Title: A Girl After My Own Heart!
Fandom: Darkwing Duck
Pairing: Bud Flood (aka The Liquidator)/Gosalyn Mallard
I will freely admit it—I have a thing for hero/villain pairings.
I’m not sure what it is about them that I love. Maybe I love the angst and forbidden-vibe they have. Maybe I just love the villains in general and love to see them reveal their more human side (regardless of what species they may be) and find love with their moral opposite. Maybe I’m just a freak. The point is, I love them. I don’t care how canon (or not) they are; I will always love them and I always will.
Now, I ship a lot of pairings. How many? This is only a partial list. But when I was once tagged to list my seven favorite pairings in order, I found, much to my surprise, that I was able to do so rather easily. Of the seven cream of the crop I listed, three were hero/villain. Two of those three, Mojo/Blossom and Scrooge/Magica, I have already written about.
Which leaves the third, because all good things come in trilogies. Liquidator/Gosalyn, from Darkwing Duck.
For those of you not in the know, Darkwing Duck is a Disney Channel animated TV show that debuted in 1991 (and is currently enjoying a successful comic book revival), a sort of spin-off of DuckTales. But instead of taking a character from DT and turning him/her into a star of a new show, DWD stars a completely new character, the titular Darkwing himself. He’s a Batman-esque crime fighter patrolling the city of St. Canard who doesn’t get near the attention and recognition that he believes he deserves… and with an ego like his, that’s a lot. But still, inflated ego and the problems it causes aside, Darkwing is a very competent crime fighter when all is said and done, albeit one with a fondness for alliteration and dramatic third-person dialogue. His sidekick/pilot is Launchpad McQuack, brought over from DuckTales. They are also sometimes followed by Honker Muddlefoot, the meek genius boy who lives next door, and Gosalyn Mallard, Darkwing’s daughter, who he adopted at the end of the two-part pilot episode “Darkly Dawns the Duck”.
Gosalyn is nine years old and a complete spitfire tomboy through and through. In the pilot episode, she is shown to have gained a reputation for being a “problem child” and “spirited” at the orphanage, a distinction that scares off potential adoptive parents. Nothing is known of her biological parents; before being sent to the orphanage she lived with her grandfather, Professor Waddlemeyer. Professor Waddlemeyer invented a powerful laser called the Ramrod, but in a botched attempt to obtain it by Taurus Bulba, Waddlemeyer was killed before he could obtain the operating code. Bulba went after Gosalyn, knowing that if anyone other than Waddlemeyer knew it, Gosalyn would. Long story short, Darkwing saved Gosalyn from her would-be captors, butted heads with her, formed a close bond with her, managed to defeat Bulba, and adopted Gosalyn. Interestingly, Darkwing seems to have had no “secret identity” before this; the impression one is left with is that he set up life as normal suburbanite Drake Mallard in order to give Gosalyn a regular upbringing and sense of stability.
Gosalyn’s spirit only intensifies in the series regular. She’s sassy, spunky, clever but apparently not book-smart (or at least doesn’t care to apply herself during class), and never seems to clean her room. She’s also just as thrill-seeking as her adoptive father, and sometimes even adopts superhero personas of her own, much to DW’s worry and dismay (and also pride, of course).
Now, a superhero series is only as good as its villains, and Darkwing Duck delivers. In addition to the aforementioned Taurus Bulba, there’s all of the FOWL agents, most notably the suave Steelbeak; the theatrical Tuskerninni; the mad artist Splatter Phoenix… and then the big guns: The Fearsome Five.
The members of the Fearsome Five all appeared individually before teaming up for the two-part episode “Just Us Justice Ducks”; they would continue to work as a team for a few more episodes as well. Negaduck, their unquestioned leader, is Darkwing Duck’s parallel universe counterpart (at least, that’s the generally agreed upon choice of the multiple backstories) and is friggin’ axe crazy. Megavolt is a cracked former classmate of Darkwing’s who can control electricity and aims to free all the electrical devices in St. Canard. Quackerjack is even more insane than Megavolt; he’s a toymaker who holds an overwhelming grudge towards the video games who put him out of business. Bushroot is the woobie of woobies; he’s a scientist who had to resort to experimenting on himself when his funding was cut, turning him into a half-duck, half-plant, and most of his villainous acts are either simply ways to get funding or to find a companion.
And then… there is the Liquidator. Unlike the rest of the Fearsome Five, Licky was a one-hit wonder; he had only one solo cartoon. But was it a wonder. The episode is "Dry Hard" and shows a smarmy bottled-water salesman named Bud Flood take advantage of the heat wave that’s ripping through the city by sabotaging his competitors’ water by dumping chemicals into it. Darkwing and Launchpad catch him in the act, however, and during the confrontation Flood falls into a poisoned vat. Darkwing is unnerved, but assumes that’s the last he’ll see of him. He’s wrong—it is not long afterwards that he encounters a smarmy, smooth-talking salesman creature made up entirely out of water, and with the power to control all the water in the city.
As stated earlier, Licky only had this one cartoon to himself; all the rest of his appearances on the show were with the rest of the Fearsome Five. It’s unfortunate, but understandable… he was just plain hard to write. For one thing, he spoke mostly in advertising jargon, which was definitely clever and interesting but was also very limiting. Also, although being virtually indestructible (how does one kill a puddle of water?), once a method was found to defeat him, he was laughably and easily defeated. Pour cement into him and turn him into a statue, mix him up with pudding mix, trap him in a bottle… there are only so many times these methods can be used before they grow old, and fast. In some ways, Licky was too good a villain to last.
So that’s a very condensed, watered-down (courtesy of the Liquidator, bad pun I know) run-down of Darkwing Duck. And now to the ship part of the ship manifesto. Now, if you’ve read either of my other two ship manifestos, you’ll no doubt notice that I comb through the episodes bit by bit to give every morsel of evidence there is.
I can’t do that here, though, for one very, very good reason.
Licky/Gos is crack. It’s the crack of crack. It’s crack to the nth power. It makes Mojo/Blossom and Scrooge/Magica look absolutely 100% canon by comparison.
The reason I ship it stems entirely from one single scene, less than thirty seconds long, from the only time the two characters interact in the show’s run.
That moment, of course, is in "Dry Hard". While Flood/Licky is utilizing some dirty tricks to sell his product, Gos is interestingly doing something of the same thing. She sets up a lemonade stand that gives out free potato chips, chips that she drowns in salt. After the poor sap eats the chips, she proceeds to offer them a glass of natural (-ly from the tap, naturally!) water for the low, low price of a dollar a cup! Her methods are no less sneaky than Flood’s, only less diabolical.
Darkwing’s chase of the Liquidator leads him through the sewers of St. Canard and eventually right up to his house. After the chase scene, he’s parched, and breathlessly asks Gos for a drink of water.
Gosalyn’s response: “Nuh-huh. Two dollars, please.”
And then, much to her surprise, a dog head forms from the water in her glass and speaks to her: “Ah, two dollars! A girl after my own heart!”
Yes, that was the line that set off my shipping meters. :)
And the episode’s nice enough to throw me a second line—after the Liquidator emerges from the glass and forms his “regular” shape, he snaps his fingers and sends his little water goons to capture Gosalyn, exclaiming, “Take her back to the factory! I could use another enterprising individual in my organization!”
…And then Darkwing pours cement on Licky and turns him into a statue and that’s the end of the episode. But the damage had been done for me. I ship Licky/Gos pretty hardcore, and unlike some of my other pairings, I can’t point to scene after scene of evidence. I can only point to one line that I’m taking slightly out of context. Only during free month could I write and post this flimsy manifesto.
But by God do I love this pairing.
Basically? Gosalyn is a girl after his own heart. She’s conniving and enterprising and while she may be on the “good guy” side, she can be a sneaky little cuss when she wants to be. And this, of course, is Licky’s default operating mode.
Of course, Gosalyn’s a little on the young side. Licky’s as sleazy as they come. But that makes it all the more forbidden, and thus all the more fun, am I right? ;)
I don’t really know what else to say other than I just like this pairing. Despite the oddness of it, it somehow just works. Once Gos grows up a little, that is. But there’s a lot about her that Licky apparently approves of. Could there be something about Licky that Gos is attracted to? Interestingly, Licky’s relative lack of appearances helps the pairing out in this case. We know nothing about his history. Maybe, deep down, hidden somewhere in the past, is something about the enigmatic Bud Flood that Gosalyn could relate to. Canon doesn’t show this, but it certainly doesn’t deny it either. Oh, the possibilities!
And here’s the part of the manifesto where traditionally I would list fanfic and fanart recs, but here’s the thing: again, this pairing is crack. I pretty much invented it from my insanity. Thus, of the very very little Licky/Gos that’s out there… most of it is mine. However, I must make mention of dontclimbontheIguana (formerly Steel-Plated Bambi)’s work. I planted the Licky/Gos idea in her head and she turned out a number of awesome drawings for them:
http://steel-plated-bambi.deviantart.com/art/Licky-n-Gos-Stand-by-me-91712651 —colorized here by cutelittledizzymae: http://cutelittledizzymae.deviantart.com/art/Stand-By-Me-Colored-Version-91932773
Darkwing Duck and all related characters belong to Disney. Pictures are screencaps I took from my DVDs. Comic book cover pilfered from somewhere. Pairing is absolute crack. Cookies are delicious. Don’t delay, act today!