We begin with Doug's class sitting around waiting for Ms. Wingo. Mr. Bone comes over the intercom to announce that Ms. Wingo will be absent for family-related business, and the substitute will be there shortly. I love that he made an announcement, as if the substitute was going to walk in and start teaching and he was worried the students might just think Ms. Wingo changed her appearance. Anyway, the class loves hearing that Ms. Wingo is having family problems, and they get excited! Roger says he has the perfect thing for the sub.
Fed up with Roger, Doug starts taking stuff out of his duffel bag.
Roger carries that anti-substitute duffel bag with him everywhere. You never know when you'll need a spitball kit.
So Doug has all of Roger's shit in his arms, and he's about to walk out the door with it when the substitute enters, hitting him with the door and knocking him to the ground. Also, this is her.
And this is the guys in the class.
After she introduces herself as Ms. Newberry, and all the guys in the class shuffle awkwardly to hide their boners, she finally spots Doug on the floor. She doesn't apologize for knocking him to the floor. Instead, she says, "don't you think that's a lot of ammunition for just one substitute teacher?" Great first impression, you presumptuous bitch.
During class, Doug is thinking about how she's the most beautiful teacher he's ever seen, and how he just made a fool of himself when she asks, "okay, now who wants to begin by reading at the bottom of page 42? All the guys (and few of the girls...) eagerly raise their hands, but she gets out the roll and calls on Doug. Doug sees this as a chance to change her opinion of him.
What you see here is Roger handing him the book he's going to read. He starts reading, and it's apparently a good description of the mating rituals of fireflies. The entire class starts chuckling and Ms. Newberry gets mad. "We're not reading from the biology book. We're reading from the history book!" Perhaps if Doug hadn't been so concentrated on her opinion of him, he might have been able to pay enough attention to know what subject they were working on. Really, with as much as he worries about the opinions of others, it's a miracle he can tie his shoes.
Ms. Newberry gets Roger to read from the history book, while Doug notices that she is writing something in her notebook in red pencil. RED PENCIL! After she finishes writing, she shakes her head!
After school, Doug is complaining to Skeeter about the red pencil thing. Connie and Patti comment on how Ms. Newberry doesn't like him. Then Roger and Ms. Newberry come out talking about Doug. She's asking him how she can get through to Doug. "A good substitute teacher never gives up on a troublemaker." This line sets Doug off and Skeeter has to cover his mouth and hold him back. You don't know what this crazy kid might do.
Doug eavesdrops on that conversation from behind some bushes.
The next day, Doug runs into class, bumping into Ms. Newberry causing her to drop her notebook. He's trying to explain that he was running so he wouldn't be late when he notices the page her notebook fell open to.
Half of that shit isn't even words. If Doug could look at anything other than the red pencil, he'd see that this woman is barely literate, and combined with her presumptuous attitude toward him, her opinion could be written off entirely. But no, he focuses on that until she takes her notebook from him saying, "what am I going to do with you?"
This causes a great, weird fantasy. It's another tv show, of course.
In this fantasy show, however, everything is a reenactment. Everybody in class is played by actors.
Patti is apparently being played by a man who could not be bothered to shave his beard for his big television debut as an 11 year old girl. Reenactment Doug walks in and sits at the teachers desk and decides he wants to read to the class.
Yeah! Doug Funnie has become quite the rude asshole because of this woman's malformed opinions!
98 lbs of "FUCK OFF!"
At home, Doug is trying to do his homework, but he's having trouble concentrating. Again. "It was all I could think about all day. And night!" His homework assignment is absurd, and I love it.
He writes, "many people think Cheese is a great troublemaker." He gets frustrated at his mistake and erases "troublemaker." How frustrating. He says, "there's gotta be some way to convince Ms. Newberry I'm not a troublemaker." Porkchop gives him a great idea.
Doug mistakes Porkchop's simple "bone her" message to mean that he should draw a picture for her. He decides to make a card for her and has a fantasy about how this will go over.
Fantasy Ms. Newberry takes one look at this brilliant play on words and completely changes her opinion of Doug. Then she tells Doug he can call her Cecilia. Creepy.
The next day, Doug is planning on giving her his amazing, hand-drawn sub card when she asks everyone to pass in their homework. Oh shit. Doug didn't do it. All he has written down is "many people think Cheese is a great troublemaker." Yeah. Apparently he didn't actually erase it, but more importantly he forgot to do his homework because he was so fixated on making the card. When she gets to Doug, he hands her the card instead of his one sentence report on cheese. She looks at the card long enough to recognize the fact that it is not a report on cheese, and then she points that out to Doug. It's like this...
"This isn't the homework assignment, Douglas."
"I know, Ms. Newberry, but...I worked on it for hours."
"I am very disappointed, Douglas."
Idiot Doug spent hours drawing and coloring a fucking submarine. Pathetic. Who could neglect the exhilarating thrill of writing about cheese? When there are puns to be drawn? Doug Funnie!
Ms. Newberry sends Doug to the guidance counselor, who is as useless as ever. He makes a big deal out of Doug's middle name for no reason.
He schedules a parent-teacher conference and slams the door in Doug's face. Happily.
After school he's sitting on the curb outside complaining, and Skeeter says, "man, there's nothing worse than a parent-teacher conference. Boy, I'd hate to be in your shoes when your parents find out." Thanks, Skeeter, for triggering another fantasy.
98 lbs of "FUCK OFF!" doesn't like being dragged into this prison.
Driven mad by his own fantasy, Doug runs back to the school to finally do something about this Ms. Newberry. He decides to finally confront her in the teacher's lounge.
"Um, Ms. Newberry. I'm not what you think I am. I'm not a troublemaker. I never tried to be a problem. I'm Doug Funnie, and I promise from this moment on, to be the same kid I always was before you thought I was somebody else."
Her reply to this is a blank stare. She says nothing. Doug leaves and she goes back to reading her copy of "Substitute Teacher's Manual." I can only assume that manual is nothing but "call roll. hand out busy work. have one of the students help you figure out the vcr so they can watch the movie propping up the short leg of the real teacher's desk" repeated Jack Torrance-style.
Outside, Skeeter is trying to console Doug for giving it his best shot. Doug is really pretty upset by the silence and the blank stare he received. Then Ms. Newberry confronts him.
"I have something to say to you."
"I'm sorry about coming into the teacher's lounge, but I just had to..."
"Look, you. You think you're such a tough guy, but you wanna know what I think? I think that deep down inside, you're a good kid. And if you can just listen to your heart, you're gonna be all right."
"I don't care what the manual says. I'll make you a deal. You try and bring the good Doug out, and I'll just forget about tomorrow's parent-teacher conference."
"This will be our little secret."
What? Never has anyone ever been so wrong about Doug. He doesn't think he's a tough guy at all. HE MADE YOU A GODDAMN CARD WITH A PUN ON IT! No one thinks he is a tough guy. Have you heard the song he wrote on his banjo about Patti? HAVE YOU!? No! You haven't! All you saw was a kid trying to save you from some dickhead with rickets and instead of learning about the situation, you thought you had it all figured out immediately. Well, yeah. Doug has problems. But not the ones you think he has, and he doesn't need you wrecking his life for a week because you think you're so important. If you weren't such a know-it-all bitch, maybe you'd have seen what was really going on here. You sent Doug into a week-long anxiety attack and you're lucky all you got in return was a wimpy speech in the teacher's lounge.
Oh, Ms. Wingo will be back tomorrow? Good. Go back to your miserable life waiting for real teachers to get sick so you can have an excuse to get up in the morning.
I think the most important thing you should take from this episode is that Doug made this...
...and it apparently took him hours.