Pick a Car, Any CarEdit

===Episode #706===

"Pick a Car, Any Car" / "Jenna's Bedtime Blues"

Synopsis by KorraIsBack

Pictures by Dave & Rob

Comments by Agent4002,TXC, & Amazing_asami


Well, hello, welcome back to Season Seven. If you're just joining us, we last left off at the full-length musical extravaganza episode Elwood City Turns 100! And now, on Arthur, it's the much-talked about episode, where the Reads might lose the family car. What happens? You'll just have to stay tuned to find out. Oh, by the way, this is the "celebrity" episode for Season Seven.

The Read family car has broken down in the middle of the road. Dad claims that it's just a minor problem and that he'll "have them back on the road in no time". People are starting to get impatient, honking their horns. D.W.'s in the back of the car amusing Baby Kate, but where's Arthur? Ah. He's standing to the side, narrating.

Arthur: As far back as I can remember, we've always had the same car.

Flashback sequence. Arthur's a baby and he's in a booster seat in the back of the car. He tosses his rattle, which hits Dad on the head.

Still in flashback mode, the time moves fotrward a little bit. Arthur's older now and a young D.W. is sitting next to him in the car. She hands him a Pop Tart, but he doesn't like it and stuffs it in the crack between the seat cushions.

We're in the very recent past now. Arthur and Buster are chasing Pal. The car is parked in the driveway with all its doors open. Pal hides under one of the seats, climbs underneath, and then hops out of the car. Arthur climbs through the car to chase him.

Arthur: Wow. I guess you could say I grew up in this car.

Another irate motorist honks their horn. Dad, looking at the car's dipstick, scratches his head.

Arthur: Sure hope Dad can fix it.

Let Mom have a go -- she likely knows more about cars than Dad...

*** Pick a Car, Any Car ***

The title card where the Yakone-mole person's junk 1972 Canberra Emu with no wheels is towed gets reused.

Written by: Peter Egan

Storyboard by: Jeremy O'Neill

Arthur's riding in the back of the car, which is being towed to a repair shop.

Not sure how good an idea that is...

Arthur's Dad can't have been able to fix the car. It's been take to the "BEST REPAIR SHOP". D.W. is explaining things to Baby Kate while the car is raised on a hydraulic hoist.

D.W.: See, the car is sick. So we took it to the car doctor. He's going to make our car all better.

Baby Kate looks concerned -- or bored. The mechanic looks underneath and begins tapping around underneath the car with a screwdriver -- flakes of rust fall to the ground. The mechanic comments that the situation is bad, "very bad." He describes it in this way:

Mechanic: The serpentine belt is overloading the transmission... and the motronic fuel injection....

The serpentine belt, so named because it loops around different pulleys a bit like a snake, is a belt runs accessories like the air conditioning off of a main pully on the crankshaft. It's the belt you can probably see if you look under your family's car -- it's behind the fan usually, on the front of the engine. These belts go out of tension and make noise, or break, which would be bad for the car -- but they wouldn't be expected to overload the transmission. I think the mechanic is trying to baffle Arthur's Dad with technical talk and make him pay for repairs that probably don't need to be made.

Dad obviously doesn't know that the mechanic's talking nonsense. He just wants to know if he can fix it. The mechanic says that he can. Dad clarifies. Will he fix it?

The mechanic at first says that he's rather backed up. He finally agrees that he will fix it, but it's going to cost Dad. How much? Well, first there's the timing belt and then the head gasket and, oh yeah, the piston rods. The mechanic punches this up (or probably just pretends to) on a calculator and shows it to Dad. Dad gasps.

Dad: We'll, uh, need to think about it.

  • The calculator slides across the screen as a scene-changer. It reads 60.36. * * *

Somehow I get the feeling the value the mechanic showed Dad was something way more than $60.36.

The Reads are back at home now. Dad says that they can't afford to fix the car. It would cost more than getting a new one. D.W. wonders if this means that they're getting a new car. Arthur quickly shoots back that there's no way...

Dad says that they could only afford a used one, but it'd be new to them.

D.W.: (dreamily) A new car.

She fantasizes about her dream car. It's a typical D.W. fantasy. Her dream car is a big RV sporting a unicorn-head on the front, unicorn wings, a heart shaped symbol at the back, and is decorated with 70s-ish flowers. Inside, D.W. sips on a juice box in a pool in an area full of toys. Using a remote control, she opens the sunroof. D.W.: (yelling at Arthur, who's her driver) At the next red light, could you bring me more juice?---- D.W. runs to Mom and asks her over and over if they can get a camper.

Mom counters that they'll need something smaller. Much smaller.

Mom's turn to fantasize. She's driving down a mountain road in a sporty red convertible with pop-up headlights, wearing sunglasses and a scarf. Seeing Arthur, Dad, D.W. and Baby Kate on the side of the road, all needing rides, she stops and pulls over.

The question I want to know though is why? I imagine that someone wrote "Draw Mom in a hot car", and someone else said "We can use Sue Ellen's spy car to save us having to come up with sketches for a different car.", and someone said, "ok, just copy the drawings", and someone did -- but it makes no sense at all to use the license plate "SULN".

Mom: Sorry, no room.

She zooms off, leaving Arthur, Dad, D.W. and Baby Kate choking on the exhaust of the car.

Mom has a dreamy look on her face -- Dad starts thinking about his dream car...

Dad imagines driving along a winding mountain road in a large SUV. D.W.'s in the back. The way Dad is racing along the road makes D.W. ask him if he's not concerned about spilling something in the back -- it would seem Dad's on a catering run. Dad says he's not -- and to demonstrate, he takes the SUV off-road. Why isn't Dad concerned? Because the SUV has a specially constructed cake holder -- which absorbs shocks and even is refrigerated to keep the cake cool and safe on the trip. Dad can drive like a manic over any kind of road conditions and the cake will remain perfectly intact.

Dad has a dreamy look on his face now.

  • Car wheels roll across as a scene-changer * * *

That night, Arthur's being tucked into bed. He has his glasses off -- and Prunella eyes. He asks what's going to happen to their car. Dad says that if they can't sell it, it'll go to the the junkyard.

Arthur: The junkyard?

Mom: That's what happens when cars don't work anymore.

Dream sequence. Arthur slips into the junkyard, wearing the standard issue Elwood City black bandit's suit. A junkyard Yakone-dog follows him as he gets into the car and tries to start it.'A crane operator lifts it with a large electromagnet and pulls it away -- We see that it's the mechanic from earlier manning the crane! He laughs evilly.

He drops the car into a glowing vat, but Arthur wakes up shouting "Noooo!"t. He sits up in bed, breathing heavily.

That's not really the right sort of crane for a junkyard -- you don't typically see hammerhead construction cranes used in junkyards -- usually mobile cranes are a better choice -- This page has a picture:

Arthur's probably never felt the same way about junkyards since his run-in with the can a few years ago..

The next morning, Buster and Arthur are walking to school. Buster tells Arthur to look at the bright side; Arthur's family could end up with a better car -- like Buster's Mom's car.

Flashback sequence. Arthur and Buster are riding in Bitzi's junky car -- the shock absorbers must be shot -- They start bouncing up and down.

Buster: Come on, Arthur! If we bounce high enough, we can touch the roof!---- As the sequence ends, Arthur spots the mechanic from the day before getting into his tow truck, having towed the Read's car back to their home. He waves, but then just like in Arthur's dream, he laughs evilly -- Arthur must have imagined that though. Weird.

Arthur looks over at his car. It has a sign on it. "FOR SALE."

We're at Crosswire Motors now, where Ed is giving a speech to his employees. He says that today is Saturday and on Saturdays, people buy cars.

He prattles on. Pointing to a saleschart, he says that they sell cars, or at least one of them does...

The saleschart reads:











The salesmen at Crosswire Motors are named Romero, Gorshin, and Meredith

These, of course, are actors who portrayed villains on Batman:

  • Cesar Romero, The Joker

Frank Gorshin, The Riddler

Burgess Meredith, The Penguin ​Ed babbles on about having made this easy for them -- he's given them gave his great "twenty-minute training course" and even offered them fabulous sales incentives (first prize is pictures of him, second prize, a set of knives.) He doesn't understand why they haven't sold anything.

Ed: What kind of customer is the best customer?

Sales Representative: Oh, I don't know.

Ed: The kind that has to buy a car, today.

Speaking of people who have to buy a car, the Reads are outside, just in the process of getting out of a taxi. Ed takes his lousy salespeople outside to "show them how it's done."

Ed: Rule number one. You're selling a dream.

As he greets the Reads, Ed calls them his "favorite family", shakes hands with David and Jane, pats Kate's head, and shakes Arthur's hand too, and mentions that he hopes Arthur's keeping in shake for the soccer team -- then he hands D.W. a lollipop.

Ed: (confidentially, as if he and D.W. are really the decision makers here, which is probably true) D.W., you already know which car you want, don't you?

D.W.: You bet I do.

Arthur's Dad begins to talk, but Ed cuts him off -- he knows why they're here -- to buy the car of their dreams! Then he asks them which of these "fine automobiles" that's going to be. They all point to a different one and yell "that one!" -- at least, everyone but Arthur does. Perhaps they should have talked about this a bit more before they came out to the dealership. .Dad decides that they're not making a decision unless they can agree on one they all like.

Arthur's Dad looks at Mr. Crosswire like there's nothing he can do...

* * *

They try out a bunch of other cars, like a green new Mini, which Arthur won't even get into, a red minivan that Arthur doesn't like either, and a pickup truck that Arthur gives the thumbs down to. Arthur even rejects a convertible.

Arthur's Dad says that they'll come back and try again next Saturday. They'll just make do with the catering van in the meantime. They leave.

Ed: (dialing his cellphone) Rule number four: If you get into trouble, call for help.

* * *

It's the next morning and Arthur and Buster are walking to school. Muffy pulls up and offers Arthur a ride -- for some reason, she's not in the limo, but in a station wagon. He gets in, but when Buster tries to get in, Muffy says that she's only taking Arthur.

As they head for the school, Muffy tries a sales tactic on Arthur while she plays with the automatic windows. She wants him to buy the car they're riding in right now. (Or more specifically, get his parents to buy it.)

Muffy: ...It's perfect. It looks great on you.

Arthur doesn't want to let go of the old car. Muffy tells him that cars die and they get replaced -- "it happens every single day". Arthur tells her that their car was like a member of the family.

Muffy continues on, telling him that the car will make him popular. Arthur's had enough. He has Muffy's driver Bailey pull over and he gets out. He'll walk to school. Muffy snits that he'll be sorry. The offer won't be around for long.

* * * The "FOR SALE" sign slides down to the next scene. * * *

Sometime, maybe later that day or the next day, Dad is talking to the mechanic. (Whose name, according to his hat, is Joe.) Joe tells Dad that he's willing to give him $200 for the car. Dad isn't happy with this -- he was sure he could get more.

Joe: Trust me. No one will buy it in this condition. I'll probably sell it for scrap metal.

Dad gives in and takes the deal. Joe tells him he'll come by with the tow truck to pick it up tomorrow. The "sad" music is playing in the background. Arthur is looking out of his open bedroom window, and can hear them talking. Buster's there and Arthur tells him about what happened -- their car's going to end up in the junkyard, and he'll never ride in it again.

Buster: You know what my Mom says when I feel like you do?

Arthur: What?

Buster: She says "when one door closes, another door opens."

Arthur: What does that mean?

Buster: I don't know. It never makes me feel any better either.

In the driveway, Dad is trying the car one last time -- it makes a rattling noise -- Buster looks out the window and asks Arthur what is, but Arthur doesn't know. Arthur wishes he did though -- If he knew what it was -- then maybe he could save the car... Buster says that he knows who would know.

Arthur: Who?

Buster: You'll find out soon enough. Meet you back here tomorrow morning. And make sure we have a radio, a telephone, and plenty of fresh drinking water with lemon.

  • A large lemon slice rolls right across the screen. * * *

It's the next morning. Arthur's in the kitchen with Buster There's a radio on on the kitchen table. Arthur is trying to make a call on the phone, but it's busy. Buster tells him to keep trying. This time, he gets through.

Click: Hello, you're on Car Talk!

Hello, not realistic. Nobody calls a talk show and just gets on. You usually have to speak to a call-screener and are at least put on hold for a bit first before the hosts will take your car. Bloom_dreamlover, what's the point of the radio being there? They didn't seem to have it on before Arthur called and another talk show rule is that you're supposed to turn your radio off when on the phone with the host.

Arthur: Really, I am?

Click: Of course you are. You didn't call for a pizza, did you? (laughs)

Arthur: No, I'm Arthur, from Elwood City.

This causes Click to get into a story. He says that he drove through Elwood City once and stopped at The Sugar Bowl. They make great chocolate malted milkshakes there...

Clack: I remember that. So, Arthur, what's up? You sound a little young to be driving.

Arthur explains all about the family car and how it could go to the junkyard if he can't figure out what's making the funny sound... This causes the Car Talk guys on the radio to start recalling the family car their family had when they were kids.

Clack: Ah, the family car. Remember the '51 Dodge?

Click: With a trunk you could fit an elephant in. Of course I remember...

They banter on like this for a bit, recalling that Click eventually ruined that car, and then they get down to the matter at hand. Arthur tells them about the funny noise the car is making. Buster tells Arthur to do the sound the car is making. Arthur tries to imitate it.

Arthur: Kakink, kakink, kakink.

Arthur's not very good at making the sound.

Arthur: (seeing the mechanic pull up outside) Ah, the mechanic!

Clack: It goes "Ah, the mechanic!?" What a car!

No, it doesn't. Arthur can see the mechanic about to arrive and take the car to the junkyard -- it's almost too late!

Clack: A mechanic makin' house calls? This doesn't sound good.

Click: Well, Arthur, from the sound you're making, I can't tell what's wrong.

Frusturated, Arthur has Buster try imitating the sound. Buster makes the sound by making a noise with a mouth full of ice water -- the sound is spot on.

Buster: I've always wanted to do that!

Click: Ha! Sounds like a rattle. I think you have a rattle in the exhaust system!

Arthur yells out for Dad to stop -- he's on the phone with the Car Talk guys. Joe, in the process of hitching the car up to the tow truck, gets a worried look when Arthur says this.

Joe: The Car Talk guys?!

Arthur: They said it's some kind of rattle in the exhaust system!

Click: No, no, no! Not some kind of rattle. You have a rattle in the exhaust system. You know, those things babies play with? Check the tailpipe!

Buster: Check the tailpipe!

Arthur: Check the tailpipe!

Arthur's Dad: The tailpipe?!

Joe: (scared) Your car doesn't have one.

The car does too have a tailpipe, Arthur tells Dad where the tailpipe is -- at the back of the car, below the trunk. Dad finds it and removes the rattle.

Joe the sleazy mechanic leaves. Obviously there's not going to be any money in this for him anymore.

It's the next day, or maybe that day. Mom says that she has to hand it to Arthur, he saved them a lot of money. She wants to take Arthur out for ice cream. Arthur says that all he wants is to go for a drive.

So they go out for a drive. In the backseat, Baby Kate flings her rattle and hits Dad on the head, the way Arthur'd done when he was little. Arthur picks the rattle up and hands it back to her, but first, he pushes the old Pop Tart back under the front of the back seat-- it was sticking out a little bit.

Mom: Everything okay back there?

Arthur: Yeah, Mom. It's perfect.

The End of the Road.


Arthur and the CarEdit

There were some points when Arthur was really grating on my nerves in this episode. It was mainly during the car-buying sequence when he was really snide and smug about how they had to pick out the car together. You know, he and D.W. could have just stayed home.

Click and ClackEdit

Mmm, how super celebrities can you get? They didn't even mention their names (real or radio personality names) on the show. Anyways, to fill in the gaps for anyone that doesn't know, the hosts of Car Talk are "Click Tappet" and "Clack Tappet" (Tom and Ray Magliozzi.) It's on National Public Radio and they also have a newspaper column. BTW, I don't know which one was Click and which was Clack on the show, so I just made an educated guess.

Disadvantage stuffEdit

This was the first season seven episode that fans had any inkling of. Marc Brown, or someone posing as Marc Brown (some are suspicious because he said that D in D.W. stands for "Dora Winifred" and that he couldn't reveal Arthur's last name, which is known to be Timothy) mentioned it on a message board. Although the idea was that the Reads would be getting a new car, which didn't end up happening.

The Car 's appearanceEdit

Did anyone notice the color of the Read's car? It seems like they got it painted or something because it used to be something a purplish-red and now it's very purple. Here's how it looked back in #50801 - "The Last of Mary Moo Cow":
And here's how it looks in "Pick a Car, Any Car": Gregs

Maybe Baby Kate sabotaged the car on purpose because she didn't like the car -- which is why she whips her rattle at Dad at the end -- she's mad because they ended up keeping the old car. Nobody got to see what her dream car was like, so who knows? This is one episode where even though everyone appears to be happy with Arthur at the end for saving them money, they secretly all are ticked off with him -- they could have had a new car if it wasn't for him. In real life, a rattle left in the tailpipe of a car wouldn't be rattling long -- it would melt. Tailpipes get hot.