Monday, September 19, 2011

Ducktales, Season Three, Episode Nine: "The Big Flub"

Fenton wants to be promoted to Vice President in Charge of New Products, but Scrooge is unwilling, based, not unreasonably, on the fact that he has no qualifications. So, to show that he has what it takes, Fenton shoots a series of commercials with Gandra, only realizing as they're shooting that he has no idea what they're commercials for, and so creating a phantom product called "Pep." The commercials are funny ("No one ever used to ask me out--now I'm in the swing of things, thanks to Pep!"), and it's a nicely postmodern satire--signifier with no signified. Reminds me of the Philip K. Dick novel Ubik, in which each chapter opens with a little ad for the mysterious title product. When there's a mix-up and the ads are actually run, as you'd expect, huge demand is created for this here Pep without anyone knowing what it is.

So that's all well and good, but it's a cool concept that sort of becomes less interesting in the back end. Scrooge hits up Gyro to create a product to match the ads, and he hits on a magic bubblegum that makes you float when you chew it. Not that this is bad, exactly, but when you narrow things down like that, it all becomes rather less funny/clever.

Anyway, turns out when you chew too much of the stuff, you start floating all the time, disrupting Fenton's new high-flying vice-presidential lifestyle (which lifestyle I find somewhat dubious--Scrooge really gives him a percentage of the Pep profits for no apparent reason? That seems uncharacteristic). It's up to Gizmoduck to save the day by bringing the floating people back to earth, and then there's a rather massive loose end, as the floating effect of the Pep never actually wears off--parents just keep their kids down in lead shoes and whatnot. How nobody could've noticed that, I can't imagine.

So no, not brilliant, but even an okay episode is a big relief after last time. I'm starting to conceive of Fenton and Bubba representing respectively the good and evil sides of Ducktales. They should have a pitched battle to determine the fate of the universe.

Stray Observations

-"And to think, your class voted you most likely to become homeless!"

-HDL got Scrooge to buy them a bike "once [they] convinced him it's cheaper than having Duckworth drive [them] to school for thirteen years." Thirteen years! That would mean that they're currently five, contra the assertion in "Bubbeo and Juliet" that they're entering fifth grade. And ya know, when a Fenton episode and a Bubba episode contradict each other, I don't have to think too hard about which one I'm going with.

-Also, you'd think an allegedly-shrewd businessman like Scrooge would realize that when they're teenagers they're not gonna be able to ride the same bike they did when they were kindergarteners.

-"Maybe it's time for your alter-ego to fix this mess!"
"You mean…Gizmoduck?"
"How many alter-egos do you have?"

-There's a bizarre bit where Fenton's floating in the sky and planes crash into him and he starts spinning around wildly and then he monetarily pops out of existence and then reappears in a cloud like in The Lion King. Guh?


  1. I love how after Fenton makes a ton of money, he doesn't buy a mansion or even a house, he EXPANDS HIS CURRENT TRAILER.