Thursday, April 26, 2012

Darkwing Duck, Series One, Episode Thirty-Four: "Up, Up, and Awry"

Darkwing is undercover at a racetrack trying to figure out why horses are disappearing.  Turns out Megavolt is magicking them away to steal the horseshoes (the disturbing question of what he does with the horses themselves is never addressed).  DW and Launchpad are engaged in trying stop him when, in a genuinely unexpected twist, Gizmoduck shows up to save the dang ol' day (why was he just hanging out in St. Canard? Another mystery). 

As expected, DW is jealous of Gizmoduck's popularity and general awesomeness, and wishes he had superpowers too (if you count a suit as a "superpower"--and in any case, surely that teleporting thing he always does must count…).  So GD builds him an amusingly half-assed Gizmosuit knock-off involving a barrel around his torso and skateboards strapped to his feet.  Then, it's time to stop Megavolt.

Now, Megavolt's plan is good: he wants to steal all the metal he can so he can melt it down to make magnets which he can use to steal more metal to build even bigger magnets.  This seems quintessentially Megavoltian, and I approve.  I don't approve so much of the portrayal of Gizmoduck, though: Megavolt has them incapacitated with his giant electromagnet, and he goes "I'm afraid we're in trouble, Darkwing--without this suit, I'm nothing!"  Cue an obvious chance for DW to prove that fancy-pants metal suits aren't everything.  But that's exactly the opposite of the point of Gizmoduck in Ducktales, which went out of its way to demonstrate that he isn't just the sum total of the suit's powers.  Different show, different requirements, sure, but I really don't care for this devaluation of Fenton's character.

Also, the way DW subdues Megavolt is kind of unpleasant--he ties him up with wire and then, as he's begging for mercy, plugs the cord in, electrocuting the hell out of him, and then makes a dumb joke about "magnetic personality."  It reads like a parody of your Frank-Miller-style gratuitous sadism, but I'm pretty sure it's actually a version of the thing itself, and I kind of hate it.

So…yup.  That's about it.  I may have initially been keen on watching this series because of the promise of Gizmoduck appearances, but now I could do without ever seeing him again.  And let's be more careful about our characterization of Darkwing too, okay?

Stray Observation

-Hey, Ducktales' Webwa Walters appears, though Gizmo just calls her "Barb."

Friday, April 20, 2012

Quack Pack, Episode Five: "All Hands on Duck!"

Hey, here's an episode with no HDL in sight!  A good thing?  Well, not a bad thing, I suppose, but let's not get carried away.

The idea is that due to some sorta bureaucratic snafu, Donald, who thought he'd been discharged, has to spend another twenty-four hours in the navy, which a vindictive captain wants to use to make his life hell.  This captain is an insane fellow who's constantly petting and making much of a little toy sailboat that he calls "Mr. Sloopy;" granted, that sounds pretty awesome, but it's not executed with much in the way of panache.

Meanwhile, Daisy wants to do some sort of profile on Donald, because she's bought hook like and sinker his stories about what an awesome hero he was in the navy, which seems to me to rather drastically compromise her character, since she's supposed to be, like, smart and competent and stuff in this show.  But in any case, Donald predictably fails at various tasks that he's assigned, and all I could think was, dude, it's just twenty-four hours--sure, it sucks, but just do a really slow, sloppy job, lollygag around a bit, and you'll be done before you know it.  The insane captain does at one point threaten to have him sent to the brig for twenty-four years if he doesn't do everything right, but that's almost certainly just so much hot air, and if it's not, let's face it, he's just gonna fuck with you no matter what, so there's nothing to be done about it.

Anyway, the computer turns evil or something for some reason that I didn't quite catch and then Donald has to fly a plane and stuff and blah blah flippin' blah.  Not very exciting, but it does have the line "Good work, my boy--you've got the heart of a lion, the eyes of an eagle, and the gulf of Mexico," which isn't half bad.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Darkwing Duck, Season One, Episode Thirty-Three: "The Secret Origins of Darkwing Duck"

Hokay.  This episode starts in The Future™, where Future Gosalyn and Future Honker (named "Gosaloid" and "Honkulon") are visiting a museum which features the costume of some old twentieth-century superhero named Darkwing Duck (or rather, "props from a massively popular cartoon series based on Darkwing's mythic exploits"--I can only grit my teeth and endure such facile self-referentiality).  The two of them end up accidentally getting whisked away to the basement, where Drake, in the role of Mysterious Old Janitor Guy, is working, an' he tells them Darkwing's SEKRIT ORIGIN STORY, a takeoff of Superman's.

Now obviously, the show's just messing around and thumbing its nose at continuity by giving DW multiple origins, but if there's one thing I like about this episode, it's that it never even tries to pretend that Drake is doing anything other than making up the nonsense that he's regaling the kid with.  That makes it funnier to me.

The idea is that baby DW gets rocketed to earth, yeah yeah, but so does his Evil Cousin, Negaduck.  He falls in with Gosalyn-as-masked-avenger and Launchpad; he gets some superhero training, but when Gosalyn DIES(!!!!!), it's up to him to save the day and stuff.  Seriously, it blow my mind that the writers were allowed to do that, even in an alternate-reality setting.  Cripes.

The episode certainly has its amusing moments, but in the above description I kinda glossed over some pretty dull stuff, like the business with DW's and Negaduck's respective parents back on the doomed planet and DW's kung fu training and Herb Muddlefoot as a genie.  Those drag the episode down a bit, and the writing really isn't all that.

Stray Observations

-Cute Sorcerer's-Apprentice riff with Drake-the-Janitor.

-"But if he was real, there'd be some record of it--there'd be a birth certificate or something!"  This is where a joke involving the phrase "long-form birth certificate" goes.

-"Haven't you forgotten something?"  "Yeah, like telling a story that makes sense?"

Friday, April 6, 2012

Quack Pack, Episode Four: "Leader of the Quack"

Someone in the back went quack quack
Money is stacked now bust your gun quack quack 

Okay okay…here we are.  In this episode, Donald, Daisy, and HDL are off to a place called "Quaintinia" for some sort of vague reporting-type business; if it's ever explained in greater detail than that, I don't remember it, or care to.  Quaitinia, we are given to understand, is "a whole country still stuck in medieval times."  DON'T QUESTION IT; JUST ACCEPT IT. 

When they get there, it turns out, to everyone's surprise, that everyone is awaiting Donald as their long-lost king.  What happened, we learn, is that, when Donald had visited the country years ago, on his way out he backed his car into a catapult causing it to launch a rock which hit a floodgate which washed away the dragon that was attacking the kingdom, and the law says that whoever does that is king.

So he's king, and there's a whole lot of aimlessness.  Then there's an evil wannabe-king guy who makes several inept attempts at assassinating Donald and who, we learn, actually has the aforementioned dragon locked in a tower, trying to figure out how to get her fire to start up again so he can get her to take over the kingdom for him again.  Oh, and the dragon talks like a stereotypical teenage girl.  And there's this unbelievably-fucked-up-and-not-in-a-good-way business in which it appears that she is romantically interested in would-be-king guy, and he is using this attraction to manipulate her to command her obedience, and seriously, this whole thing makes me feel unclean.

Anyway, when she gets her fire back in a manner too dumb to bother going into, Donald has to stop her, and he figures the best way is to give her presents, and he and usurper-man (he does have a name, but I didn't quite catch it, and he's too lame a character to make any effort for) compete to see who can give her the most presents; the idea is that she will go with whoever gives her the most--not feminism's finest hour, this.  Usurper-guy wins, but he's defeated anyway, when…you know, I watched this a few days ago, and I'm drawing a complete blank on how he gets defeated.  I'm sure it's something dumb, though.  And Donald loses the throne 'cause of his unreasonable edicts and blah.

Nothing more to say--this is just a shitty episode, for reasons that really have nothing to do with HDL, showing that they're not the only problem with this show.  Okay, there's one bit I found sort of funny: Donald has a taster to avoid potential poisoning, but instead of just tasting the guy just eats all his food.  Okay, maybe you had to be there.  And have an infantile sense of humor.  But I thought it was amusing.  But that's all.