Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Ducktales, Season One, Episode Forty-Seven: "Duck to the Future"

Okay! No more dicking around! I'm back from vacation, and it's time to get back in the swing (with everybody and everything)!

Magica steals Scrooge's dime and dumps him in the future, where she is now in charge. That about sums that up.

This episode kind of annoys me, because it there are a few extremely funny things, but also a LOT of extremely dumb shit, and it's not always possible to separate them. So, f'rinstance, the idea that Scrooge's off-hand advice to HDL on how to cut costs for their lemonade stand would turn them into yuppie-asshole corporate raiders in the future is absurd--and yet, the depiction of them as such, with incongruously deep, rough voices, is just hilarious. Likewise: the idea that Scrooge would be able to con his way into Magica's office with a lame traveling-salesman disguise is absurd…but the American accent that he affects for this disguise is priceless.

Still, I'm afraid the dumb kinda predominates. This episode does the thing that the show sometimes does of pitching the characters as being much dumber than they should be: so in the beginning, HDL proudly tell Scrooge that they've made fifty-six cents selling lemonade, and then--just as proudly--that "we spent all our allowance!" (six dollars) for the ingredients. Or…well, it's accepted canon that Disney characters must always be super-easy to fool with really obvious disguises, so one can't complain too much about Scrooge being gulled by Magica pretending to be a fortune teller, but the idea that he wouldn't put two and two together in the future, even though the megacorporation that runs everything is called "Magica-McDuck Enterprises?"* And that he'd actually BELIEVE her line that he can go back in time using the subway? C'mon.

*Magica is partnering with HDL. This would be an interesting idea to explore, but the episode never does.

And as far as dumb shit goes, how 'bout the idea that "payday's the day we turn our earnings back over to the bosses," due to the "Privilege-of-Working-for-Magica-McDuck-Enterprises Tax?" I mean, yeah, I know, you want to show how greedy and EEEE-vil Magica is, but surely there has to be a less nonsensical way to do this.

In the end, you have the "quick visits to different historical eras" bit, which REALLY feels like making time and nothing more. And then an incredibly heavy-handed, sanctimonious speech from Scrooge to the effect that "making money at the expense of others is no bargain." The tension between the desire to make the show family-friendly and the realities of capitalism and what the creation of Scrooge's empire obviously entailed are enough to cause cranial combustion.

Meh. Gotta learn how to emphasize the good bits of your episode and excise the bad, guys.

Stray Observations

-Kind of amazed that such stereotyped "redskins" got through--and in this case it's even more offensive than it would be otherwise, given that the Native Americans were quite clearly the good guys (or, you know, as much so as it's possible to label ANY side in a war as such) in the Battle of LIttle Bighorn.

-I didn't even mention Webby and Doofus being married, because it's kinda boring. Still, I note that the idea is clearly that they have achieved their Full Potential; ie, he's ripped and she's hot, and that's about all one can say about them. I find the implications of this are highly disturbing.

-Sheesh...another one that I MUST have seen back in the day, because I remembered Doofus's mention of "dilithium crystals." But again--that's all. Aside from that one scrap of memory, nothin.'


  1. Why shouldn't Scrooge believe that the subway can travel through time in the future? We see Scrooge travel through time in other episodes, once through the use of Gyro's tricked-out bathtub and once through the use of a popsicle-like substance? After those two methods of twisting the space-time continuum, the subway sounds downright plausible.

  2. Maybe, but it's a SUBWAY--people ride it to get from here to there. I suppose it's conceivable that you would have a subway-time-travel-based economy, but I think it would be sensible to assume that, even in The Future, people still need to get from point A to point B--whereas Scrooge appears to be assuming that it's become an exclusively time-travel-based mechanism.

  3. Whats super oddis that technialy there are two Magicas at the end. The present one and the one Scrooge brot from the future...