Rewatching DuckTales! Time to revisit the question of whether Scrooge is a rich jerk or not, because episode #76, “The Land of Trala La,” we return to the subject of money.
What’s all this, then? The wiki has this as the first episode of season 3. Disney Plus, however, combines season 2 and 3 into one season, which they’re calling season 2. There’s no way to when the episodes were made, or, because it’s syndicated, when and where they aired in various markets. All we do know is that there was a six-month gap between this episode and the previous one, March 1989 to September 1989. Also, this episode debuted as a commercial-friendly hour-long block, with Chip and Dale’s Rescue Rangers in the second half.
Scrooge is overwhelmed by phone calls lawyers and insurance companies, and visits from local charities and organizations, all wanting a slice of the McDuck pie. Scrooge laments that his money has brought him nothing but stress. Scrooge starts acting all unhinged, and a doctor tells him he needs a vacation. She suggests the land of Trala La, a remote locale in the Himalayas where there is no such thing as money.
It’s another Launchpad crash landing, with Scrooge losing a bottlecap overboard. Scrooge and co. are greeted by the locals in Trala La, confirming that they’ve never heard of money. Everything in Trala La is free, including the gang’s hotel. Fenton is along for the rise, and he’s wary of this place, wanting to investigate. One villager finds the bottlecap, and the other villagers get jealous, offering their personal goods in trade. Word gets back to Scrooge, as everyone starts pestering him for more bottlecaps.
Scrooge tries placating the villagers by giving them all bottlecaps, and then by getting Launchpad to fly over and dump bottlecaps over the entire village. Trala La develops an economy overnight, charging bottlecaps for all goods and services. Even more bottlecaps are dumped in the valley, and Scrooge and co. are now arrested for littering. The villagers hold Scrooge’s nephews hostage while Scrooge and Fenton leave the valley to contact Launchpad and get him to stop.
Out in the wilderness, Launchpad flies the plan close by so that Fenton is able to say the codeword “Blathering blatherskite” and turn into Gizmoduck. (He couldn’t do this earlier, because the armor was on board the plane.) Gizmoduck rescues the three boys and then cleans all the bottlecaps out of the valley. Scrooge says he can deal with the stress in Duckburg after all this, even though Fenton and Launchpad want hazard pay and the boys want hazard allowance.
Humbug: When watching all the episodes in order, you can’t help but make connections. Scrooge just spent five episodes about his money being stolen and his fight to get it back. Now this one begins with that same money making him miserable. Is this character growth?
Junior Woodchucks: Things get pretty dire for Huey, Dewey and Louie when they get held hostage. Thinking they might die (!), they stand proud, facing death with the bravery of a Junior Woodchuck.
Fasten your seatbelts: A lot of the plot is based on Launchpad, in his mindlessly flying back and forth with more and more bottlecaps. This is the big obstacle in our heroes’ way at the story’s climax.
Pro rata: Fenton is the one blamed for introducing the villagers to the concept of money. The episode ends where he is the first person in history ever to be banned from Trala La.
Your move, creep: Gizmoduck’s only powers this time are flight and super strength. Fenton must hide the armor inside a huge crate inside Launchpad’s plane.
Foul fowls: The villagers’ obsession with bottlecaps-as-currency becomes murderous by the end, with the village elder almost murdering Huey, Dewey, and Louie.
Down in Duckburg: Scrooge’s office has access to a large file room, which can also be accessed from the hallway outside. Scrooge and the charity groups each use the file room as a hiding spot, entering it through the two different doors.
Reference row: This may or may not be a reference to 1980’s The Gods Must Be Crazy, in which an indigenous person finds a Coke bottle in the wilderness and doesn’t know what to make of it. Except this episode is about wealth and The Gods Must Be Crazy is about… just what was that movie supposed to be about?
Thoughts upon this viewing: An amusing little morality tale. Plus it further shows how Fenton fits in with the cast, as Scrooge’s bumbling but well-meaning right hand man. That’s about it, though.
Next: Friday night fever.
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