Mark Watches ‘Avatar’: S02E11 – The Desert

In the eleventh episode of the second season of Avatar: The Last Airbender, Aang becomes furious at the discovery of what happened while he was inside the library, and Katara struggles valiantly to keep Team Avatar together. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Avatar.

WHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYY DID I END MY LAST REVIEW LIKE THAT. good lord WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME. Within seconds of starting “The Desert,” I realized how TRAGICALLY IRONIC IT WAS that I made those statements about Aang and Toph. And maybe I completely underestimated how attached Aang was to Appa, but Aang’s response throughout most of “The Desert” is pretty much the exact opposite of what I anticipated.

To an extent, I get it. I get that Appa represents more than Aang’s flying bison and more than just his friend. Like Momo, he’s one of the only remaining remnants of his entire culture. The three of them are all that’s left of that airbenders, and if you stole that from Aang, it is absolutely enough to send him into a rage. (And oh lord, does he fly into a rage in this episode.) I just think that his anger is so immediately misdirected and I wish that there had been a moment where Aang realized that. (Saying that, though, I realized this episode ended very suddenly, at the exact moment that Aang knew he’d overreacted, so it’s entirely possible that this is to be in the future.)

But Aang’s overreaction is worse than I expected even after the cold open. He accuses not only Toph, but the entire gang of thinking only of themselves and not of Appa at all. I mean, yes, it is dearly important that they find Appa, but they’re are STRANDED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DESERT, AANG. I was kind of irritated that Aang blames them all, and then takes off on his own, possibly leaving his friends to certain death. IN THE MIDDLE OF THE DESERT.

(This is not a criticism of the writing, FYI, as this is all probably a very important step in Aang’s growth.)

It’s at this point that the fabulous, practical, and pragmatic Katara steps up to the plate to show each and every one of us that she is a natural-born leader, one who persists and maintains hope in the most hopeless of circumstances. We haven’t had a Katara-centric episode in a while, and “The Desert” provides us with some of her most glowing moments yet. She sympathizes instantly with Aang’s fury and, instead of sulking or panicking, begins immediately to plan for the imminent future. They are the only beings on the planet who are alive and know of the Fire Nation’s weakness, and it is imperative that they travel to Ba Sing Se as quickly as possible to bring word to the people there.

Meanwhile, the episode also gives us the continued story of Zuko and Iroh, who are on a difficult journey of their own. It’s becoming increasingly complicated for the two of them to travel without being spotted as fugitives of the Fire Nation, and this is never more apparent than when the Rough Rhinos (who were in the opening of “Avatar Day”) surround them, making it clear they are going to collect these fugitives to get their bounty. Iroh, always the calm optimist, introduces them to his nephew and makes jokes about their preference for tea and their musical predilections to Zuko, who is shocked that Iroh actually knows them. Of course, Iroh is stalling in order to size up precisely where they are, so when they attack, it’s a quick and fluid battle on Iroh’s part as he magnificently neutralizes all of them with almost no effort at all. Seriously, the man’s a genius! As him and Zuko escape on the ostrich-horse that Zuko stole episodes ago, Zuko wonders aloud if Iroh has any friends left who don’t want to attack him, and in doing so, inspires Iroh to visit those very people.

Team Avatar, minus Aang, continue to trek through the repetitious and arid desert and Katara is forced to share her pouch of waterbending water with her friends to prevent them from dehydrating. The swampy taste of the water seemingly disgusts them all, but what other choice do they have? Sokka answers this question when he spots a lone cactus nearby, rushing to slice it open. He and Momo immediately begin to quench their thirst as Katara suggests that perhaps they shouldn’t be drinking from unknown plants in the middle of nowhere. Katara had no idea just how wrong she was about this suggestion because had Sokka and Momo not drank from the cactus, we would never have seen the UTTER BRILLIANCE of him and Momo HIGH AS FUCK on cactus juice. (That has to be a mescaline reference, which is ON A CHILDREN’S SHOW. oh my god this show y’all.)

Yes, it absolutely ridiculous and silly, but I honestly could not stop laughing. The situation in that desert was dire enough as it is, and Sokka and Momo’s constant inability to interpret reality was a much-needed break from the possible monotony of it all. On top of that, there are some fascinating stylistic choices in the way Sokka’s hallucinations are played out, from a different animation style to some particularly wacky music. For Momo, too, there’s a running visual gag of him wanting to do nothing more than feel the wind blow through his wings, despite that he is not actually flying at all.

I am so glad this show can be so funny at times, especially when an event is interpreted through such a humorous lens. In that case, miles away, Aang is heartbroken and furious that he cannot find Appa, and, in a moment of concentrated rage, he airbends in a way to create an explosion in the sand that creates a gigantic mushroom cloud. Katara knows how serious this is, and when she tells Toph, you can hear it in her voice that she’s beginning to be more afraid for Aang. But Momo and Sokka? They’re convinced it is an actual mushroom. “Friendly mushroom!” Sokka exclaims! “Mushy giant friend!”

Seriously, bless his heart.

Aang, dejected about the reality of what has happened, returns to his friends. As a sign of how he and Katara treat a difficult situation, I really adored that Katara did not once jump to criticizing him for leaving them behind to fend for themselves, since neither Katara or Toph could protect the group with bending. Instead, she puts aside whatever feelings she might have and insists that the group continue to press on. They hike until nightfall, whereupon Katara tells them all to rest while she uses one of the maps Sokka stole during “The Library” to see if she can find the way to Ba Sing Se. Her plan is to have them walk during the night and rest during the day so that they are not so exhausted from the heat.

I don’t even believe that Katara sleeps at all that night, choosing to put the safety of the whole group before herself as she devises a method to finding Ba Sing Se using the stars. Even with a dejected and defeatist Aang acting as a thorn in the side of her morale, she presses onward. I’ve said before that out of everyone on Team Avatar, Katara is the most hopeful, and here in “The Desert,” I feel I could not be more right about that.

We then discover that Iroh has lead Zuko straight to the Misty Palms Oasis, and he reveals his bizarre plan (or at least part of it) to Zuko: He’s going to play Pai Sho with a stranger in the back of the room. Earlier, Xin Fu and Master Yu had shown up in the same town and watched as Zuko and Iroh entered the same bar from “The Library,” and Xin Fu is impatient; he wants to capture the fugitives to collect the bounty on their heads, but Master Yu (correctly) claims that if they draw too much attention to this fact, they may be overwhelmed by the desperate men in that room.

Iroh, on the other hand, is far from desperate at this moment. I wasn’t as angry as Zuko, but in terms of being confused, I was right there with him. Why on earth was Iroh playing Pai Sho and why was that important? Except Zuko quickly realizes this is not at all any sort of traditional game of Pai Sho that he’s seen, as the mysterious man and Iroh begin to quickly assemble Pai Sho pieces into an intentional pattern that forms into one giant lotus flower. That’s when the Pai Sho stranger hints that Iroh is part of some sort of clandestine group and Iroh knows he has found one of those friends who doesn’t want to attack him.

As Xin Fu moves in at that moment to capture Iroh and Zuko, foolishly announcing himself as he tries to, the stranger at the Pai Sho table provides the perfect cover: he loudly mentions the word “gold” and pure chaos erupts in that bar. (I loved the visual reference to old western bar fights when one of the men is thrown into the bar shelves as the bartender ducks. There are so many of these things in this season!) As Xin Fu and Master Yu fight the localizes, the three others slip away into the night.

Back with Team Avatar, Katara still struggles with her own impatience as Momo and Sokka continue to hallucinate, Toph slips into depressing, and Aang further allows his anger to control him. And, again, not once does she make this situation about herself. She is so beautifully focused throughout all of these scenes in “The Desert” and while I hope I’m not sticking my foot in my mouth like I did at the end of the last review, I’d really love if the rest of the group acknowledged this in the next episode.

She keeps the group moving and refuses to let impatience get the best of her, even when Aang snaps at her when he doesn’t get as much water from a passing cloud as anyone would like. Her face is sad and tired, for sure, but everything is internalized here. She defies the opportunity to let anyone know that she’s just as dejected and exhausted as everyone else. Seriously, she’s amazing. I have to say that.
Thankfully, they get a bit of a boost when Toph accidentally discovers one of the sandbender’s sand boats and Aang uses airbending to help them glide smoothly across the expansive desert. Katara initially believes that the compass onboard works perfectly, but they soon discover a giant rock formation that seems to be the “magnetic center” of the desert. Toph, more than anyone else, is ecstatic at the possibility of putting her feet on solid ground, so they rush to see exactly what’s at this rock. Once they’re there, it’s great to see Toph’s depression lift, and she shows us this by making a rock angel. And that is a sentence I never thought I’d write, but there you go. Thanks, Avatar.

There was a scene earlier where Sokka hallucinated about the “circle birds” that turned out not to be a hallucination at all, and here on that rock, they find out that it’s actually a giant nest for BUZZARD WASPS. what. Well, actually, before they discover this, Sokka, who believes that the cactus juice is finally out of his system, LITERALLY LICKS SOME OF THE GOO OFF THE WALLS OF THE NEST. my god. Sokka, didn’t you just get in trouble for putting strange shit into your mouth. Oh my god, it’s totally true, Sokka’s problems are always caused by his own actions. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.

The buzzard wasps are creepy enough and the scene does allow Aang to slip temporarily out of his state of PURE RAGE when Momo is captured. Having a defined task like this almost clears up Aang’s head for a moment, as he’s determined not to lose another friend out in this desert hellhole. But for me, the real point of the buzzard wasps was to lead right into what happens next. Aang, giving right back in to his anger, appears to actually kill the wasp that stole Momo, and that was kind of shocking to me. He hadn’t done that before, had he? And yet the moment seems to mean nothing to him at all, almost as if he’s not even himself. When Aang returns to his friends, who are all frantically battling the remaining wasps, huge columns of sand shoot up into the air, scaring off the insect hybrids, and HOLY SHIT THERE ARE A BUNCH OF SANDBENDERS RIGHT THERE.

Given how tense this is, of course the episode immediately switches back to Iroh and I cannot even handle what the hell is going on, and that’s when Iroh tells Zuko (who was not allowed to attend the meeting of the Order of the White Lotus) why he came all this way: his friends have found a place that they can hide.

Inside of Ba Sing Se.


As if I needed even more to freak out about, the sandbenders confront Team Avatar about how they came to acquire a vessel of theirs and Katara explains calmly. When one particular sandbender immediately jumps to the conclusion that Katara just accused the sandbenders of stealing Appa (when she totally didn’t), Toph immediately exclaims that she recognizes that man as one of the ones who stole Appa. In an instant, Aang returns right back to that stage of rage and fury, demanding to know where Appa is.

The sandbender (named Ghashiun) denies this claim and then I am completely confused. Toph says that she heard Ghashiun order someone to put a muzzle on Appa, but…did I miss that at the end of “The Library”? Eh, I probably did, but either way, I am prone to believing her. Why would she lie?

Regardless, it doesn’t matter, because Toph’s actions cause Aang to be consumed by so much rage that he goes into the Avatar State and I sat slack-jawed at the site of this. He destroys two sandbender vessels before Ghashiun admits that he not only stole Appa, but traded him to a merchant that is headed to Ba Sing Se. A;LSKDF FJA;DSIJF A;LSDKFJASF A;A;DLKFJJ OH GOD THEY ARE ALL GOING TO BE INSIDE BA SING SE jesus take the wheel

Yet, as mind-blowing as this is, this episode’s most important moment is when Aang begins to seal himself in an air ball, like the one we saw in “The Southern Air Temple,” and it is a sure bet that Aang is about to bring hell down on the sandbenders. In a moment of unbelievable sympathy, Katara, unafraid of Aang, reaches up to grab his wrist, pull him down to her, and give him a loving hug. As Aang slowly leaves the Avatar state, we see that he is crying, and then my heart breaks into a million pieces and then the episode ends ffffffffffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu

This show. This show.


  • “Appa? Now why would Princess Yue need him? She’s the moon, she flies by herself!” Pretty sure I now ship Momo and Sokka with cactus juice.
  • “How did we get out here in the middle of the ocean?”
  • Hey, Zuko. I saw you sneak a sniff of that flower. I saw you.
  • “Would you like some tea first? I’d love some! What about you, Kahchi? I make you as a Jasmine man. Am I right?” <333333333
  • “They went in the desert! Too bad there’s almost no chance they survived.” “That’s okay, since she’s wanted dead or alive.” “No, she’s not! I’m certain her father wants her alive.” LOL FOREVER.


About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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508 Responses to Mark Watches ‘Avatar’: S02E11 – The Desert

    • nochenne says:

      Except Zuko is infinitely more interesting than Draco Malfoy. The most commendable thing you can say about Draco is that he couldn't bring himself to kill Dumbledore. He's still a horrible person. Whereas, while we still don't really know what his deal is or where is future will lead, Zuko has an incredibly compelling story. "Zuko Alone" is probably my favorite episode.

      That's not to say that that comic is not excellent, though. And certainly Aang and Harry's comments are consistent with their characterization. Haha.

      • tigerpetals says:

        And Harry doesn't think Malfoy is a good person.

        All the other teenage antagonists here are more interesting than Malfoy.

      • Embies says:

        I just don't get the fandom fascination with Malfoy. To me, he'll always be just a bully and a whiny brat.

        • sabra_n says:

          As many, many, people have said, Zuko is what people wanted Malfoy to be. And as much as I adore HP, I do think Avatar tells a better story for having such a developed, sympathetic antagonist and for not painting its "Slytherin" as universally made up of evil individuals.

          Malfoy got a wee bit of development very late in the series, and Slytherin got Slughorn, but that wasn't nearly enough to counter their one-dimensional treatment before then. Which is a shame, and one of the few real weaknesses of Rowling's story.

          • nochenne says:

            Perhaps, but I was satisfied with the Malfoys' development. I was pleased that Draco showed us he had some human qualities (in that he wasn't capable of murder), but I didn't need him to team up with Harry to be happy with the way things ended. Actually, I was most impressed with the way Jo handled Narcissa in DH. Even Slytherin, Death Eater mums will do just about anything for their children (a theme, incidentally, we see repeated with Ursa in ATLA), including flat-out lying to Voldemort. That was gutsy and great storytelling.

            However, I think you have a point with Slytherin House in general. Jo said in her PotterCast interview that the Slytherins did indeed come back to help during the Battle of Hogwarts, only they went to get reinforcements first. But she made that anything but clear in the written text. Normally I'll easily embrace Jo's interviews as canon (her world, her characters, her word counts for more), but in this case it was a bit harder to swallow.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      In regards to Aang/Harry similarities…

      Aang's glider/Harry's Firebolt is OTP. Because it's a match made in heaven. Literally!

    • ldwy says:

      Oh my gosh, so amazing!

  1. Sami says:

    "Jesus take the wheel."

    I've got to say Mark, I'm surprised you chose to use Jesus' name in that blasphemous way. Given how many discussions there have been lately about certain words and how they cause offence, I might have thought that would extent to Christians as well.

    • omg i can't tell if you're being serious or not

    • Please take your complaint up with Carrie Underwood.

      • Violets are Blue says:

        And the rest of country music while you're at it.

      • Sami says:

        I don't see why just because someone uses it in that way should make it all right to repeat it.

        • Violets are Blue says:

          I will grant you, it is out of context but the entire song is about a woman turning to Jesus to save her and her infant from her complicated and somewhat depressing life and how she thanks Him for literally saving her during a spinout in a blizzard; the essential 'Jesus take the wheel'. It is honestly a moving song and I would doubt many Christians consider it blasphemous although I could be wrong.

    • Shay_Guy says:

      Are claims of concern trolling falsifiable?

      • Sami says:

        Wasn't this blog supposed to be a corner of the internet where potentially offensive language wasn't used. Or does that not apply to people of religious faith?

        • FlameRaven says:

          4) No bigotry, racist, sexist, cissexist, transmisogynistic, ableist bullshit will be allowed. I can’t list every form of oppression that exists, but think about your words: are they at the expense of a minority group or a vulnerable community of people? Are you being mean for the sake of it or to make an ill-formed joke? Have some courtesy to those around you; you have no idea who else is reading the comments and can be potentially harmed or triggered by your words.

          Christians are neither a minority group nor being oppressed. The perception of oppression is not the same as the real thing.

          Using the phrase "jesus take the wheel" is a joke, one taken from a song that is legitimately about faith. You might be offended by the joke, because you see it as blasphemy, but it is not something that is harming you or Christians in general.

          Does that clarify things?

      • calimie says:

        You taught me a word! Thank you! It's a beautiful one.

    • arctic_hare says:

      HAHAHAHAHAHA no. There is a big, big difference between "blasphemy" and -ist slurs that marginalize people. I would suggest you cease and desist with this concern trolling.

      • Sami says:

        To you maybe. I'm not saying -ist slurs aren't terrible, but I don't think there's any need for blasphemy either. It causes offence, and is very easy not to do.
        I also don't think you need to be so quite so rude about it, but I can't stop you.

        • Shay_Guy says:

          "Causes offence." No claim of actually being offended, only that someone somewhere could be. Definitely not falsifiable. "I also don't think you need to be so quite so rude about it, but I can't stop you." Tone argument. Arguable passive aggression, but I don't know that that's falsifiable either.

        • arctic_hare says:

          Not "to [me], maybe", there is a big difference period. It's not even remotely the same thing. No one is actually marginalizing Christians here, and Christians themselves are not a minority nor are they marginalized. Far from it. You are not being oppressed by someone using language you consider to be blasphemous. These words are not insulting slurs against Christians.

          Furthermore, you're pulling out the tone argument against me. Don't do that.

          • Sami says:

            I'm not saying that Christians are being marginalised. I'm saying that blasphemy is unnecessary and hurtful to me, and others.
            In regards to the tone argument, from what I understand about it, if I was using tone argument surely I would be the one getting angry and using tone as such?

            • arctic_hare says:

              It is still not the same thing as the slurs that are disallowed here. By trying to compare them, you are indeed suggesting that Christians are being marginalized, because that's what those slurs do: marginalize people. No one is saying you're wrong for disliking what you see as blasphemous language, we're saying you're wrong to compare such language to the usage of words used to hurt and marginalize various minorities.

              Also, you misunderstand the tone argument. The tone argument is attempting to derail the conversation by criticizing the tone of the person calling you out. You criticized my tone by saying I didn't need to be so rude about this, therefore you are using the tone argument.

              • prosodi says:

                I think this whole conversation is a little ridiculous, but I feel compelled to point out that no, Christian's aren't marginalized or a minority in the United States – but they are very much so in other parts of the country. The internet is not just for North America.

                • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                  This is true, but for the sake of this conversation and the overwhelming majority of the site, they most certainly are not.

                  As an ex-Christian, I'm actually at a bit of a loss about HOW this would be considered blasphemous, and I come from Catholicism and Seventh Day Adventists and those two churches pretty much wrote the book on what's considered blasphemy. Asking Jesus, even in jest, to "take the wheel" is actually kind of a compliment?

                  Moreover, the point still stands: There is a difference between oppressive language and blasphemous language, and a pretty large one at that. And while I appreciate the fact that you pointed this out, as it's not something I'd noticed before or considered, I'm a bit flabbergasted that THIS is what you chose to call blasphemous when I have used the Lord's name in vain a couple trillion times in the past. Well, unless you're new here, which would explain that.

                  So. Yeah.

                  • I'm a bit flabbergasted that THIS is what you chose to call blasphemous when I have used the Lord's name in vain a couple trillion times in the past.
                    This is the most ridiculous part! You've been way more blasphemous before!

                • arctic_hare says:

                  Be that as it may, so-called blasphemous language is still not oppressive language. It may be offensive to some people, but it is not oppressive. Look up the difference.

                  • Sami says:

                    If you'd care to read my posts, you'll notice I used the word offence, nothing about oppression…Get your facts right.

                    • We are well aware of what word you are using, and if you read the rules, you would see that Mark uses the word "oppression," nothing about offense. Oppressive language is what is disallowed here, not offensive language.

                    • FlameRaven says:

                      Indeed. Honestly, I could understand people being offended at the common use of profanity used on the site more than I understand someone being offended at "Jesus take the wheel."

                    • affableevil says:

                      Shit, how many times have we said fuck? Fuck fuckity fuck fuck fuck.

                    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                      No, you didn't say the word, but you've been treating it as if it is the same thing. You keep referencing the rules, which only apply to oppressive language, and you use the same reason I and others have used for that type of language. You don't need to say it in order to heavily, heavily imply it.

                    • Sami says:

                      I wouldn't say I've been treating it at the same thing. I appreciate the difference between oppression and offence and that oppression is very serious and is understandably not tolerated. But I don't see why there's a need to offend OR oppress. Why should either be acceptable?

                    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                      Who said there is a need to do it? You are rapidly approaching a level of absurdity I've not seen online in a long time. We are not saying you and others should be displeased with my use of "Jesus take the wheel." While I do not believe it to be blasphemous even in the context of Christianity, I have also not said that I will continue to use it? And you seem to be implying that I have some NEED to do that, and I don't know where you're getting it. If it hurts people, marginalized or not, I really don't have a desire to hurt people. I'll probably stop using it around here if it makes people feel better.

                      What I and others are literally begging you to understand (and what you just did AGAIN) is to stop equivocating the two IN ANY WAY AT ALL. So PLEASE STOP IT.

                    • MichelleZB says:

                      Because offending people is not the same as marginalizing or oppressing them.

                      In fact, accusing someone of blasphemy has been, through history, a pretty good *tool* of oppression–a good way of shutting people up when they say things you don't like or don't agree with.

                    • Danielle says:

                      You do not have the right to never be offended by anything. The fact that you, personally, find something offensive for whatever reason, is not a compelling argument for everyone everywhere to stop doing that thing. To quote the great Stephen Fry, " 'I'm so offended by that.' Well, so fucking what?"

                    • Shay_Guy says:

                      "Get your facts right." Condescension, with all its implications regarding attitude toward other readers of this blog. Hypocrisy on account of an earlier tone argument and on account of getting the facts of the rules wrong.

                      Probability of not being a CT: negligible.

                    • Sami says:

                      Well I'm sorry, but I do feel like I've been persecuted and frankly ridiculed only because I believe blasphemy is offensive and easily avoidable.

                    • arctic_hare says:

                      You are not being persecuted in any way, shape, or form. You are being asked to please stop equivocating oppressive and offensive languages.

                    • Shay_Guy says:

                      You have not been persecuted. This is a fact. What you have experienced does not fit applicable definitions of persecution. Your reported feelings are a secondary matter.

                    • breesquared says:

                      I think what you need to think about is the fact that what you quoted might be something you think you're not allowed to do according to your religion, but it's hardly a directed insult at Christians as a group, or to you as a member of that group. Just because you disagree with it/dislike reading it does not mean it is a tool of persecution.

                    • TheWelshPirate says:

                      While I can understand that "blasphemy" might be offensive to you, you should be aware that not everybody subscribes to the same religious beliefs as yourself. And I think that your insistence that we shouldn't be allowed to use words that YOUR religion finds offensive counts as a form of religious oppression.

            • Shay_Guy says:

              That's not what it means, as a cursory Google indicates. The top result, with and without quotes, says "A tone argument is an argument used in discussions, sometimes by concern trolls and sometimes as a derailment, in which it is suggested that feminists would be more successful if only they expressed themselves in a more pleasant tone." The concept is not exclusive to feminism, and therefore "feminists" may be substituted with other groups.

              Not impressed.

          • stumpoman says:

            since when do you have to be a minority to have any say on what is offensive?

            • No one is saying that. Oppression and marginalization are different from offense.

              • stumpoman says:

                well the point still stands. saying you can't be oppressed or marginalized as a part of the majority is just not true.

                • Anne says:

                  Wait, are you saying the majority can be oppressed and marginalized?

                  • stumpoman says:

                    an individual who is part of the majority

                    • xpanasonicyouthx says:


                    • stumpoman says:

                      you can't ignore how you are treating someone simply because they are a part of a majority group

                    • stumpoman says:

                      lets put it this way. can i call someone a cracker on this blog because they are white and well they are a majority so it must be okay.

                      obviously no

                      expecting this to get edited but sometimes you have to make a point

                    • Anne says:

                      Does calling a white person a cracker remind them of centuries of oppression and their race being considered inferior?

                      Being rude != oppression or marginalization

                    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                      is this really happening on my blog

                      is this the real life
                      is this just fantasy

                    • psycicflower says:

                      Caught in a landslide
                      No escape from reality

                      (sorry, it was like it was calling to me)

                    • arctic_hare says:

                      IKR? It's so surreal I feel like I drank cactus juice.

                    • barnswallowkate says:

                      I am wishing really hard that I could upvote this* more than once.

                      (*This = Anne's comment. It's hard to tell with all these other comments in between. Although it applies to Mark's comment as well!)

                    • Anne says:

                      Aww, thank you 🙂

                    • affableevil says:

                      Let's put it this way. Being called a cracker would be nowhere in the same league as someone pulling out the "n-word". Because there is not a history of oppression tied to the word cracker. They are not even close to comparable.

                      Also, mods don't go around editing people's comments if they disagree with them. They respond, delete if they feel it's too far against the rules, and ban if it gets outrageous. They don't just come in and edit a post.

                      "sometimes you have to make a point"

                      Well you made one, but it was poorly constructed, ill-supported, with little understanding of the terms you are trying to apply.

                    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                      Yeah, my mods are not allowed to edit comments unless absolutely necessary. Which is, so far, never.

                      Also your hypothetical situation is ridiculous because no one is doing this and my rules state that egregious name-calling is not allowed. So please play again. Actually, don't.

                    • stumpoman says:

                      sorry not quite done.

                      its supposed to be ridiculous. hence why it is hypothetical.

                      now go back to the original topic and you have people dismissing other peoples points as valid simply because they are christians.

                      but you need historical backup apparently to matter. so lets go back to the thousands of christians who were slaughtered. yes its been a while but hey it reminds me of it so its relevant now. oh and the hundreds of living people i have talked to who have been bullied (which isn't oppression in this case, folks!) for being christians, myself included.

                    • /nowhere has mark said someone's opinions were not valid /because/ they were a christian/

                      and i'm sorry, but the deaths of lots and lots of people =/= people getting angry at someone for implying that "Jesus take the wheel" is an /oppressive comment/

                      and no, bullying does not always equal oppression, as has been stated in this thread a LOT so far. i've been bullied for having red hair most of my life, but i am not being oppressed for it.
                      (not the greatest example, but.)

                    • stumpoman says:

                      i never said mark did. a lot of people in this thread however are.

                      im not talking about the original post. just what i am seeing in peoples responses to it.

                    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                      seriously what are you even doing anymore

                      none of this makes sense

                      none of it is relevant.

                      are you simply doing this to test me? Are you god or something?

                      In all seriousness, you need to provide examples of that sort of dismissive attitude because I see people being anything BUT that. You appear to be literally making shit up just to make a point.

                    • Noybusiness says:

                      No they didn't. They said Christians in America haven't had the experience of being oppressed for being Christian and shouldn't equate what negative experiences they may have had with oppression.

                    • Noybusiness says:

                      Exactly. I'm white and I can look at the word "cracker" (the existence of which I was only peripherally aware of before now) without flinching. It would be impossible to say the same of the n-word.

                    • WHO IS UPVOTING THESE COMMENTS



                    • Hyatt says:

                      The concern trolls are upvoting each other's comments, obviously.

                    • honestly!!! it's worrying me though because it just means there are /that many more people that agree with them/ or are at least trolling but still omg i just can't

                    • breesquared says:

                      It's not nice, but it's certainly not OPPRESSIVE.

                      In elementary school, I, a white girl, dealt with racial bullying from people who weren't white. It was wrongof them to do to me. But I was not being oppressed because in the long run I, as a white person, have a lot of things in society that the people bullying me did not.

                    • Shay_Guy says:

                      I'm not sure if it makes sense either, but one thing I know is that a minority can oppress a majority if the distinction is class-based or supported by law. It's just dangerous for the minority — if the oppressed rebel, they outnumber you.

                • stumpoman says:

                  Just to clarify I am not bothered at all the "Jesus take the wheel" line. Its this idea that if someone is a part of the majority that suddenly they don't matter and can't be marginalized. Minorities do it to majorities, majorities do it to minorities. Sometimes one group will even do it to themselves. None of these situations are any less important.

                  • Anne says:

                    Do you understand what majority means? It's not the numerical majority — it's the majority in terms of power, influence, and recognition.

                    • stumpoman says:

                      my point is people need to stop being assholes to each other regardless of whoever they may be.

                    • Anne says:

                      Yes, people need to stop being assholes to each other, but you still can't say that a minority group can somehow oppress or marginalize a majority! Please understand that, at least.

                    • hpfish13 says:

                      I think it depends on how you define the majority. I acknowledge that Christians are the majority in this country, but I spent the entirety of my school years being teased, bullied and ostracized because I was a Christian and considered a prude, a goody-two-shoes, and was constantly labelled as self-righteous and ignorant both by my fellow students and my teachers. I would call this oppression.

                    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                      There are some ways in which Christians CAN be oppressed, but certainly nowhere in the US. You experienced some vicious, prejudicial bullying. Bullying is not always oppression because oppression is always systematic on a large scale.

                      Does that make sense? What you went through is awful and when I was Christian, I went through it too. But it's not the same as systematically being denied agency, privacy, the right to the same laws as non-marginalized bodies, access, etc. That's what makes up oppression.

                    • Shay_Guy says:

                      Bullying is personal, oppression is large-scale and systematic — that's the distinction? I'll have to remember that, thanks!

                    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                      Well…no, and if that's what it came off as, allow me to correct myself. Bullying is a tool of oppression, but it can occur outside of oppression. I meant that there is sometimes a dichotomy of the two and that bullying can be prejudicial in nature, but have no oppressive acts within it.

                    • hpfish13 says:

                      I am genuinely trying to understand the difference between the two, so thanks for your helpful answers. I hate to debate based on specific incidents, but I have a quick question regarding a specific situation. My sister's teacher failed her because on a major project, which involved crafting a society, she crafted one which was Christian. Her teacher said she failed her because of the need to maintain the separation of church and state and the school upheld her decision. My question is whether this would be considered oppression or bullying. I'm really not trying to be antagonistic, just accurate in my choice of words.

                    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                      oh gosh. Hmm. I wouldn't really know entirely because the issue of religious oppression is perhaps one of the most relative based on geographical location.

                      that teacher kind of sounds awful? I mean without the context of the class or knowing what the assignment is, I can't see why that teacher would ever interpret the separation of church and state as having to do with a constitutional issue. That is just absurd!

                      Hell, I honestly don't know. Any other Watchers want to give their thoughts on this?

                    • i think more information is needed? is there a history of christians and christian ideas or even any religious person being treated like this at that school because of said religion?

                    • hpfish13 says:

                      Not the school per-say, but possibly throughout the school district. The choirs were not allowed to sing Christmas songs that weren't about Santa Claus, the Christian club was forced to change its name to something more generic and they were not allowed to tape Bible verses to the sodas they handed out for free on the day clubs were all selling things.

                      We never learned anything about the tenets of the Christian faith in history classes (we only were taught about the negative things the church had done), but we were required to memorize in detail the beliefs of Buddhism, Islam, Hinduism and other religions.

                      There may be other examples, but I'm having trouble remembering them at the moment.

                      So, maybe?

                    • well, some schools are really strict about NO RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION.

                      so, were other religions treated the same way? are there clubs for other religious groups that were not allowed to do similar things, etc?
                      as far as the history goes, that seems to be common though. i went to a /catholic high school/ and it was pretty much the same, because, uh, the church has done a lot of negative things? and as far as the general public goes, those religions are known less about and it would be better to educate people about them more to try to avoid all the misunderstandings and such.

                    • basically what i'm saying it: i didin't go to your school, i was not in your school district (THAT I KNOW OF?!) so it's not really my place to tell you, i guess.

                    • echinodermata says:

                      Sounds to me like a school or school district that doesn't actually understand the legal aspects of faith in schools. The stuff you said, I'm pretty sure, should be illegal in the US. (Possibly not the choir one, unless that was student-run, in which case also illegal, I think)

                      I would assume this is a product of the school(s) being afraid of getting sued, and so they're way overcompensating such that now there's actually reason for someone to sue them.

                    • Time-Machine says:

                      I can actually see the choirs not being allowed to sing Christian songs at Christmas, unless a whole lot of other beliefs (and lack) are represented as well. I remember even when I was Christian I felt uncomfortable joining our school choir because all their music was gospel music, and some of it didn't represent my particular brand of Christianity, and it just made me uncomfortable.

                      I'm cool with a faith-y proper Christmas song or two if it's balanced out with a Chanukah song and, IDK, White Wine In The Sun or something, and other people's reason for the season too.

                      But if only one perspective was being represented, and they couldn't figure out a way to represent other students who didn't line up? Then I'm kind of okay with just songs about pretty snow and presents and that kind of wintery stuff that's closer to universal and doesn't do so much marginalization.

                      The Christian Club thing IS bullshit, though. The school itself shouldn't be promoting one religion over another, but if the students want to get together and express their beliefs, there's no reason the school shouldn't give them the opportunity, as long as other groups (like a Humanist/Atheist group, or a Jewish group, or whatever) are also allowed to organize with the same freedom.

                    • MichelleZB says:

                      Okay, it seems like your school district may have been a bit extreme there, changing the name of the Christian club, etc. I sympathise with that and I agree that school boards can do some pretty wacky shit.

                      But I do want to offer a perspective from my childhood growing up as a non-Christian child. I'll have to say that, while I was really really happy for everyone at Christmas that they were having a good holiday and everything, but the crazy holiday fuss at school did make me feel a little… left out.

                      I liked singing in the choir and I even liked singing Christmas carols. But it did make me feel a little small when there didn't seem to be any acknowledgement that some people aren't Christian. Singing only Christmas songs sort of tells little non-Christian kids, "Everyone celebrates Christmas, and you don't really exist." And so it was really nice when I had a teacher who would insist we sing secular songs, because those were for *everyone*, and that meant they were for me, too: they were for me, and my Christian friends, and my Hindu friend, and everyone in the whole world.

                      I'm having trouble expressing how included I felt, as a small child, when our "Christmas concert" was changed to our "Winter concert". I know it seems like a small thing, but it mean a lot to me and the other non-Christian children to participate in a "Winter concert" instead. It's not because I hated Christmas or Christians! I was, as I said, happy for them and their holiday. But it felt like the teachers who changed the name were on my side, like they were defending my very existence. I mattered too! Everyone was experiencing Winter–it was something we could all share–whereas only a certain group was experiencing Christmas, and I wasn't a part of that group. Does that make sense?

                      So I'm just trying to explain why a school board might make the kind of choices you describe. It really does mean something to the small group of children who do not celebrate Christmas, even though it seems so trivial. It feels to them like they're really being included.

                      I hope I've expressed myself okay.

                    • majere616 says:

                      Holy shit. IDK why but I find this comment ridiculously heartwarming.

                    • MichelleZB says:

                      Aw, shucks. 🙂

                    • FlameRaven says:

                      I think it would depend on how the student was presenting this Christian society. If, as part of the assignment, was she presenting a Christian society as the best or an ideal arrangement, or implying that only Christian values could support a society? Because those kinds of things are perilously close to preaching or promoting religion, which, if it's a public, state-funded school, she probably shouldn't do. . On the other hand, a teacher should not fail a student simply for bringing up religion.

                      Do you know that your sister was specifically failed because the society was Christian? Maybe she just honestly did not meet the requirements of the project, regardless of subject matter?

                    • Time-Machine says:

                      Because those kinds of things are perilously close to preaching or promoting religion, which, if it's a public, state-funded school, she probably shouldn't do.

                      See, but if it's the student doing it, and not the teacher, I actually don't see the problem. Teachers can't promote religion because their employees and representatives of the state. Students aren't. So no problem.

                      Though it does depend on what the assignment was. Because if the assignment was something like "create a Utopian society, with the government and agriculture and language, et al" and then this student presented a Utopian society that was entirely Christian, and couldn't account for the simple question what if some of them decided not to be Christian any more?, because if you punish people for their beliefs, that's not exactly Utopian, but if people don't have to be Christian and aren't forced to participate in Christianity and actually there's freedom of religion, then what makes it specifically a Christian nation.

                      I remember one assignment I did in a history class that I based around the Mormon Pioneers, and I got a bad grade on it, and I thought I'd been oppressed because of my beliefs because I presented the paper from my (Mormon) perspective, but years later I realised I hadn't done any proper research and just preached on for seven pages instead. I hadn't been graded poorly because the paper was written from the perspective "The Mormons Were Right!", I had been graded poorly because I had preached my religion instead of doing my assignment, and so had completely glossed over really important details and left part of the assignment out.

                      While sometimes it really is Christian kids being mistreated (as it might be in this case), I've also seen a lot of Christians cry discrimination when really they were looking for special treatment and just weren't getting it.

                      (Note: I am not accusing the student in this case of this! I don't know enough of the details! It would be an unfair accusation! I am just saying, there are, like, nuances and shit! And I don't have enough information!)

                      *hides under a rock of social anxiety*

                    • Tilja says:

                      That's a bit more clarified as I had taken it as hpfish13 did.

                      Now what I would like clarified is something else related to it. You come from a fully Christian background; therefore, you bring a completely Christian vocabulary baggage from that to use (fairly frequently, as I've observed) in all your dealings, here and in personal speach. But, does using it make you an agressor? Does using what you learnt in your own religious background make you an agressor against it merely because it's part of your vocabulary?

                      A blasphemous word for someone can be a completely normal statement from another in the same religious belief, and only the personal take on such a statement makes it offensive to the person. Does this mean that you have to stop using your learned language altogether because another person might interpret the words differently, even when the context is given, and take offense because it's not the way they use it?

                      This is your site, and that is my question on this subject matter. It may even be worth mentioning in the site rules given the lenght of this comment thread.

                    • Time-Machine says:

                      <img src=";

                      No. That's people being mean to you. There's a difference.

                      Look. I was raised Mormon. Want stories about people making assumptions about how goody-two-shoes you are? Want stories about people not understanding your religion and making assumptions about you? I got 'em. Hell, we once had our seminary building's windows shot out and a great big death threat spray-painted across the building.

                      Now, I'm atheist. Want to know in which stance my experiences and decisions are questioned in more? Atheist. Hands down. In constant, daily, tiny ways, my ability to live life as a happy and whole human being without faith is questioned. I must be broken. I don't understand. It's just a phase. I'm just angry at God. I just don't know my own mind. When I used to bring up being Mormon in conversation, it was a curiosity, and people often made assumptions, but there is a built-in respect for other people's beliefs that most of our culture is okay with, and Mormons are Christian, so people mostly moved on. But being atheist? People I've never met before preach, and scorn, and mourn my loss, and they don't move on, and they don't let it go.

                      In both instances the culture that brought down this oppression was/is a mainstream Christian one. Someone made fun of your beliefs? I'm not saying that's nice, but all you have to do is turn on a fucking TV or switch on the radio or take a look at the great big holiday displays for all of your holidays, that are celebrated nation-wide, that children are let out of school for and the whole country stops for in order to make things convenient for you and have the validity of your existence and your right to exist reaffirmed. You can just look at a goddamn dollar bill in the US and be reaffirmed of your right to exist as a theist and a Christian in this county (though I do not know if you live in the US).

                      And in those instances where I felt like my right to exist was being attacked by atheists or non-believers or liberals when I was Mormon? Looking back, more educated and not so defensively, I realise that those people usually weren't attacking my right to exist, they were asserting their own right to exist and denying my right to oppress them just because of my religion's association with the majority religion. But at the time I couldn't tell the difference, because I didn't see how occasionally the very tenets of my religion could be an active danger in their lives.

                      I'm not saying it's the best idea to mock beliefs, and I really don't think it's ever okay to misrepresent other people's beliefs (seriously, NO ONE SHOULD EVER DO THIS), I'm just saying oppressed people saying something mean about their oppressors, whether deserved or not, IS NOT THE SAME as actually being marginalized in a real way that makes it feel like you don't have a right to exist anywhere.

                    • arctic_hare says:

                      this is an awesome comment.

                    • stumpoman says:

                      wait where did hpfish13 ever say she was oppressing people?

                      apparently she is an oppressor and her experiences are not relevant.

                    • Time-Machine says:

                      She didn't say she was oppressing people. She said she was being oppressed for being Christian, and I was explaining the difference between being oppressed and being treated badly (which isn't cool either, but also isn't the same thing). She was treated badly. Her experiences are real, and I don't doubt for an instance that they were unpleasant. That doesn't make them oppression, which is bigger and and structural part of our culture.

                    • kartikeya200 says:

                      Your comment = win.

                      Ditto the Mormon thing too (though, still that for me).

                      There were some absolutely hilarious assumptions that I got due to the Mormon thing though. No belly buttons and horns growing in at night were two things that the person in question absolutely in all seriousness believed were true. Arguments! There were arguments!

                    • Time-Machine says:

                      During Y2K there was a huge section of the school that thought Mormons thought it was the end of the world, and, like, we'd all be digging pits in our back yards and filling them with water, because we thought the world was going to literally be consumed in flames, and I guess our plan was to jump in the water or something? It was so hilarious to most Mormons that instead of correcting people, we kind of encouraged it. Which may not have been the most mature response.

                      Did you ever get the "Do you sacrifice seagulls?" question? Because seriously, like, all the time. And it was always like, WTF? WHERE DO YOU HEAR THESE THINGS? Who even told you that?

                    • kartikeya200 says:

                      Oh no, I got that we worshipped seagulls instead. And basketball. See, that's why we had basketball courts in our churches, we thought it was a holy sport, and that's what we were secretly doing in our temples, playing the sacred game of basketball.

                      Our temples were also secretly spaceships.

                    • Time-Machine says:

                      I suddenly had this terrifying flashback to Church Ball. God, Mormons playing basketball has put me off basketball forever. No one would ever call us goody-two-shoes after seeing one of those games.


                      But we put basketball courts in our churches to have a place for us to Mix'n'Mingle after church! And for church dances! And for a places for people to have their wedding receptions for free! OBVIOUSLY.

                      Our temples were also secretly spaceships.



                      Now I really want like, a fanart (is it disrespectful to call it fanart? Can you be a fan of a religion you don't believe in? Is that demeaning? Okay, yes, probably) of temples flying through space with like, the TARDIS and Enterprise and just. OMG.

                      Maybe you, like, steer with Moroni statue? Or it's used for navigation or communication somehow? IS THIS BLASPHEMOUS? Because I just think that's like, THE MOST GLORIOUS AMAZING RIDICULOUS IMAGE EVER.

                      But I am questioning myself bringing that up in a thread that's got started with someone taking umbrage at "Jesus take the wheel". LIKE. BECAUSE I REALLY WANT TO SEE LDS TEMPLE SPACESHIPS NOW. BUT LIKE, THAT'S PROBABLY WAY WORSE THAN "JESUS TAKE THE WHEEL."

                    • kartikeya200 says:

                      AHahaha, probably, but now I can't unsee it.

                      Don't tempt my terrible photoshops, I've already tainted this thread with them.

                    • Time-Machine says:

                      WHAT IF LIKE.


                      AND IT WAS LIKE.

                      STAR WARS OR SOMETHING.

                      PLUS THE TARDIS.

                      AND THE ENTERPRISE.

                      AND EVERY SCIFI EVER.

                      And this was all a really awesome anime series. With battles. And a quest for understanding and peace. And stuff.

                    • That description makes me think of Gurren Lagann, even though it is not about battling religions at all! Unless you think of all religions as being GIANT ROBOTS. Which you should.

                    • Time-Machine says:

                      I may have to check this out now. Because robots in space.

                    • xpanasonicyouthx says:


                    • Oh my God, if you Mark Watched Gurren Lagann, it would be the most hilarious thing ever. Your mind would explode and then get put back together just so that it could explode again. Over and over and over.

                    • Shay_Guy says:

                      I mentioned this in another post's comments ages ago ("The Fortuneteller," looks like), but I'm not sure Gurren Lagann stacks up that well on gender issues. I'm more interested in seeing what you'd make of Neon Genesis Evangelion, an earlier series by the same animation studio.

                    • pbellosom says:

                      Mark watches Evangelion would be awesome!

                    • Noybusiness says:

                      *Will* be. It's on his list of confirmed shows.

                    • Time-Machine says:

                      I LOVE YOU

                      I LOVE THAT THIS EXISTS


                      ALL OF THE AWARDS TO YOU.

                    • Rachael says:

                      Thanks! 🙂 I only even found your comment a couple of hours ago.

                    • arctic_hare says:

                      This is a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

                    • Rachael says:


                    • tigerpetals says:

                      A plus for life.

                    • Rachael says:

                      Thank you!

                    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                      was just alerted to this

                      this is the best comment in all of markwatches history

                      oh my god

                    • Rachael says:

                      Thanks! I had been reading all the random tangents people keep going off on in this thread and I found her comment, and was immediately compelled to make a picture of this. It was so fun.

                    • Shay_Guy says:

                      I've heard that usage description a couple times before. It always makes my head hurt — it feels like a perversion of linguistics.

                    • linguisticisms says:

                      You can't pervert linguistics what even

                    • Shay_Guy says:

                      I know. And it still feels like it.

              • Jenny_M says:

                Ha, I had a whole paragraph typed up and you answered it in ONE SENTENCE. You are the best.

      • Tauriel_ says:

        While "blasphemy" is a term that doesn't really apply outside of a particular religion, this sort of thing can be seen as offensive by many religious people. Just sayin'…

        (Note: I'm a Christian and I don't find it offensive personally, but just wanted to point out that there might be people out there who do…)

        • Anne says:

          Hmm. As a Muslim, I don't see anything blasphemous about the phrase either. I think in Islam the prophets are supposed to be addressed as Prophet ___, but then again, that's in Islam.

          Also, thanks to Arctic_Hare and the other mods for being so good at keeping this a safe space 🙂

          • Tauriel_ says:

            That's why I said "particular religion". Obviously things that are considered blasphemous by one religion are not considered blasphemous by another religion. Nevertheless, some people might still be offended by them.

            I mean, you wouldn't like it if it was "Allah take the wheel", would you?

            • Anne says:

              I was just offering an opinion on whether "Jesus take the wheel" was blasphemous or not, from a Muslim's standpoint.

              And, actually, I don't see anything wrong with saying "Allah take the wheel." Why wouldn't I want God to step in and help me out? Also, nit-pick, the equivalent of Jesus in Islam isn't Allah, it's still Jesus. Also also, I seem to be getting into an argument involving Islam and Christianity and I'm not an expert on either, so I'm going to bow out now!

              • Tauriel_ says:

                I wasn't actually arguing with you, I just tried to clarify my post. 🙂 And I certainly don't want to get into an "Islam vs. Christianity" argument, either! 🙂

          • t09yavorski says:

            In Christianity Jesus is not a prophet and refering to him as Jesus is perfectly acceptable (unless his name is being used in vain, which is against the commandments)

            • Anne says:

              Thanks, I figured so.

            • DuskQ says:

              Jesus IS a prophet. Just because Christians revere him as more, as the savior, doesn't make him any less a teacher, or the Son of God, or a prophet. He's all of those things by Christian thoughts. Other great religions tend to honor the teachings of Jesus and to regard him as a great prophet too. They just may not recognize him as their Messiah (e.g. Judaism, Islam, etc.)

              Anyway, I LOL at the Jesus take the wheel comment. Now that we have to have a religious debate it's taking the mirth out of it. Even still, I'll be using that phrase in place of "Oh my goodness!"

              • t09yavorski says:

                Sorry, I meant he isn't just a prophet. 🙂 Thanks for clarifying.

                And I personally enjoy religious debates so I am having a grand old time. 😀 It is one of the few topics I am well informed about and have a lot of opinions about. As long as the conversations stay civil I'll be happy as a clam.

        • arctic_hare says:

          It's still not even remotely the same thing as the -ist slurs that are disallowed here, though.

          • Anne says:

            Oh, definitely.

          • Tauriel_ says:


          • Jenny_M says:

            This this this! Oh my word, it is like being in a post about a woman who was assaulted and having someone pull out the "BUT WHAT ABOUT THE MENZ??" argument. My brain, she hurts!

          • Sami says:

            It might cause a different level of offence (to seemingly many), but even if it causes offence to only a few people. If it is easily avoided, why use it in the first place? Especially on this blog.

            • arctic_hare says:

              Because it's not even remotely the same thing, as I keep saying? And this is Mark's blogs and thus Mark's rules? Goddamn, what is so hard about this?

              • Sami says:

                I see what you're saying and I'm definitely not suggesting that oppressive -ist slurs are the same as blasphemy. What I am saying is that blasphemy causes offence and is easy not to do. I simply don't see what's wrong with stating that. In regards to Mark's rules, I appreciate that it isn't referenced and would not want to guess his opinion. However, I had thought that Mark had been against using words that cause ANY kind of offence. But again, as he hasn't said anything on this particular subject I could be wrong.

                • arctic_hare says:

                  Offensive language and oppressive language are not the same thing.

                • t09yavorski says:

                  If one is aiming to speak without offending anyone then they aren't going to be able to say much at all. It is nearly (if not completely) impossible to avoid offending everyone.

                • kartikeya200 says:

                  The word 'fuck' can be found offensive by many people too, and welp.

                • Shay_Guy says:

                  There are people who are offended by Mark stating his sexual orientation. This is insufficient reason for him to refrain from doing so.

                  More thoughts I had in the car:

                  Concern trolling essentially involves the creation of a fictional character, which by necessity is less complex than a real person. This is a universal trait of fictional characters (though the most complex fictional character is still probably more complex than the least complex real person), but applies in particular because the CT character must be crafted for a purpose involving a specific set of tactics. This almost inevitable shows in the resulting behavior, as it does now. As The Irresponsible Captain Tylor demonstrates, a behavior pattern matching a tactic does not prove intent to use such a tactic, but it does increase the probability.

                  Were I to attempt such an action, I would not use my real IntenseDebate account or any real account that would allow easy lookup of other things I had said. Inconsistencies would likely be detected and I could be caught in an outright lie, which would cause others' estimated probabilities of my being genuine to plummet. Therefore, I would comment as a guest. I would also not use my readily Googlable usual username; I would invent a new one. The new name only appearing here on a web search would be suspicious, so I would use something that would easily get lost. "Sami" has 127 million search results and is thus suitable.

                  On the other hand, many people comment here as guests. Most of them aren't concern trolls. So is a possible concern troll commenting as a guest an example of Hempel's raven? …No, that'd probably be a registered user not being a concern troll. Commenting as a guest is only weak evidence for being a concern troll, but being registered is strong evidence against is. Does that have a name?

                  Lastly, if I may put on my Shadow hat (and be forgiven for doing so as one who has yet to even finish season 2 of Babylon 5): Sami, what do you want? If it's to express yourself, you succeeded with your first comment. If it's to change Mark's behavior, you are not succeeding and the probability of your doing so is negligible. It may be either of these, or neither. So what is it? (In the event that you are not a concern troll, ignore this parenthetical note. If you are, the question is addressed to the character "Sami" and not the troll.)

                  • evelinawhite says:

                    I'm personally side-eyeing this person a whole lot because the comment that originally started the ableism thread of fail from yesterday was kicked off by a guest calling themselves 'samibear'.

                    It might be a coincidence, but I still think it's fishy.

                    • samibear says:

                      Hi! No, it's not me, but the coincidence didn't escape me either.

                    • Hyatt says:

                      It might not be a coincidence; the concern troll might've deliberately invoked your name, thereby dragging you into this. Which really sucks on their part.

                    • evelinawhite says:

                      Yeah, that's what I was getting at, really. It's a really sucky thing to do if that's what they were doing.

                    • samibear says:

                      You know, if that was the intention of this person, I have to say that it's working. Because my nickname is Sami, every time I see a comment by this person some weird part of my brain goes "whoa…when did I write that?"

                      …I think my brain needs some rest.

                    • evelinawhite says:

                      Sorry for dragging your name into this mess! I was actually considering the fact that they may have gotten the idea for their username from yesterday's thread (like Hyatt says) – not actually that you might be the same person.

                    • samibear says:

                      It's OK. Thanks for the clarification.

                    • echinodermata says:

                      And this is where I'll jump in.

                      1. with no evidence other than superficial resemblance of a username, pointing fingers of trolling/sockpuppetry is a bad idea.

                      2. Samibear has already commented in this thread and seems to like the 'jesus take the wheel' phrase.

                      So consider this line of discussion over.

                    • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                      And let me also add that the IP address and email does not match either person. Do not attack samibear!

                    • evelinawhite says:

                      You're right. Sorry. I was actually thinking that maybe they took their idea for a username from that thread (seeing as they actually referenced that thread as well) – which is just a really shitty thing to do. Made me think that they're just jumping on the first thing said by Mark that could be vaguely constructed as offensive to Christians in order to make his comments about ableism and word use seem invalid.

                      But I see now that that's really not what I said. I apologise for making it seem like the two might be actually be the same person.

                • Tilja says:

                  Then I would like to ask your opinion on what words can NEVER cause ANY offence to ANYONE. People take offense of every single word in existence in all languages. Does it mean that a person has to stop talking altogether in order not to cause offense to one hypothetical person here or there?

                  You pulled out a term which has no end meaning. In cases of offense, there will always be someone else offended by something else. Unless, of course, you have a perfectly unoffensive vocabulary compiled which every person in the world can use without ever stirring the slightest negative emotion in another person. If you have it, share it, please. I still haven't found a way not to offend at least one person anywhere in the world just by existing.

              • xpanasonicyouthx says:

                I'll probably stop using it because I don't want to make people hate this place, but the point everyone is trying to make is that the term "Jesus take the wheel" is not oppressive. So that's why everyone is like WTF ARE YOU SAYING.

                • Mark, I find acronymic cursing to be offensive.

                • Sami says:

                  Thank you. I'd also like to clarify, I never claimed blasphemy was oppressive only offensive. I think somebody misread my comment or assumed I'd said something else and it kind of blew up.

                  • kartikeya200 says:

                    I think the issue is that you keep trying to conflate the two. Mark uses plenty of language that could offend all sorts of people on his blogs. There's a big big difference between cursing (which happens a lot) and 'blasphemous' language (which ditto, Jesus take the wheel is probably the least blasphemous of the lot) and bigoted or -ist language, tone arguments, etc.

                    The first can be considered crude, or offensive in a religious context, or rude, or all sorts of things, but they boil down to 'I don't like hearing those things because I don't approve/feel they are making light of something I consider important/etc'.

                    The second category boils down to language used to Other people. It is the verbal expression of oppression and bigotry (and actively harmful to groups of people), usually used by the privileged majority toward the underprivileged minority. There is ugly, ugly history behind these words. They are not just 'rude' or 'mean'. They are used to oppress, to threaten, to make people feel Less Than, and to maintain the (unequal) status quo. They are ugly words that reinforce ugly behaviors and harmful attitudes.

                • barnswallowkate says:

                  Mark I find Iroh/Tea shipping to be offensive.

                • wait does this mean no more of that one "Jesus take the wheel" gif with the puppet

                  i've been waiting for the return of that one. ;A;

                  utter tragedy.

                • MocataJoy says:

                  I don't know Mark…I was interning at a country radio station when that song came out…you'd of thought it was the most popular song of all TIME….got requests for it like 50 times a day.

                  Just hearing the phrase triggers horrible memories…memories of soundproofed rooms and the same daily callers asking if I could "Play that there jesus song again."

                  That's pretty offensive stuff.

                • MocataJoy says:

                  Also, "Jesus Take the Wheel" is not NEARLY as bad as "Drop Kick Me Jesus Through The Goal Posts of Life"

                  YES THAT IS A REAL SONG. T_T

                  • Manself says:

                    That just sounds adorably ridiculous, like some little kid decided to write a religious song but got distracted by watching football. Please tell me the original lyrics are written in crayon.

                    • MocataJoy says:

                      Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life
                      End over end, neither left nor the right,
                      Straight through the heart of them righteous uprights
                      Drop kick me Jesus through the goal posts of life.

                      That is the chorus and holy shit I wish I were joking but people actually used to call in to our radio station and REQUEST it. And I had to play it. And listen to it. Over. And Over.

                      Also, in the second verse, the narrator implores Jesus to take all his loved ones and "Stick 'em out front in the offensive line."

                      Well…here. Listen for yourself:


                    • notemily says:

                      Dropping in THREE WEEKS LATER to say there's a great parody of this in the book Good Omens, where one of the titles is, if I recall correctly, "Jesus Is the Telephone Repairman on the Switchboard of My Life."

                  • monkeybutter says:

                    Oh man, you have revived glorious childhood memories for me. That song came up in a Bloom County comic I was reading in a collected volume when I was like 6, and even then I knew it was the most absurd thing I would ever read. 20 years later, it's still the best Jesus-related phrase I've ever seen. Thank you, thank you so much for this comment. I'm going to dig that old book out now.

                    • MocataJoy says:

                      The worst part is…it's so GOD DAMNED CATCHY. It gets stuck in your fucking head. The absurdity NEVER ENDS.

                  • linguisticisms says:

                    Can Mark do Mark Watches Jesus Christ Vampire Hunter?

      • Sami says:

        I'm sure you didn't mean to, but I was under the impression that trying to shut down discussions was against the rules of this blog? I know as a mod, you just want to keep this a nice, friendly place and it seems you thought I was joking, but I can assure you, I'm not.

        • Shay_Guy says:

          "trying to shut down discussions"

          Definition not found. Open request: Please elaborate.

          In addition, speaking of "impressions" of the rules is unnecessary, as they are readily accessible at the top-left corner of every page for checking, copying, and pasting.

        • MichelleZB says:

          I've pointed out elsewhere in this thread that accusing someone of blasphemy is a really good way of shutting down discussion, and has been used that way for centuries. Since people can believe whatever they want, almost anything can be considered blasphemy. So if someone says something you don't agree with? Accuse them of *blaspheming* and you can just shut them up!

          It is a dick move.

    • Dragonsong12 says:

      Okay, so as a Christian, I'm not seeing that as being terribly blasphemous, it even seems to be a pretty popular phrase – in that same context – among Christians. Though my experiences in no way speak for all Christians everywhere. Care to elaborate?

    • kartikeya200 says:

      I'm a Christian and I crack up every single time Mark uses that.

      P.S. This is not remotely anywhere within the same country code as -ist slurs. Pretty sure this is, in fact, on Mars.

      (Rumbleroar disapproves.)

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:


        • mary says:

          as a christian i understand what you're comming from.

          however (this is to you mark)
          you did nothing wrong, you're always pretty respectful and cordial and you're always awesome and friendly.

          (in general not directed at mark
          i mean, isn't intent also important? like when someone says "mother****** they're not really saying the person is… you know.

          same thing. I'm 100% mark didn't meant to offend anyone and i hope there no fight right now over this.

          • xpanasonicyouthx says:

            Well, even if I didn't intend to, I still could have hurt anyone. I care more about that that what I hoped to do with my words. So I'll stop using it if Christians feel like they can't read my site. (Though…language? Seriously this is so UNBELIEVABLY CONFUSING.)

            Sami, I'm at a loss. I swear every other fucking word. How is that ok but not Jesus Take The Wheel????

            • FlameRaven says:

              You've used the phrase before, too. Like, one or two reviews ago, I remember it. It seems like a couple other Christians have stated they have no problem with it, and the phrase itself is from a Christian song! If you feel you have to stop using the phrase, go for it, but it seems like this is more one person being offended than something that's generally offensive (if that makes sense?)

        • Saphling says:

          He's a lion… that can talk.

    • Depths_of_Sea says:

      <img alt="" src="; />

      Dude, what? I thought the Carrie Underwood shout-out was obvious.

    • RomioneRawr says:

      Are there seriously over a hundred comments on this? Dead horse is dead. Stop kicking it.

      If someone has a problem with supposed "blasphemy"… can't they just stop reading Mark Watches/Reads? It's not like they're forced…

      • Tauriel_ says:

        215 replies as of now.

        Whoa. O.O

        • Matt_Thermo says:

          I'm atheist, so I may not be the best person in the world to comment on this (or even second best, but possibly third), but isn't "Jesus take the wheel" essentially the entire basis of the Christian philosophy? You know, letting Jesus steer your life? So I just can't see how this would be offensive, much less oppressive?

          (Uh, I'm also posting from from 4 states away from when I posted the post I got banned for, so I don't know if the change in IP's is circumnavigating the ban, or if my ban is worn off? I'm not trying to be slick or anything. I just didn't know how long of a ban I had, or if it was a perma-ban or whatnot. What I'm saying is, I'm not intentionally trying to get around it or anything. I just happened to give it a shot and it worked.)

  2. The Annotated Sokka-on-Cactus-Juice

    "Drink cactus juice. It’ll quench ya! Nothing’s quenchier. It’s the quenchiest!"
    —This statement has not been evaluated by the Ba Sing Se Committee on Determining the Level of Quenchiness. Cactus juice may cause hallucination, painful urination, and Earthbender inflammation.

    "Who lit Toph on fire?"
    —Like I said.

    "How did we get out here in the middle of the ocean?"
    —Sokka is actually in the middle of the desert. The desert is the opposite of the ocean, but it could be exactly the same as the ocean if you could turn sand into water. (Sandbending does not involve turning sand into water.)

    "It’s a giant mushroom! Maybe it’s friendly!"
    —Mushrooms are never friendly. Mushrooms may cause hallucination, painful urination, and Earthbender inflammation.

    "Friendly mushroom! Mushy giant friend!"
    —Okay, I lied. This mushroom is friendly because it is made of sand, and sand is friendly, except when it is turned into water, which NEVER HAPPENS.

    "Why don’t we ask the circle birds?"
    —The circle birds are, in fact, buzzard wasps. If you asked the circle birds if they knew how to find Ba Sing Se, they would simply reply that it is a long, long way to Ba Sing Se, but the girls in the city, they look so pretty. And by pretty, they would mean good enough to feast on their desiccated corpses.

    "Momo, no! You’ve killed us all!"
    —No, he hasn't.

    "Oh, right. Bending."
    —Sokka, being both a lovebender and a truthbender, sometimes forgets you can also bend the elements.

    "What!? I didn’t steal anything! Who told you that? It was you! You ratted me out!"
    —This is true. Momo did rat Sokka out. His testimony is on file with the Ba Sing Se Committee on Determining Who Stole Things from the Library.

    "Appa? But why would Princess Yue need him? She’s the moon! She flies by herself!"
    —A very astute observation, Sokka. I see you are still hung up on Princess Yue, but do remember that she's the moon. You can't make out with the moon. Believe me, I've tried.

    "Take it easy, little lady. I’m sure the sand folks who built this baby know how to get around here."
    —What? This sounds almost coherent. "Little lady" notwithstanding.

    "I think my head is starting to clear out the cactus juice. And look!"
    —We now return you to your regularly scheduled Sokka.

    "This tastes like rotten penguin meat! Awww, I feel woozy."
    —Yeah, that's the one.

    "I have a natural curiosity."
    —Sokka, man of SCIENCE!!

  3. @maybegenius says:

    I don't really have much to say about this episode after The Library, except:

    1) I looove the bright, harsh, burning colors. Love.
    2) Katara just wants to TAKE CARE OF EVERYONE 🙁
    3) I can't ever see Cactus Cooler without thinking of Sokka and Momo tripping balls on cactus juice. IT'LL QUENCH YA.
    5) Can I just punch that jerkwad Sand Bender in the face? HOW DARE YOU.

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    Also, I just wanted touch on the scary and heartbreaking change we see in Aang in this episode. He's so angry. And Aang doesn't get angry, not really. He's destroyed and wildly upset and it emerges in unsettling ways. Here he is, a (generally) peaceful monk who tends to fight defensively rather than offensively, who's a happy-go-lucky kid, a vegetarian, doesn't like hurting living things, etc. But once that vulture-wasp-hornet-thing lets go of Momo, he sends a surge of power and drops it out of the sky. Just cold, emotionless harm/death. From Aang. After it's no longer necessary. That's such a chilling scene to me.


  4. arctic_hare says:


    Of course, it's not all fun and games; Appa is still missing and Aang is heartbroken over it, which is hard to watch. I winced yesterday when I read in your review of The Library that you hoped Aang wouldn't excoriate Toph for the awful choice she had to make, because I knew that that indeed happened. She's not the only victim of his rage, though – Aang lashes out at every other member of the group too, save for Momo, and only, I suspect, because Momo can't talk and thus is unable to say anything that would send Aang flying off the handle. Which turns out to be just about anything one could say, he gets angry and venomous at the slightest provocation here, even when nobody's actually saying anything horrible, and it's hard to watch. I don't blame him at all for being so upset, but at the same time, Katara is right, it's not helping anyone to fight like this and pointing fingers of blame won't change what happened. I'm supremely grateful that she, at least, recognizes what a hard choice Toph had to make and appreciates that she saved their lives. I can't say I don't uncomfortably recognize some of my own tendencies in Aang's actions here, however. Maybe that's part of what makes it so hard for me to watch.

    All in all, between Appa's kidnapping and its fallout – their being stranded in the middle of a fucking desert oh my god that is nightmare fuel for me and Aang's heartbreak and fury – this could have been one hell of a downer of an episode. Fortunately for us, Sokka is here to play comic relief by making the questionable decision to drink some of the water trapped inside a cactus. He and Momo then proceed, in one of the funniest things I've ever seen, to fall under the influence of a mind-altering substance. 😀 Characters accidentally ingesting such things and behaving bizarrely is a personal favorite comedy trope of mine, and has been ever since the "glitter berries" episode of Daria (which I'm surprised you didn't bring up, Mark!). <3 Everything that comes out of his mouth while he's in this state is pure hilarity to me, especially his reaction to Aang's mushroom cloud, and Momo hiding his eyes when Sokka accuses him of ratting him to Katara about taking stuff from the library is priceless. The cactus juice antics alone make this one of my very favorite episodes.

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">

    MUSHY GIANT FRIEND! <3 <3 <3

    On the other side of the plot, we find Zuko and Iroh out for a nice chocobo ride… well, as nice as it can be when one of you is deciding to fake discomfort in order to take a break. LOL OH IROH. If it wasn't obvious from his baaaaaaaaaaad overacting that he wasn't actually in pain (or was seriously exaggerating it at the very least), he makes it damn clear when the Rough Rhinos from Avatar Day show up to spoil their fun and he UNLEASHES HIS INNER BADASS ON THEM. This is one of those scenes that makes me get all flaily with fannish glee over Iroh: I love watching him watch the Rough Rhinos and introduce them to Zuko, because it's so obvious from his expression that he's calculating something in his mind and getting ready to KICK SOME ASS. Which he does in a spectacular fashion. <3 He and Zuko make a fantastic team, don't they?

    Their storyline then intersects with that of Team Avatar's in an interesting way back at the Misty Palms Oasis, when their paths cross those of Xin Fu and Master Yu, who are still on Toph's trail. Iroh's affection for the white lotus tile in Pai Sho also comes back into play in a very intriguing manner. WHAT IS THIS ORDER OF THE WHITE LOTUS? TELL ME. AND IROH IS A GRAND MASTER? Somehow that doesn't surprise me. And they're heading to Ba Sing Se now too? THE PLOT THICKENS. Although I can't help but whimper when Iroh says that even he couldn't break through to the city, because I now know the story of what happened there. 🙁 🙁 🙁 It's good for the Earth Kingdom that he couldn't, sure, but… poor Iroh, nevertheless.


    • arctic_hare says:

      The displays of temper against his friends prove to be nothing compared to how Aang reacts to learning that the sandbenders they meet after their escape from the bugs are the ones that stole Appa: he starts to go into the Avatar State upon hearing that they muzzled Appa. Yikes. I can't blame him for being pissed, but it's nonetheless a scary thing to see him so angry. Katara is able to bring him out of it, though, in an incredibly emotional and moving moment. Oh, Aang. My heart breaks for him, and for poor missing Appa. We know where he probably is, or at least is/was headed, but are no closer to finding him. But, it's good that this wasn't resolved in the very next episode, like some shows would do. It's sad and awful and painful, but it would feel like a cheap cheat to get Appa back right away. That would be too easy, and this show is better than that.

      Other stuff:

      – "They are also a very capable singing group." WHAT. YOU CANNOT GIVE ME THIS INFORMATION AND THEN NOT HAVE THEM SING. I FEEL CHEATED.

      – Blue Spirit wanted poster!



      • FlameRaven says:


        When you live in a land where agriculture is mostly impossible, you need to eat a lot of unusual things. There's a traditional Icelandic dish I heard about recently that more or less involves taking a shark and burying it underground/letting it rot for half a year or more and then slicing it up to eat. Apparently this is necessary because if it's not rotten, the shark body is full of some incredibly toxic chemical. Still, that is pretty fantastically gross.

        Or, as a friend told me when I questioned how people invented things like cheese, "never underestimate starving peasants."

        • calimie says:

          "never underestimate starving peasants."
          That's what my mother says about foods like oysters or snails: "Whoever tried this first, must have been really hungry".

          • TheWelshPirate says:

            LOL, I feel the same way about crab and lobster. I mean, they're very delicious, but every time I have some I can't help but think, "who was the first person that decided to put this in their mouth?!"

        • arctic_hare says:

          Oh, I know, it's just… they're so cute. 🙁 And one of my favorite animals. I'M WEIRD, I KNOW.

          • majere616 says:

            No your not. Or at least not because you like penguins, since they are the only thing of worth to come out of the Antarctic. Excluding eldritch horrors from beyond the depths of time.

      • Nomie says:

        GLITTER BERRIES! Let's be best friends.

    • Ozaira says:

      !!! I forgot about the glitter berries! Now I kind of wish Azula and Ty Lee had drunk some cactus juice, just to see what Mai would say. Alas, they have no bulky 90s cell phone to call a helicopter.

      "See that skeleton? That's our future…made ya look." Teehee.

    • majere616 says:

      I wanted to sympathize with Aang but I just couldn't make myself care, what with Sokka and Momo's extended mushroom samba .

  5. Goldensage says:


  6. lilah80 says:

    "Dear Diary, If Azula ever finds out I hid in a flowerpot, I will kill myself to save my honor. If Father ever gives it back to me, that is. Which he will! The flowers will bloom once more in the melancholy dirt that is my soul! And the flowerpot represents my shattered dreams! Only not shattered, because the pot wasn't shattered. But my dreams are! I'm writing an epic ballad about it for Music Night." – Zuko

  7. monkeybutter says:

    Ah, there’s nothing better than the hallucinating on drugs in the desert shtick. The Gaang is lost in the desert (somewhere around Barstow), Appa is gone, everyone’s upset, Aang is inconsolable. It’s a terrible situation. But when Sokka went for that cactus, I sat up with glee. Oh Sokka. I love your natural curiosity. It deserves a gifspam.

    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;
    <img src=""&gt;

    I really like this episode — we’ve been on a long run of episodes I adore — because it manages to be touchin and funny, and it’s full of Katara being great. Yeah, I dislike her occasional preachiness, but she’s the heart of the group, it’s her hope and determination that set them out on this journey, and it’s what keeps them together here. Aang is completely distraught by the loss of Appa, Toph is upset about both losing Appa and being unreasonably blamed for it, and Sokka is uselessly pessimistic before he samples the quenchy cactus juice, whereupon he becomes even more useless. Katara is the only one with a cool enough head to successfully guide them out of the desert.

    <img src=""&gt;

    I love her for her practicality, empathy, optimism, humor, and maturity. Aside from pulling everyone together and out of danger, she’s also the only one who can bring Aang back from his rage-induced avatar state. The look of resigned sadness on her face as she hangs back, then approaches Aang to bring him back is heartbreaking.

    <img src=""&gt;

    Aang has been through a lot of turmoil, and Appa was his last remaining connection to his old life. His anger is understandable, but also unnerving. Watching him blow up at Toph, or kill the buzzard wasp is bad enough, but his explosive anger at the sandbenders was terrifying. I think you're right that it's necessary for his growth, but it’s awful watching him feel so lost and angry like this. That's two episodes in a row that end on a sad note.

    • calimie says:

      That first gift is terrifying, it looks like something out of a scary movie.

      Agreed on what you say about Katara. She looks just so tired and depressed then. To deal with the Avatar State on top of all that was just too much.

    • The Gaang is lost in the desert (somewhere around Barstow)

      i c wat u did thar :D:D:D

    • Tilja says:

      And I think you've noticed as well that Katara seems to be so far the only one able to pull Aang out of the Avatar state safely. And the only one willing to even approach him when he's in that state of uncontrolled power. That's pretty impressive in itself, the kind of connection she has with him that he will respond only to her voice and her touch.

  8. barnswallowkate says:

    Aang: WHERE IS MY BISON?!?!
    Me: Dude, relax. You've been without a sky bison for like 28 minutes, I've been without one for 28 years. Where's MY bison?!?

    I almost suffocated laughing at Sokka on cactus juice and his tubular floppy arms.

    Although I fangirl over Sokka every day, I really do love Katara. She's amazing in this episode (and most of the time).

  9. Violets are Blue says:

    A very sad but wonderful story on Katara’s actions at the end of this episode:

    Here, hope this works

    [Note, people who haven’t seen the rest of Season 2 and 3 should stick to this story only, all the others are spoilery.]

    Oh Sokka. CACTUS JUICE! IT’LL QUENCH YA! *do the worm*

  10. affableevil says:

    Just wondering if anyone has a gif of Iroh and Zuko popping out of the flower pots, looking sideways at each other, and then sinking back down again? That would be amazing 😀

    • affableevil says:

      Also, Aang, I know that you're super upset and all, but your misplaced anger is hard to watch. Quit taking it out on your friends 🙁

      Katara continues to be an amazing caring wonderful person and look she has flaws but she is KATARA and this episode is a prime example of why I love her so much.

      <img src="; border="0" alt="Image and video hosting by TinyPic">
      (Ron being me and Slughorn being Katara, provided she ever became a real person and I met her).

    • Mauve_Avenger says:

      I just posted it a couple of comments above. Edit: And by a couple of comments above, I mean several comments below, on the next page somewhere.

  11. @IAmNidoking says:

    I think you see now why Iroh was so keen to replace his "lost" white lotus tile in "The Waterbending Scroll". And probably also why it was so hard to find one.

    • MichelleZB says:

      Yes!! If he didn't have his lotus tile, he wouldn't be able to find his secret friends all over the world.

    • Tilja says:

      THIS! Is what I wanted someone to mention. And why Iroh said that the white lotus tile is the best of all. Or something of the kind.

    Mark, this show is making you puke with joy and pee yourself. You may want to see a doctor. Great television may be hazardous to your health.

  13. FlameRaven says:

    So yeah! Remember way back in episode 9 when Iroh lost his Lotus Tile? Turns out it really WAS important enough to go hunting through the markets for. 😀

    As for Toph's comments about the muzzle. I don't think you missed anything in the previous episode. We didn't really see any of the fight between the sandbenders and Appa, so they could easily have said things that Toph heard, but we didn't, because we were focused on her trying to hold up the library.

    • MichelleZB says:

      Yeah, I think they denied it at first because it was JUST that one sandbender and his buddies that stole Appa, so the leader of the sandbenders didn't know that Appa had been stolen.

  14. Meenalives says:

    I just caught something on this rewatch that I had never connected before. Remember in "The Waterbending Scroll," when Iroh loses (or pretends to lose) a Pai-Sho tile and insists that he and Zuko land and go into town to buy a new one. it was a lotus tile. Perhaps his real reason for wanting to land there was some sort of Order of the White Lotus business, especially since we find out he had the tile all along.

  15. herpestidae says:

    May I just say that Aang's MANGER in the Avatar State may be the most frightening human thing we've seen in the show? Because, it totally is. It's like Mike and Bryan are always trying their best to scare the living crap out of the small children who will no doubt watch the show.
    Also: Iroh and the Order of the White Lotus. That's why he went back for the tile in The Waterbending Scroll

    Also Also:
    <img src=""&gt;

    This one should have been posted back in Bitter Work, but ah well…
    <img src=""&gt;

  16. Dragonsong12 says:

    All I'll say is THANK GOD FOR THE CACTUS JUICE or this would've been the most depressing thing of all time. You're right, though, this is really a shining moment for Katara as she never really blames Aang for his anger and frustration, but simply moves on and in a way diffuses it. I was also pleased to see that Toph didn't take his anger to heart. She could have, but likely realized that he was angry and was just venting at something – ANYTHING – that he could target. I'm always a little surprised that he never snaps at Sokka for bringing them to the library in the first place and then making the spirit angry – it's not Sokka's fault any more than it is Tohp's, of course, it's only the fault of the sandbender who actually did the deed, but I'm still surprised that none of his rage was really directed Sokka's way.
    OH SOKKA, love you so.

  17. kaleidoscoptics says:

    So this episode’s subtitle should be: Aang is scary. Do not piss him off. Basically every time we’ve seen Aang get dangerously irrational it’s because someone he cares for is in trouble. When Katara was in trouble, he went into the Avatar state and nearly destroyed that fortress place. When Bumi was captured, he stormed the castle. When he finds out Appa’s been kidnapped, he flips out and starts taking out his anger on his friends. He’s being an asshole now, but you can’t really blame him. The closest friend he’s had since his former life 100 years ago has gone missing. That has to be devastating. Also, did he kill that beezard thing? Holy crap.

    Katara’s desire to keep the team together is really great here, despite having backfired in The Chase. She’s the Determinator, who’s gonna get them through the desert come hell or high water. …Or maybe high temperatures. Water would be a good thing. Her idea to bend the cloud was really clever.

    Cannot go this whole thing without mentioning Sokka’s hallucinations. ~FRIENDLY MUSHROOM~ Sokka is so great. The wiggly arms had me cracking up. (although, how did they catch up to Aang if they walked away from his dust cloud?) I could make a whole review that's just High!Sokka quotes, honestly.

    And I can’t believe I almost forgot to mention the B plot. Iroh is part of a pai sho secret society. This man’s badassery knows no bounds. And they’re on their way to Bai Sing Se! It’s really happening!

    • Avatar_fan_mom says:

      Totally right on in terms of what REALLY gets Aang going…think of the first time we saw him in Avatar state – at the Air Temple when he realized that all his people were really gone. Seeing Monk Gyatso was just too much heartbreak – bam – Avatar state. Another fine example (and you already mentioned the others) was when Admiral A*hole (Zhao) killed the moon spirit and it looked like all hope is lost – enter Koizilla attack.

      It's definitely a big theme here…more of which I am sure we will see as shit continues to get real…

  18. bookgal12 says:

    I have always been a big fan of ladies on this show being shown as strong characters and this episode illustrates how diverse they are. Front and in center is Katara's unceasing drive throughout this trial in the desert. I know that even though I'm 22, I do not have that kind of resolved to trek through the desert despite all the chaos going on around me. As for Toph, the other lady in the group we get to see her guilt overcome her for losing Appa even though it was not her fault. Aang's reaction of anger and hate made me truly afraid for what might happen down the road when it came to Aang and his dealing of his emotions. I also realized why he was so angry, Appa is his most potent connection to his past as well as a companion. When he trapped himself in the ice, Appa was with him. I also, made the discovery that Aang is only 12 after all and prone to the turbulent emotions that everyone else goes through. But, he has the heavy burden of being the Avatar on top of all that, so in a way I could see why he was so angry and rageful until that moment with Katars which is so simple and it makes my heart swell.

  19. psycicflower says:

    ‘You’ve been hallucinating on cactus juice all day and then you just lick something you find stuck to the wall of a cave!?’ ‘I have a natural curiosity.’


  20. Tauriel_ says:

    I love the use of the classic trope of creating a bar brawl in order to sneak out unnoticed. CLASSIC! <3

    And the Order of the White Lotus is TOTALLY the Avatar-world version of Freemasons. 😀

  21. OKAY SO.
    again, my big sister instincts were rampant in this episode. ;A; i just feel so bad for everyone! and i want to give them all a hug!
    katara is clearly a hero and she deserves ALL THE CREDITS for keeping the group together this episode.
    i hope toph gets to make LOTS OF ROCK ANGELS ALWAYS ;A;
    sokka is… high on cactus juice um he's mostly okay i guess. is this our first reference to yue since the north though?! ;A;
    i love aang's peaceful, vegetarian, ~~~all life is precious even this bug attitude, so i remember him knocking down (killing?) that wasp being so intense. D': i mean, i see why he's so upset and everything and i feel so, so bad for him but that was definitely the point where i went "OH SHIT AANG'S REACHED HIS POINT ;A; "

    also THE ADVENTURES OF ZUKO AND IROH CONTINUE!!! hiding in flower pots /beautiful/ it's the only way to travel.

  22. Saphling says:

    I can't blame Aang his anger in this episode, misdirected as it was.

    It's like if someone stole Sexy from the Doctor and sold her to traders. ;_;

    • SporkyRat says:

      I would so not want to be anywhere near the Doctor if that happened.

      • Fusionman29 says:

        Well Sexy wasn't given to traders that we know of but in the Impossible Astronaut Sexy isn't in sight of the future Doctor.

  23. thefireandthehearth says:


    Aang, plz do not go "WE ARE LEGION FOR WE ARE MANY" ever again. It's scary. Pretty sure Katara agrees- it's not fun watching someone be in that much pain. But this episode proves that Aang really does need Appa and everyone else in the Gaang. Family, they has it.

    Speaking of which, Katara: strong, sensible badass. I approve of all these things. But it's a long long way to Ba Sing Se, so everyone's going to have to get their acts together and hunt down a giant six-legged bison. Pfft, how hard can it be to find him?

  24. chichichimaera says:

    Sokka on cactus juice is SUPERB. It is just so constantly entertaining. 😀 😀 He is my favourite thing about this episode.

    BA SING SE, FUCK YEAH! After all the allusions to it it was inevitable that we would get to see it eventually, but now we know that EVERYONE is going there! *fistpump of excitement*

    Iroh and his secret society are fascinating. Of course Iroh is the kind of guy who belongs to a secret society! And it is Pai Sho related! Now all we need is to learn that he is also part of the Ancient Order of the Jasmine Tea and my life will be complete. (If it doesn't yet exist, Iroh should surely found it.)

    Texts From The Fire Nation!

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

  25. Tauriel_ says:

    Also, I believe this pic is in order (thank you, wonderful rufftoon!):

    <img src=""&gt;

  26. Mauve_Avenger says:

    Maybe I was just woefully unobservant of Momo because of all the Sokka goodness, but it seemed to me that Momo wasn't quite as sorely affected by the cactus juice. Maybe he's already built up a small amount of tolerance? 🙂
    <img src=""&gt;

    "Toph, more than anyone else, is ecstatic at the possibility of putting her feet on solid ground, so they rush to see exactly what’s at this rock. Once they’re there, it’s great to see Toph’s depression lift, and she shows us this by making a rock angel. And that is a sentence I never thought I’d write, but there you go."

    For some reason, I completely forgot the implications of Toph being an Earthbender, so I was like O.o when she dove straight onto the ground. But then she wasn't hurt, and it was the best surprise-that-shouldn't-have-been-a-surprise ever.
    <img src=""&gt;
    And I know it was pretty obvious, but I can't help but think this is really cute, mostly because you can tell how pleased Zuko is to be in there:
    <img src=""&gt;

  27. rainbowsinside says:

    I've been playing Kirby's Epic Yarn lately and one of the items you can find is Cactus Juice!

    aw yeah.

  28. shoroko says:

    Yeeah I was basically going to write a love letter of How Much I Love Katara in this episode, but you've pretty much covered it for me. She is pretty much consistently amazing. Katara isn't always at her best, but when she is, it's the best. While the others contribute to their collective survival (well, except maybe Sokka, but he contributes to our not being completely depressed during this), Katara is absolutely the reason for it. She's the one who tells Aang to stop it when he goes off on Toph, even managing to keep her cool in the process so as to try not to alienate him. Even after he's left them to look for Appa, Katara expresses concern for him as she tries to lead Sokka and Toph on her own, and doesn't rise when Aang snaps at her later.

    And the "circle birds" – I've read that as a real end-of-the-line sort of moment. Yeah, they're giant bee-buzzard things, but here they're effectively vultures. Katara's looking around at her options, and they're not good: Sokka's for the moment effectively incapacitated; Toph is disoriented and thirsty (and I think maybe for the first time here, we see her as really a very young person on her own; the way she interacts with Katara has a much stronger older-younger sister vibe than we've seen with them before); and Aang is angry and desperate and not up to leading anyone. They're alone and running to the last of their supplies, and these things are flying over them, just waiting.

    And of course, Katara shakes it off, and demands it not only of them but of herself to continue forward. I think it's sometimes taken for granted of her that this is how she will act, this is the person she'll be when the group needs it, but it really is amazing.

    And then, of course, like she's done before, Katara is the only one who doesn't run away when Aang goes into the Avatar state; despite that he's at his most powerful and dangerous, she puts herself at risk to be the one to calm him down from it. Again. That is just an amazing amount of strength and resilience.

    Aside from her, the first time I watched this, Sokka and Momo high on cactus juice just killed me. I had to hold back giggling just reading it on here. I also appreciated that they showed that the Sandbenders weren't just all evil or something; this was one guy and his group, not something they did generally, as indicated when the father offers hospitality to Team Avatar when they say Appa was stolen.

    • monkeybutter says:

      Katara isn't always at her best, but when she is, it's the best.

      I like that. It encapsulates Katara perfectly.

  29. @maybegenius says:

    Yes, his eyes are enoooormous!

  30. hpfish13 says:

    The voice work in this episode is just brilliant. You can hear exactly how exhausted Katara is in every word she speaks. And the range of pain and anger in Aang voice shows a real range we haven't gotten from him before.

    Also, Sokka on cactus juice may be just about the best thing ever! I frequently use the "It was you!!!" line, when saying something was someone's fault!

  31. Jay Gatsby says:

    In regards to Aang killing the buzzard-wasp, this may have been the first time he "intentionally" killed another creature, but didn't he kill thousands of soldiers when he was in the avatar state during the end of Season 1?

    If you look closely in the scene when Aang becomes fused with the ocean spirit, in one scene the perspective is looking over Koizilla out at hundreds of ships, but in the next scene the ships are replaced with icebergs. I thought this was meant to imply that Koizilla destroyed them all (even the general said that Aang destroyed hundreds of ships in the episode "Avatar State"). And I'm pretty sure this is why Aang was having dreams of horror about the avatar state in the first episode of Season 2.

    So while Aang has up until this point only intentionally killed one creature, he has killed thousands within the avatar state.

    • Joe says:

      You must remember that he was under the control of the Ocean spirit at the time. It was less his direct action and more him being used as a conduit for a spirit to manifest in the normal world.

    • chichichimaera says:

      Also during the fight at the Northern Air Temple he was blowing Fire Nation troops of the side of the mountain. Pretty sure that's fatal.

    • Tauriel_ says:

      Are we sure he actually killed it? He might've just knocked it out…

    • Pelleloguin says:

      It's hard to say. I think he knocked it out.

      When he was Koizilla he could have just shoved the ships a few miles away using a wave, but due to this still being a kids show that aired on Nick, they could have been forced to leave it ambiguous. The icebergs make a good argument that Aang and Koizilla killed people, or at least destroyed the ships.

      I do know that Koizilla put Aang down before killing Zaho, which I thought was because of Aang's pacifist nature combating with the wishes of the spirit fish.

      Thumbs up for the comment, it's really thought provoking.

  32. meatandsarcasm says:

    The two best things about this episode are Sokka and Momo getting high on cactus juice and Katara being Katara.

    <img src="; alt="" title="Hosted by" />

    <img src="; alt="" title="Hosted by" />

    <img src="; alt="" title="Hosted by" />

    • @sthomson06 says:

      Oh god even the GIF breaks my freaking heart. So much love for Katara, doing what she can, when she can, and never giving up. In the "good times", it's annoying, but in the bad times, it's invaluable.

    • DuskQ says:

      This is the best representation of their relationship; the most endearing display of love. There's more to be said about the fact that all the sand benders, Toph, even Sokka run for their lives from the god-like rage of the Avatar! Katara, however, can see through that. She sees through the dangerous display of power, disregarding that Aang is five seconds away from wreck the desert in much the same way he wrecked the General's base.

      Katara saw that there was just a boy hurting in there. She didn't amass some huge display of power to match his. She just reached out a hand and held him. She just held him.

    • Amira says:

      And she is crying too. You can see it in that last gif. Just breaks my heat to see Aang suffer so and yet to see her trying to help him…GAH! this show! So many emotions!

    • Depths_of_Sea says:


      And this, right here, is one of my favorite moments between the two ever. No words, no dialogue, just The Power of Love being stronger than the Avatar State as Katara hugs and comforts Aang out of his rage.

    • Edogg says:

      re:The first gif.

      So did anyone else notice Katara's hands get switched between those two shots?

    • Avatar_fan_mom says:

      Wow. The intensity of empathy you see in Katara during those scenes is amazing. Unbelievable how well that last gif captures SO much emotion.

    • herpestidae says:

      That last one… The little wibble in her mouth… that just kills.

  33. kartikeya200 says:

    <img src=""&gt;

    Aang is so uncomfortably angry in this episode. It makes perfect sense, and I imagine that was entirely intentional, but boy it kind've makes me squirm to see. And he just up and kills that buzzard-wasp. Aang doesn't intentionally kill things! He's a vegetarian. He loves life. He's usually so happy even when stuff has gone badly for him in the past. BUT YOU DO NOT STEAL HIS APPA AND YOU DO NOT STEAL HIS CACTUS-JUICE TRIPPING MOMO.

    <img src=""&gt;

    <img src=""&gt;

    It was always fun when we had the opportunity to create specialized benders, like the Sandbenders, who adapted Earthbending to their harsh desert environment.

  34. Minish says:

    This episode is full of AANGST.

  35. t09yavorski says:

    Mark doesn't mean it in a negative way. "Jesus take the wheel" is similar to the phrase "God help me". And even if one doesn't believe doesn't it show a certain respect that they are willing to invoke the names?

    • stumpoman says:

      it all really depends on context and intent. Using him as a subject for humor is considered offensive by a large number of people. Not all but there are definitely a large number.

      Honestly though this blog isn't the best place for the easily offended Christian.

  36. monkeybutter says:

    I know, the score is too perfect for words. I especially love the way the end bit seems more melancholy than tranquil, as it has in past avatar states. God, I love this show.

  37. @maybegenius says:

    I love how that PaintedLady GIF of Sokka is being used repeatedly in comments. FAN FAVORITE Y/Y/HTTY?

  38. Tauriel_ says:

    In that case, Toph should apply immediately. 😛

  39. stumpoman says:

    up to interpretation. the more traditional would say yes. more progressive no

  40. Tauriel_ says:

    Zuko looks a lot younger in this episode – his face is less angular than it was. Plus the hair, too…

    • Superstarseven says:

      2 korean studios are responsible for animating Avatar. Character designs are different for each.

  41. corporatecake says:

    Man, at the end of yesterday's review, it was so hard not to be like, MARK YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW BAD IT'S GOING TO GET. WAIT UNTIL THE DESERT. IT WILL BREAK YOUR HEART.

    Yeah, this episode gets me every time, and I watched the whole thing with this sick feeling in my stomach. I can't really blame Aang for acting the way he does. He's twelve years old and Appa isn't just transport, he isn't just a pet, or even a friend, like you said, he's one of the last remnants of his culture and his old life. Aang isn't perfect, and in a way, even though my heart breaks for him in this episode, I feel that it's also probably cathartic for him to feel all of these things about how much he's lost.

    We saw that Aang was clearly upset in The Southern Air Temple and The Northern Air Temple, and is still coping with the genocide of his people. But we haven't really seen him get angry about it in a way that I think is natural to. I think that his feelings in this episode, his totally vicious, not-himself (but not out of character) rage isn't just about losing Appa, it's about losing his very distinct way of life. It's about an entire race of people being murdered, a race that Aang belongs to. I think that it was time for Aang to feel these things.

    This episode also does really make me admire poor Katara, but I think that she's used to being the one holding things together. Never in a situation as desperate as this, but you know she had to be the glue in her family, too, after her mother died, and then her father left. I want to hug her. 🙁

  42. arnenieberding says:

    I'm pretty sure that rock is a remnant from one of the Hunger Games arenas and that the buzzard wasps are descendant from tracker jackers.

    Just sayin'.

  43. Depths_of_Sea says:


    So much drama and just the right amount of humor to balance it out. I just love, LOVE how Katara takes charge of everything and takes up the duty of getting and keeping everyone moving and focused because Sokka's tripped up on cactus juice, Toph can't "see" in the sand, and Aang is too distraught. Why are you such a badass in this episode Katara and how can I be as awesome as you?


    <img alt="" src=""&gt;

    Oh hello Reason Why I Ship Kataang, how ya doing?

    Also, the music in this episode was ridiculously emotional. I still tear up at that last little kalimba "pling!" on the cue at the end of the episode.

    • echinodermata says:

      General warning: the visual accompaniment to the youtube link is spoilery.

      And general announcement: everyone, try to watch out for this sort of thing (especially if it's something in your comment), and warn when appropriate.

    • TheWelshPirate says:

      "Oh hello Reason Why I Ship Kataang, how ya doing?"

      Seconded. It's such a touching scene. It always reminds me of Betty Ross and the Hulk.

  44. Crookshanks says:

    Just got one thing to say: Aangst.

  45. samibear says:

    jesus take the wheel

    I have never wanted a phrase on a t-shirt so badly…

    But then again, I haven't ever wanted some cactus juice like I do right now either…

  46. fantasylover120 says:

    Ah, this ep. I just want to reach into the screen and give Team Avatar (and Appa wherever he may be) big hugs. But excitement time because it's pretty clear that soon we'll get to see BA SING SE! ;insert fangirl squeel;

  47. alex says:

    oh mark. mark, mark, mark… you have no idea. just… no idea…

  48. isoycrazy says:

    This was a powerful episode no question. I don't think it would be half as good if we didn't have Sokka doped up and acting as the plucky comic relief.

  49. @Micorku says:

    Ugh this might be the best episode yet. It is certainly filled with the most viewer tears so far.

  50. Pelleloguin says:

    Aang breaks my heart in this episode. I can sympathize with him though. The first summer we had my dog, she got out of the house. We spent an hour looking for her on our bikes before my brother found her five minutes away in the park's baseball field, unable to find her way out. I was biking around the neighborhood in tears, calling her name over and over again. We adopted her that winter, and she had been found as a stray so all I could think of was her getting lost forever, or getting hit by a car, or falling in the creek a few blocks away, and just hoping that someone found her and would call us. I was really little but I was so upset and stressed I know that if anyone had said anything to me at that point I would have snapped. I was ready to beat whoever let my dog out to a pulp when I got back home. Turns out the door had been sticking so it didn't close properly, and she nosed her way out on her own. When watching this episode, all I could do was think about that day Patches went missing and how much I wanted her to come home, and I just wanted to hug Aang. Needless to say, I was almost in tears by the time Katara did it for me.

    Speaking of Katara, I need to applaud her actions this episode. She never once blamed Toph, or got mad at Aang. She looked after her high brother and tried to keep everyone as safe and cared for as she could. All while trying to get them out of the desert without any help. Her character really shines through. She's a teenager, prone to infighting and the like, but when push comes to shove she will never abandon anyone she cares about.

  51. Shay_Guy says:

    Thanks. 🙂 I'll have to close up soon, though, seeing as it's late Friday afternoon. Therefore, I shall finish for today with the following:

    <img src="; title="What do you want me to do? LEAVE? Then they'll keep being wrong!">

    • hpfish13 says:

      I didn't know the script that comes up when you hover over the comics still worked when you embed the image elsewhere! That's awesome!

      • xpanasonicyouthx says:


      • He added the alt-text himself.

      • Shay_Guy says:

        It's not a script, really, just a title attribute. It works on all sorts of elements, including images and links. (I tried to put an example here, first with a <span> and then an <a> element, but it looks like it only works on <img> in IntenseDebate comments.)

        I think there used to be a planned XHTML 2 feature that would let you leave out the href="" attribute on the <a> element, or add one to the <span> element, and they would act like each other, becoming basically interchangeable. Not only that, but the <img> element would be changed, too, so that…

        [img src="; alt="You see this on a non-image browser" /]

        …would become…

        [img src=""%5DYou see this on a non-image browser[/img]

        And you'd be able to add src="" attributes to <a> or <span> elements and make them work the same way. 'Course, now everyone's focusing on HTML 5; I haven't heard about any developments in XHTML.

    • MocataJoy says:


  52. Hotaru_hime says:

    Oh Katara!! You are so amazing!!
    Imagine how frustrating everything is for poor Toph, who is now almost completely blind, as the sand makes it very hard for her to sense things and she's accused of letting Appa be captured when it was a choice between saving Appa and letting everyone else die, or saving everyone else and hopefully get Appa back later. Poor baby, I just wanted to hug her all episode.
    Of course, I'm glad he didn't because that would have been really awful and sad and damaging to his character, so go Katara~
    Order of the White Lotus huh? I guess that's why Iroh was so upset when he supposedly lost his white lotus tile in the first season.

  53. giga_pudding says:

    Aang is also a monk, meaning it's against their morals to kill a living being even animals and you can see he kinda follows that til this episode

  54. Gimlimonkey says:

    This episode is a perfect example of how awesome this show is. "The Desert" includes anger, loss, heart crushing sadness, humor, Old Western violence, as well as a million other awesome things. Aang's grief? One of the saddest things on television. Momo and Sokka with cactus juice? So hilarious and amazing.

    And the continuity. This show has been amazing with with it's episode, always giving the viewer a sense of time passing and of a complete story line. But here you get the chance to see how the writers are prepared to blow everything out of the water. Appa's disappearance signals a significant change. For once Team Avatar will have difficulty with traveling long distances as they can no longer fly. Then the writers bring a thing from the past, a small detail most likely overlooked. Iroh playing Pai Sho and the formation of the lotus with the pieces. Anyone remember when Iroh diverted the ship to look for a new White Lotus tile back in the episode with the pirates?

    I love this show!

  55. psycicflower says:

    Jesus in the passenger seat?

    • Kaotik4266 says:

      Which seat should he take? Maybe he should ask Rebecca Black…

      • Violets are Blue says:

        Or Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, the Knicks City Dancers, a beekeeper, a tennis player, Taylor Hicks, and The Roots.

        [Seriously, this version is amazing.]

  56. Cassidy says:

    I freaking love this episode. It's got so many facets of awesomeness that it stands as one of my favorites in the entire show. Yes, a large portion of that is Cactus Juice (between THE LIBRARY!!! and the Quenchiest, you've discovered two of the best memes from this series in the past two days.) but it also has an emotional depth that's surprising even for Avatar.
    To start, look at Aang. I was shocked at his sheer lack of self control during this episode, because normally he's fairly responsible and level headed for a twelve-year old kid. Of course, he's still got his silly side (obviously), but he rarely acts in a way that causes me to sit gaping at the tv screen and say "that can't be the same boy as the one with the marbles on Kyoshi Island. He didn't even get this angry when he saw what happened at the Southern Air temple. I believe this is the angriest we have ever seen Aang. His cold destruction of the buzzard wasp proves that.
    Katara was amazing in this episode. I'm happy that we have her and Toph as total badasses, because it tells girls in the real world (like myself when I first watched this) that it's okay to be a leader and to be strong. And on the complete opposite side of the spectrum, there's Sokka. Oh, Sokka. 🙂 need I say more?
    A small nudging came to me when I was rewatching this today. Iroh was complaining on the back of the ostrich horse, obviously trying to get a break from riding. My question is, was he doing it solely for his own benefit, or had he noticed the Rough Riders and merely was trying to stop in a location of their choosing as opposed to one where they couldn't maneuver as well? Look at where they stopped. It was fairly open, pretty spacious, and plenty of exits. Could the Dragon of the West possibly have decided that they needed to stop here to fight? Interesting way to think about it, and we all can see Iroh's enemies underestimate him.

    So the Desert. Don't drink cactus juice, y'all, but convince your friends to, record it, and put it on youtube.

    • calimie says:

      Could the Dragon of the West possibly have decided that they needed to stop here to fight?

      I was wondering about that earlier. The leader of the Rough Rhinos does says something like "If you were surprised you must be really weak". You could be right. Then again, he could have warned Zuko, but maybe he feared Zuko would stop right then and face them instead of stalling.

      TL;DR: I'm not sure how you can be stealthy in a Rhino.

  57. affableevil says:

    you are my favorite

  58. MocataJoy says:

    This episode always leaves me wondering…it doesn't seem like much time passed between the time the sand benders took Appa, and the time they got out of the library. The sand benders couldn't have gotten all that far. So when Aang takes to the air, why is it so difficult for him to find them? It was easy enough (relatively speaking) for them to find the library in the middle of the desert, since they were airborne.

    I also don't get why Aang lets the sandbenders go. It seems like, as angry as he is, he should have said "Alright, you sold my bison to someone who is taking him to Ba Sing Se….that means it is now your problem and your responsibility to get me to Ba Sing Se, show me to any people you may know who would be interested in buying a stolen animal, etc." I'm surprised, since Aang was so angry that he killed/seriously injured a wasp, that he doesn't threaten the sandbenders any farther than just going into the avatar state. He doesn't force them to help him find Appa…that's what I would have done. But then, I'm awfully vengeful ^_^

    • calimie says:

      That's the thing that sort of bugs me with the previous episode: that planetarium took forever to show the position of the sun/moon and Sokka tried every single day before the comet, lets say it was just a month before that day and the eclipse: that's 30 days and 30 movements of the planetarium.

      Since it was possibly more, I think Toph was holding that building for a really long time which explains why Aang didn't see them.

      • MocataJoy says:

        It's true, that montage in the planetarium with Aang and Sokka was awfully fast, but they obviously had to spend a lot of time in there, so the sandbenders could have gotten pretty far I guess, especially since they have those gliders.

        But still, if I had been Aang and I'd found the sandbenders, Appa being gone would officially be THEIR PROBLEM and they would be ESCORTING ME TO BA SING SE IF THEY DIDN'T WANT TO DIE WHERE THEY STOOD. Seriously. You don't put a muzzle on Appa. >_<

      • linguisticisms says:

        So, everyone, the lesson we learned today is that Toph's badass reaches new and impossible heights.

    • Depths_of_Sea says:

      Well, Aang was not exactly rational at that point any more. I don't think he even intended to go into the Avatar state, it just triggered automatically like it did back at the Southern Air Temple. I think if Katara hadn't stepped in, there would BE no sandbenders to force taking them anywhere.

      • MocataJoy says:

        Totally. Again, it's probably because I'm vengeful, but I almost wish that Aang had either wiped the fuckers out while he was in the avatar state (which would have been totally against his character, but STILL) or at least forced some more information/guidance out of them. I mean, if his first goal is to find Appa, why wouldn't he go back to the sandbenders (after he was out of the avatar state) and ask for more detailed information? "Who exactly did you sell him to? What exact route do you think they will take to Ba Sing Se? Who in Ba Sing Se would be interested in buying an illegally traded animal?" Things like that.

  59. MichelleZB says:

    Yes, exactly. Zuko is… struggling. You don't know which way he's going to go, but the story is about his struggle.

    Malfoy is just evil. Sure, he's small-c evil–he's mainly a coward, and you feel bad for him in Book 6 because he's just a teenager and he's in over his head. But his moral sense is not meant to be developing.

  60. Moonie says:

    Truth: Years before I watched this series, I saw a gif of Sokka's mushroom dance.
    I was immediately intrigued, and searched it up on youtube.
    To this day, I think that clip is one of the things that stuck in my head and made me decide to watch this show.
    Lie: This episode is terrible AND I HATE IT.

  61. ahaha okay sorry for commenting all up in this drama

    i've just been having a bad day and have a lot of ~~~feelings.

    i'll bounce on out of here now, but before i do, can someone PLEASE TELL ME IF WE'LL EVER SEE BA SING SE


  62. sam says:

    This episode should be "in which everyone is nearly useless except katara"
    I mean Sokka getting high on cactus juice was fun and all, for the watchers, but honestly this was Katara's episode, and she was amazing. My heart ached for Aang and Toph though. Like when Sokka said "Can't you see where you're going?" and she was like "No." But esepcially at the end, Katara's presence in this episode SAVED EVERYBODY.
    Zuko and Iroh were cute though.

  63. I'm deleting this because of Nickelodeon-made-up episode title spoilers, but feel free to repost without using the title.

  64. hpfish13 says:

    There were people I was trying to respond to in the ridiculously long thread, it took me 30 minutes to scroll down to the comment and then I couldn't type anything with about my computer freezing up. So I'll try to respond here.

    Flameraven: The project was a extended paper so there was no presentation to the class. The teacher told her flat out that the Christianity was why she had failed. Also this was when my sister was 11, she wrote the paper from her point of view I don't think she had any intention of evangelizing.

    @uptowardsthesky: Yeah, I'm pretty sure most of it was just backlash, and no, there were no blocks put up against other religious clubs. I do agree about the history thing, but it's hard to be inundated with only negative things while the other religions are presented as being without fault.

    echinodermata: I don't know if the school had been sued, but it seemed that they were scared they would be.

    echinodermata & Time-Machine: The choir was not student led. The Christmas concerts used to have a mix of Christian, Jewish and generally seasonal (wintery) songs. When the Christian songs got dropped, they feared having an outcry against the Hanukkah songs, so they dropped those too.

    This'll be my last comment today. I have rehearsal shortly and need to review my script! Thanks everyone for their replies!

    • FlameRaven says:

      Ah, I'm glad I caught this comment then. I don't blame your computer for crashing: apparently that one comment has 200 replies now.

      It does sound like the teacher was at fault. Unfortunately separation of church and state doesn't always happen– and if the teacher was failing a student for doing something that focused on Christianity, it didn't. The whole idea is not to favor any one religion over another. This situation is actually kind of exceptional because most of the time the problem is with schools favoring Christianity over other religions– see the recent issue with a school offering a prayer during graduation, and there's a really rage-inducing episode of This American Life that deals with several Muslim students being harassed by their teacher. (Link is here)

      Anyway, basic point: it's a tricky line to balance on, and there are often mixed results.

      Best of luck with the rehearsal.

  65. Jaxx_zombie says:

    So after finally getting through reading every post in that horrible thread on the first page…. poor Mark…. at this point you might just want to start banning, because that is a bit ridiculous. "Jesus take the wheel" is awesome says a christian).

    Question: Can jesus take the wheel if he doesn't have a license?
    But I digress.

    I feel so bad for Aang now!!

    …. I want cactus juice….

    I just found this:
    <img src="; border="0" alt="Photobucket">

  66. Patrick721 says:


    I already have issues with wasps. But giant wasp/vulture hybrids…WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?

    I want to see all the characters get drunk on cactus juice. Odds are, one of them will turn into Hunter S. Thompson. Imagine Ty Lee on cactus juice…or Azula. Or Iroh.

  67. daigo says:

    You forgot to mention one of the best bits:

    (Toph bumps into Sokka)
    "HEY! Can't you watch where you're going?!"
    "…Oh. Sorry."

    Oh Toph.

  68. Fusionman29 says:

    Sokka high may be the BEST THING EVER,

  69. TheWelshPirate says:

    <img src=""&gt;

    Oh man, I love Sokka and Momo on Cactus Juice! Does Sokka's lines about the "quench" capabilities of cactus juice remind anybody else of those Powerthirst videos?

    <img src=""&gt;

    When God gives Sokka lemons, Sokka FINDS A NEW GOD.

    • Anonymouse says:

      in that first gif… is it just me or does poor Momo look genuinely frightened?

      • TheWelshPirate says:

        He probably is. He's tripping balls while clung to the back of a guy worshiping a giant friendly mushroom.

  70. simplefaith says:

    Oh geez, THIS EPISODE. So many feelings.

    1) Most of fandom isn't too fond of Katara (at least the fandom I saw back when it was more active), but I can honestly say she's my favorite character, and this episode is pretty much why in a nutshell. Like, she can be totally badass, but she also has a very compassionate personality and a lot of positivity, which is something you don't usually see in characters that can also kick your ass. As someone who is usually the "mom" of a group of friends, but nowhere near as badass, it's something that makes my heart all warm and fuzzy.

    2) Mark, when you were all "I hope Aang is able to forgive Toph and be understanding" I wanted to scream out "YOU ARE SO NOT PREPARED." Because seriously, you weren't. I know all of Aang's anger was misdirected and unfair, but IDK, I felt like I could completely understand it? Maybe I'm just an emotional person, but there's something about the idea of Aang losing the only living connection to his home and culture breaks my heart in half. And seeing Aang hurting so bad breaks it into more halves. And then seeing him go into the Avatar state and have to be pulled into a hug by Katara makes me want to go hug a stuffed animal or something. I am a bleeding heart, SUE ME

    3) Cactus juice. It became memetic in fandom for a reason. 😉

    4) Also, you're still not prepared, Mark. Just sayin'.

  71. Avatar_fan_mom says:

    So many layers to this episode…
    Aang: showing some serious emotion and rage and despair…but honestly, if I were trapped in the middle of the desert and some group of people stole the only remnant of my wiped out culture, even I would be a bit irrational too. (And I'm a 31 year old woman…not a 12 year old boy.) Oh Aang…

    Toph: usually so self assured and outspoken…just dehydrated and pitiful in this episode. Looking like a lost little girl.

    Katara: showing her motherly instincts which have developed before their time because of her past…there is so much love and compassion and empathy in her, and I adore in this episode how she suppresses any of her own discomforts to keep the group together. As a mom myself, I SO know this feeling

    Sokka: oh sokka….from the moment his pupil dilated after ingesting that cactus juice I knew we were in for a fun ride…

    Zuko: HA! So glad mark busted you sniffing that flower too…I love love love how he did it so quickly, just in case someone were to see him…

    Iroh: Of course. Order of the White Lotus… <3 Where do I apply for membership?

  72. majere616 says:

    Sami, you need to ask yourself: WWJD?
    Answer: He would laugh, give Mark a high-five and then take the wheel.

  73. echinodermata says:

    Hey, fuck off.

  74. Jen says:

    About Aang's overreaction: no matter what, Avatar stuff, victim of genocide, lover of flying bison, he's still a 12 year old boy. His massive overreaction is honest, even if we cringe to watch him lash out at others. And that's valuable, too.

  75. Classtoise says:

    One thing I love about this show is that they gave Katara the classic/cliched "feminine" traits (i.e motherly, "love interest", healer, bastion of hope) and they still built a solid, well rounded character. On top of being the "Team Mom" she was also the "Team badass". Until fairly recently, she was the team muscle (Airbending is more evasive, Aang couldn't Earthbend, and Toph just joined. And, hell, even now, the team muscles still a girl). It was a good lesson for girls. "Being a girl does not preclude being a badass. Being a badass does not preclude being nurturing."

    Although I still love Sokka.
    Dudes a man of SCIENCE.
    (And DRUGS).

  76. Kylie says:

    The cactus juice stuff was tribute to Cowboy Bebop, right? The episode called Mushroom Samba, unless I'm much mistaken. All the characters get high (on accident, long story) on hallucinagenic mushrooms ("mushy friends" anyone?).

    • Superstarseven says:

      Considering that the show wouldn't exist as it is without Bebop's influence, it could be a tribute.

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