Rewatching DuckTales! You’d think jokes about yuppies (short for “young upwardly mobile” wealthy Wall Street 20-somethings) would have been outdates by 1990, but outdated references never stopped DuckTales before, so here’s episode 89 “Yuppy [sic] Ducks.”
Here’s what happens: Dissatisfied with lack of flavors at the local malt shop, Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Bubba the caveduck want a malt shop of their won. Scrooge tells them they’re too young to run their own business. He then succumbs to a mysterious itch he can’t control. At the local free clinic (!) Scrooge learns he’s been infected with “loot lice,” tiny bugs that only go after the extremely rich. The only known cure to quarantine, sealing himself inside an isolation tank away from all money. Making matters worse, Scrooge is stuck sharing his hospital room with Burger Beagle, in for food poisoning. Ma Beagle learns Scrooge will be in isolation for a week, and she starts plotting her way into Scrooge’s money bin.
At the mansion, the kids start taking calls on Scrooge’s business line. First as a mistake, but then they see an opportunity in running Scrooge’s many businesses. The kids meet with the businessmen to learn that their on-the-fly financial decisions are turning huge profits. This includes fulfilling their wish of having tons of new flavors at the malt shop. As the kids get more and more successful, they also get more and more ruthless, thrilling at rejecting others’ business proposals. Ma and the Beagle Boys try breaking into the money bin, only to be thwarted by the boys’ new defenses.
Then things take a turn, as residents of Duckburg start to get sick of the boys’ new business ideas and inventions. They’re forced to empty out the money bin to pay off their debts, and need a new plan to make profit and refill it. They don’t get far, and then try to concoct plans to keep Scrooge away from the money bin once he’s released from the hospital. It doesn’t work, and Scrooge learns he’s broke. He ends up back in the hospital, as does Ma Beagle after a second failed attempt to get inside the money bin.
With no other options, the boys run away from home. They bump into a cop, who conveniently gives them a quick lesson in child labor laws. The boys meet with the businessmen again, and say that since they’re only 10 years old, all the deals they made are invalid. The businessmen get to work cancelling all the contracts and refunding all of Scrooge’s money, refilling the money bin in the process.
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. Him insisting on going to the free clinic rather than a standard hospital opens the door for a lot of comedic silliness, but it makes him look like a real rich jerk, though.
Junior Woodchucks: The three boys mix and match their colors for once. Huey wears a red suit with a green tie, Dewey wears a blue suit with a red tie, and Louie wears a green suit with a blue tie.
Everybody walk the dinosaur: Bubba says “Bye-bye” into the phone. The businessmen, thinking Bubba is Scrooge, proceed to buy an entire company. This gets the ball rolling on the kids playing in big finance. Later, Bubba is the boys’ yes man, answering “Yes, man!” to all their questions.
Fowl fouls: The Beagle Boys this time are Big Time, Baggy, and Bouncer, with Burger in the hospital with food poisoning. The loot lice also wear tiny little burglar masks, suggesting they might also be related to the Beagle Boys somehow.
Down in Duckburg: The businessmen are shown meeting in a gigantic skyscraper that overlooks all of Duckburg. The building has a big dollar sign on it, suggesting Scrooge owns it, yet he normally does business either in the mansion or at his desk in the money bin, and not an office building.
Reference row: The malt shop is named Haagen Duckz, a parody of the Haagen-Dazs ice cream brand, which remains popular (if overpriced) to this day.
Thoughts on this viewing: More sitcom stuff, and more fuel to the fire about this show celebrating money and greed. You could argue that it’s similar in tone to often backwards logic of the classic Disney Duck comic books, but it’s nonetheless another sitcom-ish episode, which is what the show became in its latter seasons.
Next: Enemies to lovers.
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