Wednesday, May 4, 2016
Episode 24: Doug's Disappearing Dog
This episode begins with a nightmare. Doug and Porkchop are hanging out in the journal/nowhere space.
The light blinks off. Porkchop disappears.
Doug sees Porkchop's shadow around a corner and chases after him. Rounding the corner, he encounters a bizarre hallway with an uneven floor and odd shaped doors along the walls, ceiling, and floor.
Doug runs down the hallway and opens a door. The room inside is filled with funhouse mirrors. Doug approaches one and dream logic makes him change shape, rather than his reflection.
He runs from the room and starts to open another door because it is marked with a big sign that says, "enter," when another door behind him slams shut and grabs his attention. Assuming Porkchop must have been the one to shut the door, he opens it and the nightmare runs deep.
He shouts, "stay back," while backing up in the hallway and a door on the floor opens up. He falls into it.
At the bottom of whatever that is, he bounces on something. Tumbling through the air, he notices he bounced on Porkchop's belly. When he falls again, Porkchop dissolves into this pool sort of thing.
Doug falls through with a splash and lands at the top of a long, impossible stairway. He starts walking down it and it turns into a long slide.
At the bottom of the slide, Doug finally wakes up. His journal entry begins, "Dear journal,
It started out like a normal day...for about two seconds." He immediately notices that Porkchop is not at the foot of his bed. He looks under his bed and then calls out the window for him.
At the breakfast table, Doug announces that Porkchop is missing. Judy says, "he better not be gone! He owes me five bucks!" This is no time for jokes, Judy.
Phil suggests checking his teepee. Doug goes outside, muttering about how he didn't think about that. He returns pretty quickly because this is the sort of thing you notice right away.
Porkchop has packed up everything but his lava lamp. Doug can't figure out why he left.
"I knew the reason must've been in the note he left, but I could never read his handwriting."
Doug calls Porkchop's usual hangouts to see if they've seen him. First, the pool hall hasn't seen him.
Nor has the French restaurant.
And this George with his bone phone only barks at Doug.
On the other end, Doug is clearly having a conversation, but it's just with this yappy dog. Troubling.
Judy is watching a show called Newton's Noodle, and today's topic is Your Dog's Brain.
This catches Doug's attention and he joins her. According to the program, 99.44% of a dog's brain is dedicated to eating and sleeping. The remaining .56% is dedicated to the dog's interests and hobbies. Doug insists that this doesn't apply to Porkchop because his brain has always worked. We now get an adorable flashback to Porkchop as a puppy. Young Doug and puppy Porkchop are running around pretending they are astronauts.
Their careless astronaut characters run into Judy and knock over a doll. The doll's head falls off. She is naturally upset that her doll is broken and threatens to tell Theda. Porkchop has a suggestion; surgery.
Irresponsible parenting. This is Homer Simpson-level parenting. Doug should not have access to circular saws. He will just give it to the dog and see what happens. Anyway, the surgery is somehow a success and Judy is billed accordingly.
This memory fades as Doug says that Porkchop is always a great audience.
And a great dancer.
What if Porkchop wasn't actually a dog but just a VHS copy of A Charlie Brown Christmas?
Doug also remembers "that time he repaired that telescope in deep space."
Judy interrupts him at this point and he admits that this never happened. "But it might have if he went to astronaut school."
Doug imagines how Porkchop might be treated if someone else adopts him. In this fantasy, Porkchop is dancing when this shitty little kid commands him to fetch a stick.
The kid also tears down the teepee to reveal a shitty, poorly made dog house. Topping off the fantasy/nightmare, the shitty kid gives Porkchop a disgusting bowl of food and he almost vomits.
After the fantasy, Doug asks, "Judy, why would he go?"
I don't know why she's being so patronizing in this episode, but now she's pretending to be an old detective with a bad accent.
She asks when Doug last saw Porkchop. He says it was yesterday at the Flounder's Day Picnic. This is a picnic to honor The Beets' guitarist Flounder. He grew up in North Bluffington, apparently.
Porkchop loves Flounder.
While the band is playing, everyone is having fun. They're all dancing. Dale drops ice cream onto Beebe and she imagines screaming at the child but just grins and pats him on the head. Skeeter is grilling beets. People are riding carnival rides. It looks like a great time.
Doug recalls he saw Porkchop was at the pie eating contest.
"Porkchop was doing okay but Roger was eating three times as fast as anyone."
This seems like it would be terribly obvious. It's just a picnic table and there's no way they aren't visible to anyone watching the contest. Also, the three of them are grabbing pies themselves, and Roger is handing pies to them. Anyway, Porkchop chases them out from under the table and Roger's scheme is over. Porkchop wins the pie eating contest, then he enters the talent contest with Connie.
And they win. Everyone gathers at Swirly's to end the great day. Doug reasons that someone must have done something terrible to Porkchop when they weren't together. Judy's character accepts this statement as the solution to the mystery and declares the case closed.
Useless. Doug picks up Porkchop's collar and feels that it is still warm. To him, this means he couldn't have left very long ago. To everyone else, this means the collar has been sitting in the sun. Either way, Doug declares that he's going to find Porkchop no matter where he has to look, and he won't be coming back until he does.
So Doug determines to set out like a Canadian Mountie. They always find their man.
Theda calls out the window, "Douglas! Come back and finish your sandwich, please!" This ruins the fantasy.
Without the imaginary horse, travel is much slower, so Doug asks the first person he sees about Porkchop.
"Mr. Dink, did you see Porkchop this morning?"
"Why, no, Douglas. The only thing I saw was a short guy dragging a teepee, with some very nice luggage I must say."
So...yes? He points Doug in the direction he saw Porkchop walking. Doug starts approaching strangers with a picture of Porkchop and none of them have seen him.
They haven't even seen him from behind...
The less assumed about this photo and the circumstances that created it the better, I think.
Doug determines that he needs help and enlists Skeeter, who is of course eager to help his best friend.
Doug asks if he remembers anyone treating Porkchop bad yesterday. Here's what happened, as told by Skeeter.
"You came up to me and said, 'is there still ice cream on my dress?'"
"What? That wasn't me. That was Beebe!"
"Oh, yeah. Right. You were singing a song."
"No. That was Flounder."
"Hmmm. My short term memory's not so good. Maybe you could wait and ask me this stuff again next year."
A genius, everybody.
Doug asks Connie and Beebe if they remember anything happening to Porkchop.
Beebe says she remembers everything perfectly.
She says everyone was happy to see her. She says her throat is parched and everyone offers a drink, but she only wants a drink from a certain someone. He says, "I hope you like frothy goat," and somehow no one vomits.
Nothing against goat milk. Just something about offering "frothy goat" that triggers the gag reflex.
Beebe says the only person that wasn't excited to see her was Roger, and here's what she thinks he looks like.
This is great.
Beebe finishes her recollection with her version of Dale dropping his ice cream on her. Her ruined clothes are not her primary concern. She is more upset that he doesn't have ice cream now. She says she bought ice cream for all the children. Connie interrupts to tell her how things really were.
At least their heights are back to normal. Connie's view of Roger is quite different.
And when Dale drops his ice cream, Beebe threatens to call the police.
She is not polite about it. Connie and Beebe start arguing about each other's perceptions of reality when Doug interrupts to ask about his dog. Finally, Beebe says she remembers something about that at the three-legged race.
She says Doug was wearing the same old thing and asks if he has anything else. Then she says that Doug said, "I can't race with you 'cause you're made of cardboard."
She says Porkchop stayed with Al and Moo Sleech while Doug raced. Their dog is also with them. Doug assumes they did something to Porkchop. He has a short fantasy where they strap him into a gyroscope, which is weird because gyroscopes were a fun, simple thing that you'd likely find at events like this Flounder's Day Picnic. I assume they still make appearances at these small town events.
Doug and Skeeter run toward the Sleech house, because Doug apparently believes the twins are not as friendly as they've always been to him. Considering Beebe was the one that tipped him off about the Sleech brothers' potential involvement, and the fact that she described Roger as an actual lizard person, Doug should not be so anxious to talk to them. As it happens, if they just slowed down and searched the bus station instead of running past it, they might have found Porkchop.
Porkchop drops money on the counter and points at a poster to indicate that he would like a ticket to Los Karkeez. The man at the ticket booth asks if he wants round trip tickets, but he shakes his head no.
"They say if you want to start over, Los Karkeez is the place to go. Well, let's see. That bus leaves once every two weeks and you just missed it. Shouldn't have stood here chattin' with me."
What an irritating piece of shit. Porkchop points at a different poster to indicate that he would take a ticket to Bloatsburg instead. The man hands over the ticket and says the bus leaves in 15 minutes.
At the Sleech house, Al and Moo reassure Doug that Captain Cosmo did not do anything to his dog. Captain Cosmo is their dog and they are certain he is a captain from somewhere "out there."
Ignoring this weird nonsense, Doug asks about Porkchop. They said they didn't participate in the three-legged race because they had a note from their doctor. This is part of Al's memory.
While he watches Patti and Guy speed past the competition, girls swoon over his brilliance. Moo, however, remembers it differently. The girls ignored them in favor of Captain Cosmo and Porkchop.
Moo says they last saw Porkchop going to the Whirly Gag with Doug and Patti.
Patti reminds them that Porkchop wasn't able to ride with them.
In telling the story of the Whirly Gag ride, Patti accidentally reminded Doug that Roger wasn't riding with them either. Naturally, Doug assumes Roger didn't something to Porkchop during this time. Time to confront Roger.
Please, for your own safety, don't let your cat drive anything. Roger says he was too busy to bother with Porkchop. His story begins with his arrival at noon. An impossibly long limousine pulls up and these three step out.
I love that this is how Roger imagines himself. While Doug is worried about going bald, Roger's ideal self is a balding man that doesn't give a shit. His cat is sort of a lion and his woman is Judy Funnie.
In Roger's recollection, Doug walks up acting like a stereotypical hillbilly, wearing overalls with no shirt and being unreasonably friendly to a fucking jerk. This is when Roger's story ends. Doug finally notes that everyone remembers things a lot differently. They leave Roger without even asking him about Porkchop. Doug assumes he's probably a hundred miles away by now.
Meanwhile, Porkchop is still waiting for his bus. He's looking over his photo-album.
An employee of the bus company announces that the bus to Bloatsburg leaves in 3 minutes. Porkchop takes this as his sign, closes the photo-album, drops it into the trash, and gathers the rest of his belongings.
At Swirly's, Doug is moaning to all his friends about how Porkchop was just here yesterday with all of them having fun. Chalky points out that he wasn't. Porkchop wasn't allowed into the restaurant because he's a dog. Mr. Swirly made Doug tie him up outside. Doug says, "that's it! Someone must have done something bad to him while he was outside!"
Finally, Doug notices the problem. He asks, "I tied him up outside?"
Beebe points out that he's just a dog and this swirling mess of a headache fantasy happens.
It ends with Doug rocking in his seat. He finally gets it. He finally realizes that he's the one that treated Porkchop bad. He treated him like a dog. Beebe asks, "yeah, so?"
"Porkchop's not just a dog! How would I feel if I put myself in his place?"
This is perhaps the greatest Doug Funnie fantasy of all time.
Porkchop tells Doug that this is a three-legged race, not a five-legged race.
This is a ride for people. Not dogs.
"I don't want to go all the way home. I'll just tie him to a tree, like a dog."
Doug finally realizes he left Porkchop out of all the fun. Skeeter says dogs must have it tough. Roger says they have it made. He loves it when they scratch their ear with their foot.
Doug is distressed because he thinks he'll never see his dog again. He'd like to at least apologize. Patti tries to reassure him that he might see him again. He wonders how. "He's not just gonna show up on a street corner."
Willie says, "hey Doug, isn't that your dog on the street corner?"
He says, "I didn't realize how different things look to other people."
"I tried to see it from your point of view."
The bus driver is getting impatient. Doug apologizes as Porkchop is walking on the bus.
Imagine how depressing this episode would be if Porkchop didn't accept his apology and just moved to Bloatsburg and we never saw him again.
"I definitely learned two things: everybody sees things in different ways, so you gotta watch how what you do makes somebody else feel, and never delay a bus by talking to your dog. It makes the driver really mad, and besides, it throws the bus off schedule."
This episode has everything. I loved seeing how other characters view the world and their friends. Doug can understand dog speech but not dog writing? Patti and Guy were partners in the three-legged race? Does Skeeter ever even know who he's actually talking to? What does Roger actually look like? Beebe describes him as a lizard person, Connie describes him as impossibly short, Roger describes himself as a balding adult, and Doug, as ever, describes him as a person with green skin and a crippling vitamin deficiency.