"I never knew shoes could give you such a headache."
This episode is about everyone except a celebrity making Doug feel bad about his shoes. It all started with a friendly game of basketball.
They're one point behind. It's one free throw. Porkchop is acting like a cheer leader. Patti yells, "YOU CAN DO IT, DOUG!" She wants to win, or at least tie. Roger immediately yells back, "NO HE CAN'T! He's a loser, straight down to his lame-o shoes!"
Skeeter makes a comment about how Doug's ordinary sneakers don't make him a loser. Doug takes the shot, and misses.
As you can see, the ball bounces off Doug's head. Total humiliation. This is when Doug draws the correlation of shoes to headaches. This is perfect Doug conflict; it's about something Roger first pointed out, Patti doesn't give a shit about it at all, and it's not the source of his real problem here. He just sucks at basketball, Roger always torments him about everything, and he is not taking medications for the severe chemical imbalances in his brain.
So the next scene shows Doug overhearing a conversation Beebe is having about another student. Apparently, this other student has really lame shoes, and someone should clue him in. They seriously aren't talking about Doug. They're talking about Skunky. Skunky Beaumont. Doesn't matter; it makes Doug worry more anyway.
Doug catches up with Skeeter in time to see him demonstrating his reversible sneaker-boots to some girl who remarks, "I think it's so cool when a guy knows what shoes to wear" as Doug hides in his locker. Then Patti comes along looking for Doug.
She asks him if he wants to shoot some hoops. Being too concerned with the opinions of the shallow girls at school, he turns her down. She's made no indication of her opinion on his shoes. His fantasy girl, the girl he's been stalking since he first saw her, just asked to hang out and he said no because he's fucking crazy. Then he has a wonderful fantasy...
A crowd marches up to him, saying absolutely nothing distinct.
They point at his shoes, then turn around and leave. Doug is frightened that wandering crowds of people go around pointing out shoes they don't like. Crazy people don't have to make sense. That's what makes them crazy.
Later, at home (and after a brief discussion with Mr. Dink about his new shoes), Doug decides to watch tv for a bit. Every channel is either a commercial for shoes, or talking about shoes for some reason. There's something I noticed on the tv between channels that I want to share.
Are these spooky ghosts?
Anyway, Doug sees a commercial for Sky Davis' Air Jets and has a fantasy.
"Oh Doug, you're the coolest thing on two feet now that you wear air jets."
There's a huge crowd in the fantasy that is cheering for Doug's basketball skills, but here it's obviously Patti's opinion that matters the most. Doug decides to get some Air Jets.
She gets his shoes size, and goes to the back to get his new shoes. This is when my absolute favorite Doug fantasy happens.
Doug imagines his old shoes are weeping, and pissed at him for getting rid of them. They go on and on about the good times, and talk down to Doug with indignation. Doug apologizes and says something about needing a more sophisticated shoe.
The shoe lady comes back with the last pair of Air Jets they have in stock. Size 24 Triple E.
Doug decides to buy them but finds that he only has enough for one shoe; not both. Roger ends up buying them. This is depressing to Doug, and so he finds a bench outside to sit and be miserable with his nerdy shoes. Then Sky Davis sits next to him.
Turns out Sky Davis prefers to wear shoes exactly like the kind Doug wears. This cheers him up and makes him feel good about his shoes. Sky Davis gets up to leave and Doug stops him to ask if he'll sign his shoes.
Sky kindly signs Doug's shoe, starts to walk away, then stops and gets Doug to sign his shoe too. That way, they can be "sole brothers!" Get it!? HA! HA!
Now confident in his shoes, Doug faces off with Roger the next day. Roger's wearing the way-too-big Air Jets and trips giving Doug the ball. Doug shoots and scores. The end.
As Doug finishes his journal entry, he struggles to find the right idiom to use as the moral. He settles on "Never kick a good shoe when it's down." We go out with a game of trash basketball with the dog.
And now here's why Doug will never be with Patti: the most frequent theme throughout his fantasies is Patti's reaction to what he is doing. It's almost all he thinks about. Everyone else's opinions are meaningless. In reality, as displayed in this episode, the complete opposite is true. Almost always. Patti never mentions his shoes at all, and gives no indication that she gives a shit. This does not matter. What matters is Beebe, the strange girl Skeeter was talking to, Mr. Dink, Roger, tv commercials, and his old shoes; their opinions mattered. Exceptions to this rule are barely exceptions; in the photo swap episode, Doug was worried about everyone else's opinions until he finally talked to Patti. It's hardly an exception because his concern for her opinion in that episode is so troublesome that he tries to avoid the situation at all costs. He never gets her opinion until she tracks him down and gives it to him. Either way, he's ignoring her true feelings any way he can.
And now for my favorite extra from this episode:
In the fantasy about the wandering crowd of shoe disapprovers, there's this girl with a heart/love shirt on. She is the most inappropriately dressed lynch mob individual ever.