"Citizen Frensky" / "D.W.'s Backpack Mishap"
Synopsis by Dave
Comments by Dave and Esmeraude.
A newspaper reporter, Stevens, and a photographer, Murphy, from the only newspaper Elwood City has, the Elwood City Times go out to cover a story after Steven gets a "hot tip" about a story over the phone. They interview and take photos of Arthur, Muffy, and Buster. Buster's Mom, Bitzi, the editor of the newspaper reviews their work, and is pleased. She decides to make it the lead story in the paper.
The paper is printed, loaded in a truck, and delivered to the Frensky's apartment. Francine opens the door of the Frensky apartment to pick the paper up off the landing -- and is shocked by the story:
FRENSKY FRAMES FRIENDS... with a picture of her looking quite wicked.
Good thing she's not Azula...
Francine: Frensky frames friends?! That's a dirty rotten lie!
She starts reading the paper as she walks back into the apartment.
|* * * Citizen Frensky * * *
Francine and the gong.
|The title's a Citizen Kane reference. The second CK reference this season.||Written by: Jacqui Deegan
Storyboard by: Jeremy O'Neill
Ratburn walks into class and after saying good morning, tells them that they can put away their books, as there won't be class today. They all gasp. Buster figures he's dreaming. Ratburn continues; they won't be having class because they'll be all going to work.
Brain: Excuse me Mr. Ratburn, but I think that's against child labor laws.
As sue_ellen_armstrong and I recently discussed, it's odd that Brain comments about this since recently he's been working in his parent's ice cream shop when he's not in school quite a lot recently...
Mr. Ratburn explains that they won't actually be working -- they'll be job shadowing one another's parents at work.
Buster says he wants to go to the Brain's Mom's ice cream shop. Then everyone starts wanting to do likewise. Well, just about everyone. In an overhead shot we see Fern, Sue Ellen, Binky, and Brain raise their hands while Jenna and Francine do not.
Mr. Ratburn says that they can't all go to the same place. He passes around a hat that has the businesses of everyone's parents in it. The kids can randomly pick a job to go investigate.
Randomly assigning jobs to shadow is a good idea. Too bad we didn't do it that way when I was in school.
Buster gets "Oliver Frensky". He thinks this is "cool" -- he'll get to go visit the dump.
It would be cool, perhaps, except that everyone already did job-shadow Francine's Dad. It was called #12601 - "My Dad, the Garbage Man". They all went. It was cool.
Arthur reads his slip of paper.
Arthur: Run, don't walk, to Crosswire Motors.
Arthur rolls his eyes and says "great" in a sarcastic voice that makes it obvious that he doesn't think it is. The only thing is, Muffy is sitting across from him. She glowers, and goes "Humph!" Arthur says "great" again in a more enthusiastic voice.
I think Mr. Ratburn had the kids write out the slips of paper and give them to him earlier in the week.
Francine looks downright angry that she got stuck with visiting the newspaper, which she figures will be "Borrrrrrring" as "nothing interesting ever happens in Elwood City".
* * *
The kids go annoy each others parents at their workplaces.
- Muffy tries to get Brain's Mom to color-coordinate the ice cream flavors to boost business. Muffy says that "presentation is everything".
- Mr. Crosswire tells Arthur to "never overestimate the intelligence of a customer". Then he starts telling Arthur how just the other day, he convinced his cousin to buy a worthless...Some have said that this is a reference to the guy who bought the car with no wheels at the start of #60201 - "Arthur Plays the Blues". I disagree though.
- Muffy's Dad trails off as we move to Brain helping out Arthur's Mom. Well, not really helping, more like taking over. He installs new accounting software and deletes her current version by moving it into the "Trash" folder. Arthur's Mom looks the way most people do when people start taking over their computer and messing with it.
- Buster sees a button with a trashcan on it on the dash in the garbage truck. He pushes it, and Francine's Dad shouts out "No!", but it's too late -- the button was to release the garbage out of the back of the truck, which is what happens. Trash pours out into the middle of an intersection.
* * *
Francine goes to the Elwood City Times building. There's a brass plaque at street level.
ELWOOD CITY TIMESHONESTY ACCURACY INTEGRITY
WITH COLOR SUPPLEMENTS
Buster's Mom greets Francine at the entrance and figures Francine must be very excited to be visiting the newspaper. Bitzi says she'll show Francine "absolutely everything". The first thing she tells Francine as they go in through a revolving door is that the building was built in 1949 from brick and limestone.
Bitzi shows Francine a broom closet, where the cafeteria is, and what the specials are (London broil, Chicken fricata), and that the ceilings are fifteen feet tall. She points out a fact checker, who checks facts... Francine looks bored. Then they walk into the newsroom, which is busy. Francine looks more interested now. Bitzi says for a special treat, she'll let Francine go out and help cover a real news story, she'll be on assignment with their top sports reporter.
The top sports reporter is Bitzi's beau, Harry Mills.
* * *
Harry asks her if she likes horses, which she does. Harry says he's lost his photographer for the day, and needs someone to take photos at the racetrack in Erie.
Erie is where Marc Brown grew up.
Harry and Francine sit in the stands at the racetrack. Harry points out some of the important parts of the track to her, just before the race starts. But Francine's not really paying attention. She sees a goat on the track. Nobody seems to notice it besides her, and Harry doesn't know why it's there either -- it's not in the program. While he tries to figure it out, Francine begins taking photos.
The goat spooks the horses as they come down the track, and the track is a shambles. The goat causes the horses to scatter and chases both horses and jockeys. Everyone in the stands stare, and Francine keeps taking photos of the action on the track.
Back at the newspaper, Bitzi reviews the photos Francine took. Bitzi's surprised at the fuss one goat managed to cause. Harry is proud of Francine -- good thing she was there to get these photos, and says she's an "ace reporter". Bitzi chooses one of the photos to go on the front page of tomorrow's sports section, one of the goat facing a horse, both of them rearing up on their hind legs.
Francine is at home. She's decorated her bedroom, the one she shares with her sister, Katherine -- with newspaper clippings taped to the walls, and a sign on the door marked "NEWS ROOM". Francine has got an old typewriter out from somewhere, and she places it on her desk and blows some dust off of it. Francine does a quick check of her newsgathering supplies, and figures she's all set. She leans back in her chair, puts her feet on her desk and says that now all she needs is a story.
Katherine enters the room, and is annoyed that Francine's decorated the place. Katherine says she wants "this junk out of here now", and starts tossing sheets of paper in the air. Francine says it's not junk -- she has a job to do!
Katherine starts losing her anger. She says that Francine's only job is to keep her grubby hands off of her stuff! She glowers at Francine and is about to say something rude when Francine takes her photo with the camera. This momentarily stuns Katherine, causing her to rub her eyes.
Francine suggests she take another one, only Catherine should show "more rage" this time. Katherine makes a move to grab the camera off Francine, but Francine's too quick, and keeps snapping photos.
Francine: Sorry, Charlie, this is great copy!
Here's a tuna reference, unless it isn't.
Francine runs out the door of her room.
That's some camera. The flash keeps going off. It's a Polaroid-type camera, but you don't have to wait for the pictures to pop out. Kinda convenient.
Muffy and Francine are at a small business. We can read the name of it in reversed letters on the front window. It reads:
STINKO'S COPIES 9
Why is there a 9? I don't know.
Francine thanks Muffy for footing the bill to print up copies of her paper. Muffy says it's ok, she and her Daddy are "very supportive of the media -- and it's free advertising!". She thanks Gordie, (who's one of those 30-something rabbit guys with glasses and stubble -- the same kind you see working on TV crews and at record stores...) for printing up the papers, and tells him to "put it on the account".
Muffy takes a stack of color copies, and so does Francine. Francine jokingly says they'd better not let Ratburn see these.
Before the scene changes, Muffy's expression turns to a slight frown.
* * *
* * *
Binky looks like he's trying to avoid being spotted, as he walks into school. Francine was hiding behind some bushes. She noticed Binky looking secretive, and thinks it's interesting... she follows him.
Binky is petting a class pet rabbit inside an empty classroom.
Binky: (baby voice) Aww, whos a cute widdle wabbit?!
Francine snaps a photo of Binky petting the rabbit.
When I was in grade 3, we lost our gerbil because a kid came in and petted our class pet too much.
Arthur, D.W., and their Mom are leaving the LORING cinema after seeing "MARY MOO COW THE MOVIE". Arthur is complaining the fact he wasted two hours of his life watching it -- he'd rather have been doing math homework. D.W. is pleased as punch -- it's Arthur's own fault, as he lost the bet.
The bet was whether or not Nadine could hold her breath for two hours. Arthur starts arguing. He was tricked. Nadine isn't real, so she can't even have breath to hold! Mom doesn't want to listen to Arthur's whining, so she bargains with him -- next time, he can pick the movie, and he'll get an extra large popcorn.
Arthur pumps his fist and says "Yes!". Francine peers around a corner and snaps a photo.
Francine decides to make her own news. The goat at the horse race was news, so she takes Nemo to the soccer field where Buster, Arthur, and Brain are kicking a ball around. Nemo gets in the way and the three boys crash into one another. Francine takes their photo.
- * *
This continues. Francine goes to Muffy's house, and they play dress up with some of Muffy's Mom's old clothes. Muffy has a load of mismatched tacky hippie clothes on. Francine takes a photo while Muffy's not looking at her. Muffy notices something, but Francine says it must be lightning, and decides to leave, as there must be a storm coming. Since all Francine did to dress up was put on a big hat of Muffy's, it's easy for her to take it off and depart.
- * *
Francine, alone, goes back to STINKO's and has another issue of the paper printed up. She tells Gordie to put it on the account (Muffy's).
- * *
The paper is distributed and again, everyone's laughing.
Buster, Arthur, Muffy, and Binky are gathered in the hallway reading the paper. They're not laughing at the stories.
Arthur: "The truth behind Arthur's love for Mary Moo Cow"...
Arthur tries to explain to them that D.W. tricked him into seeing that dumb movie!
Muffy reads the paper. We can see photos with captions reading "Binky's cute wittle wabbit!", and Muffy in the tacky clothes with a caption saying "Look Ma, I can dress myself!". Muffy's embarassed that people will think she likes wearing stripes with polka dots -- that's not how she normally dresses, they were just kidding around!
Binky tries to explain that he thought he was petting, err, a rat!
Francine walks up to them. She sounds a little cocky.
Francine: Hey guys, anything interesting in the papers?
Muffy makes a wise move. She tells Francine that the Crosswires are withdrawing their funding.
Yeah, go Muffy. :) I know "Freedom of the press" and all, but I'd have done the same thing. :)
Arthur suggests that Muffy not say any more, as it may get printed in "that rag, the Frensky Star". The four of them walk off with not another word. Francine shouts at them, saying she just "tells it like it is".
At lunch, Muffy, Brain, and Arthur are sitting together eating lunch. Francine comes up to their table with her tray of food, and asks if she can sit here.
They all reply "No comment".
Francine grumbles and asks how long she's going to get the silent treatment for. They reply "No comment".
Francine says that she didn't make up those stories, she just reported them, to which the others reply "No comment".
She asks what they want her to do.
Brain says that she could print an article saying that she used those photos out of context. Francine considers that briefly, but doesn't think it would make a good story.
Muffy squeaks, and says that she can't eat here with tabloids hounding her like this. She gets up and takes her tray to another table, calling for Brain and Arthur to join her. They get up as well and leave the table. Francine sits down on her own and sighs.
Mr. Ratburn comes over and drops a copy of the paper on the table, noting she left out all the commas. He says that if she's trying to be a journalist, she should at least use proper grammar. Ratburn doesn't sound angry, just his usual teachery self.
Francine shoud have had her pal Mrs. Pariso proofread her newspaper copy.
Francine sighs again.
Francine's on the roof of the Westboro Apartments practicing her stupid "Lah dah dah dah dah" whooping and drum playing that was the topic of #40702 - "To Beat or Not to Beat".
I guess Pariso's threat last season has been forgotten about.
From around a corner, hands holding a camera snap a photo.
Uh oh, a rival newspaper?
The media campaign is effective. Everyone in school has a copy of the paper. Francine walks down the hallway and is handed a copy of the paper by a white rabbity student.
Francine can't believe it. Who would do it? She whips her head around and sees several of the no-name kids laughing, all holding copies of the paper. Then more no-name kids reading it, including Jenna. George and Rat-boy are laughing too.
She sees Brain, Binky, and Muffy laughing, and goes over to yell at them.
Francine: This is the lowest of the low. This isn't news, it's just revenge!
Muffy can't stop laughing. She says they didn't do anything, honest. Binky says yeah, but they wish they did.
Just then, Arthur and Buster walk up to them. Arthur has one of the papers in his hand, and Buster has a big thick stack of them. Francine accuses Buster of being the mastermind behind this, as he has a motive -- he could be jealous of the praise she got from his Mom and Harry, and that here he is now, even distributing the things.
Buster says it wasn't him. He just found these newspapers in a pile and picked them up. He says that ever since he spent the day with her Dad, he "sees garbage everywhere"!
She then accuses Arthur. Arthur says that really, it wasn't them.
Francine storms off. Arthur comments to the others:
Arthur: Even we don't work that fast!
Francine heads home. As she's leaving through the front entrance, she passes Mr. Ratburn, who thinks she printed the "Drummer" picture herself -- he says she did a nice job, as "it takes a lot of character to poke fun at yourself". Francine doesn't comment, and heads home.
At home, she grumbles to Nemo about it in her room. She tosses her reporter's hat on the floor and says that she's gone from being an "ace reporter" to being a laughing stock.
At the door to her room, Katherine quips that she thinks she'll call this story "Pesky Sister Gets Just Desserts".
Francine's stunned. Katherine's behind "THE ENQUIRER"? Katherine says she is; after all, Francine's not the only one with a camera. Francine asks why she did it -- now everyone is laughing at her.
Katherine sits down on the bed beside Francine. Katherine says she did it so Francine would know what it feels like, and besides, Katherine didn't want Francine to lose all her friends! Francine is sad. Katherine tells her not to worry, as tomorrow, it will all be yesterday's news.
Francine asks how she knows that. Katherine says that that's the way it was when she was an "annoying third grader" who took photos of all of her friends...
At that moment, Oliver appears at the door of their room, sees that they're not arguing, and takes a photo, saying that THIS is a story.
- * *
We see another "newspaper" posted on the Frensky's refrigerator, with a picture of the two girls smiling. The page is entitled "THE FRENSKY STARS".
Francine opens the fridge door, takes the last can of "SARAH SODA" and Katherine grabs at it too, before Francine can even shut the fridge door. They start arguing as we pan away from a shot of the outside of the Westboro Apartments. Katherine claims that the soda's hers as she's bigger and older and stronger.
Francine: You want a piece of me? I'm never letting go.
Once again, a wee bit of overkill. Any other season, we'd have stopped with the shot of "THE FRENSKY STARS".
Oops, looks like I've been spelling Katherine as Catherine all these years. Duh. Oh well. That's what you get for being an unofficial site.
The fact "THE INQUIRER" was given out with ice creams suggested that it might be Brain behind the rival paper, but it's possible Katherine just gave him some to hand out.
This episode is is like another "Hey Arnold", where Helga took photos of her classmates and printed embarrassing stories about them.