Martha Speaks

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Martha Speaks
File:101a sm.jpg
Martha eats alphabet soup.
Season Season 1
Production code 101a
Broadcast number 1
Airing Information
50px PBS Kids Premiere September 1, 2008

Martha Speaks is the first episode of Martha Speaks.

Plot[edit | edit source]

When Helen wants to stop eating her lunch to play with T.D., she feeds her alphabet soup to Martha. But when it's dinnertime, Martha begs for dinner. When her family says she jabbers too much, she stops eating. But when the Lorraine's go out to see a movie, a cat burglar breaks into the house. Can she get help speechless?

Recap[edit | edit source]

It begins with a scientist greets the viewers and tells them they will see something unexplainable: a talking dog. He explains that the viewers' friends might think a talking dog is as likely as a worm lifting a grand piano (in his lab we see a worm trying to with great difficulty). The scientist then says that the viewers' friends are wrong, and says that this episode features words related to speaking.

Helen is in the kitchen, making alphabet soup, with her dog Martha watching nearby. There's a knock at the door, and Helen says, "Come in, Truman". Truman enters, asking how she knew it was him and not the cat burglar. Martha growls and Helen says that Martha is okay, and says to Truman that maybe Martha reckons the burglar is a cat. Truman says that a burglar has been reported in the neighbourhood and that the reason why they are called "cat" burglars is because they sneak around like cats. He demonstrates sneaking, and shouts "You're next!" while jumping out at Helen, who is carrying two bowls of alphabet soup and one bowl of dog food. She jumps in shock and tells him not to shout. Truman doesn't think he ever shouted and demonstrates actual shouting, surprising Martha. Helen, who has accidentally given herself some dog food, asks Truman why he doesn't eat at home. He explains that the babies in his house are being too loud. Both start eating, and Truman says that Helen should be glad he's there since she's so scared of the cat burglar. Helen claims not to be scared, but Truman insists she is. Helen insists she isn't, but then Truman points out that she's eating dog food. Helen spits out her mouthful and replaces the dog food for the alphabet soup which she accidentally gave to Martha. Helen then asks Truman why he's going on about burglars and he says that he is expressing his thoughts. Helen asks if that mean his mouth goes on without stopping like an express bus, but he says no and explains what "express" means and teases her for being afraid of burglars, however he gets scared when someone knocks on the door and hides under the table, thinking it's the burglar. It turns out to only be T.D. Helen wants to go out and play with T.D., but her mother Mariella Lorraine says for her to finish her lunch first. Helen is in too much of a hurry and offers her soup to Truman, but he has filled up on his own soup. She then feeds it to Martha and goes out to play, while Martha eats.

That evening, Mariella is talking on the phone about the best way to communicate sales, while taking notes, and Martha asks (in English) if it's time for dinner. Mariella dismisses Martha and continues speaking on the phone, asking for the cost of something. Martha walks off into the kitchen, where Daniel Lorraine (the father) is feeding baby Jake while listening to the radio, a station about the cat burglar. Martha tells Danny she's hungry, but he tells her to wait and continues feeding Jake, who wants to play. Martha then enters Helen's bedroom, where she finds Helen who is painting a picture of a dog. Martha asks for dinner and Helen asks her to wait, however she then realises with surprise that it was Martha who spoke to her. Martha is trying to get the dog food package to open, and all the Lorraines enter the kitchen in surprise because Martha spoke. Martha asks for dinner again and Helen, tongue-tied, asks Martha how she learned to talk. All the Lorraines second Helen's question, but in the hubbub, Martha can't make out what they're saying and shouts at them to be quiet. When they comply, she says she will tell them everything after dinner.

After dinner, the Lorraines talk to Martha. Danny asks if she's always understood English and she replies yes. Mariella asks if dogs dream and Martha says yes, in fact that morning she dreamt about a giant meatloaf. Helen asks how Martha can talk. Martha replies that it must be the alphabet soup. (At this point the scientist explains that it was the alphabet soup. When Martha ate the soup, the letters (or at least the understanding of them) somehow, unexplainably got transmitted to her brain, giving her the ability to talk. He then explains that it only works on Martha, and unless your dog is a cartoon, feeding soup to your dog won't work.)

The next day, while on a walk, Martha asks Rinty if he still has fleas.

Later that day, Helen shows Martha to Ronald Boxwood who doesn't believe that dogs can talk, and "proves" his point when Martha barks when asked to talk, however he gets a shock when she does talk.

The next day, Martha, after eating her soup, hears Mariella talking on the phone, ordering pizza and at dinner time, scares the pizza delivery woman away by talking. She then eats a slice.

The day after that, she orders barbecued meat over the phone. After this, they tie up the phone so Martha can't make any more calls.

The next day, Martha eats her soup then goes into the living room and shocks Mariella by saying to Helen's grandma Lucille that even though Mariella mentioned that Lucille's fruitcake was not fit for a dog, she (Martha) thought it was delicious.

The next day, Martha eats more soup, then annoys the family by giving away a spoiler to a TV show they were watching. She then eats more soup.

That night, she annoys Helen by asking to visit Cisco while she's trying to sleep.

The next day, Martha annoys the family by telling them about her puppyhood, understanding of cat-speak, and being mistaken for a boy-dog. She continues talking, until the Lorraines, blocking their ears, yell at her to be quiet. She asks why and Danny and Mariella complain that Martha talks too much. Martha doesn't mind this, but she does mind when Helen says, "sometimes, I wish you never learned to speak". Martha walks off in a funk.

The next day, the Lorraines are eating breakfast while Martha takes a nap. Danny is enjoying the quiet, but Helen feels guilty.

At school, Helen says to T.D. that it's great that Martha can speak but she talks too much and interrupts, and the interrupting makes her speech not a discussion because when you discuss someone you don't interrupt. Mrs. Clusky then gets mad at Martha for talking in class.

That evening, Martha doesn't want her soup.

The next day, Helen and Jake are playing ball in the garden and Martha walks past without saying anything.

Later, Carolina comes over. Helen whispers that she's worried about Martha. Carolina asks why Helen is whispering, and Helen says it's so she doesn't hear them. Carolina doesn't get the point. That evening, Helen asks Martha why she didn't eat her soup. Martha doesn't reply. Mariella unties the phone, and wonders if Martha is sick. Danny calls the vet, but she doesn't believe him when he says his dog won't say a word. Danny then decides they should all go to the movies to cheer them up and Truman's mother could take Jake. Helen tells Martha goodbye and tips out the alphabet soup. The family then leave, and Martha takes a nap. She is woken by the cat burglar breaking in. He goes to steal some of the Lorraines' silverware. Martha calls the police but she's forgotten how to talk. She barks at the cat burglar, who thinks she's a guard dog and feeds her alphabet soup.

The Lorraines then go home, talking about the movie and find the police arresting the cat burglar who the cops explain was caught in their (the Lorraine family's) house but they got a call from "some lady named Martha". The family call Martha a good dog and Helen apologises for wishing Martha couldn't speak. Martha forgives Helen and they all go for a walk.

Gallery[edit | edit source]

Trivia[edit | edit source]

  • Helen and her family said "Martha, be quiet!" to Martha, in the series rather than "Shut up!", used in the book, it might to avoid teaching crude phrases to young viewers, because while "shut up" isn't swearing, it is rude. However, that doesn't stop rudeness (especially from Ronald) from showing up later in the series.

Notes[edit | edit source]

  • The book's title, the first episode's title and the television program's title all have the same name.
  • The first episode's title is based on the book with same title.