Friday, December 30, 2011

Darkwing Duck, Season One, Episode Sixteen: "Can't Bayou Love"

Jambalaya, crawfish pie, filet gumbo…

This one introduces a new villain, this pint-size backwoods creole named Jambalaya Jake, who doesn't really seem to be a supervillain per se, so much as some random dude with the twin powers of hyperactivity and having-a-pet/sidekick-alligator, Gumbo (who is mostly mute, but, being something of a gourmand, can still say "yum yum"). He's entertaining enough to watch, and the incidental music gets all zydeco-y when he's doing his thing, which is cool.

He doesn't really have much of an evil plan or anything (as I said--not really a supervillain). He's basically just come up to St. Canard because he'd heard tell that it was "easy pickings" for random acts of larceny, and he gets annoyed at Darkwing for getting in his way.

What he does is, he kidnaps Launchpad and ties him up with explosives strapped to him, to lure Darkwing out. This works, but, obviously, plan-foiling-type stuff happens. But here's my problem with this: it's made very clear that Jake is going to kill Launchpad if he sets the explosives off. But when DW rescues him, big surprise, he accidentally sets them off himself, and does anyone die? What do you think? Obviously, the reality here is much more elastic than it is in Ducktales, but that notwithstanding, I still don't think it's a good idea to make it explicit that even if the villains' nefarious plans go exactly as they're meant to, they don't work. I mean, way to make the show absolutely weightless. C'mon.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Darkwing Duck, Season One, Episode Fifteen: "Hush, Hush Sweet Charltan"

Tuskernini has returned. I don't know about that name--a director-themed villain with a name that puns on the name of a guy who wasn't a director? How much thought went into THAT? How about Godaardvark? That's a villain I could get behind.

Still, the name is the least of our concerns, really; he's just not a very interesting character. Here, he's pretended to go straight so he can make a movie that's such a big flop that it destroys AF Erret's studio, allowing him to buy it cheaply for the oil underneath the property. Um…is the excitement killing us yet?

Anyway, Darkwing interferes and figures out and then ruins the scheme, while Gosalyn and Honker dash around know, this isn't exactly a tightly-plotted episode, is it? I'm frankly not terrible impressed, although there is one fun bit where DW and LP are doing exposition while performing ad hoc scenes to make the suspicious security guard think they're just run-of-the-mill actors.

Stray Observations

-And there's a washed-up actress name Gloria Swansong, who, however, does not appear to be the same washed-up actress named Gloria Swansong in Ducktales' "Uncrashable Hindentanic."

-Tuskernini's assistants are penguins. It's not made explicit or anything, but I assume this is for reasons of zoological proximity, in which case it falls on me to point out that walruses are arctic and penguins are antarctic.

-"You oughta sue for definition of character!"

-"And the aliens...I JUST DON'T KNOW!"

Monday, December 26, 2011

Darkwing Duck, Season One, Episode Fourteen: "Trading Faces"

Mmm, okay. Let's try to get this thing back into gear. I could blame my month-long pause on that whole L&T marathon at 'tother place, and you'd probably even believe me, but let's face it: the reality is, it's just laziness on my part. "Too lazy to watch cartoons?" APPARENTLY, YES. Well, also, I was binging on Homeland, which is a problematic show in some ways but still pretty riveting. But now I'll try to get back into a regular schedule.

This is the show's body-swap episode--with, you must admit, a singularly uninspired title. Whee! Specifically, DW gets some sorta machine thingie that's supposed to transfer data from his base to his ship thing the name of which I forget, only somehow, it actually switches his mind with Gosalyn's and Launchpad's with Honker's. That's science for you. Whatareyagonnado? Unfortunately, this comes just as FOWL, as represented by Steelbeak, are cooking up a new plot: to hold the world ransom and destroy it by stopping it from spinning unless the world's governments fork over one hundred trillion dollars!!! You know, guys, that money's not actually going to be of much use to you if you've utterly destroyed every economy in the world to get it. Or maybe that's the idea? Who knows what motivates FOWL?

I do like Steelbeak here more than in his first appearance. Still…well, I know there's not a lot of currency complaining about diabolical plans to Destroy The World™, as that's just kind of par for the course, but really now: for this threat to have any force, Steelbeak would have to be quite literally an insane, suicidal nihilist, which I don't get the impression is meant to be the case.

So anyway, the various people in various bodies gotta work to fix things. DW is pretty adorable in Gosalyn's body, though it must be said that, pigtails notwithstanding, when he's in costume (which is most of the time) he basically looks more like Young Darkwing than a whole different character. Honestly, I would've been happy to see more time spent on the characters trying ineptly to adapt to their new situations. But hey, it's all good--not in the ranks of all-time great episodes, but still pretty good. I think Honker's fast becoming my favorite character. I really like his sort of fatalistic acceptance of being involved in crazy hijinx that are way above his pay grade.