Greg suggests -- it's not too hard to explain away most of his concerns with logical loopholes and such like -- but K&W step in an immediate divot while they're teeing up the "nobody wants Webby around" theme. The series has played with the notion of Webby escaping notice before, most notably in "Back Out in the Outback." Even there, though, the theme was used only as a side plot, not as a motivation for all subsequent action, and Webby was at least partially to blame for getting herself in trouble in the Australian wild country by wandering off after Aussie fauna. Putting the idea front and center gives us plenty of time to figuratively turn it over in our hands and examine it... and it immediately becomes apparent that the major flaw lies in Webby's OUT OF NOWHERE assumption that her own grandmother isn't interested in her. By this time, Webby should be accustomed to the occasionally misogynistic HD&L blowing her off, or even to Scrooge being too busy with business to pay attention to her on demand. But deducing from one instance of job-related preoccupation that Mrs. Beakley could care less about her anymore? That's WAY too much to have to swallow. At this point, K&W should have realized that the rationale for Webby's subsequent behavior simply wasn't going to wash. If only their story editors could have... uh... never mind.
Any idea that Webby could have gotten as to her unwelcomeness should have been scotched by the simple fact that she is later included in the family group that goes to visit Scrooge's exhibition of the Sowbuggian Crown Jewels. And, no, Greg, I don't regard this as a goof. Scrooge's initial trip was to the Sowbuggian Embassy, presumably to either pick up the jewels or to arrange for their transportation to the museum. He could then have doubled back to the Mansion and picked up the family to bring them to the museum. Yes, including Bubba, who's probably simply out of camera range in the shot below. He must be poking around the dinosaur exhibit again, though presumably more cautiously than last time.
Vic Lockman's versions, who are literal babes, made their first and only appearance in the Lockman and John Carey epic "The Beagle Babes" (WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES #345, June 1969), wherein they tormented Daisy's nieces April, May, and June for three highly contrived pages. (It says something, I think, that even a writer as experienced with dealing with unlikely Beagle relations as Lockman couldn't manage to squeeze even FIVE pages out of this idea.)
Jo Anne Worley's Bouffant), the pneumatic, dim bombshell (Victoria Carroll's Boom-Boom, whose number plate reads 38-22-38 and is almost certainly the only Beagle plate never to touch the owner's sternum at any time), and the feisty little spitfire (Susan Blu's Baby Doll, the Bette Davis sound- and at least partial look-alike). Interestingly, they're presented as being at least somewhat envious of their better-known cousins, at least in the sense that they want to pull a "big job" after a presumably lengthy period of "robbing Avon ladies" (and, from the looks of things, heavily sampling their victims' wares). I can envision this character dynamic being used in a future episode in which the Babes and the Boys bump heads, compare notes, and do whatever it is long-separated criminal relatives are wont to do. Unfortunately, that future ep will remain a mental exercise for all time; this is the Babes' first and only appearance.
RANSOM OF RED CHIEF plot in the episode "The Ransom of Red Chimp," it ignored the fact that the main cast featured two kids and made Louie's rambunctious Aunt Louise the kidnap victim. The snatch-and-grab here is sufficiently violent and sudden (complete with dramatic tracking shot) as to make the offense seem all the more shocking. Mrs. Beakley, whose entirely believable revenge vendetta against the Babes is teased several times during the episode -- sadly, without amounting to much -- can't prevent the Babes from escaping out of the ladies' room. No, the stalls below don't count as "toilet shots." Not that I really expected anyone to be counting...
Dinosaur Ducks" has put the Babes to sleep, only to decide to stay because *sigh* "no one at home wants me." It's not hard to dope out how this moment could have been strengthened. Webby could have teased going home, only to consider that the Babes do seem like "nice ladies" underneath it all (softening a couple of the Babes' earlier "shut her up" lines could have served as a justification for Webby's more positive attitude towards her captors) and that she might try to win them over with kindness, so that justice will go easier on the Babes when they are finally arrested by the police. This may not have fixed all the ep's problems, but it certainly would have been preferable to Webby's making a blanket assumption that doesn't hold water under even the most cursory scrutiny.
Frank Welker might to make their "antics" remotely amusing. It does make a twisted sort of sense that a city with a legal system as screwed up as Duckburg's would hire schlemiels like these as potential police officers, but that doesn't make them any easier to spend time with. Perhaps their biggest sin (yes, including the car-chase pile-up at the end, which is pretty much SOP in plots involving incompetent cops) is their mistakenly picking the revenge-bound Mrs. Beakley off the street under the delusion that she might be a Beagle Babe. It would have made perfect sense for Mrs. B., with her strong feelings of devotion towards her granddaughter, to have been in on the final raid on the Babes' hideout in some manner. The resourceful Beakley of "Cold Duck" and "Jungle Duck" could have contributed something meaningful to that finale, don't you think?
Marking Time" to trace Webby to the Babes' lair. (Enjoy the attention while you can, Bubba; the next episode won't even allow you that moment of glory.) There, we are forced to once again go through the litany of why Webby feels unwanted (grrrrrr! Do we have to be reminded?) before Webby gets the bright idea of using "make-believe" to convince the Babes to let her loose. So we can presume that the entirety of what follows, the whole riff on Bugsy Malone (1976) with "Da Boys" acting as pint-sized hoods and Webby as a gun-twirling mini-moll, was cooked up entirely in Webby's wee head. Given that the act involves (among other things) Webby manipulating a pistol and "Huey Kablooey" treating a stick of dynamite (I guess) as if it were a cigar, this glimpse into Webby's, er, "creative side" is actually a little disquieting. The idea that Webby has hitherto unimagined powers of aesthetic imagination is heightened by the fact that HD&L can suddenly materialize color-coordinated mini-gangster outfits on the spur of the moment. (It's not as if they had the time to fly back to Monte Dumas and find them in the same place where Huey and Louie found the perfect-fitting Musketeer garb.) Perhaps Webby took a hint from Louie's ability to produce a megaphone from OUT OF NOWHERE and proceeded to show that she can, too, upstage the boys in a "Toon-related" matter.
Ducky Horror Picture Show," you'd think that Scrooge would have had that location reinforced) and gives K&W the excuse to indulge themselves with yet another Wizard of Oz reference (Webby's "There's no place like home"). There follows Scrooge's offer of a job to the captive Babes, which GeoX labels "insulting" but which I have always regarded as a sort of unconscious tribute to the practice of another Toon quadzillionaire of note, Mr. Richard Rich (Richie's Dad, if that weren't obvious), who was in the habit of offering even the most sinister of criminals a position once they had repaid their debt to society. Pinning the onus on Scrooge for the daycare gambit is actually somewhat unfair, since it was Webby who gave Scrooge the idea to begin with. No, the actual problem with the job offer is that it would have made much more sense had the plot played out as a "Red Chief riff" and Webby had made the Babes' lives miserable. After successfully bonding with Webby and managing to take care of her reasonably well, wouldn't the Babes have considered the possibility that taking care of kids might be an honest task at which they could actually succeed? Perhaps K&W wanted to leave open the possibility that the Babes might return with another crooked (but fashionable) scheme. Alas, it was not to be.
Webby seems a little TOO excited, there...Attack of the Fifty-Foot Webby," we'd slide back to an even more primitive version of the "no one appreciates me" trope, with Webby literally being overlooked because she is too small. (Last time I checked, she wasn't much smaller than HD&L.) Still, this was a much-welcomed attempt to do something legitimately interesting with the character. Too bad that the writers weren't sufficiently motivated -- or gutsy -- to take the plot in a more morally ambiguous direction.
Bumper #15: "Dino-Wagon"
(GeoX's correspondent "Christopher") Baby Doll's speech patterns are based on Bette Davis. Lines from several of her movies, including "All About Eve," are sprinkled throughout this episode.
And therein hangs an hypothesis -- a somewhat far-fetched one, I'll admit, but one that has rattled around in my brain-pan ever since Greg's review enlightened me about Charles Pierce, who voices the warden and Mr. Slinky. Pierce, whose only animated appearance this was, was famed as a female impersonator, and one of his best-known characterizations was... Bette Davis, from the movie Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962). There's just no way that his casting here could have been a coincidence. Still, given Pierce's... um, unique skill set, why would WDTVA go to the trouble of hiring him and then cast him in a couple of secondary, throwaway roles? Could it be that Pierce was originally intended to have voiced Baby Doll, using his Bette Davis impression? Someone in the chain of command may then have nixed the idea, relegating Pierce to the subsidiary roles instead. Two years after "Muddahs" first aired, in the Darkwing Duck episode "A Brush with Oblivion," WDTVA would succeed in getting a very similar performer to play a signature role, casting Michael Greer to do his "Mona Lisa's Mouth" routine. Evidently, someone at WDTVA was really taken with the whole idea of tossing gay icons a creative bone.
Amusingly, both Carl Barks, who originated "Sowbuggia," and DuckTales used the term "Sowbuggia" in almost exactly the same manner -- as a humorous, repeated throwaway reference to a country that Scrooge and company would never actually visit. Barks employed the term several months apart in "Flour Follies" (WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES #164, May 1954) and "Tralla La" (UNCLE $CROOGE #6, June 1954), while DuckTales used it in "The Land of Trala La," then waited only three days (in broadcast terms) before employing it again in "Muddahs."
(Greg) ...we scene change to a bunch of abandoned apartment buildings as I just realized that the abandoned building in question is the one next to the original Beagle Boys hideout.
Which must have teleported for the duration, since previous shots of the Beagles' lair (such as the one at bottom below, from "Liquid Assets") clearly indicate that there is no building immediately to its right. The looks of the buildings are different, as well. It would be nice to think that the Beagle family would be "this close," but the facts militate against the notion.
Baby Doll's sinister little fable wasn't a revision of Cinderella, it was a swipe from Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?
(Greg) Boom-Boom is looking for Bonnie & Clyde dolls and the owner blows it off because they were killers and are bad role models... [A]nd then Boom-Boom asks for toy guns and the owner states that they are in aisle three. HA! This has to be a rib on those “moral purity” organizations.
Or the NRA. I pick the latter.
(Greg) [Bubba] sniffs Webby's doll (which is funny because I don't recall Webby ever dropping the doll when she was kidnapped) and we have the scent as the nephews do a tongue twister to annoy GeoX.
Webby did drop the Quacky Patch doll. When Baby Doll grabs her, you can (just barely) see it slip out of her hand on the far right of the screen. I wasn't able to get a very good screenshot of the moment, but, if you squint at lower right below, you may be able to see Quacky, or a smoodge resembling it.