Monday, May 2, 2011

Ducktales, Season One, Episode Forty-Five: "Duckworth's Revolt"

[insert "Sir, Duckworth is revolting!" joke here]

Well, if we're judging episodes by their openings, whaddaya make of one in which anthropomorphic vegetables in a cornucopia-styled spaceship abduct an anthropomorphic elephant in a bathtub--a girl anthropomorphic elephant in a bathtub with the traditional pink bow in her hair--who seems surprisingly unfazed by this turn of events?

What you make is a pretty solid episode, albeit one just about as batty as the preceding would indicate. The kids accuse Duckworth of being like a SLAVE, so Scrooge fires him so he can go make his fortune. This is undeniably highly dubious, but things get better from there: the vegetable aliens, it turns out, are abducting people from all planets to work in their ship's garden, and Duckworth and HDL are next. Duckworth seems all subservient and stuff at first, but then he plans a revolt--though it's not entirely clear whether we're meant to buy his claim that he was just faking cowardice all along, or whether he actually grows a backbone. Regardless, it's neat to see him take a starring turn.

The episode is admirably committed to its "human vegetables" concept (the leaders are a broccoli stalk, a squash, and a clove of garlic), to the point that it's kind of hysterically--but appealingly--goofy (my favorite is a zucchini beating a drum as on a galley ship). It's easy for things like this to seem like they're straining for zaniness, but this one feels mostly natural.

My only real objection with the episode--but it's a substantial objection--is this: it flirts with asking questions about the morality of Duckworth's employment (what with the kids calling him a slave and all), but it never has the courage to follow through, instead contenting itself with assuring us that, well, he's not literally a slave, so there's no cause for concern. But that's so trivially true that if it's all you're gonna say, there was no point in bringing it up in the first place. Of course he's not literally forced to work for Scrooge--I mean, fucking duh. If you think this is an important question to address--and I think it is; there's always the somewhat uncomfortable feeling in the comics that, notwithstanding all his "earning it square" talk, he's exploiting his employees as much as he possibly can--you should bloody well address it. Otherwise, don't bother.

Still a good episode, however.

Stray Observations

-Hey, guess what: we're fifty percent of the way through the series! Well, okay, if you want to count the movie, then we actually won't get there until about fifteen minutes into episode forty-seven. But the point is, we've gone through fifty episodes. Kerpow!

-"Don't come back until you've discovered the joy, the enchantment, the sheer ecstasy of making big butts!" Er…yes. It's rarely remarked upon that Ducktales was in fact the inspiration for "Baby Got Back." Tell your friends!

-"And I thought elephants NEVER forgot!" "What's an elephant?" Funny commentary on the idea that just because an alien LOOKS like an earth creature, it would think of itself in the same way as one.

-"There comes a time when one must choose between trusting one's enemy or colliding with a gourdy green planet!" Words to live by.

-"Why don't we go to my quarters and have a chat over some nice, hot onion tea?" How would that not be cannibalism?

-Vacation Van Honk!

1 comment:

  1. Don't forget this classic line: HDL quote Launchpad– "When in doubt, push a bunch of buttons!"