Doug and Skeeter are having a good time skateboarding in the park when they are struck with awe for the preparations for Bluffington Civic Pride Day.
It's really not that impressive. It's just a bunch of construction workers erecting a stage under the supervision of the mayor. Skeeter is impressed with the size of the stage. Mayor Dink takes questions from reporters.
Mayor Dink gives a general rundown of the standard activities they'll have at the event, and surprises everyone with a new event. There will be a contest to write an official town song. Everyone is encouraged to write a song and perform it at the event. The winner, obviously, will be the official town song. Everyone seems thrilled by the idea, especially...
Of course they're going to write a song. And of course Doug has a fantasy about this...
I don't know that either of them actually plays piano. In the fantasy, they're playing a waltz and singing and you have to wonder how Doug imagined this full song in his head immediately. Later, you'll wonder if he pitched the song to Skeeter and Skeeter shot it down, because they don't even try to play it. After the fantasy, Doug tells Skeeter they're going to write the winning song. He narrates that he didn't know at the time that the contest would come between him and one of his very best friends. Spoiler alert: it's not Skeeter.
So, news of the song contest spread and everyone in town is writing a song. Every student in school has an instrument and they're working out something. Teachers are working on their own songs. Cleopatra is apparently working on a song.
Her song is going to suck but everyone will call it the greatest thing ever because she is a baby. It doesn't matter how much a baby sucks at something she shouldn't be able to do at all.
Mr. Dink bought a mini portable fold-a-matic fuel injected digital recording studio that writes songs for him.
This seems unfair for two reasons: the machine writes the song and Mr. Dink is married to the mayor. Anyway, the first song it writes sucks, with the lyrics, "my love lives under a rock in Bluffington." So he won't win anyway.
Meanwhile, Doug and Skeeter are working on their song.
Skeeter sings, "the best town in the world is Bluffington. It's not just a nothing-ton." Doug stops playing and criticizes the lyrics, so Skeeter challenges him to think of something that rhymes with Bluffington. Before they can return to song practice, Patti shows up with a basketball and a tempting offer to shoot some hoops at the park.
They tell her they're working on their song, but they're stuck on lyrics. She tells them she's having similar problems with her song. They ask to hear her song, but she says it's not really finished and it's probably no good. She removes a sheet of paper from her backpack and lets them read it over. Doug says the lyrics are fantastic. Skeeter agrees. Doug asks her to sing while they play backup. She agrees...
...and Doug reacts.
Because Patti is a terrible singer. The lyrics are great, in the way that they sound like they'd be lyrics for an official town song. They're cheesy and sentimental, but they're supposed to be. Anyway, the song abruptly ends when Doug breaks a string. When Patti asks how her singing was, Doug grins and has a fantasy. It's weirdly based on the George Washington myth about cutting down a cherry tree.
Since Doug Washington cannot tell a lie, he admits that he cut down the tree and her singing is horrible. She retaliates by dumping a bucket of cherries on his head.
After the fantasy, Patti is still waiting for an answer as Doug hallucinates this old trope.
Patti Angel wants Doug to tell the truth because Patti wants him to be honest. Roger Devil says she'll never speak to him again if he tells her the truth. Doug quickly caves to Roger Devil and finally tells Patti she did great. Skeeter and Porkchop are confused.
Patti believes him. She asks for confirmation that she was great, not just good. Then she looks at her watch and says she has to go meet Chalky. After she's gone, Skeeter speculates that his ears must be broken because he thought she sounded terrible. Miserably, Doug admits that Skeeter's ears are not broken. "Her singing stinks like yesterday's magic mystery meat."
Skeeter asks why he lied and he says he didn't want to hurt her feelings. Skeeter points out that she asked him to be honest. Doug asks, "what could it hurt?"
At school the next day, Connie is practicing her song at lunch.
Roger tells them to stop wasting their time. His group, Roger and the Klotztones "has this contest in the bag."
They sing a song and it could be from Grease. Also, it's insulting like Beauty School Dropout, so it's got that going for it too.
Doug admits Roger is pretty good. Connie says they have to be, considering the competition. Patti runs up, excited to tell Doug she signed them up for the contest. Doug is drinking milk at the time, so he does a spit take.
Patti credits him with giving her the nerve to sing in front of all those people. Doug has fucked himself.
Doug is lost in thought when Patti makes him reaffirm his opinion that she's a great singer. Now would be a good moment to come clean, but he doesn't. He just agrees and goes into a fantasy as Patti says, "we'll be the monster hit of the show!"
Yes, literally. They're running from the villagers as Patti finally gets Doug to admit he lied to her. But it's just a fantasy, so...
Before practice, Doug tells Skeeter they have to stop her before she humiliates herself on stage. Skeeter asks, "why don't you just tell her the truth?" Finally putting that genius brain to good use.
Doug says he can't hurt Patti's feelings like that before wondering if there's some way to keep her out of the contest. Here's a question no one asks: why doesn't Skeeter tell her the truth? He's part of this too. He's her friend too. Doug lied, and he's a piece of shit for it and yes he should tell her the truth, but continuing the lie because shitty Doug is a coward only hurts Patti more, right? I would love this episode more if Skeeter just threw Doug under the bus here.
Anyway, Doug thinks of something. He asks Patti to go to the Funkytown Fritter Fry.
It's on the same day as the Bluffington Civic Pride Day. Why are these events on the same day? Bold move, Funkytown. For the record, I would go to neither of these events. I have no pride in where I live, no interest in fried carnival food, and I hate crowds. Patti just thinks Doug is kidding, so that's that plan shot down.
Later, Doug explains the situation to his dad.
Phil tells him the best solution is to just tell her the truth. Phil uses an Uncle Harold as an example of how no one in his family has the courage to tell someone something embarrassing. Apparently Uncle Harold wore a toupee inside out for years and no one ever told him. So to be clear, Phil is telling Doug he should do a thing his family has a clear history of being unable to do. Unfortunately, he says something that gives Doug an idea. He says, "I'm sure she never heard herself sing."
Doug gets everyone over to Mr. Dink's recording studio so they can record a demo tape. His plan, obviously, is to let Patti hear how bad she is on the recording. Unfortunately, her singing is so terrible, the equipment, even the popcorn machine, starts to malfunction and spark and smoke and shake.
Despite the malfunctions, they still get a demo. Upon listening to it, Patti says it sounds terrible. Doug is tentatively excited, thinking his plan worked, but Patti speculates that there must be something wrong with Mr. Dink's equipment.
With that plan in the toilet, Doug has to try something drastic. He has asked Mayor Dink to disqualify his group from the contest. Why should she disqualify his group? Because he is not a native Bluffingtonian. He was born elsewhere.
Mayor Dink laughs off this suggestion. She says the only qualifications you need are that you love Bluffington and you have heart. Another shitty plan in the toilet.
Mayor Dink says she's not worried about technicalities. She's worried about the weather. It's currently raining, and if it doesn't stop, Pride Day might be cancelled.
Doug tries to hide his excitement by saying, "I guess everyone will just have to spend another boring Saturday hanging out at the mall." Unfortunately, this gives Mayor Dink the idea to move the event to the mall. It'll be indoors so haha, fuck you, weather. Mayor Dink adds one last thing that makes Doug feel worse.
"Maybe we can even get the mall radio station to broadcast the song contest!"
Do malls have radio stations? Is that a thing? I don't think that's a thing. If it's a thing, I'm going to need a job at one of these mall radio stations. Oh, so this is a fantasy Doug is having. The mall broadcasts their song and aliens hear it.
"MAKE THE EARTH CREATURES STOP!"
Is anyone keeping track of the number of Doug's fantasies that have resulted in the total destruction of the planet?
After the fantasy, Doug moans loudly, "now look what I did!"
Finally, he decides to tell Patti the truth. Lucky for him, she's actually sick.
She's lost her voice and she won't be able to sing in the contest.
Doug immediately has a fantasy where he's on a green hill in the mountains while "Hallelujah Chorus" plays.
After the fantasy, Doug tries to play it cool. Patti is too sick to notice, and suggests they just get Connie to sing the song. Doug likes this idea.
Finally, Bluffington Civic Pride Day is here. To kick off the song contest, we have this barbershop quartet featuring Mr. Swirly, Mr. Valentine, and two other guys who probably have names.
Please note that Mr. Swirly is wearing a fake black mustache over his real white mustache.
There are bizarre happenings, like a pilgrim giving away turnips on sticks, and turnip sack races, and snail races
Backstage, Mayor Dink tells everyone to be ready when their name is called. We get a brief glimpse of everyone practicing their songs. It's pretty great. It's like everyone staked out their genre of music so a lot is represented and it's not all just trying to be The Beets. Most importantly, Connie sounds great singing Patti's song.
Connie says it was easy since Patti wrote such a good song. Mayor Dink calls for Fentruck. It's his turn.
"Bluffington, you do not disgust me.
let me count so(?) how many ways.
Number one: the people smell almost always
better than a herd of goats do."
It goes on from there, of course, but we have to go backstage again to where Mayor Dink is telling Doug his group is up next. They do a collective high five right before Patti walks up to break the great news to them. Her voice is back.
Connie gladly tells Patti she can sing her own song. Connie is glad just to play backup guitar. Doug says Patti sounds kind of hoarse, so maybe she should rest her voice. Patti reassures him that her voice is great. Doug has a fantasy.
She's not even halfway through the first line when the vegetables start flying. They're piling up around her while she happily sings along, oblivious to all the hate she's receiving. I especially like this fantasy because Doug believes that maybe everyone in town brought vegetables to the Bluffington Civic Pride Day event just in case someone sucks so bad they need to be traumatically insulted.
After the fantasy, Doug tries to say they made some changes Patti doesn't know about. Connie quickly shuts this down, saying, "we haven't changed that much."
Finally, and after much sweating and stalling, Doug says, "maybe singing isn't what you do best. Sometimes what you're singing...doesn't exactly match the notes."
Doug says he didn't want to hurt her feelings and she tells him he did anyway. So now they both feel terrible. Good job, Doug!
Mayor Dink introduces their group and they apparently went with the name The Funnie Farm, so that's appropriate for the situation. Before they go onstage, Patti says, "I trusted you to be honest with me and you lied. I don't know if I'll ever be able to trust you again."
Onstage, they start playing and Doug quits almost immediately.
He sees Patti on the side of the stage looking sad and stops the song completely.
Doug apologizes for the lack of singing. He wants to introduce a special guest. He calls out Patti, and says she'll recite a poem.
While everyone in the audience waits to hear another shitty song about how great their town is, Doug apologizes to Patti.
Doug says she wrote some really great words and everyone should hear them from her. So she joins them and recites the lyrics she wrote while they play the song they wrote and it works perfectly.
It's exactly the kind of sentimental crap that would win a contest like this.
"My home town is ice cream
And soccer games at school.
Walks with my dad on weekends
when the air is turning cool.
My home town is neighbors
children, cats, and dogs.
And watching folks at sun up
on early morning jogs.
Some people think that happiness
can only be found far away.
But my home town is full of friends
and that's where my heart will stay."
"So, Journal. Everything turned out fine. Even though we didn't get the prize. Oh, by the way, the winner was Fentruck."
Doug writes, "Patti got a special citation for her poem." Doug concludes his journal entry saying he's learned his lesson about being honest when someone asks for his honesty. Then his parents enter his room to show off the hats they bought at Pride Day. They want to know his honest opinion about them. They're pretty cool right?
Who do I have to fuck to get a full recording of the entire song Fentruck wrote? He ends the song on number 22, which is "for liking me I'm thanking you with all my face." I need to know all the reasons why Bluffington does not disgust Fentruck. If Doug had just told Patti the truth from the beginning this episode would feature a lot less conflict, and a lot more of Fentruck's song. Doug's attempts to get disqualified or to trick Patti into going somewhere else during the contest wouldn't have eaten up so much of this episode's run-time and we could have had that time to hear Fentruck's song. If Doug hadn't needed to talk to Patti while Fentruck was singing, we could have watched Fentruck sing.