but it also never happens in Real Life. People may tease people who wear glasses for being nerds, but not for simply wearing glasses.
"Locked in the Library!" Francine and Arthur go to the library to work on a report but get locked in together and try to figure out how to escape. Eventually, they regroup in the staff room where Arthur and Francine's parents and Miss Turner, the librarian, find out they were locked in, claiming "I don't know how this could've happened." WHAT? You spoke to these two kids as they entered the library, reminded them it closes at five o'clock, played the closing announcement and locked it up WITHOUT CHECKING and yet you don't know how they got locked in?
There's one episode, "Arthur's Lost Dog", where Kate starts crying at the fair because she wants a balloon and, not understanding, the family just goes home where she continues to cry. The only one who realized what she wanted was Pal, and he runs off, nicks a balloon, and runs back home. Pal jumps in Kate's crib, right in front of her mom, mind you, gives her the balloon, and she stops crying and starts giggling. The Wallbanger here is that nobody knows what did it. Arthur's mom actually says that "I guess we'll never know what Kate wanted." Oh, really now?! You just saw her stop crying when she was given a balloon, and youstillhave no idea why she was crying?!
Also you should NEVER give a balloon to a baby!!! Seriously, everything about it is a death trap for a small child. It's incredibly negligent that Mom didn't immediately take it away; seriously, this is their third kid, how have they not got a handle on baby handling 101 yet?
If you thought Mom failing to recognize what Kate wanted was dumb, how about this? Kate doesn't start crying until after the clown announced he was giving free balloons. It would make sense if she saw the clown giving them out and walking away, but he shouted "Free balloons!" twice, walking directly in front of the family and yet they didn't put two and two together that Kate wanted a balloon! Hard to believe that the Read family can be this stupid!
The sheer stupidity of the Reads is actually lampshaded in this episode as Pal, who went through all of this trouble for Kate, seems rather bewildered that the obvious completely flew over all of their heads.
Speaking of the Read family, their treatment of Arthur when Brain comes over for the weekend in Arthur's Perfect Brother is an absolute facepalm. In typical fashion, Arthur's good friend comes over and the family is immediately taken with Brain's good manners and courtesy as a guest to Arthur and his family, and we see how much more good-mannered and organized he is compared to Arthur, in practically everything they do. So naturally we see the Read family dumping heaps of praise onto Brain for his polite and orderly nature, constantly making Arthur feel inadequate in comparison. Now it makes sense for D.W. to do this since she rarely thinks highly of Arthur, but his own PARENTS and DOG are openly making him feel inferior to the Brain. In one scene Arthur is bogged down with homework that he failed to finish early, and so while he's asked to go finish it, Brain already has and so he and the family play a board game Arthur had been wanting to play with everyone......WITHOUT Arthur! So we get a pitiful scene where he looks dismayed that his family is having such a good time without him, complete with D.W. saying that Brain is more fun than Arthur right out loud in what really adds salt to the wound. An equally big facepalm comes earlier where apparently not only is Brain polite, but is such a neat eater as well that Arthur's mom asks aloud at the table where they're having dinner "Why can't you chew your food like (Brain)?" Are you kidding me?! Not only is she embarrassing him in front of his own friend but now how he chews is something worth questioning aloud? Wow, Arthur's parents never think about how their kids might be affected by what they say and do to them! These are just the things you don't say to embarrass your own child.
The insult becomes much greater later when we find out that Brain isn't as neat and polite as he is when a guest at someone's house. Okay, he's still nice and polite, but in truth he's very much a slob at his own house, which in itself is not very in-character for the otherwise very organized Brain, much to Arthur's reasonable surprise. So, did Arthur suffer from a feeling of inadequacy brought about by his own parents for nothing? No wonder he was so bitter while escorting his friend home.
Much like the "Friday The 13th" episode below, another head-on-wall inducing episode is "Misfortune Teller" that involves a "cootie catcher" note A "cootie catcher" is that game where you take a folded piece of paper, have someone say the names of colors and/or numbers, and then read messages written on said "cootie catcher" as a sort of "Magic 8 Ball" ordeal. . Long story short, Arthur and his friends become obsessed with said "cootie catcher" and treat them as if they could really predict the future to the point where they can't even do the most basic things without asking it first. Not only that, but they act like Prunella (who got the thing for her birthday) now has psychic powers and has people lining up to ask her to tell them their fortunes. It takes DW of all people to make them realize the whole thing is just superstition and that they shouldn't rely on it to make their decisions in life. But, then the icing on the cake of wall-smashy goodness occurs at the end when DW is shown asking the cootie catcher if she could go to bed only to keep getting "no" as an answer. Way to maintain DW as the voice of reason in the episode! I get that they're kids. I get that they are going to fall for silly superstitions at one point or another. But, this goes beyond naive kid nature and into complete idiocy.
There was also the episode "Draw!", where Francine insulted Fern in front of and behind her back, calling her a "mouse" because of her timid behavior. Fern gets revenge by making fun of her and getting her classmates to join along in the fun by making insulting comics about her, causing Francine to almost break down in tears. While the episode did the right thing in teaching Fern and the gangs the repercussions of petty vengeance, the general episode made it seem as though the whole situation was entirely Fern's fault. Francine started the insults, never apologized to her, and got off scotfree because she briefly was The Woobie!
Francine's mean to everyone else, even in this episode. Buster was standing with everyone else on the basketball court, reading Fern's comic. Buster's just barely standing on the edge of the court, and Francine yells at him, "GET OUT OF MY WAY, BUSTER!" She had plenty of room to walk and seems to yell at him for no reason.
It really is a major insult to Francine's character to portray her in such a manner without any redemption whatsoever. She went from being a regular Jerk Ass to a huge Jerk Ass to a huge, hypocritical Jerk Ass to a huge, hypocritical Jerk Ass Woobie all in one episode. Talk about negative Flanderization!
In the episode "Francine and the Feline" where Francine takes in Nemo, Arthur (and presumably the viewing audience) learn a lesson about how cats aren't evil, and that cats and dogs can get along. So why, in the episodes where Pal and Kate talk, did they slip back into Cats Are Mean? Perfect opportunity to fight back against the mainstream media's hatred of domestic felines, and they throw it out the window just so they can have an antagonist in the "Pal and Kate can talk" episodes. Tacky.
The episode is also notorious as Arthur goes into full Jerk Ass mode, taking his hatred towards cats out on anybody who tries to defend them or at least consider the possibility that they aren't all as bad as he insists. Not to mention the obvious Idiot Ball he carries throughout in throwing this crusade as well as failing to realize that Pal did not share his hatred of Nemo before said cat became said villain of the "Kate and Pal can talk" episodes. By the end, not only has Arthur not learned from how hurtful and misguided his prejudice had been, but for a rare instance in the show's history he had briefly become a completely unsympathetic character.
The continued running gag in the show of Arthur offhandedly making out cats to be bad pets whenever he sees Nemo cause trouble only adds to the frustration caused by an otherwise pointless episode.
The pointlessness of this episode is further highlighted later in D.W.'s Furry Freak-out, where she takes in a lost kitten to live with them and Arthur doesn't seem the least bit bothered by her or her presence around Pal. So what was all that ranting about how there was no such thing as a good cat last time?
The whole plot of Revenge of the Chip is in itself a Wall Banger. If you thought Arthur's parents weren't already worse offenders in this department in their lax treatment of D.W.'s behavior, in this episode her own mother actually does an extreme 180 and actually goes out of the way to embarrass her own daughter. Arthur teases D.W. about thinking green potato chips to be poisonous in the previous episode and by this point, D.W. can't stand to hear the story repeated to her. She says this right in front of her parents at the dinner table, and yet soon after the story has worked its way around town, with everybody repeating the story to her. Naturally D.W. blames Arthur for this and swears to get revenge on him if he doesn't help her put a lid on the story, only to find out that not only did her mom pass on the story despite her daughter's embarrassment, but actually had it published in a column of the newspaper and planned to mail the story to the rest of the family. Sure, parents love telling stories about their kids all the time and it was unintentional, but it's hard not to see Mrs. Read as the villain, as she spilled the story even after D.W. voiced her embarrassment of it; Arthur very nearly took the fall for it as a result. So even D.W. of all people isn't safe from her parents' raging ignorance!
"Arthur the Unfunny" focuses on Arthur's attempts to prove that he can be funny so that he can take part in Muffy's backyard carnival, with all of them performing as clowns as their main routine. This was an idea of Arthur's and everyone is completely sold on it, and then Arthur in preparation for the gig tells one bad joke, ONE bad joke, and now Muffy is convinced that he'll ruin her whole carnival if he goes through with it. Really? One bad joke and you've got the entire gang on a crusade against Arthur to make sure he's funny by only Muffy's terms or he'll get booted from the act altogether? Plus, how does one or two bad jokes derail an entire carnival? I'm quite sure Arthur's act isn't the only thing going on at this event, so even if his performance flopped (Which it didn't), what's Muffy so bent all out of shape about? And in season two, it's pretty bad when Francine is the one to point out when the group is being too mean to one of their own members.
Additionally, when Arthur writes to Buster about the event, his exact words in his letter are "So Francine was wrong; I was funny..." Whoa, whoa, whoa, back it up.......It was Muffy who had accused you of being unfunny in the first place and had the whole group staging an intervention for you just to spare her from an embarrassment that probably was not nearly as bad as she was making it out to be. Francine actually sympathized for you despite her own reservations, so who's the more guilty party here?
And once again, Arthur's parents can't resist a wallbanger moment in an episode where they themselves are not the wallbanger in question. When Arthur in his unneeded doubt comes to his Mom to ask her if he's funny, her response is merely "Well, there's nothing funny about how you haven't practiced the piano all week." Are you SERIOUS? Your son asks you a question about something that is weighing heavily on his mind and you twist it into an excuse to do something that is unrelated to the present problem? Ignoring the kind of bizarre twist that is the fact that the piano is actually what helps Arthur with his attempts at comedy later, Arthur's Mom once again proves that she can't be bothered to be all that helpful to her son when something is bothering him. How so very considerate of you, Mrs. Read.
"1001 Dads" is about Arthur believing that Buster will feel left out at the upcoming Father-Son picnic because Buster's parents are divorced and his busy dad can't make it. In order to make him feel better about it, Arthur and his friends try to find a Parental Substitute Buster can take to the picnic. Okay, nothing wrong with that; at first, their hearts are in the right place. However, all the plan seems to do is annoy Buster, who keeps insisting he has "plans" the day of the picnic and can't go. Finally, Arthur comes clean about his plan to Buster, and asks again if Buster's going to the picnic. This is where the wallbanger happens: a fed-up Buster angrily insists that he really does have plans, and Arthur retaliates by proclaiming "What plans? If you were really my best friend, you'd tell me!" Uh, Arthur... maybe if you were really Buster'sfriend, you'd realize that divorce is a touchy subject for some kids, and not only have you been constantly reminding Buster of the thing that makes him different from most (if not all) of his friends, you just had the gall to put an ultimatum on him when he insists that he can't go to the picnic. Like I said, Arthur clearly had the best intentions at first, but Buster has stated before that he doesn't like to talk about his parents' divorce. You'd think Arthur would respect his best friend's privacy a little bit more. At least Arthur literally gets egg on his face at the end of the episode.
In "Double Dare", Arthur intends to skip school, but Francine dares him and Buster to. Eventually, Arthur and Buster call it off, but since Francine failed to get their message, she goes through with it anyway, resulting in them getting sent to the principal's office and Francine getting punished, while Arthur and Buster get an extra assignment from Ratburn for not doing their homework. Where to begin? The Brain, known to be a down-to-Earth and intelligent, if uptight, person, tells Arthur that if he's dared, then he has to do as dared no matter what, and actually formulates a plan, only to disappear from the plot after he receives the cancellation message. Sure, Brain's a child, but someone as smart and well-behaved as him should warn Arthur of the consequences and play no part in the dare, instead saying that dares are just a petty form of harassment.
Shortly before Francine is called out for skipping school near the end of the episode, she claims, and I quote, "If you hadn't made me dare you, none of this would've happened!" Uh... NO! All he did was state that he could skip school, albeit not really meaning to. Francine was the one who dared him AND cut class but, as mentioned above, he didn't really have to go through with it! I know Francine can be a hypocrite at times, but what makes this even more of a wallbanger is that Arthur HIMSELF claims it wasn't her fault for getting in trouble... you'd think someone who sensibly declined following on a dare made by the person about to get punished would disagree.
"The Election": Mr. Ratburn decides to teach the class how an election works by holding a fake presidential election and Arthur and Muffy are chosen as candidates. Naturally, Muffy takes the election seriously to the point where she bribes students with freebies should they vote and mudslinging towards Arthur in order to win. Muffy bribing the students to vote and vilifying Arthur is technically cheating (even though they might happen in real elections), so why didn't Ratburn disqualify her from the election upon seeing her campaign? In fact, Mr. Ratburn actually votes for her just because she gives out muffins! Sure, she gets her comeuppance by losing the election, but you'd think Ratburn would have rules about how the students should campaign!
"Nerves of Steal": Buster is so upset that everyone has a Cybertoy except him and Arthur that he steals one from a drug store and puts it in Arthur's backpack. Pricked by conscience, he comes clean to Arthur about the theft and they try to return it to the store without informing their parents, getting caught by the store clerk, who phones their parents, and punished in the process, including Arthur for "covering it up". While the episode's message that stealing is wrong was OK, the problem is that not only is Arthur more mature, not to mention smarter, than Buster, he also has a history of reporting issues involving him to his parents, so why didn't he just inform them once he realized what Buster had done and spare himself the unnecessary punishment?
What makes this even more of a Wall Banger is that in a previous episode, "Arthur Accused!", Buster managed to prove Arthur's innocence by showing that he didn't steal the quarters almost entirely on his own. Never mind that Buster got him in trouble because he couldn't keep his mouth shut (see the episode's entry), but you'd think that Buster would know from the incident that stealing is wrong and that Arthur would vouch for what happened just as Buster had done. Aesop Amnesia much?
Not to mention that the episode "Arthur, World's Greatest Gleeper" handled the issue of stealing much better than this episode. Did the writers run out of ideas, forcing them to rehash plot devices?
"Friday the 13th" hands the entire cast aside from Brain the Idiot Ball as Arthur and his friends all buy into various superstitions that can bring about good luck or bad luck. They take this to such an extreme that before long their entire daily routines are defined by them making sure they don't do anything to risk being struck with bad luck, not once questioning whether any of the nonsense they're suddenly buying into makes any sense. Arthur and his friends have been prone to being naive and impressionable before being just kids, but the majority of the time they've been shown to know much better despite their occasional foolishness. The entire episode focuses on Brain trying to prove to his friends that none of these superstitions have anything backing them up, but all of his friends (Especially Buster, unsurprisingly) continue to defend their convictions all the same while Brain is inexplicably hit with bad luck, likely by pure coincidence. At the end, he gives in and tries to win a baseball game carrying a gym bag full of good luck charms, only to find that he had accidentally taken his mother's gym clothes. Instead of fessing up to the fact that he didn't need good luck charms to win the game, Buster and his friends instead insist that the gym clothes were lucky and proceed to take them. So in the end, nobody learns anything from this experience and even Brain of all people gives up and plays along with it.
The Wall Banger is doubled later when in "Francine's Split Decision" Buster of all people reminds Brain of the time where "he" was the one who became overly superstitious and had to try winning the same game with all the good luck charms he could get his hands on. Not only is he making the accusation that Brain was the one who bought into all of this nonsense, but apparently the rest of the gang has given up on these superstitious beliefs as well. So, when did they learn their lesson?
In the episode "Sue Ellen Chickens Out," the owner of the local ice cream parlor decides to sell it. This greatly upsets Sue Ellen, so she tries to convince the owner not to sell, right? No. She finds out a KFC equivalent is buying it, and she spends the whole episode blaming and protesting them. Not a single person suggests that the fast food franchise didn't do anything except buy a building already for sale; they don't join Sue Ellen's crusade against them, but they believe it's justified. She even takes a few shots at the "KFC" for selling unhealthy food — and ice cream parlors don't? What's more, in the end, Arthur's grandmother goes to the owner of the ice cream parlor and tries to convince him to stay... And it works!
On top of that, how many kids have you met who ever sat quietly when they were told that their favorite ice cream shop they'd been frequenting for years, was about to go out of business?
While "April 9th" was brilliant, it did have one big Wall Banger moment. Sue Ellen's plot starts when the school is evacuated due to fire, and she has to leave her bag behind, which has her prized diary in it. Eventually the firemen bring out her bag, which is only somewhat charred and smoking, and extinguish it by turning a fire hose on it at full blast, destroying the bag. That's what fire extinguishers were created to do, with much less destruction.
In the episode "A is for Angry", Arthur has been competing in the all-school checkers competition, and many of his classmates decide to encourage him. That sounds okay; but they form a publicity campaign and keep following him around, which ends up disrupting his concentration at the competition. When he finally loses his temper and blows off some steam by yelling at them (which is rude but justifiable, since they kept bothering him), they turn on him and act as though they had done nothing wrong. Francine eventually apologizes to Arthur when she realizes that maybe they HAD been bothering him too much, but even so...
Binky becomes an incredible Jerk Ass in the episode "Brother, Can You Spare a Clarinet?" Simply because his Clarinet won't play correctly, he orders all his "Tough Customers" to take everyone else's instruments by force and MAKE THEM NOT WORK simply by growling at them. His other excuse is that he wants to stop being a wimp and return to being "Binky". He then tries to ruin the other instruments AGAIN when everyone is trying out for a big band honor. Luckily, his plan fails; but because he's annoyed at Muffy's playing, he decides to show her up and GETS THE PART. Arthur, one of his victims, praises him for being Binky as he trips George. Oh, and when Mr. Haney tried to punish him, he was too senile to make it work; Binky got off scot-free for the ENTIRE EPISODE.
"The Big Dig" is wrong in a number of ways. First off, Grandpa Dave's story about Uncle Blacktooth. Are Arthur and D.W. really gullible enough to believe that, and go all the way to do that digging? And then there's the "treasure" bit - Grandpa Dave had planned to bury some money and candy for them, but why didn't he at least try to keep them off it for a while? The way it turned out, they ended up going on the hunt before he had a chance.
In the 2010 episode "The Agent of Change", Francine, Muffy, & Molly set out to make an animated film starring Molly's original female spy character, on the grounds that females in animated movies are always the girlfriend or the mom of The Hero. Ignoring the idea that the girls haven't seen an animated movie in 2 decades, one of the films Francine cites as an example is a version of Kung Fu Panda. That movie did have a male protagonist, but the females were as far removed from those stereotypes as possible (though it is possible that movies in the 'Arthurverse' may be different than ours, as the movie that they complain about is basically a Tastes Like Diabetes version of Cars).
"Arthur vs. the Very Mean Crossing Guard". Does Ted honestly expect third graders to know that he's joking when he says it'll be $10 to cross the street and that he's going to send "goons" after him?
"Arthur's Mystery Envelope". Arthur is called to the office and is given a rather large envelope from Mr. Haney. His friends all make fun of him, saying he must be in trouble and will probably go to summer school. D.W. takes it Up to Eleven and tortures him to no end. When Arthur finally gives his mom the envelope, it turns out to be Mr. Haney's tax returns, something Mom was trying to get from him all day. The problem is, why didn't Mr. Haney simply tell Arthur what was in the envelope and save him all that torture, or say "It doesn't have anything to do with you, but please don't open it" if he doesn't want a third grader looking at his tax returns?
On top of that, why didn't Arthur ever ask Mr. Haney what was in the envelope?
In "The Secret Origin Of Supernova", Arthur decides he's no longer a fan of Dark Bunny (A Batman parody) just because the "energy drink" that Dark Bunny sponsored (IE: Was in an in-universe commercial for) was really just sugar water. Now, false advertising is nothing new and neither is endorsements from celebrities or fictional characters. However, Arthur just flat-out deciding he doesn't like a character just because the product he was sponsoring wasn't as advertised? Arthur does realize that Dark Bunny is a fictional character, right? It's not his fault if the advertisers lied about their product. That's like blaming Mickey Mouse just because he appeared in a commercial for fruit-flavored snacks that claim to contain real fruit but really don't. It's about as childish and immature as Arthur gets. Even D.W., Bratty Half-Pint galore, wasn't this immature when she found out Mary Moo Cow (her absolute favorite TV character) was just a person in a costume and met the person who played her. To his credit, Arthur learns his lesson at the end, but it was still dumb to have to go through.
One episode "Desert Island Dish" has Mr. Ratburn give a sort of thought experiment in which his students have to imagine being on a desert island and living on only one type of food. The catch being that said food has to meet the requirements of the food pyramid. What follows is Arthur, Brain, Buster, and Francine trying to find the perfect food for this experiment. The hit-your-head-on-the-wall-repeatedly moment comes when they point out that no single food meets the requirements. Any child could tell them that, yes, there is. It's called "Pizza". The cheese is dairy, the pepperoni/sausage/Canadian bacon is meat, the crust is bread/grains, the sauce/mushrooms/peppers/onions is vegetables/fruit. The fact that no one, not even Alan (a.k.a.The Brain) (who, by the way, is a GENIUS), couldn't figure out the most obvious answer to this thought experiment is nothing short of mind-numbingly painful.
The "Kate And Pal" episodes are a rather jarring shift from the normal formula of the show due to them centering around Kate and Pal (naturally) interacting with one another and having adventures a la Rugrats. Normally, these are decent (if a bit weird) since they're everyday events from a baby's and dog's perspectives. That being said, there are couple of episodes that dive straight into "We've gone batshit crazy" territory. Both these episodes center around Kate and Pal getting involved in the Sock Market. Yes, you read that right. A market where they exchange actual socks. Oh, but it gets worse. It turns out that there's a big businessman... or should I say... businesstoad named "Mr. Toad" (Clever...) who is your typical Corrupt Corporate ExecutiveJerk with a Heart of Gold. But, wait, it gets even worse! Mr. Toad lives in a mansion-tree (Yes, you read that right) complete with elevators, his own office, phones, lizard-guards, and the like. None of this makes any sense! There's willing suspension of disbelief, and then there's just throwing random nonsense at the viewer and hoping they're too distracted by the sheer madness to notice! Yes, the whole "Kate and Pal can talk to one another" aspect was strange in the first place, but at least the adventures they had originally were grounded in reality. Toad businessmen living in mansion-trees and literal Sock Exchanges? No, just... no.
The episode War Of The Worms is a wall banger for making Brain both an Insufferable Genius and its blatant use of the Idiot Ball. In the episode, Fern gets fed up with Brain ruining her stories by nitpicking every minor detail about them and complaining that they're not "realistic". Fern then decides to set up a hoax (with the help of Binky) by making it look like giant worms have invaded Elwood City. And, Brain actually falls for it going so far as to start an angry mob to hunt down the non-existent worms. Now, I understand that Brain is just a child and children can have over-active imaginations. But, on the other hand, Brain is also a genius. Not once in the episode does Brain ever consider further researching the "evidence" of the so-called "giant worms" to see if they are real or not. Nor does he ever consider trying to find "proof" of the non-existent worms outside of the fake evidence Fern and Binky use for the hoax (In other words, he never considers trying to take his own photo of the "worms" or setting up a trap to catch one). In fact, it's not even until the end of the episode that Brain finally figures out that Fern and Binky had fabricated the whole thing.
Arthur becomes unusually antagonistic in the episode "So Funny I Forgot to Laugh" where he continually teases Sue Ellen for looking like a sheepdog in her new attire. This extends into outright harassment as he's leaving a crude drawing on her locker, dragging the "joke" beyond when no one else finds it funny, and sends Sue Ellen an email of a sheepdog's head Photoshopped onto her body when he's supposed to send an apology email. And when he does apologize, he blames her for getting him into trouble by calling him out. What makes it even more of a Wall Banger is that this is Arthur doing it. He's not exactly known for this behavior and it came as a complete Out of Character moment.
I found that episode to be a wallbanger too, but for a completely different reason. Francine and Muffy were berating Arthur for being a bully, yet no one called them out for when they were bullies; in Francine is very obvious, like calling Arthur four-eyes when he got his glasses or a baby just because he hadn't lost his teeth yet and in Muffy's case, refer to the class election episode. Also, Sue Ellen wanted to transfer to a different class just because of one bully? What if the class she transferred to had more or worse bullies? By this point, I agree with Arthur in that she was overreacting.
One of the many things that made me annoyed was that Arthur had been the victim before. He even outright states he had been bullied for his glasses. What made him suddenly snap? He got over the glasses incident really quickly, and Sue Ellen didn't even know him at that time!
As if Arthur wasn't the only person out of character in this episode, Buster lectures Arthur on how he should apologize and even gives him the silent treatment when the apology letter is deemed "terrible". When did the guy who has an alien obsession, thinks aliens are at fault for various problems, temporarily had an unsatisfactory mark in class and struggled to get his mark back up among other things become the voice of reason?
If you're looking for an episode where the Brain is characterized in a way that makes you want to leave holes in a wall, look no further than "Desk Wars". On a hot summer day, the Brain gets sent to an empty desk in the class for arguing with Muffy. After Arthur ends up at Brain's desk for arguing as well, he starts handing one of Brain's pencils to Muffy, who asks George to sharpen it, annoying the Brain to the point where he threatens to not only destroy George's model dinosaur (made of chewed-up gum) but also rip up Sue Ellen's UN report if he sharpens the pencil without giving it to Brain, resulting in the class breaking out in a huge fight, trashing the classroom in the process. Brain's response when the class starts blaming each other for starting the fight? "I didn't do anything!" *facepalm*
Yet another one for Brain occurs in the episode Brain's Shocking Secret. Throughout the episode, Brain tries to cover up the fact that he was actually held back in school and had to take kindergarten again. Why? Well, it's revealed that he cried during kindergarten and was deemed not emotionally mature enough to go on to the first grade. Uh...what? That is the most ridiculous reason to hold back a child I had ever heard. Now, had they said he was prone to tantrums a la DW or was loud and disruptive like The Tibble Twins, then I would understand the whole "not emotionally mature enough" reasoning. But, no, all he did was cry. Something that is normal for kindergartners and, heck, even first graders to do as they are small children and are emotional. Plus, if Brain was having emotional problems in school, why not just get him some counseling or figure out why being in kindergarten made him cry instead of making him retake it all over again?
The episode "Show Off" brings in even more Fridge Logic in the "Kate and Pal talk" episodes. In order to make sure that an insufferable poodle doesn't beat Grandma Thora's dog, Killer, in a dog show, Pal decides to steal some roast beef left out when Mr. Read made himself a late night sandwich. While at the dog show, after the poodle ruined Killer's chances of winning with a mouse toy, Pal throws the roast beef, which causes the poodle to jump on the emcee. The wallbangers are as follows:
1. Why would Mr. Read, a caterer, leave meat out? He knows better than that.
2. While watching the dog show, only Kate notices the smell of the raw meat. This means that the entire Read family was completely oblivious to the smell both in the car (how Pal even got it in the car with no one knowing is unknown) and at the dog show, in which it is directly behind the family.
3. Finally, no one at all notices roast beef being thrown from the stands? And even though it came from their section, the entire Read family continues to sit around and watch like grinning morons. Even with the Willing Suspension of Disbelief, this is hard to swallow.
"Opposites Distract" completely flanderizes Arthur and Buster for the sake of doing an homage to The Odd Couple. Arthur is turned into a prissy, cleanliness-happy, know-it-all, by getting upset at things that he knew long before this episode that Buster did, such as keeping old food. Buster is turned into a completely nasty slob, to the point that he has dirty clothes lined up 30 days after he last wore them (what, his mom never washed them?). Buster also gets mad at Arthur for wanting to help him clean his room. While it's understandable that Arthur shouldn't bother with Buster's belongings, their feud was extremely petty. It also begs the question as to why the two of them are at each others' necks so hard, especially when they've been to each others' room plenty of times. And even worse, a reference to season 1 episode "Poor Muffy" is mentioned, making the Flanderization even more obvious.
If you want to find an episode that demonstrates Mr. Ratburn's utter incompetence at teaching his students, then "Francine's Pilfered Paper" is your best bet. Mr. Ratburn assigns a research paper to the class, and Francine unknowingly copies information from a website and uses it as her own work. Her sister later points out that what she did was plagiarism, and Francine feels guilty about it, so she confesses to Mr. Ratburn and hands in a new report. Why didn't Mr. Ratburn just warn the class about plagiarism in the first place? Even during Francine's apology, he acted as if he had nothing to do with her mistake. Did he seriously think that students who hadn't done research before would know about the negative effects of plagiarism? The episode has a good moral, but the execution is bad.
"Unfinished" was a good episode, but it had a huge wall banger at the very beginning. Arthur's parents force Arthur to go to a party for grown-ups simply because they wanted him to learn that "sometimes, we all have to do things we don't want to do." What, making the kid do chores and having him endure Mr. Ratburn's rigorous class wasn't enough? Not only was this pointless and ineffective (since Arthur doesn't seem to care about their message and only gets more annoyed at their refusal to answer his questions), but it's also unfair and feels as if they're just punishing him for no reason. To make matters worse, they don't do the same thing to D.W. and let her play with her friends instead!
Similar to "Unfinished", "Arthur's Knee" had a big one at the end of the episode. Going against his parents' orders, Arthur went to the dump to collect a tire for his bike, cutting his knee in the process. After realizing that it was a serious matter that couldn't be hidden from his parents, Arthur got his knee treated and learned his lesson, but his mother punished him, anyway. The problem with this is that Arthur already faced the consequences of his bad decision because the cut was painful and could have been seriously infected, yet his mother still grounded him after all of the suffering that he endured.
"Fifteen" had a few of these:
Yes, Mr. Ratburn, go ahead and punish Arthur after all of the trouble that he's been through by making him write a report on "No Homework Day" about his tardiness when he can just explain everything to you in person. Oh, no, go ahead and punish Buster, too, even though all he did was try to help Arthur. Even if the boys had just told Mr. Ratburn about their predicament in advance, would there have been a "No Homework Day"?
It was revealed some time in the episode that Arthur possessed a cell phone. Why couldn't he have just used that to call his father to bring his report to his school instead of running all the way to his house? Even if he forgot the thing at his house, it doesn't make it any less of a wall banger when there are these things called school telephones.
Mr. Ratburn has yet another one in "I Wanna Hold Your Hand." He punishes George for not answering a simple geography question after raising his hand. I know that Mr. Ratburn is strict, but there's a fine line between "strict" and "needlessly harsh."
On top of that, there was no mention of how Binky's paranoia of George seeing him hold his Mom's hand made him intimidate George into becoming silent, to the point where he was unable to talk even when he was just playing "Go Fish" with Arthur.
Crimes and Consequences. With Binky unfairly taking the blame for George destroying the wooden ferris wheel in Shop Class, you'd think this is at long last karma catching up with him for being a bully, especially towards George, right? Wrong! Binky eventually figures out that George was the one who accidentally destroyed the ferris wheel, and realizes that he's not the nicest guy around especially towards George which would've been fine had the episode ended there, but no, Binky decides to accept the blame and make George clean his room for a month. So much for giving Binky positive character development this time. On top of all this, Binky asks Fern to figure out who really broke the ferris wheel, and she comes to the conclusion that Mr. Haney was the one who broke the ferris wheel. So much for Fern being a good detective.