Sunday, February 27, 2011

Ducktales, Season One, Episode Twenty-One: "The Curse of Castle McDuck"

In ancient times...hundreds of years before the dawn of hist'ry...

Scrooge, HDL and Webby are visiting Scotland, but alas! The ancient McDuck Castle is haunted by a fierce spectral hound! Allegedly. And that's really the only tenuous connection between this and "Hound of the Whiskervilles," even if Gemstone would have had you believe otherwise. This time, the castle has been taken over by druids. Yes, druids. No one knows who they were or…what they were doing, but their legacy remains...okay, sorry to belabor the reference, but it's pretty difficult to take this remotely seriously--it is indeed every bit as historically grounded as Spinal Tap's version.

So Scrooge and the ducklings have to get to the bottom of all this and drive the "druids" out. It all feels pretty limp to me honestly; not a lot of tension or action or humor or really much of anything. And man alive, the ending is just risible--turns out the druids are there 'cause Scrooge's forefather had chased them from their sacred land to build the castle. But never fear! Scrooge has a solution! Let's make the castle into a fucking tourist attraction, and the "druids" can still do their ceremony-type things at night! You know, people, I'm trying to downplay the anti-imperialist criticism here, because I'm pretty sure it gets repetitive and is of limited interest (it sometimes is to me, even). Did you see me make a single remark about the last episode's assumption that introducing the islanders into the capitalist system represented the best possible outcome? You did not! But this is just ridiculous. No, co-opting the sacred land for a crass money-making endeavor is not a "solution," and there is no way in hell that this would be acceptable to the "druids!" Crikey! I mean, I get the impression that the writers were at least trying to be somewhat culturally sensitive (in that they didn't make the "druids" villains in the end, or out-and-out drive them off), but they failed pretty catastrophically. I suppose if it was considered essential that there be a "happy ending" for Scrooge (and this show obviously has less of an edge than Barks' work), it was necessary that something like this happen. But that's not exactly a defense; it really just shows up the show's ideological limitations.

So yeah; not a great episode.

Stray Observations

-Cute how Scrooge's childhood piggy bank is a wood-grain wild boar.

-Jeez, how many fucking sausages did Scrooge bring along?

-"I was but a lad of six when my family left bonny Scotland forever." Cue disapproving glares from Don Rosa. And I can't help noting that were this the case, it would be very unlikely that septuagenarian-Scrooge would still have a Scottish accent.

1 comment:

  1. Ducktales will contradict itself later in the series in "Once Upon a Dime," when it's made clear that Scrooge goes to America while his family stays in Scotland.