Picks and Pans Review: The Sissy Duckling
This animated special gets preachy and a tad treacly at times, but writer Harvey Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy) adds plenty of humor to his plea for tolerance. In a variation on The Ugly Duckling, a young fowl named Elmer (voiced by Fierstein with his trademark rasp) endures abuse from his peer group—as well as his gruff father (Ed Asner)—because he prefers "sissy" stuff like puppetry to manly (so to speak) pursuits like baseball. Only Elmer's mother (Melissa Etheridge) assures him it's okay to be different—until he performs an act of heroism that wins the general admiration of the flock. Narrator Sharon Stone, Andy Dick, Kathy Najimy and other notables lend their voices to help communicate the message of respect for diversity, but it comes through loudest and clearest when Fierstein's Elmer declares, "I am a big sissy and proud of it!"
Bottom Line: Kids, listen up