Duckman, Private Dick/ Family Man: Seasons One and Two (Paramount, 1994/95) Creator: Everett Peck, w/ Jason Alexander, Gregg Berger (voices). Rating: NNNN; DVD package: NNN
Smart writing, great visuals, a breakneck pace and a cast of bizarre characters keep Duckman fresh and funny, even on repeated viewings.
Garbage-mouthed, venal, vain, horny and stupid, Duckman is prone to extended rants on topics like the need for politically incorrect humour. Jason Alexander voices him with throat-shredding rage that switches to pleading or syrupy self-pity in a split second. When he's done, his partner, Cornfed Pig (Gregg Berger), delivers either common sense or the wholly weird in a perfect Joe Friday deadpan. It never helps. Nor do the New Agey feel-good remarks of stuffed-toy office help Fluffy and Uranus, to whom Duckman deals hideous death every time.
At home, Duckman's a punching bag for sister-in-law Bernice and scum to sons Charles and Mambo (two heads, one body). Only teen son Ajax likes him, but Ajax is a space case with the soul of a poet and no discernible brain.
Visual and verbal comedy flow fast, enhanced by creator Everett Peck's cinematic angles and detailed, textured and shadowed images. The characters are a free-form mix of animal, human and human-animal hybrids with a look reminiscent of 1930s Betty Boop.
The extras take an interesting look at the creative process, particularly that of adapting Duckman from comic book to animation.
EXTRAS Peck and Alexander commentary on pilot episode, retrospective making-of and Duckman design docs, character bios. Full-frame.