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Mark my words-- technology is an evil thing. It only makes life worse, not better. There's no way a machine is ever gonna fix what's wrong with this world.

Eric Duckman on technology

Gripes of Wrath is the third episode of the USA Network original series Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man. This episode aired on March 19, 1994.

Synopsis

Duckman takes his children to the unveiling of a supercomputer named Loretta. However, during the unveiling, Loretta overhears a comment Duckman makes and alters reality to make everything go Duckman's way... for a while.

Plot

Duckman (begrudgingly) takes Charles and Mambo to the unveiling of Professor Provenheim's new computer, Loretta. The computer is highly advanced, but something Duckman says gives it pause. Trying to rationalize it, Loretta ends up remaking the world into a paradise.

Everyone is happy, and Charles and Mambo are no longer mad at Duckman for embarrassing them at the museum. but can it possibly last? Eventually the world slips into chaos, because in a perfect world nobody felt the need to better themselves.

Duckman is taken to Loretta and Charles and Mambo hide in the trunk in order to follow him there. Loretta tells him that it must destroy the world in order to start over because humanity was too evil to keep up the paradise it had given them.

Loretta tries to kill Duckman, Charles and Mambo, but Duckman explains why people are only happy if they're unhappy, unknowingly presenting it with "one of the quintessential paradoxes of the modern era", destroying it.

Charles and Mambo tell Duckman that they taught them that a perfect world is an imperfect world because "it creates the drive in people to make things better", and that even though he lets them down, they appreciate his attempts to always make it up to them.

Notes

  • First major role of Charles and Mambo.
  • Episode Title Reference: The novel the Grapes of Wrath
  • In the perfect reality virginal Cornfed is paired with a hot babe, domineering Bernice is a perfect housewife, slow Ajax is an honor-role student and friendless Charles and Mambo have a bedroom full of other children.
  • Duckman and Bernice are seen roleplaying a scene from Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? after the utopia has torn down. The same play is referenced heavily again in a subsequent episode, Cock Tales for Four.
  • When Duckman and the kids first enter the science museum Duckman says "No computer's gonna fix what's wrong with this world." Behind him a sign that reads "For Extra Shapely Well EnDOWed Long LastING Bodies", several letters burn out leaving it to spell "Foreshadowing".
  • The porno tapes Bernice gives to Duckman all have titles that spoof popular movies; They are A Room With A Spew (A Room With a View), Hannah Does Her Sisters (Hannah and Her Sisters, Howard's End (Howards End) and Bare-assic Park (Jurrasic Park)
  • When Duckman says "You think I'm licked! You all think I'm licked, but I'm not licked!" The line is from the film Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
  • Loretta shutting down and singing "Daisy, daisy" is a reference to 2001: A Space Odyssey
  • When Charles and Mambo give their speech at the end, the camera cuts to Duckman and Charles continues speaking over the shot. However, when the camera cuts back to the three shot, Charles' voice is coming out of Mambo's mouth.
  • The ending credits have the credits and names fading in and out instead of simply cutting to the next. As such, this is the one chance had to screenshot the backgrounds that usually are seen with the credits.

Continuity 

  • The opening is similar to the opening of I, Duckman, with Bernice refusing to make Duckman breakfast.
  • The first episode where Duckman doesn't go into the office.
  • The scene of Bernice beating Duckman and being knocked into the china cabinet was flash-backed to in Exile in Guyville.

Memorable Quotes

"You were the one who made up this whole new world! You screwed up, not me!"
"Impossible! I am infallible!"
"I don't care what religion you are! You made things worse when you made them better! I mean, I liked having a lot of free time, but I hated not having anything to do. Don't you see, things were good when they were bad, and they got bad when they were good. People aren't happy unless they're unhappy."

Duckman and Professor Provenheim


"I know over two hundred ways to kill a man."
"You could glue an open jar of rats to his face. Then blowtorch the other side of the jar, so the rats have to eat their way out threw his face."
(beat) "Two Hundred and one."

Cornfed and Sheri


"You said you erased that!"
"Erased, ran off thousands of copies. It's such a fine line."

Sheri and Cornfed


"Yes, well once again I've outwitted a pitifully inadequate opponent by staying one step ahead of 'em. How exactly did I do that?"

Duckman