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"This Little Piggy"

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Justice League Unlimited episode
Wonderpigza
"This Little Piggy"
Airdate: August 28th, 2004
Production Number: 06
Airdate Order: 05
Animation Services by: Dong Yang Animation Co., LTD.
Written by: Paul Dini
Directed by: Dan Riba
Episode images (14)

"This Little Piggy" is the fifth episode of the first season of Justice League Unlimited, and the fifth of the overall series. It originally aired on August 28, 2004.

Plot

Batman wonder woman work

Wonder Woman flirts with Batman.

Wonder Woman accompanies Batman on a stakeout in Gotham City, based on a tip that Intergang plans to steal the Rosetta Stone. As they wait, she notices many young couples together and soon starts to flirt with Batman, however all her attempts to flirt are rebuffed as Batman emphasizes the differences between them. When the robbery occurs, they find the thief is actually the sorceress Circe, mortal enemy of Hippolyta, Wonder Woman's mother. Although banished to Tartarus by Hippolyta, she has now been paroled and her first act of freedom is to transform Hippolyta's daughter into a pig.

Seeking help, Batman approaches the stage magician/Justice League member Zatanna after her show, who happens to have real magical powers and is also informed of Circe's release. Although she attempts to return Wonder Pig to normal, her powers can't overcome those of the goddess. She suggests that they get help from other League members such as Doctor Fate, however Batman requests they keep the situation between the two of them. Zatanna is confused but realizes that there's something more between her old friend and Wonder Woman, which he partially admits to, and promises to help, although she intuits that only Circe can reverse the change.

Circe singing

Circe performs at the Amphitheater.

Zatanna leads them to a shopkeeper specializing in magical artifacts to purchase a missing ingredient for her locator spell, a Chimera scale. He reminds her that every element of magic requires a price (that is not necessarily monetary), and forces her to reluctantly hand over a valuable mystic item, an ancient Chinese coin, of her own. Despite the potency of the spell, Circe proves too powerful to be found so easily, and frightened by the spell's flashiness, Wonder Pig escapes. Batman and Zatanna give chase, but not before she takes back her coin.

Unable to find Wonder Pig, Batman calls on the aid of B'wana Beast, Red Tornado, Crimson Avenger and Elongated Man to locate her. B'wana Beast finds her, but she evades him when she runs into a pork processing factory amidst a throng of hundreds of pigs.
Bwanna pigs

B'wana Beast asks some pigs for help.

Batman and Zatanna request the aid of Themis, who brings them Medusa, Circe's former cellmate, who reveals Circe's burning desire to perform at the Amphitheater on Mykonos. Meanwhile, the transformed Wonder Woman attempts to escape from being processed, frustrating a butcher's efforts to capture her.

Zatanna teleports them to the Amphitheater, and they confront Circe, who attacks them by transforming her stage cohorts into wild animals. At the same time, Wonder Pig is finally caught, tied up, and put on a conveyor belt towards a processing machine.

Batman singing

Batman sings "Am I Blue?".

After fending off the first onslaught of animals, Batman suggests making an exchange for returning Wonder Pig to normal. Circe, intrigued, agrees to transform Diana back, but only in exchange for something incredibly precious from Batman — something he's concealed and can never be regained when gone. He pays the price by revealing a suave singing voice in a performance of "Am I Blue?" so touching it moves both Zatanna and Circe to tears. Circe returns Wonder Woman to normal just in time for her to escape the slaughterhouse. After his performance, which receives riotous applause from the Amphitheater's crowd, Batman thanks Zatanna for her help.

Afterwards, in the League Watchtower, Wonder Woman claims to not remember much of what happened and asks if she missed anything, to which Batman nonchalantly replies, "Not really". However, as she walks away, Wonder Woman reveals she knows he sang at the Amphitheater when she suddenly commences humming "Am I Blue?". At first taken by surprise, Batman ends up smiling.

Continuity

Background information

Home video releases

Production notes

  • In the DVD commentary of this episode, the producers admit that this episode was intended to be an entirely comic episode, with elements reminiscent of the original Bewitched television show: rife with slapstick, over-the-top performances, and other dry humor. In particular, the show ends with a musical cue similar to that show's, on Batman's wry smile. Elizabeth Montgomery, who played the lead role of Samantha Stephens on Bewitched, previously starred in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, Showdown, as her last acting performance before her death. Jack Carter is also a veteran of such shows.
  • The DVD special features revealed Bruce Timm was a fan of Joss Whedon's work on Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where his work on both shows showed his willingness to depart from the normal format of the series. This episode, a largely comedic entry within a predominantly dramatic series, was partially inspired by Whedon's ability to defy convention.
  • On the commentary, the producers said that producing a comedy is similar to an action film, in that it has to end with the biggest gag—"and you can't beat Batman singing".
  • On the commentary, the producers allude to a scene that was cut from the final print of the episode: Soon after Wonder Woman is turned into a pig, there would be a scene featuring the Joker and his gang preparing for a crime with the intention of laying a trap for Batman. At that time, Batman would pass by their sight, consoling a pig in his arms. After staring blankly at the scene, Joker would comically give up on the job and call it a night.

Production inconsistencies

  • When B'wana Beast is talking to the pigs, two slaughterhouse workers are seen getting the pigs into the building. However, neither of them seem to acknowledge or even notice B'wana Beast in the sty.

Trivia

  • Like in the DC Comics, Zatanna casts spells by speaking backwards:
Spell Translation
kcab ot lamron back to normal
lleps eb nekorb spell be broken
anaiD, emoceb namuh Diana, become human
esrup raeppa purse appear
dnufer refund
stcejbo kcatta ecriC objects attack Circe
elbat mrof egac table form cage
  • Jennifer Hale replaces Julie Brown as the voice of Zatanna.
  • The audience member that Zatanna chooses as the "rabbit" for her final trick is similar in appearance to the cafe customer taken away by the police in the second part of the Justice League episode "A Better World".
  • Circe sings the big band standard "Lulu's Back in Town" (composed by Harry Warren) during her performance at the Amphitheater. Rachel York, who voices Circe, is a critically acclaimed Broadway singer. "Am I Blue?", the song Batman sings at the end of the episode, is a jazz standard composed by Harry Akst with Grant Clarke. Both the featured songs in this episode are ones to which Warner Brothers owns the copyrights.
  • The producers of the show wanted to modify the lyrics to "Lulu's Back in Town" by replacing "Lulu" with "Circe", but the studio told them this was not allowed.
  • Kevin Conroy had previously exhibited his fine singing voice for an episode of Batman Beyond, and so the producers were confident in giving him "Am I Blue?" He later recorded a full-length performance of the song, which can be downloaded from his website.
  • The Crimson Avenger's one-liner is his only speaking appearance in the series.
  • Other references to Greek Mythology include Medusa, the Sirens, Sisyphus, Themis (the Greek incarnation of Justice), and Charon, the ferryman across the River Styx. Medusa also mentions the famous playwrights Sophocles and Aristophanes.
  • Circe refers to Hippolyta as "Mommie Dearest", which is a reference to Christina Crawford's exposé about her unhappy childhood as the adopted daughter of actress Joan Crawford. The term eventually came to signify a neglectful and abusive mother.
  • The punishment described by Medusa bears some resemblance to the torment endured by Prometheus, which consisted of him being chained to a rock and having his liver eaten by a bird of prey, only to have it regenerated on the next day.
  • Batman gives two pennies to Charon as a "service charge", a reference to the fact that the Greeks would traditionally bury their dead with coins on their eyes or under their tongues, as "payment" for transportation to the afterlife.
  • Circe compares Batman and Zatanna's fighting her with Sisyphus's torment, which consisted in eternally pushing up a boulder that would roll down the mountain once he had reached its top. This punishment became a metaphor of something that is endlessly pointless.
  • Zatanna calling the (supposed) rabbit in her hat "Bugs" is a reference to Bugs Bunny.
  • Batman previously referred to The Odyssey in "Only A Dream".
  • A reference to the movie "Babe" is made when wonderpig is captured the factory worker says: "That'll do, pig".
  • Circe's flattened feet, in their red heels, wiggle out from under the piano in an obvious tribute to the Wicked Witch of the East from The Wizard of Oz.

Cast

Actor Role
Kevin Conroy Batman
Crimson Avenger (uncredited)
Susan Eisenberg Wonder Woman
Jack Carter Sid
Chad Einbinder Attendant
Factory Worker (uncredited)
Jennifer Hale Zatanna
Peter Onorati B'wana Beast
Rachel York Circe
Laraine Newman Medusa
Themis (uncredited)
Bruce Timm Gladys' husband (uncredited)

Uncredited appearances

Quotes

Wonder Woman: No. No dating for the Batman ... it might cut into your brooding time.
Batman: One: Dating within the team always leads to disaster. Two: You're a princess from a society of immortal warriors, I'm a rich kid with issues. Lots of issues. And three: If my enemies knew I had someone special, they wouldn't rest until they'd gotten to me through her.
(Diana crushes the head of the gargoyle statue her hand is on)
Wonder Woman: Next.


Wonder Woman: Circe! Be careful, she's...
Batman: Yeah, I've read the Odyssey.


B'wana Beast: B'wana Beast. How you doin'?
Zatanna: (notices his stare) My legs are fine, as is the rest of me. (points to her face) Up here.
B'wana Beast: Whoa! She's got the fire of the cheetah in her! (growls)
Zatanna: (to Batman) Why are you doing this to me?


Crimson Avenger: Excuse me, sir. I'm looking for a pig.
Gladys' Husband: Gladys, it's for you.


B'wana Beast: Yo, Wonderpig! (pursues the pig Diana through the street, jumping over an oncoming truck in the process; then, over his communicator) Bats, Beast. Got a fix on your girl.


Themis: Thank you, Medusa, and know that your sentence has been reduced by three hundred years.
Medusa: (sarcastic) Freedom in 4010. Ring-a-ding-ding!


B'wana Beast: (to the pigs) Come on, guys, help me out here. Newcomer. Silver bracelets. Kinda stuck up.


Circe: Oh, thank you! I love you all! Are there any requests?
Zatanna: Selbat ekirts ecric!
Circe: I'm not sure I know that one ...


Circe: Insolent trickster! You dare to strike -
(gets hit by a chair)
Circe: You dare to strike -
(gets hit by a table)
Circe: You DARE to strike -
(gets smothered by a tablecloth)
Circe: QUIT IT!!! - Oh, no.
(gets hit by a grand piano)


Circe: I want something from you that's very precious. Something you've worked very hard to conceal. Something when gone, you can never regain. Something soul shattering.


Circe: A deal's a deal. He can stop now.
Zatanna: Not on your life!


Zatanna: Is there anything you can't do?
Batman: There's one thing I've never been very good at: saying "thank you".



Previously produced episode:
"Kid Stuff"
Episodes of
Justice League Unlimited
Next produced episode:
"The Return"
Previously aired episode:
"Hawk and Dove"
Next aired episode:
"Fearful Symmetry"

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