Calliope Dreams

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Proud Triton has a gift for his youngest daughter.

It's a Sea Calliope!

In flashback, young Triton recalls Grandfather Neptune playing the Sea Calliope.

Neptune and Red.

Ariel's got no talent, but her friends stick around anyway.

Features a cameo by a musician named Mozart, a reference to this real life guy.

Triton's grandfather is named Neptune, a nod to the Roman God of the Sea.

The Ancient Seaclops is a creature that sleeps for a thousand years. Look up its namesake, the one-eyed Cyclops.

Uh-oh, wasn't Ariel supposed to be practising?

Ariel likes the Stringamajigger way more than the Sea Calliope.

Ariel's sisters enjoy the show.

Got to give her points for effort.

The Seaclops disapproves.

The Sea Calliope is an Atlantican musical instrument, similar to a pipe organ. In mythology, "Calliope" is leader of the Greek muses.

In this episode, the trident shoots rainbow-coloured magic to move the sleeping Seaclops. The same magic will is used in the later episode Metal Fish.

Someone in the episode's writing team had fun with Graeco-Roman mythology when they made this episode, I'm just saying.

Ariel and Flounder find a human instrument that Ariel, naturally, wants to play. It's a harp, but she calls it a Stringamajigger, and she's pretty good at it. This amused me way more than it should have, because the harp music does typically imitate the soothing sounds of the ocean, so it makes sense that a mermaid would be able to play it well.

However, Triton rains on Ariel's parade when he gives her a Sea Calliope, an Atlantican musical instrument that he wants Ariel to learn to play instead. Turns out that Triton has fond memories of his Grandfather Neptune playing the Sea Calliope, and since no one else in the family learnt to play it, I guess he figured his talented youngest daughter would be the best choice to take up lessons. Sebastian is charged to be her teacher, and Ariel doesn't have the heart to say no to her father when it obviously means so much to him.

Unfortunately, Ariel has no talent in playing the Sea Calliope. She's awful at it, and to make things worse, her playing wakes up the Ancient Seaclops, a creature that is supposed to sleep for a thousand years, and he's pretty cranky at being woken up early. Years earlier, the Seaclops had destroyed Neptune's Calliope, and he's pretty miffed that there's a new one in Atlantica.

This is one of my favourite episodes, because all the characters act really adorable and huggable, King Triton reveals that he's a softie for nostalgia, and I'm sucker for physical comedy (see: what happens to the Seaclops). The quality of the animation of this episode is also pretty awesome, with Ariel getting some wonderful expressions, I know I was surprised when I watched it again after so long.

Thanks to Marco for helping me out with this page.

Quotable quotes

Flounder:Remember, Ariel. Curiosity killed the catfish.
Sebastian:( Hits the harp. ) That was a C below the sea.
Triton:I wanted to hear how you're progressing, Ariel.
Ariel:Oh, uh, sure, daddy. Cover your ears.
Triton:You two have fun now.
Ariel:Oh, we will daddy. Don't worry.
Sebastian:Oh, we'll have so much fun... you'd think we were doing something else.
Flounder:I've stuck by you through ferocious monsters, and awesome seaquakes, being chased by blood-thirsty sharks - GRR - and horrible giant squids - RARR - and killer octopusses - HISS - so I'll stick by you while you play the Calliope. No matter how terrible you are.
Ariel:Oh, Flounder, you're the best.
Flounder:Yeah, and I brought earplugs.
Triton:You really love our Calliope, don't you, dear?
Ariel:Uh, well, uh... Words can't express how I feel about our Calliope, daddy.
Ariel:Daddy, I've got to tell you, I... I like the Sea Calliope even less than the Seaclops likes it.
Triton:Ariel! Why didn't you speak up in the first place?
Sebastian:She didn't want to disappoint you, sire.
Triton:Oh, Ariel, you'll always be my shining pearl no matter what. Despite what I or anyone else wants for you, you always have the right say "no". Well, I mean, "no, thank you".

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