Ducktales teaches another rarely-taught life lesson while subverting the formula in “The Lost Harp of Mervana”

Dewey and Scrooge bring the gang along on an underwater adventure, following the trail of Isabelle Finch’s journal to find the Lost Harp of Mervana, but when they find an idyllic hippy society of mer-ducks, Louie is instantly on guard for the other shoe to drop as Mrs. Beakley tries to protect Webby’s infectious optimism from the perils of reality.

Ducktales has been on a morality spin lately and, surprisingly, I haven’t minded as the morality tales have been handled very subtly and they don’t feel like we’re being clobbered over the head with them. Add into the factors that the morality tales they are dishing out are lessons that are rarely taught… you might even call them hard truths. It’s okay to fail as long as you learn. You are valued even when you don’t think you are. And this week’s lesson: Optimism is fine, but you need a little pessimism in your life as well.

You very rarely see a television program aimed at kids say something that apparently cynical, but Ducktales has a point. Webby is naively optimistic and would have likely gotten killed to death had it not been for Beakley and Louie expecting the worst. To say that optimism and pessimism must exist in a balance is an incredibly brave thing to say in a cartoon world of bright colors and endless jokes.

In the end, it was Louie and Beakley’s pessimism that saved Webby, but Webby’s optimism that saved Mervana. I really have to applaud that lesson. We tell kids that they shouldn’t judge people, but also tell them not to talk to strangers because they’re dangerous. We teach the life lesson of optimism/pessimism all the time and don’t even know it.

I really appreciate how Ducktales went on to subvert their own formula with this episode as well, playing off of the balance of optimism and pessimism. Usually in Ducktales episodes, idyllic and peaceful people/creatures/ducks are revealed to be sinister underneath… this time, however, the show turned that formula on its ear to amusing results though, I feel that Louie pointing out that the mer-ducks were going to be evil too many times telegraphed the ending far too early.

The episode was awash with humor and I really am enjoying the way that Della is integrating into the cast. I feared that she would feel like a tacked-on character and that the writers wouldn’t know what to do with her, but even when she’s sidelined, her personality and quirks are very amusing.

I enjoyed “The Lost Harp of Mervana.” It’s another solid Ducktales adventure.

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