Arthur is a little too satisfied that his parents will mearly find him a new music teacher. If my music teacher had dismissed me my Mom would have killed me. I certainly wouldn't have gotten anymore lessons. My guitar lessons cost $5 a week (yeah, that was a long time ago) I had to practice an hour per dollar each week. Arthur's parents seem a little wishy-washy in getting him to practice.

It's established Arthur is a chronic procrastinator, see Mom and Dad trying to get him to do his chores in #40201- "Hide and Snake" and the episode where he nearly missed Happy Crazy Wow Day in #31501 - "Arthur and D.W. Clean Up" because he wouldn't clean his room plus his putting off playing with D.W. in #60101 - "Sue Ellen Gets Her Goose Cooked". Perhaps they need to employ the "do it before I count to three" ploy they use on D.W. in #13001 - "Arthur's First Sleepover".

A crowd of people gathered in an orchestra hall are shocked when a tuxedo clad, but barefoot Arthur announces he's going to play Zuchoffski's Concerto #5.

Confound this season and the amount of hard-to-spell words in it.

They're shocked since the piece is so difficult. It's so difficult it's put other piano players in full body casts. Arthur must be mad to play it.

The piece is like Flight of the Bumblebee, only more so. It's so difficult he not only has to play the piano with both his fingers and his toes, but he has to tie strings to his legs to operate operate the pedals and hold a mallet in his teeth to press down more keys.

Notice Arthur can't actually reach the pedals on the piano, some of the stuff he plays would be imposible.

Arthur completes it, and leaps off the piano which he's had to lie on, does a somersault and lands on his feet on the stage, arms in the air, mallet in hand. Everyone applauds. Arthur receives a standing ovation, and people in the crowd throw long stemmed roses at him. He tells them they're too kind and presents one of the roses to his music teacher, Mrs. Cardigan, who is wearing a cardigan with diamonds on it. She's an old white haired and slightly wrinkly aardvark-person.

Arthur: For you, Mrs. Cardigan, the best piano teacher a boy could ever have.Mrs. Cardigan: Oh Arthur, you're wonderful. We come to reality and Arthur and Mrs. Cardigan are together, only Arthur's just regular Arthur, learning how to play the piano at Mrs. Cardigan's house, and Mrs. Cardigan wearing a cardigan without diamonds on it.

Arthur is just completing playing Blue Danube.

She thinks he's really got the hang of it.

Arthur wants to continue practicing, but she says they have to talk. Arthur says he'll practice harder for next time. She says there won't be a next time. It isn't because of Arthur's mastery of the piano, or lack of it though, it's simply because She's retiring.

Arthur gasps.

* * * Arthur Plays the Blues * * *

The Arthur raises his hands, goes "Yah" and it rains on him, he scrambles through some of his junk and puts up an umbrella.

Written by Catherine Lieuwen

Storyboard by Jeremy O'Neill

Arthur taps his fingertips together nervously -- he can't believe it. She says she's retiring because she wants to do other things besides teach piano, and offers Arthur a cookie.

Arthur's more concerned about himself. He says he'll never get to Carnegie Hall without her help. She says she's not so sure about that, as his new teacher actually was a concert pianist. She's made some calls and arranged for a new piano teacher for Arthur -- Dr. Frederick Fugue.

There's a picture of him hanging on her wall. He looks like a sourpuss. He's glowering at you in the picture. He looks like he might be an Afghan dog, kind of like Fern's ears and Ratburn's nose.

Arthur bets Dr. Fugue's cookies aren't as good as hers.

  • * *

Arthur and Binky are out on the climbing frame at the school. Binky's practicing on his clarinet.

Binky is stunned that Arthur is getting to be taught by Dr. Fugue. Binky says Arthur's very lucky. Arthur on the other hand doesn't seem to be particularly interested one way or the other, not knowing who the guy is.

Arthur: He's that good?Binky: Good? He's the best! I'd give anything for just one lesson with him, and I don't even play piano! Arthur's only apparently half-interested in this. He gets down off the climbing frame and gets on the merry-go-round. Binky continues. Carlos Alaraquiprovided the voice of Frederique Figue until he was replaced by Roger Craig Smith.

Binky: Of course, your fingers might break from all the scales he makes you do. That happened to a friend of mine. Poor Mikey... still can't hold an ice cream cone.Arthur now looks a trifle concerned. Binky then warns Arthur to watch out for Dr. Fugue's knitting needles. Arthur wants more details.

Arthur: What does he use those for?Binky: (fear in his voice) You don't want to know. Binky leaves, warning Arthur to make sure he "stays on the beat", and gives Arthur a spin on the merry-go-round.

Binky: Yep, Fugue the Ferocious... You'll either end up famous, or drinking through a straw for the rest of your life.Binky raises his clarinet and plays some more ominous music, the sort of music they play when they show you a haunted house in a horror movie.

My captions say that when Binky plays the clarinet right before Arthur goes to Dr. Fugue's, he's playing an "eerie prelude to Bach's 'Fugue' in D." ;)

There's a flash of lightning.

  • * *

We see Dr. Fugue's house, which looks like a haunted house, with crows and shutters that flap in the wind.

Dr. Fugue greets Arthur at the door, Arthur having been dropped off outside the house by Dad in the Read's station wagon. Dr. Fugue looks like he did in the picture, only he must be older now, his hair is lighter. Like in the picture at Mrs. Cardigan's, it's still a shaggy mop on the top of his head.

Dr. Fugue: Arthur Read, I presume?They shake hands. Dr. Fugue can tell how long Arthur's been playing by the feel of his fingers.

Dr. Fugue: Moderate digital spreading, and no callouses.He estimates Arthur's been playing for two and a half years. That's right.

Dr. Fugue: (confident, abrupt) Thought so, follow me.Arthur follows him into the house. Dad honks the horn of the car as he drives off.

Dr. Fugue: (with a touch of distain) C sharp... he should get that tuned.Arthur and Dr. Fugue enter the piano room. Dr. Fugue critiques the singing of his pet bird. Arthur sees a grand piano and says that it's beautiful. Dr. Fugue says, as he sets up a metronome on top of the piano that her name is Giselle, and that she's been around the world with him, even to Carnegie Hall.

Arthur: You actually played at Carnegie Hall?That starts Dr. Fugue reminscing. Yes, he's played there many times... But then he stops himself.

Dr. Fugue: (abruptly) Enough chit chat. Let's hear you play.He decides to start with some scales, and starts calling them out in rapid succession as fast as Arthur can play them.

Dr. Fugue: E major, C harmonic minor, A minor, C major again, tempo, tempo!He has Arthur do nothing but scales from 10 past 4 until 5 minutes to 5. He finally lets Arthur stop. He says that's enough for today. He admits that Arthur may actually have some talent, and gives Arthur some sheet music to practice for next week, Bach's Two Part Inventions. Arthur leafs through it.

Arthur says that it must have a million notes in it! Dr. Fugue says it does not have a million notes in it, it only has 8955 notes. He wants Arthur to begin with the Invention in F Major.

Arthur is about to say he's not sure. Dr. Fugue sits down in an easy chair and reminds Arthur that genius is one part inspiration and 99 parts perspiration, and recommends Arthur practice.

Dr. Fugue takes out his knitting.

Arthur doesn't want to face Dr. Fugue's knitting needles, so he grabs his coat, bids a hasty farewell to Dr. Fugue and runs for the door.

Dr. Fugue stares as Arthur rushes out.

  • * *

Arthur's at home at the piano, and is muttering to himself that Mrs. Cardigan would never have given him such a diffucult piece to learn. Arthur says that just looking at it makes him tired.

He takes off his glasses for a second, adjusts them, and looks out the window to see D.W. playing in the fallen leaves. Arthur puts off practicing in favor of going out to play. After all, he has a whole week.

Arthur doesn't practice for most of the week.

  • He plays in the leaves,
  • Plays football with Buster and Francine. When Mom sees him, she asks if he's practiced playing yet and Arthur tells her he'll do it right after this.
  • Arthur watches football on TV. One team has a llama on their helmet. Arthur has a stork on his jersey, he must be a fan of the rival team. Dad comes in and wants Arthur to practice. Arthur say she will once the game ends.
  • * *

Arthur gets some milk out of the fridge for his cereal, perhaps the next day. He tells Dad that after the book fair, he's going to help Buster carve his pumpkin. Arthur pours some milk onto his colorful cereal, which is probably "Crunch". Mom is with Kate, and she tells him that his piano lesson is in two days, and Arthur's not practiced yet. Arthur is about to further procrastinate when Dad says "no buts" and places a kitchen timer on the table. He insists Arthur practice for one hour.

Arthur sits at the piano and starts to halfheartedly practice. He can't practice though, there are farm animal noises coming from somewhere. The noise is coming from D.W. playing with her "Funny Farm" toy, which makes animal noise and you pound it like the Whack-A-Mole midway game. Animals pop out of various parts of a plastic barn and you have to hit them with a hammer. They make farm animal sounds as they pop up.

When Arthur demands to know what she's doing, she asks him if he'd like to play with it and offers him the hammer. He asks her to go play with it in her room.

She says that Mom's cleaning up there, but volunteers to turn down the sound on it.

Arthur continues to practice, but D.W. playing with the Funny Farm continues to bother him. He goes back to complain to her some more.

Arthur: What is it going to take for you to be quiet?She suggests candy, and the next thing we know, she's sitting on the couch near the piano eating Arthur's Halloween candy out of the plastic pumpkin he collected it in.

This goes to show that Buster's Mom still has no idea of time. She didn't know when Christmas was, and now she's gone and messed up Halloween for Buster. Why? Because Arthur was about to go to Buster's and help him carve his pumpkin. But he's giving D.W. his Halloween candy to eat. That means he's already been out for Halloween and Buster's carving his pumpkin late, having missed Halloween.

The other possiblity is that it's year old Halloween candy like the kind he made Pal sick with.

Now instead of the sound of the Funny Farm, D.W.'s noisy consumption of Arthur's candy is annoying him.

D.W.: Mmmm, peanut brittle.You mean that's an actual food? I thought peanut brittle was something that was imaginary and only used to label cans with springy snakes in them. :)

Arthur goes to whine to Dad. Dad's just taking a tray of twelve stodgy looking things out of the oven. He puts them down and goes in to talk to D.W. for Arthur's sake. He tells Arthur that it's important that Arthur make a good impressoin on his new teachre. Arthur eats one of the things, and says it's good.

Having baked myself, I'm surprised Arthur's Dad doesn't put mat or something under the hot baking sheet. He's going to put marks on the table.

Dad comes back in, carrying D.W.. He says they're going to the Tibbles, which will allow Arthur to practice.

  • * *

Arthur has his priorities straight, the first thing he does is go have a snack. After finishing it, he then rubs his hands together and gets down to business. Only he starts imagining the notes and bars on the paper turning into sheep jumping over a fence, and he falls asleep at the piano.

The kitchen timer goes off, awakening Arthur. Arthur thinks he practiced the whole time, and jumps off the piano seat to go do something else.

  • * *

Arthur's back at Dr. Fugue's place. He notices a picture on the wall of Dr. Fugue with Yo Yo Ma, doing a duet. Arthur asks if it is Yo Yo Ma in the photo.

Dr. Fugue: Indeed. Yo Yo is a good friend of mine....and of D.W. -- see #41001 - "My Music Rules".

Arthur points to another picture, this time of Dr. Fugue and a smiling fellow in a flashy pink fur-lined suit. Dr. Fugue says that that was Librace. They played together in a "Dueling Pianos" match when Dr. Fugue was working his way through music school. Apparently Dr. Fugue doesn't think much of Liberace.

Again Dr. Fugue cuts the chat session short and wants to get down to business. He starts up the metronome. Not surprisingly, Arthur does badly.

Dr. Fugue can tell. He doesn't think Arthur practiced. Arthur's forced to admit he didn't really.

Dr. Fugue: (at length, slowly) If you don't want to work at this, then I don't want to waste my time teaching you. I'm afraid I have no choice.He walks off.

Arthur mutters something about knitting needles.

Dr. Fugue isn't getting his knitting needles though, he's holding the door open.

Dr. Fugue: Goodbye Arthur, you're fired.Arthur can't believe it. He not only blinks, but opens his mouth.

  • * *

Arthur drowns his sorrows at The Sugar Bowl. Arthur sounds like he thinks that Dr. Fugue was hard on him just 'cause Arthur didn't play the piece perfectly.

Buster's sorry to hear that Arthur got fired.

Arthur on the other hand thinks it's cool -- he doesn't have to practice in the interim. It will take ages for his parents to find a new music teacher.

Buster asks what Arthur will do with the copious amounts of free time that he'll have.

Arthur: The possibilities are endless.* * *

After a while, Arthur begins to feel guilty/bored.

He flips on the TV, but it's nothing but piano-related programs, no doubt specially programmed by the TV stations to make Arthur feel guilty.

  • A piano recital at a concert hall...
  • The Phantom of the Opera playing an organ...
  • The piano scene from what looks like Casablanca, or what it would be like if they were all animal people...

Arthur's Mom tells him she's going to the mall to buy socks. Arthur, eager to break up the monotony of his piano-free existance, eagerly wants to go along.

  • * *

Arthur goes with his Mom to buy socks, but gets bored of listening to Mom reel off her specs on the socks she needs to buy to a woman in the store, so he wanders out of the sock store ("Sock Hop") and into a music store and sits at a piano. Arthur pretends he's in a concert hall about to play Zuchoffski's Concerto #5. The man in the store tells him to get lost, telling him that the piano is not a toy, and then invites a young piano player to sit down and try out the piano.

  • * *

He talks to his old music teacher and Mrs. Cardigan says that Dr. Fugues "fires" a lot of students. It's his way. He demands a lot.

Mrs. Cardigan: He's a brilliant teacher, but a very difficult man.Arthur wants to be rehired. What will he have to do? She suggests he practice. Arthur doubts that that will work -- he points out that even Dr. Fugue's bird isn't up to his demanding standards.

She says he doesn't have to play perfectly -- he just has to play his best.

  • * *

Arthur practices. This time he doesn't let distractions put him off. He puts cotton in his ears while D.W.'s playing with her "Funny Farm".

  • * *

He goes back to Dr. Fugue's, and on the way up the stairs, he sees another kid who's been fired, celebrating. Arthur was like that a few days ago.

Dr. Fugue comes to the door and he recognizes Arthur.

Dr. Fugue: Ah, Arthur Read. Dismissed for torturing the Invention in F Major. What brings you back?Arthur gulps, and says he wants another chance. He would like to try and play it again, if that's ok.

Dr. Fugue rubs his chin with his gloved hand. He says that It's highly irregular... and then grudgingly, Dr. Fugue agrees. He says he has a few minutes before Soul Train comes on.

  • * *

Dr. Fugue sits with his fingertips pressed against the temples of his head, concentrating.

Arthur plays and is nervous. he wants to make a good impression. He completes the piece, but figures he made at least 50 mistakes.

Actually, comments Dr. Fugue, Arthur made 78 mistakes. Arthur is sorry he wasted Dr. Fugue's time. He guesses that no matter how hard he practices, he'll never be any good. Arthur is about to leave in shame.

Dr. Fugue calls out to him. There is one thing that might help Arthur to improve. He reaches for his knitting...

Arthur gasps.

Dr. Fugue gives Arthur a pair of gloves he's knitted. He says Arthur will need to keep his fingers warm to be a good musician. He requires all his students to wear them.

Arthur accepts them.

Dr. Fugue promptly puts an end to the chit-chat and has Arthur do scales again, starting with D major.


Dr. Fugue must presumably have a VCR that can record, otherwise he's going to miss Soul Train. We already know what a problem not having a VCR is from "Double Dare".

One wonders what Arthur would have turned out like if Dr. Fugue was his Dad. Arthur's show would be a lot shorter for one thing, what with a lot less time spent dilly-dallying with imagination. :) I suppose one might also wonder what Arthur would have turned out if Liberace was Arthur's father.

Isn't DW's "Funny Farm" a tad violent? Not to mention young for her. Time to hand that down to Kate.

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