Doug's school sure has a lot of special assemblies. Doug is barely interested in this episode's special assembly because he's working with Skeeter on a project for their civics class. They haven't decided what the project should be yet. Skeeter has an idea; build a model of the capital building out of sugar cubes.
Doug doesn't care for the idea. Skeeter says, "nothing impresses teachers like little buildings made out of food."
Doug says he wants to do something special, so Skeeter suggests they build the courthouse out of mashed potatoes. This is what you get when a genius phones it in. Or maybe he skipped breakfast. I don't know.
Finally, the assembly begins with Mr. Bone shouting unreasonably loud for everyone to shut up.
He threatens to move the entire assembly to detention if everyone doesn't shut up. He then proves his value to the school and really earns that vice principal paycheck by introducing Principal Ex-Mayor White.
Principal White gets to the point relatively quick. This assembly is to let the students know they are introducing mandatory school uniforms.
All of the students gasp. Doug says, "aww, man," like he's disappointed by this new development.
Later, Doug narrates that the announcement hit the students like a wet blanket. Roger calls the idea lame. He adds, "if we all dress alike, how you gonna tell us rich kids from the losers?"
This is especially amusing coming from Roger. Roger was poor and he wore blue pants, a plain white shirt, and a black jacket. After his mom got rich, he cut the sleeves off of his jacket. I guess the reasoning is you can tell he's rich now because wearing a vest is like saying, "I cut off the sleeves of this garment and donated them to a poor family so I could write off the expense of the whole jacket on my taxes. If you can't donate your sleeves to my new charity, Sleeve the Poor, any little amount of money you can donate will go a long way to buying other jackets to remove the sleeves so they can be donated to poor families that can't afford sleeves." Anyway...
Beebe hates the idea too.
"Who would want to live in a world where we're all seen as equals? It's undemocratic!"
Fentruck is also opposed to the uniforms because of a dark period in Yakostonian history where everyone was forced to dress as cheerleaders.
Patti speculates that uniforms might not be so bad.
Skeeter says his cousin wears uniforms every day and likes it. He saves time in the morning because he doesn't have to decide what to wear. Kids save money because they don't have to keep up with the latest fashion trends. Patti is impressed and thinks that makes sense, ignoring the fact that they all wear the same thing every day anyway and kids would still have to buy other clothes unless they intended to wear the school uniform everywhere they go. What do you wear on a date? School uniform. Going camping? School uniform. Going to the movies? The arcade? Funky Town? Family getting together for Christmas? School uniform. So liberating to finally have clothes for every occasion, says the kids who already wear the same thing for every occasion anyway.
Beebe is still not convinced. She says nothing is going to tell her how to dress except peer pressure and trendy advertising. This is a little too self aware for Beebe, and luckily for her, Sally doesn't let anyone call her out on it.
Sally is pissed. She says uniforms are a violation of their most basic right. Roger thinks she means "the right to flaunt it if you got it." She's too into it to call him a moron, so she continues about their right to freedom of expression. Patti agrees. Doug isn't sure what he thinks.
Sally continues her rant, rallying the kids around the idea to write petitions to present to Principal White. Patti's all in.
Doug and Skeeter don't seem to care much. They still have to figure out what to do for the civics project. Patti says, "standing up for your rights is what civics is all about! I'm gonna help!"
Doug says, "too bad we can't pass around petitions for our assignment."
Skeeter again pitches the idea of making something out of food. Doug ignores Skeeter's shitty suggestion because he has an idea. They'll get a camera and follow Sally and the other students as they petition and protest the new school uniforms. They'll make a sort of news report about the whole thing.
Skeeter is immediately on board, but still full of shitty ideas. He says, "we can shake the camera a lot like they do in the news. Zoom in and out! And we can shoot it in black and white...just 'cause it's cool. And if that doesn't work, we can always build city hall out of cocktail weenies and aerosol cheese!"
So the petitioning is well under way. They've come up with this name for their protest organization.
Doug and Skeeter have a decent camera and lights and a microphone and they're filming the overstated action. It doesn't take long before they have plenty of signatures (an undefined amount) and they take a rather large stack of petitions to Principal White.
He immediately starts hamming it up for Doug and Skeeter's camera. After Sally drops the stack of petitions on his desk, he says, "well now, this is exactly what I like to see. Nothing is as inspiring as students getting involved with school policy. I tell you, it's young people like you that give us all hope for a brighter tomorrow! That and the knowledge that I will someday soon be mayor again.
As he continues, he picks up the stack of petitions and shoves them back into Sally's hands. He says, "now I want to encourage you all to keep striving for your goals. Reach for the stars. Never give up! And remember, my door is always open."
Mr. Bone is more direct in his approach to telling them to fuck off.
He says they have a special way of dealing with such important papers.
Oh, I don't think they'll all fit in that suggestion box, Mr. Bone. It just doesn't look big enough...
Oh. Asshole. Mr. Bone is an asshole. He tells them there's no room in the school for radicals and trouble makers and then promises to keep an eye on them.
At lunch, Sally is madder than ever. She's demanding they organize a protest.
Doug and Skeeter are trying new camera tricks.
The students start chanting "protest" and Patti really gets into it.
I think this is supposed to be Patti's fantasy, but since Doug is always narrating the episode as he's writing it in his journal, isn't this really his idea of what Patti must be fantasizing about?
There's not much to this fantasy. Sally is on horseback and leads Patti and her fellow horseless fighters to storm a castle that has smoke pouring out of it and apparently no defenders.
Basically, it seems like Sally is charging them into a defeated castle so they can suffocate. It's a weird fantasy.
After the fantasy, all the students are cheering the idea of a protest and Sally says they'll meet tomorrow morning on the front steps of the school for their official protest. Apparently, standing on a table in the cafeteria and encouraging the students to chant doesn't count as a protest.
Meanwhile, in the Lunch Barn, Mr. Bone is spying on them. Why?
He's the vice principal. Is he not allowed in the cafeteria during lunch? Have they broken none of his school rules? He threatened to give the whole school detention earlier when they didn't shut up fast enough at the assembly, but standing on a table in the cafeteria and disrupting everyone's lunch requires spying and unheard threats.
Patti is now passing out flyers advertising the next day's protest in the hallway. It's hard for me to understand how this makes any sense. When I was in middle school (when this episode originally aired...), I was in class pretty much all day. There was very little time between classes, and barely enough time to actually finish your lunch. So, sometime after lunch, Patti found the time to print up a bunch of flyers for a protest the next day, and now she's just standing around handing them out. Did she use a school copier for that? Where was Mr. Bone and why was he not stopping that massive waste of school resources?
Sally approaches Patti with some bad news. Her voice is gone. She can barely whisper.
She asks Patti to give a speech at the protest tomorrow. Patti is reluctant.
The protest begins with a Connie song which is presumably called "Don't Want Uniforms."
Patti tells Sally she's not sure she can do this. Sally reassures her that everyone is behind her. Mr. Bone is spying from the roof and has his own plan to stop the protest.
I don't understand why Mr. Bone is handling this so poorly. He turns on the hose and nothing happens. Like an idiot, he points the hose at his face and says, "what's blocking my flow?"
Of all the fucking places they could have put the ladder...
The hose bubble gets so big it pushes the ladder over and Doug and Skeeter are thrown into some bushes.
This is presumably a reference to any number of old cartoons and the oldest known comedy film and also the horrible treatment of civil rights protesters.
Mr. Bone just can't do anything right.
Beebe gets splashed with a little water from the hose.
She says, "feel that? I think it's gonna rain." There are compounding layers of stupid to this. The sky is clear. Mr. Bone is yelling while being thrown about by a hose right above her head. If you are getting wet, it's not going to rain; it is raining. Unless of course it's obviously just a splash from a hose. Can none of these kids see the hose? What is happening to the students at this school? Anyway, she wants to introduce Patti now. At least they'll get the big speech out of the way in case it rains. Fentruck introduces Patti in the traditional Yakistonian manner, which includes armpit farts and stomping while shouting "zvoopa" several times.
Patti is shoved onto the stage (Where did the stage come from? Did these kids who can't see hoses or tell the difference between a man being tossed around by a hose and actual rain actually build a stage for this somewhat impromptu protest?) and she almost locks up. She's very nervous.
Doug shouts words of encouragement and she starts speaking.
Slowly she starts to really get into it. She really gains confidence as the crowd gets more into her speech that she is totally just making up as she goes. As she starts droning on about the constitution, Doug has another fantasy for her. She's the first female president.
After her speech, Mr. Bone emerges from behind part of the school and says, "alright you beatniks. The hootenanny is over! Get to class!"
Everyone disperses immediately. He didn't even have to threaten them with detention.
The core group leading the protest remain to talk to Patti and discuss their next step.
Sally says they loved her. Fentruck says, "that was most inspiring. In my country, you would have been already in chains! And I am not just saying that." Dark.
Roger says their next step should be throwing stink bombs into Mr. Bone's office. Patti suggests they keep protesting in hopes that they can pressure Principal White to a debate. Roger doesn't like the idea, but everyone else does so they pressure him to support it too.
Doug says, "we'll call this shot 'The Bluffington 5.'" I doubt that Doug realizes he's making a reference to something.
At the next protest, Patti buries the idea of school uniforms by actually digging a grave and throwing a couple uniforms into it.
They dug this hole on the football field, so I'm again left wondering why Mr. Bone hasn't stopped the whole thing yet. The next protest is a candlelight vigil.
Unsurprisingly, the school paper has articles about S.P.U.D.
According to Guy, Patti is personally more popular than S.P.U.D.
Patti says the campaign isn't about personalities but issues. She says they are all equal in S.P.U.D. but then uses her megaphone to tell the four other members that they're slowing down. They're walking a picket circle and beginning to resent Patti. They're tired of doing all the work while she gets all the recognition. Still using her megaphone, she reassures them that no one is more important than anyone else, and also hold your signs higher.
Their next great idea is a hunger strike. They've chained themselves to a tree.
Mr. Bone is still spying on their various protests too. He's got a brilliant idea to break up this little hunger strike.
He's got the most amazing solution to this one. No, it's not bolt cutters and detention slips. It's cheese burger in a can. He'll make them hungry!
Unfortunately, he loses his balance while he's spraying the cheese burger scent, falls into a trash can, then rolls into the back of a passing garbage truck.
None of the hunger striking kids saw this happen or heard him screaming.
Sally tries to lead the group in a song. Roger proposes dirty tricks. Beebe suggests they get an army of lawyers and sue. Patti tells them to shut up. She says they only have to look hungry. Finally, over all these stupid little disagreements, the group starts breaking up. Roger says he's going to start his own protest group. Beebe says she'll start her own too. Fentruck too. Patti tells them they can't leave because she gave the keys to Doug and he went to lunch.
With only Patti and Sally remaining in S.P.U.D., their next move is a sit down strike.
Two students walk past them and shrug. Sally asks how this is supposed to work, but before Patti can respond an actual news reporter from a local station approaches them for an interview. Principal White immediately interrupts to talk about himself and how he's going to be Mayor again.
The reporter doesn't give a shit about Principal White. He asks Patti and Sally if they have the support of the entire student body. They don't really explain that they don't have the support before the reporter loses interest in them and asks Doug and Skeeter if they support it. Doug says, "yeah," but seems unsure and Skeeter says he's not sure how he feels about it. Principal White jumps back in front of the camera
"Now as I always say: nothing's as inspiring as young persons getting involved with school policy. And I want to say how much I admire their gumption! The same quality, I must say, that will once again make me an effective mayor come the next election."
Patti takes this opportunity to corner Principal White into agreeing to a debate. At first he seems unsure, like he's trying to find a way out of it, but then asks the reporter if it will be on tv. When the reporter confirms, Principal White commits to the debate. He says he is in favor of televised democracy and will personally choose the person that will be arguing his side.
Patti and Sally celebrate this small victory right up until Sally says she'll clobber whoever Principal White picks. Even though Sally is the captain of the debate team, Patti doesn't think she should be the one debating.
Patti wants to debate. She's the one that challenged the principal. She's the one they'll listen to and believe. Sally quits.
At the debate, Doug mentions that, along with Skeeter of course, he got permission to tape the event. Disrupt lunch. Disrupt the hallways. Dig huge holes in the football field. Chain yourself to a tree. Do whatever you fucking want, but if you tape this debate without permission, I don't know what Mr. Bone is going to do to you but you'll fucking deserve it.
Doug points out the new splinter groups from S.P.U.D.
Roger's group is Students Oppose Uniform Rules.
Sally's group is Serious Students Organized Uniform Protest.
Fentruck's one man group is named B.A.B.U.S.H.K.A. and I'm not going to attempt to type what he says he stands for. It doesn't matter.
And Beebe's group is BEEBE and it doesn't stand for anything. They are all wearing the same clothes, so it's safe to assume she's no longer protesting uniforms. She is presumably protesting the fact that she is not the center of attention.
The mayor walks on stage, blusters about how great he'd be as mayor and how fair he is, then introduces the person who'll be debate his side.
Everybody gasps. Skeeter says, "well, somebody had to do it."
Skeeter begins by saying, "I know how everybody feels, but I think there's some good things to say about uniforms." The entire crowd erupts in boos and Roger's group has noisemakers and horns.
Fentruck has a horn. Beebe's group chants something through megaphones.
Skeeter tries to actually make his points but everyone is shouting him down. Patti gets frustrated with the crowd. She has a realization.
Patti gets everyone's attention and says, "I know you don't want to hear anything good about uniforms. I feel the same way. But if we don't let Skeeter talk, we'll be doing the same thing we accused the school of doing: not listening. It's easy to get so caught up in what you want that you stop listening to the other side. I know. I guess I got so carried away being the leader of S.P.U.D. I stopped paying attention to everybody else. But we have to listen to all sides. It's the only way to have a fair debate. The only way to have a democracy!"
She invites Skeeter back to his podium and he starts talking. Doug narrates over it, saying Skeeter had some good points, but he's still not sure how he feels about uniforms.
Doug says the whole debate didn't matter anyway. Everybody on the school board had a different idea about what the uniform should look like.
Mr. Bluff thinks everybody should dress like Beebe.
Mr. Valentine think the uniforms should look like Skeeter.
Mr. Bone wants to turn the students into prisoners.
Mr. Bone should not work in education. This is not a healthy view of students. He should not be in a position of authority anywhere.
The only thing the school board agreed on was putting off the school uniform idea until next year. And this is how Doug and Skeeter end their civics report.
Their report earns them A's and a standing ovation.
Doug and Skeeter celebrate by buying the Bluffington 5 chocolate milk shakes.
Patti wants strawberry. Sally wants vanilla. Beebe wants low fat. Fentruck is allergic to chocolate. Roger wants burgers. Let no good deed go unpunished, but why didn't they fucking ask what everyone wanted in the first place?
So, that's it. Doug is maybe the least crazy person in this episode, but he's still the narrator, imagining Patti having fantasies and just being a generally unreliable and inconsistent narrator. He started out unsure what to think about school uniforms and and a long, arduous journey, he steadfastly remained unsure what to think about school uniforms.
Nothing came out of Mr. Bone's ridiculous spying. There was a missed opportunity to write him back out of the show. When he fell in the trash can that rolled into the back of the garbage truck? If he never showed up again, it would be the greatest end to the character, forcing the assumption that he died in the incident. Oh well.