Sunday, October 9, 2011
Episode 37, Part 1: Doug's Shock Therapy
Mr. Bone is in the hospital. It's the end of the day and Ms. Wingo is making the class make cards for him. Her only instruction to the class is "write 'get well soon, Mr. Bone' in your own words." Doug does this expertly.
Doug is using those right-handed scissors with his left hand, which is always awkward and difficult. The blades are backwards and the handles are usually shaped to fit your right hand. Jamming your left hand in there and cutting a straight line is a frustrating affair. It really is just much easier to train yourself to use scissors with your right hand. But Doug seems to be doing okay.
Anyway, Ms. Wingo also needs someone to take the cards to the hospital for her. I guess she has better things to do with her car. Or she has a phobia involving hospitals. Whatever. All the kids run out of the class when the bell rings except Doug. He is too focused on cutting that shoe to notice the bell rang or that Ms. Wingo asked for a volunteer. Being the only one left, he has accidentally volunteered. If he had run out with the rest of the class, Ms. Wingo would've been fucked.
Oh neat. It's a get well card tree. Mr. Bone will love that. Before going in, Doug has a fantasy about why Mr. Bone is in the hospital. Apparently no one at the school knows.
Ah, the eyes in the back of the head surgery! This is terrifying. Mr. Bone says now he can keep his eyes on you hooligans at all times. Then he laughs the evil laugh and the fantasy ends. Doug thinks he lives in a world of cartoonish villainy. It's normal to speculate about why someone would be in the hospital, but normal people keep it real. A car accident or corrective surgery or some sort of illness. Doug thinks it might be radical surgery where you have new eyes put onto the back of your head.
Doug opens the door and announces his presence to a weak, frail-looking Mr. Bone. When he speaks, it sounds like he's hardly there. Like he's just had surgery and he's waking up. Like he has malaria and he's minutes away from death. He says he's fine. "As fine as someone can be who's about to..."
Oh, it hasn't happened yet. Maybe he has appendicitis and he's about to have surgery to remove it. Doug hides the card tree behind his back and tells Mr. Bone he has something to cheer him up. Mr. Bone assumes he means the skateboard and takes it.
Drugged-up bliss. He's just so happy someone's given him a real get well present, instead of a lousy card tree. Suddenly a nurse comes in and tells him to say goodbye. It's time to remove that wart. Doug asks, "a wart?" "From his little pinky."
Nope. I don't know what's really going on here, but Mr. Bone is not staying in the hospital to have a wart removed. Or this is a mental hospital. Doug just happened to catch him when he was scheduled to have a wart removed, but the main reason he's there is for a nervous breakdown.
Mr. Bone curls up with the skateboard, telling the nurse he's not ready yet. Don't cut him yet! He screams as she rolls him out of the room. Yes, Mr. Bone is crazy and is getting the help he needs. Take a lesson, Doug.
The next day at school, Doug is telling Skeeter about the whole thing. He only cares about the skateboard. He doesn't give a shit about Mr. Bone's mental health. He says he's just going to ask for the skateboard back. As he's asking, "what's Mr. Bone going to do with a skateboard," Mr. Bone yells, "cowabunga!"
Escaped mental patient! Also, love you Team YO guy. Wish you showed up more.
Mr. Bone skates up to Doug and Skeeter and demands a high five from Doug. "Come on, man. Don't leave me hanging! Lay some skin on me! EXCELLENT!" Then he tells Doug to come to his office. He has something to show him.
He's already got several skateboards, a guitar and amp, a pinball machine. Crazy Mr. Bone works fast. When Doug opens the door, Mr. Bone pulls a rope he's rigged up to dump ping pong balls on his head. So now he's playing pranks too. The first thing he tells Doug is that he wants everyone to call him T-Bone, like they used to when he was younger. Then he thanks Doug for saving his life. He didn't think he was going to make it through the "wartectomy" because he thought no one cared about him. He said he had a vision as they were putting him to sleep. He dreamed he was gliding back into the wonderful land of childhood.
Mr. Bone did not grow up in Bluffington, apparently.
All the kids are happy to see young T-Bone, as of course he Benjamin Button'd as he skated out of the hospital, into the land of childhood, towards the kids. They chant "we love T-Bone" and end up carrying him away. He says they played for hours and hours, with no adults telling them what to do. When he awoke, he was a changed man. He shakes Doug's hand with an electric buzzer, laughs and says, "from now on, we're gonna be great pals!"
Back in class, Ms. Wingo is apparently teaching Bavarian history. She says, "and then, King Ludwig of Bavaria went insane." Right after she says this, T-Bone interrupts over the intercom saying school is dismissed. All the kids quickly run out of the room. Ms. Wingo protests, "but it's only 11:30." T-Bone tells her to lighten up, and calls her a stick in the mud.
So everyone just got out of school before lunch. It's awesome. It's everyone's dream! They have the rest of the day to do whatever. Go wherever! Nevermind.
We'll just stand in a circle outside the school tossing a ball back and forth. Seriously though, they do discuss what to do with the rest of the day. The first and only suggestion comes from Doug. Go to the Honkerburger. I guess that's exciting. It beats school anyway. T-Bone overhears them and gets excited. He wants to go too. The other kids are less than thrilled about this new development and disperse immediately. So it's just T-Bone and Doug. Chilling at the Honkerburger. Making jokes. Acting like a walrus.
Doug keeps asking himself, "why me?" T-Bone is thoroughly embarrassing too. After the whole walrus thing, he smears ice cream on his forehead and asks Doug to pull his finger.
As Doug gets to school the next day, he sees Skeeter, Beebe, Boomer and Roger walking away, a little wet. He asks them what's going on and finds out they have the day off again. Mr. Bone declared it Skateboard Day! Then he hears some maniacal laughing coming from inside the school. He decides it would be better to just go ahead and leave, but they beg him to just keep being T-Bone's friend. Make him happy and maybe they'll keep getting days off school. As if T-Bone isn't just going to get fired if he keeps this up.
Doug opens the door and gets shot with water. T-Bone laughs. Then he proposes that they go skateboarding down Suicide Mountain. Doug says that's only for really good skateboarders. Mr. Bone and all the students within ear shot peer pressure Doug into going.
I thought this was a fantasy at first. It has that kind of feel to it. I also expected Suicide Mountain to be just the nickname of some notoriously dangerous stretch of road, but it's the name of this skate park/ramp thing. Bluffington is a weird place.
At the top of the ramp, Doug tries to talk T-Bone out of the whole thing. "This isn't like your dream. This is a real, 75 foot drop!" I guess it's easy for him to tell the difference between another person's fantasies and reality. Doug then has a fantasy about "the cost of keeping Mr. Bone happy."
There's a bucket of ping pong balls that he dumps on Doug's head. I don't know who set that up for him, or why he's having breakfast with the Funnies. Then there's this. Best Man T-Bone plays another prank.
Of course Doug is marrying Patti in this fantasy. Instead of the ring, he's got spring snakes. Well played, Sir.
I don't know why Doug wasn't wearing his teeth, but T-Bone gives him the teeth, and Doug finds out they are just the wind-up chattering teeth. Old man T-Bone laughs and laughs and laughs.
After the fantasy, Doug finally tells T-bone he didn't mean to give him the skateboard. He was giving him a bunch of get well cards and he just took the skateboard. T-Bone says, "in other words, you hate me!" Whoa there, buddy. That's not what he said at all. Not even close. Right after T-Bone tells Doug, "you can keep you dumb old skateboard," he accidentally rolls down the ramp.
When Doug visits Mr. Bone in the hospital this time, he's brought flowers from the class. He's not holding his skateboard.
Mr. Bone thanks Doug, again. He's turning over a new leaf, again. From this day on, you're going to see a new Mr. Bone. "A Mr. Bone ready to face the world with a renewed sense of what school children really need."
So Mr. Bone is back to normal. Sort of.
He's standing on a box yelling at the students. Anyone late to class for even a second will have that noted on their permanent record. That's normal Mr. Bone, for sure. "Hey mister! Those shoes could use a good shine! And you missy! Those earrings don't match!" Fashion advice is not discipline. Mr. Bone is closer to normal, but he's still clearly insane. Doug ends the episode with a wink at the fourth wall. He knows.
Or he doesn't know. It's hard to say if Doug ever picked up on why Mr. Bone really went to the hospital in the first place. I don't think he did. It's pretty clear that Mr. Bone completely lost touch with reality and never got it back though. Really though, he's a middle-aged single yodeling assistant principal with no chance of ever being promoted...it's no surprise he got tired of his situation and snapped. This episode is called Doug's Shock Therapy and it's not because Mr. Bone used a hand buzzer on Doug once. Mr. Bone probably had to have some ECT while he was in the hospital.
It would be nice if Doug recognized the reality of the situation. Maybe see some parallels between his frequent fantasies and Mr. Bone's fantasy into the land of childhood. Maybe see a connection between his stagnant relationship with Patti and Mr. Bone's stagnant life. Maybe if he saw these similarities and then picked up on the reality of Mr. Bone's situation, he'd make some changes and get some help. But he won't. He can't. That's not how his mind works.
"And then, King Ludwig of Bavaria went insane." Indeed.