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The Penguins of Madagascar – “Operation: Antarctica” Recap

by on January 18, 2012

Operation: Antarctica – After the Penguins thwarted Cecil and Brick’s latest crime, Private discovers a young leopard seal named Hunter, who’s about to become prepackaged fish food. Having saved her, Private travels with Hunter back to Antarctica after Kowalski accidentally launches the both of them into the East River. It now becomes two missions: One to ensure Hunter’s safe return to Antarctica and one to retrieve Private from the leopard seals. But will the Penguins succeed, or will they end up as dinner for the village?


Well, only three of them almost ended up as dinner, but I digress.

Ever since the first Madagascar, many fans thought have thought that the Penguins would
return to Antarctica sometime; I just didn’t think that their second
visit would be s
o brief.
For an episode set in the South Pole you’d expect to see more Penguins
appear, but they didn’t. There were plenty of leopard seals there
though, most of which only had “food” in their vocabulary, much like the
seagulls in Finding Nemo with “Mine!”


Courtesy of Bob Schooley (@Rschooley)


Even though “Operation: Antarctica” is a full 22-minute episode, I can’t help feeling it’s a little too short. Some scenes felt a bit rushed, such as how quickly everyone made it to Antarctica from New York City without any obstacles in between, notwithstanding King Julien and the leopard seals at the end. Even the song used to explain how far it is to Antarctica (which Executive Producer Bob Schooley says was written in five minutes) cleverly refers to how long it actually took them to make it there in the context of the episode’s timing. Also, the moment where King Julien inadvertently teaches Hunter a lesson seems a bit too quick, as though it was an obvious epiphany.

As you may know, “Operation: Antarctica” features two guest stars: Big Time Rush’s Ciara Bravo as Hunter, and Modern Family’s Ed O’Neill as Hunter’s father. Ciara gives Hunter a childlike innocence, making her a perfect match (as a best friend) for Private as they take a road trip. Meanwhile, Ed O’Neill makes a fine leopard seal father, if a bit too perky towards his daughter. Those who watch Modern Family can definitely tell it’s Ed.

I enjoy it when characters and objects from the past return to the show and this was the case with Cecil and Brick, however brief their appearances were. The same applies to Kowalski’s launchpad, who was introduced in “Night and Dazed.” The relationship between Private and Hunter is downright cute, demonstrating that rivals can be friends. Another lesson taught here is to not always listen to instincts, as demonstrated near the end.

One of the funniest moments of “Operation: Antarctica” was Private’s supposed “accident.” Of course, it was just lemonade underneath him, but you wouldn’t have known that from the photo Bob Schooley tweeted before the promotions were aired. Meanwhile King Julien’s “handsome mopey vampire” gig might have been random, but it worked to good comedic effect (especially the “bleh!” and his “handsome mopey vampire face”).

Courtesy of Bob Schooley (@Rschooley)

“Operation: Antartica” is not quite the best special, as the musical numbers in “The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole” set the bar very, very high. It ranks high among the specials that have aired so far, though (“Dr. Blowhole’s Revenge,” “The All-Nighter Before Christmas,””The Lost Treasure of the Golden Squirrel,” “The Hoboken Surprise,” and “The Return of the Revenge of Dr. Blowhole”). It aims to satisfy and answer what most fans have been thinking about all along, and it succeeds at those goals. Let’s just hope that the future episodes and specials live up to the quality of this one, as the series will wrap up in a very disappointing way otherwise.

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