This DuckTales review contains spoilers.
When DuckTales commits to a premise it not only commits with all its heart it digs deep into that heart to mine not just the comedy but all the emotional gut punches it can. In the case of ‘Quack Pack!’, the premise is that the family gets trapped in a sitcom and have to escape. That alone would be enough for most shows but DuckTales isn’t satisfied with just making some jabs at sitcom staples.
It takes those jabs and goes deeper, exposing why they’re even making jokes about them in the first place. It’s all because Donald, while the family was under attack on a now standard adventure, wished that they could just have normal family problems.
This revelation instantly elevated the episode and made me reevaluate everything before it. While I think the jokes on sitcoms did go a little too long they at least helped put a spotlight on something very important to Donald. While some of the time he’s the butt of jokes about his anger, DuckTales has slowly been showing just how dedicated Donald is to protecting his family. Now that Della is back that’s become more and more crucial to him.
When the family tries to convince him to wish away the sitcom world, he refuses. No one gets hurt or captured or lost here. That one especially makes Della react more than anyone else. She knows why Donald is doing this, even if she doesn’t think it’s right.
I love this so much because the “trapped in a sitcom” premise could have been enough for this episode. The dark twist with the audience coming to attack them especially would have been fun and carried it all the way through. Huey could have been the focus and it would be a solid entry in his learning to fly by the seat of his pants instead of focusing on the guidebook.
Instead the show wisely uses it to explore Donald. It reminds us how much humanity this character has and wisely uses Don Cheadle to convey it. Not to say you can’t take Donald seriously with his regular voice but come on, it’s Don Cheadle. Bringing in Goofy was another great device; it lets Donald speak not only with someone his age but a father.
While many will focus on the delightful references to Max (and the fact he took Roxanne to a dance?!?!?!?!?!?) the more important thing here is that these are two characters who can relate to each other. They both get into wacky hijinks but at their core they both care deeply for their kids and family.
Donald wants to be normal. Of course he does, that would be really appealing after the incredibly hard life he’s lead. Goofy however reminds him that every family has their own normal. You don’t have to conform to what society (or sitcoms) thinks of as normal. As long as you’re happy and have people who love you? That’s what matters most. It’s a powerful mission statement for the series that has consistently supported the idea that there’s no one definition of a family. This is just adding to that and it’s beautiful. DuckTales supports all kinds of families; even the weird ones and that final shot of the photo Donald wished for cemented it. The whole family in a giant brawl for their lives. Not typical but it’s normal for them and that’s what matters.
That’s just the main plot! There’s also the absolutely hilarious Pep commercial, the scary yet high-energy action, and of course the little touches of Della remembering her time on the moon.
“Take it easy, honey. Back on the moon I used to snap to. Although that was because of soul crushing loneliness.”
I have a feeling there’s going to be a deeper exploration of Della’s psyche in the future and I have no doubt that if it happens it will be spectacular.
DuckTales is back in full force and the next new episode can’t come soon enough. The world needs it now.
DuckTales Quotes To Make Your Life Better
– “Since when have you been a hair stylist?”
“Since the internet!”
– “Did I put too much pressure on you about this photo shoot?”
“No, I’m stressed because the veil of reality is disintegrating!”
-“Everyone, stop catchphrasing!”
“I’m trying. Self esteem. Too low. Disapproval. My only weakness.”
-“Magic’s got nothing over the power of a big name guest star.”