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YMMV / DuckTales (1987)

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  • Adaptation Displacement: Depends on where you live. For Europeans, the various comics are still greatly loved to this day, with the 1987 DuckTales series being less popular than its inspiration in most countries (and in France, barely known). In the United States, the comics are very much obscure, with many Disney fans in the region being unfamiliar with them if they even know they exist, but they are still classics to comic fans to this day. It's to the point where the 2017 series was criticized by some fans for seemingly random additions that were really attempts to restore aspects of the comics that were removed in the 1987 series.
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  • Adorkable: Launchpad is somewhat awkward and accident-prone, and also boundlessly enthusiastic and good-natured. He's a favorite with a lot of people, in and out of universe.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • In "Metal Attraction", is Gandra an ungrateful bitch for not thanking Fenton for the lengths he goes to make her happy, or she is justified in complaining that he is overdoing it or are her complaints justified but she could have explained more clearly to Fenton why it was upsetting her?
    • Was Gandra despising Fenton because filming her for the Pep commercial ruined her reputation in "The Big Flub" uncalled for, or did she have every right to be angry at her boyfriend because of the town's backlash to a product that Fenton didn't bother to test before releasing? It's worth remembering that Gandra is a Flat Character and a very unpopular one while Fenton is a fan-favorite and far more complex and nuanced, so the audience tends to side with him, even when he's clearly on the wrong.
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    • Is Launchpad a bad pilot, a good pilot who can't land straight, or a good pilot who has a weird idea of personal style? Fans of the show all over the internet (or even This Very Wiki) will tell you different things, often depending on whether they're using a Watsonian or Doylist explanation.
    • In "Armstrong", did the eponymous robot take advantage of the triplets' statement that he's "the best friend a kid could ever have" to hurt Launchpad for no reason, or was he trying to drive away one of the only people who could potentially pose a threat to his takeover plans?
  • Alternative Joke Interpretation: In "Duck in the Iron Mask", Launchpad takes offense only to "knaves", the last insult in Ray's list. Is this simply a case of interpreting an unfamiliar word negatively or did Launchpad know what it meant and objected more to a knock on his and the others' character than one on their intelligence?
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  • And You Thought It Would Fail: Seen by critics as a huge, expensive folly that would cost Disney millions with very little reward. As happened once before, they were so very wrong.
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • Despite being ditched by not one but two parental figures (Donald and their mother, whatever happened to her) Huey, Dewey and Louie barely have an angsty moment between them.
    • In general, the heroes tend to recover from being terrified, captured, and/or almost killed rather rapidly, regardless of how much the situation freaked them out while it was happening.
  • Awesome Art: The first season in particular has some of the best traditional animation ever put on television.
  • Awesome Music:
    • Mark Mueller's theme song as performed by Jeff Pescetto, with the "wah-wah" guitar effects and that incredible chorus. ("DuckTales! Woo-oo!")
    • Pretty much the entire instrumental score, rich with leitmotifs and themes that uplift and inspire. Pay any attention to the music, particularly during the "Treasure of the Golden Suns" five-parter, and it becomes apparent how much love Ron Jones poured into scoring this series. It's a positive tragedy that, to this day, Disney Records still hasn't released the BGM to the public on a CD collection. It's perhaps an even more appalling tragedy that even among DuckTales fans, those who pay enough attention to the score to merit a CD release comprise a very small pocket fandom.
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Fenton/Gizmoduck is an interesting case since the love/hate reactions he gets often stem from whether a fan encountered him first on DuckTales or Darkwing Duck. For fans who watched the former first, he's often an Ensemble Dark Horse as shown below on this very page. For fans who met him when he cameoed alongside St. Canard's resident vigilante hero, he's often not nearly so well-liked. But then, if these second group of fans goes back and retroactively watches DuckTales, they often warm up to Fenton/Giz after seeing him fleshed out with a real backstory other than just DW's Smug Super rival. See Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
    • Webby. Some hate her for her Tastes Like Diabetes tendencies and find her to be a Damsel Scrappy and terrible role model for the show's young female audience members when compared to Huey, Dewey and Louie. Others find her adorable and like how she subverts the Real Women Don't Wear Dresses trope by managing to be extremely feminine and still getting to adventure and save the day on occasion. The base just can't decide, even to this day. It didn't help that she was designed and animated to look the same age as the nephews but was probably meant to be much younger, justifying some of her worse moments.
    • Some fans consider Doofus Drake annoying and would have been glad not to see him in the show; others think he's cute, sympathize with his tendency to get bullied and insulted (the latter sometimes even by the triplets and Webby), and enjoy his hero worshipping Intergenerational Friendship with Launchpad.
  • Broken Base:
    • Some fans feel that season two was inferior to the first and that it had weaker animation and missed the adventure stories that made up season one. Others felt that the second season was just as strong as the first, if not even better.
    • The show itself causes this among those who know of the Carl Barks comics. Some view it as a bastardization of its source material, while others, while not necessarily finding it a good adaptation, find it a good show when taken on its own merits.
  • Canon Fodder: Just what the heck happened with the triplets' Missing Mom and Disappeared Dad anyway? In the comics we know they've passed awaynote , but it's never made clear in the show itself.
    • Scrooge dusting off the cape (or at least buying a new one) and returning as the Masked Mallard is very popular in Fan Art and Fan Fic alike.
  • Crack Pairing: Scrooge/Fenton. Heck, it's even called McCrack.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Launchpad, who later went on to become Darkwing Duck's sidekick. If you look at internet stuff about DuckTales, chances are you'll see at least one fan talking about how funny or how sweet he is. (Ironically, when Launchpad started appearing in non-''DuckTales'' related comics, he was poorly received by comic readers and accused of being an unnecessary carbon copy of Donald.note )
    • Glittering Goldie, who appeared in a handful of episodes despite only appearing in one Carl Barks story. Rosa also padded out the character a lot in comics that mostly came after the show, including his epic masterpiece.
    • Gizmoduck, plain and simple. He turned from an accountant into the most powerful array of mechanical components and accessories who is a bodyguard and security guard for Scrooge, as well as a superhero in Duckburg, and even went on to help Darkwing Duck protect St. Canard.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Magica De Spell, Circe, Cinnamon Teal, Feathers Galore, and Boom-Boom Beagle.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Since he was so poorly received and then rarely appeared again after his debut episodes, many fans will either ignore or just honestly forget Bubba's existence till someone reminds them he's still supposed to be part of the McDuck household.
  • Foe Yay:
    • Scrooge and Magica de Spell.
    • Also Scrooge and Ma Beagle. The episode "The Bride Wore Stripes", in which Ma fakes a marriage to Scrooge for monetary reasons and temporarily starts to like the idea of being with him may have had something to do with that.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Many DuckTales and Darkwing Duck fans are pretty friendly with each other's fandoms. It probably helps that the shows shared at least two characters and were often interpreted as happening in the same universe.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: In "Super DuckTales", when Scrooge loses his fortune, Launchpad - despite no longer being employed by him - still sticks loyally by Scrooge, even letting him crash in his home. This is even more touching given that in "Down and Out In Duckburg," a previous instance of Scrooge temporarily losing his money, he was quite convinced Launchpad wouldn't give him the time of day. This sentiment is repeated in The Movie, where he, Mrs Beakley and Duckworth all stick by Scrooge in spite of his fortune being magically and legally taken from him.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: has its own page.
  • Memetic Badass: Scrooge seems pretty strong to be able to swim through a pile of gold coins.
  • Memetic Mutation:
  • Moe: Webby was designed as extremely cute, with a higher-pitched voice and big eyes, as well as a cheerful, sweet and (mostly) innocent personality.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • The Beagle Boys mainly resort to burglary and thievery throughout the show, and don't really harm anyonenote . However, they cross this line BIG time in the series finale, "The Golden Goose," when they turn Huey, Dewey, and Louie into golden statues, essentially killing them... though the effect is reversed at the end of the episode. They get their comeuppance when they suffer the same fate, and it's their own fault it happens no less.
    • Fritter O'Way in "Down and Out in Duckburg" was already a Jerkass; but once he discovers that Scrooge can get his fortune back, he goes to where he and the others are at and opens fire on them with a rifle intent on killing them or sinking their ship.
  • Older Than They Think: The reason the show resembles Indiana Jones is because the Indiana Jones films were partially inspired by Carl Barks' Uncle Scrooge comics (as admitted by Steven Spielberg).
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: As said above, Fenton/Gizmoduck for those who disliked him in Darkwing Duck but then met him again in DuckTales.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Bubba the Cave Duck and Tootsie the Triceratops are viewed as unnecessary and unwelcome additions to the primary cast. Their ever-increasing time in the spotlight in later episodes didn't help (Or Bubba's, rather. Tootsie completely disappeared after a few early appearances). This is so bad that Bubba was Put on a Bus shortly after starring in a few episodes.
    • Gandra Dee is not particularly well-liked, mostly due to being a Flat Character and Satellite Love Interest for Fenton - not to mention the hate she gets from Fenton's fans for being insensitive to him.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: As much of a classic the show is; it has not aged well, especially in comparison to other Disney afternoon shows. Most of the cast is completely flat and a lot of episodes have very simple plots. It can seem especially basic if you were exposed to either the comics or the reboot first.
  • Signature Scene: Scrooge diving into his money bin in the opening, a thing many a 90s kid wanted to do their whole lives.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: The theme song, especially the bassline, very similar to Hall & Oates' You Make My Dreams Come True.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Half of Webby's appearances are accompanied by music of this kind.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Three of them, in fact, in the form of Launchpad's loving family. Ripcord, Birdie and Loopy McQuack are very well liked and fondly remembered despite only appearing once in the episode "Top Duck" (with Ripcord and Loopy getting a non-speaking cameo in "Til Nephews Do Us Part"). Fans requested they make another appearance, but all they got was a cameo in the Darkwing Duck episode "U.F. Foe."
    • In "Till Nephews Do Us Part", Duckworth, Mrs. Beakley, Gyro, and Launchpad appear in the episode, but only to set up jokes or in bit roles. Given how close they are to Scrooge and the kids, one would think the triplets and Webby might have enlisted their help to get Millionaira to show her true colors rather than trying to do it all themselves.
  • Toy Ship:
    • There's some fanfiction pairing Webby with one of the three nephews. Of course, in canon, her romantic life is never settled, barring one episode showing a potential future where she ends up Happily Married to Doofus Drake.
    • Also: Crossover Ship. You'd be surprised how much fanfiction there is pairing one of the boys, usually Louie, with Gosalyn Mallard.
  • Ugly Cute: Bubba is this for his few fans.
  • Uncanny Valley: This happened few times when the animators tried to make some of the background dogs easier on the eye by downplaying their canine traits and upping their human ones. The results were pretty creepy, especially alongside the very cartoonish regulars.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Scrooge in Time Is Money. Yes, he was somewhat harsh on Bubba (who is just a kid and totally unfamiliar with a number of things in modern-day Duckburg), but Bubba's actions were very destructive, even if it was unintentional.
  • What an Idiot!: With one hundred episodes and a movie, most members of the cast had their moments. One example would be Huey, Dewey and Louie becoming convinced Launchpad was Gizmoduck (despite having seen the two together many times).
  • The Woobie:
    • Webby, so very much. Even though the boys allow her around and demonstrate that they really do care about her (sometimes), they often brush her off when she wants to join their project-of-the-week. As noted above, it's suggested that she's supposed to be a few years younger than they are, so they sort of view her as an honorary Annoying Younger Sibling; however, given that they're really the only friends she's shown to have, this probably leaves her feeling lonely much of the time.
    • Fenton Crackshell is extraordinarily good at counting, and he does become the super hero Gizmoduck. But he also has a big case of bad luck and a tendency to screw things up, and he's beaten up by the Beagles four times in one episode alone. He lives with his trailer trash mother, who often cares more about watching TV than listening to what her only son had to say. There's also his relationship with girlfriend Gandra Dee, who is frequently ungrateful or cold-hearted towards him. Of course, we're still talking about a relatively light-hearted cartoon, and plenty of this is played for laughs. But the poor guy deserves all of the breaks that he could ever catch...
    • The show carefully avoids drawing attention to this, but Huey, Dewey, and Louie were already orphaned by their biological parents when Donald decides to up and abandon them to the care of his elderly, disinterested, and somewhat self-absorbed uncle in order to return to his career in the Navy. Glimpses of the future suggest that he never returns to them, and over time he stops being mentioned at all. Luckily, Scrooge quickly warms to the kids and does his level best to be a good caregiver; still, that's a pretty horrifying back story.
    • Doofus Drake. While he's typically used as comic relief, what the show reveals about his life isn't very positive. On top of being saddled with a cruel name, he's bullied at school by the Beagle Boys' younger brother and out of it by the Junior Woodchucks. Even Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby aren't above taking digs at him and don't seem to really like him, despite letting him hang around; only Launchpad seems genuinely attached to the poor kid.
    • Launchpad. While some of Scrooge's vitriol comes from his more destructive aspects, he also sometimes treats him harshly due to being in a bad mood, even though Launchpad might have done nothing to justify the behavior. Furthermore, despite his apparently confident manner, the pilot has a severe insecurity complex regarding being good enough. This led to him running away from home in his teens and freaking out the first time he saw his parents again, because all he could focus on was how ashamed he believed they were. It also gives a sadder undertone to occasions in the series when he feels in danger of being replacednote .
    • Scrooge himself is pretty woobie-ish. True, he's short-tempered and greedy, but the series demonstrates he wasn't always that way — he became more cynical and Anti-Hero-ish to deal with the things that happened to him while trying to make his way in a strange country on his own. By the start of the series, he's learned the lesson he can't trust anyone so well he even wonders whether his own family and friends/employees (who clearly love him) sincerely care about him or are just making nice because he's rich.
  • Woolseyism: The Italian dub reminds everyone that Magica is not only Italian but from Naples by having her dubbed with a heavy Neapolitan accent, rather than a vaguely Eastern European as the one used by June Foray.
    • In "The Big Flub", Gandra declares that after what happened she is the most hated television personality since "J.R. Mooing". The Italian dub changes the reference and removes the spoof name by having her mentioning Alexis from Dynasty (1981) instead.


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