"Martha Fails the Course"
Season 1, Episode 24b
Martha Fails the Course
Production code: 0124b
Original Airdate: February 16, 2009
Vocabulary Words: agility, flexible, nimble, challenge, course, speed, smooth, quick, move, fall
"Alice Twinkle Toes"
"Martha Sings"
Martha Fails the Course appears as the 24th episode of season 1. It aired on February 16, 2009.


After she sees a dog agility course on TV, Martha decides being an agility dog is just the thing for her. But when she tries out a course that Mrs Clusky built for François, her agility dream becomes a nightmare. Now Martha won't even walk in public. How can Helen and Alice get Martha back on her feet?

Summary Edit

It begins with Helen, Martha, and Skits in the living room, watching TV. Martha is changing the channels, because she finds what's on (jumping, running, and balancing) boring. She then asks why nothign "good" is on. Helen explains that none of the usual shows are running because of "some International Sports Day thing". Martha grumpily states that she doesn't like sports shows. However, she perks up when a show about animals doing sports comes on. Martha enjoys this show. This confuses Helen, who points out that Martha just said she didn't like sports shows. Martha says that she didn't like the ones with people, but she enjoys watching anything with dogs. She then asks what something onscreen is. The man on the TV explains that he's hosting an agility course. Helen and Martha both don't know what one of those is, and the man, by coincidence, defines "agility" and "course" for those viewers who don't know. Then, Helen and the dogs watch a dog on TV named Rudy go through the agility course (through a hoop, over a hurdle, and around some poles). The man says that Rudy is exhibiting "flexibility", and Martha doesn't know what that means, but reckons the narrator will explain it, and as if on cue, he does, demonstrating with a straw. Martha calls the show "informative". Rudy in the show walks along a see-saw and through a tunnel. Martha then imagines herself in Rudy's place, and when the show ends, she asks where she signs up.

In Helen's bedroom, Martha asks, "Why not?". Helen explains that it won't happen because she doesn't think Martha would like it. Martha asks why she wouldn't like it. Helen explains that Martha is less athletic than other local dogs, to which Martha, somewhat sadly, puts her front paws on Helen's bedstead and states that being an agility dog is her lifelong dream. Helen says she thought Martha's lifelong dream was to be a firehouse dog. Martha states that dogs' dreams are like cable TV as there is always more than one thing on. She then drops down and wags her tail as Helen shakes her head. As Martha rolls on the floor, Helen decides to ask Mrs Clusky where an agility course is.

Mrs Clusky explains on the phone that she has one in her yard that was made for Francois and lets Martha and Helen try it out.

At Mrs Clusky's place, Francois does his agility course while Mrs Clusky says that you have to be fast, nimble, and flexible. She then applauds and praises him. Mrs Clusky says the course is challenging, but Martha can't see how running in a circle and jumping over rails is hard. Mrs Clusky says that there is more to it than running in a circle and jumping over rails, to which Martha says that the additional aspect is fun. She then tells Helen she's ready. Helen is less hopeful, however, and tells Martha to promise she won't be upset if she doesn't do it as smoothly as Francois, this being her first time. Martha asks why Helen thinks she won't be smooth, and Helen remembers Martha's clumsier moments such as when she rolled off the couch while getting a belly rub from Helen, fell off Helen's bed after jumping onto it, and slipped on the linoleum floor. Back in the present, Martha starts to climb the ladder, but, while gloating about being smooth and speedy, she falls off. She's still OK, but when it comes time to go around the poles, she knocks them over. She then falls off the see-saw, knocks the hurdle down, and gets stuck in the hoop. Francois barks at her, and Martha tries to go through the tunnel while still stuck in the hoop. Francois barks at her, which Martha understands as him calling her a "clumsy sausage", which hurts her feelings. She then sits down while still stuck in both the tunnel and the hoop. Helen thinks at least Martha didn't fall down again.

Mrs Clusky cuts open the tunnel with scissors, but Martha is still unhappy.

That night, Martha falls asleep next to Helen's bed and has a dream. In her dream, she is on a rocky ledge and has to climb a large ramp that goes all the way up to a sky with purple clouds. A giant Francois walks up to her, scaring her and she runs up the ramp to escape. However, she gets vertigo upon looking down. She then notices her ramp is among many others, which are titlting. Just then, her ramp tilts and she slides downwards and falls, landing on another rocky ledge. The giant Francois catches up to Martha and she runs, through a tunnel, but finds herself stuck with (despite it being a long tunnel and this being impossible in waking life) her front end sticking out the front of the tunnel and her back end poking out the back of the tunnel. Martha, still stuck in the tunnel, goes on, around some poles, but knocks them over and her back end is still far away from her front. The giant Francois then laughs at her, and a giant Mrs Clusky, Helen, Alice, Truman, Daniel, and Skits appear next to him and also laugh at Martha. Helen wakes up Martha, who was kicking against the wall and asks if she was chasing rabbits. Martha replies that she was just being clumsy. Helen asks Martha if she was dreaming about the agility course again (she must have had at least one other dream about it). Martha says yes, and adds that in this particular dream, Francois was there and he was laughing at her. Helen tries to reassure Martha by reasoning that she reckons pretty much all dogs fall down on their first go and she just needs practice. Martha, however, is not convinced and believes Francois was right about her being a clumsy sausage. She then decides she will never move in public again.

The next day, Helen is walking Skits and pushing Martha in a wagon. She notes that it's a nice day for a walk, but Martha is still unhappy and she doesn't reply.

Helen then serves Martha and Skits their food, while Alice is visiting. Skits runs over and eats his, but Helen has to carry Martha over, who is still refusing to move. Alice asks why Martha isn't moving. Helen explains that Martha fell down in front of another dog, who made fun of her. Alice points out that if she refused to move just because she fell down in front of someone, she would have stopped moving when she was six months old. She then adds that she once fell down while standing still in an empty room.

Helen, Alice, Skits, and Martha (in the wagon, being pushed by Helen), are going for a walk, and Martha says that at least the room was empty and nobody was around to call Alice a clumsy sausage. Helen says that Martha fell down, which isn't a big deal as not everyone is naturally nimble. Alice doesn't know the meaning of "nimble", so Helen explains it. Alice then stumbles, but doesn't fall, which she considers is pretty nimble as far as her mobility goes. She then bumps into a lamp post, but is unharmed.

At the beach, Skits fetches a ball in the sea, and Helen asks Martha if she would like a swim but Martha, still in a mood, states that "sausages don't swim".

In the treehouse, Helen expresses her concern about Martha and Alice, doing a collage, says that Martha isn't all that clumsy and that agility stuff is just challenging. Helen says it is, similar to learning how to ride a bike. Alice says that T.D. learned to ride a bike quickly, and Helen says that when he first learned, she felt like a klutz as it took her a long time to get rid of her training wheels. Alice says she wishes she could get rid of hers. Helen asks if she still has them and Alice says yes, because her bike is too tall. Helen then wonders if Martha needs a bigger agility course as Francois's course had equipment made for him and he is smaller than Martha, and draws a hoop which would fit Martha.

Helen then measures around Martha's waist and she and Alice find red fabric in the attic, which Mariella sews into a tunnel.

Helen, Alice, and Skits then surprise Martha with the homemade agility course. Martha is too scared of humiliation from falling, and Alice says that she is a klutz and falls down a lot, but doesn't get embarrassed because she doesn't let herself care what other people think of her. Both girls then quote T.D. "You can't let a little thing like total humiliation stand between you and a good time" Martha is still reluctant, but Skits and the girls try it. They fall down a lot (because Skits is too big, Alice is clumsy, and Helen just likes to fall down), however, they think it's funny. Martha thinks that messing up actually seems like a good time and jumps into the course, getting stuck in the hoop with Skits (because they both tried to jump in at once).



agility, flexibility, nimble, challenge, course, speed, smooth, quick, move, fall

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