Sagwa, the Chinese Siamese Cat

Season 1 Episode 1

How Sagwa Got Her Colors

1
Aired Weekdays 3:30 PM Sep 03, 2001 on PBS
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How Sagwa Got Her Colors
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"How Sagwa Got Her Colors"

It's a pretty normal day for the cats at the palace. Dongwa is going on about how he'd rather practice tai-chi than write scrolls. Meanwhile, Sagwa has managed to get herself up in a high place. Mama-Miao asks her what she was doing climbing up there and reminds her of what happened the last time she climbed up some place high. Sheegwa wants to know about this. Dongwa says to forget it, she was just a baby back then. Actually, his real problem is that he doesn't want to hear this story again, a story that Sheegwa has never heard. Mama-Miao goes ahead and explains. The scene goes back to the time when this happened, many years before. Dongwa, being Dongwa, is questioning why they have to write down all these rules for the magistrate. Mama and Baba-Miao are shocked. It's an honor to write down these rules and they're lucky to live the way they do. They eat well, unlike the stray cats who have to fend for themselves. They have a good life. Meanwhile, Tai-tai, the Foolish Magistrate's wife, is complaining about how little they have collecting in fines from the villagers. The Foolish Magistrate has already imposed all sorts of awful rules on them, such as no dancing. This isn't enough for Tai-tai though. If only they could collect more fines, then they could afford exquisite clothing for their three daughters (or rather, for Tai-Tai herself - ed). The magistrate doesn't know what else to ban though. He's banned just about everything possible. Tai-tai has an idea: how about banning singing? The magistrate seems to like this, after all, singing disturbs the peace and makes it hard to concentrate. So he comes up with the rule: There shall be no singing from dusk until dawn. He thinks about it for a moment. Is it strict enough? No, it isn't. He changes it, now the rule is "There shall be no singing from night until morning and morning until night." In other words, no singing whatsoever. He calls in Mama and Baba-Miao to write down this rule for him. They do so, but as they head off they talk about how it's the most horrible rule yet. But then they realize that they just got after Dongwa for questioning the rules. Who are they to question them? They're just cats. Meanwhile, Tai-tai is up to more of her selfish schemes. Her new idea is to make the rule retroactive --- she's drawing up a list of everyone who's already broken the rule that day! For example, the Cook is being fined just because he was singing to the cats when feeding them. Later on, the magistrate isn't at his desk. Sagwa's climbed up onto a cupboard and is looking down at the scroll. She tries to jump down, but ends up falling, into the inkwell used to write the scroll. She ends up accidentally knocking the inkwell over. This has one immediate effect, the spilled ink has blotted out the word "not" in the scroll. It now reads "There shall be singing from night until morning and morning until night." Sagwa likes this. But there's another problem, the ink is all over her face and her paws. Also, she's left identifying pawprints on the scroll. She tries to go off somewhere to hide, but runs into her bat-friend Fu-fu. His vision may be bad, but he notices the ink all over her. She wants him to help her, by taking her to the pond to wash the ink off. But that won't help, as it's permanent ink. Meanwhile, Dongwa has come upon her. He wants to go and tell on her. Sagwa manages to convince him that it's vitally important that he not say anything, although he says that she owes him one. The magistrate, not looking at the scroll with the rule, orders the Reader to go and read it to the public. He reads it, somewhat surprised, as he wasn't aware the magistrate had a change of heart. The public is very pleased to hear the rule and they immediately carrying it out, continually singing in Chinese a song very similar to the main title theme of the Sagwa show (Actually, the song is the main title theme, slightly slowed down and modified to go "You and I are best friends" instead of "Sagwa and I are best Friends" - ed) . At first the magistrate is indignant. How dare they disobey his order? He asks the reader what is going on and ends up seeing what happened to his rule. At first he's still mad, but then he continues to hear the singing of the villagers. He realizes that they're singing his praises. Hre thinks it's beautiful. His people have never appreciated him before. He decides to let the singing continue. Later on, he comes upon Sagwa. Seeing the ink all over her, he realizes that she's the one who messed up the rule. He orders Baba and Mama-Miao into his office. But it's not for anything bad. Instead, he has two new rules. The first rule is to rescind all of the previous stupid rules that he's put into effect. The second rule is that in honor of Sagwa, all Chinese (Siamese) cats shall from now on have brown patches on their faces, tails and paws. That's the end of the story and that explains why Sagwa and his family look as they do today. All thanks to Sagwa the Chinese Siamese Cat. Mama-Miao concludes that Sagwa learned a lesson that day and so did the magistrate. Sagwa and Dongwa have fallen asleep, they've heard the story so many times. Finally, Sheegwa falls asleep herself.moreless

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    • NOTES (6)

      • Based on the book "Sagwa, The Chinese Siamese Cat" written by Amy Tan.

      • As there is no break in this episode, both the "Curious Cat" and "What About You?" segments air after the episode ends. (Um, actually, on some markets, the "Curious Cat" and "What about you?" segments are always aired after the episode ends instead of in between the episodes - ed)

      • What About You?: This "What About You" segment talks about neighbors. One of the features shows an Australian family who lives on a ranch. They don't really have any neighbors in that the ranch is far from civilization and they have to drive for two hours just to pick up their mail.

      • When the chinese villagers are singing the praises of the magistrate, close-captioning displays "Sagwa theme song" and "Chinese singing."

      • Curious Cat Segment: Sagwa talks about how she loves her family and also exploring around the palace.

      • Unlike the other episodes, this episode is 30 minutes long. Chalk it up as being a premiere special.

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