Wasn't it just totally, one hundred percent predictable that there would be a Ducktales episode of this title? Really, now.
The episode opens with Scrooge doing weight-lifting with bags of money as weights--can we assume that that "inspired" this two-pager drawn by Rosa and written by Gary Leach, which was published soon after and uses the same joke?
This episode introduces the character of Doofus, another Woodchuck. It doesn't provide any introduction or anything; he's just sort of there all of a sudden. He serves no purpose, in this episode at least. He…eats a lot, on account of being fat and all. And that's about the long and short of it. I don't think I'm ever gonna warm to him.
So the kids are big fans of a show called Courage of the Cosmos, a humorously cheap sci-fi thing with model ships on strings and a toaster for a communicator. The bit we see of the show is genuinely funny. I don't have much else good to say about this episode, however; it has some okay action, but it just piles nonsense on nonsense in a way that I really can't get over.
Turns out the studio producing Courage of the Cosmos is defaulting on their debts, and Scrooge takes it over. He goes down and orders the show to be made less cheesy-looking. Long story short, the kids, Launchpad and the captain in the show--Major Courage--get launched into space, and they have to survive and fend off aliens as the Major reveals himself to be not so heroic after all.
The biggest dumbness in this show is this: right from the beginning--well before we meet the Courage-actor and learn what a cad he is--Launchpad is seething with resentment towards the guy and fulminating about how he's a "phony." We are clearly supposed to sympathize with this. But for fuck's sake, of course he's not an actual space pilot--he's an actor. This idea that the two of them should be somehow in competition is completely idiotic. "If you ask me, real heroes don't need cameras and makeup," Launchpad mutters. No, you lunatic, but actors on TV shows do. You think he'd somehow be more heroic if he were a less telegenic actor? This boggles my mind with its stupidity.
I think the problem, really, lies with the writers not understanding the difference between actors and characters. It's a common thing in American politics; certain former presidents we could name used to always be compared to John Wayne or Gene Autry by people who appeared to have lost track of the fact that these were not actual cowboys; they were people who were paid to pretend to be cowboys. The same thing may be resulting in the confusion hereabouts. Notice how I always refer to the character as "the Courage-actor"--this is because the actor has no name; the show never differentiates between actor and character.
I actually remember seeing this episode when I was small, at a friend's house (hi, Dan!). What I remember most is the ending: Scrooge had threatened to fire the Courage-actor, who counters that he can't be fired because he's got a five-year contract, about which he gets all smug. At the end, it turns out he's been demoted to concessions salesman for ravenous kids, and when he wants to quit, Scrooge reminds him of his contract. Oh how we laughed at his comeuppance (though now I suspect this reveals an inadequate understanding of contract law). But nowadays, it just reveals to me another flaw in the episode: the reason the kids are with Courage-actor in space is that he wanted to get them involved and show them a good time to suck up to Scrooge so as to not lose his job. But what was the point of this if he was under the impression that his contract made him totally invulnerable? Gah!
BETTER EPISODES, PLEASE.