Sunday, July 17, 2011

Darkwing Duck - Beauty and the Beet

Since this is my first blog post, I'm going to start with something easy; Darkwing Duck. I watched the show both in the early 90's when I was a little kid and in the early 2000's back when Toon Disney was Disney's Boomerang and had older shows. On top of that, the show was actually popular enough to be remembered to this day, with a comic book revival and everything. It's one of the shows that, if you watch 90's cartoons, you know of its existence. People unaware of the existence of Darkwing Duck don't last long in animation circles because they're usually disappear mysteriously. Therefore, it should be relatively easy to explain this premise.

The Premise of Darkwing Duck
Batman, if Batman was a duck, had an adopted daughter, and if Robin was miraculously even more of a doofus than before. (and also a duck)

That was easy! Moving on...

I went with this episode first because when I was a kid, this was the episode of Darkwing Duck. Villain origin episodes always had a special place in my heart because they're usually the better written parts of any animated show, partly because the writers had 22 minutes to give a coherent explanation as to how and why a villain became the way he is and why he's such a menace to society, all while having enough action scenes to entertain the viewers who care not for plot and character development. Usually the writers, to flesh out their villains and make them not look like a jerkhole with nothing better to do, give an almost heartbreaking sordid tale of rejection and revenge.

In this episode's case, it's the villain origin episode of Bushroot, my personal favorite villain on the show. I liked Bushroot because he wasn't really evil, just misunderstood. All he wanted was a significant other or a friend (or to kill Darkwing in the watered-down portrayal of him in the Fearsome Five eps), someone that would make him feel less like an insane piece of vegetable matter that hid in plant nurseries and talked to giant vampire potatoes for kicks. His voice can be a little too whiny at times, but I imagine if you were transformed into something that spits in the face of nature, you'd cry and moan about it a lot too.

It's a tale of unrequited love, rejection from society, and giant floating hamburgers. It's a tale of power of the love, and the power of scientists that should really know better. You'll see a mutant try to impress the woman of his dreams, and then you'll see that same mutant get mowed into oblivion by a runaway lawnmower.

And with that, I bring you...

Beauty and the Beet

Keep an eye out for the upcoming Broadway musicial with music composed by Alan Menken
Airdate: September 9th, 1991


The episode opens with Darkwing Duck telling us, the viewers, that this is in fact the City of Saint Canard. He then leads us to the Darkwing Files, where he keeps the most important stories of Saint Canard. I've seen nearly the entire series and I've only seen the Darkwing Files used once. (I'm sure some diehard DWD fan might end up correcting me down the road of course) I have to wonder if the writers were going to use the Darkwing Files framing device more often in the show but just never got around to it, if they were trying to make this episode special by having these little Darkwing wraparounds, or if the episode ended up a little bit shorter than they expected it to be so they had to add some Darkwing Padding.

My money's on the "padding", personally.
While comic shenanigans ensue with the safe, one such shenanigan appearing later in the syndicated theme song sequence, Darkwing is busy hyping up the story as not just any story, but a story that stands out among thousands of stories in a field all by itself. It's the kind of story opening that immediately makes the kiddies want to pay attention, because when the Darkwing Duck hypes something up, you'd better believe it's amazing.
"The 3DS is going to change gaming, kids! Run out and buy one!"
Cue the screen dissolve and magic sound effect, and we have Saint Canard University on a normal Spring day. At least, that's what Darkwing Duck says, but in reality the university is completely vacant. I'm currently still in college, and in Spring, even on the weekends, there were a ton of people on campus on account Spring time usually meant finals. Do ducks just not have term papers the way humans do?
I heard they have a great Engineering program.
And that's when we zoom in on Scientific Research Lab 356, presumably because the other 355 research labs have nothing remarkable happening in them. Some visual gags later, and we're introduced to the scientists. We have Dr. Gary and Dr. Larson, who are obviously referencing Gary Larson with their character designs modeled off of the chubby idiot scientists in the Far Side cartoons, and we have Dr. Reginald Bushroot, a balding, meek-looking duck and the only one with an actual eye color in the room. Gary and Larson are happily playing with a potato (because flash games hadn't been invented yet and they had to waste their time at work somehow) while Bushroot is alone in a corner pouring some unidentified liquid into a fern while looking completely bored out of his mind.
Just from the names (gee, Bushroot and works with plants, ain't that convenient) and the temperaments in the research lab, you can easily guess who's going to mutate and be a lonely misunderstood dogged nice guy-type of a villain and who's going to end up as plant food.
Pictured: Lonely, misunderstood dogged nice guy villain to be and his two future victims.
But then, in walks in the obvious love interest, Dr. Rhoda Dendron. You can tell because her name's a plant pun and because sexy saxophones play in the background whenever she enters a scene. This was back when Disney didn't mind putting sex appeal in talking animals. Thanks a lot for creating furries, Disney

"Why can't anyone label anything in this lab?"
Instantly, you see the relationships between the scientists. Gary and Larson both have the hots for Rhoda, but Rhoda doesn't like how they pick on the wimpy loser Bushroot. Bushroot also has the hots for Rhoda, but since he's a balding has-been, he tries to hide it in a friendly dogged nice guy type of matter. She then leans down and asks if he's okay. Good thing this is a Disney cartoon, because the way she leans provides Bushroot a nice view of her chest. Don't believe me? Look!

And then we see Rhoda in Reggie's point of view and that's where it gets disturbing. An actual halo develops around Rhoda as she looms over Dr. Bushroot like some sort of pagan god, instantly transforming what could've been a cute little office crush into Reggie worshiping the ground she walks on.

Saint Rhoda Dendron not recognized by the Catholic Church.
Of course, then we cut back to the two clinical bullies, both of them probably still fired up that other scientists actually called the end of a Stegosaurus a thagomizer. One of them quips out "Hi! I'm Dr. Reggie Bushroot! I can't do real research so I play with plants!" and they high-five like assholes, causing Dr. Bushroot to launch into an angry geeky monologue about his research. We find out that he wants to find a way for ducks to get their nutrition from plants and "snack on sunlight". I'm sure this isn't going to come up later in the episode, right?

Angry fist, colleagues that don't understand him, plant-related last name...
Maybe some people were just destined to be villains.
Meanwhile Dr. Gary and Dr. Larson want to invent a serum that will create bigger food, because that means more food and more money. This cartoon makes this out to be a bad thing compared to Bushroot's more sincere research, but considering how we actually do genetically engineer some of our food to be bigger and more appealing, did Gary and Larson win?

Next they're going to figure out the meaning behind Cow Tools.
Anyways, in walks in another character in our cast, Dean Tightbill. Hah hah, get it, because he's a duck but tightbill also means a tight bill as in tight budget. I know your game, Disney writers. The moment he walks in, Gary and Larson kiss up like the toady brown nosers that they are and at one point actually start stripping Dean Tightbill's clothes off in a "blink and you'll miss it" scene no one ever comments on.

Okay, seriously, what's going on?
Anyways, obviously Dean Tightbill is here to provide a motive to start off Bushroot's villainous life of crime. So of course the Dean cuts Bushroot's research, of course Bushroot rants that he's so close to making a breakthrough, of course something goes wrong, of course he blames Gary and Larson, of course Rhoda begs for the Dean to give Bushroot more time, and of course the Dean leaves the research lab with a witty comeback line justifying his firing of Bushroot. In the Dean's case, it's "Time is money, and money does not grow on trees!", showing us that the Dean never watched the episode of Darkwing Duck where Bushroot shows that you CAN grow money on trees. Counterfeit money, but still.

"You can try selling those Chia plants you created!"
Anyways, Rhoda tries to cheer up the now jobless schmuck, only to have her friendly advice turn into an insult by the two scientists whose only point of existing is to be jerks. You know, because they really have nothing better to do. Why bother testing their growth serum in case of side effects when you can kick the nerd when he's down? Anyways, this sets off Bushroot and he storms off.

Now, I imagine Bushroot's not going to do anything stupid in his anger. I'm sure he's just going to go home, maybe look in the Wanted Ads, take a job in a department store on the side while something bigger comes up...

Or he can decide to go to the plant nursery in the middle of the storm and do something profoundly stupid.
Declaring that "this may be the only chance he has left" even though his firing only happened today and he has multiple ways to appeal his case, Dr. Bushroot straps himself to a table and hooks his arm to a plant in order to transfer the chloroplasts into his body. That's right, to prove everyone that his research works, Bushroot is going to shoot up with plant juice. That'll show them!

Oh yeah, there's no way this could go wrong.
Now, for some reason, Bushroot went from being fired to deciding to mainline plant blood into his veins with the help of some machine that gets its power from lightning. That's a bit hasty there, doctor. I imagine he was pretty desperate and was acting purely out of emotion, but there are other, better ways to test his theory out than to use himself as the guinea pig. Is Reginald Bushroot just ignorant of a little something called The Scientific Method? You test multiple times before you're sure. The research facility had some rats in it, for crying out loud, one of them on his actual workstation. Did he just not think that a photosynthesizing rat would be enough to convince anyone?

Which begs the question. Does Bushroot have a history of doing this whenever someone questions his research?

Dean: I think your experiment that tomato juice can be used as a form of gasoline has faulty evidence and takes up too much of the university's funding.
Bushroot: To hell with you all, I'm going to inject tomato juice into my arm! TO THE PLANT NURSERY!

Pictured: SCIENCE!!!
Anyways, one Frankenstein homage here, a little electricity there, the chloroplasts are in his arm. But not before Bushroot's eyes become misshapen and bug out of his sockets while his tongue stretches out to an enormous length. While he's doing this, he screams in a way that sounds less like someone in pain and more like someone who's sitting in one of those massage chairs you find at the pharmacy.

Rat Fink's long lost cousin.
And then, suddenly, the screen honest to god explodes and we cut to daylight, implying that the chloroplasts entered his bloodstream at mach speed, knocking him out from the sheer force of the collision. Science is awesome!

So, did he have all this machinery just lying around or did he build it all in a
spur-of-a-moment "I'll show them all!" inspired session right in the nursery?
Inquiring minds need to know.
Bushroot gets up and, in kind of an ironic moment if you're familiar with this character, complains that he feels so normal. I guess he figured that getting hit with lightning and having flower blood speed into him would do something. Because he feels so normal, he goes on a self-hating tangent about how he's a failure and scum and all that. If there was ever someone in need of a Self-Improvement course...

"Riff-raff, street rat. I don't buy that.
If only they'd look closer..."
But then, he notices that the lightning fried the potted plant next to him, causing him to sink deeper into a depression. Geez, Bushroot, soon you'll be slitting your wrists for stepping on the grass. Luckily this changes when he steps out into sunlight and his body starts to convulse violently and unnaturally. His sadness turns into elation despite the fact that this should be sending warning signals into his brain. Oh well, who cares? He can feel the sunlight surging through his body!

A common reaction to when you inject strange substances into your arm, amiright?
...wait, he was in a plant nursery, which is all full of lights designed for giving plants sunlight. Why did he not feel a thing in there? Did it not count if it was coming through a window or something? His chloroplasts sure are picky.

Anyways, you can probably predict what happens next. Sunlight activates mutations, slowly turning his body green. First he shrugs it off as a side effect but as he walks off, he starts to turn into the plant duck mutant Darkwing Duck fans know and love. Obviously they're not going to go all American Werewolf in London with the transformation sequence (because, let's face it, we children did not need Disney-grade Nightmare Fuel so early in the morning on a Saturday) but it's still unsettling to see someone so utterly chipper about how his experiment is a success that he just plain not notices the flower growing out of his head. Of course, while he's running to the research department to show off his project, he looks like this.

Pictured: The world's most oblivious scientist.
And when he enters the building, he looks like this.

Hey Reginald, where did your clothes go!? His mutation didn't really change his size much so he obviously didn't shred it off. He just enters the room and his clothes are magically gone. I like to think that Bushroot was just so excited about his successful experiment that he started spontaneously stripping in the middle of the University's hallways, leaving a pile of clothes in his wake. Either that or his plant body absorbed the clothing, but that's just gross.

Needless to say, his coworkers didn't really take this well.

And then Rhoda drops the hydrochloric acid right on her feet.
Rhoda responds in typical romantic interest style fear, while Gary and Larson, with their inability to suppress the urge to be unlikeable nitwits, decide to mock the mutant. Only by looking into their surprisingly effective mirror glasses does Bushroot discover what's happened to him, because obviously he has more important things to do than to actually look down, notice his arms, or register that he's now standing in the University totally stark naked.

At least he was helpful enough to glue mirrors to his eyelids.
This is when Bushroot finally realizes that huh, attaching himself to a plant and sending plant DNA into his bloodstream after studying plants turned him into some sort of half-plant. Who would've thunk. Some "Reggie is a veggie" taunting later, and Bushroot is outside on campus grounds, once again complaining about how much his life just absolutely sucks. While he's doing this, I notice that the University campus is once again completely void of students, despite the fact that Bushroot ran past a whole group of them just moments ago. Surely a University with 356 research facilities would have a bigger student body.

But anyways, back to the episode. With the story needing somewhere else to go besides Bushroot whining about how much he hates himself, a dog walks up to the lonely stalker with a crush vegetable and sniffs his butt. Seriously, Disney?

Good ol' kid-friendly Disney...
Before he can question why there are non-anthropomorphic canines on a campus where humanoid dogs go to class, Bushroot runs away from the toy breed because his muscles are too weak and nerdy to fend off a small dog all by himself. His cries of help summon a tree, which escalates into several plants just bursting out of the ground to serve Bushroot. Never does the show explain how these normally inert plants suddenly grow limbs and muscles, expand in size, and other forms of rapid evolution merely in the presence of Bushroot. I guess he's just that awesome of a botanist.

Always check for bees before sitting on inexplicable chair-shaped flowers.
After a few plant-related incidents occur, it dawns on Bushroot. Somehow, by using a bolt of lightning to send chloroplasts into his veins, he can now communicate telepathically with plants because he's part-plant! You know, instead of just making him sick or dead because of blood poisoning. Science is great.

Pictured: More SCIENCE!!!
And this is when Bushroot suddenly flipflops from depression that he scared his coworkers into "Hey, being a plant is cool! What if those two guys I hate were dead?". There's some wonderful medication in your local pharmacy that can cure those mood swings, Bushroot. But then again we'd all be a little confused too if we were fired and later changed into a psychic flower thing all within a 24 hour span of time.

The face of a cold-blooded killer.
Anyways, Bushroot decides to kill Dr. Gary and Dr. Larson. Who saw that coming. The deformed beast storms the University while they're alone in the research lab (whether he planned that out or if he distracted Rhoda and Tightbill was never shown) and they cower in fear while...a giant genetically bloated hamburger floats above their heads, making their death scene more comical than anything.

Aww, but they were about to appear in several page-a-day calendars...
Darkwing narrates, makes a plant pun, and then suddenly, he's actually in the main narrative! Hooray, eight minutes in and he's finally involved with the actual plot taking place and not just the wraparound.

I just want to take the time to point out that in the first eight minutes, they were actually really careful not to make any plant puns so that the audience would instead focus on what happens to Bushroot. After he mutates and Darkwing Duck shows up, though, suddenly all bets are off. Nearly every other piece of dialogue involves working in plants and gardening tools. Just to give you a head's up.

Anyways, we cut to Darkwing and Launchpad as they just plain don't care that they're standing next to two dead corpses, even cracking jokes at the deceased ones' expense. Enter Rhoda Dendron and her saxophones, and she's equally uncaring to the bodies of her former coworkers hideously on display in front of her like a bunch of plant-related war trophies. I guess Dr. Gary and Dr. Larson weren't very popular in that school.

Meh. Premeditated homicide. Moving on...
Rhoda is obviously more concerned about Bushroot's reputation than the fact that two people she's worked with for years just got murdered in cold blood, so she denies the very idea that Bushroot could be behind it. I get the reasoning behind such a denial, but come on, Rhoda. Bushroot enters facility all mutated into a plant, the two coworkers that Bushroot has always hated taunt him, and mysteriously, those same two coworkers die in a plant-related incident that would be impossible to do without the ability to innately control plants. Not rocket science. But then again, I don't have a PH.D like Rhoda does so maybe I'm just not getting the big picture.

Cut to Dean Tightbill's office. Darkwing wisely figured that since Bushroot had slain his two coworkers, obviously Bushroot's going to go after the Dean next. As Darkwing explains the situation rather bluntly, the Dean just kind of sits there, looking like he's slowly realizing just how many plants are on the University and how soon every single one of them will be coming to life, thirsty for his blood, and how little protection a caped duck and a ditzy pilot can offer against a revenge-filled shrub monstrosity with telepathy. The Dean slowly goes from slightly irritated to an "oh god I'm gonna die" state of mind.

Darkwing and Launchpad board up the doors and windows, but that does little good as a tree bulldozes its way through a wall, grabs the Dean, and then disposes of Darkwing without so much as breaking a sweat. Good going, DW. While outside, Tightbill mentions that he's a vegetarian, not realizing that this means he could be a viable weapon for fighting off the Bushroot menace. Bushroot can't try to kill you if you're chewing his arms off, Tightbill. Can't beat him? Eat him!

I don't care if Bushroot has telepathy, how was that tree able to detach itself
from over 50 years of complex underground root systems?
Finally, Bushroot and Darkwing meet, and I swear, Bushroot is slowly devolving from whiny loser to whiny child with his new abilities. For example, take a gander at his dialogue.

"Why'd you have to do that for, huh? I didn't do anything to you! You're just like all the others! Always ruining things for me!"

"Heeeey, you play too rough!"

"THAT oughta teach you!"

"Oooh, someone's always standing between me and what I want!"

Watching some intelligent researcher, one who probably has a PH.D in botany and took a good ten years in a medical school to get his doctorate, start griping like a teenager going through puberty to a masked vigilante is both weird to watch and kind of funny all at once. Especially when he was so verbose earlier.

"No one understands me, you guys! I'm just going through a tough time!"
After demonstrating his mental maturity, Bushroot sends a mobile tree after Darkwing and that's when we get our "dramatic music sting and fade to black" commercial break in this episode. Anyone who's watched Darkwing Duck should know when this happens because they use the exact same piece of music every time this happens.

One commercial break later, and then Darkwing gives us his episodic terror that flaps in the night speech. In this episode's case, he uses "the termite that devours your floorboards". I guess that's kind of related to plants, in the same way that insulting a leather jacket would theoretically anger cattle.

"This will really piss him off, Launchpad!"
To give us sugar-consuming children something to watch besides commentary on how fragile the bonds of sociological relationships can be in the face of dramatic physical changes, Darkwing Duck fights trees and assaults some vines, but after some plant puns, some ginormous vines that defy all known laws of physics, and some violent weapons that could kill someone in the wrong hands, (buzzsaw cufflinks!? Good god, Darkwing) Bushroot gives Darkwing the slip by...summoning a ring of bushes to cover an underground escape. Okay.

And of course Bushroot never ever uses this power again in the rest of the series.
We're back with Rhoda, and Darkwing and Launchpad walk in suddenly sporting a bunch of injuries and torn clothing. What the, wait a minute. They were perfectly fine in the previous scene! Now all of a sudden they have ripped up costumes and complaining about how much in pain they are? Either Bushroot left a surprise in the hallway or Darkwing and Launchpad are incredibly desperate for sympathy.  

"There I was, giving my sermon to the Pope, when suddenly, Bushroot
summoned his elite force of ninja death plants from space!"
Rhoda of course won't listen to them, insisting that Bushroot is really a gentle person. As she goes on about how she could try talking to Bushroot, Darkwing stands there unmoving, his mind clearly on other matters.

Her eyes are a little bit higher, Darkwing.
In fact, Darkwing's mind is so focused that he doesn't even notice the suspicious flower in the window listening in on their entire conversation. Yes, my friends. Bushroot is back on campus (so he retreated and then decided to just come on back?) and he's eavesdropping with a prop from Alice in Wonderland. And despite the fact that the flower is in full view in the window of the same room the heroes are in and he's standing within ten feet from the science building, a building he's committed murder in, he somehow evades notice from everybody. Because it's not like the police would patrol the scene of a crime in search of the perpetrator and it's not like college campuses typically have security guards or anything. Way to not do your job, Darkwing.

Great security, guys! It's not like two people died or anything!
Rhoda calls him Reginald, and when Bushroot hears it over the flowerphone, that means she was secretly harboring a crush all this time. Suddenly, his motives change. No longer does he want to soak the ground with the blood of the people who wronged him and turning their lifeless corpses into terrifying plant sculptures to add to his garden of horrors. Instead, he's gonna score.

One Darkwing wraparound later, and we cut to the single most security deprived plant nursery ever. Where are the employees? Is that plant nursery just sitting there unattended so that Bushroot can set up a base of operations in all of his episodes? Did none of the gardeners care that some unexplained machinery was set up in their greenhouse? Either he's using the same plant nursery all the time and none of the policemen, detectives, or even Darkwing Duck ever think to watch the place more closely or Saint Canard has a bunch of plant nurseries on similar-looking hills with the exact same building blueprints just so they can use the same shots.
The Darkwing Duck drinking game: Take a shot whenever this building appears in the show.
Anyways, as we zoom in, we hear Bushroot sighing in ecstasy, moaning "Oooh!" and "Aaaah!" over and over. Before the networks censors can write Disney a very stern letter, it turns out he was only taking a shower.

The tree on the far right is just so humiliated he has to do something like this.
Bushroot is taking showers, brushing teeth that magically appear just to be brushed, and various other things in order to freshen up for his date with Rhoda. Didn't you hear? If you call someone by their first name in a conversation not even aimed at them, it's a date proposal. Also it's really sad how instantly he's immersed into the world of being a plant considering what he uses to freshen himself up. He's so desperate for acceptance that the moment plants start moving as if they care about him, he's in socially awkward heaven. Oh, and he starts wearing a tuxedo that he managed to find. I guess he killed some unlucky groom on the way to his wedding and looted the dead corpse in a director's uncut version of the episode.

Chicks dig the pantsless look.
Once again, we find Darkwing, Rhoda, and Launchpad. Darkwing provides some comic relief with poison ivy (you know it was coming. It's a plant-themed episode) and in comes Bushroot, ready to sweep Rhoda off her feet. Unfortunately for Bushroot, Darkwing is waiting for him to thwart his deranged plot.

"Sorry sir, I'm gonna need some ID."
Darkwing points his iconic gas gun (which is almost completely absent in this episode) at the big talking flower, causing Bushroot to make a limp-wristed gesture, say another really whiny childish statement against the caped duck, capture Rhoda, and summon Spike. Who's Spike? Well, remember that movie Little Shop of Horrors? THAT'S Spike, basically. Every single plant-related villain in the world has some sort of piranha plant-based minion and Bushroot is no exception. Bushroot was going to name him Rhoda II but he couldn't find a dentist to dismember in time.

I don't think she wants to sing "Somewhere That's Green", Bushroot.
The fade out to commercial makes the audience assume that Spike is a threat, but after the commercial break, Darkwing disposes of him pretty quickly by throwing an arm bone out the window. Because Spike's part dog or something. I guess Bushroot found a dog to shoot chloroplasts into using lightning and science. (Like that dog that was sniffing his butt earlier! Clever continuity nod, Disney.)

Cut to nightfall, and...when did it turn night? Was it night when Darkwing and Launchpad were indoors fighting with Spike? How far away is the plant nursery? Why didn't the police intervene a green weirdo carting off some screaming maiden? Anyhow, one reused shot later (that plant nursery gets a ton of mileage in this show, I swear) and we find out that Bushroot's idea of a good date is strapping the woman of his dreams to a table while she struggles and screams for help. He even says its the happiest day of his life. Disney writers; they know how to cater to every possible fetish.

"Best Saturday night EVER!"
Rhoda tries to reason with him, probably feeding him the same excuses she's always given him whenever he's asked her out. Her career means too much to her, she's a working girl, yadda yadda. All she needed was the "but I like you as a friend!" and it would've been perfect. She ends by saying that he's a plant and she's a duck, it'll never work out, presumably because she's heard of stamens and pollination and she just doesn't want to go there.

With these hungry eyes,
One look at you and I can't disguise
I've got hungry eyes
I feel the magic between you and I!
But Bushroot has a perfect solution. Why not make Rhoda into the same mutant plant freak he is? He'll replicate the exact same freak accident that happened to him! Because that worked out so well for him, what with the rejection of society, the public bullying, the fact that dogs want to pee on him, and the emotional outbursts that lead to a body count.

I have a question, Dr. Bushroot. Why didn't you show the big impressive machine to the Dean? It probably would've saved your job, just sayin'.
Rhoda of course doesn't want to be a plant but Bushroot insists that she'll grow to love it, but first, she'll grow leaves. Hah, hah. I'm trying to not mention the puns in this show but that one just stood out in particular. As expected, Darkwing Duck shows up, falling several stories and crashing foot-first through a solid pane of glass without so much as a scratch. I like how plants will shred all of his clothing but glass does nothing to him. Looks like the climax of the episode is upon us! You know what that means? Plants! Plant jokes, stock plants fighting, plants plants plants.

"And who are these, Rhoda? Are you hiding something from me?"
The fight uses pumpkins, tomatoes, you know, the plants everyone knows and loves. I suppose if Bushroot used an intelligent pitcher plant, it'd confuse the smaller viewers. But once that's over, Darkwing Duck decides he's had enough and starts chasing after Bushroot with a motorized plant trimmer. Wait, what?

The terror that massacres in the night.
Luckily, Darkwing's violent instrument of death runs out of gas before he decides to eviscerate Bushroot and leave a appalling mess for the workers at the plant nursery to clean up in the morning. Hey, just because Batman has a no-kill policy doesn't mean Darkwing has one. However, even when Darkwing is momentarily defenseless, Bushroot doesn't even throw one punch, instead choosing to shout threats and summon a plant to do his dirty work. Bushroot's a wuss.

Those arms just scream "DnD nerd".
So what does Darkwing do? With one murder weapon destroyed, Darkwing decide to get bigger guns and get a giant riding lawnmower. It's like Darkwing really wants Bushroot dead.

I bet he wouldn't have done this if Bushroot was a normal duck.
Mutants are people too, Darkwing!

While being chased, Bushroot performs the most profoundly stupid thing he's done in this episode; he knocks Darkwing Duck off the riding lawnmower, making it so now the lawnmower is out of control and without a driver. It's such a profoundly stupid thing because he does it twice. First with pollen and the second time, it's by using a vine to lasso him off. Sure, he puts a walking sunflower into the lawnmower into the seat the second time, but it still ends up the same way. The riding lawnmower lands on him, and what happens next is so gruesome that Darkwing actually reacts in horror to the aftermath and takes off his hat for a moment of silence. 

Ah, the days Disney can imply someone died horribly off-screen and get away with it.
With Bushroot shredded into mulch, the episode slowly wraps up while the viewers wonder if Darkwing bothered to scoop up the grisly remains or if he just left that mess there for the gardeners to clean up. Rhoda's fine, if a bit emotionally scarred from her encounter with the touchy-feely plant thing and the murders and all that. The episode slowly fades to the Darkwing Files wraparound, and Darkwing implies that it's the end of the story. Launchpad says something stupid, and the episode looks like it's going to cut to credits. But wait, Darkwing. That story ended with Bushroot dead! How did he survive?

But wait, it's that establishing shot of the plant nursery again. You know what that means? That means we have a cliffhanger "Or Is It?" ending! Cue the kind of ridiculous-looking plant growing from the remains of the previous Bushroot!

They may offer you fortune and fame,
Love and money and instant acclaim
But whatever they offer you,
Don't feed the plants!

And so ends Bushroot's origin episode. By the way, Dr. Rhoda Dendron, despite being a key player in this character's lore, doesn't even get a mention in the series ever again. Oh well, at least the ending credits theme is really catchy.

The Moral of this Cartoon

Villains with deformities are not real people, so lethal force is not only allowed, but encouraged.

Final Verdict

Aka, the part of the blog where I explain that the vast majority of that analysis was all made in good fun.

This episode is one of Darkwing Duck's best episodes for a couple reasons. Bushroot is just a fun character to watch. In a way, you kind of end up rooting for Dr. Bushroot because, despite his whininess, he is quite a likeable character and the audience wants to see the poor nerd succeed in some way. But at the same time, his actions show that he's not an entirely stable person. You can kind of tell that now that he has the power to retaliate, he's going to take advantage of it. It's like he has a very strong sense of personal justice. To him, he's just trying to fix what's wrong with his life. Except for the most obvious thing wrong with him because then he'd be a powerless loser again.

Pacing is good and the episode never feels slow, the dialogue is good, and it's a nice episode overall.

Bottom line: Like most Darkwing Duck episodes, this is worth a watch. In fact, I would even go ahead and say this is probably in the Top 10 Darkwing Duck episodes every Darkwing Duck fan NEEDS to see.
Now, what Darkwing Duck episodes weren't worth a watch? I think I've cover one such episode soon.