Voices: Jason Alexander, Nancy Travis, Gregg Berger, Dweezil Zappa, Dana Hill, E.G. Daily, Pat Musick, Gilbert Gottfried, Walt Reno, Ron Leibman, Rick Overton, Sheryl Bernstein, Mark De Carlo, Denny Bishop, Jim Cummings. Duckman” is a social satire that offers rough, raspy, clever animation that’s a good match for the verbal wit, in-jokes and bathroom humor of the scripts. Kicking off its second season, “Duckman” is consistently one of the funniest shows on TV.
The series revolves around Duckman — sleazy, self-centered, incompetent detective and unenlightened family man — and mines laughs at the office (many provided by his partner, the deadpan, brilliant pig Cornfed) and at home (which the widowed duck shares with his abrasive sister-in-law, sweet but dim son Ajax, two-headed twins Charles and Mambo and the silent, flatulent Grandmama).
Season opener, as is true with many segs of the series, doesn’t really kick in until the second half. Duckman, attempting to goose a couple of women, accidentally foils would-be presidential assassin Lee Harley Kozak. The duck becomes an instant celeb, and the mildly amusing first half covers his media saturation, including an appearance on the sleazy “Geofredo” talkshow.
The second half is laugh-out-loud funny, particularly with Cornfed rattling off Duckman’s merchandise, and a live-action sequence that depicts USA Network’s telepic version of Duckman’s heroism.
Charles Shaughnessy of “The Nanny” hilariously portrays a suave, sexy Duckman in the vidpic within the show, titled “Pinch Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me: The Duckman Story.” As the farfetched telefilm ends, Cornfed laments, “Did we really need all that degrading sex and gratuitous, stomach-churning violence?” to which Duckman replies, “Hey, USA had certain guidelines.”
With sly asides and visual gags at every corner of the screen, the jokes are so rapid-fire that the episodes hold up well under repeated viewings.
Character animation is unfailingly amusing, and the backgrounds (with weird perspectives and oversize buildings) are fun. Actors’ voice work is always tops, with Dweezil Zappa (Ajax) and Gregg Berger (Cornfed) especially good.