Insert joke about Donald's "work rate" here.
Umm... no, I don't think so.
I have a draft of the script for this episode, and it reveals a surprising fact: a "character-based subtheme" that was intended to be showcased here was dropped along the way. This involved Scrooge's imperiousness. Specifically, Scrooge was supposed to throw his weight around on several occasions during the episode, pissing off Launchpad and Donald (among others) in the process, only to see the error of his ways and ultimately apologize to LP and Don for getting "just a wee bit bossy." Basically, it was the same approach that was taken later in "Aqua Ducks", only with somewhat less irritatingly crude execution (nowhere does Scrooge call LP and Don "morons" during "Condor," for example). Scrooge's apology was ultimately deleted, but signs of the abandoned theme pop up throughout the episode. Think of Donald snapping "You're as bossy as [Joaquin Slolee] is!" when Scrooge orders him to go help Launchpad find and fix the Golden Condor, or Scrooge telling the stubborn Slolee that "we're both used to gettin' our own way." In at least one instance, a line of Scrooge's was softened to reflect the shift. When he leaves the unhappy Nephews behind with Mrs. Beakley, instead of telling them "I have to do what's best," Scrooge originally was supposed to say, "I'm in charge, and you have to obey me." And you thought HD&L were acting like brats BEFORE... I can only imagine how the boys would have taken this. Even the milder line earned a trio (sextet?) of cold shoulders.
The Nephews... how shall I put this... do not exactly put their best webbed feet forward during their brief time on screen. After all that admirable bonding and co-adventuring with Scrooge during the first two parts of the adventure, they're suddenly back to their hell-raising days. The misogyny that the boys show here, and also during "Cold Duck," has certainly been a part of their personalities in the past, but I'm hard pressed to think of a Barks story where they acted like female-hating jerks to such an extent as this. Even their famous griping at the start of Barks' "The Chickadee Challenge" had a comedic aspect to it, with the boys assuming the mantle of outraged dignity at the temerity of "mere girls" to challenge their mastery of Woodchuck-craft. Here, there's no real comedy, there's just... dickishness.
Gyro's brief bow-in is just as successful; I recall that Hal Smith's vocal interpretation of the character seemed absolutely spot-on to me at the time, and it still does. The somewhat phlegmatic Gyro of the Barks stories certainly worked in context; more often than not, those brief tales were extended vignettes on the trials and tribulations of creation, with Barks perhaps working out some of his own feelings on the subject as he composed them. The animated Gyro (at least, once production had gotten well underway and Smith's earlier vocal querulousness had been ditched) is, well, animated: chipper, optimistic, "glad to be of service" (when he's not undergoing the occasional soul-searching, that is). Coming on the heels of the earlier characterizations of the Beagle Boys and Glomgold, which departed somewhat from what I had expected, this appearance by Gyro really was like watching the comic book come to life.
Kit Cloudkicker in "Plunder and Lightning, Part One," this is the Disney Afternoon introduction sequence that has stuck to people's memories like glue. I realize that LP's role in Darkwing Duck was rather different than it is in DuckTales, but the contrast between this bang-up debut scene and LP's first encounter with DW in "Darkly Dawns the Duck" is, quite frankly, jarring.
shared at least one adventure long before this, Gyro appears to be more familiar with LP than Scrooge is here. Gyro, for example, immediately knows that LP is the pilot who's crashing the plane, while Scrooge merely says that "This guy's in big trouble." Seeing as how Gyro and "test pilot" Launchpad co-starred in a couple of gag stories by William Van Horn in the late 80s, perhaps the duo's partnership was more extensive than the series hinted...
So, it's off to the Andes we go -- and I'm not sure that some of the material we got in the episode didn't represent something of an indirect call-out to Barks' "Lost in the Andes". The aerial shot of Joaquin Slolee's temple doesn't look all that different from the splash panel in which the Ducks first glimpse the layout of Plain Awful, especially when you consider the viewing angle:
Return to Plain Awful," the Awfultonians are quite good at slavishly "following trends." Slolee's natives have simply followed the same trend for an inordinate period of time... though, in the end, they do prove capable of escaping the vicious cycle.
Too Much of a Gold Thing." How convenient... and how strange that, after El Capitan stole the treasure and sailed away, the partners went to all the trouble of making the map and tearing it in two, as opposed to simply going back to the Valley for more treasure. "Gold fever" didn't stop them the first time, so why should it keep them from returning?
Donald's final line of dialogue in the episode seems like the conclusion of an extremely long shaggy-dog story. Thankfully, it's bracketed by some arresting, dramatic visuals: Scrooge and Donald's dignified parting, Scrooge's wind-buffeted drop into the sea, and the last shot of Scrooge and his little raft drifting away to a new destination. The final visual actually had more impact in the full-length version of "Golden Suns" than in the two-hour version, since it served the former as a literal cliffhanger but was merely a bridge to "another commercial" in the latter.
(GeoX) It's pretty clear that the nature of [Donald] the animated character is pretty unavoidably determined by his voice--the show may center on Barks' characters, but this is most definitely not Barks' Donald, for better or worse (or, really, neutral, since as I said, I don't think anything could really have been done about it).
It's also difficult to describe this Donald as the animated-shorts Donald. He has several spasms of temper, one of which can hardly be faulted (how would YOU react if YOU were roughly picked up by a giant condor?), but I'd say he behaves himself reasonably well. The clumsiness is somewhat irritating, and the sudden camera fetish seems like one of those one-note contrivances that is slapped onto a character for the purposes of gags and plot contrivances. I'm inclined to agree with you that it's hard to imagine a scenario in which the Barks (or even the Rosa) version of Donald could be successfully brought to the screen. Pairing Launchpad with Donald more often, however, would have served both characters and the series well, allowing the writers to play on the very real differences between them.
(Greg) Mrs. Beakly in a sad way is a political hot potato in that she had the character to work well; but her stereotypical mannerisms got in the way of success in getting over.... The reason most critics didn't automatically condemned Grammi Gummi, Princess Calla and Sunni Gummi is because they were in a time period where you would expect extreme sexism. However; Ducktales basically takes place in the 1980's time period (as least the elements were in place for it) where sexism wasn't really going to fly anymore and Miss Beakly was considered too behind the times. However; the problem with Beakly was not her stereotypical mannerisms or role (since she chose that role and wore it on her sleeve as we will see; and also Duckworth is basically doing the same thing so Scrooge is a equal employer on that level at least.); it was because she was ultra fussy.
"Stereotypical mannerisms" and even "fussiness" don't necessarily doom a female character to archaic status; it's what the creators do with the character within those limitations that makes the difference. Just look at Mary Poppins. The episode "Jungle Duck" hinted at one possible way of giving Mrs. B. more meaningful roles: gradually reveal various aspects of her "mysterious past" and give her chances to display hitherto-unseen skills (in light of the story we're discussing here, you might call the latter the "getting back the clothes" skills).
(Greg) As for Joaquin; he was actually fine until they got to the climax and he turned heel which would have been fine in itself if he didn't look like such a weak ass in the end with his sobbing like a baby.
Well, he had just lost his "total power" over the natives and screwed up 400 years' worth of family tradition. How else should he be expected to behave?
Next: Episode 27, "Treasure of the Golden Suns, Part Four: Cold Duck."