Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Ducktales, Season One, Episode Eleven: "The Money Vanishes"

I'm not gonna lie to you: I really can't fucking stand these Ducktales Beagle Boys. They have none of the charm of the originals, and oddly enough, giving them distinct personalities appears to have had the effect of sapping their character. This episode includes four instead of three, but damned if I can tell you the fourth one's name or what he's meant to be like.

Then again, it may not be fair to base such antipathy on what is, there's no denying it, a pretty sub-par episode. Is it as bad as "The Duckman of Aquatraz?" Well...maybe not, but it's certainly not good. It reminds me very strongly of those intensely mediocre Vic Lockman stories from the seventies, all incredibly contrived plotting and forced zaniness--not a great source of inspiration, to say the least.

See, Gyro has a new invention: you spray this "primer"-type gas on this or that, and then you can zap it anywhere you want with a teleporter ray (sold separately). The Beagle Boys steal it, in an intelligence-insulting sequence where they pretend to be doctors and discombobulate it out of Gyro (yes, Gyro's always kind of clueless, but are we really to believe he's that dumb?). Then, they convince Scrooge to spray his money with the primer, by magically appearing in a TV commercial that he's conveniently watching and giving him the idea that there are money-eating moths about. But how are they going to actually hit the money with the ray, you ask? Apparently, it can shoot through walls, which they magically intuit with no testing. JUST ACCEPT IT. When Scrooge sprays the top of his pile o' cash, and the top money vanishes, he (being even dumber than Gyro) immediately assumes that the moths are too small to see and that they do their work instantaneously, and so does more spraying and allows the rest of it to be taken. Finally, there is a long, limp chase sequence where HDL try to nab the Beagles, featuring many lame sight gags, mostly involving zoo animals. And that is that, thankfully.

In comments to the last post, Christopher makes the point that the reason "Aquatraz" is so bad is very likely that the writer assumed the audience was just sugar-addled kids and therefore there was no need to actually give a shit. That may well be true (you certainly saw the phenomenon in action with a good chunk of Western's non-Barks comics, too), and with this episode, history repeats. No more, I beg of you.

Stray Observations

-Well, Gyro's helper appears, though he doesn't do anything consequential. Also, he's called "Little Bulb" this time around, which I suppose is...descriptive.

-The snippet of a werewolf movie that the kids are watching certainly looks like a call-out to Barks' "Pawns of the Loup Garou," but frankly, it's hard for me to imagine the writer here being that Barks-literate.

-Okay, it's sort of funny at the beginning when the oblivious warden gives the BB a cake from their mother with a baked-in shovel conspicuously sticking out.

-Scrooge forgets that he owns jillions of businesses: "Now that I'm broke, I'd better start checking the want ads for a job!" To be fair, he's been known to do this in Barks stories as well.

No comments:

Post a Comment