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Thoughts on The Ember Island Players

One of my favorite episodes is The Ember Island Players, a hilarious filler episode meant to serve as a recap of the entire Avatar series before the premiere of the movie, Sozin's Comet, and to make people roll on the floor laughing. And here is my review of the episode:

The Zutara Scene

Okay, I have to start with the Zutara scene. This was definitely the funniest part of the episode. The looks on Katara and Zuko's faces as they watched the scene in horror were priceless. And this serves to show that nothing got passed Mike and Bryan, not even the rabid shipping wars (Kataang vs. Zutara). This was an extremely clever way to shout out to all the crazed Zutarians out there. But the fact that they communicated their awareness of the whole Zutara concept through a humorous act of a pathetically performed play rather than an actual interaction between the two real characters just goes to show that they didn't take the ship too seriously; in others words, Zutara ain't gonna happen, kids!

The Kataang (sort of) scene

I know there are Kataangers out there who did not like this scene because of the way Katara dismissed an idea of a relationship with Aang. Personally, I liked it. It goes to show that it's not always going to be a perfect fairytale story for Katara and Aang even if they did kiss at the invasion. Relationships go through rough periods, too, and Katara and Aang's relationship is no exception.

This is also a great scene because it reveals the emotional turbulence Katara was experiencing at the time. Her thoughts and fears are shown evidently in this scene. Not only had she endured the trauma of confronting her mother's killer recently, but she was also worrying deeply about what the future might hold. She knew that Aang would have to face off against Ozai in a short while and that she may never actually see him again after that. Katara was well aware of the fact that Aang might not survive the battle and that caused such an inner turmoil that she denied her feelings for him to spare her the pain of what might come. It takes a little figuring out to come to this conclusion, but it's the reality.

Character Reactions

All the characters' reactions to the horrible portrayals of themselves and the inaccurate scenes were golden. There was plenty of tongues sticking out, disgusted looks and complaints. I loved Katara's reactions to her "precchy, crybaby" actress. Toph's reactions to her character being portrayed as a guy was also very funny, especially when her actor was demonstrating his "siesmic sense". While everyone was covering their ears and cringing, Toph had this huge smile on her face. She was absolutely fascinated. Oh Toph... And Sokka. Poor Sokka being portrayed as horrible joker when his jokes are just too funny (and I'm not being sarcastic here). The only reactions I didn't like were Aang's reactions to the whole Zutara scene. I felt really bad for Aang at that point; shows how deep his feelings were for Katara that he took a stupid, inaccurate play scene seriously.


It was also very nice to see how the writers and creators incorporated certain things, such as audience reactions to episodes, into the play. The episode reaction reference for the Great Divide episode, while not exactly funny, was witty. Also a nice touch having the audience fall asleep during the scene of The Drill. And of course there was the Zutara reference, but I already discussed that. And the whole scene between Actor Sokka and Actress Yue seemed to be a Yukka reference, although I'm not sure. And there might've been that Taang reference when Actor Sokka joked about Aang and Toph having a "rocky relationship". It does sum up how I feel their relationship would be if they ever dated. So it looks like there were a few shipping references in this episode.

Actors and Actresses

Actress Aang: Two words: Extremely annoying. Aang as a perky, bubbly prankster? That's just wrong. The play portrayed Aang as ignorant, very immature and flighty, a joker who's all pep and no seriousness. That was a turnoff for me.

Actress Katara: While dismaying because of the inaccuracy of Katara's portrayal, very funny. The portrayal of Katara as an overweight, melodramatic crybaby was pretty comical.

Actor Sokka: Overall, a boring character with nothing to say but stupid jokes about his hunger. He did not portray the real Sokka's classic goofiness nor his strategic, logical side. I didn't like Actor Sokka.

Actor Zuko: Actor Zuko didn't add too much humor to the episode plus he didn't seem antagonistic or villainous at all. The Zutara scene was still very funny to watch, though.

Actress Azula: What happened to the sadistic, manipulative, calculating and clever Azula we all know? Actress Azula was pathetic in the play, not the slightest bit evil or cunning. And what was with the pink clothing? That is not Azula.

Actor Iroh: And again, what happened to the wise, good humored old Iroh we know as well? Where were all the great proverbs? Well... what can you expect from a play like that?

Other Things to Note

One thing I found particularly funny was the way Katara played it cool when Aang was protesting to Zuko about not being able to sit next to her during the play. She was very relaxed and nonchalant with an expression on her face that said, "I'll just sit here and let things work out on their own." It's typically not her nature to just detach herself from something like that and stand by coolly to see how things turn out, so it was pretty humorous to see how she behaved during that part.

Overall Reactions and Ratings

This was a truly awesome filler episode, one you can watch when you're feeling downcast and know that you'll end up falling off the couch you were laughing so hard. Here are the ratings:

Humor: 9/10 Oh yeah, there was plenty in this episode! Some scenes were funnier than others, but all-in-all this was an extraordinarily funny episode.

Plot Development: 10/10 I found no real problems with the plot development in the episode. There were no holes in the storyline and it was very cleverly thought out.

Overall: 9.5/10 A great episode, one that made my top five episode list. Not epically huge or that contributive to the actual plot, but great for a laugh!

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