Doug begins this episode by asking us/his journal, "did you ever feel like someone was holding your heart in the palm of their hand?"
Starting with a hallucination, the beating heart in Doug's hand turns into a beet he's going to eat at lunch.
It's a small hallucination, and it doesn't really fit with what Doug is saying, but it would be even crazier if he made Patti hold the beat so he could imagine she was holding his heart in her hand. Because yes, of course he's talking about Patti.
Doug says everything started at recess, even though everyone outside is sitting at a table eating their lunch. Apparently, if schools let you eat outside, they can call it recess too, effectively merging your two favorite parts of the day into one thing that will never be long enough.
Anyway, Patti comes over and sits down next to Doug. He's eating alone for some reason. Perhaps he has not yet learned that he needs to start wearing deodorant. Whatever. Patti asks him if he wants to go see a movie on Friday. He asks her who else will be there and she says she didn't plan to ask anyone else. The conversation is very awkward, as you might expect. Everyone around them gets increasingly interested and giggly about this situation. After Patti walks off, Doug blushes and says, "wow, just me and Patti. I wonder if that means it's a...a..."
Everyone around him finishes his sentence in unison. "A DATE!" Roger asks what they'll name the kids. Skeeter calls him a stud.
Doug is very embarrassed by this whole thing. After all, this is only exactly what he wanted since the day he moved to Bluffington.
Later, Doug is arguing with Skeeter, insisting that it's not a date. He says she would have called it a date if it was one. Chalky says that's not necessarily true. Know-it-all. They start walking to class and Doug asks how he's supposed to know if it's a date. Chalky says it's a date if she dresses up. He doesn't address the issue of whether Doug should dress up. As they walk down the hall, different people are looking at Doug and snickering. They run into Roger while he's doing that thing where you make kissing noises and hug yourself so it looks like you're making out with someone. He turns around and says, "oooh, Funnie. Didn't see ya coming!"
Everyone laughs even though that's not really a joke. Doug is further embarrassed when he walks into the science classroom.
As Doug erases his dream written in chalk, he asks, "how about if she isn't dressed up?" Skeeter says he should try buying her ticket to the movie. If she lets him buy, it's a date. Doug asks the obvious because she might not let him buy the ticket. Skeeter and Chalky agree that if all else fails, try to hold her hand. If she lets you hold her hand, then it's definitely a date. Finally the science teacher walks in and starts his lesson on animal mating rituals.
He's going to demonstrate with two tacky yard decorations? High quality education.
Watching his teacher play with plastic birds makes Doug think. If it really is a date, he needs to do some research. At home, he consults a Smash Adams movie called Kiss of the Asp. Smash Adams is on top of some woman in a speedboat when he is attacked by two scuba divers. Doug turns off the movie and puts in Catman Returns. It starts with a woman dressed in what must be a mouse suit (Mousewoman?) saying, "may I have this dance?" Catman says, "meow," and they start fighting.
Doug stops this movie too. He puts on one more movie. This one is called Sweet Sixteen. After watching a scene where a couple roller-skates through an art museum, Doug stops the movie. "This is ridiculous. This isn't what real people do on dates." That's a bit of a relief. Patti would never talk to him again if he drove a speedboat to the movie theater while wearing roller-skates and a cat costume. Doug wants to know what real people do on dates, but he admits that unfortunately, Judy is the closest he has to that.
She's getting ready for a date with a guy named Cassius. She objects to his use of the word "date." "Mom and dad dated. Dating went out with bell-bottoms." Doug points out that she's wearing bell-bottoms, and she tells him not to get smart. He asks her about their plans and she mentions going to a silent film by some made-up director Doug's never heard of, and then going to a charming cafe for coffee. Before Doug can ask for any advice, Cassius honks his horn, so she runs outside. Doug follows her, trying to get her to tell him something helpful when he overhears Cassius' greeting. He's putting on a bad accent and complimenting her looks. Doug takes his first note. "Step 1: Use goofy accent."
Doug follows them to the movie and overhears their conversation as they're leaving the theater. They're making pretentious statements that don't mean anything and Doug writes down another note. "Step 2: Use big words."
At the cafe, Judy is criticizing one of Cassius' dumb opinions when this happens.
Yeah, she was mid-sentence. This asshole just didn't want to be called out on his contrarian bullshit, so he just leaned over and shut her up before she could finish her point. I do not like Cassius. Doug is shocked, thinking to himself, "that's what I'm supposed to do?" He has a fantasy.
In the fantasy, Doug and Patti are at a cafe and Doug says, "um, I thought the instamatic shot retribution was rather self-regurgant." Patti asks him what he's talking about, and finding no words to explain the complete horseshit he just said, he stammers a bit and tries to kiss her.
She leans back, asking "what are you doing?" Doug loses his balance and falls forward, knocking the table and Patti to the ground. Doug should have taken this terrible scenario a few seconds further to show Patti on fire. He set it up with that candle on the table. He totally would have burned her.
Anyway, it's time for Skeeter to help. After seeing what Judy and Cassius do on dates, Doug is nervous. Skeeter has a book.
No word on whether that book is age appropriate for middle school kids. Oh, and yeah...Doug is practicing with a stand-in.
This is perhaps the creepiest thing Doug has ever done. Why does he have a complete Patti costume for his dog? Porkchop is pissed. Doug says he's going to call Patti and tell her he's sick. Skeeter reiterates the point about holding hands, and just tells Doug to practice. Doug puts his hand on Porkchop's paw, and Porkchop starts to teasingly play along. After freaking Doug out with an interested moan, he licks Doug's face. This makes him say he's definitely calling her to cancel. Judy overhears, intrigued by the use of the word, "her."
Judy gets really excited about Doug's date. He insists it's not a date and reminds her of her point about bell-bottoms. After her initial excitement, she looks at Doug and criticizes what he's wearing. After she leaves to get him some better clothes, useless dad enters.
He starts to say something about growing up, but Theda interrupts him with her meddling. She wants Doug to wear his blazer on his date. They gave him that blazer for Christmas and he's never worn it. Judy objects, saying he needs to stick to jeans and black leather.
Judy keeps going on about accessories while Theda keeps going on about how cute the whole thing is. She guesses the date is with "Patsi" before Phil asks them to let him have a man-to-man chat with Doug. Finally Doug blows up. He insists that it's not a date and he's just going to wear his regular clothes. Also, everyone should stop making such a big deal out of it.
Walking to the movie theater, Doug is called "Loverlips" by Roger, and "Smoochmaster Doug" by Al and Moo. He pays them no attention. He is too busy muttering "it's not a date" and "it's no big deal" and "I'm just going to go to the movies like any other night" to himself, like a crazy person.
When he finally gets to the theater, he notices she's dressed up and decides it is a date. He walks to the ticket window and buys two tickets.
If you'll notice, Patti is not dressed up. She is wearing a jacket. Similarly, Doug is not just wearing his normal clothes. He is wearing a jacket. Doug thinks jackets are fancy.
After Doug buys two tickets, he turns around to give one to Patti, but she's already at the window buying her ticket.
Is Patti just not that smart? There was no one else in line for tickets. There wasn't a lot of noise when Doug asked for two tickets. He held up two fingers, which she could clearly see. Is she actively trying to avoid considering this thing a date? She shouldn't have let Doug waste that money and embarrass himself. Not cool, Patti. Doug decides this means it's not a date.
In the theater, Doug is trying to build up the courage to put his hand on hers, and every time he starts to awkwardly make his move, Patti moves her hand to scratch her nose, or she offers him some candy.
The movie they are watching is amazing, by the way. It's a love story like you've never seen before. It sounds terrible and cliche at first, before you see what's on the screen.
Katrina: Oh, Charles, society will never accept our love.
Charles: But we cannot let them stop us. We must listen to our hearts!
Katrina: But we're so different. We come from different worlds.
Charles: I know, Katrina! You are from a rich, powerful family. Whereas I...
"I am a giant lizard creature from Planet Z, but I...I love you!"
After the most amazing movie ever, Doug asks if she wants to go do something else. She asks, "like what?" He says they could go to a charming cafe for some coffee. Patti says she hates coffee because it takes like chalk. So yeah...Patti might be dumb. They go for a walk instead.
So they're walking and talking about the movie. Doug starts to talk about "the time where the guy grabs her arm" and acting it out, he actually grabs Patti's hand. He immediately pauses, unsure if this means anything. She looks down and up without indicating any emotion at all. He quickly lets go of her hand and says, "oops."
They walk in silence to her house. When they get there, she says she had a really good time. He says he did too. Then they start having that awkward "I don't know how to end this" conversation type bullshit where they don't know what to say or how to say it. Eventually, Doug asks if tonight was supposed to be a "whatever." She says she doesn't know. "Are you saying it was a...you know?"
"No, I don't think it was necessarily a 'whatever,' unless you think it was a...'you know.'"
"I can't believe everybody thought it was."
They laugh and then have this extremely hilarious moment that I had to turn into a gif, because I just can't adequately describe how shitty this is for Doug.
WHAT! Why does she do that? This is a pure Doug's journal moment. They just agreed that this wasn't necessarily a date, and then Doug thought they were both going in for a kiss. They weren't. He might have been, but she's clearly not ready for that.
Doug finally decides that it indeed was not a date and starts to walk home. Roger and all the guys stop Doug and ask him how it went.
They want tips. Like Doug, they're looking in the wrong place. Doug has no advice to give. He never really got a handle on the whole evening, and probably won't understand everything until he's much older and it no longer matters.
I really can't give Doug too much shit for this whole thing. First dates are awkward for everyone, especially if neither party is clear about their intentions. I can only hope that Doug does learn to push for a little clarity in similar situations in the future. It's just miserable to let it be and wait for the other person to make a move. Doug waited so long that she finally asked him out, and then his anxiety made him worry about the nature of the date. If he doesn't change, he's going to get sick of this happening with every girl he likes, because he's never going to date any of them. Most of them probably won't ask him out like Patti. He'll wait for no apparent reason, and whether they know he likes them or not, they will move on to someone else and Doug will hate himself because he never made a move. If he doesn't work on this, his anxiety disorder will get much worse.
But why does he have to be so pessimistic? He's so insistent that it's not a date before it happens. The girl of his dreams asked him out, and he refuses to accept the fact that she probably did mean it as a date. Anyone else would refuse to accept that it might not be a date.