Arthur and the Big RiddleEdit

===Episode #501===

"Arthur and the Big Riddle" / "Double Dare"

Synopsis by: 'George4Browne & AwkwardLeixia''''... Yet another tongue-in-cheek synopsis...

Screen captures (by means of a digital camera) courtesy: 'George4Browne

Comments by: 'Amazing_asami,'Dave,and ''''KorraIsBack'.

Like several other episodes now, including #10501 -- "Arthur's Pet Business" and #40702 - "To Beat or Not to Beat" this review's got some multimedia in the form of sound files recorded from the TV.George4Browne recorded some sounds from the TV using a portable tape player, and then recorded them onto his computer using a microphone. All of the files are 11 Hz, and as usual for sound files on this site, in mono. MONOSND



Welcome to Season Five! Although the season is only around a year old, it's looking obvious that this season is going to go down in history. I mean, just take a look at some of our rave reviews:

  • Just brilliant, Season Five displayed true comic genius!
  • Amazing, I was often stunned by the writer's brilliance!
  • Quite possibly the best of the "Arthur" seasons, Five is sure to please all!

Oh, okay, sorry. Well, although Season Five has received an Emmy Award, it certainly has not received raves such as those above. Many were irritated by the voice changes and others think the entire cast has flipped. Nevertheless, let's see how this episode plays out. This happens to be Season Five's "celebrity episode". Wow.

Arthur's friends (note the absence of Fern and the presence of Steve the rabbit-kid) are all around him, complimenting him on his ability to lose. Arthur thanks them, he couldn't have done it without them. They lift him high in the air and begin chanting "Three cheers for Arthur the Loser!" (and then Arthur interrupts and starts talking to us) Threecheers

The music makes it seem like we're moving to the title card, but no, Arthur wants to talk.

(And he sounds awful.)

So instead we get an extended form of the music. He wants to know if we like riddles. He says that he has one of his own.

Arthur: When is it better to be a loser than a winner?He wants us to try to have it figured out by the end of the show. Then, Arthur waves at himself on TV, and he's sitting on his couch, with chocolate all over his face.

Oh no, Dave's probably flipping out by now! Watching himself on TV!? What's he going to do next, dress up in a suit and act like a news reporter? ;)

More on this later...----

* * * Arthur and the Big Riddle * * *

Title Card: Fortunately it's not the lame Season 5 Slot Machine, it's the flipping title card with D.W. trying to find Arthur.


Note that the writing/storyboard team aren't newbies, they're Arthur veterans:

Written by: Peter K. Hirsch

Storyboard by: Robert Yap

Buster and Arthur are arguing. Buster claims that Arthur broke his Macroman.

(These look like Transformers or something.)

Yeah, ok, Macromen. Put it on the list with Cybertoys...

Arthur says he didn't break it and doesn't owe Buster a new one. Their fight is interrupted by a voice from the TV:

TV Announcer: ...And now it's time for 'Riddle Quest'.

Some sparkly question marks flash on the screen. Buster loves this show.

Buster: It's a really cool show where kids answer riddles and win big prizes.Alek Lebeck is hosting the show.

(Our celebrity today, providing the voice is Alex Trebek of Jeopardy.) Lebeck is wearing a red tie with a white question mark. He's some sort of bear-person.

The contestants are Charlotte Bickles (a Sue Ellen cat-type girl) and some dude named Andy, who's a white, freckled rabbit kid. Rabbitkid

Buster loves this show, but Arthur's bored, because he easily answers all the questions.

For example:

Question: I am a kind of band that does not make music. What am I?

Answer: You are a rubber band.

Arthur guesses correctly, whereas Buster thought the answer was a band of rocks.

The show ends with a 'really big riddle.' A panel slides up, revealing a sculpture of the Greek goddess Athena, and asks the riddle.

Athena: When I fill a pitcher, I make it lighter than when it's filled with air. What am I?

Both Bickles and Arthur, playing at home get the correct answer: "holes".

  • Charlotte, having won, gets to come back next week.
  • Andy leaves with the consolation prize, a box of one hundred "Chocosticks", "the chocolate stick that's fun to lick".

Buster's adamant that Arthur could win the show. He writes down the address, which is simply "Riddle Quest Studios." Arthur thinks it's ridiculous to even try, as it must be very difficult to get on the show. Buster says that stranger things have happened. Yesterday, he got an A on a math quiz. He studied, which is weird because he never studies. What made him do it?

We could ponder that one for hours... it's an episode in itself. :)

They drop the entry in the mailbox... Atthemailbox
...which is picked up by a poodle mailperson. Poodlegetsthemail

  • * *

Next we're taken to Lebeck's office. He's being attended by two hip-looking rabbit lackeys, one of which has a bag of applications. He places them on Lebeck's desk. Lebeck, very ambivalent, takes the bag, and dumps it onto a clown sculpture. One application gets caught in the clown's hand. Very bored with the entire process, Lebeck makes it known that they'll go with this particular kid.

It just happens to be Arthur.

Lebeck: Arthur Read... book him for next week.

So much for being a difficult process. How foolish.....

Some time later, we're in the cafeteria of Lakewood Elementary. Arthur's holding up an official looking letter. Binky's incredulous.

Binky: You're going to be on a game show!?Arthur's friends all start giving him tips on how to play. Then Binky wants to know if Arthur will still be friends with them once he's "rich and famous."

Arthur stands up and we're taken to a wideshot with George and Steve at the edge of the screen as Arthur protests, trying to ease everyone's worst fears.

Arthur: Calm down! I haven't even won anything yet!


Muffy hopes that Arthur won't wear his "silly bow-tie" on the show every week.


In the next scene, Arthur and D.W. are heading somewhere.

D.W.: Arthur, these kids are masters at riddles!

Who does she know who can help train Arthur? The Tibbles! They riddle him intensively while D.W. colors. They report back to her with bad news though -- They tell D.W. that they "can't help him, he's terrible." Terrible

D.W. can't bear to hear this.

D.W.: You can't give up! He's my only brother!

As usual, Arthur's buddies decide to help "train" him. Which is dumb, because the only reason Arthur's doing this is because he's adept at answering riddles.

D.W. warns that they could ask Arthur anything on the show.

  • * *

Buster warns that D.W.'s right. He's got tapes of the show. In the video he puts on, Charlotte whips her opponent, 95 to 15 -- Buster pauses the tape. Buster wants to watch more, but Arthur's disgusted. It's sunny out, and he wants to ride his bike.

Buster gets angry, and goes into drill sergeant mode. He insists that Arthur must "eat, sleep, and think like Bickles." Arthur grudgingly agrees to watch the tape.

We go to Arthur training with Francine -- Arthur's continuously ringing a handbell, like the kind you find at hotel check-in counters.

Francine: 45 pings in a minute, not bad. Let's try the left hand!

Muffy, wearing a director's cap, is sitting in a director's chair, and has a megaphone. She's drilling Arthur with the tongue-twister: "She sells seashells by the seashore."

Forget it. I've always had a speech deficiency, problems saying words with the letter 'S.' It'd just be all over...

Muffy's last directing gig was in #20401 - "Arthur Makes a Movie".


Binky quizzes Arthur at lunch. The school bell rings.Talk about being saved by the bell -- Arthur's breaking down. He sticks his hand in some jelly, which "gloops" down to the next scene.

Arthur's in bed, sans glasses.

Arthur mumbles to himself "must answer riddles." The fantasy sequence music plays, sending us to...

Arthur, at the edge of a cliff. Buster's there, but he's really weird looking, and huge! He has on a coat and bow tie, and is striking an ancient timepiece with a hammer. He says that he's " "...trying to beat the clock, but it's not working".[1]


Arthur follows him into a forest. They drop into a hole, into a room. D.W's there, she's got rabbit ears. Francine has on a top hat and the Tibbles have on blue and gray caps.

This is a parody of the actual events in Alice in Wonderland, all the way down to the copying the original illustration style. I'd appreciate this parody more if it weren't Season Five.

"There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did Alice think so very much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!" (when she thought it over afterwards it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural);, but, when the Rabbit actually took a watch out of its waistcoat-pocket, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge." Alice in Wonderland - Through the Looking Glass, "Down the Rabbit-Hole" Pg. 9.

Francine says that there's "a break in the clouds. Tibbledee and Tibbledum had better fix it." They say that they can't because they're "all thumbs." Arthur is told that he's in Riddle Land, "where everything's a riddle." Francine holds up a letter T. She wants to know what Arthur wants with his "tea." Arthur says that he just wants to go home.

Charlotte Bickles appears, but she's dressed as a Zhen Ji-esque princess dress and is holding a question mark.

She declares that Arthur can't go home until he answers a riddle.

Bickles: Is the sentence, "This statement is false," true or false?

Arthur has no clue and begins stammering. Bickle says, "Of course, there's no answer!" She cackles maniacally. Arthur repeats his desire to go home, and wakes up.


Arthur's glad it was only a dream. D.W.'s there. She wants to riddle him, but Arthur is very short with her.

  • * *

Outside, Francine says goodbye, it's been nice knowing Arthur. He's in his blue suit, good shoes, and bow-tie. Arthur insists he'll be home this afternoon. Buster says if Arthur keeps winning he might have to change schools, as he won't have time to come back.


They get to the studio and Arthur and Charlotte are called in by a female rabbit receptionist with glasses who looks vaguely like Ms. Paige-Turner. Arthur's parents tell him, "Whatever happens, we love you."

Bickles just yawns and gives a sarcastic curt "Thanks, Sally."

They get to the studio. The game begins, and Lebeck presents the first riddle.

Lebeck: I'm always coming, but I never arrive. What am I?

Arthur rings in with the correct answer.

Arthur: Are you tomorrow?

He gets five points. The scene slides to the gang, who are all watching the show. They cheer him on. Buster says that he misses Arthur.

Is this supposed to be some sort of slick two-bit trick to get us to believe that the show is being broadcast live?! Pleeeeeeeease! Additionally, doesn't the show have a studio audience, and couldn't have Arthur's friends been in that?

Next follows a rapid-fire series of questions and answers...

Finally the question, "I am a chair for an amphibian. What am I?" Arthur and Bickles both give each other a look. Then they ring in and answer at exactly the same time, "You are a toadstool." They are now "level-pegging" at 90 points.

Lebeck announces that it's time for their "big riddle." The panel opens, revealing a great sphinx. The sphinx's eyes light up.

Sphinx: I occur once in a second, twice in a week, and once in a year. What am I?

Arthur ponders for a second, and then comes up with the answer. His hand moves to buzz in, but something stops him.

Arthur: What if Buster's right?

The imaginary sequence music plays. The scene looks the same, but now Arthur's very, very, old. His face is all wrinkly and he's wearing bifocals. He looks like he did in #30802 - "Buster's Growing Grudge". Arthur's such a good player that he's been on the show for ever and ever.


Lebeck begins speaking in what my captions describe as a "raspy, eldery-esque voice."

Senile Old Lebeck: I am purple and I go 'hmmm'. What am I?Senile Old Arthur: Ahh... I forget...

Senile Old Lebeck: Huh, uh, so do I. Oh well, we'll give it to you anyway... Old Arthur cheers and dances. His opponent looks incredulous.

Arthur picked a bad/good time to imagine something... We come back to reality, and a bell rings. It's Bickles!

She answers the question posed by the sphinx.

Charlotte: You are the letter E.Balloons and streamers come tumbling down. Bickles hops and cheers.

Announcer: All runners up will receive a box of one hundred Chocosticks, the "chocolate stick that's fun to lick".Return to the opening scene/music, and Arthur in the air being held up by his friends. We now see the box of Chocosticks on the ground. Arthur asks if we answered the riddle correctly.

Yes, I did. It's better to be a loser and have to suffer through a poor season of "Arthur" than watch another, better-written, show.

Arthur says that he hopes we didn't. "If you did, you've been watching too many game shows!"


It's over! The "A Word From Us Kids" segment is dopey. It's a kid trying to do a stand-up act telling riddles. Terrible! Next up comes #50102 - "Double Dare". Then, there's the credits. There are few things of interest here. Note that Michael Rothpan is no longer listed as the voice of George. This returns in the Christmas special. Ellen David has been added as Bitzi and Jane Wheeler as Binky's Mom. Note that D.W.'s voice actor has been changed to Oliver Granger and the Brain's has been changed to Steven Crowder.


Celebrity EpisodeEdit

They chose *who* to be a voice for a parody game show?! Yes, that's right, Alex Trebek, the most boring game show host on television. I hate that show. It drags, and the losers go home with stupid consolation prizes and no money. I don't mind The Weakest Link but Trebek's show just blows.

Something you may be interested in, about "Arthur and the Big Riddle"--Alex Trebek, before getting famous off Jeopardy!, was the host of-- Double Dare, the name of the second episode! Not sure if that's coincidental or not, or who remembers the version of Double Dare Trebek hosted, which isn't the kids' game show we're more familiar with.

The Potential of the GameEdit

"Riddle Quest" seems to me to be a rather low-budget game. Many of the rules are also stupid. First and foremost is the rule about returning game after game. Most game shows these days, such as Hollywood Squares have rules saying that you can be on the show more than five times. This reminds me of the Elwood City library's unlimited renew policy. Secondly, the points system is moronic. The final round shouldn't be just another question. What if neither can get it right?

Apparently they don't even have a studio audience. This show reminds me of a low budget lottery show. In case you haven't seen one of these, these are awful affairs. I watched one once in which contests picked numbers from a box and whoever had the highest number would win. Just terrible. Personally, I'd like to see a couple of Elwood City families play the"Family Feud" or Brain vs. Regis on "Who Wants To Be A Millionaire".

Familiarity Breeds ContemptEdit

Muffy's comment about the bow-tie is just terrible. It really irked me. And then we went again with the stuff about everyone thinking Arthur might not be their friend anymore. Give it a rest.

Arthur, You're on TV! You're Joy to the entire World! Say Somethin'!Edit

KorraIsBack's been a big stickler on the complaint that it seems more and more on this season that Arthur's aware that he's on TV. This sort of thing reminds me of the "The Legend Of Korra." The intro to this episode was terrible, and then they had to make it even worse, by bringing us back to it at the end. This is like what happens in #50901 - "Just Desserts".