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  • Duckman – Seasons One & Two

    Posted in: Disc Reviews by Gino Sassani on September 25th, 2008

    Overall
    Film
    Video
    Audio
    Extras
    (out of 5)

    Duckman began life as an underground comic created by Everett Peck. It gathered to itself quite a cult following, and like all such things caught the attention of Hollywood. The USA Network took a chance on the quirky property and cast Seinfeld’s Jason Alexander to voice the crude character. And so Duckman’s wife was killed, and he was forced to rent his own house from his sister-in-law who was left the estate by Duckman’s wife. His life pretty much sucked. Not only was he renting in his own house, but he was also living with his overbearing sister-in-law and his grandma, who basically just sat around and farted all day long. Duckman considered himself an ace private detective and ran an agency with his partner, Cornfed. Cornfed was voiced by Gregg Berger and was a Jack Webb Sgt. Friday clone. He was the actual brains behind the partnership. Crimes either got solved because Cornfed solved them or Duckman literally stumbled into the answer.His conscience would be found in two talking teddy bears he kept at the office, Fluffy and Uranus. Like Kenny on South Park, the bears would often meet grisly demises, only to return again in the next episode as if nothing at all had happened. Women, particularly damsels in distress, were often depicted as large breasted and somewhat dimwitted. Most of the humor was decidedly adult. It was not a cartoon intended for children.

     

    The animation was farmed out to Asian companies and was often a hodgepodge of various styles. There was a determined effort to catch some of the 1940’s style in the backgrounds and props for the show. Characters were often a mix of some animal, known or unknown, and humans. Duckman himself was almost a stick figure. He had a pole for a body, a beak and his eyes existed in his glasses which could be moved in almost any way imaginable. The show aired between 1993 and 1997, never gaining a huge audience but keeping a somewhat cult following. Much of the music was provided by Frank Zappa, and the cartoon certainly followed his offbeat satirical bent. Zappa’s daughter Dweezil was a regular on the series. Zappa died before the show really got going, however, so he was never able to fully appreciate the run.

     

    The show did attract some pretty big names as guest voice cast throughout its run. In these two seasons you’ll hear the likes of Bruce Weitz, Crispin Glover, Mitzi McCall, Jim Cummings, Tim Curry, Andrea Martin, Kevin McBride, John Spencer, Bobcat Goldthwait, John Byner, Terri Garr, John Astin, Denise Miller, Heather Locklear, June Lockhart, James Belushi, Ed Asner, George Kennedy, John Pankow, Ben Stiller and Ed Begley, Jr.

     

     

    Video

    Each episode of Duckman is presented in its original full frame broadcast format. Colors are actually pretty good here, as bizarre as they tend to be. The animation is pretty dark, so there’s not a bright and shiny cartoon palette of colors here. The picture’s as sharp as these crude cartoons allow.

     

    Audio

    The Dolby Digital Mono track reproduces the dialog and odd sound effects just fine. The Zappa tunes are a bit distorted at times.

     

    Special Features

    Pilot Commentary: Jason Alexander and creator Everett Peck offer some tidbits on the pilot episodes. They help you get your footing on the show. Mostly it’s just Jason asking Everett questions.

    What The Hell Are You Starin’ At: This is a half hour total look at the show. Voice cast, Peck, and animation techs talk about the evolution of the series.

    Designing Duckman: The 15 minute feature begins with a lesson on how to draw Duckman. From there the feature looks at who or what Duckman is.

    6 Degrees Of Separation: This is an interactive feature that lets you click on a character and learn all sorts of things about them.

     

    Final  Thoughts

    Duckman is as crude as South Park without being near as funny. Too many of the references are so obvious that it ends up appearing forced. There’s nothing subtle about this mess. I had heard a lot about the show and so was eager to try it out. The experience left me with a feeling of: Huh? Stay away from this show. If you pop a disc in, pretty soon you’ll be asking yourself, “What the Hell are you starin’ at?”

    Posted In: 1.33:1 Fullscreen, Animated, Disc Reviews, Dolby Digital Mono (English), DVD, Paramount, Television

    3 Responses to “Duckman – Seasons One & Two”

    1. Brush Your Beak: 10 Amazing Birds With Teeth : WebEcoist Says:

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    2. Arkadii Says:

      If you think south park is better than duckman than you are an irredeemable waste of carbon.

    3. Michael Durr Says:

      I do have to disagree with my colleague. I love Duckman, it was certainly one of the most underrated cartoons of the 90’s. I did the review for the third & fourth seasons which is also on this site.

      Review
      Recently, I finally picked up a copy of the 1st two seasons at a good price and it is nice to have both sets now.

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