Duckman: Season 1 and 2

Duckman: Season 1 and 2
In an age when South Park and Family Guy are two of the most popular shows on television, it’s hard to imagine a time when the term "adult cartoon” referred to anything other than the dirty editorial drawings in Hustler. Yet, before the early ’90s, cartoons for mature audiences simply didn’t exist. Duckman broke these boundaries and in a brief four-season run provided some of the most subversive and satirical commentaries on American television, as voiced by a duck detective. Sure, The Simpsons was already on the air but that show was always intended for the entire family (albeit a dysfunctional one). Duckman’s bizarre world about a bitter duck who struggles through work and comes home to a hateful sister-in-law, bratty children and a comatose grandmother who communicates only in flatulence paved the way for shows like Beavis And Butthead. For better or worse, it proved that grownups don’t mind watching animation, just as long as it’s suitably offensive. Though mostly forgotten today, Duckman holds up surprisingly well. While it was set in the early ’90s, the satirical targets the creators chose (like reality TV) are more relevant today. A pair of half-hour features on this new DVD set show a group of likeminded collaborators who went out of their way to produce a shocking, subversive and thoroughly bizarre comedy that deserves much more recognition that it’s ever received. Of course, no discussion of Duckman is complete without mentioning the involvement of Jason Alexander, who provided the voice of Duckman and gave the character all of the bitterness, restless energy and hilarity of George Costanza. Alexander shows up in the documentaries and lone commentary track (alongside series creator Everett Peck) on the DVD, and is suitably proud of the show. The time to rediscover Duckman is now and if you buy it quickly you can smugly tell all of your friends that you appreciated the show before a new cult audience develops for the vastly underrated series. (Paramount)