Saturday, October 6, 2012

Avatar S1E1: The Boy in the Iceberg

Check it out, it's my very first blog post (now with a jump edited in)! I'm sure I ought to include some preamble about who I am and what I'm doing, but I'd rather just cut to the chase. I made this blog so as to amuse whoever stumbles across it with my reactions to media that I consume, so for now, all you need to know is that it's Avatar time. Warning: I said a swear in the fifth paragraph of this post. Consider this a blanket warning that I will not be censoring myself because some phrases are just plain funnier with curse words in them.

In the interest of full disclosure, I have seen a bunch of episodes of this show before, which can only improve this recap, because I already know the main characters' names. Huh, I didn't remember that all the other elements had a nation, but the Air people were nomads. I'll have to comment on this when we get to them. I'd also forgotten that the intro was different for the first episode! I'll have to wait and see if it changes more than once. It's pretty cool that we don't see the current Avatar until the characters do. Now let's meet our first cast members, via epic pan across the frozen landscape! Wow, Netflix, your quality leaves something to be desired. I might have to find a new source for subsequent episodes if the lines keep getting all wiggly like this.

Oh, Sokka. Sokka, Sokka, Sokka. Your sister can move water via martial arts-based telekinesis. You really think you can school her on fishing? Yeah, no sympathy for you getting soaked, even though it must be way below zero out there. And even if it apparently happens "every time [Katara] play[s] with magic water," you deserved it every single time for your failure of a response to what this means! Come on, dude, your sister can move water with her mind and you tell her to keep it to herself?! Have you considered all of the potential benefits of having a water-bending sister? You could totally be kicking back and cheering her on while she does all the fishing and encouraging her to hone her skills so you don't always end up in the splash zone. Maybe if she had a supportive older brother rooting for her, she would have had enough practice by now to be able to do something about those marauding ice chunks that just crushed your canoe. But you decided you would rather call her weird, so your boat got nommed.

Bwahahaha! Yessss, Katara, break the iceberg with your RIGHTEOUS INDIGNATION! Bet you wish you hadn't made sexist comments now, Sokka. Bet you wish you'd befriended your super-powered sister instead of goading her into mountain-cracking rage. For real, did it never occur to you that it might be a bad idea to piss off someone who can control the very substance that comprises nearly all of your surroundings? Even if you didn't think she had this kind of power, you knew she could make water blobs which she could totally put over your face while you were sleeping. Just sayin'.

Oh, lookit, it's a shiny kid! And now we get to see Sokka show some sense and desire to protect his sister. Positive character traits, yay! I love how Katara just starts bounding toward the glowy ice sphere while Sokka can only scramble after her with a vain command to "get back here" because they "don't know what that thing is." Well, Sokka, she knows that she can smack it! You also now know that it is full of air as well as strange shiny-eyed child. Prince Zuko of the Fire Nation may not know that the Avatar is a kid now, but he totally knows what that beam of light means. His uncle Iroh either actually doubts this or just straight doesn't give a fuck and just wants to enjoy his tea and mah jongg. Should I be using their names before they've been properly introduced, or should I just be calling Zuko Scarface or something for now? Meh, screw "should," I do what I want. I just realized that Iroh said "this has happened before." How often exactly do laser beams just go shooting up out of this world?

Heh. Sokka's response to potential threats: point a spear at 'em. His response to unconscious children: poke 'em with a stick. Squee! I love that Aang's first act upon awaking from an ice sphere with no clue how he got there (or if he's lying, not knowing how long he's been in there) and seeing a total stranger in foreign garb is to ask said stranger to go penguin sledding with him. This is clearly Priority #1 in such a situation.

Sokka, you are in desperate need of some genre savvy. First you fail to embrace your sister's waterbending powers, thereby getting yourself repeatedly drenched in subzero weather. Then you fail to believe the kid you just saw levitate after emerging unfrozen from a MAGICAL GLOWING SPHERE OF ICE when he tells you that the giant beaver-tailed buffalo thing that was entombed with him is a flying bison. This naturally leads to you getting covered with Appa snot. You are going to spend this whole show wet and/or sticky if you don't shape up. Seriously, you've just seen a kid fly like ten feet from a sneeze (dang that must get inconvenient) and you want to go home? Never mind that you actually can't, because your lack of genre savvy also lost you your canoe. Why did you take your little sister out fishing in such treacherous waters anyway? And don't snark at your ride home, fool! Especially not when it's alive! That's just bad manners.

I like that Aang actually doesn't act all guilty to Katara's face and only makes it clear to the viewer that he is totes the Avatar. Far too many shows play up the awkwardness of their protagonists' lies to cringe-worthy levels and just pass the other characters the idiot ball so they will still be fooled. Ugh, Sokka, I can't even - assimilate new information, child! Last you checked, humans can't fly? Well last you witnessed, the human you're addressing can propel himself ten feet skyward with a sneeze. Of course he's going to glide around and prove you wrong, and of course he's going to crash head first into your watchtower when he gets distracted by his crush on your sister, which will then crumble on top of you. [Heh, that makes it sound like Aang's crush on Katara was what was crumbling on top of Sokka. Keepin' it.] Hey, at least snow is cleaner than snot.

ILU, Iroh. I would also delay my nephew's firebending lessons to finish a nice bowl of roast duck. I want some!

EEEEEEE!!!!!!!! Yeah, whatever, so there may be a war on, but PENGUIIIIIIINNNNN!!!!!! Aang has displayed the proper response to this stimulus. I would like to point out that these four-winged, mammalian-nose-having creatures are simply referred to as penguins despite the show's animal naming conventions tending the opposite way in future episodes. I recall seeing animals called something along the lines of gopherfishbear, but these things? Just penguins. Super-resilient whiskered penguins who are totally cool with being used as sleds. It's a nice (and tragic) detail that Katara, who's lost her mother and, at least in terms of physical presence, her father to this war, is already saying things like "I haven't had this much fun since I was a kid!" while ice-sheltered Aang can quickly point out, "You still are a kid!" He is bound to lose a touch of that childhood whimsy when the news that he was in that iceberg for a hundred years really hits him, though. He recovered from hearing it way too quickly. Hee! Yes, Zuko, he is "quite agile for his old age," isn't he.


Tune in next post, when a battleship goes up against a tiny defenseless village with a population largely comprised of small children.

No comments: