Saturday, October 1, 2011

Ducktales, Season Four, Episode Four: "New Gizmo Kids on the Block"

Boy does that title ever instantly date the hell out of this episode.

In a perhaps overly elaborate set-up, Mrs. Crackshell wants to win this "mother-of-the-year" award that some TV station is holding, because the prize is a "fifty-inch cable-ready widescreen TV" (ooh, cable-ready!). Ma Beagle wants to win the same prize, apparently just for the glory of it. So Mrs. Crackshell decides to do Fenton's laundry, which results in her accidentally shrinking the gizmosuit (which is "dry-clean only," natch); and Ma Beagle breaks the Beagles out of jail by the baroque process of sending them a cake that, when consumed, causes Burger to vibrate like a jackhammer so they can burrow through the floor. Meanwhile, HDL are recycling cans for cash; people are leaving cans out for them, only Mrs. Crackshell, trying to hide the mistake from Fenton, accidentally puts the shrunken gizmosuit out instead, and they get hold of it. And the odds of them inadvertently activating it are high, since the codeword too has shrunk, to simply "bla."

So Mrs. Crackshell, in desperation, builds a replacement suit for Fenton out of various bits of this and that that she had lying around, including a ceiling fan, a lawnmower, a sewing machine, a trash can and a hairdryer which straps to the wrist. It proves to be pretty much completely ineffective, but you have to admit, it's still pretty impressive that she was able to cobble it together at all.

This is not Gizmoduck: it's Garbageduck, and it's pretty funny how blasé Scrooge is about the change, and how easily he takes to using this new name ("They're getting away! Where is that Garbageduck when I need him?!?").

Anyway, HDL bumble around in the gizmosuit--it switches from one to another whenever someone says a word starting with "bla"--and refuse, chauvinistically, to let Webby try it, until they all get caught and she has to save the day by capturing the Beagles, teaching HDL that "girls CAN do super stuff!" Fenton gets the suit back to normal size by means that weren't totally clear to me, and Mrs. Crackshell doesn't get to be mother of the year, but she does win the "mechanic of the year" prize thanks to the garbageduck suit, which seems only fair.

Busy busy episode. I'm not sure that it ever entirely comes together into anything coherent, but there are lots of good moments from Fenton, his mother, and even HDL (though they do get a tad irritating at times). And I like that Webby saves the day, even if it was a fairly obvious denouement.

Stray Observations

-Scrooge has a bronze statue of himself? As is often the case, I Have My Doubts.

-"A good mother would help her son; therefore, I, being a good mother, will help you."

-"To us, you're still the best!" "Yeah--what other mother would spend twenty years in the same room with her boys?"

-I never got the impression that the gizmosuit would just switch around to different users like that. Is there anywhere else where its behavior in that regard is established? Seems like a potentially fatal flaw.


  1. I love how Mrs. Crackshell is revealed to have hidden talents. But I think that Ma Beagle's attempt to win the Mother of the Year award is out of character– you'd think that she'd just steal the TV herself.

  2. Maybe I missed something, but I didn't get the impression that Ma Beagle was motivated by the TV--she just wanted the world to know how awesome she was, motherwise.

  3. Psst! Scrooge has a statue of himself in "The Lemming With the Locket," though I'm not sure if it's bronze. (Donald might claim it was brass.)

  4. Even better than this was a comic book story, "The Littlest Gizmoduck" in which the nephews build their own homespun Gizmoduck suit - which Webby puts on to fight the Beagle Boys. The parallels to the episode plot are very similar, but there was more integration - the nephews get to show off their intelligence, Webby gets to show off her courage. Fenton does not have much to do, but he comes off with less egg on his face.