The Lousy WeekEdit
"The Lousy Week" / "You Are Arthur"
Synopsis by KorraIsBack,Dave,ArthurComedyDW, & Onji_dreamlover.
Comments by aardvarky_tarrlok,TheArthurCircus, ,Majordomo_arthur,DetectiveSokka, & Bloomdream_girl.
For more of S.C.'s comments on this episode, visit the Ultimate Arthur Bulletin Board.
The opening of "A Lousy Week" is unusual for season five in that it doesn't consist of Arthur asking us to ponder some deep thought. Instead we are greeted by a vista of what at first appears to be a forest of very odd trees. Over the rise comes marching an army platoon of anthropomorphic insects.
The insects are lice and the forest is hair we realize as the General orders his men to disperse and began installing nits (lice eggs) on every strand of hair.
The General's right hand (leg?) man, (a Sergeant I'll assume) is very jumpy. He suddenly sounds the alarm. A comb! No, the General assures him, it's only a bobby pin. After a brief conversation of the horrors of combs the camera pulls back and we see we have been visiting Muffy's head. She scratches miserably.
The Title Card is shown. It's the one in which DW interrupts Arthur in the bathtub.
* * * The Lousy Week * * *
The episode begins. The kids are in art class painting on easels. Mr. Haney is posing for them wearing a toga. Muffy's easel is facing away from us so we can't see her interpretation of Mr. Haney but all the better to see her madly scratching her scalp with both hands and paintbrush.
Sue Ellen comes over and takes a look. She loves the hair. No, not Mr. Haney's, Muffy's. The purple highlights especially. Muffy gasps, realizing she's gotten paint all over her hair.
- In music class Muffy is still scratching. She misses her cue for the Tympani drums during a class music recital.
- Next is PE, they play hockey. Muffy calls to Francine for the puck but stops to scratch and misses the shot. The game is over, Francine comes over to gripe. Muffy tells her she can't help it, it's this "darn itchy head".
Francine tells her she should go to the nurse. Catherine once had head lice and it started the same way. Muffy is repulsed at the very idea. Only dirty people get lice after all. Francine points out this must not be the case as Buster has never had head lice. She points over at him sitting on a bench. He's just finished apparently massacring a chocolate bar. He's licking it off the tips of his ears.
(Personally I think they went a little too far in Buster's filthiness in this episode, they've made him look pretty bad all season. Perhaps he should sue Arthur for defamation of character. Imagine the headlines. It'd be the biggest thing since Paul McCartney sued the Beatles.)
Apparently Muffy gives in. She's sitting on the nurses table while the nurse roots around in her hair with a tongue depressor. She pulls out a small irate insect. Muffy recoils in terror.
Muffy: I'M COVERED IN BUGS!
The nurse assures her she is only partly covered in bugs, lice prefer to remain on the head, but Muffy is not to be appeased. She is certain she will from now own be viewed a Leper and "Ostradized".
She invisions herself, perhaps a little older, living in a hovel in the middle of a vast wasteland wearing rags. Her hair is unkempt and hanging loose. Black dots of bugs fidget all over her.
Arthur rides up on camelback looking like something out of "David". He calls out; "Muffy, I have your Math homework!" He releases a specially trained carrier crow to deliver her text book to her. The bird flies to her, squawks in fear as it drops the book and makes haste back to Arthur. Muffy clutches the book and goes inside her shack.
Back in the real world Muffy begs the nurse not to tell ANYONE.
Francine has been waiting in the hall and immediately wants to know what the nurse said. Muffy maintains she doesn't have lice. The nurse only said she was thinking to hard. She attacks her head, scratching and dropping her hat, she wanders away muttering "Why are we here? What's the meaning of life? Which came first the chicken or the egg?"
Francine watches her go then notices the hat on the floor. She picks it up and admires it. She decides to put it on. A close up of the hat brim reveals the invading party of lice poised to land on the new head. As Francine lowers the hat to her head they leap into Francine's hair.
Muffy has apparently gone home to be washed. She's in the indoor pool/fountain/bathtub from #11402 - "Arthur and the True Francine" having her hair washed by her matronly bunny Nanny. Muffy's bemoaning her lot in life: It's so unfair that she of all people should have lice. Muffy's Mom comes in and tells her it's not so horrible, even she as a girl had lice.
A quick flashback takes us to Muffy's Mom in a regular tub being scrubbed by the same (but younger) Nanny and complaining the same quote as Muffy.
Muffy's Mom says this isn't all bad. Instead of just having all of Muffy's old things cleaned, they could use this as an excuse to redecorate. Muffy squeals in delight.
The next day everyone has been called to a general assembly in the auditorium. Francine asks Sue Ellen if she's seen Muffy as she still has her hat. Sue Ellen says no, she must be out sick. Sue Ellen takes the hat and admires it, from her it is passed to a grey cat (not Jenna), a very blonde rabbit, then the lamb child from Ms. Sweetwater's class.
The nurse comes on stage and informs the school that yesterday there was a case of head lice reported. They must all have their heads checked daily. Francine is mad. She knows it was Muffy, but now she's itching too.
The nurse continues talking. They must all be very careful not to share each others brushes, combs or clothing, especially hats. Muffy's hat has now made it to George. He looks a trifle unwell.
The lice army is shown on the march. In 4 days they have conquered 10 heads, before long the entire school will be theirs.
Sergeant: What's that smell!
General: Hair gel, son. I love the smell of hair gel in the morning!
As well as being really goofy looking, the lice suffer from cliché-itis)
Mr. Ratburn (whose name is Nigel today) is in the nurse's office being checked. She removes the Sergeant from his head and informs Ratburn that he has them too. Ratburn quietly muses he should have gone to business school instead.
At the Read house, Arthur's Dad is putting mayo on Arthur's head. After all that was how Grandma Thora handled lice. D.W. comes in and laughs loudly. It's a sound remarkably like that of a car alarm. She then entreats Dad to add tomatoes and lettuce to Arthur's head. Arthur warns her she's next.
D.W.: I don't have headmice!
Dad informs them they may all have them. Preventative measures must be taken. Mom is in D.W.'s bedroom bundling away the stuffed animals for a few weeks quarantine. DW is distraught and puts a straw in the top of the plastic bag so the animals can breathe.
D.W.: Goodbye Pooples,goobye MooMoo...
Apparently Mayo wasn't the best idea.
Arthur: Dad! Pal keeps trying to eat my head!!!
At the Barnes' house Binky is comfortably watching wrestling on TV while his Mom stands behind him and plucks at his hair. Binky is extolling the joys of lice. He gets to sit and watch TV for hours instead of doing homework. He loves lice.
At school again, Muffy runs blithely out of the nurse's office proclaiming her freedom from lice. She runs into Francine, knocking her down. Francine is still mad. Muffy gave her these lice and she knows it! Muffy shouldn't have lied to her.
Shouldn't have, but did. Muffy, like D.W. is regressing character-wise... For the second time in this episode, recall #11402 - "Arthur and the True Francine".
This doesn't bother Muffy. She goes home to oversee the painting of stars on her bedroom ceiling. It's not going well. The big dipper was supposed to be OVER her bed. The Nanny is brushing her hair. Oh no! The lice are back!
At Binky's the TV is still on, but not wrestling. It's now something like Antiques Roadshow scaled down. An elderly rabbit lady is awestruck that her old cigar box is worth $37. Binky can't stand it, he begs to go to bed.
Arthur is on the phone to Buster. Now they are using olive oil on Arthur's head. It seems to work and Pal doesn't like to eat it. Buster wonders why he hasn't gotten the lice. Everyone else has.
Close-up of Buster's head. It's a steaming, littered, toxic landscape. The lice a wearing gas masks. Even insects consider Buster disgusting. One suggests they go back to the teacher's head.
Now we shift scenes (again) to the Sugar Bowl. Muffy and Francine are arguing again about who had lice first. Brain interrupts, he says he's being doing some research (and yes, he produces documentation for proof as usual) it's virtually impossible to determine who starts an outbreak of lice, but it is a fact that it can be harder to get rid of if you have long hair.
But Francine decides there might be a bright side to this.
At school they walk into the boy's bathroom where Binky is inspecting his hair and too happy that he's back at school to realize who he's talking to at first. (Binky's never been known for his keen observation of his peers, #10101 - "Arthur's Eyes" bears this out) After a moment he realizes he's in a bathroom with girls. Are they in the wrong place or is he? Not wanting to take any chances Binky flees as the girls laugh.
On the barren, cold summit of George's antler, the General of the Lice Army is writing his final entry. He is alone. The school has defeated them. He looks through his binoculars for one last hope and is rewarded. Buster is coming from the opposite direction.
General: The Bunny! If I can just get to his head I can hatch a new army! I will survive!!!
With one giant leap for licekind he tries for Buster's head and......misses. We pull back, the hall is being filled with children heading to class. A tiny voice cries out like in the final scenes of the ORIGINAL version of The Fly; "Help Me! Help Me!"
There is a sickening squish and the closing music.
Does anyone else think that the fact that only Muffy used actual store bought "Lice Rid" medicated shampoo was a thinly veiled comment on the ridiculously overpricedness of that stuff? Actually Olive oil does work, so would honey.
That'd be Carol Greenwald, one of the producers. According to the Boston Herald article that I keep going back to time after time, she "personally pushed for the head lice episode after dealing with it herself."
wonder if this is a big part of the loss of character control in season 5. By the end of season 1 the characters of Arthur's population was well developed and well established. Now suddenly they are being warped to fit situations. Is it because, like the woman just mentioned above, people involved with the show are ignoring the integrity of the characters to bend them to their own amusement? Making them over in their own image or that of their own kids in order to live vicariously through the medium of the show. That's a tad irresponsible. They should write fan stories like the rest of us instead of abusing their power over the show. Out of character behavior bugs me greatly.
Now here's a really nice ep. I really liked this one. I could understand Francine's anger towards Muffy for giving her (and the whole school) lice. "but Nurse Flynn say's we cant tell who it started from" yah, we the audience know exactly who it came from. ;) But still, nobody made the whole school play with Muffy's hat. We can tell how ignorant the kids at Lakewood Elementary are: they just keep on fondling and passing around a stranger's hat, not knowing where it came from. That sheep girl mist be really jealous of Muffy since she said "Oooh, it feels so expensive" when she was playing with the hat. But hey, I never touched Muffy's hat, who knows, I might go crazy over it too. :D
George must have the worst luck, being the last kid with the hat while Nurse Flynn said there was a lice problem in the school and people shouldn't be sharing things like hats. George's eyes popped opened and freeze from rubbing right after he heard it. It made him look stupid, but nonetheless quite funny. :)
I wonder why George was rubbing only his antlers (maybe it's his most sensitive part :) )?