Sunday, March 25, 2012

Episode 47, Part 2: Doug's Brainy Buddy

This episode begins with Skeeter pretending his hand is a giant spider. His other hand is holding a pencil, and it is attacking the giant spider. Skeeter is making battle noises and music cues as if he's watching a movie.

Doug is watching this play out with a look on his face that indicates that he thinks his friend might be a little stupid. Ms. Wingo walks between them, handing each of them an envelope. Skeeter says, "wow, man. A letter from Ms. Wingo! Cool!" Doug says it's probably the results of the intelligence test they took last week. Skeeter says, "that thing was a test? Boy...good thing I didn't know. I always choke on tests. They give me the ooglies."

Doug opens his envelope and reveals that his score is 565. He is pleased. Skeeter expresses some disappointment and Doug immediately tries to make him feel better by saying a low score doesn't necessarily mean you're dumb. That wasn't what Skeeter was complaining about though. They just spelled his name wrong. It says "Valentino" instead of "Valentine." And then Doug looks at Skeeter's score...

For a perfect score to be 1000, 120 seems like an extremely low average. Doug scored 565, which puts him way above average, apparently. Something is not right about this test.

Doug is very skeptical. He doesn't believe the future head astronaut of Bluffington could have a perfect score on a test he didn't even realize was a test. It's not the craziest thought Doug's ever had. If Skeeter didn't realize it was a test, what did he think it was? Some genius! Anyway, Doug looks at the name again and decides it was a mix-up. Skeeter got Mosquito Valentino's test results, and Mosquito Valentino got Skeeter's test results. It makes perfect sense! Before Doug can explain this to Skeeter, Mr. Bone calls over the intercom and requests that Skeeter come see him immediately. Doug assumes Mr. Bone wants to give Skeeter his real test results. He also assumes Skeeter will need to be cheered up after he finds out he's not a genius, so he goes to wait for him after school.

While waiting, Doug overhears a conversation between Mr. Bone and a guy named Mr. Steele. Mr. Steele says Skeeter's a genius, and they want him. Mr. Bone says that's up to Skeeter. Mr. Steele says they won't take no for an answer as he's leaving the office.

Doug notices there are some weird sounds coming out of the office and peeks his head in to see what's going on. Three scientists are examining Skeeter with strange equipment, including some phrenology calipers and ink blot tests.

I have to assume their use of phrenology is just a simple trick. A person of average intelligence would be able to tell you that phrenology is bullshit. If the subject doesn't object to the examiners' use of the pseudoscience, then the subject is clearly not a genius. Mr. Bone finally notices Doug and tells him to wait outside before slamming the door in his face.

On the way home, Skeeter tells Doug how they tried to measure his IQ, "but it was way off the scale." He also mentions a guy from Tri-County College and the fact that they took pictures of his brain. In the principal's office. They just brought an MRI or CT scan machine with them, or Buttsavitch just has one of them in his massive office.

At Skeeter's house, Doug asks him why he didn't tell them about how the test wasn't his. Skeeter dismisses Doug's theory because he realizes that typos happen. Doug insists that Skeeter's not a genius though. He says that guys that get perfect scores on tests like that wear thick glass and pocket protectors and they read lots of books. Skeeter says, "so what do you call those‽"

Doug says, "not the Bucktooth Boys, Skeet. Real books." He just pointed out one book with a dumb sounding title, but it's literally right next to a book called "Principia Mathematica," and that book is next to a book called "Enzymes Throughout Time." Doug pulls one book at random because he expects to be able to demonstrate that the books Skeeter reads indicate that he is not a genius. It's a brilliant plan.

Unfortunately, Doug pulled out a book called "A Critique of Pure Reason." Skeeter says the book is pretty cool and starts trying to tie his shoes for some reason. Doug opens the book to a random page and struggles to pronounce the word apodictic. After Skeeter tells him how to say it, Doug asks what it is. Skeeter launches into a whole explanation about what the author was trying to say and Doug is mystified.

He slips into a crazy fantasy where everything's spinning and he falls into the vortex right after he finally notices that most of Skeeter's books are brainy. After Skeeter finishes his explanation of the book, his head balloons up.

"Get it, Doug?"

Skeeter notices Doug has slipped away into fantasy land and asks him if he's okay. Doug says he is and now he has to leave. Skeeter says goodbye and then admires the brilliant work he did of tying his shoes.

Only a genius could do this.

Doug finally realizes that Skeeter actually is a genius, but now he's just wondering how that's possible. He has a fantasy.

The scientist tells them to put that helmet on Skeeter every night when he goes to sleep. Skeeter's dad asks what it does and accidentally spills coffee onto the machine. This causes a serious malfunction that only makes Skeeter smarter, instead of electrocuting him.

After the fantasy, Doug is at home saying he spent the whole night looking up the words in Skeeter's book.

Apparently he stole Skeeter's book. The definitions aren't helping him either. He reads the definition of apodictic, looks at Porkchop and says, "huh?" Porkchop responds with a shrug and a "I don't know" sort of moan before returning to his reading on the floor. Typical dog behavior. After this, Doug becomes determined to prove that Skeeter isn't that much smarter than him. So he stays up all night reading the book, and continues reading it at school the next day, waiting for Skeeter to show up so he can discuss it with him. But Skeeter doesn't show up.

At lunch, Connie asks Doug where Skeeter is, but he says he doesn't know. Beebe chimes in to tell them he's at college. Skunky Beaumont told her. Chalky says he heard Skeeter was going to teach a class. Doug says that's stupid. He's just a kid. Skeeter shows up and confirms that yes, he might be going to college. A recruiter wants him to go to college and he was just on campus for a tour. Everyone is impressed. Even Roger.

Except Doug. Doug gets pissed. Skeeter mentions a few details and Doug accuses him of thinking the middle school isn't good enough for him.  Everyone there is just too dumb. Skeeter asks, "what's your problem?" Doug responds, "what's your problem?" Skeeter responds, "NO! What's your problem‽" Doug pauses for a second and again asks, "What's your problem?" Skeeter insults this pathetic comeback and everyone laughs. Roger tells Doug to take a swing. Instead he tells Skeeter to take his stupid book and to leave him alone. Then he throws the book at Skeeter.

Doug is an asshole. After a few more parting words, Doug has a fantasy about what Skeeter's college experience might be like. In the fantasy, Skeeter is presenting an experiment that has something to do with the brain. He shows off his test subject.

"His puny brain makes even the simplest tasks virtually impossible."

At home, Doug decides he's going to forget about Skeeter and get rid of everything that reminds him of him. He pulls down his Beets poster, packs up his Beets tapes and just puts everything into one small box.

After putting the box out into the hall, he notices his room is pretty much empty now. Judy asks him what he's doing and then asks what Skeeter did to him anyway. Doug says he just got smart. She says, "oh," and tells him she's going to take the cassette player if he's just throwing it away. Doug gets upset at her dismissive "oh" and says, "I'm not jealous of him, if that's what you think." Then he realizes he is jealous. Porkchop agrees. Realizing he's been a massive tool, he runs downstairs, opens the front door and runs right into Skeeter. Doug says he was just about to go to his house and then they both apologize to each other in unison. It's weird.

I mean, what is Skeeter apologizing for? Skeeter says he realized he was just showing off and making Doug feel jealous. Whatever. I guess. Doug asks him about going to college but he says he decided not to go. "Nobody there likes to air guitar or anything!"

"And they all smoke," said the genius. They go to the Honkerburger and Doug realizes you just have to accept people for the way they are, "even if they are smarter than you. Or something."

Doug is an asshole because he has an inferiority complex. He always wants to prove he's actually superior because he feels inferior. Once he accepts that Skeeter actually is smarter than him, he tries to read a book he can't understand to prove he's at least as smart as the guy that didn't realize he was taking a test. Doug's not stupid. His score was way above average, but instead of focusing on that, he focused on the one person that got a perfect score. He found something that made him feel inferior, then tried to deny it, top it, or forget about it. In the end, he placates his inferiority complex by apologizing and accepting Skeeter as the more intelligent being he apparently is.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Episode 47, Part 1: Doug's Treasure Hunt

This episode begins with an exciting excavation fantasy.

Doug has an Indiana Jones character that should be doing this, but he's not kicking someone's ass, so it's just a regular adventurer, as he calls him. He's found something and calls Dr. Skeetrich and Professor Porkchop over to investigate. They were just digging up some sort of ancient pottery, which Dr. Skeetrich promptly dropped and shattered. It's not as important as whatever Doug has just slammed his shovel into. The ground starts shaking and they run for their lives. What could it be?

A living dinosaur, of course. It was just taking a nap under Bluffington for the last 230 million years. Well rested, it is now starving for some human.

Anyway, in history class, they are studying the history of Bluffington by watching a film starring Beebe's dad Billy.

Billy skips a lot of boring history to get to the first man in recorded history to step foot on the land that is now Bluffington. That man was the great Thadeus Bluff. In 1639, old Thadeus Bluff stood on Pigeon Rock and said, "I claim this land in the name of the Bluff family."

I suppose the story goes that he accidentally killed 2/3 of the Bluff family by knocking them off Pigeon Rock, but I'm guessing the great family secret is that he murdered and ate them because he didn't have someone to pay to hunt for him. A man's gotta eat.

The whole history of the town is appropriately absurd. The town was founded so that people would be free to practice the piano in the manner of their choosing. The video shows people banging their heads on piano keys, or running and jumping on the keys, or dancing on the keys or hitting them with a hammer. They just wanted to play however they wanted, and apparently it was illegal to do it that way anywhere else. Or the town was founded by crazy people.

Thadeus Bluff considered himself the luckiest man on Earth, which is why he wasn't concerned when a black cat walked in front of him on Pigeon Rock, right before a piano fell on him. His grandson, Amos Bluff, built the first factory in Bluffington. It was the Good Luck Charm Factory, and it promptly exploded. Then a piano fell on Amos.

Amos' grandson, Rudolph Bluff, moved the town somewhere else and actually established it as Bluffingtown. He built the city hall and Bulls Eye Park, which he dedicated to Thadeus Bluff with a statue of his horrific death. The statue was unveiled and promptly destroyed by lightning. What's the point of all this? The point is that Beebe's family was and always will be the first family in Bluffington. Also, there's a class assignment. This week is "Bluffington Founders' Week" and they must team up and do a research project concerning some part of the town's history.

So Doug and Skeeter naturally team up and scoff at the other teams that rushed to the library to do their research. Doug has a better idea, and it involves digging.

Up at the foot of Pigeon Rock, Doug and Skeeter are digging and sifting through dirt and trying to make everything they find significant. Doug finds a small rock and hypothesizes that it might be a piece of a huge boulder broken by settlers during piano practice. Skeeter finds something he immediately assumes is an old piano key, but it is actually just a peanutty buddy stick. Porkchop rushes over to get their attention because he's actually found something real.

He points them to the hole Doug was digging in and Doug quickly finds a bone, but he's not at all thrilled about it. Skeeter says, "of course! Dogs are like bone magnets!" No, they aren't. Bones are like dog magnets, but bones are not naturally attracted to dogs. Dumbass Skeeter.

Doug looks into the hole and sees something more. Something big. He starts jabbing at it with his spade when Skeeter asks what it is. Doug says he doesn't know and asks for something bigger to dig with. Skeeter provides.

That doesn't look like a shovel. Doug tries and fails to dig with it. Then he looks at it.

Skeeter is really fucking dumb. Doug is too, but Skeeter is head astronaut here.

Before Doug can panic about the fact that they're trespassing, a security guard confronts them.

He's the Bluff's security guard and they are digging on Bluff land. Generously, he lets them go without calling the real cops.

They take the bone to Mr. Dink because he has a book called Chilton's Bone Finder. He says it's the best book on bones there is, or at least the most expensive. Mr. Dink is a sucker. Mr. Dink looks at the bone and guesses that it's "early pot roast." Doug compares the bone to a dinosaur in the book and jumps to the most awesome conclusion possible. It's a dinosaur bone.

Skeeter says, "maybe, sort of, I guess." Doug admits that it's not exactly the same, but maybe that's because they've discovered a whole new species. To be clear, he didn't flip through this book at all. He opened it right to a page about one dinosaur's foot and head, and now he thinks he might have discovered a new dinosaur because the bone he found isn't exactly the same as the one on that page in the book. SCIENCE! Naturally, he has a fantasy where he puts the bone at the end of the tail of the Funnie-Valentine-osaurus, completing the skeleton.

This is absolutely what we should be doing with dinosaur skeletons. Have them outside, towering over our homes. This is the least crazy, most awesome idea Doug has ever had. After the fantasy, Doug and Skeeter get excited about digging up the rest and run out of the house while Mr. Dink says "pot roast" again.

Mr. Bluff says he's impressed they came all the way over to ask for his permission to dig. Doug steps forward and asks, "then we can dig?"

"Absolutely not."

So Doug, Skeeter and Porkchop sit on their bikes watching the guard drive around the Bluff Estate in his golf cart. Skeeter says, "if there was just some way we could get over there."

Doug responds, "not 'over there.' Under there." He has a fantasy. They've been tunneling for what must have been years (though they haven't aged a day) and Doug asks Skeeter if they're almost there. Skeeter says he doesn't know. "According to this map, we should've gotten there already. Unless...uh oh." Realizing his mistake, he turns the map upside down and starts yelling for Doug to stop. It's too late. The Bluff mansion collapses into the tunnel.

No one is killed, but Mr. Bluff is pissed. And even in Doug's fantasies, Skeeter is incompetent. Doug says tunneling is out of the question, as if it was even an option for two 11 year old kids. There's an easier way anyway.

At school, they confront Beebe to beg her to help them. She says no at first, but they convince her by saying the dinosaur would be named after her if it is indeed a dinosaur. They suggest Beebedactyl and Beebesaurus before she settles on Beebe the Dinosaur.

Back on the Bluff Estate, Doug and Skeeter are having trouble remembering the spot to dig, and Beebe is having trouble keeping the bugs away. They find a spot and start digging only to be stopped immediately by the security guard. Beebe shuts him up and tells him to get her some bug spray. He leaves and Doug and Skeeter get back to digging.

They dig hole after hole after hole and find nothing. Beebe is pissed and reasons that they probably just found some old pot roast bone. Doug returns to the fantasy from the beginning, but instead of running from an enormous dinosaur...

What the hell, Doug?

After the fantasy, Beebe is chewing them out until the guard shows up with Mr. Bluff. Mr. Bluff is pissed. He shows them the new sign.

When he tries to jam it into the ground, it hits something. He tries again and again but it keeps hitting something. So now it's time for a real excavation. They don't find a dinosaur though. They actually find something even more significant.

Thadeus Bluff was not the first man here. Mr. Bluff says he has discovered the true prehistoric founder of Bluffington.

Mr. Bluff is dumb.

The skeleton ends up in the Bluff Museum, and it is named Bluffus Erectus. Mr. Bluff claims it is his earliest ancestor, because he is an idiotic windbag with a pointless sense of pride that would fall apart if he was forced to live in a town where people had lived before him or his family. GASP!

Doug and Skeeter get an A on their history project.

There's also a portrait of Bluffus Erectus recreating what he probably looked like while alive and it looks suspiciously like Mr. Dink. Mr. Dink walks over to the skeleton and starts trying to converse with it. He asks if the seat next to him is taken. Then says he looks familiar. Then he tries to figure out where he knows him from. Then he notices his watch has stopped.

So he asks the skeleton if he has the time. Then he says, "you sure I don't know you from somewhere?"

Mr. Dink is really, really dumb. And crazy as shit.

There's something wrong with Bluffington. Maybe it's something in the water. Maybe it's something in the air. Whatever it is, it makes everyone that lives there incredibly stupid. I would like to say it's always made people stupid, since the town was apparently founded on piano freedom, but that was only revealed in a film made in modern times. Modern people can't be trusted to understand the simplest of concepts like digging or how to know if the skeleton you are talking to is dead. Mr. Bluff clearly doesn't understand genealogy or much of anything else apparently, and he made the film. His crazy, possibly lead-poisoned brain can't be trusted to know the truth about the history of Bluffington. I don't know if this town is the entire cause for Doug's mental problems or if it's just exacerbating existing problems, but the thought that he might move away at some point gives me hope that he might live a more normal life where he is not drinking water poisoned by psychotropic substances that make him see people in funny colors and frequently have paranoid delusions and hallucinations.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Episode 46, Part 2: Doug Clobbers Patti

Doug starts this episode with a fantasy. He explains he's always wanted to be a winner. "To be the best. To be on top!" In this boxing fantasy, Doug is the best. He's the 67.5 pound champion "Fast-fist" Funnie. The crowd cheers for him. Doug has a problem though. His challenger is Patti Mayonnaise. The crowd boos her.

I feel like co-ed middle school boxing would be a huge hit on television. If any of you are tv producers looking for a new show, let's do this.

So anyway, the fight starts and Doug says, "Patti, do you think we could talk about this?" He doesn't want to fight the girl he secretly loves. She's throwing punches at him and he's dodging them without trouble. He turns to the ref to ask if they can call off the fight, but when he does so, he throws up his hands and accidentally hits Patti in the face.

She's not even trying to block or dodge this non-punch. Doug knocks her out with one effortless accident. Patti is a shitty boxer.

Or Porkchop is an amazing trainer.

After the fantasy, Doug explains that everything started with a game of bowling. We see Skeeter knock down one pin and celebrate the fact that he's finally on the board. Doug says, "keep this up and you be into double-digits in no time," and gives him a high-five. This may be setting the bar too high for Bluffington's future head astronaut.

As Doug is getting ready for his turn, he asks Patti what he would need to do to win this game. She looks at the scorecard where we see she has won 3 games already (and that was actually the first pin Skeeter has knocked down all day), and tells Doug he might have a chance if he gets strikes for the rest of the game. Challenge accepted.

And met. Doug starts throwing strikes and Patti keeps up with him until Doug's success starts to throw her off. She throws a gutter-ball and Doug finishes her off. Announcing the scores, Skeeter has no shame in loudly proclaiming that he rolled a 7. Patti rolled 128 and Doug beat her with 130. I guess Skeeter's attitude is somewhat commendable. He knows it's just a game that doesn't matter. So he only knocked down 7 pins in four games? Bowling clearly isn't his thing and it doesn't bother him. Unfortunately, winning is Patti's thing and she's very obviously upset that she lost one game. Doug and Skeeter don't pick up on this at all. Skeeter suggests that Doug buy them a victory shake at the Honkerburger, which is ridiculous since Patti is still the overall winner.

At the Honkerburger, Skeeter is telling Beebe about Doug's narrow victory because he's oblivious. Doug tries to downplay it, and Patti challenges him to a game of Moon Dog. "Loser buys the next shakes." Shakes after every game means kids in Bluffington are fatter than Doug is letting on.

Patti plays first and kicks ass. Doug compliments her playing and she responds by saying he has to score 99,000,000 to beat her. Challenge accepted.

And met. Sort of.

It's not actually 99,000,000, but then he only really needed 9,000,000 to win. Patti's 8th score is somehow higher than her 7th score. This game is weird and Doug's math tutor is maybe not so good with numbers. Also, she may have an addiction. Or this game sucks and she's the only one that plays it. Before Doug is even finished celebrating, Patti leaves and the crowd quickly disperses. Skeeter tells Doug that she said she had to leave, but she left money for the shake.

The next day at school, Doug sees Patti in the gym throwing free throws and missing every one. Chalky pops in to tell Doug she couldn't kick a straight ball at soccer practice either. Doug confronts her to ask if she's mad. She says she's not mad, just cursed. "It's like I lost my touch or something. I mean, I hardly lose at anything, especially to you. No offense." No, offense taken.

Doug suggests they play something else and throws a basketball right into the basket.

I think he did it to get back at her for her shitty attitude. Doug is a perfectly competent bowler and sometimes obsessive about video games. He's going to beat you sometimes, and blaming your loss on some bullshit curse diminishes his abilities. You can't be a dick and say, "no offense," and expect that to make it okay, especially when the person you're being a dick to is just trying to make you feel better. Anyway, Doug suggests they play Bonko-Ball (?) because she always creams him when they play that. She agrees, as long as he doesn't just let her win.

Doug wins, of course. Doug says, "Patti? It wasn't...I just...hehehe, good game?" She responds to this by angrily kicking the ball and stomping away like a child.

To be fair, she is still a child.

At lunch, Doug is telling Skeeter he wasn't actually trying to win. He says he hopes Patti doesn't think he was trying to make her look like a fool. He hopes she knows the truth. He hopes she knows he thinks she's the most wonderful person in the world. He has a fantasy. It's the basic beauty pageant set-up, but it's about the most wonderful person in the world, because that's a thing.

And Ms. Ho-Ho has a chance. The announcer opens the envelope and says, "and the winner is...Patti Mayo-wait! Hold on a minute! This is highly unusual! The winner is...the guy in the front row, 3 chairs from the left!" It's Doug.

He walks on stage, they give him his pimp-robe, and he presumably leaves with Ms. Ho-Ho to start a life of crime.

After the fantasy, Doug assumes Patti thinks he's the "most jerkiest person in the world." Skeeter says it's like Doug is charmed or something. He's never seen anyone as lucky as Doug. Skeeter tries to salt some of his lunch while he's talking but ends up spilling the whole shaker on his tray, and this gives Doug an idea. He reasons that if his luck ran out, Patti could cream him again. So they're off to the junkyard to find a mirror.

Skeeter is unsure of this plan. 7 years of bad luck is a long time. Doug says it's for a good cause before he smashes it. They head to the hardware store and set up 7 ladders.

Doug charges underneath all of them happily. Doug asks if that would be enough bad luck. Skeeter is unsure and suggests calling his grandma. "She could make you really unlucky!" Apparently Skeeter's grandmother knows a thing or two about giving yourself bad luck. This is her plan.

You can't see it, but he also has mashed potatoes in his pockets. The instructions also make him turn around three times while whistling "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star." He does it and Skeeter asks if that was enough. Doug says, "I don't know. I guess we'll just have to wait and find out." Then he takes a step out of the washtub and this happens.

He falls on his ass in the tub and they both celebrate. The mashed potatoes worked!

After that, they went searching for Patti. Her dad told them she was at the bowling alley and then this happened on the way there.

Being clumsy is not the same as being unlucky. Stepping on a rake and riding your bike into the curb are just unfortunate accidents a more competent person would have avoided. If Doug was just unlucky, he would have been struck by lightening and killed the minute he stepped outside.
Actually, when he gets up from the bushes after his bike wreck, a car drives by and splashes mud on him. That's unlucky if you don't consider the possibility that the driver of that car was just deliberately being a dick.

At the bowling alley, Doug immediately challenges her to a game before dropping a ball on his foot. She accepts and starts throwing strikes. Doug throws what looks to be a gutter-ball, but it curves back and ends up being a strike. Patti gets another strike. Holding the ball behind his back, Doug turns away from the lane and lets the ball go. Another strike. Bowling is one of the easiest games to lose, and Doug is too incompetent to pull that off. Patti is sweating by the end of the game when Skeeter announces that she needs a strike to win. Doug decides it's time to finally talk to her about how meaningless this whole thing is.

"Listen, Patti. You know, it doesn't matter if you win or lose this thing. It's just a stupid game. This doesn't prove that I'm better than you or you're better than me."
"I know, Doug, but..."
"NO 'BUTS!" That last ball doesn't matter. Win or lose, I still think you're the most wonderful girl in the whole world."

Flattered, Patti finally agrees with Doug and casually throws the ball down the lane without looking. They start to walk away from the whole thing because she finally realizes it doesn't matter, but her ball knocks down all the pins.

She's as gracious in victory as she has been in defeat this entire episode. She has learned nothing.

Doug went about this all wrong. He thinks his winning streak is due to an abundance of good luck, but he's just wrong. His winning was making the girl he loves miserable, which in turn was making him miserable. It literally affects his appearance. You can see the anxiety in his face throughout most of this episode.

Those lines under his eyes are there any time he's commiserating about this situation. It would be good luck if he actually wanted to win. If we're to assume luck is an actual thing, then what Doug is experiencing is bad luck. It's bad luck that he's winning, bad luck that it makes Patti feel shitty, bad luck that Patti's shitty mood makes him feel shitty, and bad luck that he's in love with this awful person.

This episode is exactly what a romantic relationship between the two would be every month or so. She would win everything all the time, which is boring, until Doug accidentally wins something (game, argument, whatever) and she would get annoyed, give him a backhanded insult, and then mope for weeks until they were both so miserable that Doug ends up sacrificing a goat to some god in the hopes that it may take this horrible, abusive woman and make her be fun again. It would never be a healthy relationship. He can never outshine her even a little. She would never be able to be happy for Doug's successes, and then neither would Doug. At the beginning of the episode, he says he's always wanted to be a winner. He's always wanted to be the best. With her, he wants to be a loser.