Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Darkwing Duck, Season Duh, Episode Twelve: "A Brush with Oblivion"

So is this the way it's gonna be, then?  One episode a month?  Pretty pathetic, I have to admit.  Well, I suppose at that rate I'd be done in some number of years…

…but maybe I'll watch 'em at a somewhat higher rate than that, 'cause this episode reminds me that this show can be really, really good.  The idea is that our protagonists are at the St. Canard art museum, which appears to have every famous painting in the world, when Honker spies a sinister women who is able to hide by hopping in and out of pictures.  The adults think he's crazy, and he's grounded, but Gosalyn takes him back to the museum to figure out what's what.  Turns out this woman is a frustrated artist who came up with the idea of stealing art so that she would have enough money to show everyone what a great artist she is (no, it doesn't really hold up under scrutiny), and she traps Gosalyn in a "Guernica"-ish painting, and DW and LP have to save the day and stuff.  RIGHT.

Now, this villain, Splatter Phoenix, benefits by looking extremely cool, a goth-y type like a duck version of Siouxsie Sioux; even if her plans are kind of nonsensical, she's quite expressive and fun to watch.  Also, more than in perhaps any other DATV thing I've seen, it's really obvious here that the creators were smart people who were interested in doing genuinely cool stuff, as opposed to "just" making a kids' show (even a good kids' show).  So the "artistic" gibberish deployed in the episode is a notch or three above what you'd expect ("'Ey, what can I say sweets--if the neo-postmodernist backlash hadn't-a caught pre-anti-realism in its wake, heh heh, you'd be sittin' pretty!"), and the episode can just toss out a line like "you've got a screw loose, Lautrec!" an' who CARES if anyone gets it?  It's not just the writing, either: naturally our heroes and villains enter various paintings, at which time they are rendered in an approximation of the artistic styles of said paintings, and it's strikingly ambitious and just plain fun on a bun.

Okay, there's this sort of side-side-sideplot about Honker's family life that doesn't really go anywhere or do anything interesting, but in the main, I liked this episode lots.  More, please.


  1. I always really liked the meta-awareness of Splatter Phoenix, particularly in her second appearance, in "Paint Misbehavin'." I can't go into details because of spoilers, but it leads to one of my favorite Launchpad/Darkwing exchanges in the series.

  2. Definitely one of the series' most exceedingly self-actualized episodes.

    -- Ryan