Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Episode 34, Part 2: Doug's Monster Movie

Doug and Skeeter are making a monster movie. Right now they are destroying a model city with dirt and rocks. You might think this means they’re finishing up the movie, filling in the gaps for when their monster is attacking the city, but no. They haven’t even decided on a monster yet. Before they can finish this set of shots, Theda asks Doug to come help sort the recyclables. He tells her he’ll be there in a minute.
This is unacceptable. She tramples their set and demands they help her now. Doug tells us that she recently became a part time manager at the Déjà vu Recycling Center, and now it seems like trash is all she thinks about.

Doug and Skeeter are walking out of the house with what looks like a bumper from a car. It’s a weird thing for them to have lying around the house, waiting to be recycled. She tells them to put it in the et cetera pile. They throw it on the pile and accidentally catapult a green bust of Shakespeare into the air. It lands on Skeeter’s foot, giving him an idea.
Again, this is a weird thing to be recycling. This is the type of thing you donate to Goodwill so they can sell it for good money ($5.68) to someone who will realize their mistake immediately, but wait a year or so to donate it back to Goodwill. Skeeter suggests they use it as the monster. Doug envisions this…
…and rejects it because “Shakespeare would never do that.”
I am a little sad that Doug imagined the Shakespeare bust as a giant, green, evil Shakespeare. I’d have preferred it just be the green bust, floating around, shooting lasers out of its dead eyes.

Anyway, Doug sees a fishing pole in the et cetera pile and gets a better idea.
Flying alien shark dog. I’d watch that movie.

They start shooting the movie with Porkchop and Theda interrupts again, almost immediately. She walks into a shot to pet Porkchop and say how cute he looks. Also, she wants Doug and Skeeter to take something to Déjà vu for her. Really? What is so urgent that it needs to be taken over there right this instant? Doug says she doesn’t realize how important this movie is, and of course follows that with a fantasy.
Ooh, is this an awards show? That is important.
Oh, it’s the premiere! Shark Dog IV? Is Doug imagining he’s George Lucas here, or has he just skipped forward in his franchise to after the monster has been killed twice (the other time, the monster wasn’t really the monster and it actually saved the day), none of the original actors are still doing the movies, and the story is a mashup of the terrible ideas rejected from the first three movies?

The movie is actually pretty awesome. A giant flying alien shark dog is destroying the city when…
She walks in and pets the monster. She says it is cute. Doug turns to Skeeter and asks him why she wasn’t edited out. He says he couldn’t edit her out. She was in every shot. How is this something that fantasy-Doug didn’t notice? He didn’t help in editing? He didn’t even watch it until the premiere? This movie really is important!

Anyway, Doug decides the trip to Déjà vu isn’t going to be a total waste. He’s taped the camera to his helmet so he can get moving shots through downtown Bluffington. Unfortunately, Skeeter runs over some trash on the street and it flies up into Doug’s face.
You might think that Doug would simply stop his bike, or just grab the trash off his face so he can see. He doesn’t. He ends up hitting a bump, which causes a bean can to go flying out of his basket.
The bean can rolls into the painter’s ladder, knocking him down. His bucket of paint flies into the traffic light, covering it with red paint and causing a traffic jam.
The painter survived.

But try to make sense of this. Skeeter doesn’t have a basket on his bike and is clearly not carrying anything in his arms or in a backpack. Same for Doug, except he has the basket and the only thing in it was the bean can. So that’s what Theda needed them to take to Déjà vu? A fucking bean can. She couldn’t have tossed that in her car and taken it next time she went to work? No. It’s much more important that Doug go right this minute. Who cares how many painters have to die!?

At home, Doug and Skeeter are excited to check out the footage of the accident. They are disappointed when they see the lens was covered up by some trash. Doug says they can use the sound effects for when the monster is attacking. I guess that’s something.

Theda comes in asking what all the noise was. Doug explains it’s just the tape of the accident. She demands to know the details of the accident and Skeeter excitedly tells her everything.
She is completely horrified to find out that the streets of Bluffington are so overrun with trash, and completely unconcerned that her son almost accidentally killed a painter. She takes the video of the accident and goes straight to the town council meeting. Doug tries to stop her since their unfinished movie is on that tape and you can’t see the accident anyway, but she ignores him. Doug has a fantasy where he screens the movie for two critics that are parodies of Siskel and Ebert.
The movie is just a bunch of disconnected, unrelated shots. The critics are not amused. Doug tries to explain that he didn’t get to finish the movie, but Theda interrupts him and says it’s all about trash. The critics say it is a stinker.

At the town council meeting, Mayor Bob White is finishing up his speech begging you to vote for him. He asks if there are any questions and Theda says, “this town has a real problem with trash in the streets.”

“I’d like to go on record as saying that trash is not a problem here in Bluffington! Meeting’s adjourned. See ya soon. Vote for me.”
Theda starts talking about the accident when the painter stands up and says, “wait a minute. I saw it happen. A big old bean can nearly wiped out half of downtown.”

Mayor White quickly reverses his opinion and announces his new Beautify Bluffington campaign.

The next day Doug and Skeeter are working on the movie when they see the Beautify Bluffington campaign at work. A garbage truck pulls up, two garbage men hop off and put a bunch of signs in the yard, and the claw on the truck picks up one piece of paper off the sidewalk while the voice of Mayor White repeats “stash our trash” and “beautify Bluffington” over a loudspeaker.
That’s no recording of the mayor either. He’s actually riding in the truck to repeat that shit constantly. As mayor of Bluffington, it’s not like he has access to expensive high-tech sorcery like tape recorders. He can’t be Macauley Culkin with the Talkboy. That’s not in the city budget, now that he’s spent it all on yard signs for the Beautify Bluffington campaign.

Anyway, Theda is horrified that she may have created a monster. This gives Doug an idea and they start filming the Beautify Bluffington truck. They decide to premiere the movie at the next town council meeting. It was a simpler time. People didn’t have youtube or blogs where they could tell everyone what they were doing in their free time. People had to have weekly town council meetings to share that information.

At the meeting, Theda says she’d like to discuss the Beautify Bluffington campaign and Mayor White is excited about it. He points at a meaningless chart that he can’t explain before Theda says she thinks it’s all a big mess. “We don’t need a trash army. Everyone should just pitch in and do their part. Finally, Doug and Skeeter run in, shouting for the mayor.
They say they made a video about the campaign and want to show it. Mayor White says, “we don’t have time for a kiddy show. Wait…did you say a movie…of me, the mayor? And my big truck?” He puts on the movie, which starts with Doug saying, “what you are about to see is the mayor’s Beautify Bluffington campaign in action.”

It’s not so much a monster movie as it is a 45 second documentary. It’s just shots of trees and parks covered with fliers for the Beautify Bluffington. Every tree has at least two fliers on it. There are fliers stuck to a bird’s nest. Fliers are floating in the lake. My favorite is the shot of the duck with the flier stuck to its feet.
Why is it stuck to the duck’s feet?

The crowd at the meeting is horrified. Doug and Skeeter consider their monster movie a huge success.
Mr. Valentine stands up and says, “Mayor, your truck trashed our town!” Yes, Mr. Valentine. That’s what the video showed you. You didn’t notice it happening? There are fliers literally everywhere and you didn’t notice them at all until you saw the video? No one else in town recognized the problem either, apparently. Not even these people.
Why are these fliers so sticky?

Doug gets up to defend the mayor for some reason. He says, “it’s not all the mayor’s fault. He doesn’t know anything about trash. We need someone who knows about recycling. Like my mom.”

“Why, uh…well, I was just about to think of that myself! Congratulations! The job is yours.”

What job? There was no mention of a job. Theda’s suggestion was everyone pitching in and doing their part. I guess it’s now her job to get people to do that.

She turns to Doug and tells him she really liked his movie.
Skeeter gets no credit.

At the end, Doug sets up the camera to start a video journal, but Porkchop will have none of that.
This is a pretty weird episode. It doesn’t show how Doug is crazy as much as it shows how grossly incompetent his mother is, and he probably inherited many of his problems from her, especially his failures of logic. How did she get to be the manager of anything? It makes sense that a mayor as shitty as Bob White would hire someone as incompetent as Theda Funnie. If I lived in a town where this woman was going around making sure people recycled and didn’t litter, I would be doing the opposite just to spite her.

I am glad to see that Doug can be a little clever when he needs to be. He never had a trash problem. He had a Theda problem. She was trying to teach him about recycling at all the most annoying times. He had to get her off his back, so he made a very short video about trash and got her a government job where she has to go around annoying everyone else in town. She won’t have time to interrupt his movies anymore.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Episode 34, Part 1: Doug's Cartoon

This is the most recent edition of the school's weekly newspaper, The Honker. Later, you'll have to assume that Mr. Bone didn't pose for this picture. One of the students just took this picture of him mesmerized by this piece of meat.

So Doug's problems in this episode are centered around this edition of the newspaper, and it began last Thursday when the cafeteria served "magic meat" for the third time that week. 3 out of 4 days, this school serves the children the same thing. If you've ever had any doubt that Bluffington is somewhere in the U.S.A., remove it.

After lunch, Doug is doodling in the library when Chalky walks up and is a rude dick. He walks up without saying anything and grabs the paper Doug is drawing on.

He loves it.

Admittedly, it is pretty good. I'd build a Magic Empire Meat Building.

Doug mentions that Chalky is in charge of the school newspaper, which is great because otherwise it's really weird that he just walks up, grabs Doug's cartoon, chuckles and says "hey, this is great" before he walks off with the cartoon. Without knowing he runs the school newspaper, you'd think Chalky was just some sort of weird kleptomaniac that likes to see if people will say anything if he takes whatever they are working on.
On Wednesday, everyone in class has the paper. All of them are laughing about the cartoon. Of course, not everyone is happy.

Mr. Bone storms in with the two janitor/security guard guys, and they confiscate all the papers. Mr. Bone hates free speech.

After the title screen, we see the outside of the Funnie house at night as a ball of white light flies down from space. It enters Doug's bedroom window as he's wishing he'd never drawn the cartoon.

What the fuck is going on?

Mr. Dink steps out and says he's just trying out his new time machine. Doug points out that there is no such thing. Mr. Dink says it won't be available for 20 years. Then he asks Doug if there's anywhere he would like to go, and they get in and take off. Now, with the endless possibilities available to him, where do you think he went?

Of course! Just go back in time and rip up the cartoon! Chalky will never think to ask past-Doug to just draw it again, that is if they survived the paradox Doug just fucked the universe with.

And so this fantasy fades out and Doug is actually still at school, and Mr. Bone is still yelling at the class. It's hard to wrap your head around how crazy this fantasy is, but at least he says he knows time travel is impossible, and he gives up this line of thinking.

Mr. Bone's ranting ends wonderfully.

Mr. Bone: "If our Principal, Mr. Buttsavitch, came back from vacation and saw this, he'd have both our hides!"
Patti: "But don't we have a right to our opinions, Mr. Bone?
Mr. Bone: "Of course not! What are you teaching these kids? Why if everybody said whatever they thought, why...everything'd be all higgldy piggldy!"

Doug and Skeeter walk out of the room together, while Doug talks about how the cartoon backfired and he's going to keep his opinions to himself from now on. He didn't notice the flier that Skeeter was holding. Or the flier that he was holding himself.

Doug has a crazy moment here. He sees the flier in Skeeter's hand and tells him to put it away, then notices the one in his own hand and asks where it came from, then asks where Skeeter's came from. Skeeter points out that Al and Moo are handing them out. This is something Doug would've noticed were he not crazy, as Al and Moo were standing outside their classroom handing them out.

Doug sees Mr. Bone coming down the hall and quickly runs around to everyone, collecting the fliers before they get noticed and he gets in more trouble. Mr. Bone confronts him anyway, because of course he saw what was going on.

After Mr. Bone leaves, Al (or Moo) asks Doug if he wants to join their club. It's call the Doug Funnie Freedom of the Press Society. Moo (or Al) explains that they are going to give Mr. Bone an ultimatum.

"Either he gives the newspaper back, or you handcuff yourself to his desk."
"Or you jump off the cafeteria roof."

Seriously. Think it over, Doug.

Doug tells them to stop with the fliers, the club, and just forget the whole thing.

At lunch, Patti is still complaining about the fact that Mr. Bone took the newspaper away because of one little cartoon. Doug suggests that he just apologize to Mr. Bone, and maybe then he'll give the paper back. Chalky, after failing to cut the magic meat, points out that Doug was right. Patti decides they have to do something and calls an emergency session of the student council this afternoon. Meanwhile, the other students have found another way to protest.

That's a pile of magic meat, surrounded by a bunch of students that will be going back to class hungry.

The students start chanting "NO MORE MAGIC MEAT" then pick up Doug and put him on the table, as if he's going to give a great, inspiring speech about magic meat. The lunch-lady intervenes, asking whose idea this was. Everyone points to Doug, and he gets sent to the guidance counselor.

As usual, Mr. Shellacky is useless. Half of what Mr. Shellacky says is actually spoken to the magic meat. He actually makes Doug say, "I don't hate you" to the magic meat, then asks him to hug the meat. There's a lazy pedophile joke here somewhere.

Before the meeting is over, it is interrupted by a crowd of people outside chanting, "Free Doug Funnie!"

Dammit, Judy! It's her political science class. When they heard Doug was being brutally oppressed, they made up some signs and rushed at the opportunity to make a difference in the world of middle school newspaper publishing!

Mr. Bone and Judy have a great shouting match using megaphones less than 10 feet away from each other. Brilliant individuals.

Finally Mr. Bone decides to actually meet with Doug. As soon as he closes the door to his office, he starts begging.

Mr. Bone will make a deal if Doug will call off his dogs. Doug is relieved.

Patti is trying to start the emergency student counsel meeting when Doug and Mr. Bone enter and have an announcement. Doug says Mr. Bone will allow them to have the newspaper back, just as long as they don't make fun of the school.
Al and Moo ask, "why not?"

"Well...because if we just said whatever we thought, why...everything would be higgldy piggldy."

Doug immediately wonders where he'd heard that before and starts thinking.

Oh, shit. He's become like Mr. Bone!

As Doug is wondering what he's turned into, Mr. Bone announces that Doug is going to prove he didn't mean what he said by taking a big bite of magic meat. Doug refuses. He held up his side of the deal by apologizing. Then he adds that if they can't say what they think, then maybe Mr. Bone should just take the paper away anyway. Finally Doug has decided to stop trying to be neutral on the whole thing. Mr. Bone gets all angry and before his ranting gets good, he has to take a call from Principal Buttsavitch.

Mr. Buttsavitch has apparently seen the cartoon and thought it was great. Mr. Bone tells Doug that he just saved him by telling Mr. Buttsavitch to like the cartoon.

In the end, Mr. Buttsavitch had magic meat removed from the menu. Because of Doug's cartoon. The students were allowed to print the school newspaper again, and all was well. Magic meat was replaced by something Mr. Shellacky apparently thought up.

Happy meat. Just try and hate it.

I hate to keep going back to this excuse, but I feel like Doug is making most, or all, of this up. This episode is all about how literally everyone else around Doug is crazy. Doug's not crazy. He just wanted to draw. Everyone else just obsessed over something that didn't matter, even people that don't even go to that school! Doug tried to get them to shut up about it so he could just apologize and it would be over, but they kept pushing. The school kept pushing back. Everyone keeps pushing until Doug really does become the hero of the school. The newspaper is back, and the magic meat is gone! Hooray for Doug!

I also feel I have to say something about Principal Buttsavitch. What a shitty job this guy is doing. Mr. Bone and Mr. Shellacky are proof enough that his judgment of character is flawed. Mr. Bone should not have any authority over anyone, and Mr. Shellacky shouldn't be around children at all. On top of that, Mr. Buttsavitch took a vacation during the school year. This is a guy who just doesn't give a shit about his job.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Episode 33, Part 2: Doug on First

This episode begins with a baseball game. Patti's Pulverizers is still a team, and they're winning this game. Doug fields a line drive to first, and pulls off a double play with Skeeter. Doug starts narrating his journal, talking about how he gets this tingly feeling all over when baseball season starts: "Mostly 'cause I'm sweating so much."

After he says this line, his mom starts celebrating the double play by jumping up and down and yelling, "score! Touchdown! YAAAAAAY!"

So Doug adds, "but also because I'm usually kind of embarrassed, with my parents there and all." It's sort of weird the way he started out saying he feels tingly all over around baseball season, implying he's just excited as shit about being a Pulverizer, and then he goes on to reveal that it's just a result of sweaty shame.
Patti strikes out the next batter and the Pulverizers win. Doug immediately runs over to his dad screaming about how they won and asking if he'd seen his double play. Phil completely ignores him and continues talking to the other adults.

They are upset that Patti does all the pitching. Mr. Valentine screams about how Skeeter is a born pitcher. Mrs. Bluff says, "they're only kids. They can't be expected to run their own team." Doug's "but we won" protest goes unheard and he slinks away.

Later the parents are having a meeting at the Funnie house.

Discussing how they should manage the team, Mr. Valentine demands that Skeeter be allowed to pitch. Mrs. Bluff says that Beebe's therapist says she'll suffer acute emotional damage if she is not allowed to pitch. Doug and Skeeter start watching from the window. Mr. Mayonnaise says, "Personally I think if the kids want to run their own team, we should let them. As long as they're enjoying it. After all, it's only a game." Mr. Valentine does not like this, and everyone starts arguing. Theda comes in and says the only way to resolve the pointless "who should pitch?" question is to make all the kids take turns pitching. Doug and Skeeter do not like this idea, and Doug imagines what will happen when he pitches.

In this fantasy, he throws a pitch and it flies way over everyone's heads. The umpire yells, "ball four!" Since the bases are loaded, another runner is walked home. Patti says, "poor Doug, another walk." Then she turns to Skeeter and asks, "what's the score!?"
"A bajillion to nothing."

They laughed when I made the "A BAJILLION" sign for the scoreboard at the park, but who's laughing now!?

After the fantasy, Doug and Skeeter are talking about how they are playing the Honkers next week, and without Patti's pitching they won't stand a chance. Doug asks, "what do we do?" As if he's got an answer for this question, Porkchop springs up and grabs his golf clubs.

He calmly walks back over to them, puts down a golf ball and hits it out into the road. So that's Porkchop's solution.

Later Phil is trying to teach Doug a secret pitch called the Funnie Fireball. Doug does poorly and throws the ball way over Phil's head, into the Dinks' bushes where it hits Mr. Dink in the head.

There's a pointless conversation with Mr. Dink, and then Doug finally tries to explain that everyone thinks he's a really good first baseman. Phil pulls out his wallet and shows Doug a photo.

"Ya see this? That's me! THE NUMBER 2 PITCHER! This was the year I invented the Funnie Fireball! I know you'll make a good pitcher! It's in the blood. Like father like son."

Number 2 pitcher on the runner up team. And now he is a photographer for a department store. The only thing in the Funnie blood that Doug inherited is delusions of grandeur.

Phil's speech causes Doug to have another fantasy. In this one, Phil is sitting inside reading "Pitching Tips for Boys" by Teak McGulliken when Doug walks in and says, "hi, dad. Guess what! I'm a major league first baseman."

Without enthusiasm, Phil replies, "that's wonderful, Doug."
"And I won the World Series!"
"And I just signed a zillion dollar a year contract!"
"But that's nothing! You know what's really great?"
"What's that, son?"
"I won the Nobel Prize!"
"NO, DAD! For peace!"

Hilarious. And probably the most reasonable fantasy he's ever had. His dad is completely ignoring what he really wants, and has an irrational fixation on pitching. Suddenly the only thing he cares about is that Doug pitches. Who cares what Doug wants or what is best for the team? Is Doug pitching? No? Then Phil better teach him a bullshit secret pitch and be an annoying dick about the whole thing.

After the fantasy, Doug, Patti and Skeeter are talking about how they were unable to convince their dads that they didn't want to pitch. Patti's convinced they can steal beat the Honkers in spite of all this unnecessary bullshit.

"HEY! We can still beat the Honkers. I mean, Skeeter's got an ok arm, and your arm's...not bad. You'll tough it out."
"I will?"
"Sure! You never know until you try!"
"Hey. Maybe I can pitch."

Another fantasy. This time they're in a big stadium. Doug is pitching.

You're probably thinking that he's going to be an amazing pitcher because his crush, Patti "Sweetpussy" Mayonnaise, just encouraged the idea, but no. He throws the ball over the fence behind the umpire. Doug walks in the winning run. I never get tired of his fantasies that are supposed to be good, but then turn out terrible. It just shows a total lack of self confidence when you can't imagine you'll do good, even when that's specifically what you're trying to imagine.

At the game, Connie starts off on the pitcher's mound. She does terribly. Every batter has to dodge the ball, and presumably she walks several runners in before Skeeter takes the mound.

Mr. Valentine gives Skeeter shitty advice. He tells him not to throw it too hard. Just throw strikes. So Skeeter lobs the ball over the plate every time, and the Honkers get several home-runs off him. Before Skeeter is finished, the Honkers are leading the game 11-4.

So now it's Doug's turn. And Roger is at bat. Feeling all the pressure, Doug starts to sweat and calls time out. His team comes to the mound and they discuss things that are obvious to everyone but the idiotic adults. Doug hands the ball over to Patti, which causes a hallucination.

Yep! Heaven's shining down on that decision, Doug!

Patti quickly strikes out three people in a row. After the kids took control of the team again, they started a comeback. They end up winning the game.

Take that, adults!

This might be the most sane Doug has ever been, which might mean it's all bullshit. It's hard to take him at his word when he says he was the one that finally decided to ignore the parents' bullshit so Patti could pitch and that it resulted in them finally beating the Honkers. His self confidence is so low at this point he can't even imagine things work out for him, but somehow he finally makes the decision no one else could? Right.
Assuming this story is even partially true, then it's easy to understand Doug's psychosis a little more. The basic idea, that a bunch of kids were having fun until a bunch of adults decided to be assholes about everything, is enough to drive anyone insane. And it's believable. Have you ever heard adults argue about little league sports in small towns? Fucking hilarious, unless you're the kids they're arguing about and it's hard for you to just ignore them and have fun being kids. If these are the type of adults Doug is dealing with, then I'd be surprised if he didn't have emotional issues.

But Patti's dad is just amazing, isn't he? Always has the right attitude. So cool.