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

Even worse than the disappointing ‘The One with Lisa Kudrow in a Small Role’ is ‘Aged Heat’. With this episode the Duckman series hit rock-bottom.

The whole episode revolves around the age-old trope of a criminal doppelgänger. This time a female criminal called Agnes poses as her lookalike Grandmama, terrorizing the Duckman family. The result is terribly tedious and boring.

It’s a pity the story and its execution are so weak, for John Eng’s direction is admittedly quite interesting. ‘Aged Heat’ can boast some very interesting and off beat camera angles, like the viewpoint from Duckman’s perspective, when Aunt Bernice hits him in the face. Moreover, there’s quite some animated background art, especially during the birthday party scene. Unfortunately this remarkable cinematography cannot rescue the dragging story, which is the least inspired Duckman episode thus far.

Watch ‘Aged Heat’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 36
To the previous Duckman episode: The One with Lisa Kudrow in a Small Role
To the next Duckman episode: They Craved Duckman’s Brain!

‘Aged Heat’ 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: 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: 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: John Eng
Airing Date: March 25, 1995
Stars: Duckman
Rating: ★★½
Review:

In this mediocre Duckman episode a guy named Milo, owner of a rehab clinic for the rich and famous, asks the help of Duckman to find out who wants to murder him.

Unfortunately, the man is killed even before Duckman can start the case. But Duckman isn’t focused anyway, and it’s up to Cornfed to solve the murder mystery, while Duckman gets ravingly mad in rehab.

Duckman behaves more cartoony than ever in this episode, and his hallucinatory ride in which he has visions of food and women forms the highlight of the cartoon. But he’s playing second base this time, for much screen-time is devoted to his assistant Cornfed at his most serious. There’s also some random violence by Duckman on his cutesy-wootsy assistants Fluffy and Uranus.

Watch ‘Days of Whining and Neurosis’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 16
To the previous Duckman episode: Married Alive
To the next Duckman episode: Inherit the Judgement: The Dope’s Trial

‘Days of Whining and Neurosis’ is available on the DVD-box ‘Duckman – The Complete Series’

Director: John Eng
Stars: Duckman
Airing Date: May 28, 1994
Rating: ★★★★★

In what is arguably one of the most inspired Duckman episodes of all, Duckman is the unlikely star of a reality television show called ‘American Dicks’, a spoof on the television series Cops, which first appeared on television in 1989, and still runs.

In this episode Duckman suppossedly is followed by a cameraman with a hand-held camera, which leads to scenes with odd staging, distorted body parts, as Duckman and the others repeatedly talk into the camera, and even animated backgrounds, a rare feat since the early 1930s.

Moreover, the images are more often than not in constant motion, suggesting camera movements and even walking. This is done with such skill that the ‘documentary camera style’ is evoked very convincingly, despite the looney images within them.

This episode is one of the very few episodes in which Duckman veritably is a private detective, even if he turns out to be the worst and most oblivious one around, leaving it to Cornfed to solve the case.

What doesn’t help is that Aunt Bernice interferes with the program when she learns that the audience is predominantly male between the age of 20 and 55. Promptly, she advertises herself as wedding material. During the finale there are even severe closeups of her breasts and buttocks.

Even the kids get their moments in this episode, which is full of great gags, both in visually as in the soundtrack. A true classic.

Watch ‘American Dicks’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 11
To the previous Duckman episode: Cellar Beware
To the next Duckman episode: About Face

‘American Dicks’ is available on the DVD-box ‘Duckman – The Complete Series’

Director: John Eng
Stars: Duckman
Airing Date: April 9, 1994
Rating: ★★★★

‘Gland of Opportunity’ starts with the family being stuck in a long traffic jam on their way to an amusement park, loosely based on Disneyland.

Inside the amusement park, Duckman and his family spend the rest of the day waiting in an overlong line for a roller coaster, but Duckman chickens out just before the ride.

In a rather incomprehensible scene switch he suddenly finds himself in a hospital about to get an andrenoid gland transplant. He goes through with it in the hope to get more courage, and to become more of a role model to his kids.

And indeed, as soon he awakes, and convinces himself he has the gland of a deceased daredevil he becomes a superhero, solving crimes by the dozen and becoming a superstar in now time. But he also is a bad influence on his kids, whom he takes from school to experience ‘the school of life’, which is one long trip around the world. It’s up to Cornfed to restore the situation.

What’s great about ‘Gland of Opportunity’ is that the makers make clear that Duckman’s newborn drive may be originated in a delusion, but that it’s motivated by Duckman’s desire to be respected and admired by his sons. Of course, in the end he utterly fails, but by then we viewers have had a wonderful roller coaster ride of an episode.

Watch ‘Gland of Opportunity’ yourself and tell me what you think:

This is Duckman episode no. 5
To the previous Duckman episode: Psyche
To the next Duckman episode: Ride the High School

‘Gland of Opportunity’ is available on the DVD-box ‘Duckman – The Complete Series’

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