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DuckTales Takes on 90s Sitcom in ‘Quack Pack’

DuckTales Season 3 "Quack Pack" Family Photo

DuckTales! Season 3, Episode 2 Review

Well, we only just started it, but I think I already have my favorite episode for the third season of DuckTales. At the least, it’s going in my top five list. At its heart, the show’s been about two things: family and adventures. The show does great at balancing the two, but what happens when they clash? What happens is we get a hilarious but heartfelt parody of 90s sitcoms named after a part of the Donald Duck mythos fans to want to forget about: Quack Pack.

Quack Pack

From the very start, the episode doesn’t bother hiding that something’s off. And if the new clothes didn’t tip us off, it was everyone’s personalities. Each member of the Duck family had their biggest personality traits cranked up to 11, which managed to be both hilarious and cringe at once. That, and Donald’s voiced once again by Don Cheadle.

As it turns out, during one of their family adventures, Donald finally cracked and wished they could deal with normal family problems. That wish got granted by a genie in a lamp; thus, everyone’s trapped in a 90s sitcom. When the family calls him out on making such a wish, though, Donald fires back and says what he’s been wanting to. That he doesn’t want to always go on crazy adventures and just wants a normal life. It’s a pretty empowering moment for the character, and we know that he makes a good point. Their lives are not what many would consider normal. He’d rather stay in the “Quack Pack” than leave the illusion

Goofy’s Words of Wisdom

Goofy in DuckTales "Quack Pack" with photos of Max Goof
Goof Troop is part of the DuckTales universe! YES!

As crazy as all this is, that’s nothing compared to the episode’s surprise guest star, Goofy. When the show writers announced that Goofy would appear in season three of the show, fans flipped out. Like the Duck family, Goofy and his son Max were stars of their own 90s cartoon, the Goof Troop. That show led to A Goofy Movie and An Extremely Goofy Movie, the former of which I have vague but fond memories of. 

While Goofy spends most of his time being his lovable self, when it comes down to it, he ends up giving Donald the words of wisdom he needs the most: that the idea of a “normal family” is different for everyone and they won’t all be the same. What’s normal for one family may be weird for another. It’s a genuinely sweet moment that I think everyone can take a page from in an age where the idea of a “traditional family” is getting replaced by a non-traditional one. 

That, plus it’s Goofy. Believe it or not, the guy can be very wise at times.

The 90s Meta-Humor and Jabbing at the Quack Pack

Gene the Genie in DuckTales episode "Quack Pack"
This guy’s charismatic enough to give Genie a run for his money.

Since its inception, the reboot of DuckTales has drawn on every source of inspiration available to it. Whether that be the DuckTales comics, the video games, or even the original cartoon itself, however, it’s also given shout-outs to all the Disney Afternoon shows of the 90s as a sort of meta-mythology joke. Of all the episodes thus far, though, I think “Quack Pack” may be the most meta.

Firstly, the name itself is a callback to Quack Pack, a short-lived cartoon from 1996 that seemed to be a spiritual successor to the original DuckTales. Only this time, Huey, Dewey, and Louie were all teenagers. Needless to say, the show didn’t last past season one. It’s a nice shout-out to a forgotten chapter in the franchise, though.

Secondly, there’s Gene himself. He first appeared in the 1990 DuckTales movie, where he befriended the Duck family, and to see him return after thirty years is enough to make hardcore fans squeal. Gene even mentions that the last time he was out was in 1990.

Finally, can we all acknowledge what Goofy’s presence in the show means? That Max Goof and his girlfriend Roxanne also exist in the reboot universe! HOW AWESOME IS THAT? It pretty much solidifies the DuckTales reboot as being a shared universe for the Disney Afternoon shows.

The long and short of it is, I thought this episode was awesome. It was amazingly well written, hilarious, and a thoughtful and a tribute to the cartoons a lot of the show’s writers probably grew up on. If this is what we can expect from the rest of the season, then I think we’ll be in for an amazing ride.

I Give “Quack Pack” A 4.5/5

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