Watership Down: “The Easy Life”

Remember a couple years ago I made an article about a Watership Downcartoon DVD I bought? The story behind that article is that I was hopped up on vicodin because I just had my wisdom teeth pulled. I wrote the article while in a drugged craze and then it sat on my computer for several months because the large number of images made it too difficult to email. I believe the drugs were the reason that I chose to not write a traditional review and instead went with a crazy mess that made little sense if you didn’t watch the episodes.

Update to a few months ago when I happened to stumble upon a YouTube like site that had the first 14 episodes of Watership Down the series available for my viewing pleasure. I began watching and got hooked. Watership Down is my favorite book and the cartoon is very entertaining. I wouldn’t say it’s good because compared to a show that I would actually consider to be good, such as The Simpsons or Rescue Me, it actually is kind of bad. However it is pretty good for a cartoon and watching a show that is stupid can be just as fun for me as watching a good show, sometimes better. Full House is retarded but at the same time awesomely retarded. Watership Down is like this, except better written the Full House.

After watching those 14 episodes I wanted more. Unfortunately the guy who uploaded the episodes didn’t seem to care about providing the rest of the series. Not one to beat addictions I decided to get the series on DVD. Unfortunately the only country where all the episodes were available was England. With few choices I decided to do like many nerds before me and imported a cartoon from a foreign land. Unlike those nerds mine was in a language I could understand and not lame.

In order to feel less stupid about my drunken purchase I decided to review the episodes myself. I toyed with the idea of reviewing an entire series in the past and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. I could be just like my hero Billie Green of the famous Boycott the Caf. I have an advantage over him though because I know when my crappy TV show ends. He is going to be reviewing Degrassi until he is 40.

Will I end up reviewing all the episodes? Only time will tell. Doing this one is taking forever because I am really lazy and don’t work on it very often. I don’t know how many time intense articles I can do. I’m a busy man. I have two jobs plus Persona 3 isn’t going to beat itself. At the same time I am excited about the idea and plan to at least see this goal part way through.

I decided to skip the first two episodes because I already covered them. Sure, as I said, I didn’t cover them in a way that let you know what is going on, but I don’t feel like watching those episodes again so you can go to hell.

Without further explanation let’s get this thing started!

Episode 3: The Easy Life

Episode three is titled The Easy Life and begins with Captain Holly having a fevered dream about being attacked by an owl. Remember Captain Holly? They found him in the last episode, I made a joke about never finding out who he is in the other article, no, nothing? Okay, well let’s move on. In the dream he is being chased by an owl that is tinted read to symbolize danger, or anger or something. I don’t know I ain’t no literary analyst. In real life he keeps saying parsley or possibly nutsly. I’m not sure.

Fiver wakes Holly, and tells him to shellax because it’s just a bad dream. I hate it when people tell other people it was just a dream. No shit. I doubt Holly thought that he teleported into owl forest during the night there Fiver. Holly says he wants to go get Pimpernel, a rabbit he left at a nearby warren. Pimpernel got left behind because he was hurt and Holly was in a hurry to find Bigwig for vaguely explained reasons.

Outside Bigwig and Hazel conveniently recapping what happened recently. Here is the low down: the rabbits use to live in Sandleford Warren. Then Fiver had a vision of the place blowing up so they left before it blew up. It didn’t actually blow up but for some reason it is never adequately explained in the series why they left. I know why they left because I read the book but this is a cartoon and I don’t think the kids watching will have read the original novel. I don’t know why they just don’t outright tell us what happened. Come to think of it I don’t know why the cartoon didn’t start in Sandleford. Fiver convincing everybody to leave does have a lot of narrative importance after all.

Because he is an asshole Bigwig can’t just be thankful that Fiver saved his bacon. He feels the need to say that just because Fiver’s vision was right once it doesn’t mean he is right about everything. Fiver then pops up from behind Bigwig and says “I never said I was.” We have a saying on the internet that describes this situation- owned.

Bigwig asks Fiver how Captain Holly is, not out of concern for Holly, but rather because he is trying to draw attention away from that decisive owning. Fiver reports that Holly is doing better and wants to go back to find Pimpernel. Bigwig flips a shit when he hears this. You see the captain in Captain Holly isn’t a first name, rather a rank. A military rank. Rabbit military is called an Owsla. It is called this rather then, army or police because Richard Adams has a hard on for made up words. Bigwig was part of the Owsla in Sandleford before taking off. Bigwig feels that is speaks highly of Captain Holly’s captainisity and the Owsla as a whole if Holly cares about going back after fallen troops, although there is only one troop so Bigwig shouldn’t have used the plural form of the world.

Hazel points out that there isn’t any reason to worry about Pimpernel because Holly stashed him at some other warren which according to word on the street is totally rad. Bigwig is quick to point out that Watership Down sucks ass, much to the chagrin of Fiver whose insane visions inform him that Watership Down is in fact much radder then any other warren and is the only warren were the residents will not be killed. This will prove to be correct. Rabbits in all other warrens are ruled by maniacs who do not hesitate to kill them. Living in rabbit society is a lot like living in South America during the 60s.

Bigwig suggests they go find the warren Pimpernel is staying at because if they stay around Watership Down then they will have to do some real work. Hazel and Fiver being lazy bums agree with this idea.

As mentioned before Watership Down sucks ass. Its not big enough apparently, although from what I see in the interior shots it looks huge. The solution is to dig it out, but digging is considered woman’s work and there is only one woman and she is an uppity feminist who thinks it is unfair that that she should do all the digging while everybody else lies around and does whatever it is rabbits do when they aren’t on fantastic adventures. Man, I hate feminist. First they want to make men dig warrens, then they want equal pay and then they shut down my website where a film my neighbor while she swims in her pool. Apparently these feminists think I should have gotten my neighbor’s permission or something. I don’t know I don’t pay attention to what women say.

Where was I? Oh yeah, digging. Blackberry is teaching the fellow minor characters, Hawkbit, Pipken, and Dandelion how to dig. Quite frankly it shouldn’t be hard. They’re rabbits. Digging is like one of three things they do. Hawkbit goes ass deep into a hole and makes a ruckus while not actually moving any dirt. I don’t think Hawkbit is even trying. Lazy ass rabbit.

Hazel announces that they are going to get Pimpernel. Pipken Hawkbit and Dandelion want to come with but Hazel says no because this mission is for main characters only. Captain Holly then forces his way into the traveling party. He isn’t a main character but he will disappear after this episode so they decide to throw him a bone. He is also the only person who knows where they are going.

On the way to find Pimpernel Fiver surprises the fuck out of a horse by running between its legs. The horse is played by Gary Busey.

On the right is Strawberry and on the left is Cowslip, leader of the warren. He is also very flamboyant. Like Oscar Wilde but with less droll witticisms and more carrot eating. Hazel and Bigwig marvel at how big Cowslip and Strawberry are. I don’t mean that in a gay way. Fiver meanwhile is shaking and making maraca noises. That means some bad juju is about to go down. Everybody else ignores Fiver’s intuition because that is a good idea. It’s not like Fiver’s visions saved all their lives or anything.

Cowslip and Strawberry greet Haze’s crew with a queer little dance. This time I mean that in a gay way. Holly assures the main characters that this is how the rabbits here greet each other and it’s no biggie. Everybody goes into the burrow except Fiver who is freaked and has to literally be pushed into the hole (that’s what she said)

Fiver comments that the rabbits “eyes are all so far away” which Hazel downplays commenting that he just sees healthy well groomed rabbits. I think he should listen to Fiver. Those guys definitely have a bad case of the crazy eye going on. If I saw somebody with eyes like that in a public bathroom I’d cross my legs and wait until I got home. You don’t take chances with people who have the crazy eye.

Fuck, talk about creepy. Cowslip looks like a god damned Cheshire cat.

Hazel says the rabbits smell outrageously healthy. I prefer to pretend he just said they smell outrageous. It’s funnier.

Bigwig asks about Pimpernel but Cowslip quickly changes the subject. Is it just me or did it just get suspicious in here? Bigwig doesn’t bring Pimpernel up again because Cowslip is creepy as fuck and that distracts Bigwig.

As an aside I’m sick of misspelling Pimpernel. I’ve misspelled it like five hundred different over the course of this review. I would have been finished a week ago if I didn’t have to keep changing it with spell check.

Strawberry shows Hazel the warren’s ‘shape.’ It’s suppose to be El-ahrairah but I think it looks like a whole lotta nothing. Hazel is confused about the shape’s function. Strawberry explains it has no function and they made it because they had the time. Lots of free time Strawberry says sadly. Ooh, mysterious.

Over in minor character land Hawkbit and Dandelion are all wet. Their lack of enthusiasm when it comes to digging resulted in shoddy accommodations that were less then adequate for when it started raining. Blackberry laughs at their predicament. I know Hawkbit and Dandelion are just getting their comeuppance, but I can’t shake the feeling that Blackberry is being a bit of a bitch about it.

Bigwig wants to join Cowslip’s warren because they have lettuce and turnips. Also he doesn’t get wet when it rains. Bigwig is so satisfied that he apparently has completely given up on finding Pimpernel. Good, fuck Pimpernel. His name is really hard for me to spell for some reason. I keep adding extra letters without rhyme or reason. He wasn’t even in the book probably. Why couldn’t Bluebell have been included? I can spell Bluebell. Bluebell is awesome.

You know, now that I think about it if they move into this warren then they don’t even have to retrieve Pimpernel That would be a lot easier for them. I suppose the name of the show would have to be changed since they wouldn’t be living on Watership Down anymore but that’s marketing’s problem.

Fiver once again raises his disapproval with the whole “living in the warren made out of pure evil,” but Bigwig tells him to suck a lemon.

The rabbits are then treated to a performance by Silverweed who hypnotizes everybody with spoken word poetry, like Jim Morrison. Fiver comments that he “smells like Autumn, like dead leaves,” again, like Jim Morrison. Fiver freaks out and takes off. That is just plain embarrassing.

Hazel and Bigwig follow Fiver outside to see what all the hubbub is about. Fiver asks them if they can feel the evil, but neither one of them have freaky deaky physic powers so they can’t. They leave Fiver alone outside in the rain because they are huge dicks.

The next morning there is a fox fiddling about. The fox is then shot by some guy. Hazel is worried about Fiver, what with all the people who kill rabbits hanging about, and goes to check up on his brother. Hazel asks Fiver why he stayed outside all night. Fiver says he was keeping watch (bullshit Fiver was asleep, I saw it) and asks if they can go. Hazel points out that they haven’t found Pimpernel yet. Fiver should have pointed out that they all stopped looking for Pimpernel 15 minutes after they got there but Fiver is just to darn polite to do something like that. Instead they all go gather carrots from a field.

Cowslip and Hazel are suppose to be doing something I’m sure but it looks like they are just waving their arms around. Wait do rabbits have arms? Probably not. And hey, remember when Captain Holly use to be in this episode? What the hell happened to him?

Cowslip explains that the food is left by man. Hazel finds this very suspicious. He then says that as soon as they find Pimpernel they are going to leave, and asks where Pimpernel is. Cowslip doesn’t give an answer. You see the pattern here? I bet something happened to Pimpernel.

Hazel tries to get Fiver to eat some carrots. Instead Fiver starts yelling about how everything is wrong and evil. It was one thing when he was calling people evil quietly but yelling it is just plain rude. Bigwig mocks Fiver by doing that thing where somebody imitates another person but all they do is talk in a falsetto voice and acting goofy. I do that all the time. I consider it my thing.

Captain Holly decides to come back into the episode. He says he can’t find Pimpernel anywhere. Hazel says its strange how Cowslip avoids his questions. Bigwig doesn’t care about Pimpernel or how suspicious Cowslip is. He says he may just stay at this place because they have food and shelter and that’s better then anything at Watership Down.

He then jumps through a bush and gets caught in a snare. Ain’t so great around here now that your being strangled is it? Two ownings in one episode. Bigwig is not doing well this week.

Captain Holly is sent to get help while Hazel and Fiver try to figure out how to free Bigwig. They realize they need to dig out the peg to loosen the wire. That might seem like a simply solution to you or me but they are only rabbits after all. I’m still impressed that they have folk lore.

Captain Holly tries to get help but Cowslip says “There was no Bigwig, never was and now he’s gone,” to bad if he was never there he can’t be gone then can he Cowslip? Can he!

By the way Bigwig is dead. Yup that sucks. No way he’s ever coming back. Sure he is featured fairly prominently in the opening credits and on the DVD case but trust me he is gone forever .

Strawberry comes by and explains that the warren is fed and protected by man but it costs at the ultimate price. Then Holly yells at him.

Hmmm, where have I seen this before?

Jack White really hates Meg.

Bigwig comes back as a zombie hell bent on revenge. This is what happens when somebody filled with anger is killed in a way that warrants coming back for revenge. It doesn’t happen often but Bigwig has a lot of rage.

None of that last paragraph is true. Bigwig is just so tough that he can’t die from asphyxiation. He still wants revenge though.

So he goes and beats up Cowslip, which is frankly not too impressive given how much of a dandy Cowslip is. After getting knocked to the floor Cowslip sticks his butt in the air and says, “You win, I concede, please don’t rape me in the butt, that would be horrible,” but he says it in a way that lets you know he in fact wants to be raped by Bigwig. Cowslip is a freak and Bigwig will not be fooled.

Hazel invites Cowslip and his gang of merry misfits to join Watership Down and relearn the way of El-ahrairah, but Cowslips says El-ahrairah is a lie and that the man takes care of them. So that’s what this is all about, Cowslip is an atheist. Cowslip then starts laughing menacingly for no apparent reason and Hazel tells everybody to run, again for no apparent reason. They’re better off without creepy ass Cowslip in their warren.

Bigwig says that they should have listened to Fiver because Fiver is the one with the magical power of premonition. No shit Bigwig. That’s what I’ve been saying. Strawberry comes by and asks if he can come with them. After some initial hesitation he is let into the group. He might not be Pimpernel but damn it, they’re bringing somebody home with them, that means the mission was a success.

The episode ends with the rabbits returning to Watership Down. Keeha is flying around while screaming, Hawkbit, Dandelion and Pipkin are whining about having to work, but nobody is being murdered so overall it is slightly better then the alternative. This is truly the easy life.

Thank U Star’s Rating and My Rebuttal

Thank U Stars is the most dedicated Watership Down the animated series website out there, literally beating out zero other websites. The guy running it is the biggest Watership Down fan in the world. I may have imported the box set from England but he has a satellite system rigged together so that he can watch the episodes on German television. He doesn’t even speak German! (Well maybe he does I don’t know)

Thank U Stars has reviews for the episodes although shorter and less sarcastic than mine. I plan on taking his ratings and commenting on them. The way I see it as the only two people on the internet who like Watership Down we should be rivals, so I will present his view and then argue that my own view is superior.

 

Rating (Out of 6) – Good The fact that it has Cowslip in gives it a high mark straight away. I was tempted to give it a 6, but I know there are better episodes than this, and Im saving that accolade for them

 

My Rebuttal

This was an alright episode. The writers basically recycled the plot from the book, but it’s a good plot so that’s fine. Captain Holly doesn’t really do anything useful, but that sets the tone for his role in the rest of the series. Plus Strawberry is introduced. The next episode is about him so if wasn’t for this episode then we would have needed a filler episode about a different minor character. Cowslip and Silverweed will eventually play an important role in the series, although by the time that happens you will have forgotten what happened in this episode.

I have decided to give this episode 3 out of 6, two points less than Thank U Stars. It is a firmly average episode. It’s not bad by any means but it isn’t good either. There is a large section in the middle where it feels like nothing is happening. Then bam Bigwig is in a snare, but that part of the episode should have been longer to draw out the drama. For the most part the episode is just plain average.

Final Thoughts

I hope you liked the first edition of my overly ambitious plan that I will probably lose interest in after the third review. Make sure the check out the episodes that are on the web so that you can understand why my jokes are funny. Maybe I’ll throw some episodes on the web once I figure out how to actually do that, which will most likely be never. Remember the lesson we learned in this episode kids. If anybody gives you something for free, it means they are going to kill you.