Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ducktales, Season Four, Episode Five: "Scrooge's Last Adventure"

…so why isn't this the last episode, then? Are they implying, thusly, that Scrooge Will Never Die? Or, more likely, was it planned to be the finale, but was shuffled around due to some desire to end with a two-parter?

HDL, playing in the house, break a grandfather clock--they really annihilate the hell out of that sucker. So they take it to a clock repairman, "Dr. Clockenspiel." As it happens, Scrooge just got back from his annual physical (at the free clinic--I don't know, but I kind of feel like such a place would turn someone like Scrooge away, as well they should--you're wasting valuable resources that should go to people who really need them, you jerk!), and he gets a call from Clockenspiel that he thinks is from the doctor and that he interprets to mean that he's dying ("the face and hands are just fine, but I'm afraid the old ticker is beyond repair. It may run for a few more days, but I'm afraid this is one ticker that's time has run out!" "Is there anything I can do?" "Well, you could sell me the spare parts!"). Note that this wouldn't work if Clockenspiel weren't a doctor of some sort--not that it's inconceivable, but I'm not sure such a degree is necessary for clock repair. At first, I wondered why the kids wouldn't just go to Gyro. Then, it became clear.

So Scrooge gets all morose about his imminent demise; when he wonders what's gonna happen to his money, Fenton suggests the brilliant expedient of Computer Banking. Scrooge takes him up on this, but thanks to some sort of nebulous "glitch," all his money vanishes, and he and Fenton have to go in after it, thanks to Gyro's magic science.

If there's one thing I like, it's media about "cyberspace" from a time when nobody was really clear on what that entailed. I am not joking. It's a sort of trippy, electronic-y version of Little Nemo in Dreamland here; it turns out that the "glitch" is some sorta pacman-ish whale creature that they dub "Moby Glitch." They have some travails, there's some business with the kids using the computer to play games and said games getting mixed up with Scrooge and Fenton, the day is saved, and money gushes out of the computer screen back into the bin. Note that this computer is actually in the bin, so now it's buried under huge mounds of cash--if Scrooge ever wants to get it out, he's got his work cut out for him. Oh, and he learns he's not dying. Obviously.

Cheesy and goofy though it is, I actually quite like all the "cyberspace" stuff. In fact, I'd have liked to see more of it. The problem is, there's really two episodes here, and neither one gets the space it deserves. If you want to do an episode where Scrooge Confronts His Morality, great, go for it (I'd be rather surprised if you did it well, but I'd at least be interested in seeing you try)--but don't just try to cram that into an unrelated story and seriously downplay the whole thing. Whereas if you want to do one about Scrooge And Computers…well, like I said. Give it your all.

This wouldn't be a transcendentally great end to the series, but it wouldn't be a terrible one, either. I am irked that I instead have to deal with a two-part thing prominently featuring fucking Dijon. I've had my expectations foiled before, but seriously, if it's not all downhill from here, I will eat my hat--though not before sprinkling it liberally with Jivaro Juice.

Stray Observations

-"Have I ever told you what a good cook you are?" "Not exactly. You said ' the way I look my must enjoy my cooking!''" Seriously? Dude--that may well be the most dickish thing you've ever said.

-The kids are going to tell Scrooge about the clock on the basis that "it's the good Junior Woodchuck thing to do," but then they vote against it and merrily go on their way. This is the second episode in recent memory--following "Yuppy [sic] Ducks"--in which they make a mockery of their status as Woodchucks. Dudes, not cool: you can portray them behaving like kids, fine, but don't rub it in that they're betraying the ideals of the organization that they're supposed to take very, very seriously. Jeez.

-"Nice game those Duckburg Dodgers had last night, huh?" The Mallards, the Stealers, and now a third baseball team??? Well, if the Stealers play baseball, I suppose the Dodgers can play football. You'd think there could at some point have been some sort of consultation on the subject among the writers, though.


  1. I know it's juvenile, but Fenton knowing what the nephews' "Plan B" is– and then doing it– cracks me up.

    It's hard to believe that you're almost done with Ducktales. Dijon aside, I have always thought that "Golden Goose" is one (actually, two) of their all-time best episodes. The scene between Scrooge and Glomgold at the store in Part One is one of my favorites, and Part Two is really intense– the stakes of never been so high.

    So, what will come next? Classic Donald cartoons (I'm hoping for "Der Fuehrer's Face")? Darkwing Duck? Maybe even "Cartoon All-Stars To the Rescue," thanks to the HDL supporting role? I would love to see your thoughts on the surrealistic anti-drug use scenes there.

  2. Well, as I indicated, I'd be happy to be surprised.

    After this, we'll be embarking on something else. It's either one of those thing you list or something else. It's not anything hugely surprising; I'd be amazed if you needed all three guesses to get it. But to see for sure, you must stick around!

  3. I'm with Christopher -- "The Golden Goose" is great. Hope you like it!

    I've actually always really liked Dijon. That may be because as a child, I had no idea he was supposed to be of a different race than the heroes (well, I might have been, but it barely registered.) So, I just saw what was funny and lovable about him.