Thursday, 1 May 2014

"Yo Ho (A Duck's Life For Me)"

I later discovered that Uncle Scrooge was created by Carl Barks. His likeness in "DuckTales" owed to
stalwart Tony Strobl. For my money, each interpretation is interesting.
As a child of three years old, I was delighted when I watched "DuckTales". A show that struck a chord with me; nowhere else could I show that blended brilliantly  humor, adventure, and morality. It was completing a puzzle of a Uncle Scrooge cooling himself with dollar bills, that made a strong impression on me. When watching the opening of "DuckTales", I was awestruck seeing Uncle Scrooge diving through his money, and spurting out coins. I imagined how fun it must be swimming through money. The feel of metallic coins and scads of dollars caressing your skin.  It was love at first duck. There was mystique that penetrated this whiskery web-footed duck who wore a pince-nez, blue coat with red trim, red spats, silk hat. 
The magical moment of Uncle Scrooge in his diving suit, surrounded amongst the  coins, was imbedded in my mind,  from an early age.
I was bewitched when I heard the sprightly duck, speak with a rich Scottish burr provided by veteran actor Alan Young. His performance covered the nuances that were Scrooge: the intense seriousness, joyous celebrations (in finding treasure), silly relaxed moments (swimming in the Money Bin), sarcasm, hostile anger (The Beagle Boys), Magica De Spell, Flintheart Glomgold), fear, and even those soft sentimental parts such as when he reminisces about Goldie. The voice was suited to a duck of dynamic personality.

 Carl Barks' tale, "Only a Poor Man" (1952) was the first Uncle Scrooge comic I read. A bitter Scrooge McDuck expresses his famous work-ethic. The black shading surrounding him suited the tone. The panel resonated within me an urge of applying myself to my studies in grade six. I was amazed by how "DuckTales" was faithful to the comics when Scrooge mentioned it.
I immediately adhered to Uncle Scrooge's determination, which radiated through him like the many coins in his money bin.  He earned his fortune by working on the seas, in the mines, the cattle wars of the old frontier, and the Klondike. He regards his fortune as a symbol of his worth. A life made on honesty and hard work. If he were to lose his fortune, it would result in the detrimental loss of his integrity. That is why by "thinking a little harder than the other guy - by jumping a little quicker" he stays ahead of everyone.

The "DuckTales" episode "Wronguay In Ronguay" demonstrated the importance of him being ahead of others. When he is demoralized about locating the sunken ship, he explains to nephews Hewy, Dewy, and Louie. "My whole life I've worked and sweated to stay one step ahead of wolves like Glomgold. Deep in my bones, I guess I've feared the one day I'd loose my touch."

 I felt sympathetic to his fears about no longer being the richest. By staying ahead of his rivals it acts as a catalyst for him to keep on hoarding more lucre. If he were to yield to his depression, it would lead to a catastrophic downward spiral. Does Scrooge McDuck remain hopelessness? Absolutely not. Described as a fighter, a "duck of iron". He rebounds despite how cynical the condition may be, was the greatest life lesson I learned from him.
Carl Barks' captures Uncle Scrooge's fierce determination of protecting his money from - Magica DeSpell, Flintheart Glomgold, and The Beagle Boys.  While being  surrounded by family - Daisy, Donald,  Hewy, Dewy, Louie, Gyro Gearloose, and Gladstone Gander.
When I was in grade seven, it was his work ethic that  soothed my spirit, after experiencing the stings of receiving a poor mark on a test. Like Uncle Scrooge I succumbed to my emotions, but on a dime (Hopefully not old "Number One") I salvaged the situation by changing my mindset. How could I prepare better for the next test? Were there any concepts I was not confident in? I discovered that I performed better on assignments than on tests. I put more emphasis on receiving a higher mark on homework. Mr. McDuck's  astute words "Work smarter, not harder" was stimulating. The credo is what I would later apply when taking "Chemistry 30". Falling flat on my face affected me deeply when receiving my Chemistry exam, but I heard Uncle Scrooge saying: "If I made a fortune once, and by gum, I can do it again. It'll just take me a litle time." It was a nugget of wisdom that I cherished.
Carl Barks' 1977 beautiful painting, "This Dollar Saved My Life At Whitehouse". Uncle Scrooge gathers his nephews to regale them with tales of cherished coins. It was how he hoarded his fortune that was impressing. 
To this day Uncle Scrooge remains my favourite Disney character.
Why? He is more dynamic. The many issues I have experienced, I analyze how he would tackle it. Carl Barks' design was the factor that first attracted me. As I grew, I appreciated how he instilled him with a set of attainable morals: Honesty and resilience. A soft cadence provided by Alan Young, stimulated me in embracing these  characteristics in my life. Cheers for Carl Barks' coolest creation! May new generations find him a terrific tightwad  tycoon as I have.
A journal entry from when I was in grade seven, showcases the height of my love for the character.
Note. the promt refers to "character". After all I could not exclude Donald Duck!

Monday, 3 March 2014

Analysis of "Moaning Lisa"

The episode tackles an emotion that many of us have encountered in our lives, depression. The opening shot is a close up of Lisa’s drained face. In the background, the digetic sounds of the water dripping and the ticking enhances how everlasting her sorrow is. You want to wonder what depressing thoughts she is contemplating.
The first time I ever saw “The Simpsons” was from the scene where Lisa sees Bleeding Gums Murphy on the bridge playing his saxophone. There is an element of sketchiness as to what a girl would be doing alone at night. I was struck by how beautiful the scene is layed out with Bleeding Gums Murphy on a bridge under a streetlight on the bridge. The hair points on Lisa’s head resemble a star works perfectly in contrast with the vibrancy of the neon moon.

The color stylist’s choice of the blue moon adds to the calming effect the saxophone has upon Bleeding Gums Murphy and Lisa. The embracing tune of the saxophone is what begins their friendship. I felt glad for Lisa that she found a friend that shared a common interest. By playing the blues together, they are able to relieve their stresses. Lisa plying her saxophone in order to comfort herself would be a recurring motif in “Bart Vs. Thanksgiving”.

One scene that particularly resonates with me in recent years is when Marge tells Lisa to fake being happy so people will like her better. While said with good intentions, what Marge gives Lisa is actually really bad advice, because by repressing her feelings deep inside, they can be unleashed later in undesirable ways, or cause her to develop a complex. If we’re not honest with others, and ourselves it’s unhealthy. Thankfully, Marge redeemed herself when she saw how Lisa’s fake happiness caused her to be taken advantage of immediately (“You can do my math homework!”). When Marge apologizes and says she can stop smiling and Lisa responds, “I -feel- like smiling.” with a sincere smile, it’s an acknowledgement that she knows Marge cares about her true feelings. A sweet moment.
The subplot of Homer and Bart playing a video game is a good balance to the seriousness of Lisa’ depression. The few moments where Homer and Bart are bonding is always enjoyable. During the final rematch, Homer’s mood transitions from being on the verge of defeating Bart to weeping when Marge unplugs the console is enjoyable.

When the Simpsons watch Lisa’s poem preformed by the beatniks, the contrast of colors is nice. The best part would be Homer’s reaction to the lyrics “My father acts like he belongs in a zoo.” Initially he is content, but is soon alarmed. The scene zooms out to showcase “The Jazz Hole” exterior, with a dreamy blue moon behind the building. The smooth tone of the saxophone adds to the perfect ending.
Yeardley Smith’s excellent vocal talent is utilized when performing Lisa. When you hear her expressing melancholic thoughts, you can sympathize with the pain she is enduring. Out of all the members in the Simpsons household, Lisa is a delicate gem, you can’t bear seeing her sad. Lisa feeling sad was powerful motif that future show runners Mike Reiss, Al Jean and other writers would explore. If it is saying goodbye to your favorite teacher (Lisa’s Substitute), disappointment when your father has let you down (Lisa’s Pony), lack of confidence about your beauty (Lisa The Beauty Queen), and experiencing the passing away of your best friend (Round Springfield). Lisa is a character that experiences many painful moments, but she rebounds quickly.
“Moaning Lisa” was the sixth episode of “The Simpsons” to be broadcasted. It marks the transition of Lisa’s personality from a hell raiser to intellectual. Many viewers of the show criticize how this entry is saccharine; On the contrary, it demonstrates how “The Simpsons” could differ from other animated cartoons, but one that could have real emotional impact, and a story to tell.