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Is Mrs. Peacock Movie Ending the Least Satisfying?
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Which Is Your Favorite Ending.
Miss Scarlet
48%
 48%  [ 12 ]
Mrs. Peacock
20%
 20%  [ 5 ]
Everyone
32%
 32%  [ 8 ]
Total Votes : 25

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Lord Caspen
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:45 pm    Post subject: Ending Reply with quote

I would have liked them to have devised seven (maybe eight) different endings, and shown three at each theatre. Every showing would end with the "they all did it!" ending, but the other two would be completely random.

Some theatres would get Green/Peacock, others Scarlet/White, others Plum/Green, and so on.

And, maybe you could also have theatres swap versions two weeks or so into the run. Sure, it adds to your distribution costs, but it keeps the mystery going.
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 08, 2011 1:07 pm    Post subject: Re: Ending Reply with quote

Lord Caspen wrote:
I would have liked them to have devised seven (maybe eight) different endings, and shown three at each theatre.

This is a great idea. If they had budgeted for this originally, they might have been able to pull it off. And, if you believe the multiple endings would have helped the film at the box office, it might have actually worked the way Paramount hoped. Audiences would have gotten the fun of multiple "what ifs" and the taste for going to see more.

It's funny, you mentioned the Green line "is that what we ate?", from the Peacock ending earlier as being unique to that ending. What's interesting is that I started to point out it was also in the they-all-did-it ending, then realized that it's only in the script. But the way the film is edited, this and other scripted joke repetitions which were most likely shot, are cut out. It strikes me that this might have been done because late in the game Paramount was still toying with the idea of only releasing only the 3 ending version, and wanted to reduce repition Of the jokes which would cease to be funny after being heard once (while the repetition of Communism being a red-herring was in fact the joke). More evidence that points to that is one UK reviewer indicates that the UK was going to get the all-three-endings version only, but then at the last minute, were only given one ending (presumably the they-all-did-it ending) to avoid audience confusion - ironic for the home country of the game.

I only hope one day we do get the Blu-Ray with all four original endings uncut in their original form, as scripted.
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Lord Caspen
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 12:36 am    Post subject: Huh Reply with quote

Interesting stuff. I share your hopes, but I think that most of the footage we would like to see was swept from the cutting room floor and fired in an incinerator.

I also like the running joke, "There's still one thing I don't understand ..." When I was drafting my own endings, I had assignments for both lines. In the Peacock ending, it's Mustard/White, then in the Mustard ending it's White/Scarlet, White it's Scarlet/Green, Scarlet it's Green/Plum, Green it's Plum/Peacock, and Plum it's Peacock/Mustard. I almost don't care if it's repetitious. I figure if the endings have enough other substance to them, the running gags will just be sort of touchstones for the silliness. "Whoop! Yep! That's right, this is camp! Heheh."



Where in the third ending was the line about, "is that what we ate" supposed to happen?
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 11:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

go_leafs_nation wrote:
Only 13 minutes and 59 seconds. That's barely enough time to start watching a hockey game. Wink


Hahaha, Go Leafs Nation, you're my kind of person.
Even though I'm an American, it's Hockey all day long for me!


I voted for the everyone ending. I know it's not really possible. The
Mrs. White thing always bothered me (the fact she couldn't have). However
I feel it gives me the most closure. I love the Scarlet ending for the
bullet counting, and I love the Peacock ending for the "She's A Jolly Good
Fellow". I really enjoy all three.
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 1:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Huh Reply with quote

Lord Caspen wrote:
I also like the running joke, "There's still one thing I don't understand ..." ... I almost don't care if it's repetitious. I figure if the endings have enough other substance to them, the running gags will just be sort of touchstones for the silliness. Where in the third ending was the line about, "is that what we ate" supposed to happen?

Yup forgot about that one. I think that too is intended to be repetitious as part of the joke ... It says within the movie what the audience is thinking ... "one thing!?" - in industry parlance they are "hanging a lantern on it" and calling attention to the fact they know the explanation is ludicrous and to be taken with a grain of salt.

The Green joke is supposed to happen in the same place, which occurs between the cut of Wadsworth sitting in Mrs. Peacock's place at the Table explaining about her "one fatal mistake", and the cut to Mustard stealing the key from Wadsworth's pocket.

As for ever seeing them ... you're probably right ... though more obscure things have turned up in the Paramount vaults. Since the scenes in question were likely printed from negatives and originally edited into the picture before being cut, all the negatives should still be stored safely away, especially the ones which were also part of the same reel as material which made it into the film. So the reason we may never see a complete 4th ending or other bits of material, is because Paramount doesn't see enough profit in it to go to the expense to cull through them, and in the case of the 4th ending, re-assemble it.
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Lord Caspen
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 2:42 pm    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

MBD,


Thanks. I had always figured that transition was a bit abrupt, and now I understand a little bit better why. There's another transition that's always struck me a little odd. Just before the Chief arrives the first time, they're all in the study and Wadsworth has the line about the murderer opening the cupboard and taking out the wrench ... and then suddenly Scarlet is flying across the hall talking about finding the Motorist already dead. Not only the transition of discussion, but the cut itself has just always seemed a little jarring.


As for the film ... You're right, I'd forgotten that they store almost everything. However, I wonder if anyone has taken the trouble to sort and catalog it? I ask, only because I remember it was considered quite the miracle they were able to find the "Cool, Cool Men" segment of 1776 for the DVD, because all the cuttings were just lying in bags or something in their storage facility ... which is this huge cavern deep in some mountain -- as I understand it, the driest cool place in the world.
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 09, 2011 5:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Thanks Reply with quote

Lord Caspen wrote:
they're all in the study and Wadsworth has the line about the murderer opening the cupboard and taking out the wrench ... and then suddenly Scarlet is flying across the hall talking about finding the Motorist already dead. Not only the transition of discussion, but the cut itself has just always seemed a little jarring.

Believe it or not, in the shooting draft I have, while lots of other dialogue has been trimmed from this area, that transition plays exactly as scripted. The only thing missing is Miss Scarlet getting excited and running out of the Lounge. Clearly by this draft the writers felt the need to break-up the Wadsworth-explains-it-all-for-you routine. What is likely missing is a shot of Wadsworth turning around and satisfyingly presenting the wrench, then Scarlet picking up on the vibe and excitedly running out. In fact, since we are on Wadsworth's back, I'll bet good money they brought him in to ADR the line so it seques into Scarlet's line as a continuation, rather than a declaration as scripted. Notice he stalls at the cupboard and looks up for some strange reason as he says the line. I'll bet he was getting ready to turn around dramatically. Either way, the transition was cut to keep up e frenetic pace. Good catch!

Now I have the shooting draft, and I know Micheal has several other drafts of the script, which I seem to recall him mentioning that he made a comparison of them on a spreadsheet. If so, it would be interesting to see how this changed, if at all, from those earlier drafts.


go_leafs_nation wrote:
I voted for the everyone ending. I know it's not really possible. The Mrs. White thing always bothered me (the fact she couldn't have).

Why is that? Keep in mind, none of the events which transpired in the dark happened in real time. Also, the script indicates the house was much darker than it appeared, with everyone feeling their way around a lot more. Interestingly, the entire scene with Mustard and Scarlet in the Ballroom was cut, and somehow Mustard inexplicably ends up in the dining room, where he wasn't when Yvette descended the stairs. Now granted that's much less of a problem than seeing and hearing Mrs. White scream immediately prior to and during Yvette's descent of the stairs. Now on the other hand, there is nothing to confirm whether it was White who was screaming as Yvette descended the stairs. It could have been Scarlet, whom we never saw for some odd reason. Granted, if the events we saw in the dark were not supposed to be happening simultaneously, or even in sequence, it is a bad choice, and a real misdirect on the director's part to show us White just before she was to have strangled Yvette. But taken in that light, notice that White starts screaming as the window blows open, then for several minutes must do nothing but stand there waiting for the jack-in-the-box to spring before she starts screaming again. Therefore, I would argue that we are meant to see that activity happening as part of a general series of events which transpired in the dark and not a sequential one. However, if you must see it that way, then White turned off the lights, ran back upstairs, began screaming as an alibi, the ran back downstairs and waited for Yvette before going back upstairs to resume screaming. In the interim, Scarlet began screaming and Yvette hurried downstairs to check on her since she worked for her. Even in the other endings Scarlet and Yvette could have been trying to figure out what was going on behind everyone else's backs - they may have even had a plan to secretly meet in the billiard room should something happen.

See in Clue there's always an answer to explain everything.

But if it makes you feel any better, in the script, there were two scenes between White screaming and Yvette coming down the stairs. One was the cop asking, "hello, hello" after hearing the screams, and the other was Yvette and Green bumping into each other in the attic, and Yvette running out screaming "Get away from me". The script also indicates there were two more scenes already omitted here as well, which would have further opened this up to make it more plausible.

But I don't disagree. As presented it seems all but impossible. Why the producers chose to leave it like that when they could have presumably cut to any number of other characters in any order is just beyond me. Didn't anybody realize this ordering didn't make any sense for White to have been able to kill Yvette without some convoluted retconing?
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 15, 2011 11:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the link to the shooting draft I keep referencing:

http://www.awesomefilm.com/script/clue1-2.pdf

http://www.awesomefilm.com/script/clue2-2.pdf
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Lord Caspen
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 3:08 pm    Post subject: Thanks! Reply with quote

Thank you very, very much MBD!

I must say, though, I really hate the missing pages ... and also the omitted scenes. I wish I could find the earlier versions and find out what they thought was too good for us to see Wink
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:06 pm    Post subject: Re: Thanks! Reply with quote

Lord Caspen wrote:
I must say, though, I really hate the missing pages ...

Its just the one page, and it really bugged me at first too until I was following along with that scene, and realized, there is very little that could be significantly different in that missing page. The on-screen dialogue fits the pacing of a single script page pretty tightly, and that missing page couldn't go much differently than what we saw and have them end in the same place.
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Lord Caspen
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 4:12 pm    Post subject: Hmmm Reply with quote

I'm pretty sure there's more than one page, and yes, it doesn't bug me a whole heck of a lot -- I'm just saying I'd like to have it/them anyway. I find the writing style very interesting. A little stilted sometimes, but very evocative. And it makes infinitely more sense reading the script in that style how they got to the final product than any of the scripts I've devised from watching it. My style is a bit more ... flat.
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 7:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Hmmm Reply with quote

Lord Caspen wrote:
I'm pretty sure there's more than one page

Based on what? The pages are numbered and only one (22) is missing. Do you think some of the added pages are missing (i.e. 7A., 77B., etc.)? If so, I would be interested to know which ones you feel are missing.

EDIT: doing a quick scan through it looks like page 65 is missing too. Will be curious to compare that to the movie as well and see if it might help explain anything.

UPDATE: Ah yes I see now. There is definitely some funny business going on around page 77A. through 77E., despite being numbered sequentially. Definite pages missing. I've never really read it line by line, but rather skimmed through sections I already knew pretty well, to go to sections I was curious about. Looks like I need to now. Wink

Perhaps someone here has already catalogued the missing pages?
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Green
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 16, 2011 10:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is so fascinating! I've never read the screenplay before. I love how the stage directions include descriptions of the characters and events that later show up in Wadsworth's recap of the evening - for example, Mrs. White is called "pale, tragic" and it specifically mentions that she and Yvette "flinch" when they look at each other.

Edit: I just had a sudden thought while considering Miss Scarlet's broken-down car, which is abandoned and completely forgotten in the rest of the story. The Motorist was intentionally invited, right? We know this from Wadsworth. It's always seemed odd to me that his car just happened to break down and that he never acknowledged that he was invited. Is it possible that the Motorist was told to lie and say that his car was broken down and pretend he didn't know what was going on? I've suspected this for a while, but didn't think it was likely because they show the Cop with the broken-down car. But is it possible that broken-down car is actually Miss Scarlet's? It would explain the Motorist's behavior. Unfortunately it still doesn't explain why the Cop doesn't acknowledge his own invitation.

Or are Wadsworth's "invitations" indirect? Is it possible he told the Motorist to leave his car on the side of the road and pretend he didn't know what's up, and then called the Cop and told him that there was a car on the side of the road and maybe he should check it out? Just some thoughts.
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Lord Caspen
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:35 pm    Post subject: Answers Reply with quote

I think it's pretty clear the car the Cop inspects is the Motorist's. Scarlet's car is red and is some distance from the house. The Cop's line is that the car he's found is "down near the gates of this house."

I don't think the Motorist broke down, because it would indeed have been an enormous coincidence, not only that his car broke down outside the place he was going anyway (and somehow didn't realize when he'd got there), but that the Cop would also not realize he was at the right house when he found that car, and that they should both be so dense at the same time simply stretches credibility too far.

Clearly, their apparent ignorance was by design. Obviously, it was Wadsworth's design.

So, now two questions:

1) Why didn't the men resist?

And

2) Why would Wadsworth have bothered?

The answer to the first, I think, is that they were afraid. They'd been told to pretend to specific circumstances, and Wadsworth had probably threatened them with material put together while he was a butler for Boddy.

Also: when they arrive and come face to face with the people they ratted on, they were probably grateful for the ruse ... Their victims, as it were, could not afford to make a scene without exposing their previous connection.

If the plan to expose Boddy fell through somehow, they could presumably still leave intact.

As for the other question, I think it's probably answered in a similar way.

Wadsworth wants them to feel safe, so he invents cover stories. Also, if it does all fall apart, he's going to want be able to break up the party with minimal fuss and maximum safety. To that end, their identities as informers must be preserved even from each other.

As Scarlet and Plum reveal, most of the guests probably already realized who'd ratted on them, but there's no sense giving it all away to everyone.

The Peacock ending really demonstrates why. "Why would I have murdered all the others?" she drawls. "Obviously, in case Mr. Boddy had told them about you.". Clearly, any connection to Boddy makes you a mortal liability.


Now comes the interesting part: do the victims recognize either Wadsworth or Mr. Boddy?

Well, okay, Boddy isn't really the point since the Motorist never sees him and what the Cop sees is mostly Mrs. White's backside.

[Edited to add]

Yet the question still has teeth when we recognize that Wadsworth has two identities.

Assume for the moment that Wadsworth is the mild-mannered widower butler who has orchestrated the night's events in a benign plan to end the blackmail. Is there any reason to suppose they would ever have met him before? If not, would it have been either necessary or desirable for him to reveal himself to them before the night's events?

I argue no on all counts. There's no reason, they should ever have to have met before, and Wadsworth has more advantages if they don't know who he is. Once again: plausible deniability.

As a butler, or as another pawn of the absent "host", he is still a plausible focus of responsibility and direction, without having to suffer plagues of questions and litanies of fear from the tormented. He can say, "I've told you all I know, but it's all gone to pieces now, so just leave! Go home!"

What's more, there's less chance of their ever bothering to find him again, because he'll have had no answers (as far as they know).


But now assume the other: that he is in fact a merciless extortionist who has designed this twisted evening around deepening his hold on his victims and erradicating the evidence all at the same murderous time.

The same argument for anonymity applies here, too, but consider that 1) fear is sometimes heightened by your physical appearance, especially if you can make a show of being utterly in control, and 2) that Boddy didn't start off knowing everyone's secrets.

The first point is taken at face value. On this second point, let me explain:

If you're Wadsworth the honest to God butler, you already know the secrets from accumulated files. You know how to connect all the dots and pick these people from out (as far as they can tell) of thin air.

But those files didn't accumulate on their own. Boddy did at least some of the legwork putting them together. Is it possible he could have elicited the secrets of Senator and Mrs. Peacock from the Cook without ever having met her face to face? I'd have to say yes, but it seems at least as likely that he would have had to meet her first, and then somehow it comes up in conversation about something else -- maybe he'd loaned her money and she couldn't pay the vig. She mentions she can pay him in information. But if he hadn't met her face to face, he'd never have known.

So then, what do the victims think they're coming for, out to this spooky house in the middle of absolutely nowhere, with six crazy people who all look like they have murder on their minds?

Was it threats only? Is that why the Motorist seems so nervous as a grinning Wadsworth merrily locks him away? Or was there some diabolical promise the exact nature of which we can never know?




Well, anyway, I find it interesting.
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Lord Caspen
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 12:48 pm    Post subject: Longer Reply with quote

So, given the extreme brevity of the Peacock ending, is there anything to be done, do we suppose, to elongate the eding without losing any of its aesthetic? Could it in fact be improved with a little bit more length?
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I haven't really commented on this topic, but I love all three endings, which successfully parody something different about classic mysteries. (By classic, I mean those written in the Golden Age- whether good or bad. The bad ones usually follow the formula established by the good ones, but the parody aspect is still just as brilliant.)

First up, in Scarlet's ending, we have the classic "1+1+2+1" confrontation between Scarlet and Wadsworth, which I see as a parody of final scenes where the detective confronts the killer in some apparently dangerous way, only to explain later on that there never was any real danger to begin with. (A perfect example is in the Carr book He Wouldn't Kill Patience, when the detective confronts the killer with snakes. The explanation for why the detective (who showed a fear of snakes earlier on) was never in any danger is brilliant.)

Next we have Peacock, whose ending is a parody of the "only-one-person-was-the-mastermind-behind-all-this" ending. (Factually, it may not make perfect sense, but the movie is Clue. It doesn't matter who killed Boddy, because you can just play another game or watch another ending. That's what I like about it.) The song the suspects sing is brilliantly funny, and Mr. Green's great line "Mrs. Peacock was a man?" also makes this an ending to remember.

The third ending is a somewhat obvious parody of an infamous solution to an Agatha Christie book I think we all know about: Murder on the Orient Express. This too has some really great moments, and has a pretty funny final line to send end the evening's proceedings.

So which is my favourite ending? Really, all three spliced together make the movie so much more memorable. The idea that you can always watch another ending (or play another game) is kept this way, and the parodies of classic mysteries are really great. I'm not sure whether I have a favourite ending.
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Murder by Death
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 1:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Longer Reply with quote

Lord Caspen wrote:
So, given the extreme brevity of the Peacock ending, is there anything to be done, do we suppose, to elongate the eding without losing any of its aesthetic? Could it in fact be improved with a little bit more length?

I presume you are asking "what if" this ending had been given more attention when the film was being shot? Not what can we (this forum) do to improve it today (which would be very little)?

In which case, what would have made the Peacock ending work for me, is if I had seen how she committed each of the murders in flashback. That would have gone a long way toward satisfying me - as well as making it longer. Also, seeing Peacock being forcibly taken away, would have been fun. I'm not sure why the filmmakers ever thought shooting her in cold blood made any sense, but I would have even gone for shooting her with gun in hand, trying to kill the Chief to escape, in keeping with this new Bette Davis tough broad personna she suddenly takes on. Having the antagonist of your ending off-screen for the penultimate moment, is just inherently unsettling.

I think the Peacock ending works just fine as the middle of the three endings as a transitional possibility. As go_leafs again confirms, having three endings underscores the main conceit of Clue/do, which is: every ending is different, and sort of cutting to the heart of the Peacock-did-it ending in that context helps make the point without belaboring it.

Finally, I'm willing to be open-minded about singing "for she's a jolly good fellow" ... but I simply don't get why its "brilliantly funny". If someone could please help me get it ... Is it a reference to some other film? To me it's just kind of absurdist and goes on too long ... Then again the same thing could be said of Family Guy's jokes. But in Clue it seems somewhat out of character with the rest of the movie's jokes and strikes me as a little forced. Maybe its just because I feel cheated by not seeing flashbacks of Peacock committing the murders, which I wanted/needed to see, and the film instead dwells on this protracted getaway that takes place at glacial speeds, which was much less interesting to me, and something I didn't need to see. She could have just walked out the door and I would have been no less entertained.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think it's just fun to watch the Clue characters sing...and Mrs. White taking the harmony.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 3:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The way it's placed and the way everyone reluctantly joins into the song always makes me smile. Mrs. White's harmony is fun, and also, the idea of singing a song to (basically) thank the killer is really amusing.
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 05, 2011 5:30 pm    Post subject: Is that ...? Reply with quote

Is that what White is singing? The harmony, I mean? I don't know much about musical terms. I would have called it counterpoint.

I also like the manic cheerfulness Green gives it, and the bully-for-you smile Scarlet manages. Plum and Mustard just look baffled, and of course White is just concentrating on those lovely high notes.

I don't think it goes on too long -- certainly not in a manner comparable to Family Guy.

I would have liked to have seen Wadsworth give them all the note first, either with one of those whistle things (which he just happens to always carry with him in case of emergencies), or just by humming.
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