I didn't know the Crackshells and the Horsecollars were related.
The last time we saw Fenton and his Ma together, of course, Fenton was reading her the riot act and getting her off her couch for the first time in... well, it's easy to believe that it's been quite a while. Greg seems to be of the opinion that Fenton's "blow[ing] off of his mom for being a slacker" makes his subsequent lamentations over the duo's "debonding" here a bit hypocritical. This seems rather harsh in light of the facts that (1) Fenton's moment of extreme asperity passes very quickly, (2) the harsh words were well and truly deserved, and (3) Mrs. Crackshell doesn't seem to hold any grudge as a consequence, happily accompanying Fenton and Gandra Dee to the drive-in as the serial fades out. Furthermore, in every single "homecoming scene" in which the two had previously appeared, Fenton had shown his mother more basic respect than she frankly merited. So, was Fenton starting "Psychic" burdened by an emotional debit? Not hardly.
Alan Burnett's first writing job for DuckTales, and the future stalwart of innumerable DC Comics-related series (not to mention the scripter of DuckTales: The Movie) wastes little time in playing his strong suit, bouncing amusing three-cornered palaver between Fenton, the newly-psychic "M'Ma," and the first-intrigued, then-avaricious Scrooge to get the episode going. Any concern we might be feeling for Mrs. Crackshell's well-being (that electrical shock, after all, was sold exceptionally well, both by the animators and by Kathleen Freeman's acting) whizzes right down the abbatoir thanks to the quick 180 Mrs. C. exhibits between comparing the Crackshells' relationship to that of "the world's most beloved automobile dealer and his faithful dog" (I guess that all Ducks really DO live in the Burbank area after all) and dissing her only son (unless there's a fanfic or something out there suggesting something to the contrary) as a "leech."
We'll soon see that Fenton is equally capable of overreacting to bumps in the road of his romantic life. It's merely an additional facet of his hyperactive, go-getting, goal-oriented nature, the negative side of the insane persistence that keeps him popping up after being "disposed of." The use of such buzzwords as "debonding" gives Fenton's reactions a semi-humorous flavor that they don't really merit. When the "split" finally comes, it is, if anything, underplayed.
Glomgold's latest plan is salted with several more dashes of high-tech than we typically associate with the character. The Ultra-Zoom-Spycam is but the least of these. You really have to be impressed by all the trouble and expense that Flinty has gone to to create a device with the sole purpose of trapping Gizmoduck and slingshotting him "to the Moon." A device, moreover, that, if all goes "well" from Glomgold's perspective, will only need to be employed ONCE (unless Flinty is expecting Scrooge to hire Iron Man as the next iteration of his bin-guarding system). Glomgold's use of a hidden exit similar to that used by the 1960s TV Batman to escape a police dragnet is perhaps understandable on general principles, but a laser gun installed in his limo? Glomgold's research division -- the same one that will provide him with the "Metal Mites" later on -- rendered the boss well and truly "locked and loaded" for this caper. It somehow seems fitting that, in the office scenes in which Glomgold is browbeating Mrs. C. into making more and more financial predictions for him, we see remnants in the background of some of the computing equipment that Flinty was using to keep track of Scrooge's fortune in "Wrongway in Ronguay."
Hamilton Camp appears to be as "guilty" as Burnett in that regard. The yo-yo gag, after all, is strictly script-driven, while Camp hams up Gizmoduck's "My... mother" just enough to take a good deal of the edge off of the sentiment. This isn't a complaint -- Gizmoduck, after all, is well known for verbally overegging the pudding on numerous occasions -- so much as it is an observation. There's no better way of contrasting the storytelling styles of DuckTales season one and DuckTales season two than to weigh this Fenton/Ma exchange against Scrooge's aborted "goodbye" to Mrs. Beakley in "Too Much of a Gold Thing."
Ducks on the Lam," but survive they nonetheless do. Mrs. C. gets shocked back to normal in the most expedient and off-handed way possible. Wang Films contributes an embarrassing goof when it uses an interior background for an exterior shot (see below). Worst of all, at least to those of us who still cling to the notion of Scrooge having SOME ethical line that he will not (or at least has learned not to) cross, the bawling Scrooge laments that the loss of his psychic advisor means that he'll have to go back to "earning" his money. Who was it who said, "Making money at the expense of others is no bargain"? At least we close with a nice "bonding moment" that demonstrates that Mrs. C. has learned something about being a good (or at least a better) mother.
Bumper #12: "Dino-Bath"
(GeoX) The episode opens with Fenton's mother (you'd think she'd get a first name if she's going to feature heavily) is watching All My Ducklings: "So what's the verdict, doctor?" "I'm afraid the tests are conclusive, Erica: you have only three hours to live. With proper care, maybe four." I know it's not exactly hard to make fun of soap operas, but that's still pretty awesome.
"Please, call me Mrs. Crackshell..."
I suspect that this episode may have been recorded at around the same time as "Allowance Day" and perhaps even "The Duck Who Knew Too Much." Alan Oppenheimer and Susan Blu are both featured in those episodes and also appear here, but their roles in "Psychic" are over and done with after the opening soap-opera scene. Perhaps they were waiting to work on the other eps and were pressed into service for this minor work simply because they happened to be on hand.
That's definitely the Duchess of Swansylvania, slumming yet again. The really shocking thing is that the doctor looks exactly like Benzino Gasolini, complete with cheesy little mustache and a dye job that has turned his hair and eyebrows from black to brown! Evidently, all those bills from all those hotels that he's "a-stayed inside" finally caught up with him and forced him into a change of career.
We first saw the exterior of Maison Glomgold during Act One of "Master of the Djinni," but that scene took place during the daytime. The nocturnal nature of the shot seen below probably alerted your critical faculties to the place's true essence.
He's actually behaved much worse than this in DuckTales before now. If imperiling an entire airship full of passengers just to win a bet with Scrooge doesn't strike you as "callously cruel," then you shouldn't even have noticed his verbal battering of Mrs. Crackshell. Then, too, Glomgold wasn't exactly a sweetheart the last time Carl Barks used him in a story.
Think of it as a temporary relocation. I don't doubt that Glomgold, with his predilection for skirting legal niceties, has spider holes hidden all over the world.
(Greg) Then we have a knock on the door as Fenton blows off Ma; and it opens to reveal Scrooge giving Fenton a load a bills to [take care] of. Fenton complains which is kind of pointless since Ma clearly has no interest [in] going out. Isn't it funny that Fenton doesn't care about his job now after he cared about it so much in Land Of Tra-la-la?
The circumstances in "The Land of Trala La" were a bit more extreme, in that Fenton was stuck in an isolated location where there really was no need for his services. On his own turf -- and determined to "bond" with "M'Ma" -- Fenton has a better grasp of the big picture.
(Greg) Anyhow; Ma continues to bang the television and Fenton takes it as proof she wants to spend time with him.
Appliance-banging appears to run in the Crackshell family; Fenton will do much the same thing to Scrooge's computer during "Scrooge's Last Adventure." In that respect, the Crackshells aren't all that different from your average technophobic citizen.
(Greg) So Scrooge offers [Mrs. Crackshell] a widescreen television (which was invented at around the same time as this show actually)...
You are correct, sir. The Philips electronics company introduced widescreens in Europe at the tail end of the 1980s.
(Greg) So we head to Flint's house AFTER HAPPY HOUR (after dark) and into the war room as Flintheart is talking to the Beagle Boys. Wait; how? The last time we saw the Beagle Boys; they were in jail.
Just a minor inconvenience insofar as the B-Boys are concerned!
(Greg) The television suddenly fizzes and we see Big Time dressed up as a greasy salesman. I know that the numbers sign on them gives it away that it's a Beagle Boy and that it's a motif of this show; but they can be somewhat creative by covering it with construction paper or fabric or something along those lines. And they don't bother with the masks either. Anyhow; the guise is that Big Time asks if Ma is having problems with children as Burger pulls Bouncer [sic; it's Baggy] by the ear while dressed as a stereotypical mother and sailor dogsperson, all in that order. HAHA! That visual of Burger pulling [Baggy] by the ear is hilarious. I don't understand why GeoX hates Burger so much; probably has no sense of humor. And then Burger goes after [Baggy] as he runs away shooting a gun several times. A scene Toon Disney completely kept. Seriously; they did.
Yeah, how much sense does it make for scenes involving the shooting of guns into the air (e.g., in "Liquid Assets" and in the poetry recital scene in "The Bride Wore Stripes") to be removed, but a scene in which the disguised Burger shoots DIRECTLY AT the fleeing Baggy was permitted to stand? It makes no sense to argue that no target was visible in the shot; the same thing was true in the earlier instances.
(Greg) So we return to Flint's office as Flint continues where he left off and gives the papers to Ma; but then problems arise as there are police sirens and here comes about five police cars stopping at the castle. Out comes Scrooge and the Police Chief (I believe from various episodes) as they run to the house and the police chief is not amused to be doing this. Scrooge blows him off because he bets his Money Bin on it.
The Chief last appeared in this guise in "The Billionaire Beagle Boys Club." After the late unpleasantness involving the perversion of Duckburgian justice -- or what passes for same -- I'm frankly surprised that Scrooge stood for his remaining in office.
(Greg) [Mrs. Crackshell] calls [the destruction of the Duckburg TV tower] the worst thing since the television writers strike. HAHA! I know that this joke will go over the heads of every kid born after 1987; but there was a writers strike sometime before this episode was produced. It's little stuff like this that make old DTVA worth watching; even if the new kids don't get the joke.
Here's a 2001 article reminiscing about that 1988 work stoppage.
Next: Episode 78, "Allowance Day."