Saturday, October 29, 2011

Darkwing Duck, Season One, Episode Nine: "Comic Book Capers"

Aw man--Darkwing Duck as written by Donald Barthelme. An' don't think I don't appreciate it!

The idea is that our hero is NOT happy about his new comic book, as it portrays him cowering before Megavolt (I'm not quite clear whom "The Awesome Comic Book Corporation" imagined the target audience for this would be), so he goes off to do a rewrite of his own. But alas, his efforts are taken over by, in succession, Gosalyn, Launchpad, Binkie Muddlefoot, and Megavolt himself, resulting in a story where, on the way to stop Megavolt, he's waylaid by a "giant flesh-eating slug monster from Mars," he finds himself transferred to an old west setting, he becomes a cute rabbit, and Megavolt becomes giant and pwns him, until he wrests back control and the thing ends in a huge crack-up where all these elements get smashed together in postmodern fashion. And then the publisher hates the result, but gets hit in the face by a pie thrown by the Indian sidekick, "Little Running Gag."

You gotta have figured I'd love this, and I pretty much do--this sort of experimentation shows just how far we are from Ducktales. My one question: wouldn't Gosalyn have wanted to write herself into her part of the story, doing something awesome? Okay, and also, I wouldn't have minded seeing Binkie's segment go on a bit longer.

I'm also really digging Megavolt. Who knew he was voiced by Dan Castellaneta? Besides people who were paying attention, I mean? I found a better way to characterize the voice (soundin' nothin' like Homer Simpson, that's for sure): he always sounds like he's going to burst into tears at any moment. Really helps give an impression of instability. And there's a great moment at the end, after Darkwing's left his flat with the completed script, where he sits there looking miffed and then just irritatedly hits the carriage-return on his typewriter. Sometimes it's the little things.

Stray Observations

-"Does 'phenomenal' have one F or two?"

-So apparently these typewriters also do illustrations? Also, it's kind of interesting that they're all using typewriters in a show produced and (presumably) set in 1991.


  1. This is one of my favorite episodes. I love the rage Darkwing expresses when he realizes that the comic book has portrayed him as a craven coward.

  2. Megavolt sounds like a whinier, dorkier Krusty the Clown, I guessed it was Castellaneta straight away.

    LOVE this episode. I especially love the bits where someone interrupts the writing and it messes everything up, like when Launchpad asks "do you know anything about washing machines?" in the middle of an action scene. It's pretty rare to see this kind of postmodern weirdness in a kids' TV show.

    I agree that Gosalyn should really have written herself into the story, and also we saw them throwing salt on giant slugs like five episodes ago. I also find it weird that DW writes himself having the usual pratfalls like getting blown through the wall by the hair dryer. Wasn't he trying to make himself look super-competent?