Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ducktales, Season One, Episode Nineteen: "Top Duck"

Launchpad is all keyed-up because his family (his father Ripcord, his mother Birdy, and his valley-girl sister Loopy) is in town and he wants to impress them--it seems he left the family in shame after messing up a barnstorming stunt (naturally, the whole family is aeronautical). Scrooge has a new experimental plane that he needs tested, so Launchpad has a chance to impress, but OH NOES--the Beagle Boys want to use the plane to do the usual thing! What will happen next?!?

The dynamic with Launchpad is really good here, and gives a lot of insight into his character. It quickly becomes clear that if he left his family in shame, it was self-imposed shame--they aren't in any way judgmental towards him. It also sheds some light on his motives for all the reckless (but not wreckless har har) flying--he's clearly trying to live up to his own idea of what they want him to be. I give the episode credit for not explicitly spelling all of this out.

Although they don't get a great deal of screen time, the family is quite appealing, and it's a doggone shame that (as far as I can tell from the all-knowing internet) this is their only appearance. The episode also sees the return of--of all people--Italian Stereotype Man from "Hotel Strangeduck" (his name, Benzino Gassolini, appears to be a play on Il Duce himself, which seems to me like a somewhat tasteless decision, to put it mildly). This time, he emphasizes his Italian-ness by--no shit--making a pizza in-flight. I hope in his next appearance we get to see him with a monkey and street-organ. This time he actually plays a (helpful) role in the episode, rather than just hanging around for no reason.

So yeah, this is a good episode, with lots of Sky-HIgh Hi-Jinks. About the only criticism I can level at it--and I know I'm repeating myself here--is that I just find these new Beagle Boys so totally charmless. I'm trying to not compare the show to the Barksiverse, but in this case, I really can't help it. And the comparison is not kind.

Stray Observations

-"A special sonic digger which will revolutionize the entire mining industry?" How is a digging implement on a plane remotely practical for mining? Or for anything?

-Now there's a pilot beagle. But of course.

-"Luckily, the pig wasn't hurt!" That's lucky, all right.


  1. The sonic digger is perfect for when you want to dig a mine on the top of a high mountain.

    I noticed that the Beagle Boys removed their black masks and replaced them with green-tinted sunglasses to make themselves look less criminal. But then why didn't they remove their prison number tags from their chests? And why did they put a giant mask on their plane?

    Probably my favorite scene is Scrooge bargaining the pilot Beagle up to $500... then $550. I love the look on his face when he rubs his hands together.

  2. The ways of the Beagle Boys are not for us to know.

    The bargaining scene WAS cool. I don't know why I didn't mention it in the review.

  3. This ep is the one I spoke about earlier, which may explain a bit more why he got upset over the nature of real heroes. The connection isn't 1 to 1, but I can see Launchpad developing a misguided sense of heroism after leaving his family from a dose of self-imposed shame.