Dear journal...One of the first three original Nicktoons, featuring eleven-year-old Doug Funnie and his experiences with his friends, family and community. Creator Jim Jinkins developed the concept and drew inspiration from his own experiences growing up. Beginning with Doug's arrival in Bluffington, he dutifully writes about his every adventure in his journal, which frames almost every episode. Very early on, he gained a best friend in Mosquito "Skeeter" Valentine, a nemesis in school bully Roger Klotz, and a love interest in the tomboyish Patti Mayonnaise. His dog Porkchop frequently steals the show with his antics, not unlike Snoopy. Many other colourful characters (both literally and figuratively) were featured.In many episodes, Doug pretends to be one of his personal superheroes to solve the problem; the methods the hero uses are adapted to fit a real-life situation. For example, one episode has the vice principal Mr. Bone refusing to have a popular rock band play at their school; he considers it heathen entertainment. Doug pretends to be Quailman dealing with the strict alien robots called Robo-Bones. When Quailman couldn't overpower the robots, they turned on him with horrible yodeling (Mr. Bone was part of a yodeling quartet). Quailman ended up saving the day by suggesting that they sing in key and form a band, which made everyone happy. Doug learned that, instead of fighting Mr. Bone, they should make a compromise. He suggested Mr. Bone's yodeling group to open for the rock band, figuring that the student body suffering for five minutes was worth it.Those imaginary characters were Homages to other heroes in pop culture. Smash Adams was James Bond, Race Canyon was Indiana Jones, Quailman had some resemblence to Superman. Skeeter once revealed his personal superhero as Silver Skeeter, obviously based on the Silver Surfer.This show breaks away from the borderline-Negative Continuity of other Nickelodeon shows, even getting a Grand Finale when the network prized being able to not pay attention to airing order.After its initial run, the show was bought and Retooled by Disney into Brand Spanking New Doug (Or Disney's Doug as it was later branded). It wound up changing a few things from the Nickelodeon version (the first episode even address this with the new changes of Doug's life) with many characters getting new looks and various supporting characters changing jobs and roles. Despite the changes, it was still a continuation of the original series, and ended up with a longer run than the original. Like the Nickelodeon version, it also concluded with a Grand Finale (something very few Disney cartoons have managed).A theatrical film, accurately (and optimistically) titled Dougs First Movie was released in 1999. It also got its own stage show in Disney-MGM Studios, Doug Live!, which ran from 1999-2001.Nickelodeon's Doug is now in reruns on TeenNick's "The '90s Are All That" block.Not to be confused with the YouTube series Doug Derky.
This show provides examples of:
The Ace: Chalky Studebaker was the star athlete of every athletic team, and was the swim team. Deconstructed when Doug learned that he has insecurities about having to be the best at everything due to constantly being compared to his even more overachieving older brother, including when Chalky cheated off of Doug during an exam..
Silver Skeeter was this in his first appearance, much to the annoyance of Doug
Ageless Birthday Episode: Played straight in the Nickelodeon episode "Doug's Birthday Present," to the extent that the Disney series opened with an episode about him turning 12. Since he was 11½ when he moved to Bluffington and lived there during the Nickelodeon birthday episode, the only logical conclusion one could draw is that he had two 12th birthdays!
An Aesop: Most (if not all) of the episodes had one. The show got E/I branding during the Disney run.
A word regarding the Doug vs. Larry fight, not only did Doug take the punch, he wasn't even very hurt by it showing that Larry was pretty weak to begin with, While Doug did hit back in retaliation it's easy to make him come off as the bad guy because he actually is bigger and stronger than Larry.
In "Doug Saves Roger", Roger begs Doug to convince Mr. Bones' nephew Percy to stop bullying him, even saying that he'll never bully Doug again. Doug does so, but now Percy wants to beat up Doug, only for Roger to save Doug. In the end, while acting as a friend, Roger starts to go back on his promise to stop bullying Doug by putting a sign on Doug's back.
Anything But That!: When faced with liver and onions in one of his fantasies in "Doug's Dinner Date."
Arc Number: 47. It's on many street signs, it's Doug's locker number, etc.
Art Evolution: Relatively minor in mostly the animation style, in later episodes the characters are less rubbery.
Brand Spanking New modifies the outfits but is otherwise almost identical. The biggest change is in the musical style, from acapella to more orchestrated.
There is a quite noticeable evolution in the art between the first and second episodes, though. The pilot features a very wobbly style where the characters' outlines are constantly moving, making the show's world look more surreal and scribble-like. This effect was toned down severely by the second episode, and is gone entirely by the end of season one.
In addition to being a minor character at first (see below), Connie was purple like Beebe and the Dinks in the first season. In the second season, she becomes green like Chalky and Roger, coinciding with her increased prominence.
Baseball Episode: Two, actually. "Doug Out in Left Field", where Patti forms her own baseball team for the kids who were rejected from the school's team, and "Doug's On First", where the parents of the kids on Patti's team think it's unfair about what position each player is playing.
Being Good Sucks: "Doug's in the Money." Doug returns the money to the old lady, gets a piece of gum for the reward, loses the respect of Roger and some other kids, but gains the respect of Judy, who from that moment on is less of a CloudcuckoolanderJerkass towards him and more of a Cool Big Sis.
Berserk Button: Implying that Mr. Bone wears pink underwear, which earns the offender one of his harshest punishments. Doug and Roger both trick each other into running afoul of this.
Book Dumb: Doug was an average student and an average athlete, but part of the success of the show is that he is socially savvy enough to figure his way out of problems using a more natural intelligence rather than school learned.
Boring Yet Practical: "Doug Flies A Kite" centers around a kite-flying competition, with Doug ignoring his dad's advice to make a simple diamond-shaped one and trying to improve on it. When none of his improvements work, he eventually settles on the regular kite, which then outlasts everyone else's more elaborate designs.
Brand X and Bland-Name Product: Several. One notable example would be that Bluffington has a Worst Eastern hotel. Also, the Pretendo (also used in Muppet Babies), and Beebe's laptop is a Beet... with an interface that looks suspiciously like it's copied from classic Mac OS.
One comic from the Disney era (printed in Disney Adventures) had a literal Brand X, which was the discount version of cool jacket brand Brand A.
Bratty Teenage Daughter: Judy the drama queen, who thinks that anything involving Doug is a cue to burst into nonsensical hysterics.
And Beebe Bluff in Disney's Doug.
Brother-Sister Team: Doug and Judy sometimes find themselves in this role, such as when they need to outsmart a strict and annoying babysitter.
The Cameo: Doug shows up in the role of the Bloody Head Fairy in the Ren and Stimpy episode "Haunted House". This is particularly funny if you consider that Billy West was at various times the voice of Doug, Stimpy and Ren.
The Cast Showoff: In both versions of the show, Skeeter Valentine was voiced by Fred Newman, who, much like Skeeter, is highly talented at providing sound effects with his mouth. In addition, Newman did most of the music on the show with just his mouth sounds.
Catchphrase: Mr. Dink is middle-class, just like Doug's family, but he has enough money to buy whatever he wants. So his favorite things are "very expensive".
Roger uses the expression "Joey Cucamonga" to express shock in one episode of the Nickelodeon version, but in the Disney seasons this was elevated to a catch phrase.
Disney also had the previously unseen Skunky using "torque" as an interjection.
Charlie Brown Baldness: The title character. Oddly enough, there was an episode where Doug worried that he was going bald.
Chick Magnet: Skeeter, so very much. He managed to win over Beebe Bluff, Loretta Laquigley, and many other girls along the way.
Christmas Episode: Two. Doug's Christmas Story from the Nickelodeon run and Doug's Secret Christmas from the Disney run. The former is a Wham Episode (and rather infamous among fans) while the latter is much more light-hearted and feels like a typical Christmas Special.
Creator Backlash: Jim Jinkins wasn't as involved with Disney's Doug as much as people often thought he was according to Mathew Klickstein's book Slimed: An Oral History of Nickelodeon's Golden Age. He's one of the few creators that actually agrees with the majority of the fanbase that the Nickelodeon version was better except for "The Dark Quail Saga". Constance Shulman and Billy West prefer the Nickelodeon version too.
Credits Jukebox: A unique aspect to the cartoon is that there was never a consistent credits theme; it was always different, and usually a piece of BGM recycled from the episodes that just played.
Engineered Public Confession: Played with in "Doug Didn't Do It", in which Roger tells Doug he stole Mr. Bone's trophy while sitting with his legs across Mr. Bone's desk— with his foot on the PA system button, and the "on-air" light flashing. It's played with, in that Doug was more than happy to accept the punishment for something he didn't do, had no intention of tattling on Roger, and had even tried to warn Roger about what he was doing. He's just that nice a guy. The school heard it, including Mr. Bone, and Roger will be polishing trophies 'til they put him in the grave.
Episode Title Card: Doug will walk through a door, offer up the title, and happily declare, "That's me!" before Pork Chop shows up, screws him into the ground, and turns the lights off. All of this is accompanied by a Theme Tune Cameo.
The Beets' name and Liverpool accents are obviously based on The Beatles (although singer Monroe Yoder looks more like Roger Daltrey).
Many of the characters are reminiscent of Peanuts characters. Doug is kind of like Charlie Brown in personality and character design, Porkchop is Snoopy, Patty Mayonnaise is the Little Red Haired Girl, Skeeter is Linus, amongst many others. This is Lampshaded in the series premiere of the Disney series when Doug sees a computer simulation of possible haircuts and one is that of Charlie Brown. He even says good grief.
Or it could be Archie: Doug=Archie, Skeeter=Jughead, Patty=Betty, Bebe=Veronica, Porkchop=Hot Dog (even though he's Jughead's dog)
Even Evil Has Standards: This is seen often with many of the incidents where those who target the titular character and his friends, mostly the bullies.
In Doug Saves Roger, Roger, a known bully, falls victim to the bullying of Percy Femur, Vice Principal Lamar Bone’s nephew and who’s bigger than Roger. Doug stands up for Roger and almost pays for it. Roger tells Mr. Bone about his nephew's bullying, explaining to Doug that he ran out of ideas.
Doug Battles The Rulemeister – In The Quailman comic, Doug models Rulemeister after Bone when he finds a loophole. When Bone seized the comics, Doug asks him if he’s immune to the same rules. When Bone states without exceptions, he realizes what he was doing. While Bone still enforces the rules, he knows he can be overruled by anyone either the same position as him, or higher like Buttsavitch, who’s the principal.
Full House Music: Played straight in many instances, such as when Roger steals Doug's "lucky hat" and when Doug walks home after apologizing to Patti's dad about destroying her old house.
Gang Of Bullies: Roger is often seen with fellow delinquents Willie, Ned and Boomer.
Genius Ditz: Skeeter's revealed to be this in one episode, though it was hidden because he's Book Dumb. The only reason they found out was because Skeeter didn't realize the IQ test was a test, he mentions how he panics with tests. It took Doug the entire episode to accept it, reluctantly.
It came up again in the Disney version, where Skeeter eventually made it onto a trivia bowl team but he choked when asked a question.
God-Mode Sue: In-universe, Silver Skeeter, much to Doug's annoyance. Not to mention Skeeter doesn't get the criticism.
Graduate from the Story: More or less. The last regular episode of the Nickelodeon version has the characters graduating from Bluffington School, though there was also a Christmas Episode that aired six-months later.
The Christmas episode actually first ran along with the rest of season 4, in December of 1993.
Green Around the Gills: This happens to Doug in "Doug's Fat Cat", after he tastes some not so appetizing cat food to show Stinky just how good it is. But he ends up feeling queasy and excuses himself to vomit.
Many of Doug's Imagine Spots fill this role. There's also the episode where Doug and Skeeter collaborate on a comic, with both of them as superheroes.
Quailman averted this, as he had few real superpowers, but solved most problems with cunning or diplomatic solutions. Silver Skeeter is a very straight example though, and is even criticized for using his abilities without considering the possible consequences.
Hollywood Tone-Deaf: Patti, in the Disney version's episode about the town anthem contest. One can contrast this with her singing in "Doug's No Dummy", a Nickelodeon-era episode.
Hypocritical Humor: Roger and many of his male classmates at school teased Doug when Patti asked him on a date. After the date Roger and the others stopped him on his walk home, asking him what it was like. It was moments like these where their actual age was evident.
The Nickelodeon-era Christmas episode has Pork Chop bite and injure Beebe to keep her away from thin ice/hole in the ice and is then taken away because he is believed to be dangerous. Out of context the logic can at least be followed if one didn't know of the thin ice, however; the thin ice was marked as such then a hole formed in the ice that she was heading straight for, he had never shown any signs of aggression at any point and during his "trial" Bebe was instructed to recreate the incident i.e. walk on ice towards a hole in but now in a cast with crutches and Pork Chop seems to be the only one who notices she is about to die and has to break free to save her again. Granted, everyone that wasn't Doug and his inner circle was holding the Idiot Ball that episode. Bill Bluff, Beebe's father and owner of Bluffington, had went to great lengths to paint Pork Chop as a monster and everyone believed him over Doug, no one gave a care about the dog come Christmas and it forced Doug to call everyone out at Pork Chop's trial.
Insanity Defense: In one episode, Roger is attempting to frame Doug for stealing Mr. Bone's trophy. Judy suggests attempting the Insanity Defense, only for Doug to say that the last person who tried it still got in trouble and had to go to the counselor.
It Tastes Like Feet: Played for Laughs in one episode, when Doug tried to sell chocolates door to door for charity, but couldn't make any sales because his neighbors complained that the chocolates "tasted like cement". In a bizarre twist, it turned out that there actually was cement in the chocolates because of an accident at the factory where they were made. Though how Doug's neighbors knew what cement tasted like is anyone's guess...
Perhaps it was more of a commentary on the texture - an unbreakable hunk that performed well as a doorstop.
Karma Houdini: In Doug and Patti, P.I., Roger steals supplies for the family wheelbarrell race because he wanted to participate but couldn't because his father lives far away and his mother's feet were too sore for her to fill in. However, he doesn't get punished for his actions and ends up participating anyway since Mr. Dink wanted to participate but didn't have any kids.
Limited Wardrobe: Lampshaded and turned into an episode. Doug always wears brown khaki shorts with a green vest over a white shirt. When their favorite TV star wears the same outfit, everyone copies the style, and they think Doug has, too. He spends the entire episode trying to prove that he isn't a lemming, even showing everyone his entire wardrobe of identical clothes, but to his frustration everyone still thinks he's trying to be like the TV star. So he tries to dress differently, then eventually gives up, figuring that it's not worth the trouble... only to find everyone is now copying a different outfit the TV star wears, which looks the same as Skeeter's.
Logo Joke: Skeeter has a poster of the Jumbo Pictures (Doug's production company) egg logo (minus the words) in his room. Doug also lives on 21 Jumbo Street, also having to do with the company.
Master of the Mixed Message: Patti Mayonnaise. One episode she actually asks him out on a date, which ends kind of awkwardly. This back-and-forth behavior continues throughout the rest of the series. This is justified due to their ages—after all, most preteens are pretty nervous when it comes to dealing with matters of the heart for the first time.
Patti's mother died in a car accident. This actually makes her the first character from a Nicktoon with a dead parent- Chuckie's mom being dead on Rugrats wasn't confirmed until after Doug had left for ABC and during the time Doug was on Nickelodeon, the writers of Rugrats were keeping where she was ambiguous.
To a lesser extent, the Sleech brothers have a father, but not a mother. What happened to her is never mentioned.
Most Writers Are Writers: Doug enjoys writing in his journal as well as writing and drawing his own comics. According to other characters he's actually pretty good at the latter, and this is evident from his Imagine Spots as part of the show's structure.
The Movie: Creatively titled Doug's 1st Movie. (However, maybe a more accurate title would be Doug's Only Movie.)
The Moving Experience: Doug actually thought Skeeter was moving in one Nickelodeon episode. Turns out, he was... to a new room in his house's basement.
The Musical: Doug Live!, a live stage-show that was preformed about five times daily in Walt Disney World from 1999-2001. One of Doug's songs, "Someone Like Me", ended up in the movie's end credits. Most of the story was created exclusively for the musical, but included elements from the episodes "Doug Rocks" and "Doug & Patti Sitting in a Tree" (oddly enough, both episodes mentioned were from the Nickelodeon series)
Myth Arc: Disney's Doug had Doug and Skeeter occasionally visiting Lucky Duck Lake in an attempt to discover if a monster exists in there (a nod to the legendary Loch Ness Monster). The monster itself finally makes an appearance in The Movie and plays an important role.
New Powers as the Plot Demands: In-universe. Doug actually calls Skeeter out on this in one episode when the latter's superhero alter-ego, the Silver Skeeter, kept showing off new powers that came out of nowhere and were just what he needed to save the day.
No Celebrities Were Harmed: Doug's favorite rock band was named The Beets in homage to The Beatles, who even split up much later in the shows run. They also had an Arnold Schwarzenegger parody. Mr. Bone is clearly based on Don Knotts.
Not a Date: The premise of "Doug and Patty Sitting in a Tree".
Not So Different: In "Doug Rocks the House", after Doug finds out he knocked down Patti's old house, he didn't understand why she was upset about it until he remembered how he felt when he first moved away from Bloatsburg.
Oh Crap: After Doug appeared on a goofy Western-themed kid's show (which his aunt was the director for), Skeeter reassures him that at least no-one they know saw it. Cue Roger dramatically entering, wearing a cowboy hat and spurs. When his aunt realises that Roger appeared on the show as a kid, Roger has the same reaction when Doug threatens to show everyone the footage of his Old Shame unless he knocks it off.
One Judge to Rule Them All: Bill Bluff in the contest to name the new school in "Doug's New School". He names it the "Beebe Bluff Middle School" after his daughter, making the whole contest (and conflict of the episode) pointless.
In its original run, Doug was sort of this to Ren & Stimpy and Rugrats. Doug didn't become the pop-culture smash and merchandising bonanza that its fellow Nicktoons did, but was popular enough to remain on Nick's schedule in reruns years after its cancellation.
Nickelodeon did promote the show when it was still running, if for no other reason than the fact that they show was popular with kids and especially parents, who thought Ren and Stimpy and other shows like it were too obnoxious.
Averted with the Disney series, it was promoted almost as much as Hannah Montana!
In 1995-1997, Doug was Nickelodeon's second-highest rated show (behind Rugrats) and weekday evening airings regularly placed in the Top 10 for highest rated shows on cable. By the time it really started to take off, though, Disney had already bought Jumbo pictures, so Nickelodeon was only able to order more Rugrats episodes.
Rags to Riches: When Bill Bluff had the new school built on Fat Jack's trailer park, it turned out that the patch of land on which Edwina Klotz's trailer stood was her own property. She sold it to him for an enormous amount of money.
Rampage from a Nail: In one episode, a giant monster created by Dr. Rubbersuit called Klotzilla is rampaging throughout the city. Quailman discovers that said monster has a thorn stuck in his foot and removes it, stopping the rampage.
Rashomon Style: "Doug's Disappearing Dog". Doug lampshades how everyone remembers the previous day differently. This helps Doug realize why Pork Chop ran away.
Road Trip Episode: The Funnie family trip to see the Painted Gorge, which gets sidetracked by several stops to visit what turn out to be tourist traps, followed by the car getting stuck in the mud and requiring everyone to get out and push it free.
Screw the Money, I Have Rules!: Doug proves this when he returns an old lady's money to her instead of keeping it, despite all of the insults he received from most people about it.
Secret Diary: Roger gets his hands on Doug's journal in "Doug's Runaway Journal". Turns out he couldn't read any of it because Doug's handwriting is so bad.
Series Continuity Error: In the first episode of the Disney series, Doug celebrates his twelfth birthday. In a flashback Judy says they were moving to Bluffington on his eleventh birthday although there was a Nickelodeon episode where he celebrated his birthday. In an earlier Nick episode Doug's friends had a party to celebrate his first anniversary of moving to Bluffington. Gets made even more complicated when Beebee mentions in a couple episodes after the Disney pilot that the Funnys have lived in Bluffington for three years.
One of Doug's imagine spots is a near duplicate scene from The movie of The Who's "Tommy", specifically, Elton John's character getting out of the limo at the start of "Pinball Wizard". Similar styled music is even used for the scene.
The Southpaw: Doug is left-handed. It was a plot point two episodes: One where Doug is on Patti's baseball team (never having played baseball before) and she realizes that he is left handed and tells him to stand on the right side of home plate so he could have an easier time swinging at the ball. He manages a hit almost instantly. In the other his journal goes missing and he start freaking out over the possibility of someone reading it, except they can't because of his left-handed writing is smeared and illegible.
Superpower Lottery: Skeeter's superhero Silver Skeeter has a superpower for any and all situations, which Doug finds annoying because it lacks any serious tension.
Superstition Episode: There was an episode that invoked this. Doug seemed to have a lucky streak at winning games against his crush, Patti. After she gets ticked off about it, he tries to break his luck by breaking a mirror, running under ladders and doing his weird ritual involving mashed potatoes. Afterward, he is having all sorts of bad luck, but since he wants to lose a game against her, it would be good luck for him to lose, and his winning streak continues.
Suspiciously Specific Denial: Judy gives one when Doug shows up at her school and her friends see him: "I don't know him, I've never seen him before, and he's definitely not my brother."
The Talk: A Running Gag of Disney's Doug has his father trying to initiate the conversation, which is usually offset by Doug being concerned with something unrelated. It doesn't help that he keeps trying to segue using nonsensical metaphors ("The salmon swims upstream"). This was put to an end on the Christmas episode where Doug just tells his dad that he already knows about sex from school.
Tell Him I'm Not Speaking to Him: The breakup of The Beatles homage band The Beets plays out like this, with all four members of the group facing away from the microphone and saying things like this ("I'm not telling them, YOU tell them!") before one finally has enough and very curtly says that they're splitting up.
Tempting Fate: After Doug's aunt gets him on a children's cowboy show, Skeeter tells him "At least no-one we know saw it." Cue Roger bursting through the door, wearing a cowboy hat and spurs...
Tyrant Takes the Helm: Mr. Dink temporarily appoints Roger the scoutmaster of Doug's Bluff Scout troop while he is away, and his abuses are such that even his own cronies turn against him.
Ultimate Authority Mayor: Mayor White. Unusually for this trope, he's eventually voted out and replaced by Doug's neighbor, Mrs. Dink.
Umpteenth Customer: Doug enters what looks like a video game store and looks around, only to discover that he's the one millionth customer and has won a Pretendo. This was the setup for the episode's Aesop.
In the Disney version, there was an episode where Patti thinks she's fat after overhearing Doug comment on her weight (when he was referring to a homemade vehicle he was making to catch the Lucky Duck Lake monster), prompting Patti to become anorexic. (Also, at the end of that episode, there was Patti's spoken Public Service Announcementon how to help out on eating disorders by locating or contacting institutes or places or medical centers, right before Toon Disney and the Disney Channel overdubbed her voice through Clumsy Copyright Censorship.)
The Nic-Nacs episode could count too, aside from the whole G-Rated Drug business. Though it's very different from typical anti-drug/anti-smoking episodes, and just as much about being skeptical of marketing messages as it is about avoiding dangerous substances — and openly hostile toward the company behind the product in ways that a program that relies on sponsorship from Philip Morris subsidiaries (they owned Kraft at the time) could never get away with had they not substituted a made-up product for cigarettes.
Welcome Episode: The first episode of the series, which features Doug moving to Bluffington and meeting most of the main cast.
What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: Subverted. Quailman's main superpower is the hypnotic "Quail-Eye," but he rarely encounters a situation that he could fix through sheer force, forcing him to take a third option. This is a superhero whose main attributes are a belt on his forehead and wearing his underwear over his pants. He's Doug. He'll never purposely hurt anyone.