In which Arthur and his crew get beat handily by Children of the Corn.
Category: Arthur and All His Friends (it's a two-fer!) Fail at a Basic Life Skill
Basic Life Skill Failed: Medieval Knowledge
The episode begins with a shot of what appears to be a quaint medieval village. (Which, even though I've been planning to analyze this episode for a week, makes me SUPER EXCITED for the Highland Games and Scottish Festival this weekend! Awwwwww yeah!)
Then the Lakewood bus pulls up and the image is ruined. It becomes apparent that this isn't an old-timey episode from way back in the day, but one where the kids get to go to a medieval fair full of creeps peddling their spurious wares, as well as the occasional awesome Knight of the Templar. But that's okay because this episode is definitely one of my favorites.
Mr. Ratburn leads them off the bus and Buster is immediately drawn to--what else?--the fair's food. A man with flowing blonde locks wearing a kilt is pushing a cart and proclaiming, in the best Scottish accent PBS could afford, "Haggis! Two for a dollar!" Buster writes down this "important information," then turns to Arthur (who I guess would know coz his dad makes weird food?) and asks, "What's haggis?"
(Side note: I've tried haggis. It tastes like nasty, gritty, meaty oatmeal. This dish was made for a kid without taste buds like Buster Baxter.)
Arthur is spared having to answer the question by Mr. Ratburn being distracted by a shiny gold statue of a griffin (which is probably made out of cake or chocolate). Blah blah blah, Arthur thinks his class can win it because they're "the smartest" and "work the hardest," when suddenly an earthquake shakes Elwood City and everyone dies!
Okay, not really, but by, oh, ten-elevenths of the way through the episode, Arthur and his peers are going to wish that's what happened.
No, the earth's rumbling is caused by a handful of uniform`ed children trouncing off their non-traditional white school bus, chanting a menacing song about their school.
Smug and smarmy, Mr. Pryce-Jones, the teacher of the kids from Glenbrook Academy, marches off the bus and up to Ratburn. It turns out that he was Ratburn's third grade teacher and the only reason the golden griffin isn't in his classroom is because Pryce-Jones always takes it home with him.
So it's on. Like Donkey Kong.
While the grownups try to one-up each other, the two groups of kids whisper and point at each other. Having worn both regular clothes and uniforms to school, I have it on good authority that the Lakewood kids immediately hate the Glenbrook students because they're wearing very smart-looking uniforms. The Glenbrook students hate the Lakewood kids because they get to wear whatever they want to school.
But it becomes apparent that if they weren't wearing different clothes, no one would be able to tell the two third-grade classes apart! The Glenbrook kids are *SPOILER ALERT* dopplegangers of the Lakewood kids, the product of an evil scientist gone mad with DNA samples!
Although...to be honest, if the Arthur animators had a wider repertoire, this would be more impressive.
Arthur, Buster, Muffy, and Francine lounge on a picnic table near the lake after washing off the mud from the tug-of-war. (Where are the parent chaperons? This thing was created when I was a kid, and I most definitely had parent chaperons. Like, one for every five kids.) Mr. Ratburn comes up and tells them that Mr. Pryce-Jones is one of the best teachers private education could provide, teaching kids Latin in third grade (no one learns Latin in school anymore, especially not grade school). Mr. Ratburn muses out loud that he's not a "tough enough" teacher and the kids are horrified that they'll actually be competently taught. Quelle horror!