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"Soap Opera" review

So I thought this would be a good next one to do. It's not one I was very familiar with until I got back into Peep this year, so this will be a fun review. 

Synopsis of Episode

We open up to the title on an aquamarine background. It shows Quack in the water (which the background pretty much is), covered in and surrounded by soap bubbles, looking like he's nodding along to music, with his eyes closed and a completely content smile. Awwww. By the way, I thought I'd point out that there's an episode with ZOOM (made by the same company and with the same executive producer) that has a play titled "A Soup Opera". Pretty funny coincidence, huh?

We open to Quack floating on his back in his pond, looking dreamy. Too adorable!! As he paddles back with his feet, Joan Cusack tells us that it's a lovely spring day---the kind that makes ducks want to sing. You know what's coming next! Quack starts singing...about how it's spring (ah, that's new!) and how ducks are thinking about it and duck-related things. We get a wide shot that shows Chirp is near the pond, her back against a tree, also looking dreamy. I'm not kidding, all the adorableness overload is going to melt me, I find it so cute.

We focus on Chirp, and Joan explains that she's enjoying a different kind of music. We hear beautiful bird calls in the air, as Chirp continues to smile peacefully. "What a beautiful song!" she comments. Okay, I should mention that while she's still our Chirp, her voice has...changed. This started to become present in season 4 (she sounded pretty much the same in "Trading Places", which I reviewed yesterday, so I didn't mention it) but is glaringly obvious in this season. Yes, her voice is now high and girlish, rather than the signature low and mature voice she's always had that I love, and which is a big part of what makes her...Chirp. It's not a new voice actor, and I don't think her voice actor's voice would have naturally become so high, so I don't know what the deal was with this. If they ever make more Peep episodes, I hope they'll have Chirp sound like herself again.

Chirp asks Quack if he heard the birdsong. Quack says he did---wrote it, sang it, heard it, and is glad she liked it! Chirp is annoyed by this and explains that it's the robins' song she was talking about. She thinks it's like spring. She dreamily calls it "the meaning of spring". Aww. Quack looks annoyed but then looks up. We watch Chirp staring up at a flying robin. "That?" Quack says, annoyed, and then begins a crazed impression of a robin, to Chirp's chagrin. Quack says that's not a song, and shows her what is, and of course, starts to sing about how great ducks are. "A song has words," he tells her. "Robins can't do that." (Glad Quack shows he knows Chirp is a robin). 

Chirp angrily jumps up, fluttering her wings, telling him they can, too. "Oh I'm a red robin and I'm singing this song! So I just proved that you are wrong!" she sings. This would be funny...if she actually sounded like herself. As it is it's just kind of annoying. Quack then angrily gets out of the water, muttering in frustration. He then tells Chirp she can't sing, since she's not a duck. "See...here we go," he starts, tapping his left foot. He then starts to sing (pretty badly) how this is a song, made by a duck, and if you're not a duck, your song is wrong. He gives Chirp a smug look and quacks, and Chirp looks very annoyed. 

Chirp says she can sing just as well as Quack. They then get into an operatic "No you can't!"/"Yes I can!" argument. Haha...too funny. Then we hear Peep say, "Hi guys!" from offscreen. I should point out that Peep sounds a little older in this season, which is just strange. "WHAT?" the other two yell. We see a white oval of soap being pushed onscreen, which Peep then moves out of the way with his foot as he enters. He asks why they're singing. Quack then sings that he's trying to show that ducks are the best, and everyone knows that except certain red birds who won't listen to duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuck! He holds the last note for four seconds while Chirp tries to get him to stop. When he does he says he can go longer and does it for about another second, boasting he did. Chirp then jumps on top of Quack and sings (while he looks annoyed), "Peep, don't you think that I sing the best? Come on, be honest, aren't you impressed?" I know I've said this but I'll say it again: I just don't like how Chirp sounds here.

Peep, being Peep, tells them they both sound good..."Sort of," he adds, giving them an odd look. He then shows them the soap he found. Joan explains what he's showing them, pointing out the birds have never seen one before. Quack asks Peep in song what the thing he found, lying on the ground, is. As he moves while doing so, Chirp loses her balance and falls off as he finishes, giving Quack her signature annoyed look. Peep says he doesn't know what it is, except that it smells nice---kind of like rain!

Chirp takes a whiff of it and likes it, too. "It smells like flowers...a bunch of rainy flowers," she comments. Quack tells her, "Once more, you're wrong. You're out of luck. Because this thing here...it smells like duuuuuuuuuuuuuckk!" (Of course he sings the last part.) He then bends down to sniff it and likes it. "Or like food for a duuuuuuuucccckkk!" he sings. He then begins to bite into it...and of course is utterly repulsed by the taste. After his inital disgusted reaction, he sings, "Yuuuuuuuuuucccckk!!" (I should add that while he does this, Chirp notably looks confused and maybe even concerned, although during the parts where he sings she looks annoyed.) As he stares grumpily at her, she sings, "Like I said, it smells like flowers!" They then get into a "Ducks!"/"Flowers!" singing argument. During this, Peep looks concerned and uneasy, eventually yelling, "HEY!" at them to get their attention. He suggests they say that it smells like a duck in the rain holding flowers. Chirp and Quack look at each other in confusion, then give each other annoyed glares, and then smile, singing, "Okaaaaaaay!!!" while lifting their left feet. Peep gives them an odd look as they do, then asks them what they should do with it, besides smelling it. Quack gets a mischievous look in his eye and kicks it into the pond, to Chirp's chagrin. Quack hops into the water after the soap and sings, "I think you'll all agree, this thing should be with me! In my...POOOOONNDD!" (he does a deeper voice for the last word), looking content as he finishes.

Chirp angrily sings that he makes her so mad, and he's such a greedy stuff taking duck (fluttering in the air for emphasis on the last word). During this Peep goes from looking concerned to giving Chirp a strange look, cringing at the last note. As she finishes, Peep kindly asks her if she'll please stop singing, as it's hurting his ears. Like I mentioned in my review of "The Sounds of Silence", the birds don't actually have ears. But I agree with Peep, Chirp's singing is just annoying here. Of the episodes to come after her voice changed, this was one of the ones I wish hadn't. Chirp, looking desperate, says she can't, because then Quack will say that only ducks can sing---and it's just not true! She finishes by giving Quack an angry stare. Quack looks sheepish, and then sings, "You see, Peep..." (and here he hops onto the soap bar) "...this thing makes a very nice boat...for me to sit on and float---" and here he loses his balance on the slippery soap, falling on his butt and then into the water. The others laugh. Quack tells them it's not funny, but then notices the bubbles that have appeared on the soap, commenting, "It's those things again!" "Whaaaaat thiiiiings??" Chirp sings, again making Peep cringe. Quack is still staring at the soap, happily but then shakes his head, saying, "Oh, yeah, right...where was I?" before singing, "Those round floaty things, I saw them once before, remember, I told you? But you didn't beliieeeeve me!!!!" he finishes, giving Chirp (who shares a confused look with Peep during this) an angry look, before happily staring at the soap again.

I just want to say that this is a great continuity nod to season two's "The Trouble With Bubbles", a classic Quack episode. This kind of continuity is the sign of great writing, as the writers will know long-time viewers will remember that. You see that a bunch in Arthur, of course, but seeing it here in Peep is particularly nice.

Quack then touches the soap with his right foot, gently taking a bubble off of it. He gets onto his back and swims one-footed around the soap, only for the bubble to pop, to his chagrin. "Hey, stop popping!" he sings angrily at the bubbles. "Come on! I have to show Peep!" As he does this, he scoops up another bubble with his right foot, which again pops as he finishes. "Drat," he mutters as he sinks his lower body back into the water. We then get a wide shot of him swimming on his back to the shore, pushing the bar of soap backwards with him, as Peep and Chirp watch. He pushes it onto the ground with his left foot, and we close in on the wet soap bar, panning out to a sad Quack. "They were right there...the things..." he sings in a heartbroken tone. "But I don't know where...they went." By the end he is almost sobbing, and he sits down. Aw, I just want to give him a hug. As he sings Peep and Chirp come over; Chirp rolls her eyes. Peep rubs the bar with his right foot, and comments that the soap is nice and slippery now. This gives him an idea. 

We fade to Chirp pushing Quack (who's lying facedown) on the bar of soap, down a hill. Peep follows them. "Even with sud bubbles soap is still fun!" Joan sings. Um...what? We then fade to the birds near a tree. Quack, a determined look in his eye, kicks the bar with his left foot. It hits the tree, then bounces onto a nearby rock, then bounces back onto the tree, and then painfully onto Quack, knocking him down. "You can ride it or kick it, spin and twist it!" Joan continues to sing. We cut to a close shot of Peep being spun counterclockwise on the soap bar by the others, and pan out to fully see Chirp and Quack spinning him, Chirp with her right foot and Quack with his left. They eventually stop. leaving Peep dizzy. "Oh, why am I singing about soap?" Joan sings. "I don't really know---can I stop now? Thank you," she finishes (talking). As she does, the dizzy Peep falls off the soap, and all three birds laugh. Cute. 

We fade to the soap floating in the water, now a lot smaller, and pan out to see the three birds lying on the pondside, covered in soap and looking peacefully happy. Quack sits up and disgustedly groans, complaining that he's sticky and gooey. He walks into the water, saying he thinks he'll wash off. Submerging himself, he resurfaces, and pecks at the feathers on his back (again, too cute). As he does soap bubbles appear. Peep notices this and tells Quack he's covered in things. Quack looks at himself and joyfully exclaims, "It's those things! They're come baaaaaaaaaaacccck...(he starts singing here)...to me!!" Aww, and he's crying at the end. Cuteness overload!!

Quack hops out of the pond and proudly stands on the edge, covered in soap bubbles. "Beautiful rainbow circles!" Chirp exclaims. She asks Quack how he did it. Quack sings, "Well, I just went into the water, you could do it too...if you weren't such a scaredy bird." As always, he gives Chirp a smug look, and Chirp gives him an annoyed glare. Chirp then hops over to the water's edge and looks down at her reflection. She sticks her right foot in and uneasily says, "Uhhh...no thanks." Peep calls over to Chirp to show her that the bubbles pop. He pops one on Quack with his beak, making Quack laugh, then another, to which Quack sings, "Okay, stop, that's enough..." Peep pops another, to which Quack sings, "You're tickling, you're tickling!" And Chirp pops one, and Peeps pops two more, to which Quack happily moans, "You're tickling the duck!" Chirp pops two more, but suddenly Peep looks suddenly surprised and then concerned, and Chirp and Quack look over to what he's seeing. 

It's stormclouds! "It's going to rain!" Peep says. He then tells Chirp and Quack that they should come back tomorrow and play some more. Chirp says she likes the idea, popping the last bubble on the annoyed looking Quack. She heads off, and Quack looks back at Peep, still annoyed. Peep looks scared. Suddenly Chirp hops back into the frame. She asks Quack if he's ever going to admit that robins can sing. "Nope! Uh-uh! Don't think so!" Quack sings. "Well, then," Chirp says, and retailates by singing, "GOOD-BYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEE!", holding the note for three seconds and making Peep and Quack cringe. As she leaves, Quack angrily groans and asks why she can't just admit that singing is a duck's job. Peep says that maybe by tomorrow she'll forget all about it. "Boy, I sure hope so," Quack says with a smug grin. And then, as he walks into the water, he sings, "Ya 'know, a bird who won't stop singing---is pretty hard to taaaaaaaaaaaaaake!" "I know," Peep says, watching him. He then says bye to Quack and goes on his way, too. In the water, Quack swims over to the bar of soap and hopss back-first onto it. "Goooood-byyyyyyyyyyeee!" he sings, somewhat hoarsely, as it starts to rain. As he lies on the now small bar of soap, he yawns and quacks. The camera pans up to the stormy gray sky, Joan explains that he was very happy to rest his voice overnight. 

We cut to same sky at day, where five sunbeams stream down. "But all too soon, it was morning," Joan continues. We pan down to see Quack asleep in his pond; the bar of soap appears to have dissolved from under him. Suddenly we hear Chirp singing, "Wake up, duck, wake up!" Quack does and looks around. We see Chirp on the edge of the water with Peep, as she continues, "It's time to get up, duck, get uuuuuuuuuuup!" making Peep cringe. After a series of angry Quacks (as well as what sounds like "wherewherewhere??!!"), Quack angrily sings, "Will you stop with this singing??!! You're making me crazyyyyyy!!!!" He emphasizes the last bit by rolling his eyes around and making them look mismatched. Chirp sings, "I won't quiiiiiiittt...until you admiiiiittt....that robins are..." but then stops, and says, "Hey, where did it go? That thing we were playing with?" From the water, Quack (who has been giving her a deadpan stare) smugly starts to respond that it's right here and he was sleeping under it, but then noticing it's gone, looks around in sudden confusion and panics, saying it's gone and someone must have stolen it, but is confused since he was watching it all night. He hurridenly swims back to shore, saying he didn't take his eyes off it for a second. As we see him from the back as he reaches the shore, however, we see the now tiny soap bar stuck on his back, as do Peep and Chirp. "I don't think," he adds.

Chirp tells Quack that it's on his back, and dislodges it with her beak. As it falls to the ground, the three birds look over it. Quack says that can't be it, as it's tiny. Peep takes a smell, and sighs, claiming it's indeed the soap, pointing out that it smells exactly like a duck in the rain holding flowers. Quack wonders how it got so small. "You probably sang it to death," Chirp tells him (whoa, they got away with saying "death" on here. That's pretty interesting!), to which Quack angrily grunts. "You know, there's one very good thing about this," Peep says. "What?" Chirp asks. And Peep sings: "You finally...finally...stopped...SIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNINNNGGGGIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIII...(here he gets on his left foot, and we see Chirp and Quack cringe, yelling "OH!", "STOP IT" and "AH"!, and then cut back to Peep)...IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG!" Having held the note for six seconds, he finishes by spinning around on his right foot and looking at them cutely, as Joan ends the episode before it fades to black by saying, "And that...is what's called...a taste of your own medicine." Indeed, Joan...indeed. 

Thoughts on the Episode

This episode is just awesome. There's hardly any other way to describe it. Chirp and Quack were both hilarious in it, and Peep's part at the end was quite possibly his most awesome moment in the entire series run.

Of the Kathy Waugh episodes I've reviewed so far, this is easily the best (like I said before, counting "The Sounds of Silence" as a single episode). Everything about it just works so well and is the epitome of what Peep is on a good day. Is it one of the best, period? Well...like I said, I really cannot stand how Chirp sounds this season, and so her singing was particularly obnoxious. And there's not really a ton that happens, just Chirp and Quack dueling in song and the birds discovering a soap bar. But those are two things that make Peep great---Chirp and Quack's ongoing bickering, and the birds discovering and learning about human objects (them having fun with the soap was too cute!). Sure, there's not a ton of real character depth in this one, but it's so much fun that you don't really even care.

Whereas "Trading Places" was just a nice, imaginative piece of fluff that was pleasant to relax to, this is an upbeat and humorous piece of well-written work, piece of work that still does a great job showing us who the three birds are---Peep, being the one to stay out of it and jeep the peace; Quack, being the loud, bossy instigator of an argument; and Chirp, being the one to stand up and defend herself in said argument. All done without any real conflict. I mean, even by the end, the silly little argument is never really resolved. The aforementioned characterization of the three birds is obviously helped by the fact that they are the only ones who are in it. And Joan, of course. Her singing part was too funny.

What else can I say about this episode other than that it's funny and great? Like I mentioned, I love the continuity nod. Peep needs more of those! But other than that, I don't really have much to say. It's an episode that's very simple, yet works better than any of the others I've reviewed. It's cute, it's funny, it's exciting, it's awesome! Even if it's not Peep at it's very best, it's still Peep on a very good day. And this show is lucky enough to have quite a lot of those!

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