Phil stops Doug on the way out the door and asks if he's finished all his homework.
Doug lies and says he only has a little left and he'll finish it after dinner. In line for the movie, Skeeter asks him if he's sure he has time for this. "Ehh, I've got all weekend."
Presumably, we're now at the weekend when Doug walks into the house and says, "well, that's it. The lawn's mowed. The trash is out. The only thing left is...homework."
Phil was writing a letter when his son came to him and asked if there were anymore chores he could do. Homework sucks, right?
One sure way to make homework suck more than it already does is to stack it as high as possible, so as to make it seem like an insurmountable bunch of bullshit. Doug wonders aloud why he couldn't have a teacher that assigned less homework. The camera pans over and Skeeter is Rod Serling.
"Witness a simple request from an overworked boy. A plea every bit as heartfelt as it is dangerous. For in a moment or two, Doug Funnie of Jumbo Street, Bluffington, will find out that some things aren't as easy as they seem, as he becomes the latest applicant to a school known as..."
"Skeet, what are you doing?"
You probably thought this was a classic Doug fantasy. I did. It's not.
While Doug was finishing his chores and looking for more chores to do, his best friend put on a suit and hid in his room until he had an opportunity to impersonate Rod Serling. How often does Skeeter do this? Has Skeeter been hiding and waiting all this time? How does Skeeter finish his own homework if he spends all his time hiding out in Doug's room waiting for a Rod Serling moment? Is Doug just hallucinating and he can no longer tell the difference between fantasy and reality?
Presumably Skeeter distracted Doug enough that he couldn't finish his homework, because he's still working on it while he's running to school. Thanks a lot, Skeeter. Doug finally runs out of excuses and sits down to get started and you fucking ruined it.
Doug says there's always a lot of homework for Ms. Kristal's class because she really gets into it. What follows is a montage of her reading and acting out various books or plays.
Doug says he's still trying to figure out how she flew around the room.
For Moby Dick and Kidnapped, she splashed the class with a lot of water. For 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, she attempted to drown them, apparently.
And here she is reading Animal Farm.
Yeah, she's a great teacher. While she's doing her Animal Farm thing, Willie White sneaks into the classroom and sits next to Roger. They start laughing, presumably about his tardiness, and Ms. Kristal notices. She asks where Willie's been and Roger says, "fishing, probably." She doubts this and gives Willie a chance to give her a perfectly reasonable excuse for being late. Before he can think of a lie, Principal Ex-Mayor White announces over the intercom:
"Attention Ms. Kristal's class: this is your ex-Mayor Principal White. My son Willie was a little late this morning because he was fis...hahaha, I mean, helping his dad. Now, back to...whatever it is you do."
Back to Animal Farm, Ms. Kristal asks a pretty basic question and calls on Willie for the answer. He wasn't paying attention, and might not have been able to answer it even if he was, so he gives a dumb answer and everyone laughs at him.
The bell rings shortly after this and the class starts to leave. She reminds them of their homework. They have to memorize at least 10 lines of a poem to recite next week. She holds Willie back for a private chat.
She asks if he can think of any reason why he's having trouble keeping up with the work. He says, "well, for one thing, that story could never happen! No way! It's impossible for animals to take over a farm, unless they had like a bazooka, or if they were some kind of transformer animals that could turn into a 4-wheel drive vehicle. Now THAT would make sense!"
Would it really, Willie? How much sense do you think that would make, Willie? 7.5? 8? 8 sense, Willie!? WILLIE!?
Meanwhile, Doug and Skeeter are searching for their poems in the library. Skeeter finds one called "A Really Really Long Esoteric Poem." Doug again wishes they had a teacher that assigned less homework. Then he finds the perfect book.
Why all this emphasis on the overall length of the poem? She said they had to memorize 10 lines to recite. She didn't say, "memorize 10 lines from a poem unless you find a poem that is less than 10 lines then you can recite that one." Grab any book, turn to any page, pick any section of 10 lines, and start memorizing them any way that works best for you.
In Principal White's office, Principal ex-Mayor Bob White is upset that he apparently has to go to a parent/teacher conference.
After explaining what a parent/teacher conference is (to the principal!), Willie explains that the conference has to happen because he wouldn't read "some dumb fairy tale." Principal ex-Mayor White is disgusted at this because his son is too old to be reading fairy tales. He says, "you're old enough to be reading comic books by now!"
That's when Willie points out that he'd be reading comics if he could get them back. Principal ex-Mayor Bob White is a comic book reader, and he hogs his son's comics apparently. So they wrestle for the one on the principal's desk.
If I ever have a kid, I'm going to end up with similar problems.
Willie finally gets his father on his side by saying, "I heard she didn't vote for you in the last election."
"Of course, it can't be all Willie's fault. He understands the material well enough when he studies. Can you think of anything that might be affecting Willie's performance in class?"
That was all she said before Principal White fired her. It sucks. I would have really enjoyed seeing his reaction when she stopped beating around the bush and flat out accused her boss of being a shitty parent.
The class is naturally shocked to hear that Principal White is their new teacher. Connie asks, "what happened to Ms. Kristal?"
"That's a very good question," he replied before picking up a copy of Great Expectations, flipping through it, and dropping it the trash. Bob White is not a subtle man.
So, what's he going to teach?
Comics, of course. The class seems pleased, though I can't imagine why. Listening to someone read a comic book seems dreadful. If they had their own copies, yeah, maybe, but they certainly weren't prepared for this nonsense today. Fortunately, their homework is to get their own copy and read it for tomorrow.
In the hall, Doug asks Skeeter how they could fire Ms. Kristal. Willie interrupts and says it's because she's a bad teacher. Skeeter is outraged.
The next day, Skeeter is trying to collect signatures for a petition to get Ms. Kristal back. Connie and Beebe refuse because she gave so much work and Principal White is so easy.
Chalky is grateful for the academic break and doesn't want to go back to having so much homework. Skunky, having apparently signed it earlier, wants his signature removed for no stated reason. After school, Skeeter says, "maaaaan. The only people who signed my petition are you and me and I don't think you can sign for Porkchop, Doug."
Straight into the trash.
In class, Principal White catches Skeeter reading Lord of the Flies and tells him he can't read religious material in this class.
Then he catches Doug drawing a Quailman comic and gets excited.
The Heavers' class is disrupted by a lot of outside noise and the angry Mr. Heaver investigates. When he opens the door to Doug's class, he's immediately hit in the face with a few balls of paper.
He demands to know where their teacher is. Principal White speaks up.
At lunch, Skeeter points out that Patti is lucky she's doing home school.
She kindly points out that Principal White is busy, and he'll eventually be too busy to teach a class so he'll have to hire a new teacher.
The next day, the class is sitting silently while Principal White reads the comic to himself.
Connie interrupts him to point out he stopped reading aloud a few minutes earlier. Before he can resume reading aloud, a man opens the classroom door to tell him the press is here to see him. He leaves to "tell the press what a magnificent job I'm doing," but not before putting Willie in charge.
So, that's the end of his teaching attempt.
In the class, Willie tries to get everyone to shut up. Skeeter tries to rally everyone to start chanting for the return of Ms. Kristal.
They aren't having it. Willie makes a really dumb speech about how they're the ones that have been doing all the work and the teachers are getting paid for it and he hasn't learned anything and let's give the teachers homework! It's really stupid, but all the kids except Skeeter (with Doug quickly following) fall for it.
In a call back to the beginning of the episode, Doug is leaving the house when Phil asks, "don't you have homework?"
"No, dad. Not a lick."
It is somewhat troubling that one of Doug's teachers was replaced by the dumbest kid in class and his parents don't know about it, but I guess it is also not surprising considering Bob White is the principal. Still, you'd think Skeeter might have gone around to the parents when he was trying the petition, but I don't know. The smartest kid in the class, now burdened by an abundance of free time, just threw his petition in the trash after failing to get his classmates to sign, as if anyone really gives a shit what kids want.
So, now Willie is the teacher. Roger skips class for roller coasters...
...and Willie marks him as present. He may not be a real teacher, and he may not have lesson plans, but he'll be goddamned if he's not going to do roll-call.
Skeeter is the only one that's really annoyed by this whole situation. Doug refuses to be worried. Skeeter points out that all the other teachers are acting funny around Willie.
In band, Willie walks in late and criticizes the song they're playing. They quickly stop playing and move on to the next song.
That night. Doug is shopping for his mom when this happens.
Ms. Kristal offers to help and Doug is actually excited to see her.
Leaving the store, he tells her that everyone really misses her, especially Skeeter.
The next day, Doug starts telling Skeeter he was thinking about what he said ("about how great it would be to join the Ice Frolics?") about Ms. Kristal. Before he can elaborate, Ned interrupts and says, "teacher wants to see ya."
In the most formal setting Willie probably knows, they have a student/teacher conference to confront Doug. Ned saw him talking to Ms. Kristal last night, and they naturally assumed he was planning something to depose Willie.
Skeeter says Doug is allowed to talk to whoever he wants because it's a free country. Willie disagrees. Skeeter says, "it's true! It's in the constitution. I'd lend you a copy to read but there aren't any pictures in it!"
Thoroughly embarrassed by this sick burn, with his friends laughing at him, Willie says, "oh! You think that's funny? Well, you're dispended from school!" Later, at Mr. Swirly, Skeeter points out that the worst thing about this is "dispended" isn't even a word.
After the dispension of Skeeter, things get worse. Willie becomes a little sexist tyrant, forcing Beebe to feed him pie...
...and Connie to clean his locker...
He makes Fentruck walk backwards for a whole day. He switches instruments in band. He even wrote his own pledge.
Finally, the rest of the kids catch up to Skeeter.
Except maybe Patti, who was probably already there. I don't know, since they didn't consult her after her prediction came true in the most ridiculous and horrible way possible. She's just there, looking at the camera/us like, "I can't believe it took this long for my friends to realize all of this. I can't wait to get out of this dumb town."
Anyway, they're all agreeing that something must be done when Skeeter says, "if only we could show people what a good teacher Ms. Kristal was." This gives Doug an idea and he asks Mayor Dink to bring up Ms. Kristal's case at the school board meeting.
I don't see why this is necessary at all. If Mayor Dink has any pull at all, and as she's portrayed as the new competent leader the town needed after that dreadful Bob White, all he'd really need to do was tell her what happened and wait. Surely she'd make a phone call or two, Bob White would be fired for having his idiot son teach a class (among other things) and Ms. Kristal would be rehired. At least, that's what would happen in a normal town full of people capable of making the most basic decisions.
Anyway, at the school board meeting, Principal White defends his decision to fire Ms. Kristal on the grounds that Willie didn't learn anything and she didn't vote for him. Mayor Dink says you can't fire someone for the way they vote. He says he can. Doug stands up to interject his own thoughts.
Before Doug gets to say anything, Principal White says he was just joking about what he just said. The truth is he was concerned about the education of future voters like his son. Willie reiterates his point that he didn't learn anything. Doug again tries to speak and Principal White sort of freaks out for a second. I will never understand why the people of Bluffington put up with him.
Anyway, Doug just wants to ask Willie a question.
Doug says, "I just wanna ask Willie if he remembers back in the fall, when Ms. Kristal taught us that book about that sea captain named, uhh...Moby Dick! The one who, uhh, craved fish sticks?"
"Uhhh, that's not right!"
"The whale is Moby Dick, doof! And the captain guy's name is Captain Ahab!" Willie winks at Boomer and Ned, who laugh because they think Doug is the one being stupid here. To really drive home his point, Doug asks Willie about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, deliberately getting the whole plot wrong to bait Willie into pointing out the true plot and allegorical meaning of the plot.
Principal White is shocked to discover that Willie learned all that from Ms. Kristal. Mayor Dink calls her a miracle worker, which is a decent compliment for Ms. Kristal and a pretty ruthless insult to Willie. Anyway, I guess they give Ms. Kristal her job back or whatever.
Everyone is thrilled, even Patti, though it doesn't really make a difference to her education. Maybe she's just a fan of publicly humiliating the White family.
Ms. Kristal returns to work and everyone is happy.
Well, everyone except maybe Roger. Willie, totally surprised by his own capability, now enjoys learning.
Here he is scolding Roger for reading a comic book in class. Doug says he ended up tutoring the whole gang. Finally, Mayor Dink apparently asked Ms. Kristal to add a student to her class.
Why? Why didn't they just fire him? What would this shithead have to do to get fired? During the "I fired her because she didn't vote for me and then I took over her class until I didn't have enough time and just put my son in charge and also while I was teaching, we were really only reading comic books" school board meeting, they found no legitimate reason to fire this incompetent man-child? Bluffington.
Doug finishes up his journal entry by saying he's excited to have homework to finish.
This excitement won't last. He's a procrastinator. He'll get through that top book, maybe, before he starts finding excuses. The episode ends with more Skeeter as Rod Serling, so I guess with a lot of homework, Skeeter quickly gets bored and occupies himself by distracting his best friend.
So that's it. Doug doesn't have a single fantasy in this episode. He even draws some Quailman and we don't get to see it play out in his head. This episode is Doug telling his journal, "I'm not crazy. Everyone else is crazy." Even Skeeter, though he's the loudest champion of sanity in the town, creeps into Doug's room to Twilight Zone the shit out of him twice.
Now, I haven't done this in quite a while, but here's my favorite extra character for this episode.
With his amazing mustache, his bicycle hat, and his Craw shirt, this random school board hearing attendee is everything you