Monday, April 4, 2011

Ducktales, Season One, Episode Thirty-One: "Catch as Cash Can," part one: "A Drain on the Economy"

Oh look, it's a multi-part episode. I admire the narrative ambition, in theory at least, but from this first episode, it appears that--as with the pilot episode--the writers aren't really going to be able to build such a thing that isn't so choppy it might as well be entirely separate episodes.

The central plot is painfully contrived: there's an India-ish country called "Macaroon" that has a magic kind of fruit that can provide illumination to replace lightbulbs and whatnot. But, according to the country's risibly-accented ruler, "the only person qualified to market our fruit is the richest man in the world," which is about as flawed as premises get. But alas, it turns out that Scrooge and Glomgold are, as far as anyone can tell, equally rich, so the only way to tell which of them is "the only person qualified" is to lug all that cash down and weigh it. 'Cause it stands to reason that the one who has .001 milligrams more money is going to be qualified, whereas the other one would fatally botch the operation, right? Of course.

But all this is beside the point: Glomgold hires the Beagle Boys to steal Scrooge's money so he'll lose! Oh noes! Have I mentioned how much I hate the Ducktales Beagle Boys? Probably every time they've appeared, huh? Well, I do. Their portrayal is simply an unmitigated failure, and the show's creators should bow their heads in shame. Anyway, the episode consists of them attempting to rob Scrooge. Slapstick goofiness results. Some of it's mildly pleasant, but none of it is exactly riveting. Eventually, Scrooge's money falls down a storm drain, and it must be recovered. "If I lose one single penny in the next nine days, Flintheart will be declared the world's richest duck!" Scrooge declares. The idea that you could recover everything after such a calamity without losing so much as one cent...jeez.

Anyway, that's about that. Not the worst I've seen, but certainly not very good; neither the portrayals of Scrooge nor HDL are at all up-to-par, and the action is less-than-compelling even when it's not forcing the viewer to contemplate the underlying ridiculousness. I'd be lying it I said I was enthused for the next three parts. But I will persevere!

Stray Observations

-In the sewers, the kids are easily scared away by Beagle Boys in a really fake-looking alligator suit. Just an example of poor characterization; the Junior Woodchucks I know would never be fooled so easily.

-"Boy, the Department of Water and Power's gonna hear from me!" "Yeah! First fluoridation, now alligators!" Um…what? I know it's at least meant to be joke-y, but I feel about the same about this as I would if the show just casually stuck in a reference to the fakeness of the moon landings.


  1. Isn't there a contradiction? Scrooge doesn't want to lose a single penny, but he BUYS A WHOLE BUILDING? Will the real estate company wait until after the weighing to cash his check?

  2. Yeah, and there seems to be this general idea that his fortune is going to remain absolutely stable until the weighing, even though all his business ventures would obviously make that impossible. Then again, bringing that up just serves as a reminder that the weighing isn't counting any of the money that either Scrooge or Flintheart have in their businesses, which fact renders the whole weighing thing kind of nonsensical. At least in "The Money Champ," this was addressed by having them liquidate all of their businesses (which seems like an incredibly bad idea in all sorts of other ways, but never mind).

  3. You'd think that it would make sense to convert all of one's paper money into pennies, since the scales can only measure weight, not count the money on the scale. 10,000 pennies weigh way more than a $100 bill.