There’s an episode of Blackadder Goes Forth where Captain Edmund Blackadder is being courtmartialed for eating a carrier pigeon. He’s not worried, though, as he tells his jailer that he’s retained the services of Massingbird, the greatest lawyer of the age:
Jailer: I hear he’s a dab hand at the prosecution as well, sir.
Blackadder: Yes, well, look at Oscar Wilde.
Jailer: Ol’ butch Oscar.
Blackadder: Yep! Big, bearded, bonking, butch Oscar. The terror of the ladies. 114 illegitimate children, world heavyweight boxing champion and author of the best-selling pamphlet “Why I Like To Do It With Girls.” And Massingbird had him sent down for being a whoopsie.
That scene kept running through my mind as I watched Metal Fish with its depiction of Hans Christian Andersen as a flame haired, barrel-chested adventurer of the deepest depths of the sea and not, as he was in real life, a wee Danish pastry who spent much of his life in an undisclosed location hiding from his own erections. But I get ahead of myself.
So as our episode begins Ariel is swimming into part of the ocean called “the wilderness” to meet with a merman named Archimedes. Flounder asks her why this dude is living like an unfashionable leper and she explains that other merpeople shun Archimedes because he is, like Ariel, a human stan.
Meanwhile, overhead, dashing rugged adventurer Hans Christian Andersen is on a daring sea voyage in between wrestling tigers and having proper sex with girls.
Andersen, who has no more lands to conquer, has set his sights on the sea herself. He says that he wants to know whether these legends of “mermaids” are true or just the manatee sightings of horny Italian sailors. He then draws a picture of what these mermaids might look like which just so happens to be a picture of Ariel with the most eighties hair you’ve ever seen.
Back in the ocean, Ariel has met up with Archimedes who…okay, tell me…am I the only one who sees this?
Is it just me? Anyway, Ariel shows him a “biggamajigger” that she found and he tells her that it’s actually called a “telescope” and graciously does not call her a filthy casual. Archimedes has actually met humans and spoken to them and tells Ariel that they believe that mermaids are mythical creatures with really eighties hair.
While all this is going on there’s a subplot with Sebastien teaching a group of crab kids how to be scouts which I refuse to dignify with comment even though it takes up around half of the episode’s runtime. Instead, let’s check with Hans “The Man” Christian Andersen as he prepares to conquer the sea in his submarine, the Metal Fish.
Andersen takes the Metal Fish below the surface and marvels at the wonders of the deep. He passes Ariel and Archimedes who are obviously as freaked out as you would be if you were passed in the street by a haddock in a man suit. Suddenly, the Metal Fish springs a leak and sinks to the ocean floor while Andersen wrestles manfully with the controls.
As the Metal Fish comes crashing down it causes Sebastien to fall down a ravine and injure his claw. He goes to the palace and tells Triton that he’s been the victim of a USO (an Unidentified Sinking Object) and Triton immediately blames this on Long Nosed Echidnas I am of course joking he blames it on humans as he always fucking does. I mean fine, he’s right, but still…I don’t know what point I’m trying to make here. Anyway, Sebastien says “Humans! My worst nightmare! Apart from the one where you’re yelling at me…”
Meanwhile, the Metal Fish is filling up with water and all I can think about is why Hans has a portrait of some random dude hanging on the wall of his submarine.
Ariel asks Archimedes what’s going on and he explains that the human is running out of air that he needs to breathe. This leads to a line from Ariel that I consider a nadir for her character and for writing itself.
You…you know what air is Ariel. You’ve been to the surface multiple times. And you weren’t gasping like an anti-Vaxxer in the ICU which means you MUST HAVE BEEN BREATHING AIR. UNLESS YOU HAVE GILLS IN YOUR ASS. DO YOU, ARIEL? DO YOU HAVE GILLS IN YOUR ASS? ALL THIS TIME?! ALL THROUGH MY CHILDHOOD YOU HAD GILLS IN YOUR ASS!? THIS EPISODE HAS RUINED EVERYTHING.
Archimedes tells Ariel that to save the human they’ll have to get Triton who conveniently has just arrived. And you know what I really dislike how passive Ariel is in this episode. She does absolutely jack shit in what’s supposed to be her story. Anyway, she asks Daddy to solve all her problems for her and Triton reluctantly agrees. Triton uses his trident to Deus ex Machina the Metal Fish back to the surface while make this face:
Hans Christian Andersen returns to the surface and gives up his life of devil-may-care sex adventuring to become a children’s author as we all all must eventually. And the episode ends with him reading from his latest book to a group of children while a narrator just throws his head in to remind us that “The Little Mermaid” by Hans Christian Andersen is available at your local library if you’re ever in need of a depressive and can’t get your hands on some bennies.
Oh, and then we cut to Ariel sitting on a rock in the pose of the famous statue of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagan. Except, she’s just a painting and the only thing they bothered to animate was her hair and the whole effect is unspeakably creepy.
How was it?
For such a weird, gonzo premise, it’s pretty boring.
The moral of the story is: Aw, don’t you worry your pretty little head about the moral of the story. Daddy will take care of everything.
Does this violate continuity?:
So not only HAS she seen a human this close, but we’re to believe that she could ever find another man attractive after encountering the awesome masculine paragon of virility that was HANS CHRISTIAN ANDERSEN? Boy, I hope someone at Disney was fired for that blunder!