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Tails You Lose
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Season: 1
Production code: 4a
Broadcast number: 4a
Written by:
Robert Schechter
Alicia Marie Schudt
Broadcast Information
PBS Kids Premiere:
September 9, 1999
Paired with
"Calling Dr. Zak"

Tails You Lose is the first segment of the fourth episode of the first season of Dragon Tales.


Emmy and her friends play a game of freeze dance. When Emmy gets eliminated, she gets very upset about it and storms back home leaving Max behind. Emmy then learns, with the help of Quetzal, that having fun is more important than winning.


Max does an impression of Ord with a pillow in his shirt when Emmy walks in the playroom in a bad mood. She explains to Max that she lost a soccer game, and never ever wants to play soccer again. Max was stunned at her vow, but his imitation of Ord cheers her up to go to Dragon Land. As they are leaving and finishing the opening rhyme, the pillow falls out of Max's shirt.

In Dragon Land, the dragons are playing a game of Freeze Dance, which starts out slowly when Zak tries to play a gentle melody. Wheezie, however, dislikes the gentle melody and prefers a more upbeat melody, which she uses for the rest of the game. When Max and Emmy arrive, they instantly join in the game after the rules are explained. After a little while of dancing, Zak orders everyone to freeze. Everyone stops moving, but Cassie freezes a little too late, so she is eliminated from the game. Emmy believed she won, but Zak informs her that she hasn't won yet due to her, Max, and Ord still remaining in the game. The second round begins with Zak and Wheezie singing a different song, but as they were singing, Zak loses his balance and pulls a muscle in his leg. Wheezie therefore freezes the game. Everyone freezes, but Emmy loses her balance and falls in the shallow river. Zak tells Emmy she's eliminated, but she doesn't accept her loss. She tries to get a second chance, but Zak tells her she cannot since it's part of the rules, but Emmy tries anyway. Nonetheless, she falls in the river again; this time with seaweed added to her hair. Zak and Wheezie clarify again that Emmy is out, but she gets mad when she demands another chance. Cassie warns Emmy that they have to play by the rules, but Emmy pouts and walks away. Wheezie tells Emmy that she could win next time, but Emmy declines the offer and instantly declares that she is going home. Cassie begs her not to go. Nevertheless, Emmy demands Max to go home with her, but he does not want to go home. Emmy insists, but Ord backs him up, and Zak offers to finish this game and play a new one. Emmy refuses to play the game anymore, but can't convince Max to leave Dragon Land with her. A therefore angered Emmy steps away and exits Dragon Land without Max, much to the group's sorrow, especially Max's.

Back in the playroom, Emmy tries drawing on her easel with her whale puppet. When she shows the puppet the picture of Max and her friends playing Freeze Dance, she realizes that her brother and friends are having more fun than she is. Emmy then decides to return to Dragon Land to check on Max. She thanks her puppet, finds the scale, and recites the rhyme to reenter Dragon Land.

Upon returning, Quetzal appears and asks Emmy why she isn't playing. Meanwhile, Zak orders everyone to freeze. Ord, however, is suspended in the air, and then falls in the river, splashing everyone. Quetzal thought it sounded fun, but Emmy thought otherwise when she thought that Ord would get mad like she did. Contrarily, Ord simply walks to the side and dries himself off, and accepts his loss. Emmy thinks that games are only fun if you win, but Quetzal explains that the game is not about winning, it's about having fun. Having seen the errors of her ways, Emmy then decides to rejoin the game, with Quetzal coaching over the game now. Max runs over to welcome Emmy back, but his movement therefore disqualifies him, making Cassie the winner of the game. They then decide to play another game. Ord and Cassie dive into the river as Quetzal conducts a soft piano melody for the music. When he orders everyone to freeze, Ord and Cassie, however, lose their breath and return to the surface, but their actions caused them to be eliminated. They then continue the game, but when Quetzal says "freeze" again, Emmy loses her balance from a hand stand, and is eliminated. When she walks off angry, however, she giggles and fools them.

When Max and Emmy return home, Emmy asks Max to find her soccer ball. She has changed her mind about not wanting to play soccer again. She kicks the ball towards her easel, and proceeds to get it when Max freezes her, and says she has jelly on her chin. Curious, she checks herself, but Max declares that she's out. It is shown that Emmy has added herself to her drawing from earlier.



Tails You Lose (transcript)

Memorable Quotes[]

  • Emmy: Hey, Mr. Whale. What do you want to do today?
  • Mr. Whale: No silly games. That's for sure.
  • Emmy: [Thinks about something to do] How about coloring? [Emmy makes Mr. Whale agree with her] I can't lose at that.
  • Emmy: [Putting Mr. Whale on a chair] No peeking. [Grabs pencil, and draws a picture on a drawing pad]
  • [Close-up of Mr. Whale]
  • Emmy: You can look now, Mr. Whale. [Grabs Mr. Whale, and puts him back in her arm] What do you think? It's Max and my dragon friends playing Freeze Dance.
  • Mr. Whale: If they're your friends, how come you're not playing too?
  • Emmy: [Makes frowning face] It's a dumb game. [Sighs as she and Mr. Whale look at the picture] They do look like they're having fun. More fun than me anyway. Maybe, I should go back. Just to make sure Max is alright.
  • [Emmy makes Mr. Whale agree with her again, then Emmy walks back to the drawer, and takes Mr. Whale off her arm]
  • Emmy: Thanks for listening, Mr. Whale. (Puts Mr. Whale on top of the drawer. Then, she opens the drawer, and grabs the Dragon Scale)
  • Emmy: I wish, I wish, with all my heart, to fly with Dragons, in a land apart. [The dragons from the Dragon Tapestry on the wall summon Emmy back to Dragon Land]
  • Wheezie: I just love havin' you back. And your front, too.
  • Emmy: You mean, I'm out?
  • Wheezie: Don't love this.
  • Zak: I can't look.
  • Ord: You think she's gonna leave again?
  • Emmy: No. I'm just kidding.

Home Video release[]




  • When Zak says he is practicing saying, "You're out!" his and Wheezie's feet and sides of their tail switch colors.
  • When the dragons say Emmy's catchphrase like she does, Emmy does not say, "Hey! That's my line!".
  • The pillow has fallen out from under Max's shirt when he and Emmy finish the opening rhyme to depart, but when the dragons have circled around them, the pillow has somehow disappeared.

Notes and Trivia[]

  • Moral: Winning is fun, but it's not the most important part of a game; what's more important is having fun. It's not about if you win or lose, it's how you play the game.
  • The title is based on what happens in calling "Heads or Tails" to decide what choice is made, and it makes sense if the person not tossing or rolling the coin calls "Heads," and the "tails" side is the one that's up when the coin is tossed or rolled.
  • This is the only time the playroom was seen in the middle of the episode and that either Emmy or Max said the rhyme in the middle of the episode.
  • This is the only appearance of Mr. Whale, Emmy's whale puppet.
  • This is the second episode where a character does a wish in the middle of the episode, the first was "To Kingdom Come".
  • In this episode, Max and the dragons say Emmy's catchphrase.
  • The song Zak and Wheezie sing during the freeze dance game, "The Wings on the Dragon" is to the tune of the classic children's song, "The Wheels on the Bus".
  • Because Cassie was out in the game before Emmy was, it is unknown if Max or Ord had won that game, or if there was no winner; when Emmy returns to Dragon Land, even Cassie is playing again, meaning that the group had finished the earlier game while Emmy was back in the playroom and started another before her reentry.