Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Ducktales, Season One, Episode One: "Send in the Clones"

Actually, you might consider this episode six, if you think of the pilot as episodes one through five. But that seems like a different sort of thing to me, so I'm starting from the beginning.

Hey, look! It's Magica! Only now she's...Russian? 'Cause I guess Russians are more sinister than Italians? Except maybe she's not, because she's still stationed on Mount Vesuvius, as we learn later? And Ratface is...her transformed brother? 'Cause I guess having a regular ol' talking raven just don't make no sense, somehow? Also, now she wants Scrooge's dime not just to become "the richest duckess [sic] in the world," but to "take over the world?" What this would entail and why she would think the coin would let her do it never being specified? Guh?

All this pointless rejiggering of the character is very incoherent, and giving her a Russian accent is just a dumb idea--I mean, the character was designed physically after your Italian fashion models, and her sort of witchery just feels much more Italian than Russian (Geoffrey Blum created an actual Russian witch, Magda Marshbird, who plays the part much more felicitously). Still, she's kind of entertainingly flamboyantly maniacal.

Anyway, here, she enlists the Beagle Boys to help her with her skulduggery; to this end, she transforms them into simulacra of HDL (and herself, a little later on, into Mrs. Beakley), who try to steal the dime while Scrooge is being interviewed for a magazine profile by a broad Barbara Walters parody (well, she pronounces r's and l's as w's--whatmoredayaWANT?). There is confusion and even, I daresay, hijinx. It all feels strangely slow-paced, though, as if the writers weren't quite sure how to make this concept fill out a whole episode. Things get enlivened a bit during the finale at Vesuvius, as Magica's magic gets everyone gets transformed into a variety of animals and monsters at a fast clip--somewhat reminiscent of the duel between Merlin and Mim in The Sword in the Stone.

...and there's an incredibly weird ending: the ducks and the reporter fly away from Vesuvius in a helicopter; Magica is swearing revenge in the distance, to which they all simultaneously shrug their shoulders and declare: "she gets so carried away!" Is it a parody of hokey, self-conscious endings like that, or is it the thing itself? And is it supposed to be some sort of punchline? It looks like it's meant to be a one-liner of some sort, but it's not, I dunno, funny, or meaningful, or anything. A strange and infelicitous way to close the show out.

Anyway, a watchable episode, but nothing outstanding.

3 comments:

  1. I have one major continuity problem here: Scrooge is flying the helicopter. If he can fly, why would he keep hiring Launchpad to take him everywhere? Maybe Scrooge's eyesight got a lot worse, but a later episode will indicate that Scrooge has worked with Launchpad for years.

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  2. It's a long time since I've watched SPHINX FOR THE MEMORIES, but I recollect a running gag of characters saying that Magica got "so carried away," as seen via some behavior or other.

    So that the final iteration (everyone in the plane) was intended as a kind of topper. That said, the intonation of the line was very different, so I was thrown for a loop on first viewing, too.

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  3. ...Holy Crud, I came upon a frightening realization.

    The phrase "Carried away!" is used in conjuction with a helicopter. Now, didn't you just review a horrible Story at Comics Revue, by the name of Circus Express, which had an extremely lame ending punchline? Think about it...

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