Watership Down: “Strawberry Fayre”

Explanation of the title

Fayre is the rabbit word for food that isn’t grass. If a rabbit finds an apple it is farye, lettuce: farye, steak with all the trimmings: farye. That being said the title still makes no damn sense. Strawberry is heavily featured sure but there is no farye to be found. I’m pretty sure the people who made the episode didn’t know what the word meant but decided to throw it into the title to please the rabid Watership Down book fans. These are the same fans who whine because Blackberry is a girl and because it isn’t violent enough.

Now, on with the review…

After the success that was Strawberry’s role in episode 3 (four Emmy nomination and two wins) the writers of Watership Down the Animated Series or WDtAS decided what we really needed was an episode starring the star himself, Strawberry. As it turns out a Strawberry centered episode was a really dumb idea because Strawberry’s gimmick is that he is lazy and doesn’t do anything interesting. Its hard to write compelling rabbit centric adventures about a rabbit who mostly sits lies around and sleeps. They had to throw in like three other plots just to pad it out to 23 minutes. This is officially the last time Strawberry does anything.

Watership Down

The episode starts off with Hazel (the man) getting all up in Strawberry’s grill. Turns out the man doesn’t like the fact that Strawberry sleeps all day and doesn’t contribute to society. Reminds me of the first 18 years of my life. Hazel asks Strawberry why he is napping rather than training with the Owsla (rabbit military in case you forgot). Strawberry yawns and responds that Bigwig said he wasn’t suited for the military because he wasn’t energetic enough or something. Then Strawberry goes to sleep, showing exactly how unenergetic he is. Oh my, he is so unenergetic he went to sleep right there and then. This scene made me laugh on and on into the night. Oh me, oh my, I can’t get past how energetic that scamp is. Ho ho ho.

Watership Down

Military training consists of Bigwig screaming at Dandelion, Hawkbit, and Pipkin while those three rabbits run an obstacle course which consists of the following obstacles: a rock and a log. Despite the fact that there are two obstacles the rabbits run it very poorly. In his defense Pipkin is not doing well because he is like half the size of the adult rabbits. Dandelion and Hawkbit do poorly because they are sarcastic and don’t want to be in the military. Well too bad suckas. There’s like five rabbits in the warren and none of you are psychic or a girl so you’re in the army.

Hazel is still trying to convince Strawberry to not be a lazy asshole. If he were Bigwig he would scream at Strawberry until Strawberry started crying but Hazel actually cares if people hate him or not so he is trying to be more subtle. His efforts are thwarted by Strawberry going on a rant about how freedom/America is great and how he has never experienced true freedom before and now all he wants to do is enjoy the freedom all rabbits/Americans deserve. How can Hazel argue against this? That would make him a freedom hater/Frenchmen.

Blackberry bails out Hazel by pointing out that there is a lot of work that needs to be done if Watership Down is going to stop “sucking balls” and lying around all day would be unproductive/Samoan. Strawberry asks what kind of work needs to be done, to which Blackberry replies “digging.” Its always about digging with her. Of course that’s women right? Strawberry is dismayed to find out that he, a rabbit, should have to dig. I’m not sure what the issue is. I’ve got a couple of rabbits, males even, and its all I can do to keep them from trying to burrow. They keep tearing up carpet and damaging drywall. My life would be easier if male rabbits didn’t like digging.

Blackberry then asks Hazel if he has talked to Bigwig about the need for diggers. Hazel is all nervous and says he will get on that. Well shit how about they just go make Blackberry the leader since she is bossing everybody around. No that would be silly, she’s a girl.

Watership Down

What I love about the early episodes of Watership Down is that they always have meetings. I don’t know why I enjoy this but I find it highly entertaining. I wish more action cartoons would have the characters sitting in a circle discussing important relevant topic. I just wish the rabbits used Robert’s Rules of Order.

The topic of today’s meeting is digging. Bigwig’s point is that defense is more important then construction and that he needs to concentrate on training his horrible troops. He has the support of Dandelion, Hawkbit, Pipkin, and Strawberry despite the fact that those rabbits all hate being in the Owsla. Also I’m pretty sure two episodes ago Pipkin supported digging. Waffler! Waffler I cry!

Blackberry argues that without men digging there won’t be a warren to defend and that she can’t build the entire thing herself. Hazel and Fiver are on her side but you can tell neither one of them really cares to much about the issue. They just don’t want to get on the bad side of the only piece of tail in town.

Watership Down

Hannah and Keehar show up and ask why nobody told them about the meeting. Because neither one of you are rabbits. Why do you even live here?

Captain Holly apparently didn’t get the memo about the meeting either. Nor did he get the memo about the show continuing past the last episode because he never shows up again.

Bigwig pulls out the big guns when he reveals that there have been reports of an aggressive enemy warren called Efrafa in the area. Efrafa by the way is really hard to spell correctly. The info on Efrafa came from Strawberry who himself has never actually seen Efrafa, but he has heard of it. This may seem like sketchy intelligence but it is more concrete then anything Bush used to justify the invasion of Iraq hey-oh! Take that Bush administration!!!

Hazel points out that they don’t know if there is really a Efrafa or if Strawberry is a big fat liar who lies all the time. Bigwig says he will prove it one way or another by going into enemy territory alone because he is mother fucking Snake Plisken baby! Everybody else has to dig because they aren’t bad asses like Snake Plisken. Hazel is like the second most bad ass person there and he is barely a Captain Ron.

Keehar and Hannah try to come with Bigwig. Bigwig says no because the two of them are both really incompetent.”But Bigwig we can do special things” Hannah replies. Is she offering to have sex with him? Bigwig points out that he is going on solitary patrol and by definition that means he has to be alone or else he is going to have to call it something else and that will require a lot of paperwork.

As Bigwig is heading out Fiver does that thing where he shakes and maracas play. Usually this leads into a prophetic vision but here he just says “Be careful Bigwig.” I wonder is the maraca sounds make him shake or if shaking makes the sounds. Maybe Fiver is filled with beads.

Watership Down

About 30 seconds after leaving Watership Down Bigwig comes upon a group of rabbits talking loudly about how they are looking for outsiders and how they are totally going to take out those outsiders when they find them. As far as I can tell Watership Down and Efrafa are really close to one another. They seem to be separated by about half an acre of grassland and a row of trees. The Efrafarians should be able to find Watership Down just by just walking around for awhile. Its right in their backyard.

Here we get the first mention of Watership Down main villain General Woundwort. Woundwort by the way never actually made his way through any kind of military hierarchy. He just overthrew the old ruler of Efrafa. He is a general in the same sense that South American dictators are generals.

Oh and that brown rabbit in front, his name is Campion. He plays a major role later in the series but right now he is just a generic bad guy. He doesn’t get a personality for a few more episodes.

Watership Down

Seriously dudes that place is pretty huge. Relatively speaking its bigger its like ten times bigger then my house.

Watership Down

Blackberry congratulates everybody for doing a good job. Everybody but Strawberry that is. Strawberry is just sitting around, although to be fair it does appear that he is suffering from an asthma attack. Blackberry tells Hazel and Hawkbit to go dig another entrance because apparently she’s in charge now and Strawberry volunteers to go help and by help he means not help.

Watership Down

Back to the Bigwig plot; the rabbits from Efrafa are upset because they haven’t found anything and they don’t want to go back empty handed. I’m not sure what exactly they were hoping to find. How do they even know about Watership Down? Its not like any of the rabbits have interacted with one another or something. Bigwig is still following them because he thinks its ironic that he is tracking the rabbits that are suppose to be tracking him. Bigwig over hears that the Efrafa rabbits are planning on destroying any outsiders they find. This shocks Bigwig because apparently he thought the patrol was just going to find outsiders and then scold them for making Hulk Hogan turn heel. Bigwig is then spotted and the Efrafians give chase. Its all so exciting! I bet they catch and kill him.

Bigwig evades capture by employing such daring moves as going in one direction and then switching to another very quickly and jumping on a rock in a river. He get away very easily. I don’t think the Efrarians really wanted to catch him. Bigwig is pretty big so it would take a lot of effort to kill him. They probably decided to just let him go away and tell the boss that he is super fast and would pretty much be impossible for anybody to catch.

Oh and there was a completely irrelevant scene with Keerhar and Hannah in the middle of the chase. It has no relevance on anything so I‘m just ignoring it.

Watership Down

While digging Hazel ponders where Strawberry is. Strawberry is in fact not working. This is a surprise to anybody who missed the first ten scenes where Strawberry’s laziness was discussed. We get a nice scene of Hawkbit being really sarcastic towards Hazel. He has no respect for his leader. Probably because his leader never gives any order or is listened to. That is the face Hawkbit makes when he is sarcastic, or when he just ejaculated unexpectedly.

Watership Down

Bigwig returns to find Strawberry taking a nap. Strawberry claims he is “defending the clover” and by defend he means nap on. Bigwig does what everybody should have done a long time ago and yells at Strawberry. Then its time for another meeting.

Watership Down

At the meeting Bigwig explains how the Efrara rabbits aren’t like them because “they view all outsiders as a threat.” This is a little hypocritical because Bigwig views all outsiders as a threat but nobody points this out because Bigwig is bigger then all of them and also views people he lives with as a threat. Bigwig suggests all digging stop so that everybody can join the Owsla. Several of the rabbits are happy about this despite the fact that they would surely be killed if fighting were to break out.

Blackberry interrupts to argue that the warren needs to actually be finished before it can be defended and Hazel agrees on the prospect that he wants to get laid, also so they have a place to hide. Personally I want them to finish the damn warren so we can end this sub plot and move on to something more interesting then discussing who should dig. By the way anything is more interesting then arguing about digging.

Then there is some more shit with Keehar and Hannah. I’m not reviewing it.

Hazel decides that half of the rabbits should dig and half should get ready to fight. He, Fiver and Blackberry are the digging crew while Bigwig Dandelion Pipkin and Hawkbit are on defense. Fiver points out that Hazel neglected to assign Strawberry a job. Plus there are more people in the Owsla then the digging group so it isn’t really split in half. He also forgot about Captain Holly. Damn it people he was in the last episode. I’m not just going to forget that he exists or something. Strawberry ends up in the Owsla because nobody involved in the digging wants to put up with his bullshit.

Hannah and Keehar want to join the Owsla but Bigwig is racist and refuses the only two people who actually want to be part of the army. Blackberry points out the Keehar can do aerial recon and Hannah has to be good for something. Bigwig points out that Blackberry is part of the digging crew, and a girl, so she is free to stop giving him suggestions and start sucking his balls. Keehar is angry at being rebuked so he decides to start his own Owsla with blackjack and hookers. In fact forget the Owsla.

Watership Down

We get to watch another training montage. Its kind of depressing because Pipkin is the only person trying but he also keeps failing because he’s like half the age of everybody else. He even does worse then Strawberry and Strawberry is fat. The message is that enthusiasm is no replacement for natural ability.

After about 30 seconds of training Bigwig decides they should move out against Efrafa. I have no idea why. There’s only five of them and four of them are very incompetent. I think Bigwig plans on winning the battle single-handedly after the Efrafarians tire themselves out killing all the other Watership Downers.

By the way, I’ve officially decided to refer to the rabbits that live on Watership Down as the Watership Downers. That would be a good name for a softball team. Like one of those softball teams in a Bad News Bears ripoff where they lose all the time but eventually win the big game because they have heart. They could also be sponsored by a chemical company that makes depressants.

Watership Down

While on patrol Strawberry gets discharged for saying he smells something. I think that’s a bit harsh. They are, after all, trying to find enemy rabbits. You would think Bigwig would be happy if Strawberry reported odd odors. Even if it were unrelated to the situation at hand it would be a sign that Strawberry is putting in an effort. Bigwig tries to imply that he feels that Strawberry is being insubordinate but I think in reality he just hates Strawberry. Its kind of like when you were a kid and you were playing baseball and during the team picking process you get stuck with the last kid who always strikes out and cries, and you don’t even want him on the team because he is actually worse then being short a player so you pull down my pants and make fun of my underwear because it is pink because my brother put his red shirt in with the whites and then everybody calls me panty pussy and I run home crying. Its exactly like that I think.

Watership Down

As it turns out Bigwig should have listened to Strawberry because the Efrarians are right there! They came out from behind that wheel about a tenth of a second after the Downers left the area. I don’t know how the two groups didn’t run into each other. They should have easily been within hearing distance.

Feeling sorry for himself Strawberry sits by a river and whines. “I’m no good at digging. I’ve been discharged from the army, how will I tell Hazel” he laments. Hey Strawberry you’re a fucking rabbit. You would be good at digging if you actually dug something instead of just goofing around. You’re like my coworker who complains that he never gets his work done on time but then instead of actually doing anything he just hides in the janitor’s closet and smokes weed. Oh and if you’re reading this Jay, stop making out with the mops while you’re high. Its creepy as hell to walk in on when I need a sponge.

Strawberry comes to the conclusion that he needs to change his ways or his fellow Downers may decide to kick him out of the warren. Normally the rabbits of Watership Down are laid back enough that you wouldn’t think they would exile somebody but they all seem to really hate Strawberry. With his character development established Strawberry decides to go be useful. You know, this is firm proof the rehabilitation works, as long as the alternative is banishment. Hear that judiciary system? Lets give criminals a choice, either stop stealing or we send you to Russia.

Watership Down

Bigwig has figured out that they are being trailed by the very enemy that they had set out to find! Now they are trapped. Go back to the warren and the enemy wipes it out, stay in the field and they get picked off by the Vietcong Efrafa snipers. The solution? Beat them at their own game. Bigwig pulls the old double switcharoo. He leads them away from Watership Down so that they get all confused and think that it is in the opposite direction that it really is. Brilliant! it’s the perfect plan except for the part where they are eventually all killed because they are really far away from their home and with no sanctuary from the enemy.

Watership Down

Fiver tells Hazel he sees a black cloud. Hazel asks what kind of bad luck are they in for, but as it turns out it is an actual black cloud. It is about to rain. Fiver suggests that it may mean good luck, but that doesn’t make any sense at all. He always has to try to be allegorical. Hazel is tired of this metaphorical bullshit and tells Fiver to get back to digging. A rain cloud is never good luck. They are going to totally get wet if they don’t finish digging the mother fucking warren.

The Efrarians decide that tracking is getting boring so they decide to attack. Bigwig commands his men to take evasive maneuvers. Evasive maneuvers just means they all run in random directions, which if actually a pretty effective strategy. Especially if you are the faster then everybody else.

Watership Down

Pipkin is fairly slow and gets left behind, much like Kirk Cameron from the hit movie series Left Behind. Just like with Kirk Cameron, Pipkin being left behind actually benefits everybody. For you see the Efrafa rabbits decide to ignore the lagging Pipkin because he is a scrub. They are after the big guns. Bigwig, Hawkbit, and Dandelion try to escape by running into a drainage pipe but alas! It is blocked by a grate at the other end. The Efrarians saddle up outside ready to lay siege to their trapped enemies but who is that running right in front of them? None other then Pipkin. They all start chasing Pipkin. I don’t know why because there are a bunch more rabbits trapped in the culvert who will be able to escape if they chase Pipkin, but I guess nobody thought of that, or maybe only one of them was suppose to chase Pipkin while the rest stayed there but their was some sort of confusion and they all thought they were on the chaser squad.

This action cements Pipkin as more useful then Hawkbit and Dandelion. It goes to show, physical ability is no compensation for being a dumb ass. Bigwig sends those two back to the warren while he goes to save Pipkin. Officially he sent them back to warn those at the warren about the threat, but in actuality he just hates them. Bigwig also kind of hates Pipkin too. Bigwig hates everybody. He is only going to save Pipkin because he never leaves a comrade.

Watership Down

Blackberry decides to call off digging for the day due to the rain. Then seconds later Strawberry shows up and announces that he has returned to dig, but nobody hears him because they all went inside. He then announces that he will dig despite the rain in order to prove that he is the best digger ever. They do hear this but don’t tell him that they have stopped for the day. Instead they sit inside and giggle because Strawberry is totally going to get wet.

Watership Down

The Efrafans surround Pipkin. Pipkin says “Alfalfa everywhere” because he thinks their warren is called alfalfa instead of Efrafa. Its funny damn it, laugh. Keehar then saves the day by dive bombing the enemy rabbits. Hannah is riding him but she didn’t really do anything besides confuse anybody who happened to see a mouse riding a seagull. The Efrafarians run away because they have no idea how to react to a seagull flying at their faces. The fact that it is Keehar is even more disturbing because he is insane and constantly screaming. I don’t care who you are, if some stranger ran up to you and started screaming in your face you would run to. You don’t mess with crazy people.

Bigwig reluctantly agrees that Keehar isn’t useless when it comes to military exercise. And all it took was saving somebody’s life. Pipkin thinks that the Efra will still catch them because Keehar just sort of flew away even though the Efrarians are chasing them. Then it starts raining and the Efrafa decide to stop pursuing Bigwig and Pipkin even though they are right behind them. I guess the chase was called on account of the weather. They’ll have a make up chase Saturday morning.

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Back at Watership Down Keehar and Hannah see Strawberry digging out in the rain and shake their head in astonishment of how much of a tool Strawberry is. Hazel and Fiver decide the joke has gone on long enough and come out to tell Strawberry to stop because water turns dirt into mud and mud is structurally unsound. So unsound that it collapses on Strawberry. That’s what you get for deciding to go to work asshole. Hazel digs Strawberry out. After being asked if he is alright Strawberry replied “I’m filthy.” Apparently the near suffocation wasn’t as bad as being covered in dirt.

The next morning Strawberry apologizes for almost dying and ruining the hole he was digging. Strawberry then explains his enthusiasm came from fear of being sent away. Hazel says they wouldn’t do this to one of their own and Strawberry, even though he is lazy, and when he isn’t being lazy destructive, is one of them.

Watership Down

Bigwig, Dandelion, Pipkin, and Hawkbit show up at this moment. You may have remembered that Dandelion and Hawkbit were told to go to the warren the night before. Evidently they didn’t for some reason. Maybe they got lost and had amazing adventures. Who knows, not us. We didn’t get to follow their fantastic adventures because we were too busy watching Strawberry not be able to dig.

Bigwig explains how they have determined that Efrafa are a bunch of nogoodnicks. He then says that there is going to be a lot of changes in the warren to make it easier to defend. Blackberry asks who will be doing the extra digging and Bigwig says he will along with his Owsla. Turns out he is cool with digging as long as it is for defensive purposes. As for Strawberry, his two episode contract is up so he will only occasionally pop in for cameos. I guess he will be hanging out wherever Captain Holly spends his time. They will both enjoy kicking back and eating strawberry fayre.

Thank U Star’s Rating and My Rebuttal

The most significant part of the episode, however, has to be the introduction of the Efrafans. No sign of Woundwort yet, but we do see both Campion and Vervain. This is where my main disliking of the episode comes in. In later episodes, Campion is a brave, strong character, who could easily tackle many of the other rabbits. In his first appearance, however, he appears weak and pathetic, clumsily slipping off rocks in the chase scene – This is not the Campion I know and love! Still, at least having the Efrafans ensures some fast-paced action, especially when its accompanied by the brilliant ‘chase’ score performed by the Royal Philharmonic.
The only other part I dislike is the scene where Strawberry is talking to a frog. This should be a deep emotional scene, with Strawberry contemplating his life and future actions. In my opinion, its ruined by the frog sticking in occasional words such as ‘change’ and ‘good look’, trying to sound like a croak. I just find this irritating.

Rating

4 (Out of 6) – Above Average
The amount of action in this episode would have given it a top score, however I stopped at only 4, purely as a result of the weak first appearance of Captain Campion.

 

If there are two things you should know about ThankUsStars it is these:

1. He thinks that this children’s show should be take super serious

2. He has a boner for Campion.

The scene with Strawberry talking to the frog should not be a deep emotional scene. Strawberry is a bit character who barely ever shows up. If you are going to complain about that scene then the complaint should be that it contains Strawberry and should never have existed.

As far as the inconsistencies with Campion’s ability to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and be all out of bubblegum, they aren’t a big deal to normal people. I’m not referring to actual normal people who wouldn’t watch this cartoon or read this review, but normal people who will watch this episode and then forget that Campion fell off a rock that one time. I consider them more normal then people who complain about the insult to Campion’s character on their Watership Down websites.

So what is my rating? I don’t know, how about a two. That sounds cool. Two out of six because Strawberry is unnecessary and there were a lot of montages for a tv show. This isn’t Rocky IV were you can get away with having five montages. There’s only twenty three minutes to work with here people.

Really aside from introducing Efrafa there is nothing in this episode that is important at all. Not that every episode needs to be stock full of important story revelations, but if it isn’t then it would be cool if the episode was at least entertaining,

Final Thoughts

I kind of wonder if anybody cares at all about these reviews. I imagine you would if you saw the episodes. I would like to remind you all that this honkey has the first fourteen available to view. I would suggest checking them out. The show is fairly entertaining after all. Plus most of you people reading this probably watch Degrassi and Watership Down is at least better than that crap.