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All in all, not great, and a slow start to the new season.

Arthur wants to go see the "Creatures of the Deep" exhibit at the Museum of Natural History. Dad is going to take him. D.W. wants to come too, but Arthur tells her that this is just for him and Dad. Dad concurs; D.W.'s going to spend the day with Mom and Baby Kate. D.W. starts whining.

Mom walks in with Baby Kate, who is also whining. Arthur covers his ears at the racket. Mom asks Dad if he can take D.W. along with him -- Mom's got work to get finished by tonight, and she's got to take care of Baby Kate, who's sick.

So D.W. tags along with Arthur and Dad. There happens to be an exhibit on Unicorn Miniatures at the museum as well, which D.W. notes as they approach the front entrance. Arthur does not want to see that though.

Inside the museum, D.W. doesn't like the look of the Creatures of the Deep exhibit, and wants to go see the unicorns. Arthur, who didn't even want D.W. along, is obviously annoyed. The ticket taker suggests to Arthur's Dad that this exhibit might not be appropriate for D.W., but Arthur is digging his heels in. He wanted to come to see this.

D.W. starts wailing again, making a big show of the Reads in front of the queue of people waiting to go into the exhibit area. Dad elects to take D.W. around the Unicorn Miniatures exhibit, while Arthur continues on with the rest of the group on his own. They'll meet up in an hour.

Arthur goes into the Creatures of the Deep exhibit.


Arthur: I used to wonder what little sisters were for. ...And I finally figured it out. they're there just there to wreck things for us guys and our Dads.So Arthur gets to see the exhibit, but not with his Dad, like he was hoping for.




* * * Cast Away * * * Written by Dietrich Smith

Storyboard by Gerry Capelle



That night, at dinner, D.W. is going on and on about the pretty unicorns she saw at the museum, leafing through a guidebook for everyone's benefit. Baby Kate seems to be much happier.

Guess what the beverage of choice is tonight? Milk.

Arthur though, is not happy, and wants to be excused from the dinner table. He wants to go do homework.

Arthur goes upstairs, but just doodles on some paper while he listens to D.W. carry on downstairs. Dad comes in, trying to make ammends. He apologizes -- he realizes Arthur had wanted just to go with him. To make it up, next weekend, he and Arthur could go fly fishing at Whale Lake. Arthur perks up.

But then D.W. comes to the door and peeps in. Arthur gets sulky again, and sarcastically asks if there are unicorns there.

Dad says that this will just be him and Arthur, and starts telling Arthur how great Whale Lake is. Arthur's Dad used to go there with his father when he was a kid. Fish practically leap into your lap there. Arthur seems interested.

D.W. wants attention. She yells that it's time for her bedtime story from the doorway. Arthur cringes. But Dad wants to finish talking to Arthur first.

Arthur wants to get this straight... no D.W.? Just father and son? Even Arthur's Dad seems to fancy the idea of no D.W., but he says it quietly so she won't hear.


Arthur imagines fishing with his Dad. Dad explains how fly fishing takes a lot of practice to do well, so it's ok if Arthur doesn't catch anything. Then Arthur's Dad's cell phone rings, and D.W. is on the phone, complaining. Arthur casts, and instantly catches a big fish. Dad is so surprised that he drops the cell phone into the water. Arthur's Dad doesn't care though, he wants to help Arthur reel in the fish. But Arthur wants to do it himself. The fish pulls on the line so hard that it causes him to waterski. Dad starts taking photos.

Arthur goes underwater, and Dad stops taking photos and throws the camera away, rushing over to come save his son. But it's ok, because the fish comes flying out of the water, followed by Arthur, who is still hanging onto the fishing rod, and Dad falls over into the water. The fish beaches itself on shore, having given up, and opens its mouth. Loads of other good-sized fish spill out of its mouth.

Dad recovers the cell phone, only to have D.W. phone up again, complaining about Dad hanging up on her.


Dad: D.W. who?


A fishing trip so good that it makes Arthur's Dad forget who D.W. is sounds good.

  • * *

The family car is packed up with camping supplies and fishing tackle. D.W. is out by the car as well, grumbling; she still can't understand why she's not coming. Dad explains how this is his weekend with Arthur, and next weekend, he'll spend time with her.

Mom calls out for Dad that there's a phone call for him. Dad goes inside. D.W. starts acting like a brat, saying that next weekend is going to be far superior to Arthur's weekend -- they'll go to, um, Unicorn Lake, where she won't have to fish for unicorns because they'll want to come play with her. Arthur ignores her and puts his fishing rod and backpack into the back seat.

Even D.W. can't put a damper on Arthur's spirits... But then Dad comes back... He tells them he'll have to work next weekend.

D.W. starts crying. Arthur says that Dad's working next week is ok with him. D.W. starts throwing a tantrum saying it's not fair.

Dad rolls his eyes. Arthur looks at Dad, and nods.

If I was Elvis, I'd have shot my TV at this point -- I can't believe the two of them are such pushovers. I'd like to think that Arthur's Mom, if she'd have been the one in charge of the trip would have been able to work something out. How about postponing D.W.'s trip, whatever it'd be to a different weekend? Sheeesh. I'm sure it's not actually fishing for unicorns.

  • * *

They head the same way they went camping in #21101 - "D.W.'s Deer Friend".

...without going to the effort of confirming it, I'd hazard a guess that it's reused footage.

D.W., and now Mom and Kate are suddenly along for the trip too. D.W.'s wearing the pith helmet she had from that trip as well, and she's singing about going fishing. Dad says she won't be fishing, she can stay at camp and go fishing with Mom and Kate while Arthur and he fish.

Mom looks like she didn't particularly want to come on this trip. Perhaps more to the point, why did she and Baby Kate come along? It must have been a sudden decision... Probably she figured Dad couldn't handle D.W. and Arthur on his own for any length of time.

D.W. pulls out a tape and requests it be played.


Arthur: No Mary Moo Cow, that's all I ask.Arthur gets Dad to agree, and instead they listen to a book on tape -- that famous young wizard, "Henry Screever, Book 6 -- Henry Screever and the Cauliflower Queen" on tape. But then the tape player eats the tape.


Dad: Uh oh, I think we have a problem.* * *

They drive on, now listening to Mary Moo Cow.


Arthur: No Mary Moo Cow, that's all I ask.


Arthur's Dad tells Arthur to get ready -- the signage to the lake is hard to see -- it's a white arrow on a tree. Arthur has Dad stop the car. He sees a dark arrow on a tree, but Dad isn't sure that's the one. Mom's got a map out... But D.W. sees something.

She sees a collection of big garish signs with CAMPING, ELECTRICITY, WHALE LAKE CAMPGROUND and ENTRANCE just ahead of them, and an RV pulling in.

Dad thanks D.W. -- and mentions that he guesses things have changed...

This is the same sort of surprise the Read's experienced in #11501 - "Arthur's Family Vacation". Nothing stays obscure anymore...


D.W.: You just have to keep your eyes peeled!Arthur slumps down in his seat.

  • * *

Whale Lake appears to have developed into a modern camping facility, like a KOA. It even has a merry-go-round. D.W. seems to like it, but Arthur's Dad and Arthur don't look as impressed -- they were hoping that it was going to be more like real camping. Dad tells Arthur not to worry -- the secret fishing spot is up the hill and away from all this...

A kid sets off a car's alarm by accident and runs off, scared -- this is not why people go camping.

  • * *

We see the reason people go camping -- a nice wooded area with a view of the lake and the mountains in the distance. Arthur and Dad prepare to set off. Dad says the spot is about an hour's hike... "but wait 'til you see it".

D.W. unzips the tent and comes running out with her portable radio. She wants to come along.


Arthur: Daaaaaaaad...Dad tells D.W. that the fishing is just for him and Arthur. But they'll be back later, and they can toast marshmallows.

D.W. stays behind, and plays her Mary Moo Cow tape.

  • * *

They find the spot, which luckily enough, is still as Dad remembers it. They can hear loons. Arthur has to agree, it's great.

  • * *

Arthur gets a lesson in fly fishing from his Dad, and then Arthur asks why it is called Whale Lake -- is the lake shaped like a whale? Dad says that according to Iriquois legend, a whale once swam up the Scraw River, and now resides in the lake. He says he always used to look for it, laughs, and says that it's just a legend.

Now Arthur has a go. But unlike in his imagination, Arthur is too worried about casting the right way and gets nervous. He snags Dad's hat and sends it out into the lake. Dad doesn't mind -- just reel it in and try again, he tells Arthur.

  • * *

Arthur gets his line caught in a tree.

  • * *

And again.

  • * *

And again. Arthur apologizes. Arthur's Dad cuts the line, revealing a pine tree with about a dozen fishing flys caught in it. Arthur's Dad says it is ok -- they have plenty more.

  • * *

Arthur eventually gets the hang of casting, and starts celebrating. Dad notes that he's supposed to hold onto the rod though -- it's now floating out about twenty feet in front of them. Dad is about to start wading out to retrieve it, but Arthur stops him, saying it's his fault, and he'll go get it himself. Dad tells him to be careful of the slippery rocks underfoot, but Arthur falls.

  • * *

Back at camp that night...


D.W.: Safety first! That's what Mary Moo Cow Always says!Mom: D.W....

D.W.: I'm just trying to help... You can't catch fish if you aren't safe. Shut your mouth already, D.W., Mom is thinking... D.W. sure has a smart mouth on her... She needs to learn when to keep her personality shut.

...while the family sits around the barbeque and D.W. toasts marshmallows, Arthur's ankle is being wrapped in bandages by Mom. Arthur's Dad points out that it's just a minor sprain, and that they have all day tomorrow to try again.

Arthur agrees. There's always tomorrow. It would seem that his injury isn't life-threatening. :)

  • * *

The next day though, it hurts when Arthur tries to walk on it. Dad has to admit that it would be best if Arthur rested his ankle today. But Arthur wants to soldier on... but it does hurt. He agrees that Dad is right. D.W. sticks her head out of the tent and asks if that means she can go. Arthur emphatically says no, and then looks at Dad.

Dad says maybe if he took D.W. with him it would help Arthur rest...

Arthur does his disappointed nod, while D.W., toting her radio, a Mary Moo Cow doll, and a Mary Moo Cow Polaroid camera, shouts "Yay!"

  • * *

Arthur rests in a hammock while Mom sits and reads.


Arthur: Y'know Mom, this was a good idea. It's nice just to be by the lake in peace an...D.W.: MOM! D.W. comes charging in, shouting "I've got fish, I've got fish!". Dad is on the way up to the campsite. Arthur doesn't believe D.W., and is annoyed at her making this up.


Arthur: You mean, Dad got fish.Dad's carrying loads of fish. He says that no, these are D.W.'s... and D.W. has the pictures to prove it. Dad says she's a natural. Photos show D.W. fly fishing perfectly, and catching loads of fish; the fish almost jumping out of the water on their own. Dad notes that the fish seem to love Mary Moo Cow music.

Arthur doesn't know what to say.

D.W. grabs a bag of "Mephisto" brand charcoal, announcing that it's "fish fry time". Arthur tells her to wait a minute and points out that the last time they went camping, D.W. "freaked out" when they caught just one fish.


D.W.: That was before I discovered my gift.More like, that was before it was realized that D.W. being better at fishing than Arthur would make a good episode.

Mom looks at the fish.


Mom: Oh D.W.! These will be delicious!Arthur pouts.

But not without good reason.

Dad knows how Arthur is feeling. But he was thinking, maybe they could squeeze in just a little bit of fishing tomorrow morning before they have to go home, if Arthur's ankle is feeling better.

Arthur perks up.

D.W. shows Mom proper casting technique.

  • * *

It's raining. Arthur says his ankle feels better, but Dad says they're just having to call it quits this time.


Arthur: We could wear... ponchos? Please???Dad smiles.

D.W. puts her two cents in, saying she has a bad feeling about this.

  • * *

Arthur and Dad go fishing at the spot again, but the fish aren't interested -- underwater, the fish are holding umbrellas.

  • * *

They go back to the camp, where Mom is backing up the car. It's not raining anymore, but it's still overcast. D.W.'s radio is playing Mary Moo Cow. Mom asks if they caught anything, and stops the tape.

Nope.


Arthur: What's that smell?D.W.: You guys just missed the fish! Mom starts explaining -- D.W.'s Mary Moo Cow tape caused fish to practically leap out of the lake...

The rabbit family at the campsite next to their's are barbequing the surplus fish that D.W.'s tape "caught"... The rabbit Dad thanks them, saying D.W.'s a "fish magnet", and the campers at the campsite down from that one wave their appreciation as well!


D.W.:Mary does it again!All over the campground, campers start doing an impromptu rendition of the Mary Moo Cow song. It would seem that the whole campground has benefited from D.W.'s fish magnetism...

Arthur flings down his fishing gear in a fit of rage and hurls his hat down on the ground. He storms off towards the lake. Mom and Dad don't know what to say.

Arthur kicks a rock into the water and says "Ow". As Dad comes down to see him, Arthur says that it's not fair.


Arthur: She always gets what she wants... and now she even fishes better than me.Dad says she was lucky this time... but what Arthur did was even rarer...

What did Arthur do? He let his little sister come on what was supposed to be his own private fishing trip. That is of little comfort to Arthur, but Dad says that in his book, that beats catching fish any day. Arthur's Dad bends down to pick up a rock. While Dad isn't looking, Arthur sees the mythical whale of Whale Lake. Only it isn't mythical -- there's a whale in the lake, spouting water. Dad tosses the rock in, not seeing the whale, or Arthur, staring at it with his mouth agape. Dad hears D.W. calling that it's time to go though.

Arthur can hardly speak, but he manages to get Dad to turn around, in time to see the whale's tail disappearing into the water.

Big smiles on both Arthur and his Dad.

  • * *

Mom is waiting in the car.

Arthur's Dad comes back all excited about Arthur spotting the whale. D.W. gets out of the car -- she wants to see the whale.

Dad says it's gone now... he waited his whole life to see it, and Arthur spotted it for him.

  • * *

They drive off, even though D.W. wants them to stop so she can go spot the whale. Arthur, looking out of the rear of the car, sees the whale's tail waving goodbye. He taps D.W.'s shoulder, and she turns around to see it too.


D.W.: Wow...The End.


On reflection, my quibble with this one isn't so much that it's boring -- personally, I like the Read family-centric ones, but not when D.W. dominates them like she does here, or when Dad looks like a wuss, which he also does here... but that D.W. gets to walk all over Arthur, and never gets called to task for it. Even at the end when Arthur sees the whale, she gets a piece of that too when he gives in and lets her observe it from the car. Arthur's like a modern-day Charlie Brown -- he's wishy-washy.

Also, is the message of this one that one-on-one time with a parent is secondary to keeping the most obnoxious member of the family happy? I guess... :)

An inauspicious start to the seventh season. This kind of story is my least favorite, featuring only the Read family and none of Arthur's friends. The bickering between Arthur and D.W. is particularly unpleasant in this one, almost cringe-inducing, as D.W.'s brattiness and Arthur's petulance go head-on. The theme of a father taking his son fishing seems utterly bland and unoriginal. When Arthur sprained his ankle, he didn't seem to exhibit any pain at all. I hated the fact that the Mary Moo Cow "F-U-N" song figured into the proceedings. I hated the joke about the fish holding umbrellas underwater.

Those ultra-real looking fish are quiet ugly... couldn't they have been drawn nicer?

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