Elwood City Turns 100!Edit

===Episode #705==="Elwood City Turns 100!"

Synopsis by: Jinora_victimizer -- I liked the musical numbers and wanted to make sure to get them done.

Way too many comments by: Agent0042 with some from KorraIsBack, dw_divastar, DetectiveSokka, Bloom_dreamgirl, TXC, and Dave.

Pictures courtesy by S.C.


We begin with a flashback to the past. We can hear the beginnings of a speech before there's anything on the screen. The picture comes in and we see that it's President Theodore Roosevelt speaking.

President Roosevelt: By the authority vested in me, I, Theodore Roosevelt, the 26th President of the United States, in the year of our Lord, 1903, with the direct approval of the committee on towns and cities...

Crabby Elderly Gentleman: Skip to the good part!

President Roosevelt: hereby declare the area known as Elwood... an official city!

President Theodore Roosevelt is a bear-person with glasses and a black top hat. Get it? Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt. (waits for the groans and boos to silence) Roosevelt was president from 1901-1909, so this is accurate. But does the president himself usually preside over the founding of a city? Heck, this establishes beyond any doubt that Elwood City is, in fact, in the United States. Not that there really was any doubt, after all we've seen envelopes addressed "Elwood City, USA" in both #50801 - "The Last of Mary Moo Cow" (not noted in that synopsis) and #70301 - "Ants in Arthur's Pants."

The elderly gentleman (he's also wearing a top hat and has greying hair and an aardvark nose) who must be the city's founder, insists that it was supposed to be "Elmwood."; that's what he put on the official form.

I guess that's likely enough. A Google search for Elmwood turns up about 260,000 results, whereas one for Elwood turns up about 301,000. Given that some of the "Elwood" references are probably Arthur references, the spread could be somewhat less.

Uh, umm, thanks for looking that particular statistic up... I wouldn't have. :)

Roosevelt declares that for making fifty acres of swamp into a city, Jacob's good friends Henry Ford and J.P. Morgan are dedicating a statue to "you, our founder, Jacob Katzenellenbogan!"

Henry Ford was the founder of Ford Motor Company and inventor of the first production-line car, the Model T. J.P. Morgan is John Pierpoint Morgan, a famous financier. The elderly city founder hated the statue of himself, using his walking stick to point out that the gold plaque on the statue has his name misspelled with only one 'L'. He continues that it also makes him look too fat. He says to tear it down.

As he continues grumbling, Ford and Morgan talk on the sidelines. Morgan figures that in one hundred years, "no one will know a place called 'Elwood City' ever existed."

From what history has to say about J.P. Morgan and Henry Ford, it's no surprise that they don't sound like they're good friends of fellow capitalist Jacob Katzenellenbogan..

*** Elwood City Turns 100! ***

Were you hoping for a new card? Sorry, no dice. Buster reads the title as Arthur hops on the back of D.W.'s tricycle because he's losing the race.

Written by: Peter K. Hirsch, Matthew Lane

Storyboard by: Jeremy O'Neill, Robert Yap

Since this episode has two parts, I wonder if the writer/storyboard teams are respectively for the first and second half? This is just speculation though.

As the scene opens on a shot of a pigeon landing on the statue of Mr. Katzenellenbogan, Mr. Ratburn says that he has exciting news. The pigeon flies up to one of the classroom windows as Mr. Ratburn explains that Lakewood Elementary has been chosen out of fifteen schools to stage a musical. Everyone cheers the announcement.

Buster: (excited) We won! We won! (suspicious) Hey, wait! Is there going to be a big test at the end of all this?

Mr. Ratburn assures him there won't be a test. Buster starts cheering again. Mr. Ratburn continues that putting on a show isn't easy though. He recalls when he did his one man Hamlet with puppets in college...

Flashback sequence: Mr. Ratburn is on stage, holding up a Hamlet puppet. He starts reciting the famous "to be or not to be" soliloquy when suddenly Hamlet's head falls off. He quickly concludes the soliloquy: "that is... the end of the show! Good night, everyone!" He calls for the curtain as the audience laughs at him.

We already KNOW that putting on a show isn't easy, since we already put on a show in #11002 - "Francine Frensky, Superstar".

Back in the present, he tugs on his tie, saying the performance nearly cost him his perfect G.P.A.

He must have done some sort of extra credit, since in #12702 - "Arthur's Substitute Teacher Trouble," his sister got his grade lowered because the star he discovered was "just gas." But then again, that was a just a fantasy sequence. Heck, there's some math problems on the board. 13X2=26, 5X9=45, 20/2=10, as well as one on the right side that I think is 10/5=2, but is cut off, so I can't be sure.

Mr. Ratburn grabs a tophat from his desk. He's having the class draw for their parts. He has Arthur draw first. Arthur asks for "something good" and draws narrator. He doesn't think that's very important. Mr. Ratburn counters that actually "a strong narrator will be the glue that holds this story together." He takes the hat over to Francine and she draws.

This seems like an awful way of chosing parts to me.

Francine: Chorus member! But I'm the best singer in the whole class! Why do I get such a small part?

Mr. Ratburn: There are no small parts, Francine, only small actors.

As Jinora_victimizer noted in the synopsis for the "It's Only Rock and Roll" special, if Jodie Resther is such a good singer, then why does Francine keep getting small parts. Then again, as we'll see, she ends up singing away.

The Brain draws "writer" and calls it a chance to write an accurate historical musical. Buster pulls out one of the slips.

Buster: (puzzled) Dr. Ector? Is he the villain? (excitedly) Can I wear a claw?

Mr. Ratburn: That says "director", Buster.

Busters likes the sound of being director. To him, that means that he gets to decide how everything looks and tell everyone what to do.

Mr. Ratburn: You could wear a claw if you were in the chorus...

I guess Mr. Ratburn is having second thoughts about this great way of doling out the play parts now that he's just made Buster the director.

* * *

The paper slips drop down as a scene-changer. Mr. Ratburn is reading a book:


Muffy comes in. She wants to help with the musical's publicity.

Muffy: You know, making posters, stuff like that.

I think that's a reasonable request, given that she did a great job with campaign posters in #50601 - "The Election"

Mr. Ratburn agrees to her request. Then Muffy pulls out what she calls a "standard producer's contract" and asks him to sign it. It's in case the play ever goes to Broadway or something. He signs it, saying that he doesn't know if the play will be that good.

The contract is used as a scene-changer to somebody else who's reading a book, The Brain. He's in the library, adding to his boring image by reading this absolutely exciting title:


Buster shoves his way in, pushing the book away from Brain's face. He says he has one word for The Brain: "alien invasion."

So Buster isn't counting any better than he was in #61001 - "Arthur Loses His Marbles"

Buster: Picture this: The curtain rises and a giant flying saucer lands on the stage. Whirrrr! Then the aliens come out, hundreds of them! They take over the Earth. But there's this one kid who becomes friends with them. And then...

The Brain puts an end to Buster's rampage. He insists that he don't want any aliens in the play. He lectures Buster on historical accuracy as the brown dog-kid walks by their table. The Brain talks about how he's been reading about green-tailed grebes. Elwood City used to be swampland.

There isn't and never was an actual bird called the "green-tailed grebe," but there is a bird known as the pied-billed grebe...

Buster: Green-tailed grebes? What are they?

Brain: Marshland birds of the family Podicipedidae. Buster can't believe Brain's going to put this in the musical. He yells at Brain that it's boring, causing the dog-kid to look up in shock from the book he's reading. Buster and Brain argue back and forth about accuracy against fantasy. The dog-kid throws his book to the ground and runs off in a panic. A green-tailed grebe wipes across the screen...

... to music class. Arthur's there, singing scales as practice for his role of the musical narrator. However, he's singing really badly. Ms. Krasny calls it a good effort, but says that the narrator has to be pitch perfect. Arthur tries again, but he sounds awful.

Since when is Arthur such a bad singer? His singing on the show and on the CDs has always sounded reasonably decent to me.

If Arthur wasn't a bad singer, we wouldn't have any conflict here.

Francine offers to demonstrate and does so in perfect key. Artur's not impressed.

Arthur (in disgust): Thanks a lot.

Arthur's at home now, singing just as badly. Pal, who's laying next to D.W. on the living room couch, howls and covers his ears. D.W.'s playing "Confuse the Goose" with Vicita. The Tibbles are also there. As Arthur continues singing, Pal whines, hops onto the floor and hides under the couch.

Vicita: I haven't heard such a horrible sound since Alberto and I gave the neighbor's cat a bath.

D.W.: It's like my Mary Moo Cow doll with only one battery.

Timmy:Hey, I bet I can sing worse than Arthur.

He starts to try, but Arthur drowns him out. It would seem he can't.

We're still at Arthur's house, but the scene switches to Arthur, who's also playing the piano while singing.

Maybe that's part of the problem? Since Francine is so bad at singing and playing the drums at the same time, maybe Arthur shouldn't be trying to play the piano while he's singing?

The doorbell rings. Arthur opens it and finds Francine. Before she can say anything, he shoots her down, as he thinks she's there to tell him that he stinks and that she should be the narrator. Francine snaps back angrily that she was there to help him. She begins to leave, but Arthur manages to keep her there by admitting that he does stink and that he can use all the help he can get.

The scene changes to the school and the light "doing something" music (the same as the scene in #22001 - "How the Cookie Crumbles" where the gang comes up with the ingredients for the cookies) is playing in the background. Jenna's working at a sewing machine. She puts a wing on Fern, who's dressed as a green-tailed grebe. (Fern makes a cute green-tailed grebe.) Buster puts on the headpiece. Brain notices that the headpiece has stalk eyeballs and removes them.

The background music continues into the next scene, but is soon drowned out by Arthur's singing. The singing causes Baby Kate to cry and D.W. covers her ears. Francine's still there. She apparently hasn't been able to help. But she's still able to do what Arthur can't: sing the scales perfectly. The scene wipes again and the background music picks back up. George is helping Buster and Brain with a construct of a cabin with small trees. Brain leaves and Buster pulls out and shows George a transformer-y robot action figure.

Still in the same sequence, the scene changes to the Elwood City Convention Center, the venue of the play. Muffy pulls a light switch, lighting up a sign that says:


The turning on of the sign causes power to go out across several blocks. Pretty soon, the sign itself goes out as well.

..without going to the effort of confirming it, this looks a lot like the night footage from the ending of the "A:IORAR" special.

The background music ends, ending the sequence. We now wipe clockwise to a rehearsal of the play. Arthur's there, still singing badly. And now, he has lyrics to sing:

Arthur: ...And the trees were chopped down for the bustling new town

By the women and men employed by Mr. Katzenellenbogan...

I wonder how many other turn-of-the-century lumber companies were employing women as lumberjacks. Zero would be my guess.

Arthur's wearing a straw hat, white blue striped shirt, blue jeans and his red bowtie. In the background are Binky, Jenna and Francine, dressed as lumberjacks, demonstrating what Arthur's singing about. Ms. Krasny thinks that Arthur's better, but he's still not projecting enough. Arthur doesn't understand. He's singing at the top of his lungs.

Isn't singing like Arthur's doing without any sort of voice training or anything bad on your voice? My sister used to do a lot of singing at her school and they had voice training and such.

What, bad singing can be bad for your voice? Uh oh.

Francine says that Arthur needs to sing from his diaphragm. She begins to demonstrate, but Arthur cuts her off before she can start, saying she'll just embarrass him.

But Arthur's not the only one who's being given unwanted advice. Binky bickers with Jenna about her woodchopping style. She's not chopping on the beat. He demonstrates -- and his example of chopping causes his pants to split, showing his pink and white checkered underwear.