Sunday, May 27, 2012

Episode 51, Part 2: Doug Way Out West

This episode begins with a very angry horse cornering Doug. What the hell is going on?

What did Doug do to piss off this horse? As with a lot of Doug's trouble, this one began with Patti. She has a flyer for a dude ranch right outside of town and she's asking everyone to go out there with her on Saturday. Her dad will drive them.

Patti's invitation immediately reminds Doug of his family's annual summer trips to his Uncle Happy's farm where he was allowed to ride their pony Tornado. Tornado is a pretty badass name for a small, pink pony.

You decide which part of this picture is the cutest. Doug says he loved that pony and his parents would sometimes let him sleep outside with the pony, presumably on the nights when they wanted to have undisturbed sex.

So after the memory-fantasy, Doug tells Skeeter he can't wait to get out there. Roger hears him and begins his taunting.

After saying they wouldn't know which end is the front, Roger asks Skeeter if he's ever even seen a horse, except for when he looks in the mirror. Doug quickly shuts him up with some pony jargon and restrains from calling him out on his vitamin deficiency.

After Roger stomps off, people start asking about his experience and he tells them he used to ride Tornado all the time. Everyone quickly jumps on the "Doug was a real cowboy" bandwagon and Doug is immediately in over his head in lies. At first he seems a little anxious about it, but he quickly accepts this new popularity.

So now he's adopted a southern accent and he's making up stories about Tornado. Everyone follows him around all day, listening to stories about rattlesnakes, and the death of Tornado, which is of course why Doug doesn't ride anymore. I hope that story is actually true. I hope that his uncle actually had to put Tornado down, and now he just doesn't want to ride anymore. His stories have impressed everyone, especially Patti. He says even he started believing himself, and that's when we get one of the best fantasies ever. It's Durango Doug.

Durango Doug breaks off a piece of a cactus to comb his hair and brush his teeth. Durango Doug uses a rattlesnake as a belt. The whole fantasy has a great song about how badass Durango Doug is and I wish it was 2 hours long.

So finally the big day has come and Doug has built himself up so much he's sure to make an ass of himself.

Done. Doug is in full fantasy mode right now. The dude ranch dude apparently had them fill out a form detailing their riding expertise. Most people put beginner. Beebe put intermediate. Patti put advanced. Skeeter asks what Doug put down, "expert? Super-expert?" Doug pauses and replies, "other." Everyone replies with "wow" in unison.

The guy starts introducing everyone to the horses they'll be riding. Patti gets Buttercup. Roger is excited when he hears he'll be riding Lightning, but is disappointed when it turns out to be an ass.

Who wouldn't be pissed here? Presumably Roger paid to ride a horse. He should not be charged horse prices if he's riding a donkey. That's a total rip-off. If I was Roger, I'd definitely report Buck's Dude Ranch to the Better Business Bureau.

Anyway, Al and Moo get introduced to their twin horses Romulus and Remus, and finally the rancher gets to Doug. Doug will be riding Sugar. Sugar is the black horse from the beginning that was chasing Doug. Doug's tough cowboy persona fades away immediately at the sight of the horse, and he has another Durango Doug fantasy. This time Durango Doug is a coward.

He jumps at every sound and the song is about what a coward he is and I still want it to be 2 hours long.

After the fantasy, Sugar is jumping around uncontrollably and Doug asks if maybe he's a little wild. The guy says Sugar's a sweetheart if you know how to handle him, and a rider of Doug's expertise should have no problem. Doug asks why he's named Sugar, and the guy pulls out a sugar cube and the stupid horse stops acting crazy long enough to eat it and make a cute face. The guy gives Doug another sugar cube and leaves to help the others. Patti butts in to say that Sugar looks fun.

Doug says Sugar is a killer. He realizes he's showing a bit and tries to break back into his cowboy character to say the horse looks a little rough. A badass wouldn't say a horse was a killer. Patti calls Sugar a big sweetie and walks back over to Buttercup. Doug thinks that he can't back down now. "That horse would probably murder me, but I couldn't let Patti see me chicken out." This is crazy reasoning. Didn't Doug watch the Back to the Future movies?

Patti asks him if he's coming but he tells them to go ahead. He's going to head out alone on Sugar.

Skeeter's horse matches his skin color. Al and Moo's horses match their skin color. Roger is riding a jackass. Doug sees things how he wants to see them.

Doug finally feeds the sugar cube to Sugar and climbs on his back. He starts to tell the horse to take it nice and easy, but with the horse being a horse, it doesn't understand English and starts running at top speed. Meanwhile Roger is finally the first person to say something about all of Doug's talk. As Patti starts defending him, he jumps Sugar over a fence and rides past them, leaving them in a trail of dust.

It's all an accident of course. As with most, or all, instances of horseback riding in comedic television shows or movies, there is unfortunately a low hanging tree branch sticking out into the well worn trail. What's wrong with these ranchers? They know how to take care of horses, but cutting a dangerous branch out of the way on your main trail is just too complicated. Anyway Doug hits the branch and Sugar runs away. Doug hides in the bushes while the other kids slowly trot by, easily ducking under the branch, or in Roger's case, slightly nodding under the branch.

Doug determines to get back to the ranch before everyone else so they don't find out he's a shitty rider. He finally finds Sugar, eating garbage from the most curiously placed dumpster ever.

Doug starts pulling on the reins but the horse won't budge. The garbage is too delicious. Doug shuts the dumpster but that only serves to piss off Sugar. Doug relents and opens it again. He then determines to drag the dumpster back to the ranch.

It would probably be easier to pull out whatever Sugar is eating and leading him with that instead of the entire dumpster, but what do I know? I hate horses.

While Doug is pulling the dumpster, Patti wanders by. Doug hides in the dumpster for some reason. Doug's absense makes Patti worry.

If Doug isn't on his horse, he must be hurt. She starts yelling out for him. The best thing she says is, "are you conscious?" A perfectly logical question. She shouts down into the gorge, hoping Doug didn't fall. Finally he reveals himself.

He also tells her the whole truth. He only ever rode a little pony and everything else was made up. Naturally she's pissed. She points out that he could hurt himself riding a horse like Sugar when he doesn't know how. He apologizes and starts to walk back, but she says she's not done with him yet. She's climbed onto Sugar and demands that he get on behind her.

He climbs up and is happy to hold onto her waist while she explains the basics of horseback riding to him. They ride off to meet with the group and we never get to hear what Roger has to say about Doug's bullshit.

Doug is quite crazy in this episode. His friends buy his exaggerated bullshit until he starts living out his fantasy as Durango Doug. He changes his whole demeanor and adopts an accent to live out this fantasy. He puts himself in danger to live out this fantasy. It's one of the most dangerous things his delusions have made him do.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Episode 51, Part 1: Doug Throws a Party

Big things are happening at the Funnie house. They've added spotlights and two massive signs that say, "Doug's." There's also a red carpet with a bunch of screaming people excited for Doug's first party.

Of course, this is all just a fantasy. Doug says he knows exactly how he wants his first party to go. In the fantasy, there's a woman with a microphone on the red carpet doing typical red carpet bullshit. When Patti arrives, she signs autographs before the microphone woman starts asking her questions. She asks Patti about her "on-again-off-again courtship" with "Dougie D." She asks if tonight might be the night we'll see something definite. Patti says she hopes so. The fantasy ends and what we've learned is that Doug secretly wants to be called Dougie D. Here he is putting the final touches of his outfit for the party.

Nice. He starts walking downstairs, excited and thinking about how this party is going to be the coolest, hippest party ever. His parents have other plans.

They apparently don't even know how old their son is. I don't know how this happened. Did Doug just ask for a party and they said sure and offered to take care of everything and so Doug just assumed they wouldn't assume he was still 6 and they'd just decorate the house a little and make themselves scarce? How did it get to the day of the party before Doug noticed his parents were going to be shitheads about this? Doug is a little horrified at first, but apparently makes no effort to stop them. Everything is decorated with Uncle Grunty crap, mostly just balloons and tablecloths.

Once everyone has arrived, the party bores them. They're all sitting around sighing and saying nothing. Phil is walking around a group of them singing "the cheese stands alone," because he's not a professional clown, so he doesn't know what clowns actually do. He just knows they're creepy and no one really likes them. Theda is helping other kids play pin the tail on the donkey in the driveway. She's doing a really shitty job though, because one blindfolded kid is wandering around inside. That kid sucks though too (obviously) so I'm not going to completely blame her for that.

Inside, Doug asks Skeeter to help him save the party. Skeeter offers to play the new Beets cd he just bought. It's convenient that he brought it with him, but puzzling as to why he didn't ask to play it before. Doug says he's just glad Patti couldn't make it right before the doorbell rings. It's Patti and Connie. Connie is wearing a ridiculous hat to cover up a bad haircut and Patti is here because her practice was cancelled. For some reason, Doug unenthusiastically offers them shitty party hats to wear. No one else is wearing the hats. The hats are part of this shitty party his parents are throwing for some 6 year old kid and there's no reason he should let that get in the way of the party he's throwing. Finally Skeeter puts on the cd.

Unfortunately it's the wrong cd. The song starts and it's clearly a small child's cd, not the new Beets. The song is that "this is the way we ___________" standard, and it's about how to properly blow your nose. Skeeter is embarrassed and says his brother must be messing with his cds. He probably should have noticed this at some point before he put the cd in the player, but he just doesn't pay attention to detail sometimes. Roger starts to mock Doug's party and suggests they play Truth or Dare.

Connie says she's not allowed to play Truth or Dare. Everyone that wants to play goes down to the basement. Roger makes them draw straws and tells everyone the rules. Hopefully someone gets to dare Roger to take some vitamin D for the rest of his life so his rickets doesn't get worse.

Willie gets the shortest straw so he gets to ask someone truth or dare first. He picks Larry and Larry picks truth. He asks if Larry has ever watched a film strip in the A/V room without permission. Roger gets pissed and says the game is no good if you play it like a bunch of preschoolers. He tells Willie to ask Larry who he has a crush on. Larry looks around the room, which makes all the girls nervous, and then says Beebe. Beebe screams and Larry passes out. Roger wakes him up with punch and tells him it's his turn. He picks Skeeter and Skeeter picks dare. He dares Skeeter to stand on his head in front of everyone. Everyone is disappointed by how boring that is and Roger makes Larry add that Skeeter has to do it in his underwear.

Only Roger and Willie are amused, and they are perhaps too amused. Skeeter asks Patti truth or dare and Doug has a ridiculous fantasy.

Roger is the host of this Blind Date type of show and he just asks Patti to tell the truth about how their first date went. She's pissed because he took her to a terrible movie, tried to hold her hand, and wanted to kiss her and it made her want to puke. After this fantasy, Patti picks dare. Skeeter says, "I dare you to..." and Roger adds "kiss." Doug has another fantasy. In this nightmare, Skeeter dares her to kiss Doug on the lips and Patti is horrified.

She runs from the basement screaming. After the fantasy, Skeeter dares her to kiss Porkchop.

Patti kisses Porkchop and Roger calls the dare lame. Patti picks Roger and Roger picks dare. She dares him to say something nice about Doug. Willie thinks this is the funniest dare ever. Roger has the hardest time saying something nice about Doug. It takes a few tries but he finally says, "Funnie's a really nice guy." It almost kills him.

So now it's Roger's turn and of course he picks Doug. Doug doesn't know if he should pick truth or dare. He has a fantasy about truth.

Dr. Klotz has Doug strapped down and a magical truth ray pointed at him. When he turns it on, Doug starts involuntarily blabbing on and on about how much he loves Patti. It's really creepy and includes "I love every blade of grass she ever walked on." Everyone is laughing but Patti begs Dr. Klotz to stop it. It's just so unbearable. After this fantasy, there's another fantasy where Doug picks dare and is dared to kiss Patti.

She's not horrified or anything. They are teleported to the beach.

This convinces Doug he needs to pick dare. Roger dares him to go upstairs to take Connie's stupid hat so everyone can see her new haircut. Doug is hesitant, but everyone goes upstairs to see the big reveal.

He walks over to Connie and can't do it. He goes back to Roger and says he won't do it. Roger calls him a baby, but Patti says it was the most grown-up thing anyone has done all night.

Success. Patti said it was sweet not to do it, and Connie asks, "sweet not to do what?" Roger says, "this," and yanks her stupid hat off. He's the only one laughing, and that stops when Connie punches him in the stomach.

Well done. She takes her hat back and asks everyone what they're staring at. She shouts, "let's party," everyone laughs, and everyone parties.

Doug and Patti are dancing together and it's pretty amusing. Connie put her hat back on, which is more embarrassing than the haircut, so I don't know what she's thinking. She could pull off much better hats. Those hats are for douchebags, and should not be worn unless you want to be embarrassed, not to avoid being embarrassed. Roger is outside nursing his stomach on the front porch.

Doug is only mildly crazy here. His fantasies are just weird. In a game of truth or dare, why does he imagine the truth is played out on a tv show, or through the use of some machine that makes you tell the truth? He has two fantasies where a dare is made that would result in him kissing Patti. When she is dared to kiss him, she's horrified and runs screaming from the room. When he is dared to kiss her, she is accepting and they end up on a deserted beach. There's something weird about that, but I'm not sure what. And to Doug, the truth is always horrible. Patti will either have to tell the truth about how much she hates Doug, or Doug will have to tell the truth about how much he loves her, which will result in her hating him. This is a problem he will struggle with for a long time, and it will contribute greatly to his anxiety disorder.

Finally, look at this picture the Funnie family has on the wall above the stairs.

Just...look at it.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Episode 50, Part 2: Doug's Sister Act

This episode begins at the Moody School for the Gifted. Judy is hanging out with her boyfriend and a few other friends while she waits for her ride home. Her boyfriend is blabbing on and on about his mom's neo-expressionist exhibit and his dad's grunge opera when Theda drives her weird bubble car up and honks the horn. Doug and Porkchop are sitting up front and they look like they've been playing with Patti's Pulverizers. Judy quickly says goodbye to everyone and tries to get her mom to drive away before any embarrassment occurs, but her boyfriend won't have it. He follows her to the car and introduces himself to Doug and Theda as Kyle.

I guess he did this because he's a nice guy that isn't going to think less of Judy if her family is a bit square. What a dick.

So anyway, Theda invites him to dinner and Judy screams that she's never going to speak to her again. Doug just wants to know what's for dinner. At home, he's occupying his time with an awesome dinosaur puzzle in a futile effort to stay out of the ongoing argument between Theda and Judy, because "I am never speaking to you again" actually means "let's say more words to each other than we've said all year."

Pretty awesome puzzle though, Doug. Unfortunately, right after he glues the head on, Judy barges into his room and slams the door, causing the puzzle to fall to pieces. He should have used better glue. She rants at him for a minute and then asks for a little backup. He says he won't take sides, but she points out that Kyle is the coolest guy she's ever known and their mom just invited him to dinner with the most "dull, pedestrian, bourgeois, bologna-and-mayonnaise-eating family." He says they aren't that bad, but she reminds him about what happened with her last boyfriend.

In a flashback, we see the Funnie family eating dinner quietly with some goober-looking chump with a mullet. No one says anything for a while, and then Phil asks the mullet if he'd like some gravy. The mullet faceplants into the yellow mush they're having for dinner.

Doug concedes that dinner isn't always exciting, but points out everyone's family is like that. Judy says, "if only mom and dad were painters, or nuclear scientists, or hunchbacks." How would they be more interesting if they were hunchbacks, exactly?

"So, I see you are hunchbacks. How'd that happen?"
"Born this way."
"Ah, yes. Of course. That must be difficult."
"Eh, not really."
"How'd you two meet?"
"Hunchback convention."

And then what? Yeah, Judy...think through your suggestions next time. Doug is disgusted by her attitude and says, "it's like you want them to be characters in one of your stupid plays." And that's how Judy gets the shittiest idea anyone in the Funnie family has had all week.

While Phil and Theda are preparing dinner, Judy interrupts with costumes and scripts. Phil is playing a renowned poet, novelist and playwright living in seclusion after a life of piracy on the high seas. Theda is a groundbreaking anthropologist just back from a year in the jungle studying the potato worshipers of Maguano.

At the door, some of Judy's friends have brought some stage sets from the school to make the house look more interesting. Theda objects to the whole thing but Judy points out that she's the one that got her into this mess and now she has to get her out. Seems fair.

While the nameless friends are busy putting up the sets and lights, Judy has to deal with directing a couple of amateurs. Phil asks her what his motivation is and she says he's frustrated from writer's block because of the stifling boredom of small town life. She tells him to try smashing things.

They start rehearsing and the whole thing is just dreadful. Phil's dialogue is pretentious nonsense splattered with piracy references, and Theda's dialogue blatantly reflects the anthropologist back-story. I understand she only had a few hours to throw this whole thing together, but why did she even write dialogue if it was all going to be so full of clunky exposition. Tell them who they are supposed to be and maybe give them a few notes.

While they are rehearsing, Doug has a weird moment. The set designers take away the couch he was sitting on, so he leans up against a ladder.

Then they take away the ladder too and...

Good work, Doug. Practicing slapstick is the best possible way to prepare for the big performance at dinner.

While sitting on the floor, Doug has a couple of fantasies about what Judy would make him do at dinner. In the first fantasy, she introduces him as the wild boy of Bluffington. He was raised by wolves.

Then he has a fantasy where she introduces him as Agent Double-O Zero.

As Smash Adams, he immediately excuses himself to save the president, and then flies off in his jetpack. So he thinks it could go either way. It could be really humiliating, or he could end up using Judy's jetpack to fly away. Doug gets really excited when she brings him a tuxedo.

He thinks he really is going to be a secret agent, but she crushes his hopes by informing him that he'll be the butler. Her boyfriend might have believed her parents' back-stories, but there's simply no way he's going to be convinced that Doug is a butler, or a secret agent. Doug tries to convince her to let him be a secret agent, but she says he's way too dull to fit into the family. It doesn't matter though. Kyle is going to look at Doug and see an 11 year old kid and nothing more.

When Kyle finally arrives, Doug opens the door in his butler costume (complete with a thin mustache) and Kyle excuses himself. He thinks he has the wrong house. Doug drags him inside and tells him Judy is waiting in the drawing room. He asks her who the butler is because he looks familiar, and she replies that he's Yancy. Finally, Judy introduces her parents. It's weird like you'd expect, and they use a spotlight. I don't know how Judy thinks this is going to work.

Before Phil and Theda finish the first scene, Doug interrupts to say there's a phone call for Kyle. He takes Kyle into the pantry to tell him his life might be in danger. He takes off the fake mustache and hands Kyle a sponge.

He says, "if you need help, just call me on the sponge." Doug Funnie is awesome. Judy interrupts this rogue scene and Doug secretly puts his mustache back on and returns to his butler character.

So now they're all sitting down to dinner. I don't know how many of you come from parents that were anthropologists and pirate writers, but just so you know, they do indeed insist on sitting on pillows like this. Theda starts the conversation by saying, "and as I bid goodbye to the tribe, Chief Tater Tot presented me with this ceremonial totem."

Clearly confused, Kyle says the totem is neat, and Theda offers him some peas from a communal bowl. Meanwhile Doug has poured him some water and given him the secret signal.

Phil starts wailing about his writer's block while Kyle starts to eat a pea. Doug makes a choking signal to keep him from eating the peas, then falls over, making use of his slapstick practice earlier. Judy says he hasn't been the same since the alien abduction and escorts him from the room. Phil screams about his writer's block again and Kyle drinks his water to find a note.

You know how this goes. Kyle reads it out loud, and Doug pops back in to say, "a bomb in the lasagna!?

And then...

Doug acts out a great death scene. Kyle starts laughing, then Phil starts laughing, then Theda starts laughing and Judy doesn't understand. Everything is ruined. She stomps out of the room, almost crying, and Doug thinks he might have gone too far. He finds her sitting quietly on the front porch and asks if she's okay. My favorite part of this scene is that he made no effort to clean the lasagna off his face.

It falls off while they're talking, but I can't get over the fact that there are still large chunks of lasagna on his face when he walks outside. Anyway, she asks him why he did what he did and he says she made him mad by saying they were all boring and stupid and he was upset that she made him the butler. She starts to tell him how much she likes Kyle, but Kyle comes out and asks if she wants him to leave.

"NO! I mean...if you want to. I mean...I guess you can decide after I tell you the truth about..."
"What? The performance piece?"
"You knew it was a performance?"
"Yeah! Wasn't I supposed to?"

Obviously he didn't think any of this shit was for real. He says there were a few problems, but it all came together when the secret agent dove on the lasagna.

Doug writes in his journal that Judy's act didn't fool anybody but Judy, but he's wrong. It clearly fooled Kyle. If he'd known the truth about that night, I hope he'd feel insulted that Judy thought he would buy this crap. What were her long term plans here? If she liked this guy as much as she told Doug she did, at what point was she going to tell him that her mom runs a recycling center, her dad is a department store photographer, and her butler is actually her brother? Even if her plan had worked like she wanted, she just stuck herself with the most ridiculous, shitty lies. What happens when Kyle asks to read some her her dad's writing? Or her mom's research? What if Kyle just wasn't cool with child labor and reported them for employing an eleven year old butler?

And what does Doug get for saving the show? If his absurdist sabotage hadn't happened, the whole night would have been an awkward affair with a man loudly weeping about his writer's block, a woman constantly bragging about her potato-worshiping friends, and an eleven year old butler. There would have been no climax except for Kyle breaking up with Judy because there's no way he could possibly recover from such an awkward night.

And so it seems Judy might be crazier than Doug. Doug's not crazy at all in this episode, but maybe that just proves Hunter S. Thompson was right; "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro."