Friday, December 22, 2017

"The Thrifty Spendthrift"

And now, a silly, frivolous story with no thematic weight and no notable Christmas spirit that we nonetheless find highly amusing. Seriously, this obviously is in some sense a Christmas story, but holy crud is it not. I mean, say like you like about "Silent Night;" at least it was reacting to the holiday in some way. This one...well, not so much. As we will quickly see.


I mean, the wholly generic-sounding title doesn't really lead to many expectations, but here we are: time to prepare for Christmas! What a great guy!


"An offbeat scientist." Huh. Question: did the shipping regulations that led to the creation of Gyro forbid even the mention of the character in the Scrooge story? So it would seem, though I suppose it could just be hypercaution on someone's part.


Granted, this whole mix-up feels kind of desultory and contrived as heck--which makes it of a piece with the story as a whole, really. Note that HDL instantly become bored with this device once they've fulfilled their plot-related needs.


One of the most amusing things here is the way Scrooge talks about the dog and what he wants to give it. Again, it's super-goofy (not to be confused with Super Goof), but it remains amusing.


But BOY, does THIS ever raise more questions than it answers. So, to recap: not only does Duckburg have a mad duke and a giant gothic cathedral, but it also has...a duchess? Waah?!? I mean, how do we work THIS in? I guess we can only assume that she's actually an Englishwoman living in exile (or something) in America. I sure don't think this so-called "Duckshire" can be worked into Calisota in any way. Hard to say. Weird stuff all 'round.


"But GeoX," I hear you objecting, "how can you say this story doesn't have anything to do with Christmas when it's centered around "The Twelve Days" thereof? You inveterate oaf!" Well, yes. But, I mean, that is ALL. It is SO easy to picture Barks casting around for something to write about and realizing that he could throw together a story about the song. But, I mean, that is ALL. Beyond this general premise, there is NOTHING Christmasy here.

Naturally, this story doesn't do the thing where you add up all the repetitions to see how many things the "true love" would get, so you have twelve drummers but twenty-two pipers and thirty lords and so on. That would surely have been a bit too unwieldy.

Incidentally, as a huge fan of traditional Christmas music, can I just say BLOODY HELL is "The Twelve Days of Christmas" ever an endurance test. Thing just goes on FOREVER. Okay, I guess that's not an idiosyncratic opinion. But I always kind of thought I liked it more than I do. It's kind of cool when you're a kid to feel all superior because you've memorized the order of the gifts, but that's about it. Granted, there are a few other lesser-known cumulative Christmas songs that also outstay their welcome, but as by far the most well-known, this one wins the prize. Hurray!

Anyway, I like how enthusiastic Scrooge is about this whole thing. Sometimes it's fun to see him acting wildly out-of-character.


OH EM GEE THIS STORY IS GOOFY AS HELL. And yet, that's its charm. Note how Donald looks dismayed by the hopping lords, but HDL look rather amused by the whole thing.


This story also has "he called me a creature," which is one of my favorite things in this world.


I also like "I wonder if that was a sensible answer." This man goes through life struggling to react to things he barely understands and never knowing whether what he's saying or doing falls within the unwritten and inscrutable codes of the modern world. He is symptomatic of The Modern Condition.


"These Halloween chicken suits." Right on. I wonder, incidentally, how French localizations of this story have handled the "hens'" dialogue here. Probably Achille Talon can enlighten us. Also, note the extraneous "e" at the end of "français."


I mean, not that there's really any point in analyzing this, but I'll note anyway that the whole "dressing up as elements from the song" thing doesn't make that much sense. I feel like the partridge and the hens would really be the absolute least of Donald's worries if he were actually being given all these things. Let's face it, if you have to take care of all of these random people you're going to be broke soon enough anyway. Might as well at least take the animals so you'll have something to temporarily ward off starvation.


Somehow, there's just something about Donald doing this while wearing his partridge costume that really elevates it for me. In particular, I love how he flings the drums out the window.


"Dancing ladies, cows, and so on." Bruto's worried expression is also a laff.


I mean, this would be better if presented as a half-page spread, but it's still pretty awesome as it is, and I think it kind of summarizes the story's appeal.


And then, well, it kind of fizzles out. I suppose that was inevitable; there was no real dramatic arc here or anything, so naturally, in the end it had to just kind of stop. What else could it do? I do like that in spite of his, uh, Scroogishness, Scrooge has a Christmas tree in the office. You've gotta celebrate the season, miser though you may be!

As for our final Christmas story, I have a feeling that, ironically, you can guess what it is.  See what I did there?

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5 Comments:

Blogger Achille Talon said...

I see what you did there. Now, I'll have a look at how the "French Hens" thing was handled in the translation, as I don't remember it offhand.

Also, did the shipping regulations that led to the creation of Gyro, you say? Ahem, Gyro wasn't created because of the shipping regulation, Barks just elevated him to a feature character of his own story for it. I doubt shipping regulations were anywhere in his mind when he created Gyro for Gladstone's Terrible Secret and/or Think Boxes Bollix.

December 22, 2017 at 1:29 PM  
Blogger (((Rootless Cosmopolitan GeoX))) said...

Yes, yes, I know that and you know I know it. But I wrote what I wrote, so it's a fair cop.

December 22, 2017 at 1:39 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Argh!!!! Disney + "The Twelve Days of Christmas" combination gives me chills ever since I watch the "Lion Guard" holiday special "A Timon and Pumba Christmas" which (aside of questionable storyline of Timon and Pumba introducing CHRISTMAS to the Pride Lands and animals just blindly accept it as "THE BEST HOLIDAY EVER" - despite the fact they only learn about the Holiday from rumors - and adapt it as celebration of the Circle of life) had the Characters sing a lame parody of "12 Days of Christmas" that's goes for like 4 minutes... 4 minutes!!!! That's like 16 minutes in kids time!!!

It's one of those songs that has a nice ring to it but get's super annoying fast...

December 22, 2017 at 10:43 PM  
Blogger Pan Miluś said...

Sorry, I dint' ment "adapt it" but "asume it's' (I guess same thing in this scenario)

December 22, 2017 at 10:46 PM  
Blogger James McNamara said...

I love Donald's line about something going wrong with his "foolproof scheme"- said scheme being "using a hypnosis ray/slide projector to get Scrooge to become generous."

December 24, 2017 at 2:18 AM  

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