Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Ducktales, Season One, Episode Fifty-Six: "Once Upon a Dime"

Apologies for the lack of updates--I've just been preoccupied with this and that. But come hell or high water, I AM going to finish this.

This episode is Scrooge's biography--the Ducktales version of the L&T, I suppose. Rosa doesn't exactly have much to worry about, though. The episode opens really, really stupidly--oh no; what's happened to Scrooge's Number-One Dime? Oh look, HDL took it: "We gave you our lucky quarter instead!" "It's a quarter--that makes it two and a half times luckier than your dime!" Really, people? After all this time, we're meant to buy that HDL have no goddamn clue about the dime's significance? That really takes stupidity to the limit, and it demonstrates a pretty profound disrespect for the audience.

Anyway, Scrooge starts learnin' them a lesson about his past and the dime's True Meaning. I was actually sort of impressed by how many Barksian--and not JUST Barksian, either--facts the episode tossed in, albeit in a somewhat haphazard way: Scrooge getting his first dime shining a ditch-digger's boots, using a mass-shoe-shining contraption, having a river-rat uncle in the states and getting in a riverboat race (he leaves Scotland as a teenager, contradicting "The Curse of Castle McDuck," but whatever…)…alas, none of this really adds up to much good, however. There's an abundance of really dumb shit here, and what are some really good sequences in theory--the race, his Klondike days--are incredibly cursory in execution. The fact that the episode is saturated with stupid kilt and bagpipe jokes really shows just how much wit and creativity went into this one.

Also worthy of derision: he strikes oil--and thus becomes rich--purely by luck (he was just digging a hole to bury his dime!). That fundamentally misunderstands the character, and it's the most egregious example of the "lucky dime" heresy we've seen yet: "All thanks to my lucky number one dime!" Also, he becomes a diamond magnate. How? Well, he gets a coal field in Africa. He scatters some peanuts around, causing an elephant stampede, and the pressure of the elephants on the coal causes oh for fuck's sake I can't even finish that sentence, it's such a stupid idea. In fact, although god knows it has plenty of competition, I daresay it may be the dumbest thing in Ducktales thusfar. Take a bow, you dopey bastards.

Stray Observations

-"How are we supposed to spend American money in Scotland?" YEAH, THAT'S A PROBLEM ALL RIGHT--EVEN IF YOU'RE RICH IN ONE COUNTRY, YOU'RE AUTOMATICALLY BROKE IF YOU EVER VISIT ANOTHER BECAUSE THERE'S NO WAY TO TRANSFER MONEY. YOU'D THINK THEY'D HAVE COME UP WITH SOME SORT OF SOLUTION TO THIS PROBLEM.

-Okay, the cowboy Beagles are sort of amusing.

-A really, really weird bit where a hitchhiking Scrooge hitches up his kilt to show some leg to get a ride. Who the hell is this episode for, anyway?

-Hey, did you know that the REAL treasure is family? Perfect point of comparison: Rosa did this same thing, more or less, at the end of the L&T, but, sentimentalist though he is, he avoided getting too goopily saccharine, 'cause who wants that? No such restraint in this episode, big surprise.

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