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Recap / Duck Tales S 1 E 12 Top Duck

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Launchpad is a bundle of nerves when it turns out that his family are arriving for the air show in Duckburg. Meanwhile, the Beagle Boys are chomping at the bit to get ahold of Scrooge's new plane, the McX and rob his money bin.

This episode includes examples of the following tropes:

  • Anti-Climactic Parent: The ordinarily relaxed Launchpad becomes absolutely desperate to have some way to show off for his parents when he hears they're coming into town, which might suggest they're super-critical...but it turns out they're already quite proud of their son, who has spent years freaking out unnecessarily.
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  • Beyond the Impossible: The story opens with Launchpad attempting a stunt that Huey claims no pilot has ever survived. Not only does Launchpad survive the botched attempt, but also he goes on to perform the stunt to save Scrooge from falling out of the sky during an aerial battle with the Beagle Boys.
  • Bubble Gum Popping: Loopy, as part of her Valley Girl personality, is shown blowing up bubbles, including a giant one that bursts apart while she's flying. Her bubble gum comes in handy too for making repairs.
  • Captain Crash: As ever, Launchpad is this, but he reveals he fears this is a source of shame for his parents. Birdy's photos show he's been crashing in all sorts of ways his entire life, including his first soapbox racer and even out of a high chair.
  • Cool Plane: The McX.
  • Crisis Makes Perfect: Launchpad (unsurprisingly) crashes spectacularly the first time he attempts the "Triple Decker Treetop Bebop Tuck and Roll". At the episode's end, he manages it to save Scrooge and catch the Beagle Boys trying to rob the Money Bin.
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  • Cry into Chest: During the flashback, Birdy tearfully buries her face in Ripcord's chest as Launchpad leaves home.
  • Determinator: Birdy notes that Launchpad has been crashing since before he could even walk and never let it get in the way of his dream of becoming a pilot.
  • Doting Parent: Birdy keeps a walletful of photos of her son, which she shows to Scrooge.
  • Genius Ditz: Launchpad's little sister Loopy, despite her initial ditzy qualities, is a pretty capable pilot and mechanic.
  • Happily Married: Ripcord and Birdy, Launchpad's father and mother, seem to be happy together. They've been married long enough to have (mostly) grown children and (as seen in the flashback) comfort one another during hard times.
  • Head Desk: Launchpad is upset over crashing during an air show and begins banging his head on his plane, stopping only to lament his mother and father seeing him do it. Then Louie adds that his sister also saw it. Launchpad goes back to head-banging and Dewey gives Louie a Dope Slap.
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  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Scrooge calls Launchpad, "a chip off the old propeller ."
  • Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Launchpad's father Ripcord is bigger and more muscular than his son, whereas Birdy is only half the height of her husband.
  • I'll Be Your Best Friend: When Launchpad is begging Scrooge to let him pilot the McX, Scrooge points out in response to the pilot saying he'll do anything that Scrooge doesn't have a notable lack of anything. With no other course of action left, Launchpad offers to be his best friend, or not bother him again ever, as long as he can fly the plane.
  • One Side of the Story: Launchpad becomes nervous because he's supposed to be flying in an air show which his parents and sister are also supposed to attend. He's afraid that they see him as an embarrassment due to his tendency to crash planes when they're actually proud of him for never giving up despite it. When they finally meet, Launchpad beats himself up verbally without letting his family speak. He's in the middle of doing it again when his father holds his beak shut long enough to tell him how proud they are of him.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: When the relaxed and even cocky Launchpad becomes a bundle of nerves at the news that his family is visiting, it's a major sign of the drama about to commence. Interestingly, this is a case of the sudden change in character being uncalled for, as Launchpad's family is nowhere near as judgmental of him as he thinks.
  • Rapid-Fire Interrupting: Ripcord and Birdy keep trying to tell Launchpad that they're not ashamed of him, but he keeps interrupting them...until the end of the episode.
    Ripcord: Launchpad, these things just happen.
    Launchpad: To me, over and over and over again. I know!
    Birdy: Oh, but Launchpad, we —
    Launchpad: I know, I know. You're ashamed and embarrassed to be seen with me.
    Ripcord: Launchpad, you've got to stop —
    Launchpad: Crashing! I know, I know! But the ground and I are like two irresistible forces, destined to keep meeting again and again.
  • The Runaway: According to the account he tells the triplets, Launchpad left home as a teenager, convinced his crashing shamed his family and not wanting to drag them down with him. Unlike some instances of the trope, his parents knew he was leaving and didn't want him to do so; they just couldn't talk him out of it.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sky Heist: The Beagle Boys steal a new Cool Plane that Scrooge is introducing and plan to use it to vacuum up the contents of the Money Bin. The plan went awry because they happened to act while Launchpad's family was visiting.
  • Smack on the Back: Ripcord slaps Scrooge playfully on the back. Given that Ripcord is a Top-Heavy Guy, it nearly knocks Scrooge over.
  • So Proud of You: Launchpad's family finally gets the chance to tell Launchpad how not-ashamed of him they are at the episode's end.
    Ripcord: Launchpad, will ya shut your beak and listen to me for just one minute? I'm so proud of ya, I'm about to explode. But you never give me the chance to say so.
    Launchpad: R-r-really? You're not just saying that?
    Birdy: Oh, we're all proud of you, Launchpad.
  • Tears of Joy: When his family finally manages to get across that they are not ashamed of, and are in fact very proud of him, Launchpad starts chuckling with a few tears running down his face at the same time.
  • Valley Girl: Played With. While she does use the lingo (see So Proud of You), Loopy's voice sounds less "valley girl" and more British.
  • "Well Done, Son!" Guy: Launchpad thinks that his parents are ashamed of him for messing up a performance when he was a teenager and for all the crashing he does. (In fairness, it's easy to be intimidated when your father's a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of John Wayne!) He wants to show them he's a real McQuack. However, he learns that his parents actually couldn't be prouder of him.
  • You Fool!: Big Time isn't happy that his brothers left him behind in jail and botched up the plan without his supervision.
    Big Time: Yeah! And great flying, Bomber. You airhead!