So I created this account just to ask this question: Who do you think created Webby. She wasn't present at all in the old comics, theatrical shorts or anything at all. I'm just wondering why they feel the need to create a mini - Daisy instead of like, just Scrooge and the boys themselves. From what I have read she was just like a tag - along in the old DuckTales anyway, so it make my question stand even more.
Well eh I kinda phrased that wrong. I'm just wondering WHY, not WHO. Ignore the who part. But eh I just feel it's kinda weird to create a whole new character then just put her as a tag - along one. Note: I haven't watched the old DuckTales so I might be inaccurate on that part. Like, what's the point? If it is to attract a female audience, I doubt young girls want to see a character of their gender just appearing on the show for the sake of appearing and being completely useless. EDIT: Changed the title to make it more accurate to what I'm seeking for.
I'm sure Webby was created in order to put a female "in the family" for the sake of female viewers. The fact that they didn't do a very good job at creating a character female viewers could identify with doesn't mean that that wasn't their intent. Since Donald wasn't in the show very much at all, Daisy wasn't an option. Both Mrs. Beakley and Webby were inserted into the McDuck mansion to provide some female characters for female viewers.
DuckTales '87 came along when I was already an adult, and I didn't watch it at the time at all, though I was a Disney comics fan. So I can't say how the character of Webby would have struck child-me. I think I would have liked her occasionally, but resented the "little girly-ness" of the character at the same time.
TV shows and movies in general did not do a good job in my 1960's/70's youth of providing girl characters at all, not to mention girl characters any self-respecting girl would want to identify with. 1980's kids' shows are famous for adding a girl to the otherwise all-male central cast whose personality is "girl." The creators of the Lumberjanes grew up in the 1980's, and they speak about this feelingly.
1980's kids' shows are famous for adding a girl to the otherwise all-male central cast whose personality is "girl." The creators of the Lumberjanes grew up in the 1980's, and they speak about this feelingly.
In fairness, I think DuckTales fared pretty well in that respect, in a "fair for its time" kind of way.
First, yes, Webby comes across as eminently "girly", but not in a way that's supposed to be comical in the way that some of the old Daisy Duck's Diary made fun of supposed "female obsessions" like worrying about one's weight or haircut. The boys are clearly presented as in the wrong whenever they pick on her for being tiny and meek and girly; you're not supposed to yourself find her silly. She's kind of in the same limbo as 'progressive' stories from decades/centuires ago which earnestly portrayed some category of foreigners in horribly clichéd and stereotypical ways, but then argued that these clichés and stereotypes were no reason not to treat them as human beings anyway. (This is basically how comics made by decent people tended to treat Amerindians, for example — you were clearly rooting against the white bandits trying to scam them and take their stuff and hunt their bisons, and you had to appreciate their traditions and kind of ponder sadly at the fact that western civilization was slowly driving them out. But they were walking caricatures speaking in "English-um" and constantly swearing by the Great Manitou and having ridiculously long and florid hyphenated names.)
Secondly, her personality isn't breaking any gender stereotypes, but she still has a clearly-defined personality beyond "the girl one". She loves animals and is good with them (even dinosaurs or yetis), she has an unfailing dedication to her childlike, naive idea of morality, she really wants to prove herself to the boys and Scrooge and bravely attempts to participate in adventures for which she's clearly way too young.
I think the problem was not just to insert a female character, they wanted to create a character that sold for merchandis, in the 80 products related to Disney Babies sold well, especially those of Baby Daisy so they created a slightly larger version of her hoping to get a bit of a market (typical 80s TV manager logic).
In fact, Webby in the original serie was like a younger sister for HDL destined to be exploited in the most tender moments of the serie.
Last Edit: Jan 25, 2019 11:37:32 GMT by xanderares
When Ducktales first aired, a good part of the cartoon shows were low-budget shows primarily made to sell toys, which had a big distintcion in which ones were for boys and girls (even more so than nowadays), so there were the action shows, which involved soldiers, warriors, battles and stuff for boys, and the overly touchy-feeling, saccarine girl shows.
Ducktales was in many respects a groundthrough, being a big-budget animated show to tell adventures rather than merchandise products for kids, but it still shows signals of its days, in that they knew that they needed to attract the female audience in order increase their ratings, but what they thought girls in general liked was what those shows like "My Little Pony", "Care Bears" and other cartoons made for girls, since they usually watched these. So this is what they focused on when producing a new character for the show. Also, back in the 40's and 50's when Barks created the stories that would inspire Ducktales, these established a team consisting of Scrooge, Donald and their three nephews, in a time when there wasn't much of a discussion on female characters and their presence and roles (or the lack thereof), so the Team was made status quo and has remained as such in the comics to this day. Adding a new permanent member or excluding one (as they did with Donald in Ducktales) was no option. Comic readers were familiar with the team for decades, but TV was different. They knew they had to appeal to girls, but they followed what was thought they'd enjoy.
And that's where lies the problem: Ducktales was about adventure, mystery and a bit of action, none of which existed in most girl shows back then, because it wasn't considered "for girls". So Webby's character felt out-of-place sometimes, as if she came from a different show. This is seen in the Australia episode, where she gets lost in the forest and while the others investigate the mystery of the week, she befriends animals, and before her arc crosses with the mystery (she leads the animals against the bad guys), her scenes with them feel like a different show. That's not to say it happened every time she appeared, but it often felt like they were trying to bait a foreign audience through her character, rather than appeal to girls who watched Ducktales for the adventures.
As I rewatched the show, the more I realized just how limited was her role in it. Because she was supposed to appeal to girls watched other different shows, she was left out of the adventures more often than not, and sometimes she wasn't even in the episode, even when she was supposed to (as in the one where Ma Beagle pretends to be married to Scrooge and moves to the mansion; it's set up on Mrs. Beakley's birthday and Webby, her only relative, is nowhere to be seen). Also, she was never allowed to go through any character development, because what happened in one episode didn't interfere in the next; she becomes a Junior Woodchuck in the 40th episode and manages to learn new things, only for this to be ignored in the following episodes. So it's little wonder why she was such a divisive figure among the fans.
Mrs. Beakley was a similar case; she's introduced as a capable nanny, but when she goes with the team to the Artic in the part 4 of "Treasure of The Golden Suns", she gets to do pretty impressive things and pretty much saves the day. But in following episodes, the creators were satisfied with using for comic relief or simply as the old nanny, aside from three episodes. Should one watch a handful of episodes, there's a bigger chance she wouldn't make much of an impression.
I think where she works better in the reboot is because she was made to be part of the show. She's adventurous, thirsty for mysteries, and of course, her action skills are appealing, but also because she's perfectly fit for the more action-oriented spirit of the reboot; even her more over-the-top traits, like her obsession for Scrooge match the show, so she's clearly part of this universe. Maybe she could have worked better in the original had the creators made her more fitting for the spirit of the show, or simply given more to do and more often, more or less like some Danish Ducktales comics I read, where she was just as naive and cheerful, but definitely more adventurous and more into the adventures. But I digress.