"This Little Piggy" is the fifth episode of the first season of Justice League Unlimited, and the fifth of the overall series. It originally aired on August 28, 2004.
Wonder Woman accompanies Batman on a stakeout in Gotham City, based on a tip that Intergang plans to steal the Rosetta Stone. As they wait, she notices many young couples together and soon starts to flirt with Batman, however all her attempts to flirt are rebuffed as Batman emphasizes the differences between them. When the robbery occurs, they find the thief is actually the sorceress Circe, mortal enemy of Hippolyta, Wonder Woman's mother. Although banished to Tartarus by Hippolyta, she has now been paroled and her first act of freedom is to transform Hippolyta's daughter into a pig.
Seeking help, Batman approaches the stage magician/Justice League member Zatanna after her show, who happens to have real magical powers and is also informed of Circe's release. Although she attempts to return Wonder Pig to normal, her powers can't overcome those of the goddess. She suggests that they get help from other League members such as Doctor Fate, however Batman requests they keep the situation between the two of them. Zatanna is confused but realizes that there's something more between her old friend and Wonder Woman, which he partially admits to, and promises to help, although she intuits that only Circe can reverse the change.
Zatanna leads them to a shopkeeper specializing in magical artifacts to purchase a missing ingredient for her locator spell, a Chimera scale. He reminds her that every element of magic requires a price (that is not necessarily monetary), and forces her to reluctantly hand over a valuable mystic item, an ancient Chinese coin, of her own. Despite the potency of the spell, Circe proves too powerful to be found so easily, and frightened by the spell's flashiness, Wonder Pig escapes. Batman and Zatanna give chase, but not before she takes back her coin.
Unable to find Wonder Pig, Batman calls on the aid of B'wana Beast, Red Tornado, Crimson Avenger and Elongated Man to locate her. B'wana Beast finds her, but she evades him when she runs into a pork processing factory amidst a throng of hundreds of pigs.
Batman and Zatanna request the aid of Themis, who brings them Medusa, Circe's former cellmate, who reveals Circe's burning desire to perform at the Amphitheater on Mykonos. Meanwhile, the transformed Wonder Woman attempts to escape from being processed, frustrating a butcher's efforts to capture her.
Zatanna teleports them to the Amphitheater, and they confront Circe, who attacks them by transforming her stage cohorts into wild animals. At the same time, Wonder Pig is finally caught, tied up, and put on a conveyor belt towards a processing machine.
After fending off the first onslaught of animals, Batman suggests making an exchange for returning Wonder Pig to normal. Circe, intrigued, agrees to transform Diana back, but only in exchange for something incredibly precious from Batman — something he's concealed and can never be regained when gone. Something soul-shattering. He pays the price by revealing a suave singing voice in a performance of "Am I Blue?" so touching it moves both Zatanna and Circe to tears. Circe returns Wonder Woman to normal just in time for her to escape the slaughterhouse. After his performance, which receives riotous applause from the Amphitheater's crowd, Batman thanks Zatanna for her help.
Afterwards, in the League Watchtower, Wonder Woman claims to not remember much of what happened and asks if she missed anything, to which Batman nonchalantly replies, "Not really". However, as she walks away, Wonder Woman reveals she knows he sang at the Amphitheater when she suddenly commences humming "Am I Blue?" At first taken by surprise, Batman ends up smiling.
- While Batman and Wonder Woman are observing the people coming out of the Iceberg Lounge, one of Bruce's previous girlfriends can be seen getting into a cab. She was previously seen throwing a drink in his face during a party held within Wayne Manor during Mask of the Phantasm. Someone who resembles Frank, Cassidy's manager from "Torch Song" is also present.
- Zatanna previously appeared in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Zatanna", wherein she discovered that Batman was the same person as "John Smith", who she had known years earlier. At some later date she seems to have discovered his true identity as Bruce Wayne, since she addresses him by that name in this episode.
- This was the second of three episodes in which a villain transformed Wonder Woman into another form. Morgaine Le Fay turned her, Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern into children in "Kid Stuff", then Gorilla Grodd would go on to turn her (along with everyone else on earth) into an ape in "Dead Reckoning".
- Batman's comment "Dating within the team always leads to disaster" is likely a reference to the Green Lantern/Hawkgirl romance, which ended in mutual heartbreak in the Justice League episode "Starcrossed".
- Batman and Wonder Woman's romantic feelings have been brought up again, as they have been seen/mentioned in previous episodes, "The Brave and the Bold", "Maid of Honor", "Starcrossed" and "Kid Stuff".
Home video releases
- Justice League Unlimited - Season One (DVD)
- Justice League - The Complete Series (DVD)
- Justice League Unlimited - The Complete Series (Blu-ray)
- In the DVD commentary of this episode, the producers admit that this episode was intended to be an entirely comic episode, with elements reminiscent of the original Bewitched television show: rife with slapstick, over-the-top performances, and other dry humor. In particular, the show ends with a musical cue similar to that show's, on Batman's wry smile. Elizabeth Montgomery, who played the lead role of Samantha Stephens on Bewitched, previously starred in an episode of Batman: The Animated Series, Showdown, as her last acting performance before her death. Jack Carter is also a veteran of such shows.
- The DVD special features revealed Bruce Timm was a fan of Joss Whedon's work on Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where his work on both shows showed his willingness to depart from the normal format of the series. This episode, a largely comedic entry within a predominantly dramatic series, was partially inspired by Whedon's ability to defy convention.
- On the commentary, the producers said that producing a comedy is similar to an action film, in that it has to end with the biggest gag—"and you can't beat Batman singing".
- On the commentary, the producers allude to a scene that was cut from the final print of the episode: Soon after Wonder Woman is turned into a pig, there would be a scene featuring the Joker and his gang preparing for a crime with the intention of laying a trap for Batman. At that time, Batman would pass by their sight, consoling a pig in his arms. After staring blankly at the scene, Joker would comically give up on the job and call it a night. The Scene never made it past the Writing Stage due to it not fitting Tonally, diluting the plot and emotional Payoff between Bruce and Diana.
- When B'wana Beast is talking to the pigs, two slaughterhouse workers are seen getting the pigs into the building. However, neither of them seem to acknowledge or even notice B'wana Beast in the sty.
- Like in the DC Comics, Zatanna casts spells by speaking backwards:
|kcab ot lamron||back to normal|
|lleps eb nekorb||spell be broken|
|anaiD, emoceb namuh||Diana, become human|
|esrup raeppa||purse appear|
|stcejbo kcatta ecriC||objects attack Circe|
|elbat mrof egac||table form cage|
- Jennifer Hale replaces Julie Brown as the voice of Zatanna.
- The audience member that Zatanna chooses as the "rabbit" for her final trick is similar in appearance to the cafe customer taken away by the police in the second part of the Justice League episode "A Better World".
- Circe sings the big band standard "Lulu's Back in Town" (composed by Harry Warren) during her performance at the Amphitheater. Rachel York, who voices Circe, is a critically acclaimed Broadway singer. "Am I Blue?", the song Batman sings at the end of the episode, is a jazz standard composed by Harry Akst with Grant Clarke. Both the featured songs in this episode are ones to which Warner Brothers owns the copyrights.
- The producers of the show wanted to modify the lyrics to "Lulu's Back in Town" by replacing "Lulu" with "Circe", but the studio told them this was not allowed.
- Kevin Conroy had previously exhibited his fine singing voice for an episode of Batman Beyond, and so the producers were confident in giving him "Am I Blue?" He later recorded a full-length performance of the song, which can be downloaded from his website.
- The Crimson Avenger's one-liner is his only speaking appearance in the series.
- Other references to Greek mythology include Medusa, the Sirens, Sisyphus, Themis (the Greek incarnation of Justice), the Chimera, and Charon, the ferryman across the River Styx. Medusa also mentions the famous playwrights Sophocles and Aristophanes.
- After Circe throws a crowbar at Batman which she then transforms it into a snake, she gives the following line: "That trick always went big in Egypt." This is an obvious allusion to the Book of Exodus in the Old Testament wherein Moses transforms his sacred rod into a snake when in the pressence of Pharaoh.
- Circe refers to Hippolyta as "Mommie Dearest", which is a reference to Christina Crawford's exposé about her unhappy childhood as the adopted daughter of actress Joan Crawford. The term eventually came to signify a neglectful and abusive mother.
- The punishment described by Medusa bears some resemblance to the torment endured by Prometheus, which consisted of him being chained to a rock and having his liver eaten by a bird of prey, only to have it regenerated on the next day.
- Batman gives two pennies to Charon as a "service charge", a reference to the fact that the Greeks would traditionally bury their dead with coins on their eyes or under their tongues, as "payment" for transportation to the afterlife.
- Circe compares Batman and Zatanna's fighting her with Sisyphus's torment, which consisted in eternally pushing up a boulder that would roll down the mountain once he had reached its top. This punishment became a metaphor of something that is endlessly pointless.
- Zatanna calls the (supposed) rabbit in her hat "Bugs": an obvious reference to Bugs Bunny.
- Batman previously referred to The Odyssey in "Only A Dream".
- A reference to the movie Babe is made when wonderpig is captured the factory worker says: "That'll do, pig".
- Circe's flattened feet, in their red heels, wiggle out from under the piano in an obvious tribute to the Wicked Witch of the East from The Wizard of Oz.
- "Am I Blue?"—The song Batman sings in order to free Wonder Woman from her enchantment—was previously featured in Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero, where it is heard playing on the radio of Barbara Gordon's roommate.
Crimson Avenger (uncredited)
|Susan Eisenberg||Wonder Woman|
Factory Worker (uncredited)
|Peter Onorati||B'wana Beast|
|Bruce Timm||Gladys' husband (uncredited)|
Wonder Woman: No. No dating for the Batman... it might cut into your brooding time.
B'wana Beast: (to the pigs) Come on, guys, help me out here. Newcomer? Silver bracelets? Kinda stuck up?
Circe: Oh, thank you! I love you all! Are there any requests?
Circe: I want something from you that's very precious. Something you've worked very hard to conceal. Something when gone, you can never regain. Something soul shattering.
Circe: A deal's a deal. He can stop now.
Zatanna: Is there anything you can't do?