|This article relies on references to primary sources. (September 2012)|
A Queer Duck episode opening splash screen
|Created by||Mike Reiss|
|Directed by||Xeth Feinberg|
|Starring||Jim J. Bullock
Kevin Michael Richardson
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||20|
|Running time||3 minutes|
|Original run||1999– 2006|
Queer Duck is an animated series produced by Icebox.com that originally appeared on Icebox.com and later moved to the American cable television channel Showtime in 2002, where it aired as a follow-up feature of the American version of Queer as Folk. Although far from being the first gay cartoon character, Queer Duck was the first animated TV series to have homosexuality as its predominant theme. Like several later television cartoons, Queer Duck was animated in Macromedia Flash.
The show was created, written and executive produced by Mike Reiss, executive producer of network cartoons The Simpsons and The Critic. The animation was directed and designed by Xeth Feinberg. The theme song for the cartoon was performed by the drag-queen celebrity, RuPaul.
Despite the suggestive content, there is no graphic language or any sexual content, but the latter is heavily implied throughout the series and the movie.
The title character, whose full name is Adam Seymour Duckstein (voiced by Jim J. Bullock), is a gay anthropomorphic duck who works as a nurse. In an interview included on the DVD release of Queer Duck: The Movie Reiss states that Bullock is the only member of the cast that is actually gay, and that he had insisted that the character be voiced by someone gay.
Queer Duck has cyan-colored feathers, a little spiky fringe, and may wear purple eye shadow. He wears a sleeveless rainbow top and, like almost everyone else in the series, does not wear trousers. This follows the tradition of semi-nudity of cartoon characters exemplified by Porky Pig, Donald Duck, Top Cat, etc. He is often shown to have two fingers and one thumb on each hand, though on occasion he has the three fingers and one thumb per hand that is typical of many contemporary cartoons.
Queer Duck is known to gossip about anything and everything, especially on the phone while watching television, as shown on Oh Christ!, The Gaining of Herpes from Sparky and A Gay Outing. He is promiscuous in his own way, but not as obsessed with sex as his boyfriend Openly Gator; for example, he'll often utter the word "cock" but swiftly follows it with another word, like "tails", such as in The Gay Road to Morocco.
His nemesis is known to be radio show host Laura Schlessinger, who is pictured as a haggard and ugly old woman.
Queer Duck has also been a victim of gay bashing, as shown in Ku Klux Klan & Ollie, in which Ku Klux Klan members attempt to burn his house down. When his disguise fails, he kisses the unveiled Jerry Falwell, only to get shot down by the other homophobes. When in heaven he finds out that famous icons like Socrates and Leonardo da Vinci are also gay, much to the chagrin of Jerry Falwell.
Over the course of the series, the audience learns that Queer Duck has a mother who is in denial of his sexuality, a diabetic father (whose name is revealed to be Morty in the episode Quack Doctor), a straight brother named Lucky (who is shown to have bullied Queer Duck when they were younger), a nephew named Little Lucky and a lesbian sister named Melissa. Queer Duck is not the most beloved child in his family and there are strong hints that his older brother Lucky is the most favored one, due to his heterosexuality.
Queer Duck is afraid to show his sexuality to his nephew Little Lucky (who first appeared in Fiddler on the Roofie), especially while camping with two of Little Lucky's friends. They discovered one of his magazines, which included personal ads that contained acronyms like GBM, S&M and B&D. Lucky, however, is already aware of his uncle's sexual identity: when his fellow campers taunt him by saying, "Your uncle is gay", Lucky answers, "Well, DUH!".
- Openly Gator (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson, in the style of Harvey Fierstein), is Queer Duck's significant other. His full name is Steven Arlo Gator. He is shy and insecure and is usually the voice of reason whenever Queer Duck gets himself or anyone else in trouble. He marries Queer Duck in a Jewish Wedding in Vermont in the episode 'Wedding Bell Blues' (although they are often seen as having an open relationship); a moose was the rabbi. He works as a waiter in a restaurant that both him and Queer Duck hate called "TGIM (Thank God It's Monday)".
- Bi-Polar Bear (voiced by Ren & Stimpy and Futurama actor Billy West, in the style of Paul Lynde) is one of Queer Duck's friends. He often makes bad jokes that he alone finds funny. This character is not to be confused with a character called Bi-Polar Bear from The Tick. He works in a perfume stand at a mall.
- Oscar Wildcat (voice actor Maurice LaMarche) is an urbane character, often portrayed as an alcoholic (he is always seen holding some form of alcohol, usually a martini.) He has a deep dislike for his own mother and has implied that he would like to kill her. "If I came out it would kill mother!... I'll do it tonight." He works at a Shirley Temple antique store called "Shirley You Jest".
Recurring supporting characters include Queer Duck's mother (played by Estelle Harris, George's mother on Seinfeld) and the group's nemesis, Dr. Laura Schlessinger (played by voice actress Tress MacNeille). One character, a large, well-built horse, portrays different characters in each episode. He starts out as a gay-converting Christian minister but later portrays more gay-sensitive characters, such as a flight attendant on TWGay. Other characters who have appeared include Truman Coyote, Ricky Marlin and KY Jellyfish.
Although each three-minute episode stands by itself, there are several recurring themes throughout the 20-episode series, such as coming out, gay relationships/marriages, and the problems that can arise when gay and lesbian people have to interact with their straight family members. These are explored through a variety of situations: Queer Duck comes out to his parents in the first episode; in another, Queer Duck and Openly Gator get married, and it's revealed that Queer Duck has a lesbian sister; and in other episodes, Queer Duck must deal with other family members, such as his straight brother, who is much beloved by their parents.
Much like The Critic, Queer Duck features numerous "cameo" voice appearances by celebrities, these voices are impersonated by the cast. In addition to Dr. Laura, the Queer Duck gang encounter Bob Hope, Jack Nicholson, Cary Grant, and Barbra Streisand, with whom Queer Duck is obsessed, as well as noted ultra-conservative preacher Jerry Falwell. These celebrities are the only human characters. All other characters are anthropomorphic animals like Queer Duck and his friends, except for the woman Queer Duck sleeps with in the final episode.
|1.||I'm Coming Out|
|On October 11, National Coming Out Day, Queer Duck comes out to his friends and family who already knew he was gay.|
|2.||Fiddler on the Roofies|
|Queer Duck babysits his nephew, who finds an interesting collection of video tapes.|
|The plans of Dr. and Mrs. Duckstein, Duck's parents, to deprogram our hero are met with fabulously entertaining results.|
|Queer Duck pranks Dr. Laura who tries to get even by stalking him down with a double barrel shotgun. Dr. Laura ends up trying to peek through a "glory hole" and ends up "cockeyed." Queer Duck pulls off a "Daffy" when she finally catches up to him at the local bar.|
|5.||B.S. I Love You|
|Queer Duck stands in line to see his idol Barbra Streisand. He gets tackled by her security and thrown in prison thanks to her gaydar system. Prison ends up being more of a "lucky break" however more than Queer Duck could have possibly imagined.|
|6.||The Gayest Place on Earth|
|The Queer Gang go to a gay theme park. Gay Duck makes a pass at a sailor turkey named "Gobble - the salty Sea man" only to be thwarted by a captain (Mickey Mouse). Attractions seen are "It's a Gay World" (after all), "Butt Pirates" and several closeted stars are also caught there (Keangaroo Reeves and Ricky Marlin).|
After insulting Openly Gator's oversized derrière, and Gator's histrionics over the insult, Gator takes Queer Duck to the gym to rectify the problem. While there, Duck cruises the patrons, leaving Gator to suffer an accident on a weight bench. When the accident leaves Gator with a turned-up nose, Duck tells him it looks like Tori Spelling's. Gator returns to his melodramatic histrionics.
|8.||Queer as Fowl|
While attending the funeral of H.I.V. Possum, Queer duck treats the event like a gay mixer. Queer Duck agrees, stating that "everything is a gay pickup, Desert Storm was a gay pickup." Queer Duck gets disgusted by the funeral poetry reading and turns the funeral into a gay disco. But as it turns out, Queer Duck also has a sensitive side.
|9.||Wedding Bell Blues|
While flying home after attending a gay rodeo, Dr. Laura appears on the gang's airplane's wing (like a gremlin) and starts to take apart the wing. She is ultimately electrocuted. During the panic, Queer Duck makes a "deathbed promise" to marry Openly Gator. They go to Vermont to marry, by a rabbi, where Queer Duck adds a laundry list of exceptions to his vows.
|10.||Ku Klux Klan and Ollie|
|Queer Duck and the gang are having martinis at home when they are interrupted by the KKK. Queer Duck faces off against the unhooded Jerry Falwell and in the process of Queer Duck and Falwell's "exchange," they are offed by the other Klansmen and sent to heaven where they realize there are plenty of other gay occupants. Jerry's disdain for heaven gets him castawayed to an isolated cloud below the main "party" upstairs.|
|11.||The Gay Road to Morocco|
|In a black-and-white parody of the film Road to Morocco, Queer Duck & the troupe offer a Gay Road to Morocco musical episode. They meet Bing Crosby and Bob Hope in the desert and are confronted by Abu Ben Dover (Cary Grant) and his army, which turns out to be a harem.|
|The Queer Gang go to see a gay head shrink, Dr. Ben Swine. Bi Polar Bear relates a recurring dream with Hollywood squares (true to Paul Lynde) and we learn of a dark side to Oscar Wildcat (expanded upon in episode 15). We also get a look at the hatching of Queer Duck. Finally, the anxious and insecure Openly Gator ends up with a good ol' bottle of Xanax.|
|14.||A Gay Outing|
|While Queer Duck is watching "Drugged Out Has-Been's Week" on the Biography Channel, his nephew, a Cub Scout, reminds him of his promise to take the troop on a camping trip. The boys find a copy of Out Magazine with Barney Frank on the cover, and Queer Duck tries to explain the contents of the personal ads. In a musical number, he makes up non-sexual meanings to the abbreviations common in the ads, such as GBM, S&M, B&D, bi/curious, dyke, vamp, butch, and "water-sports."|
|Queer Duck and Openly Gator host a new radio program. First a mysterious caller calls in with a cooking question, "Oscar Mild-Cat." Finally there's a showdown with Dr. Laura, who comes out of the closet but ends up in a major "meltdown."|
|16.||Tales of the City Morgue|
|Three short stories, including Bi Polar Bear's abduction by aliens who were hoping for a "breeder," Oscar Wildcat's creation of a "Barney Frankenstein", and Openly Gator's challenge to break Queer Duck from his Yentl addiction. Will this do in the whole Queer Gang?|
|17.||Homo for the Holidays|
|Openly Gator and Queer Duck visit the Ducksteins for the holidays, where Dr. Duckstein tries to set up Openly Gator with Queer Duck's lesbian sister. But a fortunate wishbone break resolves the family crisis.|
|18.||Bi Polar Bear and the Glorious Hole|
|In a parody of Winnie the Pooh, Bi Polar Bear gets stuck in Oscar Wildcat's hole and becomes very popular in the neighborhood, enjoying the "attention" of many of his neighbors.|
|19.||Santa Claus is Coming Out|
|20.||Mardi Foie Gras|
|At Mardi Gras, the gang is hanging out on a balcony trying to get beads. Queer Duck curses Dr. Laura using voodoo, ends up smashed by a "Hurricane" (cocktail) and wakes up to find himself "deflowered" by a sexy woman.|
In 2005, Queer Duck was voted among the 100 Greatest Cartoons in a poll conducted by the British television channel Channel 4, ranking at #94.
||This section possibly contains original research. (December 2013)|
The show ended because Showtime decided they did not want to be the gay network anymore, removing it from the website, despite still keeping Queer as Folk intact. That is why the movie was made by icebox.com and produced for DVD release.
Queer Duck: The Movie
Queer Duck: The Movie, an all-new feature film, was released on DVD July 18, 2006. The film reunites the original creators and cast of Queer Duck, plus special guest stars Conan O'Brien as himself, Tim Curry as Peccery the butler, Jeff Glen Bennett as the main antagonist; a homo-hating Reverend Vandergelding, Mark Hamill as a hot dog vendor, Bruce Vilanch as himself, Andy Dick as the transgender-ed Regina/Rex, Jackie Hoffman as Lola Buzzard, April Winchell and David Duchovny as "Tiny Jesus". Gay-themed channel Logo premiered the film on July 16.
The film focuses on Queer Duck, after realizing that there's no point of being homosexual if almost everyone is against it and when he meets the quirky, energetic and suave actor Lola Buzzard (Jackie Hoffman) which stroke his heart, deciding whenever to stay gay or turn straight. This decision also has an effect on his lover, Openly Gator who wants Queer Duck to accept for who he is without change. That's when a homosexual-hating reverend named Reverend Vandergelding, who has had enough of Queer Duck's gay antics and his immunity to some of his medical procedures, creates an elixir that turns him straight. When Queer Duck drinks it, he becomes straight and marries Lola Buzzard until her unexpected death, leaving him to wish to turn gay again.
After turning gay by Barbra Streisand, he loses the love of his life; Openly Gator, but gains respect and independence of homosexuals by owning the homo-hating theme park Happyland, giving Bi-Polar Bear a baseball stadium since as a child, he always gets picked last, and gave Oscar Wildcat his own antique variety show in which he reunites with a 1960s gay bar dancer named Regina, who were separated from him when the officials thought that Oscar was turning straight, which Oscar took her sixties earring as remembrance, who transgendered himself into a straight man named Rex, being a customer of Reverend Vandergelding. Oscar, realizing that he can stay a homosexual and get the love of his life, he has sex with him on national TV which upsets Vandergelding so much on all three events that he escapes prison, he was locked up due to drugging customers with his elixir, and kidnaps Queer Duck and vows to pour his big pot of elixir all over Fairy Land (formerly Happyland) to turn all gay people into heterosexuals, but Openly Gator, after hearing that Queer Duck is in trouble when he was assigned as a captain of a ride in the park, comes to the rescue and stops the Reverend and kicks him out where he is splashed with his own elixir and pink hair is stuck on him, in which a gay bull charges him and kisses him, thinking he was another bull.
Openly Gator and Queer Duck kiss and make up, which Queer Duck states that he's gay to stay, which they end the movie with their last hit number "I'm Glad I'm Gay".
All of the Queer Duck production staff from Icebox.com returned for the movie. It was originally going to be produced and aired by its TV network Showtime but since the network quit supporting gay shows, the series was dropped and it became a full Icebox production. The animation has approved a little such as Queer Duck frolicking more smoothly, Openly Gator's mouth being shorter and Oscar Wildcat gaining weight, but still had the limited animation style from the webisodes. Also, the theater sign that says "Queer Duck - The Musical" changed to "Queer Duck - The Movie" to support the movie. The theme song has also extended as well. Footage of each actors recording sessions were provided in the credits.
Several past characters such as Queer Duck's family return for the film and just like the original series, several celebrities such as Michael Jackson, Barbra Streisand (returning from the old series), Elizabeth Taylor, Joan Rivers (returning from the old series), Bjork, Louie Armstrong, Rosie O'Donnell and many others make cameo appearances but are voiced by impersonators Chris Cox, Tress MacNeille, Barbara Goodson, Debi Mae West, Kevin Michael Richardson and Audrey Wasilewski. Unlike the original series, non-celebrity humans also appear such as the gay baseball players, a hot dog vendor (Mark Hamill) and the Happy Family who own the themepark Happyland, now Fairyland. The film was released to DVD in all the US except Utah. This was their latest Queer Duck and presumably final one since 2001. It was the first Internet animation to be screened during the Polish Festival of Equality 2008 in Warsaw. Creator Mike Reiss considered the film the "best thing he ever wrote".
The film had extreme pop culture reference, especially at the end where it mimicked the Gracie Films closing logo (parodied as Disgracie Films), with the gang staying close to the movie screen, as the lady shushed the gang, Queer Duck replied "Oh, hush yourself, Bitch!". The film had many running gags such as Openly Gator's encounter with Conan O'Brien at the restaurant where he works which Gator runs away crying over the loss of Queer Duck, or the Reverend trying to turn Queer Duck straight. The film had good reviews with the critics.
- Official website
- Queer Duck at the Internet Movie Database
- Queer Duck: The Movie at the Internet Movie Database
- Queer Duck at TV.com
- Mishmash Media
- Sam Elwitt