Saturday, January 05, 2008

"Either You're Babbling, Or You Just Told Me in Cherokee That My Scrotum is Many-Colored."

Duckman to DVD? Really? Truly? Hopefully. The linked article by Susanne Ault says among other things that this is a response to heavy fan demand and that "it’s possible that multiple seasons will be released within one package next year."

The first two seasons of Duckman were both 13 episodes, so the first two seasons would make a much better package than the first season alone.

Update: Everett Peck, creator of the Duckman comic, says that there will be some special features on the DVD but he doesn't know what as yet. I hope they talk to the showrunners, Reno and Osborn (rather than to Klasky and Csupo, who apparently didn't like the show).

Also I was wrong about the episode count: season 1 was 13 episodes but season 2 was only 9, so the first set will have 22 episodes.

Of all the Simpsons-wannabe cartoons that proliferated between The Simpsons and King of the Hill ("Simpsons-wannabe," by the way, is an accusation that Cornfed once leveled at Duckman), this is my favorite. It had its flaws; it could be too preachy, some of the jokes had a punchline-y rhythm more appropriate for a multi-camera sitcom, and the design style of the show was not particularly pleasant to look at. But the virtues it had were much more important: a great voice cast, wordy, funny scripts from a team of writers led by Jeff Reno and Ron Osborn (as writer-producers on Moonlighting, they brought a similar style of mile-a-minute dialogue to this other show about detectives), and an ability to tell the most insane and tasteless stories without losing sight of plot or characterization. There's never been a show quite like it; lots of animated half-hour sitcoms have done crazy plots, but this one had a certain internal logic to its craziness -- it was like no matter how crazy it got, the writers were still kind of committed to the stories they were telling, and the craziest episodes could be surprisingly touching in spots.

This being CBS/Paramount, I assume there will be music cuts, though I don't recall this show using a lot of music. The first season credited Frank Zappa with some of the scoring (his son Dweezil was a voice on the show, and Zappa worked on some of the music before he died), so that might or might not be a problem.

Footnote # 1: a few of the early Duckman plots were recycled from other shows. Specifically: in the first season, one episode is based on the episode of Taxi where Alex falls in love with a sensitive-sounding phone operator, and in the second season, an episode lifts its plot setup from the episode of Moonlighting where Whoopi Goldberg became a national hero for accidentally foiling a political assassination.

Footnote # 2: Duckman ran on the USA Network in a block with two similarly-constituted seasons of Weird Science; as you know, I like both series, but the shows had almost nothing in common and were probably the most incompatible comedy block of the era; Duckman's second season finale had King Chicken trying to kill the casts of both shows together, explaining that "USA won't allow one show to do anything without the other, so I'll just kill you all and we'll rerun Silk Stalkings."

The clip show, from season 2 with Ben Stiller as the guest voice, serves as a decent introduction to the show:



5 comments:

Mr. Semaj said...

I'm glad that this is finally coming out on DVD. I don't think we'll ever get a show like Duckman again. And it's a shame it's lived in obscurity, because it was one of the funniest shows ever.

Thad said...

Well that was... interesting.

Michael Jones said...

I'd forgotten about Fluffy & Uranus. Now I know where Happy Tree Friends got their inspiration.
Looking forward to a compilation...

DrBear said...

Cornfed should have had his own show.

Anonymous said...

Talk about coincidence: I was just watching the first episode of season 3 ("noir gang") and thinking what crappy quality my downloaded MPEGs were, when I googled the "Simpsons wannabe" quote and found this good news of just a few days old. Smashing!