Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Episode 40, Part 2: Doug's Big Feat

This episode begins in gym class. Everyone is outside in their gym uniform which includes brown shorts with red stripes and a t-shirt that says, "PHYS ED." Why do the shirts say phys ed on them? Because the school doesn't want the dumbass students confusing them with their mathematics, history, art and lunch uniform shirts, presumably.

Anyway, most of the students are doing jumping jacks. Roger's goons are throwing a football around and Doug and Skeeter are trying to kick field goals.

It's not going well. Doug's pathetic attempt sends the ball bouncing a few feet away. It's hard to believe he's this bad at kicking something, but I'm really no better. It's only gym class anyway. It doesn't matter. Doug is ready to give up but Skeeter keeps trying to convince him he's bound to get one sooner or later. "I can feel it! 57 is your lucky number!" Doug runs at the ball and kicks with his left foot and the ball and his shoe go flying. This is a little like when Patti realized Doug was left handed during the softball game and made him into a less shitty player, except this time it just appears to be a fluke. He was kicking with the wrong foot before, though.

While the ball and shoe are flying through the air, the gym teacher starts arguing with Patti. He's upset that she's saying she can't kick in tonight's game. Her leg is wrapped up and she's using crutches. He asks if she can use her other leg. She says her doctor told her to stay off her leg. The coach calls the doctor a quack. This is the first sign that this guy is unqualified to teach gym and coach football (in this episode), even at a middle school in a town full of idiots.

Doug's shoe hits him in the head and he looks up in time to see the ball go through the posts. Doug and Skeeter start celebrating and the coach stops them to inform Doug that he's the new field goal kicker.

Doug has a terrific fantasy about this. At a large stadium, an announcer informs us that there's four seconds left in the game and the Honkers are going with their star kicker Doug "The Toe" Funnie.

The coach lets us know that Doug "The Toe" Funnie will be attempting a 99 yard field goal. Patti is there as a cheerleader.

Doug is unaware or too sexist to care about the fact that he's only the kicker because Patti is injured. This happens.

4 people identifying themselves as the Doug Funnie Fanclub sing and dance and spell out "Doug" with their bodies. Then Doug makes the kick. A player on the opposing team grabs the ball in an attempt to block it, but he's just carried with it.

Out into space. Why wouldn't he let go, Doug? Why?

After the fantasy, Doug is staring off into space when Skeeter brings him his shoe. Doug points out that Coach Spitz wants him to kick in the big game and Skeeter says, "I heard, man. What are you going to tell him?" Doug starts to explain how much it could mean for him, but Skeeter cuts him off pointing out that he can't kick field goals. After 56 spectacular failures, Doug kicks one good one and forgets everything else. I guess you could just call him overly optimistic.

After Skeeter reminds him of reality, Doug starts to despair. He doesn't know what to do and starts to worry he'll become the laughing stock of the whole school. Before we get to see a fantasy of that, Skeeter just tells him to tell Coach Spitz he can't kick in the game. Damn Skeeter.

Coach Spitz asks, "what do you mean you can't kick?" Then he crushes the tomato he's holding.

Doug tries to explain the kick earlier was just a fluke, but Coach Spitz cuts him off to explain why he just crushed that tomato. He calls it mental preparation. He always squeezes the guts out of vegetables before the big game. He gives Doug a tomato and tells him to squeeze. Doug doesn't squeeze the tomato so hard that it explodes all over himself and Coach Spitz, but the tomato guts do squish out onto the floor. That's not enough for Coach Spitz. He makes Doug get up on his desk.

He asks Doug how this makes him feel and Doug replies, "stupid." Coach Spitz says, "NO! TALL!" Up on the desk, he's tall and has no fears. He explains that football is a 90% mental game. He makes Doug squeeze another tomato and tells him the game is at 6:00.

So Doug and Skeeter get back to practicing. This only makes Doug realize that one good kick was just an accident. This is seriously one of Doug's attempts.

There might be something wrong with Doug's vision. Skeeter tries to help by drawing a bullseye on the ball, because clearly Doug just doesn't understand that the ball is the target. After another attempt, in which Doug trips over nothing and face-plants into the ball, he decides he needs some help. Good old fashioned library help.

He's found the perfect book. It is Stenblatters Quick Guide to Perfect Field Goals. The book tells him that he only needs to follow 27 easy-to-remember steps to kick the perfect field goal. Here's step one.

Useless shit.

At the game, Coach Spitz tells the team to grab fruits and listen up. He says the Honkers have never scored a point against Bloatsburg. They're bigger, better and braver than the Honkers. But today, the Honkers have a new kicker and he has a golden toe. The kicker with the golden toe is just reading a book on the bench, so the coach's reveal of the secret weapon is underwhelming.

The Bloatsburg coach yells at them and reveals his secret weapon, as if he needs one against a team that's never scored a point against his team. His secret weapon is Percy Femur. Percy busts out of his trailer and scares the Honkers who thought he was still in reform school. The Bloatsburg coach (Barney) yells at Percy to tie his shoe. One of his shoes was untied.

Patti shows up just before the game starts and distracts Doug from his studying to say she's cheering for him. The Honkers won the toss and chose to receive first. Their receiver catches the ball and starts running until he just runs straight into Percy Femur. He made no attempt to dodge the middle school giant. The collision causes him to drop the ball as he falls down. Percy picks it up and runs it in for a touchdown. The Honkers are off to a great start.

To celebrate, Percy crushes the football. Coach Barney yells at him again about his shoelaces. As strong as he is, Percy apparently can't tie a tight knot on his shoelaces. It's a problem.

Coach Spitz rolls out a pretty badass touchscreen computer (extremely badass by 1994 standards) to show the team the next play. It's a shitty play that he explains poorly, and he quickly gives up saying, "Oh, who am I kidding? Chalky, get in there and make up your own play." This guy just sucks so thoroughly.

Chalky's play is quite amazing. He throws the ball to himself. Unfortunately, he just assumes that would be enough.

Not even looking where he's going, he runs straight into Percy. It doesn't matter though. They are now close enough for a field goal and Coach Spitz wants to take advantage of that golden toe! Doug points out that it's only first down and asks if they should run a few plays first, but Coach Spitz says that's just what they're expecting. If you were wondering why the Honkers have never scored against Bloatsburg, well...

Doug goes out there and kicks and again his shoe flies off. Percy isn't the only one with shoe problems. The shoe flies through the posts, but the ball falls far short. Mr. Bone (who for some reason is the referee) says that a shoe doesn't count. I'm surprised Coach Spitz doesn't argue with him about this, but he can only be so ignorant about the rules of the game, I suppose. Coach Spitz is just pissed and tells Doug to get off the field.

So now Doug is just totally benched and has to watch as Percy Femur single-handedly destroys the Honkers. Doug says he scored 35 points in the third quarter alone. He also points out that Coach Spitz is having a hard time keeping enough players on the field.

They're all getting injured by Percy. Towards the end of the game, Chalky points out that they're a man short, and before Coach Spitz goes over to Mr. Bone to forfeit, Doug volunteers to go in. Why bother? You should've forfeited once you realized it was an American football game, and not a game of badminton or whatever stupid thing you thought you were preparing for by crushing fruits and vegetables.

So Doug goes in there and Bloatburg throws the ball to Percy, of course. Doug grabs onto Percy and is dragged across most of the field. Doug notices Percy's shoelaces have again become untied and politely informs the simple giant. Percy promptly stops and drops the ball on the ground while he ties his shoes. Since this is technically a fumble, Doug picks up the ball and starts running the other way.

Unfortunately, absolutely no one is blocking for him, and he is quickly coming up against all the other Bloatsburg players. Before they tackle him, he laterals the ball to Chalky who runs it in for a touchdown. The Honkers have finally scored against Bloatsburg! They still lost 57-6, but that doesn't matter! They scored! Doug is the master of flukes! Doug and Chalky are carried off the field.

Coach Spitz needs to be fired. He's just terrible. Just a terribly incompetent coach.

Doug's not too crazy in this episode. Just stupid and lucky. I don't know why he thought he'd learn how to kick just by reading a book he didn't understand. His fantasy is quite interesting. It seems like he's more likely to have fantasies where everything goes wrong and everyone hates him for it when he has no reason to expect such an outcome. When finally faced with a situation where he has no chance of success, and everyone potentially hating him for it, he has delusions of grandeur...at least for that minute before Skeeter reminded him he sucks.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Episode 40, Part 1: Doug's Math Problem

This episode begins with a bit of brilliance from Roger.

This is how he's trying to cheat off Patti's math test. I don't know how he imagined this would work. It would be more subtle to pull out his textbook and he wouldn't have to read backwards. Ms. Wingo busts him (obviously) and he throws the mirror over his shoulder indiscriminately. It shatters off screen and luckily no one yells, so it apparently didn't hit or cut anyone. Anyway, how is Doug doing on this math test?

I used to draw stupid pictures when I didn't know the answers too, but it's pretty sad that he's only answered the first two problems with a train and a Patti. He looks around and narrates, "it seemed like everybody understood the problems except me." Then he fantasizes the standard train problem that every kid in every television show in history has had problems understanding. A train going one way at a certain speed and blah blah blah, you get the idea. For Doug's fantasy, he's riding on top of a passenger car.

At least Bart imagined he was comfortably inside the train. Doug doesn't know how to do the problem and the trains collide and the fantasy ends.

After school, Skeeter is throwing a football with Porkchop while Doug sits on the ground moaning about how he can't believe he failed a math test. Skeeter casually explains the extremely simple problem to him while running around, throwing and catching a football. Bluffington's future head astronaut is proving his worth and shaming Doug. Doug still doesn't get it. As Skeeter is explaining it, Doug's imagination drowns out Skeeter and floating numbers and equations float around his head.

Skeeter throws the ball and Porkchop crashes into the mailman trying to catch it. He picks up the mess of mail Porkchop caused and starts distributing.

Porkchop gets a ton of mail. The last piece of mail for Porkchop is in a pink envelope with paw prints and smells of perfume, which the mailman comments on in a teasing way. The whole scene is just weird. Why is the dog getting mail at all? The last one was clearly from another dog, and that just raises so many questions.

Getting to the human mail, the guy hands Doug bill after bill until he drops this bomb on him.

This immediately triggers a fantasy.

Theda pops up first saying, "we're being called in for a parent-teacher conference?" Then Phil pops up and says, "you flunked a math test?" Then they just go back and forth getting worse, more irrational, or in one case, just redundant.

"You're being suspended?"
"You're being set back 3 grades?"
"You're being expelled?"
"They're tearing up your permanent record!?"
"You flunked a math test!?"
"You're under arrest!?"

A train crashes through the abstract wall of Doug's parents, ending the fantasy. He doesn't even know what the notice is, and he's already escalated it to the idea that he's getting arrested. It's the beginning of a panic attack. He's at least correct in his assumption that the notice is about his math skills.

Now he just has to know what it says before he gives it to his parents. Why? What good will that do? He holds it up to the sun and for some reason that works perfectly, but only for the top half of the envelope.

Doug can't read anything but the first line. I love the impersonal "dear parents." Does this school seriously not have the names of the parents of every student? Of course, if I were in this situation I would take that impersonal greeting as a sign that this note was sent to everyone at school and start playing football with my best friend and my amazing dog. Not Doug. Skeeter has an idea. They go to Al and Moo.

Al and Moo promise to hack into the school's computers to find out what the letter is about. Doug asks them if this is against the rules and they assure him that it isn't. It's perfectly legal. As soon as they hit enter on their keyboard, an alarm goes off at the school, and a cold robotic female voice (you know the one that always accompanies this sort of thing) starts repeating "hackers have penetrated the school computer."

This middle school employs 3 IT guys to protect it from Al and Moo. There's just no way that anyone but Al and Moo have the knowledge and equipment to hack the school computers. Also, they're advertising themselves as hackers for the other students. They had a sign outside of their room, and Skeeter knew exactly where to go to get shit done.

Anyway, Al and Moo bail out and run off. Doug's next solution is a lot more straightforward. He decides to just cut it open. With scissors, he cuts off a corner of the envelope because he's nervous about screwing up. He tapes the corner back together and pulls out an x-acto knife. Instead of cutting open the envelope, he cuts open his finger.

So now the damn thing is taped up and covered in blood. Doug has a solution for the blood. He'll just cover it with liquid white. He grabs it by the top and spills it all over his desk. Reaching for tissues to clean that up, he knocks over some ink.

He's really starting to panic now.

He finally tries opening the envelope with steam.

I really don't get this. If he knew about this method all along, why did he try anything else? This works and the envelope opens, but I guess Doug just had to ruin it with tape and blood before this last ditch effort that definitely would've yielded better results much sooner. Oh but...

The ink is running. Too much steam. He just soaked it in steam. He turns to Porkchop and says, "we gotta dry it out!" Porkchop grabs the letter and jumps into brilliant action.

I can't see how this could go wrong. While this is going on, the phone rings and Doug answers it. It's Patti. Doug can't see, but she's holding an envelope that looks exactly like his. Before she says anything, Theda comes home and Doug really starts to panic. He hangs up the phone without even thinking about it. The letter starts smoking.

Patti is confused.

As the toaster catches fire, Doug tells Theda not to go into the kitchen because of a surprise. The phone rings and he answers it. It's Patti again. She wants to tell Doug one quick thing, but as Theda is walking into the kitchen, he just doesn't have the time for it. He hangs up on her again and runs to the kitchen but it's too late.

Porkchop has taken care of the toaster fire. Theda sees the tea kettle and thinks her surprise is tea! How nice! She pours a cup and notices the mail, with the letter (well done, Porkchop), is stacked neatly for her on the counter. She decides to take her tea and mail into her bedroom where she's going to take a nap. Doug decides to consult an expert on his next move. I mean...Doug has a Smash Adams fantasy.

After jumping out of a plane and landing on the Funnie's front yard, Smash Adams jumps through Theda's open window. He pulls out a bizarre gun and aims it at the mail.

The gun just shoots a suction cup that sticks to the mail, and since the suction cup is attached to a string, Smash Adams easily pulls the piece of mail out of the stack and makes his escape. After jumping out of the window, he says, "thanks mom," and he activates his rocket shoes.

Yes. This is exactly what Doug should do. He should over-complicate things to absurd degrees like always.

Before he can even get through his parents' door, Judy catches him and resolves to stop him. She's dressed in her karate outfit, so she's in a fighting mood. She called him Agent Dougie and herself Mistress Ninja. If dressed normally, she probably would've settled for simple blackmail, like a good Funnie. While Doug is dodging Judy's crazy, the phone starts to ring again. Doug answers and it's Patti. She's angry now. She just wants to tell Doug one thing and before she gets the chance, Judy kicks the phone out of Doug's hand.

The phone is ripped off the wall and Patti is disconnected again.

All the noise wakes up Theda and she finds them in the kitchen to tell them to be quiet so she can nap. Doug takes the opportunity and offers to get her mug. He's so sweet.

In his parents' bedroom, he ignores her stupid mug and grabs only the letter. He walks out into the hallway with a smug look on his face when Phil gets home. Phil sees Doug holding the letter and asks, "whatcha got there?" Doug has another Smash Adams fantasy.

Smash Adams is on top of a speeding train and he's surrounded by thugs. The train is going over a canyon. He has no hope of escape. The thugs demand the letter and Smash Adams does the smartest thing he can think to do.

Delicious. Smartly, Doug decides it would be better if he didn't eat the letter. He gives Phil the letter, telling him it's from school. Phil looks at it and says, "looks pretty banged up...

"...thanks a lot, postal service."

Doug confesses that he banged it up trying to open it to see what it said. He was afraid they might be mad at him because of what it might say. Phil grabs him by the shoulders and says, "we're your parents, son. You don't have to hide things from us." Theda adds, "we love you!"

They say that, but neither of them shows even the slightest bit of concern for the fact that Doug just can't open a simple envelope without bleeding all over it and burning it in the toaster (which he is totally prepared to blame on the dog).

Before Phil opens the letter, the doorbell rings and Patti starts screaming outside. She wants to come in. Doug opens the door and quickly apologizes to Patti because he forgot to call her back. Phil opens the envelope and pours the shredded remains of the letter into his hand. He asks, "Doug, are you having trouble in school?" When did the letter get shredded? Did Porkchop do that after putting out the fire? What the hell?

Doug says, "well," like he's about to explain his trouble with math, but Patti finally bursts with excitement about the letter her dad got, insensitively addressed "To The Parents of Patti Mayonnaise."

Ms. Wingo wants her to tutor Doug in math for a while. Theda is thrilled and invites Patti to stay for dinner.

"I don't know why I was so scared of that stupid letter. It's amazing how much pain I went through to avoid something painful that turned out to be pretty great."

Doug's anxiety increases throughout this entire episode until he finally just gives up. He's going through all these crazy schemes just to find out what the letter says before his parents. If he'd just let Theda read it when she got home, his worry would've ended a lot quicker. There's no reason he actually needs to read it first. Knowing what the letter says isn't going to stop his parents from finding out eventually. In this case, knowing would've calmed him down, but if it had been something serious it would've just allowed him to prolong his pain. Pretend the letter says Doug is failing math and he needs to be held back a grade. Doug isn't going to just hand over the letter. He'd probably take the letter with him when he ran away from home. He's run away from home based on rumors before. It's not hard to imagine he'd do it again based on real trouble from school.

But that doesn't matter. The letter just said that Doug sucks at Math and needs a tutor and Theda thinks that is great. I guess she's tired of not helping him with his homework. Now that Patti has to do it, she's off the hook. Well done, Theda. Go finish your nap.

Doug also finishes this episode with one last short fantasy. We see one of the trains from the first fantasy about the math problem. In the last car, staring out the back window, Doug and Patti stand and wave as the train speeds away and an iris-in takes the screen to black. It seems like a nice happy fantasy, but they are on a train that's destined to crash into another train....

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Episode 39; Part 2: Doug's Magic Act

This episode begins with Doug performing magic tricks for Patti. No one else was invited, or they all hate magic. Patti loves it though. Doug finishes a trick and she claps and calls it great.

Then she takes a quick glance at her watch.

Doug does another trick and receives less enthusiastic clapping and no verbal response from Patti. He does another trick and all she does is look at her watch and say she really needs to go. She has beetball practice. Doug says that's no problem. He just wants to do the grande finale. He says he needs a volunteer from the audience. Patti looks around the room and says, "you mean me?"

Reluctantly, she plays along. She raises her hand like a volunteer at a magic show and Doug calls for "the lovely young lady in the front row." She steps up and tries to tell him to hurry it up so she can leave, but he just ignores her and asks for her name. As she's saying, "Patti," he cuffs her hand to his. She's a little shocked by this and he tells her not to worry. Then he pulls out the key and throws it into the vent.

Patti asks, "why did you do that? Are you crazy?" The short answer is yes, Patti. He is. Oh, but that's just part of the act. It's really not a magic trick if you just handcuff yourself to someone and pull out the key and unlock the cuffs. That's not a trick, Patti. Don't be stupid.

Doug takes the "magic scarf of Califonzo" and putts it over the cuffs and says the magic words "veni vidi vici." When he removes the scarf, they are still cuffed together. Doug apparently does not know how to do this trick, or he believes it really is just magic. It's not a slight of hand trick. "Veni vidi vici" just isn't the right magic phrase or something.

Doug explains to us how he got into this whole magic business. It started when he was watching some Penn and Teller wannabes on tv. He says he invented a few tricks of his own after he studied their routines. His first trick was the "Rubber Snake in the Clothes Dryer."

A brilliant piece of magic. Where do you go from there? Doug made it more sophisticated and renamed the trick "Snake in your Sister's Bed." So really, he just doesn't get magic at all. He's very pleased with himself but admits they weren't real magic tricks. He finally goes to a magic shop.

He tells the guy he's performing a show for his friend and he really wants to impress her. The guy says he knows just the thing and pulls out the Houdini Mystery Cuffs. Doug says the cuffs are very ordinary and the guys tells him they have a very special surprise finish built in, if you work them right. He whispers the trick to Doug, and Doug immediately fantasizes about how this will play out.

It's pretty much just like it was before, with the scarf and the "veni vidi vici" except the trick works.

The surprise finish is flowers. Fantasy Patti is so impressed she kisses him on the cheek. Unfortunately, in reality Doug did the trick wrong, so now he's digging in the vent for the key while Patti gets increasingly annoyed.

Doug is trying to apologize and explain what was supposed to happen when he finds something.

It's just his Bluffscout pocket knife. How much shit does Doug drop in this vent? Kids, eh?

Doug finally gets the key ring around the end of one of his fingers, but he stirs up a lot of dust in the process. The dust makes him sneeze and the sneeze makes him drop the key farther down the vent.

Patti is unamused. Doug says he has an idea. He gets a magnet and starts lowering it down with some rope. Why didn't he use the magnet to begin with? He could barely reach the key, and then only barely managed to get it on the tip of his finger.

Anyway, Doug lowers the magnet all the way and hits Porkchop in the basement.

Yeah. Doug says he thinks he has something. He starts pulling but it gets stuck. He pulls harder, several times.

Apparently Porkchop's collar is magnetic. I don't know why. Eventually the rope breaks and Porkchop falls with the magnet into a laundry basket where he goes back to sleep. Since he can't get the key, Doug has another idea.

Patti suggests they just walk over to the magic shop to ask the guy for help. Doug doesn't want to go outside like this. She says he could just explain he doesn't know how they work and he tells her he does know. They've worked hundreds of times before. They're just stuck. His brilliant solution now is suntan lotion.

Only a kid would think this would help. They pull and nothing happens. Patti suggests they just cut them off and Doug glares at her. They cost seven allowances. He's not just going to cut them.

His next idea is bobby pins. This should've been his first idea after he couldn't get the key, but he's Doug Funnie and suntan lotion is a great way to unlock something.

And why are you unlocking your cuff, sir? She's the one that has somewhere to be, and a gentleman would free a lady first anyway. It doesn't work anyway, but still.

Doug finally agrees to go to the magic shop if they can get there without people noticing they're handcuffed to each other. Doug's idea works too well.

They're just carrying some recyclables to wherever Bluffington citizens carry their recyclables. They tell Mr. Dink their cover story and Al and Moo overhear them. They ask Doug and Patti if they wouldn't mind taking these old computer and automotive parts for them.

Or you could come with, you lazy assholes. Their parts make the box a lot heavier. As Al and Moo are loading up their garbage, Doug goes into a fantasy montage of clips from previous episodes while he talks about how the only thing he's dreamed about since he moved to Bluffington was to be near Patti. The fantasy ends when he says that his dream is turning into a nightmare.

Patti asks if they can put down the box because she's starting to lose feeling in her pitching arm. Doug says it's just one more block away and she says, "well, I hope. It's already 5 minutes after 5:00." Doug starts to panic and they run the rest of the way to find that the store is already closed.

Patti angrily points out that they would've been there before the store closed if they had just left the first time she asked to go to the magic shop. But no, Doug had to try the magnet, the bobby pins, and the suntan lotion! Doug says she's twisting the logic (HA!) and then she gets madder. She says he was only thinking of himself. She sits down saying she's not talking to him anymore. He points out that the store is closed until Monday, so they're just supposed to sit there for two days not speaking to each other?


So finally, he says he was actually just thinking of her. "You're all I ever think about, Patti. That's why I bought this trick. To show you. That's why I saved up seven allowances. If I had any idea it was gonna turn out like this, I wouldn't've even tried it. I guess I only wanted you to...you know, like me or something. And now well, I feel so completely stupid, I almost wish I never moved here in the first place." Damn! Finally! And all it took was getting her so mad at you she didn't want to talk to you anymore.

She apologizes for getting "so weird about practice." She says she was just frustrated. She's glad he did move here and admits that of all her friends, she likes hanging out with him the most. They finally hold hands.

And that's the trick, actually. Somehow, the act of them holding hands makes the handcuffs fall off.

Doug says, "well, I guess this means you can go to your practice now. You'll only be a few minutes late." Really? You don't want to take this opportunity to set up a date later, or tomorrow night or something? Patti does. She starts to walk away, but then doesn't. She decides to skip practice and Doug runs back and asks if she wants to go to the Honkerburger. Yes, she does. This seems too unreal.

Doug picks up the handcuffs saying, "so much for the big finish."

"Big finish?"



Amazing. At what point did Doug just slip into a fantasy here? I can only assume it was between Patti being angry with him for missing practice and Patti skipping practice to hang out with him. Did he actually, finally tell her how much he likes her or was that just part of the fantasy ending he slapped onto this story to make himself feel better?

Where did he get the idea to impress her with magic anyway? She only shows any sort of enthusiasm after the first trick he does, but immediately looks at her watch. Then she shows less enthusiasm while she waits as long as possible for an opportunity to get away. Doug just saved seven allowances to impress her with something she doesn't have time for.