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Duckman: Seasons One and Two

Score: 88%
Rating: Not Rated
Publisher: Paramount
Region: 1
Media: DVD/3
Running Time: 8 Hrs., 18 Mins.
Genre: Animated/Adult-Themed/TV Series
Audio: English Stereo

Features:

  • "What the Hell Are You Starin' At?" A Special Investigation inside Duckman
  • "Designing Duckman"
  • "Six Degrees of Duckman"
  • Commentary by Everett and Jason Alexander

Man, my mom was cool. Of course, I didn't realize just how cool until I re-watched Duckman: Seasons One and Two and thought "How was I ever allowed to see this as a kid?" That being said, parents, this is definitely one of those cartoons that isn't designed for kids, and before letting your little ones watch it, you should definitely see a few episodes.

Basically, Duckman (Jason Alexander) is a cartoon duck who is a private eye that doesn't really get a lot of business. He has a partner in Cornfed Pig (who has a classic Joe Friday voice), and two stuffed teddy bear assistants named Fluffy and Uranus (whom Duckman never misses a chance to torch, disembowel, chop up or otherwise dismember, just because he can). Duckman's home life isn't all candy canes and puppy dogs either. His dead wife's twin sister (Bernice) was left not only the house, but also custody of his kids (of which he has three, but two of them are conjoined), and they also have to take care of Bernice's comatose mother, whose only sign of life is frequent flatulence.

This setup ends up bringing out tons of storylines in the show. In these two seasons, we will see everything from Duckman's excessive lust causing him to save the President's life to helping Cornfed shed his virginity, while other aspects, like Duckman's oldest, Ajax, falling in love with his vice principal or being accepted to a prestigious school (despite his excessively low IQ).

Duckman's conjoined twin siblings, Charles and Mambo, are super geniuses who constantly fight amongst them (him?) selves (self?) about the state of the universe, meta-physical beliefs or generic scientific banter. In one episode, the pair's desire to visit a new super computer causes the computer to notice Duckman and make a decision "for the good of the world" based on Duckman's beliefs. While the result truly is a utopia, the lack of any problems becomes a problem in itself.

Duckman even gets a recurring villain in King Chicken (Tim Curry), who hates the show's protagonist because he teased him when they were younger. King Chicken will show up several times, and each episode is pretty good. In one, Duckman is put on trial for mocking Chicken's beliefs about which came first, the chicken or the egg. In another, King Chicken raises Ajax's intelligence so that the only member of his family that Duckman can relate to alienates him. While Chicken's plans are typically convoluted and overly complex, they tend to almost work... if it weren't for Duckman's strange outbursts of non-logic, he would get his revenge.

There are a couple of real gems in this collection. One I really enjoyed was Duckman's investigation of a missing model simply named America. As he investigates her past boyfriends, strong parallels can be drawn between America (the model) and America (the country). An early boyfriend resides in a black-and-white town where women should be seen and not heard and everything is just "peachy keen". After that, she hooks up with some hippies who are always looking for another cause and free love, and then a disco dancer. America's last boyfriend is a big business stockbroker who is running from the government because of some stock trades that went a little too well. This episode was just a nice bit of political satire that showed the country's general progression over time, and even makes a few points about the 90's (mind you, the series starts in 1994) and grunge.

Season 2's finale is also fun, because while it is a clip show, the way it does it is different. Apparently a crazed TV critic from our world invades Duckman's and tries to explain to him why he should be cancelled. Of course, Duckman and the rest of the gang don't realize they are a TV show, and are a little creeped out when the guy keeps showing them segments of their personal life.

Duckman was just one of those shows that I remember coming on late on the USA Network, and realizing a lot later that I missed the point on many of the jokes. Thankfully, these DVDs give fans of the series a chance to relive those memories. I can't wait for the last two seasons to come out.



-J.R. Nip, GameVortex Communications
AKA Chris Meyer

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