Have you ever watched Quack Pack? I mean REALLY watched Quack Pack? It was only on for one season in 1996 and I don’t remember it at all, even though I was and am an avid Disney afternoon fan. Turns out 1996 was my first year of college and I was busy trying to do first year of college things. But I digress.
DuckTales occasionally strays into some really disturbing and horrifying territory (mostly in Magica episodes) and I am always here for it. Season 3 episode 2, “Quack Pack” is an ode to aggressively 90s sitcoms like Full House, and the also aggressively 90’s DuckTales spinoff, “Quack Pack” (no really, at one point Louie literally exclaims “Extreme!”)
Turns out that none of this is real, of course, and Huey is the first one to notice and be appropriately terrified by the reality distortion. Alternatively, Dewey is the last one to let go of the illusion because he’s Dewey and receiving laughter and applause whenever he does anything is the closest he’ll get to a perfect world. Louie is barely engaged because he’s Louie’s motto is if we ain’t talkin money then what we talkin bout.
ONe of DuckTales selling points is cameos from characters from other Disney Cartoons, and this episode has a literal celebrity cameo, Goofy, Goof Troop Goofy, father of Max. He’s there to provide some surprisingly solid advice about how to manage a chaotic family, and to boost ratings. The audience goes wild when he appears, because that’s what live audiences did back then. If you’ve watched enough sitcoms then you’ll recognize that this episode hits every 90s sitcom beat. This makes sense because not only was Quack Pack a 90s cartoon, the Ducktales Movie was released in 1990 which is relevant because…
Shabooey! Turns out this whole wacky misadventure happens courtesy of Gene, the genie from the Ducktales movie. Donald just wanted to have a nice normal life, and happened to find Gene’s lamp. It’s been established by now that Donald is extremely risk-averse, but he wasn’t always this way. Della’s disappearance changed him, and he lost that adventuring spirit his family is known for. He just wants them all to be safe because he doesn’t ever want to go through something like that again. It’s his biggest fear, and the source of his strength. Understandable. Speaking of understandable, Donald is voiced by Don Cheadle because the one thing he’s always wanted is to be understood.
The highlight of this episode for me is when they break the fourth wall and see that the audience are… humans! Not just people, crazed, twitchy, Japanese ghost-like humans. They have huge eyes and giant mouths and they do not like the direction the show has taken. The DuckTales gang lose their collective shit because this has never been their normal (but oddly in Quack Pack they did co-exist with humans.) The humans are really creepy but our gang soon recovers and handles their business. I don’t think we’ll ever see the carefree young Donald (not even awesome grunge Donald) but it will be interesting to see if he loosens up some from here.
Really good episode, I give it 4 Lucky Dimes out of five.
JWC lines of the show: “A third thing!” – Della, referencing the rule of three in comedy
“Everyone stop catchphrasing!” – Huey
JWC trivia: Sooooo many references, most of which I already noted. Something I missed from last season though, Della and Dewey sing “Stand Out,” one of Powerline’s songs from “A Goofy Movie.”
Also more of an opinion than anything, I prefer Coo Coo Cola to Pep.
Coolest detail: When Dewey dances up the stairs after his “Dew-ble Entendre” he doesn’t go upstairs all the way; he goes offstage because that set obviously didn’t have a second floor.