In which the fashion options of the middle class are mocked pitilessly by the bourgeoisie.
Category: Arthur (and Prunella) Fail at a Basic Life Skill
Basic Life Skill Failed: Being able to afford fashion sense
The little thirty second bit before the title card is Arthur dressed as a vampire, guiding the audience through a Fashion House of Horror. Which in and of itself is a little baffling because Arthur's featured in this episode for his poor fashion sense. Not that anyone in Elwood City is particularly chic--they all wear the same clothes every episode. But if anyone would be holding a Fashion House of Horror and making a profit, it would be Muffy Crosswire. Or D.W.
We begin the episode with Prunella watching "Silver Hills" and Dumpy McWhinerpants is complaining to her hot friend that she looks terrible and can't go to the dance. Hussy Hotbod says that they should just go and have fun (trap #1) and that Dumpy's boyfriend won't care what she's wearing (trap #2). Dumpy asks Hussy what she's wearing and we get our first view of *FLASHPANTS*.
|They're even better when you're actually watching them in|
motion. I'm pretty sure the animators broke the budget on
this one special effect. 100% worth it.
Prunella tells her sister, Rubella, that that's what she was hinting about for her birthday. (Which I just realized was two episodes previous in "Prunella Gets it Twice." I need to write that one up. Also, the Arthur writers' continuity is SOLID. *coughGleewriterstakenotecough*) Rubella takes note and busts out a fake prediction as to the end of the show (Dumpy's boyfriend dumps her "just like in the preeeeviewwwws").
She then claims that the phony prediction drained her and heads to the kitchen for a snack. Her mom is talking furtively on the phone with someone (who we can assume is not Prunella's absent father), but then chills out when she sees it's just her hippie older daughter. From what we hear from that side of the conversation, it sounds like someone is going to send Prunella a late birthday present of *FLASHPANTS*. All the clues point to it- "kids are so into what they're wearing," "I think that's what she was hinting at," "silver."
Come on, Rubella. Don't pretend like you haven't seen enough sitcoms to know where this is going.
Meanwhile at Chez Reed, Arthur and D.W. are being left in the capable hands of Grandma Thora while Mr. and Mrs. Reed and Kate are going on a cruise. D.W. does not beg to come along, surprisingly, but instead tells her parents to bring her one of any unicorns she drew for them. If she can't have her parents' quality time, she may as well get a horn`ed mythical creature out of it.
Later, Rubella sets about faking another prediction for her younger sister. She tries using a Ouija board (or maybe some astrology chart? My Wiccan's a little rusty), but Prunella is unimpressed. So Rubella wanders out to the mailbox and repeats the same phrases her mom used, adding in a little mumbo-jumbo: "on the day you were born," "from someone older," etc.
Prunella thinks she's going to win the sweepstakes. Rubella gives up trying to dupe her.
|I don't believe Marc Brown or any of the animators have|
ever been inside the house of a teenage Wiccan.
Muffy calls everyone up and invites them to go skating the next day. Arthur, Grandma Thora, and D.W. suit up to go somewhere and Arthur's coat is too small.
"Look!" D.W. says. "Arthur's coat shrunk!"
"Arthur's coat hasn't shrunk. Arthur's grown," says Grandma Thora.
Know what season 9 of Arthur says? Arthur's fat. He's eternally 8, for crying out loud. Who's to say what's a growth spurt and what's a result of shoving cookies down his gullet at every waking moment? I guess it kind of makes sense, though: they already tackled the issue of growing out of one's clothes in this episode. They had to tackle childhood obesity at some point. Or something.
Mr. and Mrs. Reed clearly didn't leave any money for emergency growth spurts, so Grandma Thora takes them to her house to see if they can rustle something up from storage. Et voila! A Mr. Puffy coat is found! Once again, Arthur has no idea how cool something is. I mean, look at that thing!
|D.W. would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone |
that she's styling too.
Quella awesome. Apparently Mr. Puffy was part of the Terrific Three, along with Landfish and the Legal Eagle. Anyway, Arthur feels super self-conscious wearing it and D.W. threatens to throw snowballs at him coz he's such an awesome target. (Speaking as the younger sibling of someone who owned a puffy coat, D.W. is absolutely right.)
Prunella makes the mistake of going to the mall with Muffy. They stand oogling at the *FLASHPANTS* display and Muffy says that they've been fashionable for months because her parents saw them while in Paris. Prunella makes the second mistake of telling Muffy that she's going to be wearing her pair (that she doesn't own yet) skating tomorrow.
Muffy immediately peels off to fill the void left by her parents' inattention with some flashy, flashy pants.
When Prunella returns from her mall trip, a teeny tiny box is waiting for her. Turns out her grandparents sent her a watch, which teaches us two lessons: 1) Don't ever rely on old people to get you something hip. Set low expectations so if they're exceeded you have the luxury of being super stoked. And 2) Don't brag about stuff you don't have yet.
Muffy calls Prunella to gloat about her recently obtained awesomeness and Prunella runs off crying.
|Muffy would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone|
that she has an excellent fashion sense. As she wears
*FLASHPANTS* underneath her normal dress.
In true Arthur form, Arthur has a nightmare concerning his seemingly inevitable and impending ostracization from his current social circle. EXCEPT IT'S IN AWESOME COMIC BOOK FORM. I wish my dreams were this detailed.
La la la, Francine, Buster, Binky, and Brain are skating on a high mountain (Muffy is absent, which is weird coz it's her party), a random, big-headed, non-animal looking guy enveloped in a ball of fire shows up and is all upset that he didn't get invited to the party and starts melting the ice with his eyeballs.
|Moral of the story? For heaven's sake, invite the weird kid|
with superpowers! STAY ON THE GOOD SIDE OF THE
WEIRD KID WITH SUPERPOWERS.
Good ol' Mr. Puffy shows up to save the day and knocks Mr. Melt into the water. And drowns him, I assume. Such violence.
And when Arthur/Mr. Puffy tries to rescue his friends further, they bite the hand that saves them from a freezing/fiery death (depending on what kind of villain Mr. Melt was). "Who are you? Mr. Moldy Marshmallow Man?" mocks Francine.
Then they throw snowballs at him. He wakes up.
|Kids are cruel and ungrateful, y'all.|
At this point, Arthur and Prunella are on the same page: no way in heck are they leaving their respective houses this winter. They both rustle up some money for survival food doing heaven-knows-what and head to the store.
Prunella has the sense to wear a blonde wig and sunglasses. Arthur wears the very thing he's afraid of being mocked for.
|Because apparently Wiccans have wigs lying around.|
They run into each other, knocking off Prunella's wig and a whole pyramid of cans in the fray.
A bored-sounding store clerk comes onto the PA and announces: "Clean up on aisle three near the puffy green boy."
Turns out Prunella is acquainted with the Terrific Three and thinks that Arthur's coat is pretty sweet. Arthur realizes that it doesn't matter what he's wearing, he'll always be middle class and should enjoy himself anyway.
Prunella realizes the same thing, but not until she gets to the cash register. She hands the boxes of crackers to the cashier and says, "I don't need these anymore-- I'm going skating!"
|The animators must've drawn this face based on an alternate|
script. No way anyone would look that shocked after Prunella's
declaration. I can only assume that Prunella flipped her the
bird or something.
Arthur and Prunella show up at the skating rink together and Prunella almost chickens out when she sees Muffy wearing her fabulous *FLASHPANTS*. Arthur points out that everyone else out there is poorly dressed, probably because this is a middle class neighborhood and really Muffy's the odd one out here.
Muffy caves into peer pressure and goes home to change into something a little less posh.
|Did Prunella sell her good coat to buy her survival supplies?|
Or did she sell her coat on the way to the rink for a hit of
cocaine? That coat is what she should've been worried
about the whole episode.
Everything ends happily because social order is restored. Also, D.W. and the Tibble twins pelt Arthur with snowballs until the last black frame. Golden.