but this isn't the kind of scene that makes a ship sail

2

Ah yes, the most platonic of all friendships 

isfjmel-phleg  asked:

I can recognize the significance of most of the foreshadowing in the OTGW opening, but the two boys sailing a boat? It's a model of the one in "Lullaby in Frogland," and the boys look like Wirt and Greg. But their clothing isn't their Halloween costumes or anything that they'd be liable to wear back home--it's decidedly Victorian. In what context would this happen? The other scenes all seem to be "actual" events in the Unknown, but do you have any idea what's going on with this one?

I’ve been wondering this for a while myself. (Wow, they do look like Wirt and Greg! I never noticed that! I don’t think they actually are Wirt and Greg—but the connection is too close not to be deliberate.)

Over the Garden Wall is one of these stories where the creators appear to know far more about the world they’ve invented than they let on, so I can really only guess. But some thinking out loud, if I may: 

I think the boys are dressed for the Edwardian era (or the Gilded Age in the United States), which would thematically link them further with the episode by costuming them in the same way as the frogs on the boat. (In fact, at least one of the younger, smaller frogs depicted in the episode is wearing a sailor suit somewhat similar to the ones that the boys are wearing.) 

In the Unknown people from different eras appear to be grouped together, i.e. Beatrice and her family (Regency period), Langtree, her fiancé and her father (Victorian era), and Lorna and Auntie Whispers (Puritan era). So…what if the group of people belonging to the real-life Gilded Age—including the two boys—were, for whatever reason, turned into frogs in the Unknown, just as Beatrice and her family were turned into bluebirds?

There are some holes in this theory, of course. Despite their sophistication and their appreciation for music, the frogs in “Lullaby in Frogland” seem to be pretty literal frogs; they don’t talk, like Beatrice and her family do, nor do they express any apparent need to, and they’re about at the cognitive level of Greg’s frog. More importantly, they stay frogs. And now we come to the crux, as Bertie Wooster would say, because out of all the groups of characters encountered they’re the only ones—besides the crowd at the tavern—who don’t have some sort of moving-on to do. Each of the characters in the intro has an episodic dilemma which Greg and Wirt must solve in order to put them to rest: Beatrice throws a rock at a bluebird, Lorna’s sorting other people’s bones, there’s Quincy Endicott and his ghost problem, there’s the Woodman and his daughter etc. The frogs don’t have this kind of transition to make: they’re happy as they are. If they represent a transition it’s not their own, but Wirt’s and Greg’s, since their ferry provides a mode of transportation for a climactic stage of the journey in a way that connects to each of them in particular—to Greg because of the frogs, to Wirt because of the boat itself.

The imagery surrounding Wirt’s feelings of helplessness keeps relating itself to boats and water. Right in the first episode he describes himself as “a boat upon a winding river, twisting toward an endless black sea, further and further, drifting away from where I want to be, who I want to be.” Later on, when he’s ready to give up the journey, he and Greg are on another boat—a makeshift one—which seems to cement the powerlessness he’s feeling. He and Lorna are “like ships” (that pass in the night). When he boards the ferry with Greg, he’s there illegally and nearly gets kicked off—it’s only some quick thinking that saves him. Every time there’s a boat involved, the situation is precarious and difficult to steer. But what happens in the last episode? Wirt takes charge. He controls the situation and makes a decisive dive to save his brother—and his frog—from a dark, watery grave. In a very literal sense, he becomes the boat—no longer a helpless boat passively drifting through the darkness but a lifeboat that steers itself. 

My guess is that the animators wanted to incorporate “Lullaby in Frogland” into the opening in some way, but, not having a dilemma to demonstrate for the frogs, decided to represent the real dilemma of their episode more obscurely, through an image—two kids, brothers, having fun (they are having a great time in that episode—it’s the high point before Beatrice’s betrayal throws them for a loop), sending a boat recklessly down a winding river, not knowing what’s in store. 

TL;DR: I have no idea.