Monday, November 28, 2011

Darkwing Duck, Season One, Episode Thirteen: "A Revolution in Home Appliances"

Now, we return to the sort of genial battiness that I can get behind. The idea is that Megavolt accidentally zaps himself and gets the ability to bring appliances to life. In short order, he has a refrigerator, a television, Honker's guitar (not an appliance per se, but it's an electric guitar, so I guess it counts), and a salon chair working for him. They all have really broad accents, too, which adds to the fun. The refrigerator is a working-class New Yorker, the guitar is a seventies-British-punk-rocker, the chair is…huh. I don't quite know what descriptor to use, aside from "the stylist who always calls you 'hon.' I also don't know about the TV; it keeps doing different impressions--is it supposed to be some sort of Robin Williams thing? Never mind; it's all batty enough to be funny.

And then the usual; DW has to save the day. But there's a twist! The appliances go rogue, turning on Megavolt! Oh Em Gee! Also, there's a li'l subplot with Gosalyn and Honker trying to figure out what became of his guitar. Okay.

It's fun stuff, though I do with the episode let us see some of the chaos erupting when appliances city-wide temporarily gain sentience. Show don't tell, dammit!

Stray Observations

-There's a story that appeared in some issue or other of Gemstone's WDC where furniture starts gaining intelligence. You'd remember it if you'd read it. This sort of makes me think of that.

-As I noted in my entry on the Ducktales movie, I question the morality of granting life to inanimate objects only to kill them off again. Only more so here, since the things that come to life are actually sentient. Not that I feel especially strongly about the matter as it applies here, but I'm not sure what logical reason there would be for this to be okay if killing off regular people is frowned upon.

-"Gee, if you're really bored, DW, you might try starting a button collection, like mine! It's pretty darn exciting!"

Friday, November 25, 2011

Season Marxist Literary Critic Georg Lukács (1885-1971), episode Eleven: "Going Nowhere Fast"


Yeah, I'm doing this because Ryan Wynns told me too, and I always mindlessly do what I'm told. I'd be a good cult member, I think. The idea was to get acquainted with this crazy new Negaduck before seeing him team up with other villains, I believe.

Actually "crazy" might be pushing it a bit. Negaduck is Darkwing in a yellow coat and red hat, and from this episode, at least, he's kind of generic. I liked the big-eyebrow "bad" Darkwing best. That guy had moxie!

The idea, at any rate, is that this guy hits DW with a special ray thing and inadvertently grants him super-speed (and also the ability to kind of hover, apparently), so he has fun with that for a while, but wouldntchaknowit, it turns out that he also ages super-fast, and he becomes old and decrepit and bearded, since we all know that beards are one of the main signs of aging.

So while he's sitting around knitting and stuff, Negaduck takes over the city. Fuck! But when he sees that LP, Gosalyn, and Honker have been captured, DW nonetheless creaks to the rescue, and I've gotta say…the way he de-ages himself is really pretty half-assed--apparently, moving backwards really fast does the trick. There's a somewhat cute bit where he really quickly goes and becomes a scientist and gives papers and does lab work and finds an antidote for the accelerating ray, but it's a li'l too-little-too-late for my taste. I found this episode to be pretty uninvolving. I feel like so far at least, this show lives and dies on the strength of its villains; hence, episodes with weak villains like Negaduck here and Steelbeak in "Water Way to Go"--as well as "Apes of Wrath" with the random hunter dude as villain--don't succeed very well. Hey, I'm not saying these guys can't come into their own at some point in the future. But they haven't yet.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Season Ing, Episode Three: "Negaduck"

Soooo…what happens, is Megavolt hits DW with his magic machine thingie that separates his 'good' and 'evil' sides. They look the same except that the evil one has thick eyebrows, as evil people generally do. The good one's all milquetoasty; the bad one's loud and angry, though 'evil' seems like a bit of a stretch. In fact, I strongly question the this episode's whole conception of good-vs-evil! Seriously, though, I do think that this idea that "good=ineffectual" probably says something not-that-complimentary about our society.

But that's okay, because it's entertaining stuff, especially the loud, obnoxious 'evil' version, who goes to a movie entitled The Cute Little Lost Bunnies Movie, stands up on the back of his seat angrily demanding car chases, and starts firing a shotgun at the screen. And then, because that's the kind of show this is, he enters the movie and commandeers a tank from god knows where.

The bad DW wants to smash Megavolt's ray so the process can never be reversed, but instead he gets hit with it again, which "galvanizes" him and makes him into the fiendish Negaduck, who is in black and white and seething with electricity, and I have already been apprised by Ryan Wynn that this is not the "real" Negaduck, so no need to tell me. Actually, although he looks pretty intimidating, I find him less fun than the regular-bad DW.

Then the "good" version gets galvanized too, and I just cannot tell you how bizarre it is to see him beatifically swanning around spouting advice about recycling and brushing your teeth. But in a fun way.

In conclusion, here's a youtube comment on this episode, which raises a few questions, such as: Who do you think you're arguing with? And why? And are you a crazy person?

First off, Negaduck was the main villain instead of Megavolt, whom I thought was wicked enough. Secondly, Gosalyn was right about Darkwing being arrogant. Even worse, he doesn't hug her back! He may not know it, but a true hero isn't measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart. If he keeps treating her like dirt, then he has NO heart!

Stray Observations

-"Sorry, but you can't stay! Dad's got the plague!"

-"Trons! The building blocks of good and evil! I learned that in school!"

-…did I really hear Herb Waddlefoot express his excitement about a show called "Wheel of Torture?"

-Okay, I really don't buy the idea that Gosalyn, Launchpad and Honker, having tied up the two DWs, are unable to tell which is which. A. The eyebrows, fercrissake; B. If that's not enough, just take another feather to look at it under the microscope! Sheesh!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Darkwing Duck, Season One, Episode Twelve: "Easy Come, Easy Grows"

Seriously, what's the deal with "grows," plural? If there's a salient reason why this is better than the more natural-sounding singular would be, I'm not getting it.

This episode begins with vaults disappearing from banks; it then moves on to the seemingly unrelated notion of money growing on trees; this comes up when, paranoid about the rash of thefts, Herb Muddlefoot buries the family savings in the backyard (everyone in this world seem to store their money in home vaults and moneybags and the like). Gosalyn and Honker discover it--I like stuff focusing on the kids--but after their inevitable overreach, Drake takes over, instantly turning into a yuppie douchebag after this sudden windfall. There's a bit where he towers over the money, limned in green light like some sort of demon, which is entertainingly strange.

But this doesn't last, as the cops bust him regarding the issue of all the bills having the same serial number--an issue which if often ignored in things like this. It turns out that the counterfeit bills sprout and develop motility--but if it's ever indicated how Herb got one of them to start the process in the first place, I missed it.

Anyway, as you'd expect, Bushroot is behind this; he uses the fake money to steal real money 'cause the fake stuff turns to dust and really, people, this whole plot is needlessly complicated in the extreme, and I don't imagine it would make a whole lot of sense if you tried to sit down and diagram it. Nice to see Bushroot again, though. In spite of his occasional murderousness, I find he's more sympathetic than not. All he wants to do is help out his plant pals/pets. It's kinda sweet.

Stray Observations

-Not that I've been keeping track, but it struck me as vaguely surprising that you can apparently use a phrase like "this really blows" in a show like this.

-Maybe the most baroque close-escape ever--our heroes are wrapped up in vines and trapped, but DW saves the day by plucking a trumpet away from a flower and playing snake-charming music, causing the vines to do snake-type dances and release them. Yup.

-Oh, and it's surprisingly gruesome for the show to end with Bushroot and his tree allies getting fed through a industrial wood chipper. Sure, he regenerates as a little seedling, but the trees appear to die horrible deaths.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Darkwing Duck, Season One, Episode Eleven: "Paraducks"

So the story is this: SHUSH has invented a time machine. But not just any time machine: a time machine that runs on the sound of polkas, which is an awesome detail (if this were a Ducktales episode, there would have been a joke about how much everyone hates accordions. Glad we dodged that bullet).

So Darkwing and Gosalyn accidentally travel to the fifties, where young-Drake is being harassed by a gang of greasers led by an Elvis impersonator known only as "The King." I feel like given Drake's probably age (mid-thirties?), he should've had more of a sixties childhood, but this was amusing enough to let it slide. The gang forces him to aid in their evil scheme (which involves a not-bad musical number); Gosalyn insists that Darkwing not intervene, but, in an interesting twist on the usual time-travel sort of thing, his not-intervention results in a terrifying dystopian present where The King is in fact the King and everyone is forced to wear huge pompadours. So it's necessary to go back and teach young-Drake how to be more awesome, and then, with the help of another fairly-awesome song from Darkwing--I'm really impressed by how assured these musical interludes are--the day is saved and young-Drake gets renewed self-confidence and the aspiration to be a superhero. And Gosalyn brings up some of the paradoxical aspects of this caper just so Darkwing can brazenly fail to address them, which is a nice touch.

Not a super-indelible villain, but as I assume he's a one-shot, that's okay. And the episode as a whole was highly amusing.

Stray Observations

-"It gives the appearance of an ordinary stuffed bear, but it's capable of firing over a hundred poison darts with pinpoint accuracy!" "We hope to have it ready for the holidays."

-"I am the toddler that naps in the night!"

-Gosalyn and young-Drake as cheerleaders during DW's song are adorable.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Darkwing Duck, Season One, Episode Ten: "Water Way to Go"

Okay, so in this episode we get the name of FOWL--the Fiendish Organization for World Larceny--spelt out. In "Double-0 Duck" it was "foreign" instead of "fiendish," which you have to admit is funnier. Anyway, Darkwing and Launchpad have to go to this here Oilrabia place to stop these folks form stealing the country's oil via a weather-control machine. Spearheading this effort is this Steelbeak fellow--a rooster with a, uh, steel beak, who's a mobster sort of guy. Oh, and there's interpersonal conflict, because Launchpad, suddenly dissatisfied with being a sidekick, insists on taking the "hero" role and having DW assist, leading to some resentful seething. But then they iron things out. Huzzah.

Hate to say it, but this episode was a bit of a slog. While I think creating conflict between DW and LP is a good idea in principle, it feels very forced here, and more irritating than anything else. Also, the evil plot is kind of half-baked, and while I will concede that Steelbeak perhaps has potential as a villain, here at least he doesn't make anywhere near the impression of your Bushroots or your Megavolts.

Not howlingly terrible or anything, and not incompetent in the vein of the worst Ducktales episodes, but...well, indifferently-crafted, is what I might diplomatically call it. There's a strong sense of going-through-the-motions. Surely the weakest episode thusfar, and not one I'd be especially keen to watch again.

Stray Observations

-"Hey, you can't be slave to a schedule--it causes stress!"

-Okay, the car-on-a-camel setup is kind of funny.