Tuesday, April 10, 2007


OK, the concept changed today. This morning in the shower, I realized that satirizing Tinsley's Mallard Fillmore would be an exhausting undertaking. There's just so much relentlessly wrong-headed hypocritical stupidity there that you could quickly wear yourself out trying to keep up - it would be like trying to stop acid rain one drop at a time. Really, Mallard Fillmore falls on its own merits, or lack thereof. It's a shining piece of crap set on a hilltop for all to see.

Still, I liked the character, at least the satirized version of it, as long as it was, well, humanized. And maybe got some other regular characters to play with.

Tinsley's character is a reporter. Allegedly. He lacks any shred of objectivity. My character is a small-time pundit, a guy broadcasting his opinions on a local radio station and publishing his columns in the local paper, and he would lack objectivity from the get-go. He wants to be a Rush Limbaugh, a Bill O'Reilly, a Don Imus, a Mike Royko, a Mike Lupica. But he's not broadcasting from New York or Los Angeles or Chicago. He's not nationally syndicated. He's stuck in Anytown, U.S.A. So how does he get a national audience? Well, he's also got a blog.

But what to name him? I thought of "Conrad Duckwit" - "Conrad" would be a play on "canard", French for "duck", but also defined as "a false, esp. malicious report" - very appropriate for Tinsley's original, though a bit harsh for my small-time pundit. "Duckwit" - well, you can figure that out. Later I decided he would be "Conrad 'Duckwit' Canard" - but it turned out someone else had already used "Conrad Canard" as a cartoon character. I considered "Anatoly", which I have always assumed came from the Latin for "duck" but may actually come from the root for "East". But it seemed odd to have a right-wing pundit with a Franco-Russian name, especially one that translates into "Duck Duck." After some thrashing about I arbitrarily settled on a first name of "Quentin".
One of the characters who inhabits Duckwit's world - Tyler Milford, the captain of the high school basketball team, the Anatotitans. Anatotitan is a duckbilled dinosaur whose name translates into "giant duck." Any fans (or victims) of the sports-themed comic strip Gil Thorp will recognize the names "Tyler" and "Milford".
The compulsively meddling biddy duck Dolly Duckworth. A Mary Worth parody, her last name is the name of a building that stands (or stood) near the University of Scranton campus. Her pear shape and vertical spine are based on the Indian Runner breed of ducks. Donald Duck was originally an Indian Runner, although later designs have had his butt stick out at a right angle to his neck like most standard ducks.

There were other questions. What to do with ducks' asses? (I've decided to keep them.) Shoes or no shoes? (Both. Duckwit went from cap-toe Oxfords yesterday to wingtips today, but I didn't include shoes on Dolly Duckworth - maybe she'll get walking sneakers, appropriate for today's hip, with-it biddy on the go.) Hair or no hair? (Tyler Milford needed a spit-curl, so he got hair on his freakishly large head.) Pants? (Yes. Duckwit's pants are pulled up high. Maybe he'll have suspenders, too, to go with his thin tie, fedora, thick-soled wingtips, and coat with elbow patches - all trappings of a writer trying to look "serious".)

Hmmm. Should I run with it?


whimsicalnbrainpan said...

YES! I would love to see where you could take this.

betz said...

well now, this should prove to be interesting......
i was glad to talk to you today my friend.
thank you so much for the call. :)

marc said...

Yeah, anything that sends up that "water foul" would be a very good thing indeed. Keep developing it my friend.

Anonymous said...

Give it a shot. The best things about having ducks as characters:

* You could show all the ice in the world melting, and the ducks can still float.

* You can revive the old gag, "Wanna buy a duck?"

* Whatever happens, it'll just roll off their backs.

If it doesn't work, you can make duck soup.

Bill @ BN