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Director: Raymie Muzquiz
Airing Date: April 20, 1996
Stars: Duckman
Rating: ★★
Review:

In ‘The One with Lisa Kudrow in a Small Role’ Duckman wants to be alone, so he sends his son Ajax out on the street. Ajax gets abducted by hillbilly aliens from the planet Betamax, and revered as a prophet by the backward planet. But everything goes wrong when Ajax plays them the tape his father gave him, and the planet takes the word of ‘Dod’ literally.

‘The One with Lisa Kudrow in a Small Role’ is violently anti-religion, connecting dogmatism with violence and destruction. The satire is rather blunt and in your face, and therefore actually fails to hit its mark. Meanwhile this is one of those many Duckman episodes tiringly playing with Duckman’s complete ignorance of his own offspring. The result is rather exhausting.

Most enjoyable are Ajax’s semi-profound remarks and the rather Dr. Seuss-like background art of planet Betamax.

Watch ‘The One with Lisa Kudrow in a Small Role’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 35
To the previous Duckman episode: The Once and Future Duck
To the next Duckman episode: Aged Heat

‘The One with Lisa Kudrow in a Small Role’ is available on the DVD-box ‘Duckman – The Complete Series’

Director: Peter Avanzino
Airing Date: April 13, 1996
Stars: Duckman
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

This episode starts with a simple promise by Duckman to attend the recital by the tuba-playing Mambo and Charles. But then Ajax accidentally creates a hole in the space-time continuum, which allows Duckman to gets a visit from his future self who tells him what will happen if he does go to the recital…

Before soon we’re right in the middle of a surprisingly sophisticated, even complicated episode on destiny and the consequences of one’s actions, involving multiple future selfs of Duckman, one even more outlandish than the other. At one point their appearances creates a scene of mayhem that’s got to be seen to be believed.

In short, ‘The Once and Future Duck’ is one of the best written and best directed of all Duckman episodes, relying less on wise-cracking asides, and more on the development of the inner logic of its own absurdist premises. The result is as profoundly philosophical as it is hilariously zany.

Watch ‘The Once and Future Duck’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 34
To the previous Duckman episode: Pig Amok
To the next Duckman episode: The One with Lisa Kudrow in a Small Role

‘The Once and Future Duck’ is available on the DVD-box ‘Duckman – The Complete Series’

Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Airing Date: April 14, 1996 & May 26, 1996
Stars: Dexter, Dee Dee
Rating: ★★½
Review:

‘Dimwit Dexter’ is the last of four pilot episodes of ‘Dexter’s Laboratory’, airing less than two weeks before the full series started. The episode returned a little later as the third part of the fifth episode.

This episode starts with images of Dexter frantically practicing science. This causes a meltdown inside his head, which is depicted as a nuclear reactor, rendering the boy completely imbecile. Dee Dee takes advantage of the situation and dresses him up like a girl. But it’s the idiotic Dexter himself who does the most harm to himself when he runs out on the street in only his underpants, and doing all kinds of stupid tricks, like kissing the butt of a duck, making him the laughing stock of the whole neighborhood.

In showing actions of stupidity ‘Dimwit Dexter’ clearly owes a lot to ‘Ren and Stimpy’, and the scenes of Dexter humiliating himself without knowing are fun to watch, but the episode ends abruptly and without a proper conclusion, rendering it flat. Nevertheless, these abrupt and inconclusive endings would become a typical characteristic of the series.

Watch an excerpt from ‘Dimwit Dexter’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Dimwit Dexter’ is available on the DVD ‘Dexter’s Laboratory Season One: All 13 Episodes’

Directors: Craig McCracken & Genndy Tartakovsky
Airing Date: March 24, 1996 & May 12, 1996
Stars: Dexter, Dee Dee
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

‘Old Man Dexter’ is the third of four pilot episodes of ‘Dexter’s Laboratory’. It would later return as the third part of the third episode.

‘Old Man Dexter’ plays with the idea that Dexter is still a little boy. In this episode Dexter is too young to stay awake for the 20:00 h ‘late early movie’. Dexter’s solution is to make himself older, but then Dee Dee messes with his experiment…

‘Old Man Dexter’ is a funny little gem. Especially the sequence in which Dexter descends the stairs is hilarious. The sound effects accompanying his shaky arms are priceless. Parts from this episode would return in the end titles of the official series.

Watch an excerpt from ‘Old Man Dexter’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Old Man Dexter’ is available on the DVD ‘Dexter’s Laboratory Season One: All 13 Episodes’

Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Airing Date: March 10, 1996 & June 2, 1996
Stars: Dexter, Dee Dee
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

The Big Sister’ is the second of four pilot episodes of ‘Dexter’s Laboratory’ that appeared on Cartoon Network before the official series was launched. ‘The Big Sister’ then would reappear as the third part of the sixth episode.

This sequence starts with the zoom into Dexter’s lab that was later reused to start the end titles. In these we follow a smell that turns out to be from chocolate chip cookies made by Dexter for his laboratory rats. Of course, Dee Dee wants one, too, but the cookies contain secret formula X27, which turns Dee Dee into a giantess, rampaging the city. It’s up to Dexter to save the world!

This episode contains nice references to both King Kong and Japanese mecha films. The episode clearly borrows from the mecha anime visual style, something that would permeate the complete Dexter’s Laboratory series, blending surprisingly well with the 1950s cartoon modern style to create something new and fresh. Nevertheless, highlight of this episode is when Dexter’s fantasy runs away with him.

Watch ‘The Big Sister’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘The Big Sister’ is available on the DVD ‘Dexter’s Laboratory Season One: All 13 Episodes’

Director: Genndy Tartakovsky
Airing Date: February 26, 1995 & May 19, 1996
Stars: Dexter, Dee Dee
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

‘Changes’ is the very first Dexter’s Laboratory episode. The short first appeared on Cartoon Network’s ‘World Premiere Toons’ on February 26, 1995, although it would reappear as the third part of the fourth episode.

‘Changes’ already contains all elements that make Dexter’s Laboratory such a striking and refreshing addition to animated television: first a strong 1950s influence in design, particularly emulating the work of UPA and John Hubley’s early Storyboard studio work, with the bold line work and highly stylized characters, emphasizing primary forms, like triangles and ovals. Second, the equally stylized animation, with its often unnatural movement, strong emphasis on poses, and striking alterations between fast and slow actions. This, too, harks back to the cartoon modern era (a third element, a cinematic approach with elements of anime, would appear in the second installment, ‘The Big Sister‘). Fourth, the unnatural sound effects, often accompanying silent action, like eye movement or stretching arms. Fifth, the musical soundtrack, which follows the action closely, and remains interesting throughout.

The premise is that Dexter is a hyper-intelligent kid who somehow has an enormous secret lab somehow stowed away in his room, while his big and not so bright sister Dee Dee is a pest to him. ‘Changes’ contains some material that would return in the opening credits, as the episode opens with Dexter finishing his latest invention, which looks like a remote control with only one red button. Of course, Dee Dee grabs the remote and it turns out it changes the other into an animal. Both children turn into a wide range of animals, one more outlandish than the other, in a fast sequence of events. However, highlight may be Dee Dee’s expressions upon entering her brother’s forbidden room.

With ‘Dexter’s Laboratory’ both Hanna-Barbera and Cartoon Network joined the American animation renaissance. The network contributed greatly to the revival, with beautifully stylized and idiosyncratic series like ‘Cow and Chicken’ (1997-1999), ‘The Powerpuff Girls’ (by Craig McCracken, who also worked on Dexter’s Laboratory, 1998-2005) and ‘Samurai Jack’ (again by Tartakovsky, 2001-2004), and to a lesser extent ‘Ed, Edd & Eddy’ (1999-2009) and ‘Courage the Cowardly Dog’ (1999-2001).

Watch ‘Changes’ yourself and tell me what you think:

‘Changes’ is available on the DVD ‘Dexter’s Laboratory Season One: All 13 Episodes’

Director: Jeff McGrath
Airing Date: April 6, 1996
Stars: Duckman
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

Pig Amok’ starts at a funeral, where Duckman gives a highly inappropriate speech. But this is topped by the late-arriving Cornfed, whose behavior is puzzling, to say the least. More or less forced by his family Duckman sets out to help his friend…

For animation lovers ‘Pig Amok’ has much to offer: this episode contains some wild takes on Cornfed when he bursts into wild convulsions, as well as a beautiful piece of surprisingly independent looking metamorphosis animation when Cornfed swoons. Also entertaining is ‘Cornfed’s Problem’, the documentary Cornfed shows on VHS, which shows his ancestors inserted in black and white photographs.

Watch ‘Pig Amok’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 33
To the previous Duckman episode: The Mallardian Candidate
To the next Duckman episode: The Once and Future Duck

‘Pig Amok’ is available on the DVD-box ‘Duckman – The Complete Series’

Director: Peter Shin
Airing Date: March 16, 1996
Stars: Duckman
Rating: ★★★
Review:

With a title as ‘The Mallardian Candidate’ (a nudge to the 1962 film ‘The Manchurian Candidate’) one needn’t wonder that this episode is about conspiracies.

This episode starts with the comedian Iggy Catalpa (see ‘Joking the Chicken‘ and ‘Color of Naught‘) asking Duckman for help in solving a conspiracy theory. Duckman is as clueless as ever, failing to identify criminals even when they surround them dropping clues all over the place. Soon he gets brainwashed and is turned into an automaton with a single killing purpose…

‘The Mallardian Candidate’ fails to play out the conspiracy concept very well. The best parts are Catalpa’s explanation of how his world domination organization works, and the very end of the episode, which in a few seconds shows what’s fundamentally wrong with the concept of conspiracy theories in the first place.

But mostly, the episode plays on Duckman’s mindlessness and uselessness. The parts involving his family are especially painful in that respect. In ‘The Mallardian Candidate’ Duckman is just a caricature, not the more complex persona he can be in other, better episodes.

Watch ‘The Mallardian Candidate’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 32
To the previous Duckman episode: The Girls of Route Canal
To the next Duckman episode: Pig Amok

‘The Mallardian Candidate’ is available on the DVD-box ‘Duckman – The Complete Series’

Directors: Donovan Cook & Raymie Muzquiz
Airing Date: March 9, 1996
Stars: Duckman
Rating: ★★★★½
Review:

‘The Girls of Route Canal’ finally reveals how Duckman met Beatrice, the mother of Ajax, Mambo and Charles.

It’s the latter two who prompt Duckman to reminisce about how he found the love of his life. They have girl problems of their own, wanting to woe Amanda and Alexis, who are taken by two bullies.

‘The Girls of Route Canal’ is certainly not devoid of comedy, far from it; priceless, for example, is Mambo’s and Charles’ wondering why they like Amanda and Alexis so much. Also great is Cornfed’s short cameo. But overall this is a gentle and surprisingly genuinely romantic episode. This makes ‘The Girls of Route Canal’ one of those scarce episodes in which Duckman is actually more than a completely ignorant, selfish beast. This makes ‘The Girls of Route Canal’ a welcome diversion from more one-dimensional episodes like ‘Apocalypse Not‘ and ‘Clear and Presidente Danger‘.

Watch ‘The Girls of Route Canal’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 31
To the previous Duckman episode: Clear and Presidente Danger
To the next Duckman episode: The Mallardian Candidate

‘The Girls of Route Canal’ is available on the DVD-box ‘Duckman – The Complete Series’

Director: John Eng
Airing Date: March 2, 1996
Stars: Duckman
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

This episode starts with Duckman blackmailing an employee of the ‘McJaggers’ fastfood chain, so he gets to win a vacation to some third world paradise, called Puerto Guano.

This turns out to be quite a hell-hole (there’s even a reference to the Exxon Valdez oil spill from 1989), and Duckman’s rant about it starts no small revolution, turning him into the country’s dictator. As Duckman himself says, when he gets unlimited power, what can possibly go wrong?

‘Clear and Presidente Danger’ does little with the characters’ personalities, and works better as a satire than as a Duckman episode per se. Much more fun than Duckman’s rather predictable government style is the depiction of Cornfed as some sort of Rambo-like rebel. The sequence in which he trains his rebel group is accompanied by some nice steel drum music, while Ajax provides the comedy. Cornfed’s moralistic end speech is also a delight, but the episode’s sting lies in its depiction of the United States as helper of South American dictators.

Watch ‘Clear and Presidente Danger’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 30
To the previous Duckman episode: Apocalypse Not
To the next Duckman episode: The Girls of Route Canal

‘Clear and Presidente Danger’ is available on the DVD-box ‘Duckman – The Complete Series’

Director: Raymie Muzquiz
Airing Date: February 24, 1996
Stars: Duckman
Rating: ★★
Review:

‘Apocalypse Not’ is an obvious spoof of disaster and monster movies.

When the whole town goes for an emergency drill led by Aunt Bernice, Duckman remains the only person behind, thinking he is the sole survivor of some apocalyptic event.

Many movie tropes can be found in this episode, including the killing of auxiliary personas and Duckman spraining his ankle. Unfortunately, on the way Duckman’s persona becomes practically a caricature of itself, behaving rather over-the-top. And thus the episode’s highlight remains it opening credits, in which something big causes havoc in the city…

Watch ‘Apocalypse Not’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 29
To the previous Duckman episode: A Room with a Bellevue
To the next Duckman episode: Clear and Presidente Danger

‘Apocalypse Not’ is available on the DVD-box ‘Duckman – The Complete Series’

Director: Peter Avanzino
Airing Date: February 17, 1996
Stars: Duckman
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

In ‘A Room with a Bellevue’ Duckman suffers from the daily annoyances, like traffic jams and unhelpful services, making this episode akin to the live action feature ‘Falling Down’ from 1993. But instead of going rampant, Duckman ends up in an asylum, which turns out to be an oasis of peace and relaxation for him.

‘A Room with a Bellevue’ is a particularly talkative Duckman episode, containing two very long rants by Duckman himself. However, there’s also a rare occasion of an animated background when Duckman wanders through the asylum. Highlight, however, are Cornfed’s bizarre escape plan and Duckman’s transformation after electroshock treatment.

Watch ‘A Room with a Bellevue’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 28
To the previous Duckman episode: Sperms of Endearment
To the next Duckman episode: Apocalypse Not

‘Sperms of Endearment’ is available on the DVD-box ‘Duckman – The Complete Series’

Director: Jeff McGrath
Airing Date: February 10, 1996
Stars: Duckman
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

‘Sperms of Endearment’ is one of the deeper Duckman episodes, this time revolving around Aunt Bernice, instead of Duckman. Cornfed’s presence is even reduced to just a short cameo, and only because, as he tells us, it says in his contract he should appear in every episode.

In ‘Sperms of Endearment’ a little girl triggers Aunt Bernice’s child wish, and after some bad dating experiences, she turns to a sperm bank, run by Terry Duke Tetzloff, the sleezy salesman from ‘Cellar Beware‘ and ‘Grandma-ma’s Flatulent Adventure‘. But with whose sperm will she be inseminated?

Highlights of this episode include little Suzie, Tezloff’s supposed daughter, and Aunt Bernice’s romantic daydreams of her with the insemination tube.

Watch ‘Sperms of Endearment’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 27
To the previous Duckman episode: Color of Naught
To the next Duckman episode: A Room with a Bellevue

‘Sperms of Endearment’ is available on the DVD-box ‘Duckman – The Complete Series’

Director: John Eng
Airing Date: January 27, 1996
Stars: Duckman
Rating: ★★
Review:

‘Color of Naught’ is one of those episodes revolving around an evil plot by Duckman’s arch nemesis King Chicken. These don’t belong to the series’ best, and ‘Color of Naught’ suffers from sloppy story telling, with its rather random plot twists, and obligatory finale.

Iggy Catalpa (from ‘Joking the Chicken‘) returns for a short cameo, but more interestingly is the return of Angela, Duckman’s love interest from ‘About Face‘. Her interactions with Duckman install some interesting moments in an otherwise disappointing episode. The cameo of three guys from the ‘Weird Sciene’ television show (1994-1998) has aged less well, as this series has fallen into oblivion.

‘Color of Naught’ is noteworthy for the outlandish animation on the Beautex Salesman, and for King Chicken’s rather original way of destroying Duckman’s world, reducing characters and background art to black and white sketches, before turning into nothingness.

Watch ‘Color of Naught’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 26
To the previous Duckman episode: Grandma-ma’s Flatulent Adventure
To the next Duckman episode: Sperms of Endearment

‘Color of Naught’ is available on the DVD-box ‘Duckman – The Complete Series’

Director: Paul Demeyer
Airing Date: January 13, 1996
Stars: Duckman
Rating: ★★★★
Review:

The best Duckman episodes contain an element of satire, and the best satire still rings today. And this certainly applies to the ‘Forbidden Fruit’ episode.

This episode starts with a VHS tape of a school psychiatrist recommending a tutor for Ajax, Charles and Mambo. After some mishaps (e.g. Michael Jackson) a sexy young French nanny called Régine Poulet applies. Bernice forbids Duckman to make one single sexual remark to the girl, but he gets sued for sexual harassment nonetheless. At this point the episode spoofs an all too sensitive reaction to an otherwise condemnable crime, and political correctness carried too far, complete with changing of names, like Hebrew to Webrew.

This episode’s satire can easily translate to the #metoo movement and to the cancel culture of this day and age. However, highlight of the episode is Duckman’s visit to Fluffy and Uranus’s gingerbread house-like home, which inside is stuffed with cutesy material like rainbows and unicorns.

Watch ‘Forbidden Fruit’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 24
To the previous Duckman episode: Noir Gang
To the next Duckman episode: Grandma-ma’s Flatulent Adventure

‘Forbidden Fruit’ is available on the DVD-box ‘Duckman – The Complete Series’

Director: Raymie Muzquiz
Airing Date: January 6, 1996
Stars: Duckman
Rating: ★★★½
Review:

The third season of Duckman opens with an obvious film noir parody filmed in black and white.

It starts with a shot of a drunken Cornfed walking the rainy streets followed by Cornfed’s voice over in a confession to a priest. Cornfed’s voice over alone is full of film noir tropes.

Cornfed’s story involves a Veronica Lake-like “dame” called Tamara La Boinque, who turns the two partners Duckman and Cornfed into rivals. Duckman and Cornfed (in trenchcoats) visit the Casablanca-like nightclub in which she works, where they encounter caricatures of Peter Lorre, Sydney Greenstreet and Humphrey Bogart in their roles in that particular film. When Cornfed unmasks Tamara he throws in references to several other film noir titles.

This episode only features regular stars Duckman and Cornfed. Unfortunately, the comedy relies too heavily on parody, and the episode’s story in itself is hardly interesting. One even gets the feeling the studio could have done more with the film noir theme.

Watch ‘Noir Gang’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 23
To the previous Duckman episode: Clip Job
To the next Duckman episode: Forbidden Fruit

‘Noir Gang’ is available on the DVD-box ‘Duckman – The Complete Series’

Director Tomohiko Itō
Airing of first episode: January 8, 2016
Rating:
 ★★★½
Review:

‘Erased’ (the Japanese title translates as “The Town Where Only I Am Missing”) is an anime miniseries consisting of a mere twelve episodes and telling about young adult Satoru, who’s apparently often transported a few moments back in time to prevent some horrible disaster.

This is a weird concept to start with, especially because it’s never explained nor used consistently during the series. But this is the starting point of the complete series. Anyhow, when a mysterious killer goes rampant, threatening Satoru’s own very existence, he’s suddenly sent back not a few moments back into time, but way back to February 1988, when Satoru was eleven years old. Moreover, Satoru’s transferred to a different place, as well, his childhood hometown of Chiba, near Tokyo.

Satoru, who keeps his adult mind, knows he must do something about his classmate Kayo, a girl who has visible bruises because she’s molested by her mother, but who also is the first victim of a child-abducting serial killer that terrorizes the neighborhood, something Satoru knows beforehand, because he relives the past. He has only a few days to set things right. Will he be able to rescue Kayo and the other children from the clutches of the murderer, this time?

The series thus plays with the wish to go back in time to do things differently than you have had before. Satoru certainly changes the behavior of his eleven-years old self, changing from a rather distant, lonesome child into one who becomes a responsible and valuable friend, discovering the power of friendship along the way.

Now this is the first anime series I’ve seen in its entirety, so to me it’s difficult to assess the series’ value compared to others. In the distant past I’ve seen episodes from ‘Heidi’ (1974), ‘Angie Girl’ (1977-1978), and ‘Candy Candy’ (1975-1979), as well as ‘Battle of the Planet’s (1978-1980), the Americanized version of ‘Gatchaman’, but that’s about it – the only other more recent series I’ve seen is ‘FLCL’ (2000-2001), but I’ve only seen the first couple of episodes, so I cannot judge that series in its entirety.

Nevertheless, ‘Erased’ receives a high rating on IMDb, thus is clearly valued as one of the better series. And I can see why. The series is very good with cliffhangers, and there’s enough suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat most of the time. Moreover, apart from the time travelling and killer plot, there’s a sincere attention to the horrid effects of child abuse. Even better still, the series shows how being open and friendly towards others can make a significant positive change to their lives, as well as to your own. This is a rare and very welcome message, which the series never enforces on the viewer, but shows ‘by example’.

I particularly liked the fact that each episode starts with an intro, which is not an exact recapture of events in the previous episode, but which contains new footage, subtly shedding new light on the events. Nevertheless, ultimately, the thriller plot, which its red herrings, false alarms, and rather unconvincing villain, is less impressive than the subplots on child abuse and friendship.

Indeed, the series’ best parts all play in February-March 1988, not in the present, with the gentle eight episode, ‘Spiral’ forming the series emotional highlight. The creators succeed in giving these school parts an air of nostalgia, as exemplified by the leader of the series, which is intentionally nostalgic, focusing on Satoru’s childhood, before becoming more confused, indicating a lot, without revealing anything. Oddly, the intro is accompanied by neo-alternative guitar rock, suggesting more the early nineties than late 1980s.

Anyhow, when focusing on the relationships between the children the series is at its very best. In fact, I wonder why the creators didn’t make this series without the rather enforced killer plot. In my opinion the series needn’t any, although it certainly accounts for some chilling moments, like when Satoru becomes a victim of child abduction himself…

Unfortunately, the creators of ‘Erased’ are better in building its subplots than ending them. The last three episodes become increasingly unconvincing. They quickly lost me, making me leave the series with a rather sour taste in my mouth. The finale certainly stains the whole series and diminishes its power.

I have difficulties to say something about the design and animation. The animation, typically for television anime, is rather limited, but still looks fine, as does the staging. The character designs and background painting, however, don’t transcend the usual Japanese conventions, and are indeed pretty generic. In that respect, ‘FLCL’, the only other anime series I can say something about, is much more cutting edge.

In all, ‘Erased’ is a gripping series with a very welcome attention to the horrors of child abuse and the benefits of friendship. I’d certainly say it deserves a watch, even if it can turn out a little disappointing one, given the series’ potential.

Watch the trailer for ‘Erased’ and tell me what you think:

‘Erased’ is available on Blu-Ray and DVD

Director: Jeff McGrath
Airing Date: May 8, 1995
Stars: Duckman
Rating: ★★★★★
Review:

Season Two of Duckman lasted only nine episodes, much shorter than the other three (13, 20 and 28 episodes respectively).

The season ends with a “cheater”, a cartoon consisting substantially of existing material. But this is done in a surprisingly sophisticated way, resulting in one of the most “meta” of all Duckman episodes. In fact, even the first scene is a cheater, showing the same footage no less than three times, as Duckman, tied to a hospital bed, tries to remember what happened.

It turns out he’s kidnapped by one Harry Medfly, “currently unemployed TV-critic”, who reveals to Duckman that he’s in fact star of a TV-show, which Medfly finds repulsive. Medfly proves his point by showing short clips from previous episodes, showing Duckman at his most sexist, at his most politically incorrect, at his most inapt as a detective, as most cruel to his employees Cornfed, Fluffy and Uranus, and at his most insensitive to his family. These five series of snippets are very entertaining in themselves, but the framing story is interesting, as well.

Highlight, however, is Medfly’s attempt to kill Duckman by signalling a huge mass of television history through his head. At this stage Duckman changes into several very different television personalities in a very rapid succession of metamorphoses. This is by all means great television animation, topped only by the self-aware dialogue at the finale.

Watch ‘Clip Job’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 22
To the previous Duckman episode: Research and Destroy
To the next Duckman episode: Noir Gang

‘Clip Job’ is available on the DVD-box ‘Duckman – The Complete Series’

Director: John Eng
Airing Date: May 1, 1995
Stars: Duckman
Rating: ★★★
Review:

In this episode Ajax’s English teacher discover that Ajax is a poet. Soon Ajax recites his totally incomprehensible poems to a huge audience at a hip beatnik club called Kolchnik’s.

But then Duckman sells his son away to the ‘Watermark’ company (an obvious parody of Hallmark)… The introduction of the humongous Watermark company is a great little piece of cinema and involves some animated backgrounds, a rare feat since the early 1930s.

‘Research and Destroy’ is one of the most straightforward of all Duckman stories, with a clear story from start to end. Highlight is the screwball image that returns as a running gag throughout the picture, but most interesting is the supercomputer assembling metadata on all customers. In ten years time this would become more than true…

Watch ‘Research and Destroy’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 21
To the previous Duckman episode: In the Nam of the Father
To the next Duckman episode: Clip Job

‘Research and Destroy’ is available on the DVD-box ‘Duckman – The Complete Series’

Director: Norton Virgien
Airing Date: April 24, 1995
Stars: Duckman
Rating: ★★★
Review:

When Cornfed gets a visit from one Ng claiming to be his son, he has to get back to Vietnam to find out the truth. He asks Duckman to come along. Duckman brings his family with him as Cornfed pays for the trip and the family demands a vacation.

While the Duckman family amuses themselves in the war-themed ‘Euro Asia Land’, Cornfed looks hopelessly for his wartime love interest Mai Ling. The Vietnam setting allows for some spoofs on Vietnam films, like ‘Apocalypse Now,’ ‘Forrest Gump’ and ‘Good Morning Vietnam’. Unfortunately, the pace is rather slow and rambling, hampering the flow of the episode.

Fluffy and Uranus have a larger role than normally: when the two cute teddy bears ask for a vacation for themselves after eleven years of hard work, Duckman makes them explode inside a microwave. Yet, later we watch them entertaining Ng by showing him slides, much to Ng’s distress.

This is the first Duckman episode to use a shortened intro, leaving out the introduction of Duckman’s co-stars.

Watch ‘In the Nam of the Father’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 20
To the previous Duckman episode: The Germ Turns
To the next Duckman episode: Research and Destroy

‘In the Nam of the Father’ is available on the DVD-box ‘Duckman – The Complete Series’

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