Arnold wishes that "Abner Come Home" since he went missing, Sam "The
Sewer King" has Grandpa's watch since Arnold dropped it in the sewer,
"Phoebe Takes The Fall" to give Helga a chance to win the only
competition her older sister Olga ever lost, and the gang get ready to
re-enact "The Pig War", with a mission to save Abner from being
roasted. Thoughts follow shortly, all corrections welcome.
"Abner Come Home"
- One of the last Ansolabehere stories, I reckon? We open with Abner
licking Arnold at the Arms, and then we have Arnold getting Abner his
breakfast at 9am, consisting of dog food, egg shells, banana peels,
and a sock. Really cheeky animation here: after he shoves in the sock,
he rolls his hand in the bowl for a while and the bowl suddenly fills
- After breakfast, Arnold's taking Abner out to the park and plays
frisbee, followed by washing, mud wallowing and more washing ;-) And
next it's night time and they go to sleep.
- Night time. Abner sees a cat outside the arms. Runs down to kitchen
door. Flashes back to when a pet door on it was installed, and
eventually nailed over because he kept dragging in mud and/or trash.
Jumps out through the nail-over to pursue the cat. 8:04am, Arnold
doesn't see Abner, presumes he's taking a drink out of the toilet.
- Later on, he looks everywhere for Abner. Laundry room, kitchen
(where he sees the broken pet door), the pig house (with a badly
written sign, and what's that pattern in the fence near Abner's
house?), under the Arms, dumpsters, trash cans... not found, so he has
to break the news to Grandma (cooking bacon) and Grandpa and Oskar
(reading "Obituary Monthly").
- Grandma's going on and on about how Abner knows how to get home...
meanwhile, Abner's walking by a pair of billboards by a stream. One is
an ad for the Arms, which reads thusly: "The Sunset Arms Boarding
House, For Good Old-Fashioned Hospitality, 4040 Vine St.", with the
text accompanied by a pic of Grandma on the left and Grandpa on the
right. The other one says "Wrong Way Danger", with a picture of a pig
and an arrow... pointing in the direction that Abner's walking right
- The dog catcher isn't being of any help, but seeing the bulletin
board, Arnold decides to head to the "Copy Stop", with a sign in the
window saying "Color Copier". He's out with a punch of posters saying
"Have you seen this pig?" with a pic of Arnold and Abner. A poster
flying around wipes to the next scene: him posting one on an electric
pole (though the poster as we see it on the pole is slightly different
from what was used to wipe into the scene). There's also a billboard
advertising the same thing, with a contact number of 555-PORK.
- Arnold's waiting at the phone, and no calls are coming in, so now
he's sitting outside. Gerald pops up and they talk about the missing
pig. Meanwhile, Abner wanders into "Pig Skins R Us" through the "crew
only" door, and he's soon running out quickly.
- 12:04 by the alarm clock, 4:43 by his wall clock. Arnold's looking
at clouds, and a photo of him with Abner. Grandpa comes in, sits on a
slightly wobbly chair and talks about Abner, briefly seguing into an
aside on him being able to get his Great Uncle Phil to do things. The
idea is that Arnold can't expect Abner to do everything he wants all
the time. The discussion segues into another aside, this one on how he
liked to dispose of egg shells and coffee grinds, and that gives
Arnold an idea. Meanwhile, Grandpa falls off the chair :-D
- Arnold and Gerald are putting fans in the Arms windows, and pulling
hoses around (and letting them rip in the backyard). Gerald grinning
seemingly at the viewer: priceless. Now they're having a dumpster (one
of the drivers has a tattoo saying "Mommie" ;-) ) dump some trash onto
the backyard. This whole thing has attracted quite a few people...
(Hmm... one of the boarders does seem to have some of Ruth's facial
features...) and now the finishing touches: Arnold's adding some
socks, and Gerald's grinning and flipping the switches.
- Abner is eating a bunch of milkbones that are leading straight back
into Pigskins R Us when he notices the smell generated from the
above... and one of the posters Arnold posted earlier. And he's
running right across town (I would presume) back to the Arms, where we
have one of them dramatic reunion scenes. And oh yes, Abner wallowing
in mud and getting Arnold dirty and the crowd going wild. It's an
emotional moment for everyone, Ernie, Grandpa, but most importantly
- Quotables: "You have more fun than 100 dogs put together" (Arnold to
Abner at night) "Must be getting a drink out of the toilet again"
(Arnold, on Abner) "Anyone for bacon?" (Grandma, the morning after
Abner goes missing) "And his tail is so curly when you pull it out it
goes 'spoing!'" (Arnold describes Abner to the dog catcher) "Well, did
you try going down to the dump and yelling 'sooey'?" (Gerald, on the
missing pig) "Come back here you football" (Pig Skins R Us crew yell
at Abner) "Brilliant does pretty much describe me" (Grandpa then falls
off chair) "Well, it's not working, and it's making me sick" (Gerald,
on Arnold's brilliant idea) "It does kinda bring a tear to your eye"
"That's just the onions" (Ernie and Grandpa are overwhelmed at the
"The Sewer King"
- Hey, ain't Keith Kaczorek one of the writers for TAB? And for that
matter, isn't the opening shot of this story the same as in the last
one? Anyhow, Arnold has to run an errand for Grandpa, getting his
(ahem) Snitzenbauer Timemaster 909, with Swiss Polar Alignment, Triple
Synchronized Movement and Escapement. Grandpa's never trusted anyone
with this watch before... Basically he has to take Grandpa's receipt
down to the jewelry shop and get it.
- The time is 12:20 as he's picking up the watch from the shop (which
apparently also sells "Squatch-o's"). More great animation from Games
as Arnold runs down the sidewalk and Gerald invites him to throw rocks
at the river. (Which BTW, Helga and Phoebe decide to do in "World
Records".) Arnold's responsible for the watch, as you would imagine,
however, here comes an aside...
- Harold, Helga, and Sid are looking at a hole made by some workers.
Gerald and Arnold join. As the workers' shift ends, (left to right)
Arnold, Gerald, Helga, Sid and Harold are looking at the hole
close-up. Gerald throws a rock into it to see how deep it is (it's
verrry deep), but that ain't the only thing that goes into the hole:
Arnold's watch somehow slips out of his pocket, through his fingers
and into the hole, so they're going to have to climb down and get
- Gerald briefly imagines what might go wrong: falling down to the
bottom, chased by some moles with weapons, stuck on a web with a giant
spider... anyhow, they're going down and Arnold sees a rat running
with it, and they're giving chase through a small pipe, and down a
steeply inclined water pathway. Next thing you know, the watch gets to
this guy who lives here. Short time later he introduces himself as
"Sam, the Sewer King" to Arnold and Gerald as they arrive.
- Arnold asks Gerald to play along with Sam. Okay, Sam won't return
Arnold the watch, but seeing a chess set, Arnold decides to challenge
him. If Arnold wins he can have the watch back, otherwise, not only
can Sam keep the watch, Arnold and Gerald will be grooming rats. Look
at Gerald's face dropping :-)
- Well, Arnold's repeatedly beating Sam, 7 times in a row (as
indicating by him saying "8 out of 15"). Arnold's had enough, so he
forces the watch away from him, leading into a frantic chase,
involving trying to keep away from Sam, who seems to be able to pop
around every corner, or pop out of a random manhole (the latter
prompts Gerald to chuck the watch over to Arnold). Well, they're at
this hatch, and Arnold opens it: the light is blinding to Sam, and
- Straight back to the Arms then, and Grandpa's congratulating him on
a fine job, but after all that hard work getting it out of the sewer,
the watch has just gone down the kitchen sink drain and straight back
- That scene with Sam fades to black before abruptly cutting back to
Arnold and Grandpa in the kitchen... I guess the scene in the kitchen
right after was a tack-on? Anyhow, turns out Grandpa has several of
these watches, prompting Arnold to take a long hard look at his life
as he leaves the Arms and the full credits music plays.
- Quotables: "It's as good as home" (Arnold, on the 909) "Wonder if it
goes all the way to China" (Harold on the hole... Helga is then keen
to point to Harold that it's like 7000 miles away) "I guess you had
the last pick of the royal domain, huh?" (Gerald on Sam's abode) "It's
royal, and it's an icon, it's a royal icon" (Sam, on the watch) "Not
the light!!" (Arnold opens hatch) "Always got to have a back-up
Arnold" (Grandpa shows off lots of 909's) "Where are you going?" "To
take a long hard look at my life" "While you're there would you pick
up a quart of milk?" (Grandpa and Arnold)
"Phoebe Takes The Fall"
- Purdy probably thought that it was high time that Phoebe's superior
intellegience got the spotlight, so we open with a team academic
competition, and Phoebe/Helga (er, just Phoebe) are running
Arnold/Gerald and Rhonda (sans glasses, still)/Nadine into the ground,
figuratively. The final score: it's not clear, but it's likely P/H 20
A/G 18 R/N 15. US president with the shortest time in office: William
Henry Harrison (31 days in 1841). The capital of Iceland: Reykjavik.
The 2nd fastest animal in the world: The pronghorn antelope. Brainy's
in the seats as are Sheena, Eugene, Stinky, and Harold, Joey.
Rhonda/Nadine feel clearly in the dumps.
- Tomorrow is the individual competition to determine who will
represent the school in the All City Finals. Back home it's time for
some back history. We know that Olga's first trophy was the City
Spelling Bee ("Spelling Bee"), now let's get to know about the only
time she ever lost. The final question that year in the Bowl: "What is
the state bird of Maine?" The answer: "The chickadee" (and a look at
the World Almanac confirms this... Purdy must have found himself
looking in a good encyclopedia quite often to come up with all those
questions ;-) ). Of course, he has that empty spot on the shelf he was
going to put "the jewel in the Pataki crown" (tho it's in all
likelyhood not the same spot that Bob reserved for her in "Spelling
Bee"). Hey, is it just me, or is this ep headed the exact same way as
"Spelling Bee"? ;-)
- Anyhow, Helga's pondering on what to do: she could study hard for
the individual competition, or she could... ask Phoebe to take the
fall. And the latter she does, citing that she'd have one up on her
sister forever if she won this contest. Besides, Phoebe's got other
opportunities to win.
- OK, it's Arnold, Gerald, Phoebe and Helga, up for representation. We
see the scores at random points: The score reads
(Helga/Phoebe/Arnold/Gerald) 4/6/6/5, before fading to
14/21/15/eliminated, and as Arnold has been eliminated (Lila
apparently is doing the erasing) the score reads Helga 46, Phoebe 49.
Some of the questions (and who answered correctly):
* Closest planet to the sun: Mercury (Arnold)
* Most famous violin maker: Antonio Stratovari (Phoebe)
* Boxer who said he could float like a butterfly and sting like a bee:
Muhammad Ali (Helga)
* 19th century painter who cut off his own ear: Vincent Van Gogh
- And now, for 5 points, it's the decider: priveleged warrior class in
ancient Japan (I heard it as "voyeur" the first time around :-) ):
"The sumo wrestlers?" No, it's the samurai, and Helga is through to
the city finals (Phoebe as alternate). Flashback to "Spelling Bee":
Helga deliberately misses word she should know ("qualm" with an "x")
so that Arnold could win.
- Among the crowd this evening: Park, Brainy, Sid, Eugene, Nadine,
Rhonda, Robert, Joey, and the 6th grade girls.
- So she's back home, getting ready to study for the contest from "The
Book of Contest Questions and Answers". Hmm... just the math section
seems too much for her to handle, so it's time for another favor from
Phoebe (who was going to visit her mom): Tutoring. They're tutoring in
the playground, they're tutoring at Mixta's Hot Dogs, they're tutoring
at a baseball game, they're tutoring while they're walking through the
park, they're tutoring just before Helga goes to bed. And it looks
like Helga is absolutely hopeless. Let's see what she thinks (my
attempt to answer in parenthesis):
* River that cuts through Grand Canyon: Mississippi, then Rio Grande
(Colorado, but see below)
* Tallest mountain in the world: the Andes (Everest)
* First person to climb Mount Everest: Jacques Cousteau (Edmund
Hillary and Tenzing Norgay)
* Cheese Holland is famous for: Glockenspiel (a type of musical
instrument) (Edam and Gouda)
* First president to visit the Pacific: Jefferson (I dunno, but it has
to be after Lewis and Clark)
- Following day at lunch. While the likes of Joey, Curly, Peapod,
Ruth, Nadine, Harold, Gerald, Sid, Robert and Iggy are having their
lunch, Helga's shoving Stinky in line with Sheena, and Phoebe is
sleeping over her lunch. Arnold (after talking to Phoebe about not
winning the individual competition) suggests that Helga cut Phoebe a
break, prompting a response of "Who asked you anyway?". Meanwhile,
Phoebe is sleeping at the yogurt machine :-D
- Well, it's the night before the contest, and it seems that Helga's
gotten better. She's correctly identified the river that cuts through
the Grand Canyon (the Colorado) and the capital of Malaysia (Kuala
Lumpur). Phoebe's also asking if she's having some second thoughts...
nope. Anyhow, the Pataki parents will pick her up tomorrow (why them,
and why is she being picked up in the first place?).
- Yet another crazy dream sequence, with Helga being quizzed on the
capital of Montana (Helena) and how many pints in a gallon (8), and
she's pondering on who invented dental floss, when the moderator
suddenly turns into Arnold asking why she's even the finalist in the
first place and not Phoebe. Sheena, Park, Sid, Harold, Eugene, Curly,
Rhonda, Brainy and Nadine are among the spectators. After the
sequence, Helga does a little "lampshade hanging" about her weird
- Following day. Phoebe's been picked up by the Pataki parents. Phoebe
offers to do a little more tutoring before the contest (she hasn't
covered geography that well), while Helga's pondering her weird dream.
OK, Helga's spieling all about who really should have been in the
final and would have won hands down (hint: it's not Helga) and stuff
like that, and at the venue (it's the City Auditorium like in
"Spelling Bee", but the stage has "shrunk" by a lot...), Helga is
complaining backstage about sickness to Simmons next to a vat of
coffee. Yep, Simmons is putting in the alternate in.
- Timeout: Given that Big Bob had pinned high hopes on Helga
one-upping Olga, one would imagine that Big Bob would go bleepin'
ballistic on Helga's 11th hour withdrawal. I mean, look at "Spelling
Bee". She competed (for one), and missed on the very same word Olga
spelled to win (and quite blatantly), and look at Big Bob's reaction
then. Imagine what Big Bob would have felt when she saw Phoebe take
- OK, there are just three podia on stage (don't get me started on
that), with Phoebe standing on the middle podium, flanked by a boy
with slightly messy black hair on the left (our left) and a girl with
reddish hair on the right. We fast forward straight to the
bowl-deciding question, with the scores at 60/61/59. Coincidences
being what they are, the final question is: The state bird of Maine
(see above for the answer). And guess who answers to win it? Yes, it's
Phoebe, 60/63/59. Flashback to "Spelling Bee" again: "qualm" (from
above) was the word that won it for Olga.
- And now Arnold's backstage with Helga talking to her about doing the
right thing, and Helga's busy fobbing him off before she continues to
clap for Phoebe as she takes her trophy (which is different from the
one in Helga's nightmare). Sidenote: when I watched this ep, the music
and effects sounded slightly wonky (even Helga's "yay!" at the end
sounded a bit wonky as well), station troubles I presume? Here's an
audio clip: http://rover_wow.tripod.com/pttf_bigwin.wav
- Timeout 2: You'd slightly expect the moderator to point the fact
this is (most likely) the first time that an alternate has ever won
this contest (or even that Phoebe was an alternate in the first
place). And don't get me started on the fact that Phoebe's parents
aren't witnessing her night to shine. (For that matter, where are the
- Going off on a tangent: two incidents in soccer similar to
circumstances in the story:
* Art imitates life, with an alternate going all the way to win a
tournament: In 1992, the UEFA (the European Soccer Association) barred
Yugoslavia from competing in the Euro (a tournament involving the
national teams of various countries in Europe) despite the fact that
they'd qualified for it, due to war problems in the country. As a
result, the UEFA put Denmark in the tournament instead. In the end,
the Danes went all the way to the final... and they won.
* Life imitates art: Phoebe's parents presumably didn't catch her
night to shine because they thought she wasn't even competing.
Likewise, James Hayter's parents didn't catch him scoring the fastest
UK league hattrick (in 2:20) at the field, because in the 80th minute
they assumed he wasn't going to come on, and they had a ferry to
catch. Meanwhile in the 84th minute, James came on for Bournemouth and
scored his quick hat trick in a Division 2 match against Wrexham.
- Quotables: "May the best girl win" (Helga to Phoebe)
"Chick-a-bleepin'-dee" (is the bleepin' state bird of Maine, and was
the bleepin' answer that beat Olga) "Just think of it this way: it's
not your night" (Helga to Phoebe) "We can wake your mother up" (Big
Bob, on tutoring) "C'mon, we're burning daylight" (Helga to Phoebe)
"So? It's a free country, she can sleep wherever she wants" (Helga on
Phoebe sleeping over her lunch) "Go peddle your do-goody sensitive
advice somewhere else" (Helga to Arnold) "Shouldn't Phoebe be the
finalist?" (Arnold, in dream sequence) "Good thing it was just a crazy
dream" (Helga, lampshade hanging) "...and you would have been a
contender, instead of being an alternate, which is what you are,
Phoebe, an alternate" (I guess Purdy was watching "On The Waterfont"
too) "You're gonna win, and no one, especially me, is going to stop
you" (Helga's decision)
"The Pig War"
- A static shot of Arnold and Gerald by the Arms cuts to the two
squirting each other with water guns (watch Gerald's attempt to avoid
his hair getting wet ;) ), and Phil's in a soldier uniform (and hit in
the face! ;)), telling a tale about "the pig war" that happened in
this city. To make a long story short: the city was split into two
sides, Americans and British, by the river. Elk Island (there's that
island again, and Sid remembers the haunted caves from "Wheezin' Ed")
was the bone of contention, with a fort on either side by either
nation. The Brits had Fort Porcero, while the Americans had some tents
(cue comical sting). A British pig being shot by an American resulted
in warfare which the Americans won, thus laying their claim on the
entire city. Bartlett's really digging into his Northwest roots for
this one, as he's simply stretching an actual incident that occured in
the San Juan islands in Washington state into actual warfare.
- Anyhow, Phil's getting the gang to re-enact it, and to make another
long story short, Grandpa got Abner volunteered to be the pig war pig
(he's supposed to get a good greasing). So crossing the river (with
Uncle Earl providing the service): Arnold, Phil, Helga, Harold,
Stinky, Sid, Phoebe, Rhonda, Brainy and Gerald. We run into two
characters from a season 1 ep: the Smythe-Higgins (Rex the 3rd and
Grandpa Rex) from "Tour De Pond". Cue some exchange of insults.
- Arnold's plan is that Abner stick with him, but here comes the
greasing and the chase. Watch for Grandpa Rex stuck at a branch :-D
And after some running through the Elk Island bush, Abner crosses a
bridge into British territory and has been captured by the British.
Grandpa Rex informs Phil and the gang that the Pig War charter states
that whoever captures the pig will be allowed to "roast and/or
barbecue" it at sundown, and clearly that's the last thing Arnold
wants. Listen at Grandpa Rex swinging into trees ;-)
- Well, they've decided to strategize to get Abner back (cue three-way
thumbing between Arnold, Gerald and Phil). First idea, walks straight
up to Rex the 3rd and ask for it. One volley of rotten pomegranates
and old cabbage later, Arnold calls for a little Yankee ingenuity, and
we (and the "British" soldiers) hear some sawing noises (chainsawing I
- Here comes a Trojan horse, er, pig, and inside the pig the gang are
discussing why it worked for the Trojans. Umm, I'm nowhere near the
first to point this out, but didn't it work for the *Greek* *against*
the Trojans? Well, anyway, it's working for them too, as the pig is
being dragged into the fort, despite the objections from the guy who
opens the door (look at his "I told you so" reaction ;-) ). And here
come the Americans fighting all out over the British.
- Meanwhile, Arnold attempts to reason with Rex the 3rd and save Abner
from being dropped into a pot via complex mechanisms. (Wait a minute,
a pot? What about the "roast and/or barbecue" rule? And I thought they
were hanging on to him until sundown?) Oddly, Arnold referring to him
as his pet actually works, as next thing you know, we see the two
climbing up ladders, running across platforms, and grabbing onto the
pig flag on the conveniently felled flagpole to catch Abner over the
pot. Meanwhile, the Americans win ;-)
- So while Grandpa Rex is not amused at Rex the 3rd's actions, the
gang are heading back home as we head into the credits and Grandpa
Phil offers to be the war pig next time. "Just don't roast me!" ;-) Of
note in the credits:
* Oddly, despite the fact that Phoebe is the titular character of one
story, and that story is her night to shine (so to speak), Anndi
McAfee's not credited for her role.
* Mary Harrington's credit (which is usually the last credit before
the endcaps) is followed by a "Special Thanks" credit to Cricket
Benevento, Aly Peduto, Kirsten Williams and Geoff Todebush. Any idea
what they did?
- Quotables: "Who's the British?" (Sid) "We won, you ninnies" (Phil)
"It's great to be an American, ain't it?" (Stinky) "A little grease is
good for a young pig" (Phil, on Abner getting greased) "You walk like
you've got an umbrella in your pants" (Gerald on the Brits) "Cut down
the bloody tree you idiot" (Rex stuck on a branch) "We gotta
strategize" (Phil) "Poor brave foolish boy. If ever lived-- oh well,
maybe it'll work" (Phil, on Arnold headed to the fort) "What I'll give
you is a volley of rotten pomegranates and old cabbages" (Rex the 3rd)
"This calls for a little Yankee ingenuity" (Arnold) "It worked for the
Trojans because they knew when to keep quiet" (Phil drags a pig
around) "There's historical precedent for this, maybe we should
consider" ("British" guy doesn't want to open the fort) "This is
delicious, but not as delicious as your pig will be when we roast him"
(Rex the 3rd encounters Arnold, "the boy they call football-head"
again) "Oh dear, your pet, like my Scottish Terrier Peppy?" (Rex the
3rd, on finding out that the pig is Arnold's pet) "You eat pork chops,
don't you?" "Yeah, but not those I know personally" (the
Smythe-Higgins, on the aftermath of the war) "Pig wars are bad"
(Arnold, during the credits)