Sunday, June 26, 2011

Episode 30, Part 1: Doug's Career Anxiety

This episode begins in the guidance counselor's office. His name is Mr. Shellacky. It's career week and he's given a test to the students to determine what their career should be. I again feel cheated by the schools I went to, because I don't remember ever doing anything like this. Anyway...

While they wait for the toaster-like computer to figure out what Doug's career will be, Doug has a couple of fantasies based on posters in the office. First he sees a poster of an architect.

Architecture 101: Design buildings that look like the people in front of you.
Next, he looks at another poster featuring a crop duster.

It's weird enough that the guidance counselor has a poster advertising crop dusting as a career. Doug ignored the crop dusting part and just imagined being a pilot. Then he got a bit specific with that pilot idea and turned himself into a skywriter. So, in Doug's fantasy as a skywriter, he's drawing Patti Mayonnaise in the sky. This means someone has paid him to draw the woman they love in the sky, or he's doing it for his own amusement, which isn't a career. Either way, this isn't a good fantasy. He's a bad businessman that wastes his resources for personal reasons, or someone else is paying Doug to help them woo Patti.

Oh, the toaster-computer has finished thinking and Doug is going to be a business executive! The guidance counselor is very excited.

He's running around his office, making rocket ship noises and chanting shit about Doug being a business executive. You have to wonder if Doug is actually in the guidance counselor's office or if he's visiting some crazy person, possibly a relative, that believes he's a guidance counselor, and Doug's just going along with it because that's what the orderlies told him to do.

So part of career week involves some of the students checking out their future careers. Doug and a few others are on a bus to Bluffco. They have to collaborate on a project where they make and sell a product. Pretty standard school project. Chalky's test results pinned him as the art director. Skeeter is apparently going to be an inventor.

Watch out, Ronco!

Doug never tells us what careers Beebe and Connie were assigned. When he tells them he's going to be the business executive, they are thrilled for him. it means he's going to be rich. Somehow Doug managed to miss that aspect of his future career and finally has a fantasy about being rich. This is his home.

Yeah, he labels his home as if it were his business. The fantasy is apparently some tv special where a host is giving a tour of his home. The first thing he points out is that it is so big, Doug had to have special tubes that take you where you need to go, like in Futurama. The most interesting part of the fantasy-tour is the library with over 10,000 comic books, many of which were actually written by Doug himself.

This is probably the issue where Businessman ignores all those contracts and phone calls to start writing a comic book series about a businessman who is too busy to write comic books.

At Bluffco, Doug has to meet with Beebe's dad.

He tells Doug the three rules a successful businessman has to know:
1. Decide.
2. Direct.
3. Delegate.

It's just that simple! He then gives Doug something that he should only use "when things get really tough."

It's the key to the executive squashroom.

They are having a meeting about what their product is going to be. Skeeter, the great inventor, wants to make shoes. Connie points out to him that they don't have the equipment to do that, because apparently Skeeter thinks this small middle school group project has the $20 it would need to hire child labor in developing countries for a few months. Pfft.

The group starts arguing about what the project should be and Doug starts thinking about Mr. Bluff's great advice. Decide. Direct. Delegate. He's decided!

"The helicopter landing pad should be right next to the comic room...after I make my first million."

Then he directs his pencil in a way that draws this decision. Meanwhile, Chalky has an idea that they should make bookmarks. They ask Doug if that's cool and he says whatever. Like most executives, he's checked out early for the day, and possibly drunk. Chalky starts telling people what to do. He tells Beebe to pick out the paper, Skeeter to design the bookmarks, and then he'll draw the school seal. Fuck you, Connie. You don't get to do shit.

Beebe has decided on this fashionable fabric. Paper sucks. It's got flowers on it, but so what? I'm sure it won't interfere with Skeeter's design. Connie points out that it will cost a lot more to use it, so I guess she's the accountant.

Skeeter, with the pink guy's help, actually has a great idea, even if it's completely implausible for their group project. The stupid tassel on the bookmark is going to be a book light, instead of just a stupid tassel. Well done, Skeeter. How is Chalky doing with that school seal?

Why is he even doing this? He's got a perfect image of the school seal on plain white paper that he's merely redrawing on notebook paper? Totally unnecessary and counterproductive. Oh, and he sucks at drawing. Instead of taking the one Chalky was copying, Doug starts trying to fix his drawing. Before he can finish fixing the drawing, Connie comes at him with some more bullshit.

Skeeter's light idea won't work with Beebe's fabric (for some reason), and the way things were going, the bookmarks were going to cost $75 each. What a disaster.

Oh no. Yep...he's losing it.

These floating heads actually turn out to be just them, standing around him in the hall. Doug is having a very strange anxiety attack because he can't make decisions and everything is going wrong. I've never heard of such hallucinations as a side effect of anxiety attacks, so one of his other mental problems must be acting up too. He runs away. But where to hide. It has to be somewhere they can't find and bother him.

The executive squashroom and the key to it always glow in Doug's crazy mind. Inside there are executives playing racquetball and lounging around watching tv. Doug laments that he doesn't want to be an executive and imagines his future.

They're looking for him and he's hiding under his desk. They are not doing a very good job. He sneaks out of the office and starts old-man-running down the hall with them in pursuit. The host from the earlier fantasy shows up and mentions that Doug spent every day running from his employees.

After the fantasy, he's sitting in the squashroom drawing a picture of Mr. Shellacky, wondering what he really wanted to do with his life, and what he'd tell Mr. Shellacky, as if it actually matters if you don't have the career the guidance counselor's toaster said you should have. His drawing gives him an idea.

He comes out of the squashroom to the group and Mr. Bluff. Mr. Bluff is very disappointed and tries to fire him. Doug points out that he's just a kid and doesn't work there. Eat shit, Mr. Bluff. Anyway, Doug has made a decision. Finally. He has decided to put Chalky in charge of the project. They ask him what he's going to do and he shows them the drawing of Mr. Shellacky. So, he's going to take over as art director. Now the bookmarks will feature drawings of all the teachers at school. It's perfect. Well done, Doug. I'm glad he was actually able to work through his anxiety attack.

So the project went great and Mr. Shellacky called Doug at home that night to tell him that his computer made a mistake. He's not supposed to be an executive. If you're thinking he's going to say the computer mixed up Doug's results with Chalky's, like me, you're wrong. That would assume too much competence in a man wearing a sweater that says "HUG ME" while running around his office making rocket ship noises because of Doug's original test results.

No, Doug's new career, according to the computer is guidance counselor. Perfect. The computer recognized that Doug and Mr. Shellacky share certain psychotic tendencies. Well done.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Episode 29, Part 2: Doug's Pet Capades

This episode might be Doug's most insane journal entry. It begins by showing us Porkchop in his igloo-shaped doghouse, having dinner.

Yeah, this is the inside of Porkchop's doghouse, according to Doug. He's got a full kitchen. As you can see, Porkchop has just removed a bone sandwich from the refrigerator. He sits down in his recliner and turns on his tv and sees a commercial for Pet Capades.

Porkchop is very intrigued by this. The guy in the commercial is actually addressing pets and tells them to "scamper, fly, or hop down to the Four Leaf Clover Mall and sign up for the Bluffington Pet Capades where you may be named the best pet in town!"

This causes Porkchop to have a fantasy...

So now Doug is writing about fantasies his dog is having. He might be beyond help.

The next morning, Porkchop wakes Doug up and shows him a flier for Pet Capades.

Where did he get the flier? Who cares? None of this is happening. Doug is having a severe mental breakdown. Doug ignores the flier and gets breakfast.

Doug ignores the rollerskating dog beating a drum and enjoys his breakfast in peace. Outside, a loud lawnmower makes him get up to shut the window.

Doug ignores this also. Porkchop finally gives up and plops down in the yard just in time for Skeeter to walk up and ask him what's wrong. Oh, and where's Doug?

Inside, Skeeter asks Doug what's up with Porkchop, but he doesn't know. They sit down to watch tv when the Pet Capades commercial comes on and Porkchop freaks out and starts dancing around to indicate his desires.

Doug and Skeeter laugh and laugh and laugh and hurt Porkchop's feelings and laugh and laugh and laugh. They at least have the right attitude about pet shows. They decide to go to the mall to laugh at the people signing up.

When they get there, Porkchop sees the line to sign up for Pet Capades and starts begging. Skeeter sees free samples of "food or something" and well...

Leave it to Skeeter to eat several free samples of "something" while completely ignoring the gigantic sign behind them identifying them as Doggie Delites. It's free. Eat as many as you can as fast as you can. Ask questions later.

Roger walks up and calls Doug and Porkchop the "chumpetition." This means he's entering Stinky in a pet show, because that'll get you some friends, right? Well, not wanting to be outdone by Roger, Doug asks Porkchop to be in the show as if he hadn't been begging for it all morning. Porkchop puts his paw print down on the sign up sheet.

Someone's horse appears to have entered the competition. I can't wait to see Pet Capades now.

At home, they're trying to decide what Porkchop will do for the talent portion. He pulls out a deck of cards and does a magic trick with Skeeter. Doug rejects it, saying it's been done before. Porkchop tries another trick...

Doug again rejects this. He says it has to be something really amazing. They have to beat Roger and Stinky, after all. Because a dog performing a magic trick or juggling while riding a unicycle is fucking Yawnsville. Anyway, Porkchop has another fantasy because Doug mentions Roger and Stinky and how bad they need to be beaten.

Incredible that Doug knows his dog is imagining that Roger is playing guitar so his cat can do complicated dance steps.

Porkchop has one more suggestion.

I have to agree with Doug on this one. Ventriloquism, even performed by a dog, is still ventriloquism. We'd all be better off forgetting it is a thing.

Anyway, Doug rejects that and says it has to be something dramatic, which is Judy's cue to reveal she's been eavesdropping.

She suggests they do a huge musical number with backup dancers and whatnot. Doug loves it and gets to work. He's the director. See?

Doug's taking this way too seriously. Who are his backup dancers?

Of, wait. I expected Skeeter, but that other guy? Has Doug ever mentioned his name?

Doug makes them stay up all night working on his big musical number. He says they have to keep working if they're going to beat Roger and it causes Porkchop to have yet another fantasy.

I guess we just have to accept that Doug gets the most pretentious about directing a dog for a pet show.

Finally we're going to see some Pet Capades. The first act we see is Mr. Bone and his goldfish.

Mr. Bone yodels and the goldfish hops out of the bowl and honks the four horns on the table. The crowd applauds. Doug calls it lame. Up next is Roger.

Roger rips out a crazy guitar solo while Stinky just sits there looking badass. At the end of the solo, Stinky burps and the crowd boos. Was anyone but Doug really expecting anything more than this? It's Roger and Stinky; an underachiever and a cat. I'd say we're lucky the cat didn't piss on the guitar before vomiting and wandering off to kill a rodent.

And now that it's Porkchop's turn, he doesn't want to do it anymore.

Doug has removed all the fun. He doesn't want to do Doug's stupid musical number. The pink guy says maybe they should ask Porkchop if he has any ideas for the talent portion. Of course he does. He pulls out some sheet music.

Porkchop also had the costumes to go with it. Skeeter and the pink guy do a rap naming different kinds of dogs while Porkchop dances. It's a rap that Porkchop was listening to in his headphones in a much earlier episode. Season 1 or 2. The crowd loves it. Doug is proud. He finishes up his journal entry with this narration: "I found out that if you're gonna do something for somebody, you should do it for them, not yourself. One thing though, I bet Porkchop's glad I made him do this."


Doug is projecting way too much on his pet. At best, Porkchop's enthusiasm for Pet Capades is a projection of Doug's true desire to be a part of something he knows his friends will think is lame. At worst, his parents have realized he's completely insane and have locked him in his room (for his own safety) where he makes up fancy stories about pet shows involving yodeling and horn-honking goldfish and horses and rock guitar and burping cats and hip-hop-loving dogs. Also, his best friend eats dog treats, so at least he can't make fun of him for wanting to be in a pet show!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Episode 29, Part 1: Doug's Comic Collaboration

This episode begins with the weatherman telling everyone it's going to be sunny all day. Moments later...

It's pouring rain. Stupid weather man.

Now, forced to stay inside, Doug and Skeeter have to find a new way to entertain themselves. Skeeter says something about reading the same old comic books again and Doug gets the idea for them to write their own together. This should be great.

For some reason, they decide on the villain first. They have to have a great villain. Well, since the weather man ruined their day by promising sunshine, he's the source of evil for this story. The comic-villain version of the weatherman flies around in the Blimp of Doom.

You can tell it is a blimp of doom because the evil weatherman has it scrolling across the electronic screen on the side of the blimp. And so what is the "failed comedian and arch-villain Wacky Weatherman's" plan? He plots to turn the weather into a cruel comedy routine. 150 degrees and 6 feet of snow!

I don't expect Doug and Skeeter to know everything about weather and climate, but their villain isn't going to be able to pull this off no matter what kind of machines his blimp of doom has. He's not going to make magic snow. Then again...

Anyway, who's going to stop the Wacky Weatherman!? Who is the hero of this comic!

One of these two! Doug and Skeeter start their argument.

They both think the other hero is stupid. Silver Skeeter is too powerful and Quailman is boring. Both of them are correct, but at least Quailman isn't a totally unimaginative ripoff of something else. Changing a surfboard into a skateboard, "Surfer" into "Skeeter" and making up another home planet with a stupid name ("*knock* Pfft Ahhhuuuuuaaaahhhh") doesn't mean you've created a comic book character, Skeeter. After a bit of arguing, they finally decide to make the comic about both of them.

Silver Skeeter looks kind of like Gumby. The comic begins with Quailman pitching to Silver Skeeter at a baseball field. Silver Skeeter just hit a home run when Quailman noticed that it was starting to snow.

Well fuck. It must be Wacky Weatherman! What are they going to do about all this snow? If Wacky Weatherman comes through with the other half of his plan to raise the temperature to 150 degrees (though he clearly didn't completely fulfill the first half as that isn't 6 feet of snow...only a measly 3 feet, at best), they'll simply have to wait a few minutes for the snow to melt. That's too long for them though. They've got baseball to play.

Skeeter suggests that Silver Skeeter simply use his massive metallic lungs to blow away all the snow. Doug thinks this is too easy so he adds that all of Silver Skeeter's blowing has caused a hurricane. Doug writes in that Wacky Weatherman loves what has happened. Even he never thought to have a hurricane on a sunny day! Way to turn your best friend into a villain, Doug.
Skeeter has a solution for this too!

He has stretched his metal body into a giant shield to block the wind! Brilliant! Except Doug has a problem with that too. A big metal sheet is reflective, and now everyone in town is being burned by the Silver Skeeter.

Mr. Dink is enjoying it.

Again, we have a problem. Skeeter's ideas are all terrible, and Doug easily turns him into a villain. Skeeter wants to know what Quailman would do!

Since he's intelligent, he'd go to the library, of course. How can you expect to fight weather if you don't know shit about it? Better read some books. I'm sure the town has time for that. It doesn't seem like Wacky Weatherman is going to continue with his crazy, evil plans right now anyway.

Skeeter doesn't like writing a comic book where the main characters spend time at a library. Who would? Only Doug. They're finished for the day. Their ideas are absolute opposites. Skeeter wants to easily beat the bad guy and finish the story on page 2, and Doug wants to drag the story out by showing the good guys read in the library. I imagine if Doug had continued in this fashion, we'd have seen the two of them eat a good, healthy dinner, 5 pages of dialogue about recycling, stretching exercises, 2 pages about avoiding injuries, and then a whole separate comic book where Quailman and Silver Skeeter sit down and watch an episode of Captain Planet for good reference in the ways of fighting environmental evil.

At school the next day, they're still fighting. Patti notices and asks Doug about it. He mentions that they were writing a comic book yesterday and she totally doesn't give a shit about them fighting anymore. A COMIC BOOK!? She grabs it and starts reading and loves it. She shares it with the rest of the class and everyone is obsessed. It makes you wonder why Doug never showed his previous Quailman comics to anyone.

Guess who doesn't like it? Roger. He happily points out that Quailman is just Doug with a belt on his head and mocks the entire idea. Skeeter quickly defends Doug and Quailman. Then Roger mocks Silver Skeeter and Doug defends him. They have no will to stand up for themselves, but they easily stand up for characters they hated minutes ago.

Anyway, Patti wants to know how it ends. Their encounter with Roger gives Doug an idea. You know how Roger makes a joke and then laughs at it by himself? Well, Doug pointed out that if he was really funny he wouldn't have to laugh at his own jokes. So Doug's idea for the comic is that Quailman and Silver Skeeter confront Wacky Weatherman and tell him he's not funny. Then they just don't laugh or crack a smile at any of his jokes.

Wacky Weatherman goes into a fit trying to make them laugh. He pulls a lever that throws a pie in his face. They don't laugh. He activates a hail storm inside the blimp that blows him around. They don't laugh. He turns on the lightning and fries himself.

They don't laugh. He doesn't die either, but his lightning does blow a hole in the blimp of doom and he crashes into the ground, presumably killing at least a few citizens. They laugh. And that's the end of the first, and hopefully only, Quailman and Silver Skeeter comic.

So, maybe Doug and Skeeter aren't the most compatible people ever, but at least they can unite over a shared hatred of weathermen and poor kids with vitamin deficiencies.

I can't get over how quickly Doug turned Silver Skeeter into an accidental villain twice. Skeeter never did that to Quailman. He only pointed out that he was boring, which he is if he's shown going to the library and reading. You skip that part, Doug. Just say that they went to the library and figured out a plan. No one wants to see them reading all the books that weren't any help.

I'm also amused at how totally pointless the whole plan was. Both Skeeter and Doug originally just wanted to fight the weather, like a drug that only deals with symptoms of a disease. Skeeter gets rid of the snow. Not the guy causing it. Doug goes to the library to learn about weather so he can counteract whatever is thrown at the town. Idiots. There's a guy you know is controlling this shit from a clown-blimp labeled "BLIMP OF DOOM" and your first reaction isn't to fly up to the blimp and kick his ass? How hard could that be? Their big plan resulted in the blimp crashing anyway. They could've skipped the whole "you're not funny" bit and simply disabled his blimp with a big hole. Their problem-solving skills are questionable.