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  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • The entire show is this due to the fact that it is a narrative of events through the eyes of one kid writing about these events into his journal. As a result, his opinions on a person will affect how they are portrayed in each episode.
    • One theory is that Doug is crazy. Said blog also speculates that Roger has rickets and really just wants to be friends (at the very least) with Doug, but doesn't know how to make friends.
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    • Alternately, Roger is secretly/obliviously gay and has feelings for Doug. He bullies Doug to compensate for this. See Ho Yay below for details.
      • It would make re-watching the show very interesting if you interpret Roger having secretly/obliviously romantic feelings for Doug.
      • It also really affects the interpretation of the episode in which Roger found Doug's journal, but claimed to be unable to read Doug's handwriting (but still returned the journal). It's possible he didn't want to invade the privacy of someone he cared about, did read it but didn't want to publicly embarrass Doug, or was hurt by how much Doug talked about Patti and didn't want to talk about that.
    • A popular interpretation regarding Mr. and Mrs. Dink is that they're unable to have children, which is why Mr. Dink gets so...attached to Doug (seeing Doug as a sort of child substitute) and why Mrs. Dink seems so apathetic, as well as why she so often seems to try and step in whenever Mr. Dink tries to show off to Doug (likely realizing that the whole thing isn't healthy). That said, there are also fans who view Mr. Dink's fondness for Doug as something else entirely...
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    • One could argue that Chalky Studebaker had a crush on Doug, especially when you compare how Doug's fantasies always had Patti cheering him on whereas in reality it usually came from Chalky.
    • Roger's dad. Is it really a coincidence that he finally decided to come see Roger when he and his mother became super wealthy? Was he really glad to see his son, or did he just want to mooch off of a nice place for a few days?
  • Adorkable: Both Doug and Skeeter.
    • Doug is so socially awkward to the nth degree that makes him cute. And when Patti's around, expect this to be turned Up to Eleven.
    • Skeeter can be a little odd and awkward, but he's still beloved for those reasons.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • Doug's Quailman fantasy in Doug's 1st Movie. Then again, it's a Doug movie, and it wouldn't be complete without Quailman.
    • Mr. Bone talking on the phone in "Doug Goes Hollywood" and Breaking the Fourth Wall to tell the viewer to mind their own business.
  • Broken Base:
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    • Disney's Doug. It caused the fanbase to break into separate camps (not counting the ones who have seen one version, but not the other): the ones who loved the Nickelodeon version and despised Disney's version due to Disney retooling the series to be "hip and cool", the ones who thought Disney's version was okay but preferred Nickelodeon's version, the ones who loved the Disney version and despised the Nickelodeon version for its blandness in the episodes at times and its animation, and the ones who thought the Disney version was no different than the Nickelodeon version and actually admit to liking both.
    • Same with the movie. Some like it, some really don't like it.
  • Cliché Storm: Doug's 1st Movie is a slight example.
  • Critical Research Failure:
    • In "Doug's Fan Club," the kiddie performance of The Tempest at the end shows Prospero (played by Todd) saying "O brave new world, that has such people in it!" In the actual play, that line is said by Miranda.
    • In "Doug's Worst Nightmare," Judy claims that the Shakespeare passage Roger quotes in his love letter comes from The Merchant of Venice, when really it comes from The Two Gentlemen of Verona.
  • Death of the Author: The fanbase almost unanimously rejected Jim Jinkins' confirmation that Doug and Patti canonically don't end up together in the future, despite Jim adding that Doug could (and would) find someone else even if his first crush didn't work out.
  • Designated Villain:
    • Often Guy from Disney's Doug. While he may be egotistical, Guy's actually a fairly nice...well, guy, it's Doug's feelings for Patti and chronic insecurity that lead him to see Guy as a jerk. Subverted in the movie, where he actually is flat-out antagonistic towards the group.
    • In the Nickelodeon run, the villain in his (solo) Quailman fantasies is either Roger or Mr. Bone.
    • Roger is usually the villain of Doug's fantasies by default whether or not he has any antagonistic notions in the episode.
      • Doug is quick to blame Roger for pretty much anything that goes wrong, even if it's incredibly unlikely. The other characters will call Doug out on this, though.
    • Anyone that hates Patti or Patti dislikes becomes this for Doug (Muffy Silverson and the Junior Daughters club by extension; Cassandra Bleem and her clique of older popular kids are examples of this). Also anyone Doug thinks is trying to go after Patti gets upgraded to this (which is why Guy is usually this).
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Mr. Dink, Roger, and Judy are considered some of the funniest characters in the series.
    • If we go by Chad Rocco... Connie Benge is this. There are even fans who are aware of the sad Word of God info that want to ship Connie with Doug, helps she hinted having a crush on him in the Nickelodeon series.
      • Ned Cauphee and Boomer Bledsoe have fans and art on Deviantart and tumblr!
  • Fanon Discontinuity: The Disney's Doug episodes don't exist in the eyes of some Nickelodeon Doug fans.
  • Genius Bonus: Doug's sister, Judith "Judy" Funny, has been established as a huge Shakespeare nut in several episodes. Which is why she's named after Sheakespeare's daughter, Judith Quiney (née Shakespeare). Just to drive the point home, her mother always insists on calling her "Judith".
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Every interaction with Doug and Patti would be seen as this when you remember in 2016 Word of God announced the two never became a couple.
    • In one episode of the Nickelodeon series, Doug tells his friends he's broke, and Beebe asks, "'Broke'? What's 'broke'?" She'd find out what "broke" was in the Disney episode "Beebe Goes Broke," when her family is forced to declare bankruptcy due to bad investments.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In "Doug's Big Nose", Doug tries to get out of getting his school picture taken by Playing Sick. One of the diseases he lists off to the school nurse is "turkey pox". Said disease ends up rearing its head in Jim Jinkins' next show, Allegra's Window.
  • Ho Yay: Roger seems almost... obsessed... with Doug.
    • This is ALL from "Doug's on TV."
      Roger: "Oh, and Funnie, if I were you, I'd bring a saddle to school tomorrow... because the kids are gonna be RIDING YOU ALL DAY!!!"
      • Then there's this exchange between the two, sitting on the couch watching the burning of embarrassing tapes. Yeah, THAT has no subtext these days...
      Doug: "This bowl of popcorn ain't big enough for the both of us, "Rowdy Roger."
      Roger: "Watch it, 'Hoss!' I may have to rope and hogtie you. Don't forget, I've got the record!"
      Doug: "Well, rooty-toot-toot to you too!"
      Roger: "Well, yippie-ti-yo-ti-yay to you!"
      • And after an oh-so-appropriate pause, when Doug notes Roger is eating all the popcorn...
      Roger: "Look, 'Hoss,' don't make me ride you around the room."
    • From another episode: "Looks like everybody's paired up but us, Funnie. Guess that means we're partners."
    • Doug even seems to imagine this as a possibility. In his imagine spots, Roger has dressed as a girl and put a love note in Doug's locker, kissed Doug on the head, and said such things as "Ooo, I think I'm in loooove. Isn't he just darling?"
    • Roger was the one to organize an anniversary party for Doug, and when Doug is flattered, quickly proclaims, "Yeah, uh, well, it doesn't mean we're getting married or anything..!"
    • After Roger gets over his rather short-lived crush on Judy, he promptly gives Doug the bunch of flowers he was carrying.
    • "My Fair Lady" has Roger butting in to join Doug's group and pretty much adhering to his side. He even wants to sit next to Doug on the ferris wheel, and Doug has to try pretty hard to convince him not to.
    • Female version: In "Doug's a Big Fat Liar", Patti goes to a dance with "Melvin", really Judy in drag. Seems innocent enough, but when the whole ruse is revealed, Patti isn't even upset! She even says "Melvin" is the best dancer at the hoedown and continues to dance with Judy throughout the rest of the episode. Also, they share Judy's room in an episode of the Disney series.
  • Hollywood Pudgy:
    • Connie. While she was a bit thicker than the other girls in the Nick series, she wasn't the "wide load" she was hyped up to be. Averted in the Disney series, where she's way more shapely, having gone to beauty camp.
    • Played with in an episode about Doug himself: He comes back after a couple weeks eating junk food at his grandmother's and realizes he's gained a good amount of weight. He slims down to his previous weight to avoid embarrassment at an upcoming pool party with his friends, only to still see himself as pudgy. Fortunately Judy informs him (truthfully if insensitively) that's how he's always looked and to not worry about it. As it turns out, everyone else at the party has similar concerns about how they look in swimsuits, so initially nobody has any fun until Doug breaks the ice!
    • In this same episode Skeeter has the opposite concern, worrying that he's too skinny to be seen at the pool party and gorging himself with creme-filled donuts, only to still see himself as too skinny on the day of the party.
  • Iron Woobie: Doug is often in many worst case scenarios in certain predicaments and is usually the butt of the jokes, especially when Roger and his gang love to exploit his insecurities. However, instead of whining and moping about it nonstop, Doug doesn't let it affect him and would often try to find a solution to his problems, usually when one of his friends try to help him out.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "There's a bomb in the lasagna!" Note 
      • A bomb in the lasagna?? GREAT SCOTT!Note 
    • "You broke my grill!? You broke MY GRILL!? YOU BROKE MY GRILL!?" Note 
    • Beeyoouuu Note 
    • I didn't choose the Doug life, the Doug life chose me (in relation to "I didn't choose the thug life")
    • "What does the 'Doug' button do?" "It Dougs." Note 
      • Alternatively, "PRESS DOUG TO DOUG"
    • This text post by Neil Cicierega talking about how Disney, er, "ruined" the show...
    • Vinny has turned Mr. Dink into a Fountain of Memes.
  • Moral Event Horizon: Mr. Bluff crosses it in the Christmas Special. While his anger at Porkchop for biting his daughter is understandable, he ignores Doug's pleas and tells him that he hates dogs because they don't understand the concept of money.
  • Mis-blamed:
    • There are a number of fans who whine about Disney's changes to the series. Actually, the only thing Disney did was buy the rights to the series (and Jumbo Pictures, the show's production company), produce it, and air it on ABC. Pretty much everyone who worked on the Nick series worked on Disney's series as well. And the setting/character changes were Jim Jinkins' own idea.
    • Some fans criticize the Disney episodes for "replacing all the voice actors". Only Billy West's characters (Doug and Roger) were replaced; everyone else kept their voice (however in some international dubs; all or almost all of the voices were replaced).
    • It's been claimed that after Disney bought the show, Nickelodeon wasn't allowed to air it anymore. Nick still held (and still holds) the airing and video rights to their episodes, and reruns continued to air on the main network until 2002 (and Nicktoons until 2005), and currently airs on NickRewind. Nick only took the reruns off to make room for newer shows.
  • Narm: In "Doug to the Rescue", after Doug accidentally punches Roger in the nose (when he was trying to tap him on the shoulder and tell him to leave Patti alone, with him running into his hand too fast), the latter then tells him as he looms over him, "Well, Funnie, it looks like I'm gonna have to cream ya! N'yeah, n'yeah!" He's supposed to be threatening, but it sounds more like he's doing a poor Bugs Bunny impersonation.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Doug himself appeared in a couple commercials before getting his own show. He appeared as an unnamed character in a Florida Grapejuice ad in 1988, and he and Porkchop appeared in an ident for the USA Network in 1990.
    • Creator Jim Jinkins was involved with Nickelodeon before it was even known as Nickelodeon! He worked as a puppeteer, designer and occasional actor on Pinwheel when the station was a channel that in turn was part of an interactive cable experiment known as QUBE in Columbus, Ohio (it was operated by Warner Bros., and not only developed Nick, but prototypes of MTV, The Movie Channel and things like pay-per-view).
  • Periphery Demographic: The show was pretty popular among adults, especially among parents who wanted their kids to watch it.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: A game based on the Disney show was released for Game Boy Color, and featured Doug and Porkchop searching for Patti while wandering around Bluffington and doing tasks for various characters (collecting stuff to beam to aliens for the Sleech brothers or running errands for Judy, for example). Unfortunately, the whole game was an extremely dull fetch-quest, and the only action - minigames featuring Quailman - left a lot to be desired.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
  • The Scrappy: Many fans didn't care for Ms. Newberry, the substitute teacher from "Doug's New Teacher" given her refusing to allow Doug a fair shake and believing Roger of all people when he told her Doug was a troublemaker. Even worse, when Doug came into the teacher's lounge and earnestly tried to talk to her to convince her that she was mistaken about him and he wished they could get along, what did he receive from her in response? A cold, silent stare.
    • Not helped at all by what immediately follows. At first, we're led to assume that she'll change her mind and realize she's misjudged Doug. But nope, she's still convinced he's a rotten little troublemaker...she just thinks he's a rotten little troublemaker with a Hidden Heart of Gold. Despite ultimately warming up to him, the fact that she still thinks Doug's bad and Roger's good ends up cementing her as an irredeemably Horrible Judge of Character to the point that even Doug decides that there's no possible way to get her to see reason. The only consolation is that Roger gets some karmic retribution in the end.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Doug was one of the very first Slice of Life animated shows, and was influential enough to inspire several other shows of its kind over the coming decades to the point that it's now seen as achingly squeaky-clean.
  • Squick: In "Doug Can't Dance", a girl at the party is dressed as a donut... with the hole right through her!
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: Quite a few examples.
    • The theme song itself is a Suspiciously Similar Song version of "Little Bitty Pretty One" by Thurston Harris and of "Dancing with the Mountains" by John Denver.
    • The show often uses Suspiciously Similar Song versions of movie themes. And, in "Doug Wears Tights," of a classical piece (The Nutcracker Suite).
    • The amusement park Funkytown is usually accompanied by an appropriate sound-alike version of the famous Lipps Inc. song.
    • "Doug Can't Dance" features a dangerously close soundalike of "U Can't Touch This."
    • In "Doug's New School" during a fantasy with aliens there's a sound-alike of The X-Files theme.
    • In "Doug's Lost Weekend", the "game over" ditty in the Spacemunks video game is a parody of the Song of the Volga Boat Men.
    • In one episode, Imagine Spots of a James Bond-esque character have a slightly off version of the James Bond theme being played.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!:
    • While Disney's Doug lasted three years, some fans were simply turned off by the change. Of course, others did enjoy it (especially those who didn't have cable, or had never heard of Nickelodeon's version).
    • Ironically, the first episode of the Disney show had Doug suffering from this reaction to all the changes going on around him.
    • The cast of the Mexican Spanish dub was changed for the Disney version, too. Well, mostly.
  • Toy Ship: Doug and Patti, both in sixth grade at the start of the series and only just finished seventh grade in the final episode. However that changed in 2016 when Word of God claims they never became a couple.
  • Ugly Cute: Herman Melville, the Lucky Duck Lake monster from The Movie.
  • Unintentional Period Piece: The presence of the "90s trinity" of colours (Teal, Purple, Pink) in many of the characters' colour palettes really really places this show in The '90s.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: In "Doug's Cartoon" the students frame Mr. Bone's decision to shut down the school newspaper as a Freedom of Speech issue. While probably an overreaction to criticism of the lunch menu, the fact remains that the newspaper was funded by the school. Ultimately, the students weren't demanding the right to speak freely, they were demanding access to a platform.
  • Values Dissonance:
    • In "Doug's Christmas Story," we see Al and Moo creating a smoke bomb that looks like a cupcake. After Columbine, the idea of kids creating state of the art weaponry probably wouldn't sit too well with audiences.
    • The Sleeches building (what they think is) a Death Ray in their backyard, even for a good cause, would probably not have gone over as well had it aired in 2001 or later. (Then again...)
      Skeeter: Hey, where did you get the plutonium?
      Al and Moo: [exchange glances] ...Found it.
  • Vanilla Protagonist: While he does have his fair share of quirks and vivid imagination that can often go over-the-top, Doug is still more of The Everyman in a much more colorful cast of quirky supporting characters. Since Jim Jinkins deliberately made Doug average to contrast the more quirky supporting cast, it's possible that Doug being nearly the only one with normal human skin color in a cast of multicolored supporting characters is a metaphor of this particular trope.
  • Vindicated by History:
    • Although the Nickelodeon version was never considered a bad cartoon, there are those who believe that it was underwhelming and got overshadowed in comparison to Rugrats and The Ren & Stimpy Show. Over time and with both the Disney series making it look better in hindsight and with the fellow Nicktoons experiencing Seasonal Rot and controversial changes, respectively, the show ends up looking better over time. It also helps that Billy West admitted that this was his favorite show he ever worked on.
    • The Disney run itself has also seen this over the years. It was divisive when it was first airing, with some Nick fans not liking the changes, but after becoming aware that Jinkins and not Disney were responsible for the changes, people started giving it more of a chance and coming around to it a bit more. While many fans who grew up with the Nick show still prefer it, they were at least able to appreciate the Disney version as its own thing and did enjoy all the character development to some of the characters. This may also have something to do with its rarity; while the Nick series has seen all of its seasons come to DVD, the Disney run hasn't, and it would be decades before it finally saw a form of re-release in some shape or form (on Disney+).
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