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Recap / Arthur S 3 E 12 What Scared Sue Ellen Clarissa Is Cracked
aka: S 3 E 12 What Scared Sue Ellen Clarissa Is Cracked

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What Scared Sue Ellen?Sue Ellen is established as having Nerves of Steel and isn't afraid of anything. But a mysterious sound in the woods frightens her, and she fears it may be a mythological creature.

Tropes for this episode include:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: The kids laugh when they realize they were scared about a dog.
  • Adult Fear: It turns out Mrs. Wood's dog Perky was lost in the woods for days and trapped under a fallen tree. Mrs. Wood thanks the group for finding her dog and getting help.
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  • Ascended Fridge Horror: Mrs. Wood says she wouldn't know what to do if the kids hadn't gotten help because Perky could have been lost for weeks rather than days.
  • Bookends: The episode starts with Binky trying to tell a scary story, and failing because he could find only a book and not a hook. In the end, Sue Ellen tells a story about a two-headed wolfman, but Binky doing the Jump Scare has a cowhead.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Sue Ellen packs a flashlight when suiting up to explore the scary noise in the woods. The flashlight reveals Perky trapped under a tree, and that she was making the noise while howling for help.
  • Doing In the Wizard: Sue Ellen thinks some kind of monster is making a strange noise in the woods. It turns out that it was actually Perky, Mrs. Wood's dog, making the strange noise because she was trapped under a fallen tree, with her leg caught in a branch.
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  • Dream Within a Dream: Sue Ellen has a nightmare of Baba Yaga chasing her through the woods. She then wakes up and Baba Yaga is outside her window, yelling at her to go to school. Sue Ellen wakes up for real and groaning.
  • Faux Horrific: The kids run away when Mrs. Wood offers to kiss them as thanks for saving her dog.
  • Heroic Bystander: The kids run to get help offscreen when they realize Perky is trapped under a tree. Cue a cut to a maintenance man sawing away the branches and roots so Perky can get out safely, and Mrs. Wood thanks them for being so brave.
  • Kappa: One of the creatures Sue Ellen suspects living in the creek. In an Imagine Spot, Buster tricks it into bowing its head by pretending to spot a five-dollar bill, a reference to the folklore that tricking a kappa into bowing will make it spill the water in its head and lose its power.
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  • OOC Is Serious Business: Binky looks concerned when he sees that Sue Ellen, who usually has Nerves of Steel, is frightened of walking in the woods.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Binky is telling an urban legend about a hook-handed killer. Arthur says he read it as well; the story was collected in Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark.
    • Sue Ellen imagines Baba Yaga as a possible source of the noise in the woods. True to the stories, she's depicted as a withered old crone who lives in a house that moves around on giant chicken legs.
  • Stating the Simple Solution:
    • When Sue Ellen talks about how you need to make a kappa bow its head, Buster imagines telling it Look Over There.
    • Binky's Imagine Spot shows him slamming a door in a banshee's face before it can haunt them.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy: Sue Ellen goes to her fairy tale books and travel folklore to decide what could have been in the woods. Her friends point out that it's unlikely that Baba Yaga would be able to walk through the woods without notice.

Clarissa is CrackedD.W. takes interest in one of Grandma Thora's old dolls, a beautiful china girl named Clarissa. D.W. breaks her by accident, and after her parents explain how important Clarissa is to Grandma Thora, D.W. scrambles to try and fix the doll before returning her.

Tropes for this episode

  • Actually Pretty Funny: The kids at Ratburn's puppet show laugh when Rapunzel's head falls off.
  • Broken Treasure: The plot of the episode: D.W. borrows Grandma Thora's old doll Clarissa for a week, but is very rough with her and later breaks her by accident. However, D.W. doesn't fully understand the consequences of her actions until her parents explain to her how Grandma Thora got Clarissa in the first place and how much the doll means to her. Luckily, Mr. Ratburn is able to fix Clarissa thanks to his skills in making puppets.
  • Call-Back: During a montage of D.W. spending time with Clarissa, we see all sorts of examples that she doesn't know how to properly care for a porcelain doll, such as letting friends hold the doll despite having dirty hands, or going down a slide too roughly. Later, during the flashback to when Thora got Clarissa for her birthday, she's seen doing all the same activities D.W. did, but being more careful with her, like making sure someone's hands were clean before holding the doll or going down a slide more carefully. This is meant to drive home the point for D.W. how important Clarissa was to her grandmother, helping her realize she'd been taking her for granted.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Mr. Ratburn, who's seen putting on a puppet show at the library earlier in the episode. When Arthur's parents can't find anyone who can fix Clarissa and D.W. is getting more worried, Arthur remembers that Mr. Ratburn works with puppets, and goes with D.W. to ask if he can fix the doll. Mr. Ratburn does, at no charge.
  • Cool Big Bro: For what it's worth, Thora's three older brothers would give their old toys to her and refashion them into items more suitable for girls. She didn't appreciate it at the time but told her mother she wanted a toy of her own and didn't blame them.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance:
    • Toys were a lot more fragile in those days, so most of Thora's toys were hand-me-downs from her brothers or handmade. She's given a brand new toy only when she turns a certain age, and it's impressed that she has to take good care of Clarissa.
    • It's also noted that young Thora would often go to the toy store on her own with her parent's permission, which surprises D.W. that this was allowed when she was at such an early age—Mr. and Mrs. Read explain that Elwood City was a lot smaller back when Thora was a kid, so everyone was more familiar with one another rather than being total strangers (as shown when an elderly woman and a traffic cop help Thora cross the road, and both of them know her by name).
  • Double Standard: Thora was given less toys, compared to her three older brothers, because she's younger, and a girl, and was expected to not take care of them. She does protest this, though her brothers try to help by fashioning new toys for her out of theirs or out of household objects.
  • Easily Forgiven: Thora forgives D.W. when the latter confesses about what happened to Clarissa, since she appreciates that D.W. got her fixed and it isn't the first time Clarissa has been broken. In the end, she lets D.W. keep Clarissa since she's learned how to be responsible.
  • Exact Words: When Grandma Thora says she knows D.W. will treat Clarissa "like the treasure she is", D.W. takes that to mean she's supposed to put Clarissa on a higher pedestal than her other toys, not that she has to be careful with her.
  • The Great Depression: The flashbacks to Thora's childhood are implied to take place during this period. The town was smaller and even more tight-knit, a girl Thora's age could walk around by herself, the boys had knee length shorts instead of pants with long socks, the men had bow ties, all the adults wore hats out, the women had bobbed or Compressed Hair, the mention of how Thora's family didn't have a lot of money to get her toys, and a older woman and a traffic cop complain about "the noise'' caused by a zeppelin flying over town.
  • Foil: While Thora and D.W. had a lot in common while they were the same age, they were shaped by their time periods. Thora was told that because she was a girl she was not expected to be careful with her things, so she painstakingly did what she could to make sure Clarissa stayed pristine. Even so, Thora as a grandmother says that there were times when Clarissa got broken and needed fixing. D.W. is a little more careless because she takes Clarissa for granted, and doesn't understand that she is fragile. She also has more toys in her room, because her parents were able to afford them, and they're more patient with her roughhousing.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: While at first D.W. doesn't understand why breaking Clarissa is a big deal, she goes through this after her parents explain how much Clarissa meant to Thora. Realizing she's been far rougher with the doll compared to Thora, she agrees that Clarissa needs to be fixed.
    D.W.: Grandma kept Clarissa perfect her whole life, and I wrecked her! What am I going to do?
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: D.W. breaks Clarissa while pretending to be Rapunzel, and bouncing her bed.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: When D.W. bemoans that she's not worthy of Clarissa the way her grandmother is, Thora comforts her by saying that even she accidentally broke Clarissa from time to time. If anything, she sees that D.W. is just as capable of keeping Clarissa in good shape as she was when she was her granddaughter's age.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Clarissa manages to be fixed before D.W. has to give her back to Grandma Thora, but D.W. still feels guilty and confesses to Thora that she broke Clarissa. She expects Thora to be angry at her for not being more careful, but Thora takes it in stride, saying that Clarissa has been cracked more than once since she's had the doll for such a long time.

Alternative Title(s): S 3 E 12 What Scared Sue Ellen Clarissa Is Cracked


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