It's a slow day in the Thicket of Solitude.
Quailman is relaxing and admiring his own adventures in the Quailman comics.
After finishing this first comic, remarking on how he loves that he won again, he ponders over which comic he should read next. Quailman vs. the Anvil-Head? Quailman takes on the Lumpy Squad? I'd love to read these comics, or maybe one about how Quailman doesn't have a villain to beat up, so he just sits around reading comics about himself. But suddenly, the Quail Call ruins a perfect day.
Over at the Quail Monitor, Quailman sees that Patti and her dog are sinking in the swamp! Quailman and Quaildog quickly fly over to the swamp, but it's a trap!
The robots grab them and the swamp flips over to dump them into a dungeon. Guess who is behind this fiendish plot! It's Doctor Rubbersuit!
Naturally, it's just another Roger character. He's got a terrible surprise for Quailman, because what sort of villain would he be if he didn't have some implement of torture?
Our heroes sit there worrying about what horror awaits them. They don't try to use their quail powers to escape or anything. A wall of the dungeon slides away and the torture arrives with a greeting.
The episode begins with Doug complaining about Ned's stupid pranks. In shop class, Skeeter watches Doug finish a bird hotel.
The glue just needs to dry and it will be finished. Unfortunately, jerk ass Ned walks over and bumps the table, causing the bird hotel to collapse.
In the boy's locker room, Doug is taking a shower. The water goes off once Doug gets his head covered in shampoo. Doug starts blindly reaching for the faucet handle, calling for help. Ned creeps up behind him and asks, "looking for this?"
At lunch, Roger and Ned start a food fight with each other. In spite of the fact that they are sitting across the table from each other, they can't actually hit each other. Ned throws some mashed potatoes.
Roger ducks and they hit Doug.
Everyone thinks this is really funny. Doug says, "I can't wait to see the day when Ned Cauphee gets his!" Skeeter tells him to look on the bright side, which is apparently that the mashed potatoes aren't buttered. Doug replies, "I wish something rotten would happen to Ned. Then he'd know how it feels."
Patti says, "maybe you could just talk to Ned and tell him how you feel." Doug stomps over to Ned to confront him.
But he is thrown off guard when Ned immediately apologizes. Doug is naturally surprised.
"I completely forgot the gravy!"
Patti asks if Doug is okay, but Skeeter notices that snow has started falling. In a normal school in a normal town, this would mean everyone would just sit in class, hoping they'd get to go home early. In Bluffington, they all just immediately run outside.
"Holy shit! Fuck school! Frozen water is falling out of the sky!"
Skeeter happily catches a snowflake on his tongue.
Oh, but it's not snow. Doug catches some and notices it's actually ash. Then two firetrucks drive past them and Skunky tells them there's a huge fire over on Mumbo St.
Now, I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "well, there's no snow and they were just having lunch at school. If there's no snow, surely they'll have to go back to school. They have to finish the rest of the day." Wrong. They just run over to watch the fire.
Doug says it looks like there's more fire than house now. Patti asks, "wouldn't it be just awful if your house burnt down?"
Skeeter asks, "and all your stuff burned up?"
Doug has that fantasy. His house is on fire and his family is just standing on the sidewalk watching it. No fire fighters are working to put it out. Doug runs up and they tell him they were able to save some of his stuff. They saved his journal.
Doug takes the journal from Phil but it turns to ashes in his hands.
After the fantasy, Doug says he feels sorry for these people and that he wouldn't wish this on his worst enemy. That's when Ned runs past him shouting for his family and exclaiming that that's his house.
Doug's earlier words echo in his head. "Ned Cauphee! Someday you'll get yours, and I can't wait to see it!"
"What have I done?"
At home, Doug's family is trying to get him to realize the fire wasn't his fault.
Judy just mocks him. Theda tells him to put together a care package for Ned. Maybe giving that jerk ass some things he needs now that everything he owned is destroyed will make you feel better. So, that's what he starts doing. He starts showing Phil some of the things he found for Ned.
Meanwhile, Theda is having an ominous conversation on the phone.
She's saying things like "it's no problem at all." If Doug or Phil was paying attention to her, they might not be so surprised by what she says after hanging up the phone.
She says she has good news. She says it's especially good news for Doug. This gets him excited.
"Since all twelve Cauphee kids are temporarily out of their home, our neighborhood is volunteering to play host to them."
Doug asks, "so what's the good news?" Doug is so dumb.
"I volunteered to let Ned stay with US for a week!"
In this fantasy, the Funnie family are in the trenches. They're getting heavily bombed.
They don't seem to have a way to fight back. Doug, as the obvious leader of this family, says, "we have to face it! We're licked! There's only one thing left to do! Anybody have a white flag?"
They all have white flags. So Doug takes a white flag and starts to say "we surrender" but he gets hit in the head with some food. Suddenly he's in the kitchen.
Ned offers him some gravy.
After the fantasy, Doug is frantically preparing for Ned's week long stay. He's wrapping anything breakable in bubble wrap and making Porkchop wear a hard hat.
I want an episode where Doug buys Porkchop a hard hat. What circumstances led him to buying it? Where did he buy it? Was it the hardware store or the pet store? Did he have to special order it?
Theda thinks Doug is overreacting. She says they've known the Cauphees for years. She asks Phil for confirmation of this, and he slowly realizes that yes, they have known them for years. He also realizes that Doug is correct, and handing off the baby to Theda, he immediately goes to the china cabinet and locks it.
Theda says they're both acting silly. Then, for reasons of exposition, she says, "besides, we're going to Grandma Funnie's on Sunday!" Doug imagines what this will be like.
Theda points out that Ned is only staying until Saturday, and Doug re-imagines his grandmother's house uncollapsing. He says he can put up with anything for a week. On cue, the Cauphee's drive up, honking the horn of their antique car. Now we get a better look at Ned's family and it isn't good.
As Theda said earlier, he's got 11 siblings. They aren't well behaved and we might as well blame their father for that.
He's a loud mouthed guy making jokes you're not sure you're supposed to laugh at. Like, Phil asks him how he's doing, and quickly apologizes because obviously he's doing terrible because his house burned down, but then he makes a joke about his house burning down and like, would you laugh at that? Like, "HAHAHAHA! YEAH YOUR HOUSE BURNED DOWN! THAT SURE IS FUNNY!" I mean, kudos to him for not letting it get him down, but a little social awareness would go a long way here.
Anyway, Ted has to ask Phil which kid he's dropping off because keeping track of 12 kids is fucking difficult. When Phil says it's Ned, he says to keep an eye on him because he's the wild one. Then something happens off screen that indicates a small explosion and fire and then there's smoke, so it's hardly a mystery what happened to their house.
"And they want a dog," Ted said, derisively.
Inside, Ned starts walking around the living room, feeling things like he's looking for something to throw or break or have sex with.
After finding the china cabinet locked, he asks about some vases on the mantle above the fireplace. Phil quickly grabs both of them.
Ned moves to the piano and hits a key a few times before Doug slams the fallboard over the keys.
Theda is upset with the way Doug is behaving. He apologizes but says she always told him the piano isn't a toy. She offers Ned dinner.
At dinner, Ned says, "I've never had salad like that before." Judy expresses disbelief that his family doesn't eat salad. He replies, "nope, just not fast enough." Ned is doing a Gomer Pyle thing, but like if Gomer Pyle was also just a jerk ass.
Meanwhile, Ned is surprised there's more food after the salad. Theda offers him some creamy mashed potatoes.
Doug immediately panics.
The whole scene of Ned getting some mashed potatoes is a mini horror film that takes place in Doug's traumatized perception of reality.
Going to need some gravy for those mashed potatoes, Ned.
Naturally, Ned doesn't assault Doug with the mashed potatoes. He loads up a plate, smothers them with gravy, eats them swiftly, then licks the plate clean.
Doug thinks Ned is being very clever. He thinks Ned is too smart to do anything in front of his parents.
At bedtime, Judy walks into the bathroom to find Ned brushing his teeth. She asks if he's almost finished and he says he is, then offers her the toothpaste. Doug hears the exchange from the hall and mistakes Ned's intentions. He tackles Ned and they both fall into the inexplicably full bath tub, splashing water everywhere.
Doug tries to explain that Ned was going to "blast her with toothpaste." Judy says he was just handing it to her. Doug feels like an idiot.
Ned gets out of the tub saying this is just like his house where he gets blamed for everything. Doug finally starts to wonder if he's just wrong about Ned. "Maybe he just needed a chance."
Ned is furiously staring at the ceiling. Doug tries to get him to talk. He hopes the bed is comfortable. He mentions how hard it must be to sleep knowing all your stuff burned up. Desperate, Doug tries a sock puppet.
This is Socky. I don't know why Doug thought this was a good idea. Ned doesn't respond. Doug/Socky sings a song, trying to cheer him up.
"Oh, maybe things look kind of blue but at least you don't live in a shoe like Sooocky! That's me! I'm Sock-sock-socky Socky!"
Doug says, "I'm not sure, but I think Socky made Ned feel a little more at home." Doug is dumb.
The next day at school, Ms. Kristal wants a volunteer to read a poem to the class, as that was their assignment for today. No one steps forward. Roger throws a paper ball at Doug.
Doug stupidly stands up, shouts, "hey!" and stands in front of his desk.
Standing facing the class, Ms. Kristal completely missed the flying paper ball and mistook Doug's actions to mean that he was volunteering. Embarrassed, Doug admits that he didn't prepare for the assignment. Roger stands up and says he's got a poem. His goons join him at the front of the class.
They all have sock puppets and sing Doug's stupid Socky song and this is supposed to humiliate Doug somehow. I mean, it works. Doug is thoroughly embarrassed, but why? The rest of the class has no context for why this should be embarrassing for Doug and at worst they're just confused as to why this is happening. They might ask Doug what that was all about and he could honestly say, "oh, Ned is staying at my house because...you know...and I tried to cheer him up with that stupid song but what am I? A child psychologist? The guy's a jerk ass, I let him sleep in my bed, and he's still just a jerk ass. I'm sorry his house burned down, but he was a jerk ass before that happened and he's a jerk ass still."
And for good measure, he's some more examples of him being a jerk ass.
Here he is tearing off days on Doug's desk calendar. Why? Because he's looking for his birthday. Jerk ass. I didn't get a screenshot, but the whole family is trying to watch television but they let him have the remote and he's just flipping through channels randomly like a jerk ass. Then there's this horrible thing he calls his secret recipe that includes a steak, some stinky cheese, and yogurt among other things.
Doug wasn't quick enough to point out that he forgot the cover.
Have to assume that only a jerk ass could blend something without the cover and direct the resulting mess in such a manner.
Doug plops down onto the sofa next to an equally exhausted Phil. Theda is on the phone, having another ominous conversation.
She was speaking with Ned's mother. They didn't have insurance. They are fucked. Ned will have to stay a little longer than a week. Doug and Phil are dismayed. Doug points out that this means Ned will have to come to Grandma Funnie's with them. Phil points out that her house is full of breakable stuff. He gets an idea and springs into action. First he calls the Skeeters'.
They can't watch Ned because their hands are already full with watching one of his shitty brothers. Patti's father is likewise annoyed with the Cauphee child he agreed to take care of.
As is Mr. Dink.
Ned informs them that the tv isn't working. Theda tells him that he's coming with them to Grandma Funnie's house. He's excited because "everything 'round here is busted."
On the way, Ned is wearing his sock puppet and singing annoying songs. Meanwhile, Mayor Dink is holding a town hall meeting to address the Cauphee problem.
The people are fed up with these awful kids. Something has to be done.
I want to know who handlebar mustache and trucker hat is. Is he just a concerned/angry citizen or is he the father of someone I should know? Can we have an episode about how he acquired his belt buckle?
Grandma Funnie is excited to meet Ned. She greets him warmly and promises a wonderful lunch. Once they've all sat down, she realizes she forgot the soup and asks him to fetch the big pot. Doug and Phil both offer to get it, fearing that Ned will Ned it up, but she insists that Ned doesn't mind.
And he really doesn't mind. He gets the pot and doesn't spill it or anything. It's almost like he's an actual person.
After lunch, Grandma Funnie asks Ned if he likes banana pudding. He tells her he doesn't (because, again, jerk ass). She asks him what kind of treat he likes and he says, "pollywogs."
"You mean the frogs?"
"They're made with peanut butter, raisins and bologna, but no one will ever make them for me."
So she makes some pollywogs and they're a hit. Phil especially enjoys them. Meanwhile, Mayor Dink is leading the mob.
Back at Grandma Funnie's, Ned starts attacking the piano again. Doug tries to stop him, but Grandma Funnie is having none of that. She says, "oh, he can't hurt it. Why, whenever I'm feeling bad, I like to come in here and give it a good pound!" Grandma Funnie really misses her husband. :(
"Why don't you give it a good pound, Neddy?"
Actually, he's just going to play it. Very well.
Meanwhile, the angry mob led by Mayor Dink has arrived. She turns and says, "okay, neighbors! We've got us a house to build!"
It seems heartwarming, but at some point they're going to realize the whole town got together to build the house out of anger. This whole town, including the mayor, hates their kids so much they got together and built a new fucking house to avoid dealing with the awful shits anymore. "Here's your fucking house," they're saying. "These shitty kids are, once again, your problem."
Anyway, at least Ned is having a good time. Grandma Funnie tells him he can practice piano at her place anytime. And here's Doug's takeaway from this experience.
"It was weird. Ned acted like a regular guy when grandma treated him like one."
What a concept.
When they get back to town, they found out the Cauphee's house has been rebuilt. It took the town one day. That's how angry they were. They couldn't put up with those shitty kids for one more night.
In the end, Doug says Ned was changed by the whole experience, but the only change he mentions is that Ned joined the marching band.
Doug's Quailman adventure at the beginning of this episode seems to imply Roger is to blame for Ned's unwanted presence, like Roger burned down his house. Why is that the fantasy? Even when Roger is barely involved, he still gets the blame from Doug. If anything, the villain should be played by Ned, and instead of trapping him with a Patti robot in a swamp, he should have just moved into the Thicket of Solitude and set up camp. Come on, Doug. Make you quail-powered fantasies make sense, please.