Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Episode 6, Part 2; Doug's No Dummy

This is a particularly sad episode. In this episode, Doug tries out something that is beneath him: ventriloquism. You know ventriloquism...it's that art form where a man practices for years to make it look like he's talking to his hand. In 99.99% of all cases of ventriloquism, it turns out the guy behind it is not funny, but since he's already devoted so much of his life to talking without moving his mouth, he just can't do anything else. Jeff Dunham suffers from the lack of humor that often comes with devoting too much time to making sure your lips aren't moving while you make a face that looks like you're being strangled with a small rope. He got a show anyway. Doug Funnie experimented with this shit once, and thank god it didn't ruin his show.

Anyway, this episode is about the school talent show. Doug briefly considered signing up for the talent show, but decided he didn't have talent, and so passed the sign up sheet back to Roger.

Dammit, Roger. It actually looks like Roger signed everyone up, because it's all in the same handwriting, but that's not the case. He just signed up Doug and himself. What is Doug's response when Ms. Wingo reads the list of names and he's on it?

Total panic. Immediately. A normal kid would simply raise his hand, inform Ms. Wingo that he hadn't signed up, and that would be the end of it. Doug must think this sheet of paper is a legally binding contract, and that he must perform some stupid shit in front of the school or face harsh penalties.

But Doug doesn't have any talent. He thinks about doing a comedy routine with Porkchop.

He screws up and gets booed by his fantasy crowd. So his next idea is to check the attic at home for anything he might be able to use. Doug knows that this is where his parents keep Uncle Happy's old clown trunk. I don't think I could sleep at night knowing that Uncle Happy's old clown trunk was stored in the attic.

So what does Doug find? A ventriloquist dummy and a book titled "How to be a Ventriloquist in One Day."

Doug names the dummy Buster, and opens the book. Step one is ridiculous, and Doug follows it poorly. "To make the sound of a b, just say d." He uses this advice to turn the sentence "The boy bought the basketball" into "Da doy dought da dasketdall." He moves his lips the entire time. Why does "the" turn into "da" from step one? "The" does not contain the b sound, Doug. Not at all. This is all we ever see of Doug's original ventriloquist act. He introduces Buster, and then says "Da doy dought da dasketdall." After noticing how wonderful he did with step one, Doug imagines getting his own tv show.

The show, titled "Doug's No Dummy," consists of Doug walking down the stairs and saying "Da doy dought da dasketdall." An audience laughs. Why? What does Doug think is funny about a boy buying a basketball? Is there more to this story about a boy and his ball than Doug is telling us? This is worse than the mangled joke he screwed up in his previous fantasy about doing normal stand-up. At least he was trying to say something funny there. Time to show the family.

His parents are enthusiastic about his new interest. To each other, they comment on his mouth moving. Judy over analyzes it into a artistic statement about communication. This makes her cry.

Her parents stare at her, offering no support or comfort. Her father says "Judy?" twice in a feeble way that shows how little interest he has in helping her. More terrific parenting from Mr. and Mrs. Funnie. They should help both of their kids here. They don't.

Confident in his act (after that encouraging, and not at all helpful reaction from his family) Doug is ready for the talent show tomorrow. He meets up with Skeeter backstage.

Skeeter's going to play an ocarina. He made it out of a hard roll from the cafeteria. While trying to demonstrate to Doug, he drops it and it slides under the curtain. Doug offers to get it and gets a glimpse of the crowd.

Panic time. He immediately imagines...

A standard fear of being on stage. I'll never understand why people bring vegetables to throw at people. Doug pulls his head out of the curtain and gets a replacement shirt from Porkchop's suitcase.

Doug brought several backup shirts and red bow ties, because he knows he's going drench them with sweat. Doug gets called to go on first, and begs to be held back a bit. Roger and the Ulcers go on.

Meanwhile Roger's cat gets a hold of Skeeter's bread ocarina...

...and eats it.

Porkchop laughs.

Doug sweats some more, but instead of changing shirts again...

The plant dies immediately.

Doug pep talks Patti into performing. While she's performing, Skeeter pep talks Doug into performing by pointing out that Patti was nervous too, and she's doing fine. So, finally ready to perform, Chalky gets called up...

That fucking dick. Chalky has two dummies, better costumes, and he is actually much better at the whole ventriloquism thing than Doug. Chalky kills too. He probably won the talent show. This is when Doug's shirt is soaked again, and Porkchop has to make sure that fucking plant is dead.

Doug needs some more convincing to go on stage. This time it takes Patti telling him that it's over quick, and then everyone is clapping, even her. Her too?

So he goes out and the first thing that happens is Buster's head flies off.

His parents don't seem that concerned, and Judy takes it as a political statement and breaks down again.

Porkchop knows he's going to have to deal with Doug crying himself to sleep tonight.

Patti comes up with an idea. Skeeter will fill in for the head...

And Porkchop will fill in for the drummer...


Doug and Skeeter (who somehow fills in for the arms too) do an improv act that gets a lot of laughs in spite of its lack of humor. Doug writes in his journal that maybe ventriloquism isn't for him. Porkchop takes it up though.

1. It was established in an earlier episode that Doug plays banjo. When Porkchop goes missing in "Doug's Dog Date," Doug sits on the front porch and plays the shit out of a banjo while wailing about his missing dog. Doug definitely should've played the banjo in the talent show. He's better at it, obviously, and it's not fucking ventriloquism.

2. Doug never went past step one in the book. Changing Bs to Ds is all Doug thinks ventriloquism is. His routine was shit anyway.

3. Not performing was always an option. Doug could've backed out, and Roger would've given him shit about it. But Roger was giving him shit about it anyway, so what did he gain from performing besides the knowledge that ventriloquism sucks?

4. Porkchop is all over the place in this one. Maybe the more stressed Doug is; the more Porkchop is able to do. He's carrying suitcases, buckets, wringing out shirts, laughing, playing the drums, telling ventriloquist jokes without moving his mouth. Show me a boy that thinks his dog can do all that, and I'll show you a boy that has a very poor concept of reality and will probably need strong anti-psychotic drugs.

5. Uncle Happy's old clown trunk? There are so many possibilities and literally none of them are good. The best Doug could hope for was a ventriloquist dummy.

This episode had some great extras...

As far as extras go, this picture gets better as you go left to right.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Episode 6, Part 1; Doug, Mayor for a Day

"Dear Journal, Hi, it's me again; Doug! I know I've always told you field trips are boring, but..."
That's right. Doug is the only kid that dislikes field trips. Doug, you crazy.

The field trip was student government day. Each student was randomly assigned a government job, then they were supposed to shadow and interview the person that actually has that job to write a paper about it. Kinda neat actually. What were people hoping for? Roger wanted to be sheriff (and actually got to do that) while one of his goons aimed a little higher and declared that he hoped to be dog catcher. What about Skeeter? Skeeter's clearly taking the field trip seriously...

Skeeter wanted to be head astronaut. See.

He's prepared. As for Doug, he hoped to get chief forest ranger. Not too weird for an 11 year old thinking about government jobs, and it's at least a job, unlike Skeeter's fucking stupid ass dreams.

What does Doug actually get? Mayor, of course. He is extremely disappointed by this for some reason. He even gets to sit next to Patti on the bus, and she's extremely excited/impressed that Doug gets to be mayor, but he just can't help but think about how much it's going to suck. He doesn't even care that he's sitting next to Patti, or that she's really impressed that he gets to be mayor.

So once they get to city hall, Mr. Bone takes over Roger's usual job of making Doug shit his pants and informs him that as the mayor, his report will be the most important, and however he does will show up on his permanent record. Hello fantasy, #1.

This is where Doug thinks about how he's going to interview the real mayor.

It's a short one where he just imagines his interview with Mayor Bob White as a weird tv show that takes place in an elementary school file cabinet. The real mayor interrupts his weird fantasy by asking Doug if he'd been staring at him because he was the mayor. He takes Doug for just some random kid who is impressed with the mayor, and gives him a sucker. The sucker is shaped like the mayor's head, and has a special message on the back.

Trust me, this is important.

Doug follows Mayor White into his office and this is when Doug starts hallucinating.

What do doctors say when you tell them you think paintings hate you?

So before Doug can get an answer for his first question, the mayor's phone rings. It's for Doug.

Another hallucination, perhaps? Mr. Bone just called to remind Doug about the importance of his report. Don't screw it up. If you'd get off his back, Mr. Bone, maybe you'd be surprised what Doug is capable of. Probably not, but maybe. Time for fantasy #2.

Look at Porkchop. A 30+ year old dog would look more like a skeleton, but hey, it's Doug's fantasy. Let it be. The Beets showed up for this? Anyway, Mr. Bone comes along when Mayor White is handing over the key to the city and announces that Doug did a very bad report about the duties of a mayor when he was 11, and so he doesn't get to be mayor. Mayor White takes back the key, and starts celebrating because that means he wins. In addition to the absurdity of how Doug thinks our electoral system works, lets take a minute to reflect on the fact that Doug didn't want to be mayor.

Got it?
So after the unnecessary phone call, Doug finally starts to get an answer. Bob White is a terrible mayor. He doesn't do anything. A few times in the episode, he tells people to ask his wife when they ask him to approve a budget, or do something a mayor is supposed to do. While giving an answer, he gets another phone call. It's Mr. Swirly from the ice cream factory. All their equipment is fucked up and he's not going to be able to make that day's delivery, which the mayor needs for the student government ice cream extravaganza! OH NO! He panics and runs out into the hall shouting, "ask my wife!"
Left alone in the mayors office, Doug hallucinates again.

The mayor's chair. It glows. Doug sits in it and fantasizes more.

Look how great being mayor is. You're the center of attention. Patti wants to interview you. People are always taking pictures of you as you're making tough decisions about shit.

As the pictures get to be too much for him to take, the mayor's phone rings and wakes Doug up from the fantasy.

He either fell asleep in the mayor's chair, or he has his eyes closed from all the imaginary camera flashes.

Doug decides to answer the phone. It's Mr. Swirly again. The situation has gotten much worse. Mr. Swirly is about to drown. Also, all the chocolate chips are about to crash into the fans of the cooling system. If they turn off the cooling system, all the ice cream will melt. "What should we do? Please, mayor! Help me." As if it's the job of the mayor to know how to run a goddamn ice cream factory. If I was Doug, I'd tell Mr. Swirly to fire the moron that dumped all of the chocolate chips into the air conditioning vents. What the fuck are the chocolate chips doing in there? Doug says, "why don't you let the chips hit the fan?" Oooooooooh! Mr. Swirly agrees that this is a good thing to do, as it will chop up the chips and throw them into the ice cream making chocolate swirly. Chocolate swirly that no one can fucking eat because it's fucking dirty. It's a health and safety hazard. This whole plot doesn't make sense. The ice cream is already melted, because the refrigeration system is messed up. Suddenly, it's melting and drowning Mr. Swirly, but if they turn off the cooling system, the ice cream will melt. One of their options is to turn off the refrigeration system that isn't working and suffer through melting ice cream that's already melted?

Anyway, Doug saves the day; Mr. Swirly serves all the kids the chocolate swirly ice cream, probably making a few of them sick with his dirty air vent chocolate.

Mayor Bob White sends Doug a letter.

I don't think any of this really happened. The field trip is likely real, and maybe Doug really did have to interview the mayor, but he clearly really hated the job he was given. Doug made this whole thing up because his real experience was boring. We already know he usually thinks field trips are boring, so maybe he just wanted this one to be fun so much he imagined this alternate reality. He clearly didn't learn anything about being a mayor. "Being mayor is great fun. You get a big chair, a cool telephone, and all the suckers you can eat." Doug wrote this in his journal, and I'm sure it's in his important report along with something about making important decisions in the running of local ice cream factories. Oh to be a mayor.

Here's my favorite extra. This is from a quick shot in Doug's "30 Years in the Future" fantasy. I love how dressed up he got for a mayoral inauguration 30 years into the future. If Doug had been assassinated in his fantasy, this is the guy I'd go after. Definitely.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Episode 5, Part 2; Doug Didn't Do It

This episode starts a little different than other episodes of Doug.

Doug is writing in his journal, on his bed. Giving the old desk a break. Porkchop is sad because Doug took away the chocolate chip cookies. Doug starts talking about how much he hates practical jokes. Practical jokes are the worst.

Someone with a green hand stole Assistant Principal Lamar Bone's yodeling trophy. Doug finds it in his locker and immediately assumes the worst. He fears getting detention for the rest of his life. He fears for his permanent record. He panics and lets Roger get the best of him again. As with every situation where Doug is bordering on a panic attack, Roger is there to take advantage and make sure Doug's brain takes a shit. Here, Roger triggers a bizarre courtroom trial fantasy.

Just to be clear: the mayor of Bluffington is the judge, Mr. Bone is the prosecuting attorney, Mr. Dink is the defense attorney, and Roger is the entire jury. Poor Doug just doesn't know how our justice system works, though he at least has all the pieces. Oh, and Patti is in this fantasy, of course.

She goes from happy to this vaguely mad face while saying, "oh Doug, how could you?" Like 99% of Doug's fantasies are centered around an imagined response from Patti. I'd guess more than 50% of her screen time in the series is fantasy, as she doesn't appear in some episodes at all, except through fantasy.

Anyway, Doug lucks out on the locker inspection because the bell rings and apparently whatever that bell was meant a whole lot more than finishing the locker inspection to get back the assistant principal's fucking yodeling trophy. So he asks Judy what he should do.

Porkchop plays the hell out of that violin. Judy's first suggestion is to go crying to Mr. Bone, begging for forgiveness. Then she suggests that he just tell the truth. This sets off another fantasy, of course...

Of course. Of course they'll give you an award for this, Doug. And who is going to be most impressed by your fancy new award?

Of course.
So he takes the trophy back to school, puts it in his locker, and tells Skeeter he's going to give it back and tell the truth after class. Little does he know that Roger was hiding in the locker next to his. Roger sends an anonymous note to Mr. Bone telling him to check Doug's locker. Meanwhile, Doug has this fantasy where telling the truth still gets him in trouble. In the fantasy, Mr. Bone has him tied up and he pulls out Doug's permanent record. The permanent record is torn up and thrown in his face. At no point here does Doug explain when he went back to his locker to get the trophy. He just has it again. At Mr. Bone's office he panics and has this brilliant idea.

It's a trophy, Doug. Not a goldfish.

When that doesn't work, he rushes back to Mr. Bone's office (Mr. Bone is still out checking out Doug's locker and being pissed when he doesn't find shit) and just puts it in his office. See...

Wait, what's that...?

Doug, you fucking moron. You left it in a bag with your name on it. Busted. He finally did what he should've done all along (if just throwing it away in any garbage can wasn't an option) and he fucked up the simple task of leaving it where Mr. Bone will get it. What's his punishment? Polishing all of Mr. Bone's yodeling trophies, which he keeps at school because he doesn't have anyone at home to see them. No wife. No friends. He's a champion yodeler. What would you expect?

Roger comes in to Mr. Bone's office while Mr. Bone is out getting more polish and accidentally turns on the intercom while telling Doug all about his brilliant plan to get him in trouble. The entire school hears the confession and Doug is no longer in trouble. Roger is.

Good job, Roger. Of course, Doug could've easily gotten out of trouble at any point in the episode. Just put the trophy anywhere in the school without putting it in something that said "Doug Funnie" on it. Roger accomplished that much before he told on himself. Oh well, it's a happy ending for Doug, and absolutely nothing was learned. Oh, except Porkchop can play the violin.

And now it's time for my favorite extra from this episode:
Look at this kid. He's dressed like he's on some team. Some team named "Yo." He's wearing his cleats to class. He's really into whatever sport requires cleats and shorts and has teams with names like "Yo."