Rewatching DuckTales! How has it taken this long for the show do an amnesia plotline? That’s what we’ve got in episode 86, “Blue Collar Scrooge,” which also deals the big question about whether Scrooge is a rich jerk or not.
Here’s what happens: Scrooge has made a profit of $5 trillion over the last year (!) but it’s not enough for him. He blames cheap labor in foreign counties (!!). He decides on a surprise inspection of his skateboard factory (!!!). Scrooge plays the tough boss, while the boys manage to sneak off with prototype high-tech skateboard. Upon learning that the factory workers knew he was coming and were only pretending to be intimidates, Scrooge makes a show of selling the factory to a foreign company. Fenton, however, is concerned about the factory workers and their well-being.
The conversation is cut short when Scrooge slips on the high-tech skateboard, which takes him on a wild ride through town, bumping his head. He gets amnesia, no clue with who he is. Thinking he’s a homeless bum, he’s outraged how expensive everything is. The family launches a citywide search for Scrooge, but can’t find him. By pure coincidence, Scrooge finds his way to Fenton’s mother’s trailer, and they hit it off despite having met before. He tells his only memory is of a skateboard, and she suggests he investigate the McDuck skateboard factory. Fenton, meanwhile, tries to run Scrooge’s businesses in his absence, in hopes of saving the factory.
Scrooge lands a minimum job at the factory, overwhelmed by the poor working conditions. He uses his meager paycheck to romance Fenton’s mom. Fenton, meanwhile, goes the distance in running the business by disguising himself as Scrooge and talking in Scrooge’s accent. He also starts acting more like Scrooge, cutting the boys’ allowance and Mrs. Beakeley’s pay. At the factory, word gets out about the sale, so Scrooge organizes a strike. Fenton, fully committed to acting like Scrooge, is about to sell the factory only to lose the deal upon word of the strike.
Fenton and the cops bust into the factory, chasing Scrooge around the place. He slips on another skateboard, bumping his head again. He gets his memory back, and there’s a bit where he and Fenton compete over who’s the real Scrooge. Fenton’s mom shows up, and she’s one who sorts out who is who. Although angry with Fenton at first, Scrooge says he knows what’s it like to see himself as others see him. He decides not to sell the factory, and to improve employee benefits – including raises all around.
Humbug: My thesis is that the series-long character arc for DuckTales is Scrooge learning that his newfound family relationships are more important than his wealth. This episode would appear to be all about him learning his lesson, but does he? He really wavers on giving the workers a raise at the end, commenting “Generosity is so painful.”
Junior Woodchucks: The boys’ new skateboard comes with a stereo, power steering, radar control, and it brakes automatically in the presence of an ice cream truck.
Your move, creep: Fenton loses his mind, convinced he is Scrooge and being utterly ruthless with his workers. This reveals a real dark side to him. As Gizmoduck, he has the power to stretch his legs up several stories, looking like Marvel’s Stilt-Man.
Pro-rata: Scrooge and Fenton’s mom hit it off in a big way, with him getting hooked on all her soap operas. At the end of the episode, they walk off hand-in-hand to enjoy more soaps. Are we to believe they’re a couple now?
Reference row: The kids coaching Fenton on how to talk with Scrooge’s accent ends with a “By Jove, I he’s got it.” This is an obvious parody of the 1964 classic My Fair Lady.
Thoughts on this viewing: The economics and politics of this one are beyond cringe, making it hard to recommend. Fenton’s weird transformation into an evil Scrooge is the more interesting stuff, and I think a better episode would have taken that idea and gone farther with it.
Next: Four boys from Liverpool.
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