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Author Topic: Bigwig? Big Jerk!  (Read 1397 times)

Offline Alderab

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Bigwig? Big Jerk!
« on: November 03, 2019, 01:53:36 AM »
(Don't hate me 'cause the title, I like Bigwig too!  :bigwig2)

So at the beginning of the miniseries, Bigwig characterization seems to play up his arrogance more than the previous incantations.  While the book and film certainly portray him as assertive and short tempered, in the first episode of the series he ranges from cocky (following his explanation of the hrududus) to vicious (threatening to kill Fiver at Cowslip's warren, rather than merely discrediting him to the others).  In short, I think he's more of a jerk.

While I'm never really a fan of flat bully characters, I do think that that a redeeming consequence of his earlier aggressiveness is that it makes his character development around Efrafa much more noticeable, and perhaps even enjoyable.  By the time it comes around to Bigwig holding the run, the satisfaction of seeing how he is finally humble enough to take Hazel's plan is magnified.

What do you think?  Does Bigwig seemed extra overbearing in the miniseries, and does it work for you?
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Offline florapaw

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Re: Bigwig? Big Jerk!
« Reply #1 on: November 03, 2019, 12:19:59 PM »
You know what? Bigwig’s more aggressive character in the miniseries made his characterisation in Efrafa feel out of place in my opinion. I’m all for having characters who are more nasty but if that’s the case you really need to work on making interactions actually fit it, you know? You can’t have both characters.

Offline Chipster-roo

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Re: Bigwig? Big Jerk!
« Reply #2 on: November 03, 2019, 06:24:53 PM »
I'm really not a fan.

Threatening to kill Hazel and Fiver is really way too intense, I think.  In the book, the only rabbits I remember him threatening this way were Cowslip, Woundwort, and maybe one or two other members of the Efrafan owsla :campion2

Speaking of Efrafa, Flora makes some valid points.  In the book, he was supposed Efrafa to join the owsla; in the miniseries, while he still ends up joining the owsla, he was supposed to be a storyteller instead.  Pretty much anyone could have fulfilled this role (except Holly, Blackberry and Bluebell, since they were already known to the Efrafans).  Especially considering that the one time Bigwig was asked to tell a story, he failed miserably, and it wasn't entirely Orchis' fault :orchis3

Another thing that annoys me would be how Hazel tells him to say that the Chief Rabbit told him to defend the run, while in the book he said it on his own.  The line coming from Bigwig himself does a better job at showing how he grew to respect Hazel's leadership :bigwig3
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Offline Alderab

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Re: Bigwig? Big Jerk!
« Reply #3 on: November 03, 2019, 06:41:41 PM »
In the first episode, yeah he was more aggressive might be like in the tv series but if he was a real jerk he didn't do such actions like...

I do agree that he does do a lot of the same good things, but it generally seems to me like he does it in a pandering way, perhaps with the exception of the stream scene.  I don't think the way he is voice helps much in this regard, as most of the time he does seem to be yelling.

The story teller role was another odd change.  I didn't understand what the big deal was that he wasn't to be known as former a Owsla.  Was it supposed to vaguely dismiss the suspicion that he may have been a part of the group the Wide Patrol had previously spotted?  The way the miniseries followed through was admittedly a bit interesting, with Bigwig having to take hits without being able to fight back.  But apart from showing he was gaining some inkling of self-control, I don't know if it served much purpose beyond that.

I think your point Chipster-roo about the holding the run scene is pretty important to, despite Bigwig being humble enough to accept the order he doesn't do it with initiative.  I think that this change may be in part due to the slightly different portrayal of Hazel in the miniseries, where he seems to openly lack the confidence of his novel self.  Perhaps the change was as much to show Hazel's growth as a leader as Bigwig's acceptance as a follower?
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Offline florapaw

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Re: Bigwig? Big Jerk!
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2019, 07:08:19 PM »
Alderab, that’s a pretty solid interpretation of the run scene, but it still makes no sense. They easily could have made Hazel and Bigwig’s interactions more natural. Coming back to what I said about Bigwig in Efrafa, changes in interpretation need to make sense. Hazel spent the entire miniseries bitching and whining and then suddenly he’s just a good leader. I don’t know if the writers weren’t sure about the original characterisation in the novel (like I hope not you’d expect screenwriters to definitely be better than that) or they were really desperate to make this adaptation their own, but last minute realised that none of the characters were going the way they wanted to. Either way, any sudden change in character with no real meaning is lazy writing.

I’m also with Chipster on Bigwig’s changes in Efrafa. There was no rhyme or reason to make Bigwig into a storyteller when he got in Efrafa. Like come on, even dumbed-down miniseries Bigwig has more brain cells than to try and trick a bunch of smart rabbits into thinking he’s a storyteller without even memorising a few beforehand.

Offline Alderab

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Re: Bigwig? Big Jerk!
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2019, 12:30:25 AM »
As far as the scene where Bigwig actually has to be a storyteller, I didn't have the impression that he was failing at telling a story, rather that he was just continually interrupted.  He started off a bit caught off guard, but from the few words he was able to say it just sounded like he was going to dive into a classic El-ahrairah story, probably one he had heard from Dandelion/Bluebell.

I agree, Inle-roo, that there were several good changes in the miniseries.  Extra run time definitely helped here, it let us get a bit more characterization of the Efrafa Owsla like you said.  Since I'm one of those crazy hlessi who saw it before the other adaptions, they weren't "changes" to me when I watched it originally, and the story seemed to hit all the right points for a solid tale. It is what got me to read and watch the originals.  Hearing Bigwig call Hazel "-rah" was a great moment, almost up there for me with Fiver's farewell to Hazel at the end (best scene in the series). 

Of course, there were odder changes too, but nothing overly distracting, especially on the first run through.  It was only after I read the book did it make me wonder why Strawberry needed a gender flip.

Going back the earlier point, does Bigwig's early jerkiness grant a larger payoff when he does something selfless?  I'm mixed.  I liked it the first time through, but I think I like his slightly milder portrayal from the books and film (although in Tales from WSD, he does seem to get randomly more violent over Flayrth).  I don't think his character arc was sudden or lazily done, since I think it was over the course of his Efrafa episode that he was gradually become less selfish. 

As for Hazel (probably deserves a separate thread), his rise to leadership does seem a little forced in the beginning, as it never really explains why he got the mantle in the first place.  But I think by the end he's had enough good ideas for others to at least respect him.  Barring his mild obsession with Clover.
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Offline Chipster-roo

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Re: Bigwig? Big Jerk!
« Reply #6 on: November 05, 2019, 03:21:21 AM »
The incident at Cowslip's warren isn't the only time Bigwig gets unusually angry at Fiver.  At Sandleford, he legit screams at him over the incident with the Threarah, while in the book and film, he's more annoyed than anything else, and this is directed more at the Threarah than Hazel or Fiver.

The story teller role was another odd change.  I didn't understand what the big deal was that he wasn't to be known as former a Owsla.  Was it supposed to vaguely dismiss the suspicion that he may have been a part of the group the Wide Patrol had previously spotted?
That's possible.  This was brought up in the book, with Bigwig dismissing it as "I saw their tracks but I didn't see them".  But storyteller still sounds lame: as Orchis points out, "little big for a storyteller, aren't you?"

Something else I just thought about.  In the owsla, Bigwig got access to information about warren security and defenses, and the right to visit other marks; outskirters get neither.  How would a mere storyteller manage to pull this off without these privileges?  Although, he never found out about Nettle's betrayal, so one has to wonder just how much the owsla knows...

Like come on, even dumbed-down miniseries Bigwig has more brain cells than to try and trick a bunch of smart rabbits into thinking he’s a storyteller without even memorising a few beforehand.
I found that sentence pretty funny :strawberry2 But fully agreed.

Bigwig met with Sainfoin first, who is not the sharpest knife on the table  :aspen but if Bigwig is a fighter brute we never know about Sainfoin's personalities and kindness. And Campion that tiny dialogue told about him a tons
I've had quite a bit of trouble figuring out who's who in the Efrafan owsla.  Orchis is easily recognizable with his voice, and Vervain dies early, they aren't too much of an issue.  But Campion and Sainfoin look and sound similar, and I'm really not sure which one of them does what most of the time (or even if it's some other unnamed officer).

As far as the scene where Bigwig actually has to be a storyteller, I didn't have the impression that he was failing at telling a story, rather that he was just continually interrupted.  He started off a bit caught off guard, but from the few words he was able to say it just sounded like he was going to dive into a classic El-ahrairah story, probably one he had heard from Dandelion/Bluebell.
Eh, I suppose that's possible, but I'm not sure.  While we never heard Bluebell tell a complete story in the miniseries, he still managed to start slowly and rather poetically.  Bigwig, meanwhile, jumps straight in to El-ahrairah needing a trick for...some reason, which we never find out about.  While Orchis continually interrupts, Bigwig does appear ill-prepared and stumbles over his words.  He also seemed rather reluctant to tell a story at first, and only did so when everyone was pressuring him for one.

I agree, Inle-roo, that there were several good changes in the miniseries.
There certainly were.

It was only after I read the book did it make me wonder why Strawberry needed a gender flip.
I may be the only person who likes female-Strawberry more than his male counterpart :strawberrydoe

Also, regarding the "my Chief Rabbit told me to defend this run" bit, Hazel telling Bigwig to say it brings up another question about Bigwig: does he really accept Hazel's leadership, or does he just say the line because psychological warfare?

I suppose it would probably be the former, though, since as Inlé-roo and Alderab point out, he does call Hazel Rah later on when returning with the dog.  Unless he finally accepted the leadership when he saw that, knowing that Woundwort's death was imminent.  I'm probably overanalyzing...

But there are some positive things about miniseries Bigwig.  I love his haircut.  And his voice is my favourite for him of all the animated adaptations.
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Offline florapaw

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Re: Bigwig? Big Jerk!
« Reply #7 on: November 05, 2019, 08:06:27 AM »
You are right as always, dear Chipster-roo. Bigwig with a mohawk is the best thing to come out of the miniseries.

Offline florapaw

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Re: Bigwig? Big Jerk!
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2019, 11:33:49 AM »
Orchis is an ex-storyteller and when Sainfoin accepted Bigwig's joining request, Efrafa suffered of many officers losts. They starting to train new ones and Sainfoin was happy because he could train a hlessi who is in great condition. And might be after Campion agreed with him they gave privileges. Everyone saw Bigwig as a big guy like the two officers at Blackavar.
No one knows about Nettle even Hyzenthlay, there was a big mass in Efrafa like in the book. That's why Orchis had many spies.

Wait, is that canon? Like, was that confirmed in the series because if so I missed a whole chunk of it I guess lmao

Offline Chipster-roo

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Re: Bigwig? Big Jerk!
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2019, 08:47:20 PM »
Sainfoin lets Bigwig join the owsla, so everything works out in the end, but that wasn't Bigwig's initial goal.  When he entered Efrafa, he had no way of knowing that's how things would play out.  If Sainfoin hadn't made this decision, and Bigwig had remained a mere storyteller, things would have played out very differently.

It's funny because to me in the 78' movie I cant recognize any individual Efrafans.
Neither can I, really; only Hyzenthlay stands out.  But none of the Efrafa officers get any individual personalities, so I don't really see it as too much of a problem.

Thanks for the quick roundup of miniseries designs.  Campion and Sainfoin have the same fur and eye colours, with the main difference being their size.  I'll try to pay closer attention the next time I watch the miniseries.

I like her better too.
Nice :strawberrydoe

When Bluebell telling the Black Rabbit's story suddenly interruted by Orchis and he's continue a few lines like a pro and said. "The old yarns are the best and you spin them so well, storyteller." And in the third episode that Chipster-roo pointed out, he said Bigwig is bigger for a storyteller. And we can saw Orchis was the smallest in the mark's officers. Clrearly Orchis was a storyteller before.
That's some pretty obscure stuff.  To me, the first one sound more like he enjoys listening to a talented storyteller, than telling the stories himself.  As for "big for a storyteller", you make an interesting point.  Orchis isn't very big and doesn't seem a particularly talented fighter, so one would have to wonder HOW he got the rank in the first place.  I think @Chibiscuit theorized that his brother might have pulled some strings.
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Offline florapaw

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Re: Bigwig? Big Jerk!
« Reply #10 on: November 05, 2019, 08:56:14 PM »
That's actually a really interesting filmmaking tool, Inle-roo; unfortunately I'm a little stupid and don't always get the little obscure things in the story lmao.

I'm always more on the side of "if it isn't clear in the finished product, it doesn't exist", so to me that makes no sense speculating. But that is still a very interesting theory. You'd have to wonder why they'd let useless storytellers join the owsla though. That's a pretty interesting idea though! A warren in such need of owsla rabbits that they're using storytelling rabbits!

I still think it was a pointless thing to change Bigwig into a storyteller when he got to Efrafa lmao. It went absolutely nowhere and just annoyed the hell out of me when he couldn't get a story out.

But hey, even if I'd prefer the nicer Bigwig who willingly called Hazel chief in the novel and film, mean and nasty Bigwig of the miniseries is still a very good character! Just wished they'd work with him more to make his characterisation feel natural.

Offline Chipster-roo

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Re: Bigwig? Big Jerk!
« Reply #11 on: November 05, 2019, 11:07:48 PM »
Nonverbal example, when Hazel and the others were in the house and running through Lucy's room. On the top of her bed was a plush rabbit-like toy or before in the kitchen there is might be some vegetables up on the table for the rabbits. And you could think Lucy is really takeing care of the rabbits.
The plush is another detail I didn't notice.  The scene was very short and the room was dark, things like this can be easy to miss.

And despite all this, Clover still comes across as the most anti-human character in the miniseries.

Nonverbal example. At the last shot there is a rabbit like cloud shape on the sky. Putting together with the earlier minutes you could understand that "Hazel's spirit will never die" because his story will never forget. In my opinion that was much better than El-Ahrairah's spirit in the book.
That, I did notice, and I agree that Hazel's death in the miniseries was probably the best of all adaptations, if you ignore the time frame.

There was another storyteller at that Orchis-Bigwig scene and that oldish guy is looked like an officer too.
Didn't notice this either.  I assume this is one of the many unnamed officers?  What makes you think he is a storyteller?

You'd have to wonder why they'd let useless storytellers join the owsla though. That's a pretty interesting idea though! A warren in such need of owsla rabbits that they're using storytelling rabbits!
If I remember correctly, in the book the footnote explaining what an owsla is, mentioned that storytellers can earn a part in the owsla.  Although, as far as I remember, this idea was never really fully developped later on in the book, or in any of the adaptations.
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Offline Hammy

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Re: Bigwig? Big Jerk!
« Reply #12 on: November 05, 2019, 11:18:44 PM »
I'm always more on the side of "if it isn't clear in the finished product, it doesn't exist", so to me that makes no sense speculating.

In screenwriting theres a basic academic form when the writer don't mention the verdict of the story, not mentioning the details of the envirovment and camera movements... My point is when a movie telling a story (an interesting one) there is a thin line between something "don't exist" and "clear".

One pole of telling the Story conclusion is told in dialogue, that's a simple "push it to your mouth" method. Lots of writers and directors useing that because they don't enough confident of their story.  :vervain-facepalm

The other pole when in the story there is no any grip and at the end you got an "artist" movie that you basically couldn't understand.  :pipkin-oh Sure I said the two wider poles.

And there is a greater screenplay - I mean it's subjective - when the story's flow, the compositions, the colors, the music, the minimalist dialogues, even the camera movement telling the story not just the obvious facts that you hear and see directly. That's exacly like 1+1 method. The important thing is, it's not a speculating in the story it's absolutely conscious by the writer-director. "You don't need to tell the story if you showed it".

Nonverbal example, when Hazel and the others were in the house and running through Lucy's room. On the top of her bed was a plush rabbit-like toy or before in the kitchen there is might be some vegetables up on the table for the rabbits. And you could think Lucy is really takeing care of the rabbits.

Verbal-nonverbal example. When Woundwort told Clover he was a hutch rabbit for a while + in the prologue of the fourth episode you saw the attacking fox. You could expect a man came to save young Woundwort. And that's not just because it's in the book. You can put the side and back stories together...
I know these types of tools useing by professionals in movie making and sometimes hard to recognize.

Nonverbal example. At the last shot there is a rabbit like cloud shape on the sky. Putting together with the earlier minutes you could understand that "Hazel's spirit will never die" because his story will never forget. In my opinion that was much better than El-Ahrairah's spirit in the book. All right, all right stop throwing me with hraka.  :)
I'm gonna have to say that I think that, while both those examples follow as implied bits of story, the "Orchis was a storyteller" doesn't so much. Those are pretty cut and dry, but Orchis being both small and suspect of Bigwig and his storytelling just strikes me as he got his position because he's clever and manipulative, and knows how to use those traits rather than being a former storyteller. I mean, maybe he was, that could be interesting, but I don't see enough here to support that as a definite conclusion as opposed to the other examples.

Like, with Woundwort, you can go, well, he clearly wasn't eaten by foxes somehow, and he mentions being in a hutch, so it's totally logical to assume that, yes, a man saved him. The latter example is more ethereal, but simple enough to be believable. With Orchis, the one line and his smaller stature could be interpreted that he was a storyteller at some point, but that seems like much more of a stretch. Like Flora said, I think it's an interesting theory, but to call it definite? I think that's leaning less towards a writer's trick and more towards writing the story for the show. I'd put that on the level of theorizing that he's in the Owsla because of clout from his brother Vervain.

As for the latter example being better than the book, I dunno if it's better or more just different in that the show has access to visualization that the book needed to write out. I quite like the very detailed, pretty explicit nature of the book, but different strokes and all that.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2019, 11:22:14 PM by Hammy »

Offline Hammy

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Re: Bigwig? Big Jerk!
« Reply #13 on: November 06, 2019, 08:24:18 PM »
Yes, you wrote it better how can a storyteller get a Captain rank. Orchis was clever and manipulative (with his harsh brother's push), that's why he got the position.

Another thing - Now, there is only the miniseries's world because an adaptation need to stand on it's own. Why Orcis said those lines to Bluebell, why finished the Black Rabbit story so well, why mentioned at the consil his storyteller role?

We're still only in the miniseries so you don't know about the books and other adaptations. There is no differences in my examples. Those are all hinted bits, not really important of the main plot just character backgrounds ect (Okay it's important in writing but it's another topic  :) ).
You said about the two other examples are more valid. I think you said because you read in the book and got a confirmation. The other new bits is still the same screenwriting types and no differences only with the "communication" and the "role" in the story, it's part of the main plot or a side plot, or one of the character's background...

The types and methodes are part of the creenwriting. If something is in the screenplay it matters and important. A writer unlike in a book - need to discribe only the dialogues and plot. No envirovment, no composations, no lights, nothing (except the "indoor/outdoor-night/day" scene head).

Sorry if I usually discribe my thoughts hard, trying my best.  :fiver3
No, it's not because of my familiarity with the book that I find those two examples more believable, it's because the scene with the foxes and the line about Woundwort spending time in a hutch very logically follow. How did Woundwort survive, seeing as he's obviously not dead? Well, he mentions being kept by men, so therefore we can cleanly deduce that he was saved by a man.

With Orchis, there's more moving parts than that, and they're more subtle on top of that. I see your path of inductive reasoning, but I'm still on the fence as to that being the intent. Or, if that was the intent, I don't think it was communicated in a way that most audience members who are paying attention would pick up on it. It's just not as clean as those other two examples, and I'd definitely put it more towards possible than absolute. Though, maybe that's partially because I still have trouble telling the difference between these rabbits between their similar coloration and blending in with the backgrounds. That aspect of the miniseries really hampered any visual storytelling in general, if you ask me.

Offline Chipster-roo

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Re: Bigwig? Big Jerk!
« Reply #14 on: November 06, 2019, 08:41:59 PM »
why mentioned at the consil his storyteller role?
To me, that bit felt more like he was mocking Bluebell than anything else.  But I agree that Orchis scheming his way into the owsla (with his brother's help) would fit with his personality.

In that Orchis-Bigwig scene there is a random officer in the middle beside Sainfoin. He's smaller and sitting on a rock just like Orchis did. And he telling the King's Lettuce story pretty well.


I had forgotten that bit, thanks for explaining.  This also reminds me of how, in the book, it was briefly mentioned that Bigwig told a story while visiting another mark.

Also, the "sitting on a rock" bit is pretty cute; didn't Bluebell do the same thing at Cowslip's warren?

With Orchis, there's more moving parts than that, and they're more subtle on top of that. I see your path of inductive reasoning, but I'm still on the fence as to that being the intent. Or, if that was the intent, I don't think it was communicated in a way that most audience members who are paying attention would pick up on it. It's just not as clean as those other two examples, and I'd definitely put it more towards possible than absolute.
Fully agreed.
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