Rewatching DuckTales! What happens when a cute animal cartoon goes a level deeper and does a cute animal episode? You get episode 35, “Scrooge’s Pet.”
Here’s what happens: While fishing at the city docks, Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby ponder buying a pet for Scrooge, so Scrooge won’t be so stressed out over his money all the time. A passing sailor sells them an adorable little lemming named Lucky. Scrooge, meanwhile, has just installed a brand-new high-tech combination lock on the door to his money bin. Comedic mishaps occur, and Lucky ends up with a locket containing the only copy of the combination. Lucky escapes the mansion and runs out into Duckburg, and our heroes pursue.
Lucky ends up on a ship headed toward the Scandinavian country of Noway. Scrooge and the nephews follow with Launchpad’s help, and the chase resumes in a Noway seaside town. The locals, meanwhile, are rapidly fleeing town, crying in unison, “The lemmings are coming! The lemmings are coming!” Scrooge and company are then left alone in the town as it is overrun with thousands (millions?) of hungry lemmings.
There are even more comedic mishaps as our heroes try to find Lucky while preventing the lemmings from mindlessly running into the sea. They fail, and it seems that lucky and the combination is lost. But then, the nephews find Lucky stayed behind to eat a wheel of cheese. Scrooge gets his combination back. Later, the kids surprise Scrooge with another pet, one that is more his style – a goldfish.
Humbug: My thesis is that the series-long arc of DuckTales is about Scrooge learning that his newfound family is more important than his money. This episode would seem to disagree with this. Scrooge bickers with Launchpad throughout the episode, and when he’s faced with the possibility of losing his fortune he gets even more mean-spirited toward Launchpad.
Junior Woodchucks: The opening scene attempts to give some individual personalities to the nephews. Huey is the leader, and the serious one, while Louie is more of a goofy prankster.
Fasten your seatbelts: Launchpad takes everyone across the ocean in helicopter and not the jet, even though they’re supposed to be in a hurry. Maybe it’s one of those super-fast rocket-propelled helicopters you see in comic books sometimes.
Maid and maiden: Webby wears a yellow hat throughout this one. Is this merely her fishing gear, or could this have been the animators using an alternate character design for one episode?
Down in Duckburg: The kids prepare for their fishing trip at the mansion, and then they walk through town to Scrooge’s office in the money bin. This would have us believe the money bin is located across town from the mansion, and not next door to it. BUT, the opening shot of the episode is the mansion and money bin right next to each other. We may never know these buildings’ locations.
All that glitters: Scrooge hides the precious combination with a small sculpture of Glittering Goldie, suggesting that he still carries a torch for her.
Reference row: One of the sailors is named Barnacle Biff, a reference to the more well-known Barnacle Bill. Who was Barnacle Bill? That’s a character from a 1927 song, allegedly based on a 19th century sailor and gold miner named William Bernard. The song was later popularized after being used in a Popeye cartoon, and then in a 1957 movie starring Alec Guiness.
Thoughts on this viewing: This is a comedy-heavy one, all nonstop jokes and slapstick throughout. It gets to be a bit much by the end. The animators do some neat-looking tricks to make it look the village is being overrun by countless lemmings, but that’s about it.
Next: Tipping the scales.
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