The following blog entry will rank the episodes of Over the Garden Wall. If you would like to see how it’s ranked, comment below with your ranking order. The article also has a link at the bottom for more information on this show if you need it!
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Over the Garden Wall is an undiscovered treasure for anybody who hasn’t seen it yet. This 10-episode Cartoon Network miniseries depicts the narrative of two brothers trekking into The Unknown, a deep and dark forest, and the amusing, spooky, and strange experiences they have along the way. The series has established a cult following, and many people watch it every year during the fall season.
Personally, I’ve begun wearing it with What We Do in the Shadows, another great Autumn watch. I always make a post on the movie about this time of year, but I’m running out of things to say about it.
The 10 episodes are all under ten minutes long, yet they cram a lot of character into that little period of time. Each episode is distinct, and I was interested by the prospect of attempting to rate them all. The finest episodes of OtGW combine terror, whimsy, and whimsy while still progressing the plot of Greg and Wirt’s search for home.
So, to begin, my tenth favorite…
Episode 5 of “Mad Love” is number ten.
There isn’t a single poor episode here, and I mean tenth favorite. And it’s still a fantastic piece. “Mad Love” was one among my favorites when I initially started watching the series, but it has since fallen out of favor with me. Wirt and Greg ostensibly assist Quincy Endicott, an elderly man, in investigating his impossibly large mansion in search of a feminine specter who haunts the halls; Beatrice, meanwhile, is attempting to steal two pennies from Quicy in order to pay Adelaide, who will supposedly assist the boys in getting home. That’s all there is to it in terms of primary plot stakes.
However, there are a few creepy moments in this episode that make it worthwhile. The concept of a spirit lady haunting Quicy’s home is terrifying enough to be thrilling, and the conclusion of her being another wealthy resident of the ridiculously enormous estate is hilarious enough. Quicy and the lads are also tense since they are attempting to steal from him, and he seems unhinged.
Also, Fred, the Horse, one of my favorite minor characters, gets the most screen time in this episode. He has one of the series’ best comic beats. His presence endears me to this episode since I believe he could have been a greater part of the series.
Episode 4 of “Songs of the Dark Lantern”
This was my least favorite episode the previous time I saw it, and it just slightly edged out “Mad Love” this time. In terms of storyline importance, this episode consists of a chat between the Woodsman and the Beast – which is usually interesting – and the lads asking for directions – which isn’t that interesting. Overall, this episode is acceptable.
The presence of the Highwayman, who interrupts Wirt’s plea for instructions with a song, gave this episode a minor boost. This brief scene is one of my favorites. The Highwayman is only one of many colorful individuals that inhabit the Unknown’s universe. The way he dances fascinates me; it’s a spoof of an earlier animation technique known as “rubber hose” animation. Using this kind of animation for just one character demonstrates how wacky things can become in this bar — everything is off-kilter and strange, and the way this man moves exemplifies that.
Episode 3 of “Schooltown Follies”
This episode is adorable, entertaining, and hilarious. It’s not exactly a high-stakes game, but it’s a lot of fun. I adore the schoolteacher’s obsession with her boyfriend, Jimmy. I like how she believes Greg and Wirt belong in the same class as the anthropomorphic animals she’s teaching (for some reason). Jimmy is the one in the gorilla outfit, which I like. “Potatoes and Molasses!” is one of Greg’s most famous songs.
Because it isn’t a pivotal chapter in the Over the Garden Wall mythology, all of these appealing qualities can only propel it to the eighth position in our list.
“Babes in the Wood,” number seven. 8th episode
In normal circumstances, this episode would be lower on the list, but it truly resonated with me during my most recent watching of the series. The tale Greg concocts about being among the clouds, as well as the way this story is paired with the beginning of the novel’s worst chapter, works well. The cloud narrative is funny and entertaining, but the possibility that it is a result of the Beast’s impact on the scenario lends this dream a subtle, frightening element.
The switch from Greg’s dream to (ostensibly) real life, as Wirt is absorbed into the Edelwood Tree and Greg is enticed away by the Beast, is a tragic way to finish an otherwise cheery episode. It’s like stepping out of a nice, cozy home in the midst of winter and into a harsh, chilly night.
Episode 6: “Lullaby in Frogland”
To be honest, the Frogland portion of this episode doesn’t do much for me — the frog passengers on the ship are entertaining enough, but for some reason, I’m never concerned that the boys and Beatrice (and the frog!) will be forced to leave the boat. As a result, the episode, at least in my opinion, lacks a little bit of tension. Greg’s waffling about what to call his frog, and Beatrice’s best efforts to persuade the boys to genuinely shift direction and not seek out Adelaide, are the only things that salvage this episode in the first half. Beatrice’s realization that she’s grown to enjoy the lads and her sudden desire to rethink her plans adds just the right amount of suspense to this episode.
However, the most memorable scene from “Lullaby in Frogland” occurs at the conclusion, when we finally meet Adelaide, whom we have heard so much about. In reaching Adelaide and discovering Beatrice’s deception, this episode includes what I would call the second act turning moment. While the tale doesn’t really become dark and disturbing until the conclusion of “Babes in the Wood,” this episode sets the tone for the rest of the season. The circumstances of Beatrice’s condition are given forth in this encounter: Adelaide possesses the scissors that would break the curse that turned her into a bluebird, and in return for those scissors, Beatrice pledged to bring two children. It’s a horrible betrayal, and a real stomach punch for those of us who have seen Wirt and Beatrice form a connection over the first six episodes; the fact that she felt bad enough to attempt to breach her agreement with Adelaide adds to the tragedy.
Adelaide’s death after being exposed to the air also seems a little too gruesome for a children’s animation.
Episode 7: “The Ringing of the Bell”
Tim Curry as Auntie Whispers is one of the most notable guest voices in this series. The peaceful, lackadasical sound of Auntie Whispers’ voice doesn’t exactly seem high-energy, so it’s easy to dismiss it. Tim Curry’s voice, on the other hand, is melancholy and matronly in an enthralling manner. Auntie Whispers’ finished piece has a friendly and scary vibe about it. It’s because of that intensity that the twist in this episode works so well.
This episode’s central axis is the audience’s perception of Auntie Whispers as a despotic creep who informs Lorna she can’t have any guests or stop working for fear of being “wicked.” So Greg and Wirt’s goal is to take away the thing she has in her possession that puts Lorna under her control. The revelation that Lorna is possessed by a phantom demon and that Auntie Whispers is truly looking out for her (despite not being parent of the year) is shocking and unexpected. Obviously, it is the story’s climax, and things are settled rather fast after that, but that is about as complicated as a ten-minute episode can get. But there’s not much more I could ask for! This is such a well-organized episode.
Episode 1 of “The Old Grist Mill”
Pilot episodes are typically difficult to write, but “The Old Grist Mill” does a good job of establishing all of the essential elements of a pilot episode. The tale in this episode is complete in and of itself, yet there is still space for more. It introduces the two main characters, describes them, and sets the series’ aim. The impending menace of the Beast is addressed, building suspense for the rest of the novel, and the Woodsman is a key minor character. Over the Garden Wall’s narrative is usually efficient, given the time constraints of 10-minute episodes; it’s no surprise that their debut episode is no exception.
In retrospect, it seems strange that this episode doesn’t introduce Beatrice; she should be here. She’s a big enough character that her absence in the first episode is noticeable on repeated viewings. Although the tale of this pilot episode does not seem incomplete without her, one would assume that if she is such a crucial component of the series, they would find a way to introduce her right away.
And one of my favorite parts of this episode is when the lads enthusiastically tell the Woodsman that they’ve fought the Beast, who ominously reminds them that the monster they discovered was not the Beast. This sets the tone for the remainder of the series: there’s a terrifying menace lurking in the woods that these guys will almost certainly come across, something much more frightening than the creature they just vanquished.
Episode 9: “Into the Unknown”
I may have given this episode a lesser rating, but I believe its location is critical. This would bring the series down if it were put at the beginning of the series, where it occurs chronologically. Having it revealed in the final episode that these lost youngsters attempting to find their way home are from a world presumably similar to ours, and aren’t used to seeing witches, anthropomorphic frogs, or the Beast. Including this flashback episode at the conclusion of the expedition was really a good idea.
There are very few tales that succeed in conveying the notion that everything was a dream. At this point in the story, giving the context that this may be a dream and that the boys could be dead makes it more devastating than if it had simply been presented at the beginning. Most importantly, when the lads come closer to going home, I believe that receiving a last look of what they’ll be returning to is crucial to anchoring the tale.
Apart from the fact that it is set in a new area, “Into the Unknown” is in keeping with the rest of the series. The plot beats that take us from Wirt attempting to explain his thoughts to Sara to the lads slipping into the Unknown seem quite natural. In comparison to any of the eerie meetings in the previous eight episodes, seeing the tale between Wirt and Sara develop is pretty easy and low stakes, yet it nevertheless feels tonally comparable and similarly essential.
Also, following Wirt’s prior comments about Jason Funderberker, getting to meet him now is one of the series’ great comedy scenes.
2. Episode 10 of “The Unknown”
If you’ve watched the series, you probably don’t need me to explain why this episode is so good. Wirt and Greg work together, reconcile with Beatrice, battle the Beast, return home, and Wirt admits his affections to Sara; it’s an appropriate emotional climax to the adventure we’ve been on. The stories of the other characters are also wrapped up well; Beatrice is able to relieve the curse on her family and return home, while the Woodsman understands he’s been misled by the Beast.
The Beast, who is a really intimidating enemy, gets the greatest screen time in this episode. He’s definitely written like a horror movie monster, with us learning very little about him and only seeing his real appearance for a fraction of a second. But that’s probably for the best; he’s terrifying even as a shadowy outline, and he’s terrifying even when he’s merely described as a dark, terrible entity feeding off the misfortune of the people in the Unknown. Although several high-profile voice performers, such as Tim Curry and Christopher Lloyd, contribute to the success of this series, choosing someone who is less well-known was certainly a solid option. Samuel Ramsey, who I hadn’t heard of before, provided the Beast’s voice. After doing some research on him, I discovered that he’s best renowned as an opera singer. It seems appropriate to put an opera singer in the role of a monster with such captivating vocals.
This episode serves as an appropriate conclusion to the whole plot. This episode contains all of the emotional highs and lows that the rest of the episodes manage to have. The devotion these brothers have for one other, the actual dread of the boys encountering the Beast, and the catharsis of the boys coming home – this episode has it all. All of the loose ends have been tied, and everything that has been planted has yielded results.
To wrap out the series, this scene in which we get to check in with all of the characters is one of my favorites. “Into the Unknown” (by the Blasting Company) is a fantastic tune for this series — it’s both creepy and lovely – and seems like the right music to wrap things up.
Episode 2: “Hard Times at the Huskin’ Bee”
Okay, I know – I’ve highlighted the significance of moving the main plot ahead up to this point, and this second episode doesn’t achieve much of that. But it’s the mood that propels “Hard Times at the Huskin’ Bee” to the top of our list. This episode hits a good mix between anxiety and harmless whimsy, as well as further defining our main characters – Wirt is worried, Greg is cheerful and naive, and Beatrice is focused. I could speak about how this episode has a climax moment of fear that reminds me of “The Ringing of the Bell,” when Greg and Wirt dig out the bones, but I believe that the aesthetic of this episode is more important than the character or narrative.
Most importantly, this episode fulfills the series’ promise of peak Autumn. It has a lot of elements that we may identify with the season, either culturally or naturally. Autumn harvests, bucolic towns, deep woods, pumpkins, celebrations, skeletons, terror, and death are all examples of both good and evil things. Autumn is a time for exciting festivals, seasonal foods and beverages, and harvests, but it is also a period of coming adversity in nature. Trees die, animals burrow, and landscapes bloom in a last burst of color before the world becomes desolate. This is the aesthetic backdrop against which the tale unfolds. The protagonists meet these undead Pumpkin skeletons that seem to want to murder the lads but actually simply want to enjoy their festival, which fits well with the themes of death and the fall season.
I’m at a loss for words to explain why this episode works so well, but I believe it’s as easy as this: Over the Garden Wall recounts a narrative in which death is a key subject, and it also incorporates a lot of Fall aesthetics; autumn and death are inextricably linked, so the pairing of these two themes seems both natural and symbiotic. Over the Garden Wall’s power as a seasonal piece of entertainment is crucial to its history, and this is the episode that best exemplifies it.
With the amount of time I spent debating how to rank these episodes, I could completely see someone selecting any other episode as the greatest or favorite. Fall would be incomplete without Over the Garden Wall or “Hard Times at the Huskin’ Bee,” in my opinion.
I’d love to hear from you — which episode of Over the Garden Wall is your favorite?
“Wirt over the garden wall” is a show that was created by Patrick McHale. It is currently airing on Cartoon Network’s late night programming block, Adult Swim. The show follows Wirt and Greg as they try to find their way back home. Reference: wirt over the garden wall.
Frequently Asked Questions
How long does it take to finish Over the Garden Wall?
A: Over the Garden Wall is a 7-part miniseries that was released on Netflix in 2017. It takes around 6 hours to watch all of it, unless you speed read through it at 2x or more
What is Wirt short for Over the Garden Wall?
A: Wirt is a main character from the Cartoon Network series, Over the Garden Wall.
Was Over the Garden Wall good?
A: It was a decent childrens cartoon.
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