Sunday, March 18, 2012

Darkwing Duck, Season One, Episode Thirty-Two: "Toys Czar Us"

The idea here is that Quackerjack is stealing toys from toy stores to restock them with his own, more evil-type playthings.  Meanwhile, Gosalyn is getting in hot water for being too much of a cut-up after she causes damage playing baseball in school, so Drake earnestly gets down to the business of being a "good," stifling parent, which leads to ambivalences about facing Quackerjack and being a crime-fighter in general.  To Gosalyn's dismay, obviously.  Drake dragoons Gosalyn, Honker, Tank, and some extras to appear in a school play, "The Cookie-Crumb Faerie."  Their reactions to this are quite good: Gosalyn, predictably, doesn't want to be any damn faerie; Tank is upset because "your dad cut my napalm scene!" (?!?), and Honker is just happy that he gets to play a rock.  But then Quackerjack lures them away to his underground "ultimate toy utopia," and day-saving must occur.

Quackerjack's motivations here are totally incoherent: first it seems as though he just wants to get his destructive toys into the hands of kids to fuck them up; then, it appears that he wants kids to have them just so everyone will recognize their superior awesomeness--but then he wants the kids to pay for them, suggesting a more pragmatic profit motive.  To be clear, I like this a lot: I can't really tell how intentional it is on the writers' part, but it's an appropriate characterization of the show's most insane villain.  Who knows what fires burn in his head?  Also, when Gosalyn and the Muddlefoot kids escape only to be recaptured, he's all set to execute them as punishment via toy soldiers with guns, cementing his "most psychopathic" status.  I think this is his best episode yet.

I also like the Drake/Gosalyn conflict, which doesn't go overboard into parody and is surprisingly balanced, with both of them ultimately admitting that the other might have a point re Gosalyn's behavior.  And at the end, when she gives in and agrees to play the dumb ol' faerie, Drake removes her prop crown and puts her baseball cap on her head, which is a really great capper.

Bottom line: excellent episode.  Best in a while, for sure.

Stray Observations

-Still, I don't know what the deal is with the teacher menacingly brandishing a paddle and then offering Drake cheese and crackers--is this meant to be some sort of one-woman good-cop/bad-cop routine?

"So, would you say the pesky perpetrator pilfered your plentiful stock of profitable playthings?"
"No--I'd just say I got robbed."

-"The incredibly dreary Mr. History Doll--he'll simply bore you to death!"

-"We'll be blown to bits!"  "No, honey--we'll probably be smothered before that happens."

-I was disturbed to learn that the actress who plays Tank died at the very age that I am right now.  Io fu già quel che voi sete: e quel chi son voi ancor sarete.

1 comment:

  1. I cracked up when I first heard Drake offer the kids cookies "made with wholesome oat bran." I remember when the show first aired, oat bran was THE big health food- it was supposed to lower cholesterol and make all sorts of things better, and they were putting it in all sorts of cereals and baked goods, and after a few years of having the wretched powder forced upon us at every opportunity there were a bunch of tests that proved oat bran didn't really do most of what it was supposed to do, and it vanished.