Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ducktales, Season Three, Episode Five: "My Mother the Psychic"

The episode opens with Fenton's mother (you'd think she'd get a first name if she's going to feature heavily) is watching All My Ducklings: "So what's the verdict, doctor?" "I'm afraid the tests are conclusive, Erica: you have only three hours to live. With proper care, maybe four." I know it's not exactly hard to make fun of soap operas, but that's still pretty awesome.

Anyway, thanks to an electrical shock, she gets precognitive powers, and Scrooge takes her on as a "financial consultant." This gets in the way of her relationship with Fenton, but when she gets captured by Glomgold (who lives in a Sinister Castle, of course--have we ever actually seen his house before? This is certainly the first time I noted it), and then it's Gizmoduck to the rescue. I must say, as far as Glomgold goes on this show, mostly I just sorta roll my eyes, whatever, he's a cartoon villain, yadda yadda--but with the sort of callous cruelty he displays her to Mrs. Crackshell, for the first time he struck me as a real asshole. Hey, if you're going to modify the original Barks character beyond all recognition, you might as well do a thorough job of it.

I feel like this episode doesn't do quite as much with the mother-son relationship as it could, but it's not at all bad, and there's a really sweet scene when Glomgold's about to launch Gizmoduck into space where they tell how much they'll miss each other without letting on that she knows Gizmoduck's true identity.

So far, Fenton's made every episode he appears in better, whereas the best Bubba can do is stay out of the way and not make things too much worse. The choice is clear.

Stray Observations

-"By the time they realize no one's home, we'll be on a boat to Bombay!" So Glomgold's great plan to not have to let Mrs. Crackshell go is to become a permanent fugitive? Hokay.

-Scrooge, mournfully, when she loses her psychic powers: "Back to making money the hard way--earning it." Uh huh. So does this mean, Ducktales, that you're never again going to have any of those risible lines where he gets all judgmental about other people having unearned money? Can I get that in writing, please?

-Not related to this episode, but how come no Fenton/Gizmoduck in Ducktales 2 on the NES? The first game was probably in development before the character had been introduced, but the sequel came out in 1993, and it seems like Gizmo would've offered some good gameplay possibilities.


  1. There almost was no Gizmoduck in "Ducktales 1," the videogame. In the original Japanese prototype, they called him "Roboduck." Only a last-minute catch by an American editor changed it, for his very brief cameo appearance.

  2. Huh--I totally didn't remember him appearing in the first game, probably because when I played it I had never seen an episode of the show featuring the character.

    Anyway, according to The Internet, he was originally called Roboduck, and in fact is still called that in Japan, so it's not really a mistake, per se.

  3. That's right– I forgot that "Roboduck" is the official Japanese name for the character. It's a pretty small role in Ducktales 1. He has no dialogue (even Bubba has dialogue in this game). Basically, Scrooge needs to find a remote control in the UFO to summon Gizmoduck, and once the remote is activated Gizmoduck blasts a hole in the ground so Scrooge can find the Green Cheese of Longevity. That always struck me as odd because as you remember, on the show a remote control is used by VILLAINS to get Gizmoduck to steal for them, and strip him of his free will.

  4. Okay, that does sound a bit familiar. I remember I was stuck on the Moon level for quite some time.