Rewatching DuckTales! Let’s everybody get lighter than air as we watch episode 84, “The Big Flub.”
Here’s what happens: Fenton wants a promotion to become Scrooge’s vice-president in charge of new products, constantly pestering Scrooge about it. Scrooge refuses, saying Fenton lacks a background in marketing. Huey, Dewey, and Louie tell Fenton not to give and find a way to convince Scrooge. Fenton then films a series of commercials with Gandra Dee for a fictional product called Pep. An executive finds a tape of the commercials and asks Scrooge about them. Scrooge, distracted with other matters, says to go ahead and run the ads on TV. The commercials work too well, as people all over Duckburg start demanding Pep, while not knowing what Pep is.
Scrooge is nonplussed by this crisis, saying he’ll get Gyro to invent Pep and make a fortune. Gyro provides several inventions, including bubble gum with bubbles that make you float. Fenton decides that this is Pep, even though it hasn’t been fully tested. Pep becomes a sensation, and Fenton becomes a wealthy celebrity for bringing it to the masses. Fenton’s newfound riches have him thinking he’s too good for Scrooge. That night, Scrooge finds his nephews floating in midair, a side-effect of Pep. This becomes an epidemic with people all over Duckburg defying gravity.
Fenton is blamed for the crisis. He hides out in Scrooge’s mansion, where Scrooge tells him that finding a solution is his responsibility. Dandra Dee is also blamed for the crisis, and she tells Fenton off. Then Fenton also goes zero-G, unable to access his Gizmoduck armor. Scrooge then uses Pep to turn Fenton’s mother’s trailer into a flying house so they can reach Fenton in the sky. (Did this inspire Pixar’s Up?) Fenton transforms into Gizmoduck, and then rescues all the people floating in the sky. Later, Dandra Dee forgives Fenton while Fenton is stuck mailing out refunds and apology letters to all of Duckburg.
Humbug: At every plot twist, Scrooge keeps his cool, seeing only opportunities and not problems. He ends up being the hero at the end, by getting the Gizmoduck armor to Fenton.
Junior woodchucks: In making their point to Fenton, the nephews say they convinced Scrooge to buy a new bike for them by telling him it’d be cheaper than driving them around town.
Great gadgeteer: Gyro’s other inventions include a shrink ray intended for dieting, a sheep-counting machine for insomniacs, and an umbrella that plays opera music. Could this be a reference to episode 21, “Maid of the Myth,” when Gyro performed as a background actor in an opera?
Pro-rata: Dandra Dee wears a swimsuit in one of the commercials, and she has white human legs instead of the yellow web-footed legs of all the other duck characters. I get that the animators want her to look beautiful, but this has nonetheless always bugged me.
Your move, creep: Gizmoduck refers to his helmet helicopter as a “helmicopter,” somewhat naturally. His armor also has a built-in butterfly net, handy for scooping floating people out of the sky.
Down in Duckburg: There are a lot of gags about how this crisis changes life in Duckburg, with kids have floating races, people moving around via ropes and on ceilings, and people at airports flying off without the planes.
Reference row: A quick Google search shows dozes of products and companies named “Pep.” Notable examples are the Pep Boys automotive brand, a popular line of shoes in South America, and some parts of the world where Pepsi cola is renamed Pep. My favorite is Pep Comics, which was originally a superhero comic published by MLJ Magazines. It was later bought by Archie Comics, and it became a home for Archie and the gang from Riverdale.
Thoughts on this viewing: Another cute comedy episode, which is pretty much what all these later episodes are. We see that Fenton and his supporting cast become more and more part of Scrooge’s extended family, so there’s that.
Next: A tale of two heroes.
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