Well, after the fantastic last episode I reviewed, it seems time to get to some more great ones. Here is yet another one from season four; this one is sister episode of "Trading Places"; it's the second segment of said episode, and rightfully so, as it's a superior episode in every way. And also, it borrows it's title from an incredibly grim book I read some years back. The fact that the Peep writers would sneak in a reference like that continues to say a lot about how this isn't a show only kids can enjoy. So...let's get to it!
Synopsis of Episode
The title card is a sea-blue one; it shows Quack and the frog standing on sand, molding a pile with their feet---Quack with his left and the frog with it's right. Quack looks smug as he does his part; the frog looks uncertain, but as he does his part Quack nods in satisfaction.
We open to a shot of the beach, the water and the blue sky. Joan Cusack tells us that Chirp is very busy today. As she says this...whoa! An extreme closeup of Chirp's beak and eyes come into focus. And she appears to have...rocks on her head? As her eyes dart around, Joan tells us that she's working on an important collection. We then get a full view of her and see she's carrying shells on her head---ten, to be exact---and has one in each wing as well (cool that she's using her wings to carry stuff, as she mainly uses her beak like Peep and Quack). She stops, seeing another one. "Found one!" she says to no one in particular, and the shells on her head bounce but she just manages to keep them from falling by sticking her right leg out and then putting her weight on it. What can I say? She's pretty awesome. "I'm going to have the biggest jingle shell collection ever," she says. She picks up the shell she's found in her beak and tosses it into the air; it lands right on her stack, making it wobble just a bit. As she's doing so, however, Joan explains that Chirp was about to see something that would make her forget all about shells. Chirp turns around, satisfied, and then suddenly gasps in surprise, dropping all of her shells in the process. Thankfully none fall on her. We then see what see she's: a sandcastle. Only we're seeing it from her perspective, so it's HUGE! As harp music plays, we pan up to the top and see there's a leaf flag at the top of one of the towers.
Chirp just stands there, open-mouthed in amazement. "Is that...somebody's house?" she says, dumbstruck. Here, we get a big wide profile shot of her in front of the castle. It has a moat and a drawbridge, too! She hops towards it, and, reaching the moat, calls, "Hello?" Receiving no response, she continues, calling, "Anybody?" We cut to her inside the castle. "Wow!" she exclaims, looking up at a tower. She hops forward, and we cut to the top of the tower with the flag. Chirp arrives and, seeing the view, gasps. She hops back and forth around the tower, and, hopping into the air, exclaims, "Double wow!" That totally reminds me of that Arthur episode where they go to the store for his birthday and are going "Wow, double wow!" on seeing all the stuff it has. Anyways, we then see the view Chirp sees---the cliffs to her left, and Big Bay to her right. It's gorgeous. "That pretty much says it," says Joan. "'Double wow!'" And we get another big wide shot of the castle, now with Chirp at the top of it, hopping over to the other side.
We fade to Peep and Quack by Chirp's pile of red things she's collected, near her bush. "What do you mean, you're moving?" Peep says. A red bottle cap then flies through the air and onto the red pile. Peep and Quack briefly stare at it and then turn back to Chirp (still offscreen), as a red pinwheel flies through the air; Quack ducks (pun intended!!) to avoid it and they stare at it too. We cut to Chirp by her yellow pile. She explains that she found a new place to live. Pushing a ball of yarn up the pile, she asks if they'll help her carry her stuff. Peep and Quack's expressions change from concerned and angry, respectably, to shocked. They glance over to the red pile and then to the yellow one. We get a wide shot showing both piles, the birds and the bush, and also see that Chirp has a pile of accorns, and one of striped objects. Peep points out that it's a lot of stuff. "Yeah, well..." Chirp says uncertainly. She reasons that maybe she'll just bring her favorite things (I'm sure she knew deep down that that's what she'd be doing; I mean, she didn't seriously expect Peep and Quack to help her move it all?). "My button," she says, taking a yellow button from the pile. "My balloon," she continues, pulling a balloon out of the red pile; however, it's difficult to pull out, and when it finally does snap out she is thrown back from the force, and is heard crashing into another pile; Peep and Quack cringe, and then look to see Chirp, upside down on her striped pile. An umbrella falls into her hand and she suddenly brightens. "And my umbrella!" she finishes.
Quack comes over to her and asks if they should give her a going away party. "With things to eat?" he adds, glacing down at an accorn and picking it up in his beak. "No, I'm not going very far," Chirp responds, causing Quack to drop the accorn in surprise and look a little disapointed. "Are you ready? Let's go!" Chirp tells the others. Peep proceeds, carrying the button in his beak. Quack glances at the unblown balloon, and, sighing, looks at it uncertainly. He takes it in his beak, and then gives an expression of shock. He spits it out in disgust, spitting, yelling, and quacking in disgust. "That's disgusting'!" he declares."You'll have to carry this, Peep," he says defiantly. No response. "Peep?" he says, looking uncertainly in Peep's direction. "Peeeep..." Receiving no response, he looks unhappily at the balloon.
We cut to it in the air, moving back and forth, and pan out to see Quack, walking on the beach, wearing it on his head. He doesn't look happy, but it's still pretty cute. We then see that all three birds are walking on the beach, Peep carrying the button and Chirp the umbrella. Chirp is saying how it's the it's the most amazing place they ever saw, and nobody lives there, so she's going to, and it's much higher than her branch, so they can see everything. As she talks Quack looks annoyed and Peep glances to Quack...annoyed, too? Anyways, the birds eventually come to a stop. Peep and Quack take a look and gasp, Peep dropping the button. We get another perspective shot of the castle, again with the harp music. "Amazing, huh?" Chirp says. Peep and Quack are both impressed, and a little shocked. "Come on, I'll show you around," Chirp says. Peep and Quack follow. "This is the bridge," Chirp says as they cross the drawbridge. "And the tunnel," she continues as they enter the entrance. "...and the inside," she finishes as they reach the inside. "And it's all made of sand," she adds, placing the umbrella in the sand. She gives her smart look as Peep looks around and Quack enters, still looking displeased. Peep tells her it's beautiful, and that she's lucky she gets to live here. She tells them (or at least Peep) that they can visit her any time (aw, she's not going to at least offer Peep to live there?), and then asks if they want to see the view. Peep nods and they go off to the right, Quack still looking displeased. Right after he moves out of the frame, he suddenly comes back into it and knocks the umbrella down with his butt, laughing as he walks offscreen again.
We cut to the birds at the top of each tower (how do they get up there? Are there staircases they're not showing us?), Chirp in the middle (the tallest) and Quack and Peep on her left and right, respectively. Quack is on the shortest and still looks unhappy; he trips as he reaches the top. We focus on Chirp, who says she can see everything...just about. She asks Quack what he thinks. Quack stares at her and says, "Well, um...ummm, uh-hmmm...mmmmm....ummmmm..." before sighing and unenthusiastically saying, "It's nice." "That's all?" Chirp responds sadly (although to me it's pretty clear Quack must be jealous). "Just...nice?" "It's OK for a sandhouse," Quack says, smug now, "But my sandhouse is twenty times better." He then gasps and adds, "Or maybe forty times." "You have a sandhouse?" Chirp asks him. "Where?" she asks, unconvinced. Quack tells her he doesn't have it yet, but he will, just as soon as he and Peep build it. Peep is shocked to hear this. "What?" he asks Quack. Quack continues, "Yeah, yeah...and it's going to be twice as high as this one. And twice as big. And you'll be so jealous." Laughing, he tells Peep, "Anyways, come on Peep, don't just stand there, let's get at it. Look alive, come on, here we go." Peep follows him, with Chirp watching. We focus on her as she watches after them, and then smiles, rolling her eyes and shaking her head.
We cut to another wide shot of the castle, and then pan over to another part of the beach where Peep and Quack are. "So we'll put one tower on here," he says, making a spot with his left foot between him and Peep, "and another one, um...there," and here he makes a spot behind him with his right, "and remember they have to be twice as high as Chirp's and much, much nicer. And I need two flags...two," he adds, getting in Peep's face. "OK," Peep says, nodding. (Seriously, though, it's one thing to be nice and another to be unable to say no.) He makes a small mound of sand with his left foot, but inevitably, it collapses. Peep stares at the collapsed mound curiously. He makes another one, and it, too, collapses. He tells Quack that the sand is sliding and won't stay up. He then makes another mound, showing Quack what he means. Quack sighs and tells Peep that he doesn't have the right feet for this. He then tells him to step aside and takes his place. He sits down in the sand and smiling, kicks it with his feet, making a mound. "You see this," he says, "is another reason..." and here he starts to struggle to keep it up, "...why you should have been a duck, Peep." He lies down for a second to take a breathe and then resumes kicking, continuing, "A chicken is no match for sand." As he stops, his pile collapses. Startled, he leaps up, saying, "Waitaminute. Something's wrong with this sand, Peep." Here he pushes some up with his left foot, and it falls too. "It won't stay up," he says, doing the same thing again with the same results. "It's not padding down." Peep looks inquisitively at the sand. After a moment, he says, "Know what I think? Chirp's sandhouse is wet, and this sand is dry. Maybe we should add some water to it." Quack, meanwhile, has resumed sitting in the sand and kicking it up. Here, he pauses to look at Peep, and, as his pile collapses, gets up, saying, "Yep, uh-huh. Wet sand, Peep. That's the ticket!" Peep nods in agreement.
We cut to Peep with the balloon at the edge of the water. He dips it in the water, filling it, and then drags it back onto the shore. We see a small mound of sand and watch as water is poured on it from the balloon, and then get a wide shot of Peep and Quack standing over it, Quack making a circle in it with his left foot. Joan explains how Peep and Quack worked very hard on Quack's sandhouse. We cut to a closeup of Peep dipping the balloon into the water again, and then to a mound of wet sand. Quack's foot comes into view from the left pointing; Joan explains how the frog helped too, just as the frog's foot comes into view from the right, sliding the wet sand. We then get a wide shot of Quack and the frog by the sand mound, the frog patting the sand, as Joan explains how his feet were perfect for doing just that. Peep then comes into the frame from the right, carrying the water-filled balloon. We fade to the sun in the sky (there's a hissing noise) and pan down to Peep (on the right), Quack (on the left) and the frog (on top) by the sand mound (now much wider and as tall as Quack), Peep and the frog patting the sand. As we see this Joan explains that, "After a couple of hot hours,"..and here we fade again, now to a thinner but much higher mound that Quack is now on top of, the frog on the left (both patting the sand), and Peep coming to view. "They finally...finally..." And now we fade yet again to sunset, with the sand just a little taller, Peep on top, the frog near the left, and Quack sitting on the right, not doing any work. "...finally..." And we fade yet again to a closeup of the frog on top once more, with Quack arriving and dumping some sand with his hat, "...finally had a, um..." And here we cut to Chirp arriving and observing.
"So what is it exactly?" Chirp asks. We get a wide shot of them all by the mound against an orange-red sky; Peep and the frog are still working, and the balloon is now attatched to a stick on the left side to serve as a flag. Quack is shocked by her question. "What do you mean, 'What is it?'" he asks angrily. He laughs. "It's my sandhouse and it's..." and here he pauses, staring at Chirp's. We get a big shot with Chirp's in the background. "Um..." Quack continues, taking his right foot out of a puddle of water. "Wetter than yours, Chirp!" he declares happily. Laughing, he adds, "Yeah," clearing his throat. Then he quickly says, "Thanks everybody, visit anytime, call first!", quickly heading up to the top of the mound where he immediately sits. "OK," Peep says. "Good night, Chirp. Good night, Quack. Enjoy your houses." And he walks off into the bottom right of the frame.
"Good night everybody!" Chirp says brightly, and walks off into the bottom left of the frame. Quack and the frog stare at each other, and we focus on the frog, who ribbits cheerfully. "Nope, sorry, you can't stay," says Quack. "There's no room." The frog stares at him and ribbits again. Quack continues to stare at him and says, "Oh, all right." The frog then hops up to the top of the mound with him...and it starts to crack. The frog slides down right on where he's standing. Quack groans and quacks angrily.
We cut to a crescent moon hanging in the night sky, and pan down to see Chirp sleeping at the top of her tower, standing as usual. We focus on her and she's suddenly bumped by Quack but thankfully manages to stay in the air for a second and flutter back to the tower. We then see the frog is with them too. Chirp angrily asks Quack what he's doing here. Quack tells her that something happened to his house; the frog ribbits in agreement. He tells Chirp it was weird; that he woke up and was floating. He then asks if sand turns into water at night. "Of course not," Chirp says angrily. "Sand and water are two completely different...aaahh!" And we get a wide shot and see the tower is all that's left standing of Chirp's new house, the remains of the rest surrounding it. "Where did all this water come from?" she asks. Quack says he bets it was magic. Chirp looks at him angrily and he adds, "Yeah, yeah I bet that was it...midnight magic!"
Just then a small wave hits the bottom of the tower, taking a chunk off with it. The three look down and sink a little. And then the entire tower gives out from underneath them and they fall, Chirp and Quack screaming. They crash onto the ground, the frog ribbiting. The sound of another wave coming is heard. The three blink in surprise, and then get up and run, Chirp and Quack yelling, "Ruuunnnnn!!!" They just miss the wave, which surround the top of what mere seconds ago was the tower on the sandhouse.
We fade to the water at dawn. Peep comes into the frame from the right; we follow him to the sound of snoring. He stops, looks down, and says, "Hi, guys!" We see he's standing on what appears to be the cliffside, right by the sleeping Chirp, Quack and frog. He walks over to the edge of what's in fact a duneside and looks out at the shore. Curious at only seeing the shore and the water, he asks out loud what happened to their sandhouses. Chirp wakes up and cheerfully greets Peep. Pushing the other two out of the way, she gets up, and joins him at the edge of the duneside. "It was very strange, Peep," she says. "The water came and took it away. My beautiful..." and here she looks very sad, "...house." Peep looks sad for her and suggests that maybe they can build another one for her. "Maybe," Chirp says sadly. "Or maybe I should just go back to my bush. I kinda miss it anyway." Both look happy at this.
Joan says that there are two rules in life: don't try to live in a house made of sand, and don't startle a sleeping duck. As she says this, Chirp trips over Quack's leg. Quack wakes up screaming and the frog wakes up too. The frog hops away and Quack yells, "Leg! Knee! Hurt! OW! Sore! Snore." And he falls back to sleep. Peep and Chirp watch him, and look at each other with grins, Peep giggling. The two go on their way, leaving Quack happily quacking in his sleep.
Thoughts On The Episode
While this one wasn't quite as good as "Bringing Spring", it was still a really good episode. Taking place almost entirely at the beach, it's one of the few Peep episodes that's really a great summer-themed episode. And while I prefer the fall and winter ones, this is kind of refreshing, in a way.
The premise is pretty simple; Chirp deciding to live in a sandcastle that's inevitably going to be washed away. But it's kind of a cool premise and done pretty well. Quack's part in it was pretty funny, and while Chirp is a little sad at the result, she mainly accepts it as a force of nature, which is nice. While this episode might not have been the strongest for Chirp's character (as I made a few complaints about in the review) she was still very likeable in it.
I'd also like to point out that I love the big wide shots of the sandhouse. They're just beautiful and show how far Peep has come in being able to animate things. The beach scenery alone is just beautiful and adds a whole new layer of fantasticness to this enormous park the birds live in. The fact that the episode almost entirely took place there made it an extremely unique and refreshing story.
Of course, the episode had great humor thanks to Quack. Him with the balloon on his head was hilarious. There's not a ton else to say about the characters. Peep continues to be a little too helpful to him, but since the frog also helped with the castle it's not too big of a deal. There's not much more to say about Chirp; Amanda did a good job as her here even though it's a later episode. And the frog was the only character besides the birds to appear, and of course he doesn't do much.
All in all, this is a very good episode. It might not be a latter-day classic Peep episode like "Bringing Spring", but it's still one I really like and enjoy. They made the right decision placing this after "Trading Places", which, while nice, wasn't nearly as good (btw, this is the first time I've reviewed both stories of an episode, not counting two-parters). Is it one of my all-time favorites? Not quite, but it's still a highlight of season 4, and, considering how unique I feel it is, a highlight of the series in general. I look forward to watching it again at some point.