Thursday, September 1, 2011

Ducktales, Season Three, Episode Two: "Allowance Day"

HDL want to buy a kickass new scooter, but they're short on cash, it's only on sale 'til Friday, and they don't get their allowance until Saturday, so they change all the clocks and calendars and whatnot to trick Scrooge into thinking it's already Saturday. This has cascading results.

Clever stuff--the absurdist premise is sold quite effectively, though it is on occasion contradictory: the idea is that nobody's quite sure what day it is, but the Walter-Cronkite-equivalent newscaster sez "Saddest of all are those people who missed their Friday birthdays--now they're not sure how old they are." It's a funny line, but it indicates an awareness that a day did indeed disappear, which seems contrary to the general consensus; ie, that Friday DID happen and everyone just somehow forgot about it.

The episode gets a bit less awesome in its second half--not that it's bad, but it becomes a sort of standard get-out-of-peril thing: Fenton's gone to sign a lease extension on a factory so that it doesn't revert to a Latin-American dictator (the depiction of whom is not wholly racially unproblematic), only now, what with it being "Saturday," it's too late, so Scrooge goes down to argue with the guy and gets himself and Fenton condemned to death. Not blindingly brilliant, though Fenton's frantic filibuster to delay the execution in time for the Gizmoduck suit (which can fly for THOUSANDS OF MILES to reach the guy who sez the keyword, it turns out) to get there.

Still, a generally fine episode. Fenton is a very definite asset to the show.

Stray Observations

-"Today the President assigned a special task force to determine what day it is."

-They can show generic Latin-American revolutionary types HERE, yet the Barks ten-pager "Cap'n Blight's Mystery Ship" was banned for just such a depiction. More contradictory Disney-censorship bullshit.

-Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure you can tell there's a solar eclipse on even if you can't actually see the Sun. And hey, per Wikipedia, there's a partial one due in November! Mark your calendars!

-"When a day on the week is sorely missed/Get back on track with a solar eclipse"--I like the idea that the Junior Woodchucks' Guidebook would have advice on how to handle missing days, but I find the idea that it would be written in doggerel form somewhat questionable.

-HDL need to rescue Scrooge and Fenton. They know this. But when Fenton is gone with no explanation and Gizmoduck appears in his place, does this set off any alarms? Of course not. I don't know; maybe this is just the nature of secret identities, but they seem to be pushing this goofiness a bit hard.


  1. I think that a problem in the writing in some of the later episodes is that HDL are often not portrayed as intelligent as they traditionally are in Barks/Rosa. The Barks/Rosa HDL would have figured out Gizmoduck's secret identity in half an hour. Here, the nephews clearly bumble about, as shown in "A Case of Mistaken Secret Identity," where they believe that Gizmoduck is Launchpad, despite the fact that they've seen them both in the same place at the same itme.

  2. Yeah, I think they're leaning on "this is a superhero CONVENTION! It's SUPPOSED to work this way!" But they're doing so at the expense of character, which I don't think is a good thing.

  3. Although I like Fenton, he had an annoying tendency to hijack episodes half way through and turn them into Gizmoduck stories. This episode is a prime example - it starts of as a classic screwball comedy plot with heavy shades of "The Emperor's New Clothes", and you're all set to watch the boys set everything right, and then suddenly it's all about Fenton fighting the baddies again. Sigh.

  4. It's true that the episode gets derailed, but I don't know that you can really blame Fenton for that: it seems like the whole Latin-American ploline could easily have happened without him, with the other characters saving the day in some way.