"This was probably...no, definitely, the worst thing that's happened to me since the beginning of the school year." This is the best line from the intro to this episode. It is perfect evidence of Doug's crazy thought process.
This is how Doug decides to start this story. He is in a cliche prison uniform, running through a swamp. This is actually part of a fantasy used later in the episode, but we'll get to that.
Like most of life's problems, Doug's current situation started with a school science fair.
Here we have a wonderful variety of pure science!
Meet Chalky's fly trap, which he has taught to sing opera!
See Beebe's incredible science that proves trees cause a shit ton of polution!
See Skeeter's amazing(ly poor) representation of our solar system!
Experience Roger's firecracker supernova danger!
And witness, the science of a sparking volcano!
Hooray for science. I am skeptical about the singing fly trap being an actual project. The rest seem reasonable, but I'm guessing that Chalky didn't actually train a fly trap to sing opera. This is more likely Doug playing up Chalky's abilities because he admires him. Chalky is the really talented kid in school, who everybody likes. Doug probably wants to be just like him because then he'd have no problem bagging Patti. Anyway...
In Doug's mind, Patti is so fascinated with his mighty volcano, that she either forgot her own science fair project, or she thought it was futile. After all, Doug did train Porkchop to play the ukulele and dance in a hula skirt because all volcanoes = Hawaii. In response to Patti's enthusiasm over his volcano, Doug blurts out, "the reason the lava keeps shooting up into the air is because I love you." Smooth.
Vice Principal Bone comes rushing in to put out the fire that is Doug's love for Patti in the form of a volcano. He makes the fire extinguisher sputter out a few small puffs of whatever and Doug's sciencing days are over. This is when Roger thinks its a good idea to light the fuse to the explosive device he brought to school. Mr. Bone catches him as he's fleeing the science lab, tells him he's going to have to put out his science experiment with his fire extinguisher, doesn't mention any kind of punishment for starting the fire, doesn't confiscate the lighter he used to start it, and then lets him go before putting out the fire with an apparent gush of water.
This display of overreaction sets of a series of increasingly ridiculous rumors. Starting with the Tele-Can Communications science fair experiment table.
By the time the rumor gets to Roger, it had morphed from "Mr. Bone put out a fire" to "Roger's supernova blew up the entire science lab." Like all rational people in Doug's world, he quickly shifted the blame onto Doug. He quickly tells Doug that his volcano caused a meltdown that destroyed the science lab. Knowing what he used to make the volcano should be enough for Doug to know that what he just heard isn't possible. But this is Doug we're talking about. He's crazy. Maybe he did use dangerous materials in his volcano construction. There's no time to check it out. Roger talks about how Doug is going to prison, and oh fuck, it's fantasy time.
Did you know, in juvenile prisons, other juveniles are the guards? Oh wait...
Doug was just practicing to see what it would feel like to be behind bars, and Roger had to follow him to the bike rack to keep taunting him. What a non crazy thing to do. Sane people always have fantasies that require them to find props nearby that support the fantasy, regardless of whether someone is still talking to them, right? Right.
So Doug quickly goes home. Swinging by the school to check out the science lab would be too dangerous. Cops everywhere, probably. "To throw off the cops, I figured I'd try a disguise," he says as he's going through Judy's costume trunk, pulling out a fake mustache. Ignoring Doug's strange use of exposition, Judy sarcastically asks him about his invasion of her privacy, then seeing the mustache, asks if he's dressing like a bandit. Known for their mustaches, bandits are also known to wear capes and hats, so she provides both. She calls him The Bandit, and he says, "no, Jack Bandit!" Great disguises are usually the least noticeable. I can think of nothing less noticeable than a mustache and cape for an 11 year old boy. Who is going to notice that?
The next scene is at school. Ms. Wingo asks some question about the constitution, Patti answers with something relevant to burning down school science labs, and then Ms. Wingo asks if anybody knows anyone that's burned down a school science labs. Oh, shit, this is a fantasy isn't it?
Everyone is quick to point to Doug except Patti, because in Doug's mind, Patti would help him in spite of everything. Oh wait, it isn't Doug, it's Jack Bandit!
Doug, I mean Jack, swings over to the window to escape the clutches of Wingo! He quickly tosses the rose to Patti, who clearly loves criminals and romance. Jack just romanced the fuck out of her. Women love it when men risk their freedom by wasting precious moments on a gesture of affection. At least you'll have someone to visit you in prison. Jack escapes through the window only to fall into the waiting arms of a blue cop standing next to Mr. Bone.
The perfect trap to catch a bandit! Stand under a window and wait for him to jump to his death, then catch him. The cop looks like he just caught an angel that he'll get to take home and feed to his family, and Mr. Bone looks like he's confused about how far away Jack is. Jack struggles and the cop drops him, and oh wait...
It was just a dream...
Doug takes this dream as a reality of what will happen tomorrow if he shows up at school as Jack Bandit. What kind of crazy jackass wears a disguise and then goes to class and sits in his own desk and does his own work? Doug just didn't think this through at all. Did he think his class would think he'd moved and a new student immediately replaced him? A new student with a mustache and cape named Jack Bandit? I know it's just a dream here, but until this point, that was his plan. This is when he decided to run away, but not before saying goodbye to his parents.
"Mom, Dad...I'm leaving home, dropping out of school, and starting a new life as a fugitive from justice."
"That's nice, Doug. Just don't wake your sister." I know they're sleeping, so I'll let it slide that this is their reaction to Doug telling them he's running away.
Doug's running away is pathetic. He and Porkchop are sitting in a weird clearing in what looks like a forest. It isn't long before he wonders if anyone at school misses him, so he goes over to some bushes and pulls them back, revealing that he's hiding in some bushes on the other side of the playground at school. Great hiding spot for a crazy person. Most criminals hideout right next to their crime scene. Doug and Porkchop get hungry and slink over to Skeeter who graciously shares his sandwich with them. This is when Mr. Bone sees him, announces that the principal wants to see him and triggers that fantasy from the beginning of the episode where Doug is in a prisoner costume running through a swamp. Turns out Doug's fantasy makes even less sense, as he hasn't escaped from prison, he's just running from Mr. Bone. Why in his fantasy is he already in a prison uniform? Crazy.
Mr. Bone marches Doug right to the principals office, right by Patti where we get this marvelous conversation after Doug begs Mr. Bone to let him say his goodbyes.
"Look Patti. I don't want you to worry about me. It looks like I might be going up the river for a while."
"Doug, what are you talking about?"
"It's a crazy, cruel world, Patti. The best thing to do is forget that any of this happened, and just try to get on to Jr. High...without me."
"I don't understand."
Of course you don't understand, Patti. You don't know that Doug is going to prison for burning down the school science lab.
Everyone in the hall seems shocked that Doug is going into the principal's office. Roger remarks on all the times he's been in there, and how it hasn't broken him yet. Patti asks what the big deal is, and Roger tells her about Doug's volcano destroying the lab, forgetting that he made up that part of the rumor. Patti says it hasn't been destroyed. She was just there. It's fine. How is this not apparent to everyone at school. A rumor about a building at school burning down and all the students didn't immediately go see the remains? Also, does Patti have no friends? How is she the only one that escaped this rumor?
But if Doug didn't burn down the science lab, why was he called into the principal's office?
Oh, his volcano got second place! WOW!
"This was probably...no, definitely, the worst thing that's happened to me since the beginning of the school year."
This is the worst thing that has happened to Doug since the beginning of the school year? Definitely the worst thing that's happened to him. Winning second place must've been devastating. Look at how devastated he looks up there. With his stupid red ribbon.
Just to be clear, absolutely nothing happened to him. The only people that thought Doug was in any real trouble were Doug and Roger. Doug flipped out and ran away from home because a guy who has lied to him in every conversation they've had since he's known him told him that, impossibly, his science fair volcano blew up the science lab. Doug Funnie is fucking crazy.