Confetti is cascading down around Arthur, who is wearing a four-point harness seatbelt in some sort of convertible. Arthur says that today was about the best day ever in his entire life.

Arthur: I know I say that a lot, but this time it really was! And all because of D.W.

* * *

The Reads are having dinner. D.W. is talking about a deal on "Fluffy Unicorn" merchandise, and Arthur's not really interested. While she's talking though, D.W. starts hacking and wheezing. Mom asks what's wrong with her voice.

My first instinct was to think she was choking, but never mind.

D.W. looks at her reflection in the back of a spoon and says in a hoarse voice that she doesn't know.

We then get a closeup of the inside of D.W.'s mouth. Her uvula is wiggling. Then Dark Bunny leaps onto it and grabs hold of it as it swings back and forth. He then lets go and falls down into the city where it's always dark, even when the sun's shining. He swoops as he falls, to land on his feet. Then he whistles and his car drives up to him.

Arthur's actually watching Dark Bunny on TV at this point, and Mom, standing at the entrance to the living room, tells him it's time for bed. He turns to look at her and asks what's wrong with D.W..

Arthur: Is she sick?

Mom is puzzled. D.W. seems fine, but she's definitely lost her voice. Mom walks off, her voice echoing...

Arthur jumps off the couch and yells "Yes!"

On the TV, Dark Bunny drives up close to the screen.

Dark Bunny: Did I hear that correctly? She's lost her voice? Whoo-ee!

Suddenly it goes from being dark to being a nice sunny day in Dark Bunny's city. People come out of the buildings, cheering.

Dark Bunny: No more (imitating D.W. in a whiny voice) "I don't like that show, it's scarrrry... I wanna watch Mary Moo Cow." Kids like that have spoiled the ratings...

I was laughing when Dark Bunny imitated D.W. complaining about wanting to watch Mary Moocow!

Dark Bunny then asks Arthur what is he waiting for. Then Dark Bunny reaches out of the TV and grabs Arthur, and pulls him in. Arthur falls down a wiggly spiral, and then into Dark Bunny's car, where he is automatically seatbelted in. Dark Bunny then drives down the street in the car, with Arthur. Dark Bunny waving to crowds of people along the sides of the street. Behind the car, a marching band follows.

Note how the people are "comic-booky"... they're drawn as colored shapes.

Confetti falls and the people chant as the car drives past: "She lost her voice, she lost her voice."

The only one in the crowd who doesn't appear to be cheering is a bad-tempered looking Francine. The car stops next to her.

Arthur: Isn't it great? D.W. lost her voice!Francine: I heard. You're being mean, Arthur. M-E...

The car pulls away before she can finish spelling.

Arthur: Later, Francine...

Arthur then asks Dark Bunny to make the car do some tricks. Dark Bunny presses the center button on a row of three buttons where the radio normally is, and the car flys away off into the sunset.

* * * For Whom the Bell Tolls * * *

Arthur hiding from D.W. behind the circle.

Written by: Kathy Waugh

Storyboard by: Stefanie Gignac

Arthur, not wearing glasses wakes up his clock radio's alarm buzzer.

Arthur: What a great dream.

He hears Mom telling D.W. to hurry up as they're going to be late. Arthur puts on his glasses and gets out of bed, wondering if D.W. got her voice back. He runs into D.W.'s room, glances in, and then runs into the bathroom. D.W. is brushing her teeth. He nervously asks her how her voice is.

She turns around and goes back to brushing her teeth.

Arthur: (seizing the opportunity) Don't look in the mirror too long, D.W., you might break it.

D.W. turns around again and starts throwing a tantrum and yelling. Only since she's lost her voice, no sound comes out. Arthur starts jumping around saying "You can't talk! You can't talk!", and just then, Mom walks in. Arthur suddenly puts his hands behind his back, stares at the ceiling, and tries to look angelic.

Mom apparently didn't notice Arthur being a bad boy. She tells D.W. that she's brushed enough, and that they have to be at the doctor's in half an hour.

Mom: (nice Mom voice) ...and Arthur, be nice.

Apparently, she did notice Arthur being naughty. Arthur's guilt kicks in. Arthur looks at the ground, looks sad, and says "Yes, Mom".

Arthur looks humble as he walks out of the bathroom, but he turns his head once he's the corner in the hallway. He runs down the hallway saying "Yes!" to himself.

* * *

Arthur eagerly tells his friends how peaceful his morning was at recess. Francine, Brain, and Francine are listening, but they seem nonplussed. Arthur says that for the first time, he could actually hear his cereal.

Buster asks why he would want to do that. Arthur is a little confused at Buster's reaction, but continues -- he thinks his life is going to be great now that D.W. can't talk...

Arthur imagines Mary Moo Cow singing her "F-U-N" song on TV. D.W. is sitting on the stripey couch watching it. Arthur comes in, sits down on the couch, starts reading the TV listings, (May's edition) and finds a show he likes the sound of: "When Gladiators Ruled The Earth". Arthur asks D.W. if he minds if he switches the channel. D.W. obviously does mind, but she can't say anything. Arthur changes the channel.

TV: They ruled the Earth with rippling pecs and righteous abs. It's man versus beast coming up next on Gladiator Smackdown".D.W. starts jumping up and down on the couch cushion, which since it's a single long cushion, makes Arthur bounce as well. But Arthur doesn't care...

Francine looks angry.

Francine: You are mean, Arthur Read! M-E-A-N. Mean!

Arthur retortss that he knows how to spell. Anyway, says Arthur, he's not being mean -- he just wants some peace and quiet for a few days. Brain mentions that it could be a lot longer than a few days -- some people can lose the ability to talk for months, or years even.

Arthur thinks this sounds good.

Arthur: Really!?

Francine continues glowering at him. Arthur changes his "Really!?" into a less enthusiastic "Really? That's too bad."

* * *

Arthur carefully sneaks in through the front door, and is glad to hear that it's still quiet. Arthur rubs his hands together with glee.

Arthur: Man, oh man, this is gonna...

He's surprised to suddenly encounter Mom. Mom says she's "so glad" Arthur is home. D.W. has laryngitis, and is going to have to stay in bed for a while. Arthur uses the same "less enthusiastic" voice he used when Francine got on his case.

Arthur: Aww, poor D.W.. I'm so sorry to hear that.

Mom says she has a lot of work right now, so she'll need his help while D.W. is in bed. Arthur agrees, saying she can count on him.

* * *

Arthur knocks on D.W.'s door, and she tells him to come in in a very hoarse, gross-sounding voice.

Arthur comes in with breakfast on a tray. He's back to being mean again, saying he's sorry, he didn't hear her. D.W. is smiling though. She has a book in her hand, "Crazy Bus: The Motion Picture". She waves it at Arthur. Arthur feigns not understanding what she's trying to say, saying he sees the book, but doesn't know what she wants him to do with it. D.W.'s expression changes to a frown.

She then makes it obvious -- she points to him, and then opens the book and pretends to read it. Arthur still makes like he doesn't understand, and turns around, saying "see ya". He walks right past Mom, as she comes into D.W.'s room with a bell. Mom tells D.W. to ring it whenever she needs something.

She immediately commences ringing it. Mom takes the bell off her and says she hears her loud and clear... she's probably wondering if giving D.W. a bell was such a good idea... and asks what she wants. She gestures with the book again. Mom asks Arthur if he got that -- D.W. wants him to read her a book.

Well, it was pretty obvious. Arthur would have to be awfully dense not to have figured it out.

Mom: I'm sure he'll be happy to read it.

Mom continues, saying that Arthur promised to be very helpful this week.

* * *

Arthur comes to the end of "The Bashful Minnow", and puts the book down on a pile of four others. He didn't enjoy reading it, and says it's the last book he'll ever read her. D.W. starts scribbling on a piece of paper, and then hands the paper to Arthur, making wheezy noises as she does so. Arthur tells her to stop making the noises, as they're creeping him out.

* * *

Arthur takes the piece of paper to Mom. He asks D.W. can possibly think that this is writing, and doesn't see how anyone could be expected to understand it.

Mom looks at it for a couple of seconds.

Mom: Actually, it's pretty clear. See, this is how she spells her name. And this looks like you Arthur. And this must be a bowl of ice cream. She wants you to bring her up a bowl of ice cream, and play "Crazy Eights"!She gives the paper back to Arthur, getting up from the computer to go put out a bowl of ice cream.

Arthur: What are you talking about! It can't mean that.If that's how D.W. is writing her name these days, then this story must have occured in Arthur-time before#40101 - "D.W.'s Libary Card"..

Did the weird Arthur face remind anyone of Chernoff's "The use of Faces to Represent Points in k-Dimensional Space Graphically"? I couldn't find the 1973 article online, but here's a related link:

Mom says she knows it's a lot to ask having him keep helping, especially after all those books, but poor D.W... she is sick... Mom's voice trails off as we see the pages of a calendar flipping... May 5, 6, 7, 8, 9...

* * *

Arthur is walking down the street with Francine. Arthur says that the few days he's been looking after D.W. feel like a year. Arthur says he's a "prisoner in his own home".

Arthur: Even worse, I'm the prisoner of a really bad mime.

Arthur imagines himself dressed up in striped prisoner's garb, and being handcuffed to D.W.

  • D.W. is in the park talking to Emily. Emily is going on about the number of "Fluffy Unicorn" outfits she has. D.W. mimes actions, but Emily is perplexed. Arthur has to translate D.W.'s grunts, the jist of them being that D.W. has more than Emily does.
  • Arthur imagines having to sit at the table at D.W.'s birthday party. D.W. has Arthur tell her friends that she notes that there are five of them, but only four friends, and threatens to withold cake and refreshments until the situation is rectified. For his trouble, Arthur is pelted with party favors. He cries out that he's only the messenger, but just is pelted some more.

Francine points out that it can't be that bad if he understands her. Arthur says that's the problem. Only he and his Mom can understand her! Arthur wonders if he's doomed to be her translator for the rest of his life.

Francine is not sympathetic.

Francine: That's what you get for being mean, Arthur. Don't say I didn't warn you.

* * *

Arthur pours pop into a glass containing a "Crazy Straw".

A tip of the hat to #11801 - "Arthur's Chicken Pox".

He tells Pal that Francine's right. He is being punished. Pal whines. As he walks up the stairs he says to himself that he guesses he shouldn't have been so happy when D.W. lost her voice.

Arthur is about to open the door to D.W.'s room to give her the drink when he hears her talking to one of her dolls.

Arthur looks shocked. He goes into the room while D.W.'s still talking, commenting that she's "all better". D.W., who was standing on her bed, quickly covers herself up with the blanket and pretends to be still sick. Arthur tells her to stop faking. Then he runs downstairs for Mom.

Note the big balloon "Get Well" thing from Grandma Thora.

The only trouble is, Mom doesn't believe him. It doesn't make sense for D.W. to pretend to be still sick, as D.W. usually can't stop talking... Arthur reasons that D.W. likes being "sick" because she gets whatever she wants, and he has to "be her slave". Mom says she knows the week has been hard on him, but it won't be long now. The doctor says she can get out of bed just as soon as she starts talking again.

In other words, Arthur isn't off the hook. He's still D.W.'s slave.

Instead of losing his temper, Arthur just hangs his head.

* * *

Arthur decides to try and get evidence of D.W.'s ability to talk.

  • He hides a tape recorder under a sheet in D.W.'s room, only to have her see him in her room as he's sneaking out. When he goes back to recover the tape later, he plays it back and finds D.W. switched the blank tape for a "Mary Moo Cow" one.
  • Arthur goes into D.W.'s room with a camcorder, hoping to get evidence of D.W. talking. Only he ends up filming D.W. attacking him instead.

Note the difference 5 years has made in video camera technology between this episode and #11102 - "D.W.'s Baby".

* * *

Arthur takes his problems to the one person you wouldn't expect to give him the time of day at the moment. He's sitting on the couch with Francine, at the Frensky's. Francine is scoffing a bowl of popcorn while Arthur goes on about his current situation. Francine reiterates that this is what he gets for being mean. Arthur gets annoyed.

Arthur: Quit it, Francine. It's not like you've never been mean.

Back in #50602 - "Francine Goes to War", Arthur was quick to cite a list of examples.

Francine cocks her head and ruminates on this for a moment, but doesn't say anything. Arthur gets annoyed.

Arthur: Oh, c'mon. You can't remember being mean?Francine: I'm trying!

Then the phone rings. Francine answers it, and finds it's odd -- all she can hear is that there's a bell ringing. Arthur takes the phone. He's able to have a conversation with D.W.'s coughing and bell-ringing. He tells her he's not playing "Slap Jack" with her. Then he's forced to bargain. One game... no, two games, but that's it. Arthur hangs up.

Francine is surprised that Arthur could understand that, and then says that this calls for something drastic.

Francine has Arthur give her the phone, and then starts making calls. The first one starts off with 300-37...

* * *

Arthur thanks his friends for helping him. Buster, Brain, and Francine are in Arthur's living room. Francine has the unplugged phone cord in her hand, and she's under a table. She says she's doesn't want him getting mushy -- she's only doing this because she doesn't want him to completely lose his mind.

They hear the sound of D.W.'s bell.

Francine says that from now on, no one is to make one single sound. Buster immediately panics and starts coughing. Francine yells at him not to.

They manage to settle down by the time D.W. comes down to see why her bell wasn't responded to. She finds Arthur and his friends watching TV. The thing is though, there's no sound coming from the TV. Arthur and his friends look like they're talking to each other; their lips are moving, but they aren't making any sounds!

D.W. starts doing her mime act, trying to get Arthur to do something for her. It looks like he's replying, but she can't hear him. D.W.'s puzzled, so she tries again. Arthur and Brain have a silent conversation. Francine gets up. D.W. looks at the TV. Bionic Bunny is moving his lips, but the TV is silent!

D.W. begins to look worried.

From the other side of the room, Francine is holding the phone handset out and saying something silently. It looks like there's a call for D.W.. D.W. takes the phone receiver, but can't hear anything. She depresses the phone rest a few times, but there's not dialtone either.

She runs out the room, into Buster, who is behaving the same as the others.

D.W. loses it, and shouts out for Mom, saying she thinks that after having lost her voice, she now might have gone deaf.

Mom comes in, frowning. Arthur and his friends laugh. Arthur points to D.W..

Arthur: We caught you.

Arthur tells Mom that D.W.'s voice is perfect. Mom says she does see, and with an annoyed expression, tells D.W. that it seems she made a miraculous recovery. Francine comforts D.W. at this moment, saying Arthur learned a lesson too -- In future, he'll listen to her.

Francine, Mom, and D.W. leave the living room, while the three boys laugh and laugh. Arthur says he's glad to hear D.W.'s voice again.

From the other room, we can hear D.W. making up for lost time by talking too much -- she's saying "hi" to all the objects in the house.

Arthur groans.


D.W. not being able to talk was strange. Not hearing Arthur' s gang make any sounds was strange.

D.W.'s use of a bell reminded me of a Rugrats episode where Angelica faked breaking a leg for attention and had a bell that drove her family nuts!

Making someone a slave to a bell is one of those cliches that's been done over and over and over. I guess it was kind of predictable from the title, given that the titles can be overly dramatic. There was discussion of what this episode would be about based on the title prior to it airing, and as we now know, this episode out neither to be about someone dying or about a wedding. That's too bad 'cause either of those two ideas would have been more interesting than watching Arthur once again be D.W.'s slave and have to be bailed out by Francine.

What's with sticking Emily in as many episodes as possible this year? :)

Judging from this episode, I think it's safe to say that Francine's given up on a relationship on Arthur... Not for lack of trying though. Not without good reason either -- this season, Arthur's become more and more pathetic.

I could make the comment that you don't notice how full of sound Arthur is until they suddenly go quiet, but that's old news. Blahdey blahdey blah.