|“||Well, Duckman, according to your family, you're not an incomparable crime fighting hero. You're not special or unique. In fact, there's absolutely nothing memorable about you at all.||”|
—Eric Duckman being examined on a television show during a nightmare.
I, Duckman is the series premiere of the USA Network original series Duckman: Private Dick/Family Man. This episode aired on March 5, 1994.
Duckman is distracted from his own depression when it appears that somebody is trying to murder him.
We open on a star-filled night sky, panning out to reveal a skimpy nurse running away in terror from a mad criminal. She locks herself into a room, and immediately calls the police. The police fear that by the scream alone, the job is more than their force can handle, so they instead press the button that sends off the signal for the all-mighty Duckman.
We then see Eric Duckman in a lavish library where he's reading Vol. 9 of Quotable Duckman: Witty Bon Mots. He turns his head towards the window and notices the Batman-esque flair light, and flings out to window to rescue.
He lands in his giant vehicle shaped like his own head, and zooms into action. He's driving after a red car that the Nurse is being taken away in. They both drive into a dark alley way, where Duckman demands the criminal unhand the girl. As Duckman steps closer to the criminal, the criminal reveals himself to be a TV show host, and he pulls back a curtain to reveal the stage.
The audience applauds, the nurse turns into a showgirl, the cameras are aimed, and the host introduces that incomparable crime-fighting hero: Eric Duckman! Everyone is cheering for Duckman, while ladies are throwing their bras and panties towards him.
Though, immediately, this ceases when his family (sitting in a booth next to him) tells the host that Duckman is the farthest thing from a hero. Bernice pulls on a lever that opens a trap door beneath Duckman, and he falls into the abyss.
We then see that this segment was just a dream Duckman was having in his sleep, and he wakes up in a cold sweat, screaming for a smoke. He ends up getting his hand stuck in a mouse trap that reads "You're quitting remember". He angrily throws it to the corner, and picks up a hidden ash tray, and licks it clean.
Duckman walks into the kitchen, where Bernice is cooking while doing her stretches, and Gecko is attempting to eat out of his dog bowl. Bernice asks what's wrong, and Duckman tells her he had that dream again. Bernice yells at him to be quiet, showing that she wasn't asking about him at all, she was just on the phone. She ends the call, and then gets angry with Duckman for not doing his share of the housework. Ajax enters the kitchen and Duckman attempts to speak with him-- but is ignored. Charles and Mambo enter the kitchen while arguing about each others' theories. They notice the yeast cakes on the table that Bernice made for them, they rush to the table, greeting the morning to Grandma-ma, not even noticing Duckman right next to her. Duckman exclaims how much he hates that he feels as though he is invisible in the eyes of his family, all the while he is literally disappearing.
Duckman then drives to work, talking to himself about how he treats others the way he'd like to be treated, right before cutting someone else off of parking. After being defecated on by a bird, Duckman walks into the agency, where he sees Fluffy and Uranus. They speak with him concerning his digestive problem, and concerning his smoking addiction, causing him to kick Fluffy out the window, and to impale Uranus onto a clothing hanger.
He walks into the office where he and Cornfed discuss the nightmares he's been having, and his own lack of impact on the people around him. They get a package sent to them, which turns out to be a letter bomb, exploding on Uranus, and leaving a mark on Duckman and Cornfed. Duckman is ecstatic to find out somebody actually cares enough about him to want him dead. The two go on the case, while Uranus's head catches fire on a radiator.
Duckman and Cornfed's first stop is at the prison, where Wolfgang Cracker, the first suspect is. Duckman put Wolfgang in prison (on accident) and that's what makes Duckman believe that Wolfgang sent the letter bomb. But when they visit the inmate, it's shown that Wolfgang had actually benefitted from his time in prison. He's become rich and famous in prison, and has even eased the stigma attached to his avocation-- his avocation being cannibalism. So there'd be no reason why he'd try to go after Duckman at all. Wolfgang gets a package, thinking it's an organ of some kind. He takes it to another room to eat it-- only for it to explode. It was another letter bomb that was addressed to Duckman.
They head home, where Bernice mentions that Duckman got a message from somebody who said that he made a mistake in his past, and that he's going to pay for it. Bernice takes the kids out on a ride, which is disappointing to him, as he went home to try to connect with his children a little before the bomber gets him. They head up to the attic, remnants of Duckman's whole past is in the attic. They go searching, and Duckman find old home movies that tell the tales of his youth.
The movies show Duckman being a selfish jerk to a lot of people during his childhood, he's shown not eating healthy instead opting to smokie cigarettes, and he's shown to have resisted going to college against his dad's wishes. He is also shown to have met his wife Beatrice, and the footage is of their marriage after Charles and Mambo were born.
Cornfed notes how things have changed since her passing, and then Duckman wells up in tears about her. Their wedding anniversary would be tomorrow, and it's the first one he'll be spending without her. Cornfed mentions that that fact could explain the way he's been feeling lately. Suddenly, another letter bomb is tossed into the attic window, but it's a dud. There was a note on the package that said "I'll se you at your grave." They look out the window, where they see the mad bomber, and Cornfed says "Time for the obligatory chase."
He leads them to a graveyard, where they find that the killer had set up a burial plot for Duckman right next to Beatrice's. The killer walks up with a chainsaw, but Duckman's tombstone crushes his foot, causing him to toss the chainsaw upwards, only to have it in Duckman's hands now. The killer pleads for mercy, saying that he tried to get Duckman back for the photos he exposed of the killer having an affair. His wife paid a detective to find that out, and it ruined the killer's life-- this whole thing Duckman doesn't remember.
Then they both realize it wasn't about Duckman at all. The killer had the wrong guy, Duckman just looked a lot like the guy. Duckman says that these things happen, and that he's too depressed to take him into police custody, and asks if the killer could simply turn himself in. The killer says sure, and walks off. Duckman is right back to feeling invisible, to which Cornfed smacks him and tells him to pull himself together, and reminds him about his children. The scene ends with Duckman leaning onto Beatrice's tombstone, saying Beatrice made him a better person, and that he's just not a good parent without her.
The next day, Duckman walks up to the house, but he lingers on opening the door for a little bit before deciding not to go in. He instead walks to a dead end sign. Ajax, Charles and Mambo walk out of the house, and Ajax approaches Duckman. Ajax wished Duckman a happy anniversary, saying that they miss their mother too.
Ajax hands Duckman half of his submarine sandwich, and he says that he and his brothers think Duckman's doing a good job as a parent. Ajax walks off, only to immediately return, and give Duckman the other half of the submarine sandwich. The screen pans up to a shot of the night sky, while Duckman is heard saying "Thank you... son."
|Jason Alexander||...||Eric Duckman|
|Nancy Travis||...||Bernice / Beatrice|
|Gregg Berger||...||Cornfed Pig / Wolfgang's Assistant|
|Dana Hill||...||Charles / Young Duckman|
|Pat Musick||...||Fluffy and Uranus|
|Joe Alaskey||...||Dream Sequence Criminal|
|Sheryl Bernstein||...||Olive Oyl|
|Linda Gary||...||Mother Goose|
|Walt Reno Jr.||...||Lottery Announcer|
|Charles Shaughnessy||...||Wolfgang Cracker|
|Bruce Weitz||...||Mad Bomber|
- Duckman's home movies are parodies of Steamboat Willie (the first Mickey Mouse short), Popeye, Yogi Bear cartoons and The Simpsons.
- When Charles and Mambo step into the kitchen an animation technique known as a "cheat" is used to hide the fact that they share a body, revealing it on the pull out when they start to fight. The reveal is a little moot however as Charles and Mambo were already shown in full body shots during Duckman's dream sequence, and in the opening titles.
- Duckman ties Cornfed down to watch his home movies a la' A Clockwork Orange.
- While going through his old things in the attic, Duckman finds a sled with the word "Rosebud" painted on it, a reference to Citizen Kane.
- The episode is dedicated to Frank Zappa
- Porn Wars by Frank Zappa
Cornfed: I'd dream I fell & hurt my head my head on a fishbowl, hurt myself just bad enough to work graveyard shift at a convenience store. A group of Hari Krishnas always came in at 4am and bought 16 gallons of Mr. Slushy and a package of banana flavored Ding Dongs, then the Swedish Bikini Team jumped out of a magazine and read Moby Dick to me inside a giant carton of cottage cheese. Why? I'd ask myself, what could it mean? Am I mad or is the world just a mystery to complex to understand?
Cornfed: No one else could have created the family you did... I mean that in a good way.
Ajax: Is it possible to love a sandwich so much you don't want to eat it, cause then it'll be gone
Fluffy: Hello Mr. Duckman. Being aware of your little digestive problem we made you a bran muffin and a mug of steaming liquid grit.
Uranus: Be good to your bowels, and they will be good to you.
Duckman: What the hell are YOU staring at?!!!
Duckman: I brake for animals...if they're big enough to dent my car.
Ajax: Yeast cakes! Every bite a nutritional pot-pourri.
Bernice: You were supposed to get your dog neutered, I caught him looking funny at the hamster again!
Duckman: What, no map?