Saturday, January 25, 2014

DUCKTALES RETROSPECTIVE: Episode 69, "Time is Money, Part Four: Ducks on the Lam"

On a couple of occasions in the past -- here, here, and here, to be specific -- I've shown examples of DuckTales advertising art in which adaptations of actual scenes in the episodes in question were, shall we say, loose.  It should come as no surprise to those who read the (frequently inaccurate) episode synopses published in Gladstone's DUCKTALES comics that Disney made a similar gaffe when it produced the following piece of promotional art for "Ducks on the Lam."  If you want to play "what's wrong with this picture," be my guest.

Some may call this sloppy workmanship, or someone basing his or her work on an early version of a script draft.  For me, however, the shortcomings of this pic are all of a piece with the generally wretched quality of this penultimate chapter of the increasingly "flounderous" "Time is Money."  To be sure, Joe Torcivia and I didn't exactly shower this bauble with diamonds and rubies in our DUCKTALES INDEX.  However, of the three lackluster chapters that followed "Marking Time" and "The Duck Who Would Be King," we gave it the highest rating.  Looking back, the two major things that prompted us to do this were the lengthy dinosaur-limo-and-shopping-cart escape-and-chase sequence that dominates the end of Act Two and a good portion of Act Three, a set-piece that easily trumped any of the labored "Bubba does'nae understand!" shenanigans in "Bubba Trubba" insofar as holding audience interest was concerned...

... and a repentant Scrooge's apology to Bubba for projecting all of Scrooge's paranoia and frustration onto the caveduck's "shiny wee head."  The post-serial knowledge that Bubba is, in fact, fated to return to Duckburg and become a part of Scrooge's (animated) life does not detract at all from the legitimate emotion visible in this scene.  At the moment, Scrooge is convinced that his relationship with Bubba is about to end, and his main concern is seeing Bubba return to 1,000,000 BC safely, even if that means the permanent loss of Gyro's "Millennium Shortcut."  (It occurs to me that Scrooge should already know that Bubba's return is doomed to impermanence, because the Ducks didn't find the rusted remains of the "Shortcut" when they traveled to Bubba's time in "Marking Time."  Dealing with time travel is SUCH a bitch!)

Before we get to the good (or at least considerably-less-bad) stuff in this ep, however, we are obliged to slog through a morass of ludicrous logic, unfunny slapstick, retreading of routines from more accomplished episodes past, and mischaracterizations so dreadful as to defy belief.  My re-viewing of "Lam" would have led me to this conclusion EVEN BEFORE GeoX and his correspondent "Christopher" unearthed and boxed around a logic break that rivals the massive screwup at the end of "Ali Bubba's Cave."  Here's how "Christopher" described it:

I've never been clear on this point. Scrooge signs the contract to pay Glomgold $10 million more by a certain date, or he forfeits the deposit and the island. But... now apparently Scrooge owns the diamond cave thanks to his markers [and the court decision awarding ownership to Scrooge]. So... what's the point of paying Glomgold the $10 million? All Scrooge would get is the worthless tiny island to the west. Why does Scrooge still have to pay Glomgold the $10 million if Scrooge already owns the diamond cave island? Doesn't the contract only hold for the westernmost island? And can't Glomgold demand his money back for that island from the person he bought it from, since that person sold an island Scrooge claimed a million years ago?


Actually, my interpretation of the court decision has always been that, since the agreement between Scrooge and Flinty was concluded before the island was blown apart, Scrooge was awarded title to BOTH the portion of the island holding the diamond cave AND the worthless portion.  That is why Scrooge's "keeping" the western part of the island after the expiration of the deadline to pay Glomgold made no sense.  Following the logic of the court ruling, both pieces of the island should have reverted to Glomgold's control.  But GeoX and "Christopher" go this one better by pointing out that Scrooge, by carving his markers in the cave one million years before and having his markers validated by the court, owned the island all along, and that Glomgold did not have the authority to sell Scrooge the latter's own property.  In other words, the contract had no legal basis to begin with.  Somehow, Joe and I missed this error.

A goof of this magnitude would have been enough to drag "Lam"'s rating down all by itself, but a re-examination of the ep as a whole reveals that the jig (or should that be reel?) would have been up quickly enough even without such a mistake.  The dumbitude debuts immediately after the disappearance of the title card, as the Beagle Boys boot Scrooge, Bubba, and Tootsie out of the Money Bin without a soul to stop them.  Um, doesn't Scrooge have some employees working there?  (For example, the receptionist whose voice could be heard near the end of "Bubba Trubba"?)  Even given that Gizmoduck is not yet present to serve as a security guard, would the EXISTING security personnel, whoever they might be, just sit back and ALLOW the Beagles to take over?  Never mind, we have the obligatory Scrooge-Bubba breakup scene to shoot, complete with the old miser clenching and unclenching his fists as Bubba leaves, as if we were expected to believe that Scrooge, even in his present state, would be capable of punching a child.

Greg mistakenly claims that this wasn't the first time that the Beagle Boys took over the Money Bin, citing "A Drain on the Economy."  While the Beagles certainly got into the Bin in that episode, they didn't commandeer Scrooge's money as a result, since the cash had drained into the sewer system as a result of "Bertha"'s explosion.  In "The Money Vanishes," the reverse was true; the Beagles never entered the Bin, yet they were able to move Scrooge's money to their hideout.  Here, the Beagles are quite literally "in possession" of both Bin and boodle, and one can understand their playful glee as they celebrate the occasion.

What one CANNOT understand, of course, is the Beagles' thinking that they can take all of Scrooge's "moola" and "split."  Here, once again, GeoX's knocking of the DT Beagles seems appropriate.  Their inexplicable "instant mastery" of Scrooge's security system seems all the more improbable in light of this display of gargantuan stupidity.  Either the security system's instruction manual was right there for the consulting (hey, Gyro left one in one of his giant construction robots -- so it could happen!) , or "punching a bunch of buttons" really does seem to be a panacea in the world of Duckburg.

Since when did Scrooge build a retaining wall around his property?

The role-reversal rehash of the Beagle attack in "A Drain on the Economy" isn't all that bad in a literal sense.  For one thing, the gags are better, because they're slightly more realistic; none of the Army guys get smashed by a giant metal sphere, flattened by closing walls, or anything as crudely "Toony" as that.  There are also a few clever pop-culture riffs: DT takes its first, but certainly not its last, swipe at contemporary ratings rival Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by having "Commander Scrooge" resort to using (quickly-routed) Ninjas, and the exhausted Army's retreat from the bombed-out territory around the Bin reminds one of the classic "retreat scene" in Gone With the Wind (1939).  Still, the miasma of deja vu hangs thickly around all of these scenes.

Having failed to dislodge the Beagles from the Money Bin, Scrooge now commits one of his greatest character-based sins of the entire series: he becomes obsessed with getting the $10 million that he owes Glomgold from one of his other banks or businesses.  OK, credit teleplayists Len Uhley and Jymn Magon for not falling into the trap of equating the cash in Scrooge's Bin with the assets of his entire financial empire.  The problem is that Scrooge seems to FORGET ABOUT the fact that the Beagles are, in fact, still in possession of his Bin.  I hardly think that the "real" Scrooge would have shifted gears so cavalierly.  If Scrooge's fortune is the symbol of his life of hard work, then his Bin is the outward physical depiction of same.  It is Scrooge's version of a castle or a palace, of far greater psychological importance to him than even his Mansion.  The idea that he'd just blow off another party being in control of the place is, quite frankly, ludicrous, and a textbook example of lazy writing.

"Lazy" would appear to be too kind a word to use to describe the "disguise" that the Beagles use to plant the rumor that a Scrooge impostor is abroad.  It's hard to imagine a three-year-old being fooled by the portrait ruse, but apparently, all of Scrooge's bank employees have been conveniently lobotomized for the duration.  The one blessing in disguise here is the fact that, had Frank Nelson not died several years before "Time is Money" was produced, Walt Disney TV Animation might have convinced him, rather than the mysterious Don Hills (who performs here, in the later "Dough Ray Me," and nowhere else in any context), to voice the very Nelson-esque bank manager who finally gets the police to arrest the "one true" Scrooge.

While all this has been going on, Bubba and Tootsie, taking a cue from the guy in the Allstate commercials, have been laying down their own brand of "Mayhem," in the city park in this case.  Amazingly, the ep succeeds in partially botching one of these seemingly straightforward scenes.  The picnic table top that Bubba uses as a Frisbee to play "fetch" with Tootsie is clearly traveling at ground level when it passes the tank-topped muscleduck and his dog Dude (hey, that's what the man calls him)...

... but, when it slices through the statue of Duckburg's founder Cornelius Coot, its altitude is roughly eight to ten feet.  Bubba must have put some kind of spin (or, as the carousel-riding girl voiced by Russi Taylor would put it, "spee-yun") on that thing.  Evidently, one of the crimes for which Bubba is arrested and taken to jail is his brazen violation of some of the laws of physics.

So Scrooge and Bubba bond in jail, thanks to the prodding of Scrooge's conscience (who has a higher-pitched, somewhat more elf-like voice here than he did in "Bubba Trubba") and Bubba's gift of his "shinie" (which, contrary to what I wrote in my "Marking Time" review, was the coin he picked up off the street in "Trubba" and not the one Scrooge used to "bribe" him in "Marking Time."  My bad).  These scenes may lay on the sentiment a bit too thickly -- witness Scrooge's quivering beak after Bubba mournfully claims, "Scrooge hate Bubba" -- but they are pretty effective nonetheless.

Scrooge has become a "prisoner of conscience"!
In all honesty, the epic chase sequence has a rather shaky foundation.  The cops pursuing the escaping Scrooge, Bubba, and Tootsie I can understand, but Glomgold gets involved only because he happens to be passing by Uhley's Market (heh) in the dead of night just as the three fugitives are at the same location.  To give the devil his due, Flinty performs his role a lot better than the cops do.  It certainly helps that Glomgold's limo, not to mention Glomgold himself, appears to have otherworldly healing powers.  How else could Flinty have avoided massive injury when the light pole fell on him?  (And then, what about Flinty's chauffeur... you know, the man who is a front-seat witness to all of Glomgold's treachery but, thanks to the wonders of Duckburg jurisprudence, will never have to testify about it.)  Much like Scrooge did after the failed attack on the Money Bin, Glomgold appears to forget about his main objective in midstream, switching his attention from pursuing Scrooge to trying to "get" Bubba and Tootsie.

Better watch your back, pal...

The logic of the chase gets pretty wonky before the end; for example, Scrooge's cart comes up from behind Glomgold's limo after Scrooge was seen falling back from the crest of the hilltop ("Missed it by that much") at the end of Act Two.  There were also several instances in which the cart probably should have come to a stop (though, as you may recall, Scrooge's desk managed to stand the gaff before Scrooge plunged into the bay in "Raiders of the Lost Harp").  The escapees finally return to McDuck Mansion just in time for the sun to rise, Gyro to finish pushing the "Millennium Shortcut" all the way from his lab (huh??  Has that rascal been working out on the sly?), and Launchpad to bring the plane from the airfield that is literally within a stone's throw of the Mansion's front door.

I doubt that that hill will eliminate the need for some noise-abatement devices, Scrooge...
The absurdity of Scrooge's forgetting about his Bin being in hostile hands comes to a climax when Dewey points out that Bubba "lost [Scrooge] his fortune" (I guess Scrooge must have told the Nephews about being kicked out of the Bin at some point -- perhaps before the gang went on the abortive "money hunt" in Act Two) and Scrooge responds by cackling that Bubba "gave [him] his in return."  I don't blame HD&L for being puzzled by this exchange, but I might have expected them to do more than just shrug.  They might be wondering at this point whether Scrooge might actually be cracking up.

Goodbyes follow as Scrooge uses the "last bar of bombastium" (couldn't Gyro always cook up some more??) to send Bubba and Tootsie back to the past.  The sound of police sirens that can be heard in the background of these scenes is a welcome bit of intra-episode continuity.  Unfortunately, we are apparently expected to take Duckworth's "Shakespearean blow-off" of the puzzled cops as the final "period" on Scrooge's "sentence" as a wanted fugitive.  Somehow, I don't think that the matter would be dropped quite that easily.

In short, this is a mess.  The few quality moments on display are buried under mounds of sloppy storytelling, continuity errors, and a frankly incredible misreading of how Scrooge would react to a real occupation of his Money Bin.  I can't believe I'm saying this, but "Ali Bubba's Cave" is looking a whole lot better to me now... and that climactic chapter, as I have known for a long time, comes complete with its own legion of problematic aspects.  The ultimate dispensation of Bubba is not the least of them.




Bumper 4: "Bridge"




(GeoX) I'll admit, I AM charmed by the fact that the jail had a striped top hat available just for Scrooge. And, I suppose, even more impressed that they had a triceratops costume lying around, even if that doesn't excuse the dumbness of Tootsie being in jail in the first place.

I suppose that Tootsie's suit could have been a normal prisoner's suit, only in size XXXXXXL. 

(GeoX) Hey, a statue of Cornelius Coot! I don't believe the character's been mentioned in Ducktales previously, meaning that this is just for old-school fans, which is appreciated…though not enough so to forgive all the dumbness.

No, this is Coot's first appearance, and I'm sure that we have Jymn Magon to thank for it.  Since the image I showed above depicted the statue's destruction, it's only fair that I show it whole and unharmed here.  And it's the classic pose, to boot -- the same one that was used for the statue at the short-lived Duckburg attraction at Disney World.
"Statuesque Spendthrifts" (WALT DISNEY'S COMICS AND STORIES #138, March 1952)
(Greg) Big Time proclaims that they hit the jackpot as Bouncer decides to row his wooden boat. I didn't know Scrooge had a wooden rowboat.

Well, it is kinda-sorta canonical...
 Barks' cover to FOUR COLOR #386 (March 1952)
Don't worry, we'll be seeing more from this source soon enough...

(Greg) Scrooge then uses the binoculars (which matches the color of the car Flint was in. Bad luck in 7 years there Scrooge!) and he hopes that the Beagle Boys are not smart enough to operate the defense system.

How'd you miss the cross-topped church in the background there, Greg?  And this isn't a shot from a distance, it's right there in plain sight.  I think that you might have more "hopes" than you realize, Scrooge.
(Greg) The police officer drive away without further incident as we look up on the lamp pole and see Scrooge, Bubba and Tootsie on top. Man; Bubba's strength is incredible to lift Tootsie like that. Or it's another logic break. 

I don't know... considering that Bubba was able to lift Tootsie over his head and into the back of the "Shortcut" in midair in "Marking Time," this latest maneuver was probably a piece of cake for the caveduck.

Next: Episode 70, "Time is Money, Part Five: Ali Bubba's Cave."

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"Falls"ing Into Place

Score one for me in the Nostradamian department.  Before the broadcast of "Rainbow Falls," last weekend's new My Little Pony episode, I went on "official" record (I suppose that a post on Equestria Daily qualifies as such) and claimed that, since the plot involved Rainbow Dash's "Element of Loyalty" being put to the test, she would be getting a "key" to match Rarity's spool of thread from "Rarity Takes Manehattan."  Well, she sure as' shootin' got one -- a "lead pony" pin from Spitfire, captain of the Wonderbolts.  We got some "rainbow action," too, so the key acquisitions definitely seem to be pointing us towards the "Mane 6"'s acquisition of that mysterious "Rainbow Power" somewhere down the line.

I can just hear Glomgold now: "What happened?  Did you earn your key??"


Sorry to say, without the "key" business, I would have ranked "Falls" as a below-average effort.  The set-up is a "losers vs. bullies" scenario straight out of Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown (1977), with Rainbow attempting to goad a motley crew of pegasi into qualifying for the relay races at the upcoming Equestria Games, directly in the teeth of a challenge from the unpleasantly arrogant Wonderbolts.  The script papers over the obvious logical issue inherent in Rainbow not being able to pick a better team by having a character state that competitors can only be in one event at the Games.  Even if you buy that excuse, it's still hard to believe that Rainbow couldn't have scared up better representatives of Ponyville than the ever-reticent Fluttershy (hasn't she learned SOME self-confidence by now?) and the absurdly bottom-heavy Bulk Biceps (who, to add insult to injury, was shown to be a competent flyer in several previous eps but is "retconned" into a muscle-bound clutz for the occasion).  With Pinkie Pie at her most grindingly irritating as a way-over-the-top cheerleader and our "heroes" struggling to manage even the barest smidgen of competence, the opening minutes of the ep are painfully embarrassing.

Rainbow's "test" comes when one of the members of the Wonderbolts' team hurts his wing and Spitfire convinces Rainbow to help the 'Bolts train in his absence, even as Rainbow is trying to get her gang to straighten up and fly right.  The inevitable offer to join the 'Bolts for good comes soon thereafter, and Rainbow is legitimately torn, so much so that she feigns catastrophic injury... badly... so that she won't have to make a choice.  Rainbow's "performance," which makes one of Rarity's "drama queen" fits look subtle, normally would not fool anyone with an IQ higher than single digits, but everyone (save Twilight Sparkle, who's been trying to get Rainbow to do the right thing throughout) is conveniently dumb for the duration.
After Rainbow learns that the Wonderbolts' injured partner could have flown in the trials after all, but had instead been ditched for Rainbow because she's the better flyer, she takes the side of Ponyville and helps her team to (just barely) qualify for the Games.  This is what prompts a repentant Spitfire to make Rainbow a gift of the pin.  Interestingly, both "pin events" thus far have included a "Mane 6" member both surviving a test of her nature AND inspiring another individual to behave in a better manner.  In a sense, both Rarity and Rainbow have become "ambassadors" of their Elements.  And, even from the little advance notice that has leaked out to date, it's become pretty clear who will be next character to assume an "ambassadorship"...
... Pinkie Pie, who, in the upcoming "Pinkie Pride," will be facing off against a partying rival voiced by Weird Al Yankovic.  Apparently, this is being set up as a test of Pinkie's "Element of Laughter," as she's never before had a rival in the art of acting like an idiot making others laugh.  With Pinkie's characterization having been "flattened" to a great extent this season, being reduced to a source of random, noisy gags and little else, an ep that allows us to see a more complex Pinkie can't come soon enough for me.  If you don't follow MLP, this ep, which will air on February 1 and has already gotten a fair amount of "manestream" press attention, might be a good time to sample the series.

Too Bad We Weren't There

Time for an update on Stevenson's basketball fortunes.  Nicky and I typically try to attend as many home games as we can.  Last Wednesday, however, we couldn't attend either game against Messiah, as Nicky had to get up very early the next morning.  We picked a bad night to be absent... and, by "night," I mean pretty much the whole night, as the guys' game didn't end until past 10:30.  It started with the women's team snatching a 72-70 win on a buzzer-beater:

After their 0-3 start, the lady Mustangs have improved to 8-7 and are tied for second place in their conference.

The nightcap saw the Mustang men battle tooth and nail with the undefeated, #15 Falcons in a wild game that went into double overtime.  SU had a shot to win in regulation, Messiah at the end of OT number one, and ultimately the Mustangs pulled off the 103-99 upset, the second time this season that they've beaten a Top 20 team.  Lured by the promise of free soup and cupcakes -- on a mid-January night, the offer sounds even better than it normally would -- the game drew a sizable crowd for a midweek contest.  The Mustangs followed that up with a win at Lycoming this weekend and are currently 12-3 (with two of the losses being by one point) and hovering on the fringe of the national Top 25:

A 20-win season and Division III Tournament berth (which would be the first since Villa Julie College qualified in 2005-06) seem within reach if the men take care of business.

Friday, January 17, 2014

DUCKTALES RETROSPECTIVE: Episode 68, "Time is Money, Part Three: Bubba Trubba"

The "Trubba" meets the road...and, boy, does it leave an unsightly mark!

That "supernova effect" emanating from the returning Millennium Shortcut is strictly a coincidence. "Bubba Trubba" is anything but earth-shattering and marks the point at which "Time is Money" loses its narrative momentum.  Sure, it does have a legitimate "cliffhanger" ending that Bob Langhans would certainly appreciate (though the events leading up to this stinger are problematic in and of themselves, as we shall see)...

... but, while we're waiting for Scrooge to collapse (a crash that some may actually welcome given the rancid way in which Scrooge has acted throughout the ep!), we are obliged to slog through a loosely connected series of "Bubba makes trubba" shenanigans that resemble nothing so much as a vest-pocket animated version of Floyd Gottfredson's 1940 MICKEY MOUSE continuity, "An Education for Thursday."

"Education" isn't generally considered to be one of Gottfredson's better narratives, but at least he was sufficiently cognizant of the little aborigine's limited appeal to make sure that three months' worth of gaggery ended with Thursday returning home.  DuckTales fans, of course, would not be rid of Bubba quite so easily.

For an episode that basically amounts to a series of riffs on the basic theme that Bubba, in Scrooge's exasperated words, "does'nae understand!" how to conduct himself in modern-day Duckburg, "Trubba" wastes little time in getting down to... well, "business" would hardly be the appropriate word.  Literally seconds after the Shortcut has crashed through Gyro's roof and Gyro has done his fall-back take upon seeing Bubba and Tootsie, Bubba has begun to explore (and completely misinterpret) the world around him.  This climaxes with Bubba's mousetrapping of Scrooge, who has apparently forgotten any concern for Bubba's well-being that may have manifested itself during "The Duck Who Would Be King" and has settled into the semi-frantic, increasingly paranoid mindset that will hold him in a gorilla grip until the ep's final moments.

Hey! You put Gyro's Helper down this instant, Bubba... oh.
Gyro doesn't tick off the audience as thoroughly as does Scrooge in this episode, but he doesn't exactly cover himself in glory, either.  Gyro goofs right out of the gates with his comment "I told you... toy with time and you're asking for trouble!", which stinks on ice for several reasons.  In "Marking Time," Gyro didn't seem to have any problem sending those little alarm-clock probes back in time, altering ancient civilization in the process.  More to the point, during that ep, HE NEVER ACTUALLY TOLD Scrooge and company that time travel was dangerous.  Having claimed to have given a warning that he didn't actually give, Gyro then turns the gaffe on its head at the end of Act One and hits Scrooge with the "history is like a jigsaw puzzle" metaphor at exactly the wrong time. Greg makes the salient points about this setup:

Gyro explains that by keeping Bubba here; there is a huge hole in the puzzle and then the hole got bigger. And apparently; if history were as big as Duckb[u]rg; the hole could be [Scrooge's] Money Bin. Scrooge is paranoid now as I am so not buying this since if there was such a thing; we would have really seen the effects in the negative for Scrooge. Everything has been positive for Scrooge; minus Bubba and Tootsie annoying him, but that is minor. Scrooge grunts and blows off Gyro's nonsense. I agree; you would think that we would have clearly seen a negative effect by now.  Scrooge shows Gyro some dollar bills and the wind howls and blows them away as Gyro claims that it is starting already. That is lame; it was JUST a gust of wind and Scrooge was foolish enough to show dollar bills in an open roof. I am not buying this...

Having Gyro provide a motive push of sorts for Scrooge's descent into near-madness was, IMHO, a major mistake.  I think that it would have been much better had Scrooge come to his own conclusion that Bubba's presence endangers his fortune.  Such incidents as "the stock market dropping 50 points" and Bubba causing thousands of dollars' worth of damage in various venues could have been kept, but Scrooge's reactions to them could have been depicted as arising from fears in his own mind.  This would have been a more daring characterization, in that Scrooge would have come across as being even less likable than he does in the actual ep, but would have made for a really interesting psychological dynamic and would have made the scene with Scrooge's conscience seem much less gimmicky and much more meaningful.  The use of Gyro, ironically enough, takes Scrooge at least partially off the hook for some questionable behavior.  

Scrooge, of course, provides one of the scourges for his own back by deciding to spread news of his "victory" over Glomgold, and Bubba's arrival in Duckburg, to the world.  If I were in Scrooge's spats, I don't know but what I might want to keep Bubba's presence as secret as I possibly could. Flinty, after all, gets the idea of kidnapping Bubba, brainwashing him, and sending him back in time to destroy the markers only after having seen Bubba on TV.  Plus, Glomgold and the Beagle Boys probably aren't the only individuals who might want to capture Bubba and Tootsie for their own nefarious purposes.

The Duckburg legal system has already revealed itself to be full of flaws -- and we haven't even gotten to "The Bride Wore Stripes" yet -- so it's not surprising that it whizzes the matter of Scrooge vs. Glomgold down its proverbial pants leg.  The fact that Webra Walters describes Scrooge's markers as being a million years old should have made it clear that Scrooge messed with the terms of the initial contract, so why is his claim to the diamonds ruled to be valid?  Is Glomgold's reputation THAT bad?  (Actually, the equivalent of "the Feds" in the Ducks' world may share some of the responsibility, since "the Supreme Court" is credited, or debited, with the handing down of the final decision.  That could be the Supreme Court of Duckburg, of course -- a city with its own space agency and intelligence agency could probably swing a high court with ease -- but, for the sake of argument, I'll assume that "the Supreme Court" means pretty much the same thing in Duck-land that it does in our own world.)

Glomgold adds to the mucking-up of the ep's midsection by hatching what is, quite frankly, a completely cockamamie scheme to use Bubba as his "rogue agent" in the past.  Consider that the decision on the markers is already known to everyone in Duckburg.  If the cave were found to lack markers at some point in the future, then wouldn't it be logical for everyone to think that Glomgold did something on his own to alter the past?  Visions of GeoX's nightmare scenario of Glomgold and Scrooge screwing with one another's plans ad infinitum come quickly to mind.  What GeoX didn't mention is that, in order for Flinty's scheme to work, Flinty would literally have to alter the minds of EVERYONE who had heard about the decision.  Good luck with that.

From the above, it should be clear that "Trubba" is pretty seriously compromised even before we reach all the repetitive "Bubba causes massive city-wide trubba" junk that dominates the last half of the episode.  We enter the "spin cycle" with this justifiably notorious sequence:

Comments are unnecessary here, but I'm going to indulge in some anyway:

1.  I believe that this is the first time that the series actually depicted HD&L going to school.  During season one, they'd referred to homework assignments ("Armstrong," "Nothing to Fear," "The Golden Fleecing") and been questioned about their academic performances ("Raiders of the Lost Harp"), but I can't recall a previous schoolroom sighting.  More such scenes were to follow during season two, which would be fine, except that the main excuses for such visits typically centered around Bubba.  I don't know about you, but for the Nephews to be sent to school simply to serve as foils for a caveduck kind of sticks in my craw.

2.  So who were those kids doing the singing?  They didn't receive any credit whatsoever.  I know that Greg has frequently complained about DuckTales not making use of child actors to voice child characters.  You would hope that the one time DT did employ kids, the show would give them due recognition, but no such luck.

3.  HD&L's "one-room schoolhouse," on its infrequent appearances, occasionally takes on the trappings of an architectural TARDIS.  By this, I mean that, though it seems rather small from the outside, it is always large enough on the inside to accommodate whatever school paraphernalia are needed for a story -- lockers, lunchrooms, and, in this case, high ceilings that allow for the formation of human pyramids.

The entire "Rose Society" sequence was excised from the two-hour version of "Time is Money," and the fact that its absence isn't noticeable indicates just how superfluous a good deal of "Trubba" is.  In fact, Mrs. Beakley's attempt to educate Bubba in the social graces is probably the best of the three lengthy gag sequences.  Mrs. B.'s willingness to defend Bubba from the accusations of the raving Scrooge is legitimately admirable, giving some real bite to her ultimate humiliation, and Bubba, natural chaos-causer though he might be, does make a good effort to fit in at the party.  His panicked trampling of the banquet table might be excused on the grounds that he was preoccupied with the thought that Tootsie was in trouble.  By contrast, when Thursday invades a glitzy soiree, he acts like a savage from the get-go.

Launchpad gets the last crack at minding Bubba and Tootsie, but, being Launchpad, makes a fatal mistake by bringing the duo to the dinosaur exhibit.  One can hardly blame their extreme reaction in this case.

Throughout all of this, of course, the Beagle Boys are trying -- and failing, as in the modern definition of "FAIL!!" -- to kidnap Bubba and/or Tootsie.  Here is a place where GeoX's excoriation of the DT Beagles seems at least somewhat appropriate.  Very rarely have they appeared as utterly, uncompromisingly inept as they do in these scenes.  In the past, even at their bunglingest, they typically posed at least some sort of threat.  Here, between the physical pratfalls and the embarrassing disguises, they seem about as threatening as a hangnail.  Even their climactic, Bubba-aided climb into the Money Bin has a distinctly bogus feel: Bubba had pulled the hose out of the wall while trying to "tame" it, so how on Earth did the Beagles manage to climb up the hose when it was not anchored on top?  Sure, Bubba may have held onto it for them, but we never actually saw him do that.  Then, too, Bubba blindly tossed the hose down the side of the Bin without any knowledge that the Beagles were there to begin with.  The staging in this entire sequence left one whole honkin' pantload to be desired.

The business with Scrooge's elvish conscience (who has a somewhat lower voice here than it would in "Ducks on the Lam") has its childish aspects, to be sure. It makes Scrooge's examination of his conduct a bit less serious than it probably needed to be.  It must be said, however, that the scene got one big thing right: It obliged Scrooge to remonstrate "with himself" without any other character getting in the way.  It's just too bad that scenarist Len Uhley couldn't have duplicated this approach "on the other end" and dispensed with Gyro as the trigger for Scrooge's paranoia.

Of all the individual parts of the DuckTales multi-episode epics, "Bubba Trubba" is unquestionably the least substantial.  The number of logical lapses in such a content-free ep is troubling, as well.  Unfortunately, the balance of "Time is Money" will not make up the deficit -- in fact, it will increase it before all is said and done.




 Bumper #3: "Turtle"
"I made me fortune by being tougher than the toughies and faster than the... slowies!"





(GeoX) "I absolutely positively cannot be bribed!" "Even with a new scarf?" "You've got yourself a deal!" This would be funnier--or at least make some sort of sense--if it had ever been established that Launchpad was some sorta scarf fanatic. Otherwise, it just looks like a writer going, "crap--I need for there to be something Launchpad is really fixated on in order for my tired joke to work! Um…he has a SCARF! I can say he's obsessed with SCARFS! I am SUCH a genius!" 

To be fair, Tootsie did chew up Launchpad's scarf earlier in the episode, so LP would probably jump at the chance to get a new one.  (Which reminds me -- Tootsie's voracious appetite was referenced at several points during "Trubba," but I don't recall it being referred to in such a major way again.  I guess it got sent down the same "memory hole" that claimed Scrooge's obsession with "teamwork" in "Back Out in the Outback" and Louie's desire to be a door-to-door salesman in "Much Ado About Scrooge," among other things.)

(GeoX) Newscaster screaming and ducking when Glomgold hurls a vase at the TV--pretty funny. 

Funny, and decidedly weird -- far more so than Scrooge's relatively modest "fourth-wall-busting" in "The Uncrashable Hindentanic."

(GeoX) I know this isn't something anyone wants to be reminded of, but seriously: naked Scrooge moving to cover his nonexistent genitalia. Jeez, writers, what did we ever do to YOU that you hate us so? 

He should just be thankful that that vacuum wasn't a Dyson.

(GeoX) Is that vulture teacher the same one who appeared in "evil" form in "Nothing to Fear?" She's certainly much jollier this time around. 

Indeed.  Like Princess Luna in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Mrs. Quackenbush seems to change her personality every time we see her.

(Greg) We begin this one in the skies as the Shortcut magically reappears again as it spirals around and then loses it's propeller barely ten seconds in and goes into a tailspin (BWHAHAHAHAHAHA!). Scrooge has got to realize that safe and sound means nothing in the DTVA world. Everyone screams as I shudder in fear because they have decided to start in earnest. We cut down to Gyro's house...

... which is where, exactly?  When the Shortcut fails, it appears to be hovering over downtown Duckburg...

... yet, when the craft actually plummets to Earth, it seems to be falling into a semi-rural area:

I'm more inclined to think of Gyro's place as being somewhere in the outskirts of Duckburg (the better to protect the downtown area in case of an "inventing emergency," you understand), but these scenes definitely muddle the issue.
(Greg) Bubba grabs a pink phone and goes moo.

This would have been problematic had Bubba, as "The Great One," not been involved with giving a cow back to a Toupayian farmer in "The Duck Who Would Be King."

(Greg) Bubba hugs Mrs. Beakly and he lifts her about two feet off the floor.

And he would do the same to the Nephews at the end of "Ducks on the Lam."  Thursday, too, was known to hug folks unexpectedly:

(Greg) The nephews tell Bubba to come in and Bubba comes in reluc[tan]tly with his new suit and he looks like he is going to a rock concert. Funny how Bubba is fully dressed with shoes on ; but the nephews have only a shirt and baseball caps on. That is just peachy folks. Bubba comes in with his red boom box (a gift from episode 1) as Tootsie enters wearing the SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT and a blue sash on. 

I don't recall Bubba bringing any carry-on luggage with him when he stowed away, so how did he get the boom box back?  Perhaps each Nephew owns his own boom box, and one of the other two boys stepped up when the first box was left behind.  Somehow, I have a hard time imagining Scrooge splurging on three boom boxes when one would probably do...

(Greg) So we logically head to a large mansion as a dozen rich folks (including one duck in a weird red hat and gown with the purple FEATHER OF SLIGHT SUFFERING) talking to another rich snob. There are balloons; a hose statue for a fountain and if you look closely; you can see a version of Mrs. Quackenbush in the background.

Other familiar figures in the background include the Mayor of Duckburg, Gloria Snootley ("The Status Seekers"), Lord Battmounten and several of his confreres from The Explorers' Club, Robin Lurch ("Down and Out in Duckburg"), Lady De Lardo, Webra Walters, and Sir Guy Standforth (I guess he escaped "Snowy"'s clutches at some point).

(Greg) And then Bubba follows and ALL HELL IS BREAKING LOOSE as the [Rose Society] pump tent is destroyed (Huh? Logic break #3 for the episode right there)...

There's nothing logically wrong with this at all.  You can clearly see that several of the panicking guests knocked down several of the support poles, causing the tent to fall.

(Greg) Let's face it; Scrooge HATES Bubba and some fans believe that the feeling is understandable and even justified.

That's reasoning in retrospect, I think.  When I first watched "Time is Money," I thought that Scrooge was being ridiculously unfair to Bubba.




A final comment: Recall my contention that "The Duck Who Would Be King" might just as well have been a stand-alone episode and contributed absolutely nothing to the balance of "Time is Money."  The recap that leads off "Bubba Trubba" lends support to my argument, as it ONLY includes footage from "Marking Time," climaxing with Bubba hitching a ride with the Ducks.  Sic transit gloria mundi, eh, "Great One"?

Next: Episode 69, "Time is Money, Part Four: Ducks on the Lam."