Monday, March 28, 2011

Episode 22, Part 2: Doug Wears Tights

"Well, the Bluffington Ballet was at it again. Their annual production of The Beetcracker was just starting up."

I've never lived in a town that was so self-centered. They can't just do The Nutcracker. They have to change everything about it so it relates to the entire town's absurd obsession with beets. I really want to see the propaganda the beet farmers are laying on this town.

Anyway, at the community theater, people are signing up to work on The Beetcracker.

Skeeter wants to run the lights. I know what it looks like, with Doug being at the front of the line and all, but Skeeter still has to talk him into signing up for the crew. The girls talk about how Patti is the best dancer and she should have the lead role as the Sugar Beet Fairy. Beebe says she'd try out for the part if she was as good as Patti, but she'd rather design the costumes anyway. No one points out that she is in the wrong line.

The girls tell the guys the theater is always desperate for guys. They both decline and as Doug says he's a strictly behind the scenes guy and starts to make his move toward signing up...

Patti says, "I don't know. I bet you two look awfully cute in tights."

Doug doesn't even realize he's done it until the vampire woman directing The Beetcracker gushes with joy and announces Doug as the Beet Prince.

Porkchop is always listening to music and dancing throughout this entire episode. It would be cute if it wasn't a constant reminder of Doug's instability. Skeeter, of course, talks him into dancing too. I guess he just makes him feel better about it. He reminds him that he'll get to dance with Patti. So we get a fantasy.

In this fantasy, Doug is the most amazing dancer ever. The crowd loves him. Judy is jealous of his artistic abilities. Patti is thoroughly impressed. Yeah, Doug has made a good decision.

Back in reality, Doug is having trouble with his lessons.

All of her directions are in French and she just expects Doug to know what the fuck she's talking about. Patti finally tells him that she's just telling them to bend their legs. He tries it and can't stand back up straight. He says he's stuck!

Who has rickets now? But seriously...Doug has this much trouble with squatting slightly and he's supposed to play the Beet Prince?

Oh, and yeah...he really thinks he's stuck this way. He hops away like this.

Definitely not a crazy person...

After more practice, he starts to get the hang of it. While dancing with Patti he catches her and has another fantasy. A really simple one.

I don't know what to make of this one. They're just dancing in a gazebo in the middle of some mountains. I don't know why Doug has to imagine this. He's actually dancing with her. His fantasy here makes his situation no better or worse.

Then he sees Roger out the window.

And he has another fantasy.

Roger and his goons are all giants and just mock Doug. Not much to that one. He expects Roger to embarrass him and make him feel really small for doing ballet. Pretty straight forward fear.

Oh, and then Patti kindly lets him know that he can put her down. He caught her as part of the dance, then held her while he entertained two fantasies.

As it turns out, Roger was actually coming to try out for The Beetcracker too. He heard there was a Rat King and thought he'd be perfect for the part.

Bluffington: where everyone is obsessed with beets and the bully is just a weird kid that has trouble making friends. I mean...he has those three goons, but nobody calls their yes-men friends. He wants real friends like Doug and Skeeter.

Before the audition, Doug overhears Beebe talking to her mom. Her mom is talking about how Beebe is going to be the Sugar Beet Fairy because she's a Bluff, and they own the Bluffington Ballet and no Bluff is going to be backstage doing costumes! Doug is worried that he won't get to dance with Patti.

At the auditions, Roger gets his part. Of course. Patti does her part great. Of course. Then Beebe sabotages herself so they couldn't possibly give her the part.

Of course. She knows Patti would be the perfect dancer for the part, and she wants to do costumes.

So opening night, Bluffington shows what a strange town it is and sells out the show.

Or they hired a bunch of seat fillers. Not to shit on ballet or anything, but this is a small town production of a mangled version of The Nutcracker starring 11 year olds. It gets worse. The only roles that are mentioned are the Sugar Beet Fairy, the Beet Prince, the Rat King, and his 3 rats. Doug didn't even fill in all the blanks with the Team YO Guy or Chalky or anything. What happened to Connie? She was in line to sign up to be a dancer. She was in the same class with Doug, Patti, and Beebe. Doug never mentions what part she got or anything. Fuck you, Connie. Audiences don't want to see you dance. And Doug has never danced ballet before. He might have had 2 months of learning before the show (Doug's not really specific on how much time has passed between sign ups and the show), but he certainly hasn't had enough training for anyone to consider him a great dancer. Anyway, the point is no one is going to see this except parents, and since there are apparently only 6 kids in it, that's not many parents.

I don't like that Doug didn't have to audition. The director saw his name on the sign up sheet and gave him the part. Roger had to audition to play the Rat King. He had to audition in full costume too. Did Doug have to do that? No. He had to be talked into taking the part that would allow him to dance with Patti. And did he even take advantage of that? Couldn't he have ended this story nicely by asking her out on a date. They can go dancing somewhere. It'll be perfect. Nope. Instead he awkwardly held her for too long while obsessing about Roger. Oh well. Another missed opportunity.

As for ballet, I highly recommend you find and watch The Tales of Beatrix Potter. It's a British film from 1971 that adapts Beatrix Potter's stories into dances. The costumes are amazing and the whole film is one of the most psychotic and hilarious things I've ever seen.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Episode 22, Part 1: Doug's a Big Fat Liar

Doug's school has the best dances...

"It was the day before the Bumpkin Day Hoe Down. Well, that's the one dance of the year that the girls have to ask out the boys. Betcha can't guess who I was hoping would ask me. Her initials are Patti Mayonnaise."
Doug apparently doesn't know how initials work. So, this episode starts with him waiting in the middle of the hall for Patti to walk up to him and ask him to the dance. Skeeter talks to him for a brief minute about it...

Nothing is ever said about Skeeter's date to the dance. Doug didn't think it was important to mention it in his journal. Patti walks in with Beebe and Skeeter leaves Doug alone. Before Patti reaches Doug, someone taps him on the shoulder.

Uh oh! She says he's her first choice! Instead of just kindly saying no, Doug makes up this ridiculous excuse about how he can't go because he has to stay home and take care of his sick cousin Melvin. Connie believes him, probably because she knows what a great nurse Doug is.

Of course Patti walks over right after and asks Doug to the dance. Before he can say anything, Connie relays the Melvin story and they run off together to try to find what boys are left. And of course, Doug has this fantasy.

Naturally. She couldn't go with Doug, so now she's going with 5 guys. It gets better. She says something about how she wishes she could've gone with Doug, and Roger announces that he researched Doug's family tree. At this point, he actually pulls a little tree out of his jacket and sets it down.

Probably found this at the library. I love that Doug's mental image of his family tree includes a branch that serves the purpose of pointing out that there is no Melvin in the family. Anyway, Patti is furious and the fantasy ends.

At home, Doug and Skeeter are talking about what a dumbass Doug is when the doorbell rings.

They've come to visit Melvin, the cousin they've never met. Doug and Skeeter try to think of a plan.

To be fair, they do realize this is a shitty plan pretty quickly. Normal kids wouldn't think of doing this, and even if they did, they wouldn't get so far as putting the dog in the bed with a wig on, but we're not dealing with normal kids. Judy has a better plan.

Of course! The actor in the family will play the part of Melvin. Doug is not so sure and actually almost tells the girls the truth, but they walk right past him and barge in without giving him a chance.

I love the look on Skeeter's face. The girls buy it. Judy ruins it by acting out a miraculous recovery. Patti quickly asks Melvin to the dance, which means Doug is now going to go with Connie.

She's just happy for the acting gig. Doug has a fantasy.

What is this a sub-committee of?

Ok, so...the parents, I get. I understand Mr. Bone and Ms. Wingo being there. I think the mayor of Bluffington has better things to do. And Roger? Wtf? How did he get on the Sub-Committee to Uncover Big Fat Liars?

Mr. Bone is the only one that does any talking and he ends his big interrogation by saying that Doug has "liar" written all over his face. Doug takes this literally.

He's always been one of those guys you'd have to clarify something you said with, "it's just a figure of speech."
At the Bumpkin Day Hoe Down, Melvin is a huge hit. Melvin impresses Roger by saying he used to be a roadie for The Beets, and promises him backstage passes.

None of those guys have dates. Of course, what girl would ask Roger? It's mean, but the girls are going to want to dance with their dates, and Roger's rickets probably make that impossible.

Patti calls Melvin up on stage for some stupid thing. She just wants to talk about how awesome Melvin is now that he's not sick or something. I don't know. But then they want him to give a speech. The cow will have no more of this.

Oh yeah...there's a cow on the stage, eating hay. This school really goes all out to make its dances authentic. Since the cow mistook the wig for grass, it's hard to imagine that this revelation was a shock to anyone. Imagine the horror if Melvin was real and he was just scalped by the cow the school put on stage.

So finally Doug comes clean. First, he apologizes to Patti. This is her reaction.

She doesn't give a shit. She thinks Melvin was the best dancer at the Hoe Down, and then she goes off with Judy to dance some more.


So next, he apologizes to Connie. She's actually a little upset with him. She says something about how all the other guys just said no, but then he lied to her! In one of Doug's quicker moments, he points out that she said he was her first choice, which means she lied to him first. This makes everything okay and then everyone dances and has a great time.

"You know what, Journal? I think lying's a bad idea. It's a whole lot more work than just telling the truth."

It's funny you should say that, Doug. Everything you say happened after your big fat lie was exposed feels like a lie. I don't think Patti was thrilled to find out you lied to her. I don't think Connie was okay with the fact that her meaningless lie meant your "I'd rather stay home and do nothing than go with you" lie was acceptable. You can't even say you lied to Connie to spare her feelings. If she hadn't been there when Patti asked you, you'd have said yes and showed up to the Hoe Down with Patti. Did you think Connie wouldn't see you there? Why don't you tell us what really happened after Melvin was revealed to be Judy?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A question I received.

Over on the tumblr version of this blog, someone asked,
"Would there possibly be any psychological explanation to...Doug's episode title openings? or the show's general intro?"

So I answered...

I've never really thought about it much, but I want to answer this. So, maybe consider this post as stretching the theme of the overall blog as far as it can go.

First, the show's intro is really just a perfect intro to the show. It tells you everything you need to know. First, Doug is writing everything you see.

You should never expect an outside perspective.

Second, some whimsical, athletic girl is occasionally going to wander into the mix.

And Doug's writing will always reflect how much he loves her.

Third, some guy with rickets will always try to ruin Doug's shit.

And fail, usually falling for the same traps that he sets for Doug.

Fourth, Skeeter will always just hang around and make an ass of himself.

And finally, Doug's writing will show you how he sees life.

Life does leave you tied up, feeling nervous and restricted if you have an anxiety disorder.

As for the episode title openings, there's one thing that's always bothered me: Doug's anger with Porkchop. You know how they go:
Light's out...

Doug sheds some light on the situation and all we see is an empty room with "DOUG" painted on the wall. Porkchop runs off and gets some paint...

And then Doug gets pissed at him and usually chases him off like so...

Sometimes he threatens to chase him off, but then doesn't and just turns off the light. It never works out though.

If this doesn't happen, it's something else. Either Porkchop comes back alone and turns off the light, or Porkchop comes back with the paint and throws it at the camera. All that matters is that it goes to black.

But anyway, the point is...why does Doug get mad and chase Porkchop for further vandalizing this invisible wall in this room of nothing? It's not like the episode titles are insulting Doug. If Porkchop painted "SUCKS" or "SHOULD DIE" under his name, I could understand.

I don't want to make the argument that these title sequences are daily psychological breakdowns that Doug has before he gets his medications from the nurse in the children's hospital, and Doug recognizes his impossibly dexterous and literate dog as a figment of his imagination and wants Porkchop to strop intruding on his life, because there's no evidence supporting that at all. But I have no problem giving you that idea anyway...

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Episode 21, Part 2: Doug's Big News

This episode begins with Mr. Bone boring the shit out of the entire school with his school news tv show. Everyone complains, but it's something Doug says that especially sets off Mr. Bone. Apparently, after his show was over, he went and put his ear to Ms. Wingo's classroom door to hear the mutterings of the students to see what they thought of his show. He was offended by their complaints and sarcastically challenged them to make a better show. Ms. Wingo quickly jumped on the idea and made it a class project, because fuck you, Mr. Bone. 11 year olds can make a better tv show than you. Naturally, these are the anchors the class chose.

This is Doug's big dream. He's always fantasizing about news shows interviewing him, or being on tv somehow (unless it's a stupid baby's show). Doug quickly uses this scenario for one of those fantasies that completely takes him out of reality and he's left sitting there as though he'd acted out the fantasy.

For some reason, Patti doesn't have a chair at the anchor desk for Sensational News. She's just always there on the tv. Doug's top story for Sensational News is that he's asking Patti out on live tv. She giggles in the flirty way Patti never really would, and says yes. Back in reality, NOTHING LIKE THIS HAPPENS EVER! Not even close. He never brings it up or thinks about it for the rest of the episode. I suppose for Doug, the fantasy is enough to satisfy his reality.

In the intro for the news show, we learn that Skeeter will be doing the weather.

Chalky will be doing sports.

Beebe will be doing shopping advice.

And Roger will be doing special segments.

At first this seems like a terrible idea. It is a terrible idea. He's barely literate and he's typically a jerk. But if you think about it, this is the job where he's least likely to electrocute himself or damage expensive equipment. If they'd had him running the lights or the camera, it would only be a matter of time before someone got hurt. He'll go on to prove that he's useless anyway, and he should've been excluded from the project, or given some meaningless job that would distract him. I would suggest something like standing in the way of the natural light coming in through the windows with some bullshit reason about it ruining the lighting the class was trying to create. Give him this job, and you help him with his rickets too. Win-win.

So, you're producing your school's news, and trying to prove yourselves to the assistant principal...what do you lead off with? What's your big story after you introduce yourself?

"At the top of the news, somebody barfed in the cafeteria today." -Patti

Off to a good start. Lets see how the ever competent Skeeter is doing with the weather.
"One minute it's raining. The next, the sun's shining. It's crazy."

It is entirely unclear whether he is aware of the sprinkler behind him. I'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt and just assume he's joking around, but this is the guy that wanted to be head astronaut on student government day. It's a tough call.

Next we get a glimpse of Beebe's segment, titled Consumer Corner. All she does is remind people of her imminent birthday and list shit she wants.

And next, we have Roger's segment.

It starts with Roger saying, "you know what really gripes me?" Then he complains about teachers and homework. If this sounds familiar, it's because Family Guy did the exact same thing with Peter and his "grinds my gears" segment.

After the show, Mr. Bone barges in and tells them their show was a bunch of stupid nonsense. After he leaves, Patti and Doug talk about how he'll change his mind after he sees the tribute they've made for tomorrow's show.

After school, all the other kids crowd around Doug and Patti and make Roger jealous. If you're taking notes: barf stories make you popular, complaining about teachers and homework does not.

I really don't understand what happens next. The next day, Roger is sitting in Doug's anchor chair doing his segment, which is now about how awesome Mr. Bone is. Then he plays the special tribute the class made and takes all the credit. After that, Doug and Patti go to sit down and Roger hands Doug his news script.

Why did they let him go first? Why is he sitting at the anchor desk? Why didn't Doug have his own news script already? Because I guess there wouldn't be a story otherwise. Doug's top news story today is "Mr. Bone wears pink underwear."

And yes, he did Ron Burgundy that. I wish he had kept reading just to hear him try to pronounce the rest of Roger's script, but the pink underwear thing was too shocking. Also, he immediately got called to Mr. Bone's office.

So first, everyone but Roger is off the show. The show is now Mr. Bone and Roger as co-anchors. Second, Doug has to Bart Simpson "Mr. Bone does not wear pink underwear" 5,000 times.

"That'll take forever." This leads to one of my favorite fantasies.

They're both old as shit. I like to think Doug would actually follow through with a punishment that lasted well into his 50's. Sure, he's a grown man who could just walk away at any time, but then he might not learn his lesson about always falling for Roger's very simple tricks.

And so the news show is back to boring.

It consists of Mr. Bone being a boring douche, and Roger sucking up to him to stay on tv. I guess he's forgotten that his power grab was instigated by his jealousy and desire for popularity. What's he getting out of this? All the kids hate him, and now he has to pretend to like Mr. Bone. Way to fuck yourself, Roger.

But that's not good enough for the other kids. They scheme.

Their plan is simple. Since they know Roger will just take credit for anything nice they try to do for Mr. Bone, they just get him a present. Doug passes it off to Roger who waits until they're on live to give it to him, taking full credit.

Of course it's pink underwear. Roger now has the Bart Simpson punishment.

And FINALLY Ms. Wingo tells Mr. Bone that Roger wasn't the one that produced the special tribute.

Oh right, did you forget that Ms. Wingo has been observing everything the entire time? Easy mistake, especially since she didn't say a damn thing when Mr. Bone got pissed off at everyone but Roger. What use is she? She always knew what was going on and made no attempt to stop or fix it. Let the kids do a little playground justice. I bet Beebe bribes her for good grades.