Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ducktales, Season Three, Episode One: "The Land of Trala La"

So was there some particular REASON that the show strips one of the 'l's out of "Tralla La?" Did no one care that this would fuck up the pronunciation? Or did the writers just not understand how English pronunciation works? Or what?

This episode is relatively faithful to the Barks story (though, obviously, without Donald, and thus without the cool line above). Several of the issues that came up when I watched it were ones you could raise with the source material as well: Donald and HDL--or, here, Fenton, Launchpad and HDL--are REALLY good with staying in Trala La [sic] forever (given that Fenton is worried that we won't be able to find accounting work in a place with no concept of money, he sure seems to be planning on it)? Given that they've been living this way for thousands of years, the Tralla-La-ites sure do cotton pretty instantaneously to the concept of money, don't they? That latter issue is actually accentuated here: when Scrooge asks them about money after first arriving, they're completely uncomprehending, but when he asks if he's really getting this house for free, the leader answers that "the house is on the house," indicating that they do in fact have some notion of how a barter economy works. Another episode-specific gripe: they sure do find the place easily enough, given how isolated it's supposed to be. The cool bit in the Barks story where the kids figure out where it is through observational detective work is no more.

The other big difference is that here it's Fenton--with his somewhat nonsensical "oh noes! I won't be able to do accountancy any more!" worries--who instigates the Tralla-La-ites' greed. This works okay (though it doesn't paint him in a particularly good light), as does Scrooge's and Fenton's trek to stop Launchpad from delivering more caps--though the notion that the kids would still have no idea as to Gizmoduck's identity after all this seems highly questionable. I don't really think it was necessary or desirable for the Tralla-La-ites to get murderous, however.

Hey, whatever--in spite of my kvetching, I did think this was a good episode--although, pace Chris and Joe's opinion in the introduction to volume II of Carl Barks' Greatest Ducktales, I don't really agree that it's better than the Barks story, let alone "considerably better." I'd say the two are about on par, though, for different reasons--which is pretty good in itself.

-The Barks story's League to Abolish Billionaires becomes the League to Ban Billionaires--apparently, the show's writers imagined that polysyllabic words would be too much for their audience. In either case, though, I'd be happy to make a donation.

-I'm going to assume that Scrooge's "nerve medicine" is in fact laudanum, with no justification except that it amuses me to do so.

-Hint for Westerners: Avoid using phrases like "the natives are getting restless" in your stories about non-Western cultures. Kthnx.


  1. I think that Fenton could have been given Donald's line from the above picture.