Sunday, January 8, 2012

Episode 43: Doug's Halloween Adventure

Skeeter begins this episode with a story. A scary story.

It's about Baron von Hecklehoffer. The Baron fell in love with a beautiful maiden. To win her love he built a mansion for her.

According to Skeeter, it took him 17 years to build this mansion. Luckily the woman didn't die or get ugly in that time. After their wedding, the Baron picked her up to carry her across the threshold. It was the first time either of them would enter the mansion. Both of them fell to their deaths right through the doorway. The Baron forgot to put in a floor. Quite a thing to overlook for 17 years.

So that's how Bloodstone Manor was cursed. After years of abandonment, some hooded guy no one has ever seen purchased the mansion and made a ride out of it at Funky Town. I'm guessing this story came from a commercial that Skeeter mistook for a documentary. Doug is terrified. Skeeter is excited. They're going to the grand opening of the new ride tonight.

Later Doug tells us that Halloween used to be his favorite holiday, but this year is different because Skeeter is making him go to Funky Town. While putting on his costume, Doug says he's hoping he won't be too scared because he's going as Race Canyon. How could he be scared of anything like a silly haunted house while dressed as the great Race Canyon? Naturally there's a fantasy involved with this.

Race Canyon is climbing a mountain to get to Bloodstone Manor. He's climbing up the rocky side in spite of the fact that there is a clear path that leads to the front door. Halfway up, some gargoyles attack him. He uses his whip to slam one into the other before he continues his climb. At the top of the mountain, the house transforms into a giant ghoul.

Race is terrified. Before he can do anything, Doug (dressed as Race Canyon) wraps a whip around the ghoul's neck, makes a pun, and pulls the monster off the mountain. Race Canyon thanks him and compliments his clothes.

After the fantasy, Doug goes downstairs to leave, but Judy sees him and has to mock him. She asks if he's dressed up to go "twick-or-tweating," because people only put on costumes because they are still kids that go trick-or-treating. He informs her that he's actually going to Bloodstone Manor. She's a little shocked, saying she's heard it's terrifying. Since tonight is the grand opening and she's sitting at home alone watching tv, you have to wonder who told her anything at all about Bloodstone Manor. Right after Doug tells her it's just a ride and asks how scary it could be, a commercial for the ride comes on the tv. The ghoul from the Race Canyon fantasy narrates it. The commercial sucks, but it's nice to see a basis for the giant ghoul in Doug's earlier fantasy. He's probably been seeing these commercials throughout October. Still, there's nothing in the ad that's particularly scary, yet it scares Doug out of his "pfft, it's just a ride" attitude. He returns to the Race Canyon fantasy.

This time the ghoul yells at Race and Doug and they both fall backwards. Race grabs onto the edge of the cliff while Doug just falls to his death.

Skeeter answers his door to find Doug holding two bags and asking to go trick-or-treating.

Seriously? Commercials are supposed to make you want to do something. Well done, Funky Town. Skeeter is disappointed. He says there's going to be huge lines for the ride if they don't get there early. Skeeter asks if they're too old for trick-or-treating. Doug says you're never too old for free candy. Can't argue with that. The trick-or-treating gets embarrassing when they mistakenly go to Connie's house.

Doug says they're doing it for Dale and they quickly leave. What's going to be worse is the next time they see Connie, she'll have realized they embarrassed themselves because they didn't realize it was her house. She'll have had time to wonder why they don't know where she lives, if they are indeed her friends. Everyone still knows where Patti used to live, but where does Connie live? She'll cry herself to sleep tonight.

Anyway, Skeeter notices it's 8:00, which means they've only got 2 hours before Funky Town closes. Doug wonders how much longer he could stall and notes that they've already been around the neighborhood twice. Pathetic.

Next, Roger tries to scare them with the headless routine.

He repeats "who chopped off my head" a few times while Doug and Skeeter grin and stare. Doug says, "hey, Roger." Roger turns around and says, "I told ya we'd scare the pants off 'em." His friends laugh and come out of hiding. Roger then mocks their costumes. He asks if they are a hobo and a bathtub. Skeeter points out that he's a spaceship from the Spacemunks video game, and Doug is Race Canyon. Roger has a good laugh at this and calls Doug "Race Chicken." His goons decide to test Doug's bravery by daring him to be the first person to roll Mr. Bone's house in toilet paper. Doug says they can't do that, and they all make chicken noises and dance around pretending to be chickens.

After they leave Roger, they spot a Funky Town shuttle and start running for it. While running, Doug wonders, "how was I going to cross the Threshold of Death when I didn't even have the nerve to t.p. a house?" What a shitty question. You're right, Doug. Just go home and think about what you haven't done.

They catch up to the shuttle and Doug refuses to get on. He apologizes to Skeeter as the shuttle speeds away, causing a wind that carries Doug's Race Canyon hat with it. Doug accepts this because his cowardice proves he's no Race Canyon anyway. Skeeter says they can just go some other time. And then Patti and her dad pull up in their van.

She tells them she's going to a costume party at someone's house and correctly guesses their obvious costumes. Patti says he'd be the spitting image of Race Canyon if he was a little taller. This renews Doug's confidence, and potentially turned him into a furry. It made him revisit the Race Canyon fantasy as well.

Except there is no Race Canyon this time. It's just Doug and Patti. Doug kicks the doors in, walks inside and says, "beat it." The ghosts and monsters leave the house as fast as they can.

Doug's confidence terrifies them.

After the fantasy, Doug confidently asks Patti for a ride. Doug and Skeeter get in the van without waiting for an answer. Of course she's not late to her party, and no, her dad doesn't have anything better to do!

Dropping them off, Patti says she'd never go on the ride after what happened to those two guys. And Doug's confidence melts away as Mr. Mayonnaise explains that two guys disappeared while they were testing the ride. Two guys went on the ride and all that came out was their shoes. Who told them this story? Skeeter. He says it's just rumors, "like that stuff about the maniac." According to Skeeter, people say the hooded guy still lives in the mansion.

At 8:30, Doug and Skeeter finally get in line for Bloodstone Manor. The line is really, really long. At 9:45, they are finally at the front.

Roger skips everyone to join them. Unfortunately, some douche tells them the park is now closing. Skeeter protests, pointing out they still have 15 minutes, and the guy tells them to go to the gift shop before he closes the doors. The entire line disperses immediately leaving Doug, Skeeter and Roger. The doors to Bloodstone Manor open up for no apparent reason and Roger taunts them to sneak in.

Inside, the ghoul appears in a framed painting, welcomes them and says he has a special treat for trespassers. He says, "as you can see, there's no way out of this room, except straight down!" They see the huge pit with spike-covered walls and start to panic. The front wall, the one with the doors (aka a way out of the room the ghoul seems to have forgotten), starts to move toward them. It's pushing them into the pit. Doug is the first person to take the plunge.

Of course the pit just has a hard clear surface covering it. A hidden doorway on the other side of the room opens and the ghoul, standing in the doorway, tells them there's no turning back now. They just walk across. Roger is terrified and runs across after them.

They find a dining room and the ghoul greets them from a painting again. It's like he's supposed to be a moving painting, but shit like this happens regularly.

A moving painting not bound by the confines of the frame.

The ghoul tells them it's dinner time and instructs them to sit down. He has prepared a small salad for them.

The arms on the chairs grab them and the floor beneath them opens up. They are dropped onto slides.

The slides drop them into a coffin-shaped roller-coaster car. Finally, they have reached the part of this whole thing that is actually a fucking ride.

It's also a lawsuit waiting to shut this whole place down, but we'll let the kid with the broken leg or the fat guy that got stuck deal with that.

The ride starts and Doug and Skeeter are having a lot of fun. Roger is apparently terrified. There are projected ghosts and monsters everywhere. A giant yellow moon laughs at them maniacally. Suddenly, the ride stops and more lights come on.

Skeeter notices it's 10:00. The park is closed. Roger starts to panic. Doug and Skeeter get up to find a way out and tell Roger they'll find someone to get the ride going again.

Outside, Skeeter sees a phone and tries to use it to call someone to help get Roger out of the ride. It's not actually a phone though. It's just the controls of the ride. While trying to figure out how to dial, Skeeter accidentally activates the ride. A huge projection of the ghoul appears above them to tell them they will not be so lucky next time. They run over to a coffin-car and find Roger's shoes. Then they hear Roger yell, "help me, somebody!" They are about to run away when they hear a scream. Doug says they have to go back to find Roger. Finding an employee would've been a better idea, but whatever.

They find their way back to where the ride stopped and Roger is nowhere to be seen. Wandering around, Doug almost falls into a hole. He wonders if Roger might have fallen in and Skeeter looks down and says, "it could be miles." Skeeter is so smart. Nothing gets by him. Not to be outdone, Doug remembers the pit at the entrance and how it was just a trick. And though there's absolutely no reason for him to prove this, he walks right out over the hole...

...which is actually just a very deep hole. Skeeter grabs his hand, but this just causes both of them to fall. They fall into a room full of props and controls for the ride. Why is there a deep hole leading to this room? Why not? What are you, a lawyer?

In the room, they find a big sarcophagus which Doug promptly opens to find the ghoul. Believing it to be fake, Doug scoffs and says, "they sure make these things look real." Then it grabs him on the shoulder.

The ghoul asks them what they are doing here. After Doug says they were looking for their friend, the ghoul says he's not here and tells them to leave. As Skeeter is dragging Doug away, Roger says, "come on! This way!" They go by a mirror and Doug hallucinates a little.

Not wanting to be a chicken, Doug starts to change his mind. His reflection morphs from a chicken into a 10 foot tall Race Canyon. Doug marches up to the ghoul and says they aren't leaving without Roger. The ghoul leads them to the security room. On one of the monitors, Roger is outside telling his goons to be ready to cream Doug and Skeeter with eggs when they come out. Doug asks how Roger got outside and the ghoul rewinds the tape. It shows Roger sitting in the coffin car laughing about the fact that they think he's a chicken. He takes off his shoes and leaves them in the car. The tape also shows him outside, laughing at them when they find his shoes. They are pissed. The ghoul laughs at their plight, but he has a plan to help them.

Outside, Roger's goons are freezing and tired of waiting for Doug and Skeeter. But suddenly, there they are.

They're enormous ghosts, but it's definitely them. A shot inside shows the ghoul playing camera man while Doug and Skeeter hang in robes and play their part. This park is amazing. How are they projecting shit like this? Roger and the goons start to run away but Doug stops them.

He accuses them of being chicken. They start clucking to agree with Doug. They don't want to be haunted by Doug forever. What misery that would be. Roger says he'll do anything to avoid such a fate, so Doug says, "it was rotten of you to t.p. all those houses." Whimpering and cowering in fear, Roger and the goons agree to clean up all the houses. The ghoul has one more thing for Roger too. He appears between Doug and Skeeter and yells, "next time, you might not be so lucky!" They laugh and laugh and laugh.

So that's that. The ghoul walks them to the exit. He gives Doug his Race Canyon hat, which causes Doug to finally question the guy. How did he get the hat? Who is he?

The ghoul turns to them and says, "just call me Baron von Hecklehoffer!" He starts spinning so fast that he basically becomes a tiny, black tornado.

The tornado flies away and the ghoul is gone. Doug suggests they just go home and they slowly walk out of the park. Once outside, they run as fast as they can. Because obviously, what the fuck?

This episode is Scooby Doo by a crazy person. In Scooby Doo, there's always a logical explanation for the monster and his crazy effects, even if there's no logical explanation for the presence Batman and the Harlem Globetrotters. Or the talking dog. But Doug doesn't even bring Porkchop into this one, and he communicates at least as well as, if not better than Scooby. Anyway, since we have a narrator that has trouble distinguishing reality from fantasy, we have this story where Doug and Skeeter are helped by an apparent ghost. If we heard the story from someone else, preferably someone smarter and more reliable than Skeeter, it would be boring, but the ghoul would be a tired security guard and the massive projections of Doug and Skeeter would be the two of them fighting over the microphone for the park's speaker system. Doug doesn't have logical explanations for the impossible, because nothing is impossible when you look at yourself in the mirror and see a chicken.

1 comment:

  1. Why do I get the feeling that whole Roger plot was tossed in at the last minute for the sake of a little conflict? That whole "plot twist" at the end just seemed so sloppily handled, even to my 13 year old mind when first seeing this episode (yeah, I was still actively watching Nick at age 13 - sad, I know...).

    It's nice that, for once, the writers realized that kids DO have lives outside the latest fad/attraction (unlike, for example, every kid in his sixth grade class having the time and incentive to build and race in a soapbox car). Hence, Connie staying at home on Halloween and Patti going to a costume party.


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