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I've always enjoyed animated ducks for some reason: Duck Tales,
Darkwing Duck, Daffy Duck, Donald Duck. Though none of them are as
deranged as Duckman. Originally broadcast between 1994 and 1997 Duckman
lasted for a total 70 episodes but could easily have gone on forever
without becoming stale.
The titular character is a discombobulated, unapologetic slob and pretty much the worst living person in the world. He's a private detective, a widower, a peeping tom, an alcoholic, a sex maniac, a murderer, a (fill in the blank). You name it, Duckman has done it. But who can blame him for being such a slimeball when the world he/we live in is so insane, outrageous and just plain nonsensical? Eric Tiberius Duckman(voiced by the maniacal Jason Alexander) could carry the whole show by himself but when he's surrounded by a bunch of eccentric supporting characters you just know that trouble is just waiting to explode at every opportunity. My favorite has to be Willibald Feivel Cornfed (or just Cornfed Pig), Duckman's incredibly deadpan sidekick who is seemingly talented and highly skilled at everything and is perpetually oblivious to his partner's infinity of vices and incompetence.
The typical plot will involve some bizarre case he'll inevitably blunder through or will revolve around his highly dysfunctional household, though every now and again Duckman's arch-enemy King Chicken (Tim Curry), a sort of Professor Moriarty in fowl form, hatches some diabolical scheme in revenge for being bullied in high school.
Since I was a teenager this has been my absolute favorite animated show, better than The Simpsons, Family Guy and even King of the Hill. Nothing will ever surpass it. There never was, or will be, anything quite like Duckman ever again. The level of satire, observational humor and writing is so sharp it's deadly and the animation is done in that unique Klasky/Csupo style (anyone who has seen Rugrats will understand). It's a wonderful, highly imaginative and wild world and all with a noirish, 1940s feel.
You can never have too much of this particular bird.
Yep, that's what they did. Back in 2001, when they had their 'Top 100
Cartoon Shows of All Time' list, somebody seemed to have forgotten about
this gem. They put 'Scooby's All-Star Laff-A Lympics' on their list, but
left out 'Duckman'?! Give me a break! Jason Alexander ('George Constanza'
Seinfeld) voiced the fool out of Duckman, and was superb! Alas,
unfortunately, it was taken off the air too soon. Loved the ep where an
escaped prisoner, who looked exactly like Grandma (and sounded like a
heavily-voiced man), forcibly kissed Duckman because she hadn't had a man
for a long time since she had been in prison, and said, "Hm! Not bad!"
(while Duckman was choking like a mad duck, and wiping his mouth), I
I was going to fall out of my seat because I was laughing so
Cornfed Pig, the Jack Webb-sounding partner was just as hilarious as he was constantly saving Duckman's hide! Would somebody *please* do this cartoon justice by acknowledging it?!
That's the best way to describe it. Since 1997, cartoon fans have had to put
up with overexposure to loathesome shows like (newer) Rugrats, The Wild
Thornberrys, Rocket Power, and As Told By Ginger. Ironically, all four are
from Klasky-Csupo, and are currently airing on Nickelodeon. Apparently,
neither give a damn about making good cartoons anymore.
K-C wasn't always bad. One of it's good cartoons were Duckman, and possibly one of the funniest ever. It's artwork is so-so, but the writing is brilliant. During its 3-year run, almost every joke in every episode was funny & upbeat. Much of its humor was adult-oriented, but it has some suitable for teens as well. Duckman was sort of 'Ren & Stimpy meets The Simpsons', and was about as good as both during its time. But because it couldn't quite measure up to their successes, USA cancelled Duckman in 1997 after 70 episodes, with a cliffhanger which remains unsolved.
Still, Duckman was one of the true Turkish Delights of the animation renaissance. I like to look back on this when Klasky-Csupo is still jamming their Four Fiendish Follies down everybody's throats. I recommend Duckman to be seen by kids & adults of all ages.
Duckman was a show that used to be on during the last hour or so before
it was time to sleep about ten or so years ago. It was a contrast to a
lot of the kid-type of animation I was watching at the time; I was
still a minor junkie for Disney and Looney Tunes stuff, and most
Saturday morning cartoons were still on the run-off of the peak from
the days of Ninja Turtles and Batman. But also around this time I began
to recognize that the more raunchy, mature, surreal, obscene, and
(though I didn't know the term at the time) satirical cartoon shows
were more creative than the stuff I was used to. Around the time of
Beavis and Butt-head, Ren and Stimpy, and even The Maxx were hitting TV
sets via MTV, USA put out two shows- one of them was Weird Science, and
the other was Duckman. I've always remembered a few key bits from the
show, and some of the lines are very quotable to those who haven't
forgotten it completely. Luckily, I found a tape recently with about
six episodes I taped long ago, and the jokes stayed very fresh. And the
delivery of the jokes are rapid-fire a lot of the time in the better
In the voice department, the choices in talent are top notch for the story-lines, which are usually just an excuse for crude, fascinating parodies of pop-culture, politics, movies and TV shows, music, detective mysteries, and the dysfunctional family unit. Jason Alexander is a wonderful choice for Duckman, and his performance is a comedic 180 from his days on Seinfeld (even if there might be some similar characteristics here and there). Also, the voices of Gregg Berger as the unmistakably monotoned and deadpan Cornfed, Dweezil Zappa as the hilariously inept Ajax, and Nancy Travis as the sex-starved, obnoxious Sister-in-Law Bernice, all contribute in a full amount. Along with some great writing - even when a joke isn't sure-fire, the wit behind it compensates - the animation style, while a far cry from some of the refurbished, computer-enhanced product of today, is inventive and often abstract. It has that home-made, gritty quality that Beavis and Butt-head or South Park would later have. And, like those shows, if you're a little kid, I mean little as in younger than I was watching the show, you may not understand most of the jokes (i.e. there are enough stripper and VD references to fill two shows sometimes). But it's inventive to catch if it's on TV late at night, and it functions rather well in that time slot. One can only hope for a DVD box set.
So, to no one who's barely or even never heard of this program, here's a general note: think of this show as if Dashiell Hammett met up with Walt Disney and decided to go to slum part of Vegas with a free mini-bar and make a collaboration in the vein of Luis Bunuel and The Simpsons combined. Not to mention, it's by the group that did Rugrats.(strong) A
Perhaps the deepest cartoon made in the USA, "Duckman" runs short at 70
episodes in four seasons.
Unlike the often innocuous criticism found in "The Simpsons" (a pretty good show in its own right), and the rude-for-rudeness-sake humour in "South Park," every bit of this series follows a plan. The criticism of US society, from its mercantilism to its selfishness, carries much more bite than it does in any other animated series.
The cultural references in "Duckman" also tend to be obscure sometimes (anyone browsing the fan sites will realize most have not even been caught). In that, it is different from "The Simpsons," which usually uses pop culture instead of the high-brow stuff often hidden in "Duckman." As other people writing about it notice, there is a growth in the characters (Bernice, Duckman and Cornfed). Also, by making the main character not just an offensive neurotic but in fact someone who is living a personal tragedy (as is made clear in episodes like "The Once and Future Duck" ('You'll love her until the end of your days...') and in "Bev Takes a Holiday" (when he takes a chance to tell Beverly all those things he couldn't tell Beatrice), the series is anchored in a deep sense of reality.
One can't avoid feeling sorry for him and his lucid madness.
All in all, in my opinion, the best cartoon ever made in the USA and one of the best series ever. I doubt it will ever be on DVD though. Far too many things the Duck said make much more sense today.
How could this show have been cancelled? It was one of the funniest and most clever shows on cable. This was a great show and deserved a longer time on the air. The series was as funny as The Simpsons and as gross as South Park (that's not a bad thing). I'm so glad Comedy Central has started to air the old episodes.
A great show. Knew no bounds (like a few other animated joints about
the place) and always served up a laugh.
Produced by two of the same crew, Klasky and Csupo, responsible for the first few seasons of The Simpsons.
Sarcastic, cynical yet strangely warm and welcoming. The familiar voice of Jason Alexander lent the perfect pitch to the often ranting, hapless, underdog, anti-hero title character, Duckman. Not exactly 'nice' viewing however, this is a result of the blunt style and content of writing, which incorporates more reality than schmaltz.
If you spot it on your program guide, cancel whatever you have organized and give it a look.
There may be those who may not like the humour, but for me this is one
of the best animated shows ever. It is crude yes, so was Rocko's Modern
Life, but it is extremely funny, clever and intelligent.
The animation is very unique in style and just wonderful to watch. I just love the backgrounds and colours and the character designs are very interesting. The music is also excellent, and even better is the writing which is so brilliant and so sharp I can't stop laughing. The stories are also outstanding, as are the characters. Eric Duckman is a triumph of a title character, he isn't sophisticated but rude and ignorant yet has a wit and charm about him. Cornfred, Ajax and Mambo are also wonderful and even King Chicken(voiced by an unrecognisable Tim Curry) is a hoot. And the voice acting especially from Jason Alexander(who is funny rather than annoying, not him in person but he has done some annoying characters) is superb.
In conclusion, one brilliant show. 10/10 Bethany Cox
I remember seeing a comment in TV section of one of the broadsheet UK
newspapers (either the Guardian or Independent) about 8-10 years ago which
said something like, 'What is UK TV coming to when the best show on is
an animated duck.' Obviously well received then!
I wasn't going to write anything else but apparently I need to write at least 10 lines! Pity the show isn't on DVD and I don't believe that there are any plans to do so. The show used to be on at about 11pm on BBC2. To be honest, I don't think that the whole run was shown because I don't remember as many shows being shown as actually exist.
"Duckman" is a great show. I first saw it when I was 10 years old at
the time and after school I rushed home and turned on Comedy Central. I
saw a cartoon called "Duckman" and I LOVED IT!! It's such a funny and
cool show. It's created by Klasky-Csupo, who are great creators of
cartoons. They animated some of my favorite shows ever, like "The
Simpsons" and "Rugrats".
I've seen lots of episodes of this show and I think they're all really funny and sweet. The voice actors did a great job voicing the characters, too.
I wish that Comedy Central could bring this show back, along with "The Critic" and "Dilbert".
But this is a great Comedy Central show. Great job, Klasky-Csupo!
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