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Darkwing Duck tells the adventures of the titular superhero, aided by his sidekick and pilot Launchpad McQuack. In his secret identity of Drake Mallard (a parody of Kent Allard, the alter ego of the Shadow), he lives in an unassuming suburban house with his adopted daughter Gosalyn, next door to the bafflingly dim-witted Muddlefoot family. Darkwing struggles to balance his egotistical craving for fame and attention against his desire to be a good father to Gosalyn and help do good in St. Canard. Most episodes put these two aspects of Darkwing's character in direct conflict, though Darkwing's better nature usually prevails.

The show was the first Disney Afternoon series to emphasize action rather than adventure, with Darkwing routinely engaging in slapstick battles with both supervillains and street criminals. While conflict with villains was routine in earlier Disney Afternoon shows, actual fight scenes were relatively rare.

Darkwing Duck was also the first Disney Afternoon property that was produced completely as a genre parody. Prior shows would contain elements of parody in certain episodes, but would otherwise be straight-faced adventure concepts, this in the tradition of Carl Barks' work in the Disney comics. By contrast, every episode of Darkwing Duck is laden with references to superhero, pulp adventure, or super-spy fiction. Darkwing Duck himself is a satirical character. His costume, gas gun and flashy introductions are all reminiscent of pulp heroes and Golden Age superheroes such as The Shadow, The Sandman, Doc Savage, Batman, The Green Hornet and the Julius Schwartz Flash, as well as The Lone Ranger and Zorro. The fictional city of St. Canard is a direct parody of Gotham City.

Day of Blunder (Season 1 Episode 19) Edit

As one of Quacker Jack's plans to get Darkwing Duck out of his way, he tricks Darkwing Duck into giving up crime fighting He does this by getting Darkwing Duck to humiliated himself by getting him to arrest Quacker Jack for stealing play money and cover a rubber chicken believing it's a bomb. Darkwing Duck will then accept help from Dr. Leopold L Loon (Who is actually Quacker Jack in disguise.) and under go a series of tests which will give Darkwing Duck a result of Pouring Tea in the Lacing Doyley Society instead of crime fighting. One of these tests is hypnotizing Darkling Duck (Along with the other duck who is also in a career crisis.) with a spiraling wheel into going back into the dim dark recesses of his past. Darkwing Duck did the same to Quacker Jack near the end as a way defeat him.

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