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At Francine’s house, Francine rakes her tree's autumn leaves into a pile that forms the shape of Texas. Francine goes to tell Arthur she is finished but finds herself stepping on the leaves Arthur was meant to rake up. Arthur demonstrates his inability to rake the leaves quickly due to his miniature rake. Francine tells Arthur to move on to something else as she continues her own chores at a brisk pace. Arthur can't understand why Francine's in such a hurry, so she reminds him that she's hibernating the following week. She explains further that it's when she goes to sleep for the entire winter, a "mammalian thing" that some creatures don't need to worry about. With only 168 hours left to go before then, Francine has many activities she's desperate to do. Arthur promises to commit all the time he's not working for Mr. Ratburn to play with Francine, an offer she enthusiastically takes him up on.
Their activities that run day and night include grass-boarding, trying to knock each other off the top of the Elwood Needle with giant ear cleaners, "Extreme Jacks," and "Find the Hay in the Needle Stack." These prove to be extremely dangerous, and Arthur, much less hardy than Francine, can just barely avoid getting killed. He goes into hiding in Buster’s house to escape from her, and Francine, overly worrying for his safety, forces everyone in Elwood City to form an unnecessary search party for Arthur.
Francine has them search in dangerous places such as sulfur fields, leech farm, and a poison snake cove. They ask for time to take care of their children, but Francine merely suggests to have them crawl into places the anyone can't reach. With the dissent growing, Francine goes mad saying that no one is leaving until they find Arthur. The townspeople try to fool Francine with objects in Arthur's shape and glasses like a cereal box and an apple, but she doesn't buy any of that. One person points to Arthur supposedly up in the sky, but as Francine looks up and turns back in confusion, she finds that everyone has gone, taking their chance to also hide in Buster's house.
Still frantic, Francine starts literally destroying the city in her search for Arthur. The townspeople express how safe they feel in the house, as does Arthur, whom they unceremoniously throw out for Francine to find. Francine rushes to Arthur as he desperately tries to hide again, to no avail, much to his dismay. Francine joyfully pulls Arthur for a hug before tugging him along to go "atom smashing," but he pleads for her to wait and listen to him. Arthur finally explains to her that he can no longer play the dangerous games she wants to play and begs for her to remain his friend. However, he realizes that Francine has already fallen sound asleep, and the relieved and exhausted Arthur falls asleep as well. Buster, eating ice cream and carrying a grocery bag, returns home to find the townspeople staring out from in his house and freaks out, "Who are you, people?!"
- Main article: Prehibernation Week (Arthur)/Transcript
- Since Arthur is a show meant for ages 3 and up, PBS refused to air the episode after production for the episode finished, and instead decided to let Null air the episode, although reruns for Arthur on Null ended in October 1997.
- This episode only aired 4 times on Null, which were:
- January 2, 1999, the date the episode first aired.
- December 23, 2018, the first airing of the episode in almost 20 years.
- July 19, 2020.
- August 31, 2020.