Wednesday, July 9, 2008

"Kaloo-cuckoo!": Doug, 1.01 - Doug Bags a Neematoad

For my first real post, I thought I'd start with Nickelodeon's first original Nicktoon.

This episode is labeled episode 1, which makes sense because it is the episode where Doug moves to Bluffington. It is listed as airing on August 11, 1991 (the day the Nicktoons premiered) on imdb,, and Wikipedia. However, I watched Nickelodeon that day. I'd been anticipating the launch of the first three Nicktoons for weeks, possibly months, and I was on vacation at my uncle's lake house in New Hampshire with my family that August. I was at the pool and missed Doug and most of Rugrats, but I caught the premiere of Ren and Stimpy and watched both Doug and Rugrats later that night when Nickelodeon rebroadcast all three episodes. The episode I saw on August 11 was not "Doug Bags a Neematoad," but was episode 2, "Doug Can't Dance/Doug Gets Busted." The Rugrats and Ren and Stimpy episodes were both the same ones that had aired that morning, so you'd think Doug was the same episode too. I have no way of proving that I'm right and the first-aired episode was "Doug Can't Dance," but I remember it so clearly. I was confused when months later I finally saw "Doug Bags a Neematoad" and wondered why he was just moving then.

I remember the ads leading up to the Doug premiere: The one where they (I think) showed a pencil drawing Doug, where Doug voiced-over talking about himself, how he was 11 1/2 and how his favorite food was banana pudding. I remember the Nickelodeon bumper ad where Doug was carrying one end of a long orange "Nickelodeon" bar, and Porkchop was sitting on the other end of it rather than holding up his side. Porkchop waves, Doug drops his side and it falls on his foot, he says "ow!" in a weird non-Doug-like voice, and Porkchop slides down the bar to Doug and licks his face. From the actual episode, I remember Skeeter "translating" Doug's Honker Burger order into Bluffington slang ("no stinkers" equaled "no onions") because the lady at the counter can't understand him. And I remember the "kaloo-cuckoo!" "Neematoad mating call" that I have no clue how to spell.

Doug's family is in the car, moving from Bloatsburg to Bluffington. As the car drives past the "Welcome to Bluffington" sign, the population clicks over to include the Funnies and reads "20,001." Doug ponders that he "1" must be him. They arrive at their new house, where Doug worries about fitting in while Judy notices a cow in the front yard. Was Bluffington originally supposed to be a rural hicktown and Bloatsburg the "big city" or something? I don't remember it ever being particularly rural ever again.

Doug's parents send him off in search of some fast food, and new-neighbor Mr. Dink offers to help him by showing him a "Welcome to Bluffington" video even though Doug insists that he has no time. The Honker Burger is mentioned in the video, and so Mr. Dink gives Doug directions and sends him off. On the way, Doug worries again about fitting in and fantasizes that the Mayor tells the townspeople that Doug has chosen the path of the Loser and orders them to "honk this loser out of town." A crowd of heads and hands holding bike horns honk angrily at Doug and laugh at him, until he snaps out of his fantasy to realize he is holding up traffic, which is honking at him in real life.

Doug enters the Honker Burger to blank stares and mumbles of "new kid...." He orders his family's burgers, and the cashier claims she can't understand him. We then meet Skeeter Valentine, who jumps to the rescue and translates the order into Bluffington slang: "New kid wants three moo-cows [cheeseburgers], one no cukes [pickles], one no stinkers [onions], one wet one [fish sandwich], four [something that translates to "large fries" that I can't hear clearly, and then something that sounds like "and four from the vine" that we don't get to see a translation for]." Doug asks how to order a salad from the salad bar, to which Skeeter replies by adding to the order "and one salad from the salad bar!"

Skeeter introduces Doug to a random group of kids we never see again, and they laugh at the fact that he's never had beets before. Doug goes to pick up his order and sees Patti for the first time riding her bike outside. He slips on a ketchup packet, and the ketchup lands right on Roger Klotz's new suede shoes (his shoes were suede? I always figured they were leather boots or something). Roger offers to "help" Doug by letting him be the first guy to bag a neematoad, and tells him threateningly to be at Stintson's pond at 7:00 tomorrow morning. Doug fantasizes about being the most popular kid in Bluffington and impressing Patti after returning with a neematoad.

The next morning at Stintson's pond, Roger and his friends tell Doug that the way to capture a neematoad is to shout the neematoad mating call "kaloo-cuckoo!" over and over until a neematoad appears. Doug for some reason actually does this. I know I would've been terrified of Roger too, but even I wouldn't have gone that far. Doug's comment: "Man, the things a guy has to go through to keep from being a loser." Oh poor, clueless Doug. After awhile Doug notices Roger and his friends laughing at him from behind the bushes. He feels humiliated and fantasizes about returning to the Honker Burger with a bag over his head as Patti walks by and Doug pathetically says (still with bag over his head) "Yoo-hoo? Cute girl? Hey.. excuse me... it's me, Doug" and trips into a puddle. He is so adorable. He snaps back to reality and goes over to Roger to say "ok I get it; joke's over," but then Porkchop, covered in mud and sticks, emerges from the bushes. Roger and his gang of course mistake him for a neematoad, and Doug "bags" him, making Roger look like a loser. Roger vows to catch his own, larger neematoad.

Doug celebrates at the Honker Burger with new-friend Skeeter, who also thinks that Porkchop is a real neematoad despite Doug plainly spelling out several times that it is just his dog. This is the same Skeeter who is later revealed to be a genius in one episode? Patti is eating a Honker Burger at a nearby table (what 11-year-old goes to a burger joint by herself?), and Skeeter offers to introduce them. Doug once again clumsily slips on a ketchup packet and slides right under Patti's table. He panics that he "thinks he just squirted ketchup on a girl," but it conveniently landed right on her burger. Patti tells Doug he has wonderful aim.

That night, Doug reflects in his journal that Bluffington is already starting to feel like home. He hopes that Skeeter will become his "best human friend" (so as not to offend Porkchop), thinks Mr. Dink is nice but a little crazy, and thinks he may be secretly in love with Patti. He wonders what happened with Roger, and we flash back to Stintson's pond, where Roger is shouting the neematoad mating call all night in an attempt to show up Doug and capture one of his own.

Random Thoughts:
-Wow, I forgot how much I love the music in this show.
-Title screen: Doug gets his foot caught in the paint can and walks with it stuck to his foot over to shut off the lightswitch.
-The animation is a little choppy in this episode, kind of like watching early episodes of The Simpsons, only not as severe.
-Mrs. Funnie's voice sounds different in this episode, but maybe I just don't remember her very well. I have always hated her line about being "One hungry Funnie family."
-Tippy Dink. ha.
-I keep typing "Dough" instead of "Doug."
-Whoa. I just checked out imdb, and Danny Cooksey, aka Budnick from Salute Your Shorts, was the voice of Roger??? How did I never know this until now??? (He was also apparently Montana Max on Tiny Toons.)

So, there we go. Recap number 1. I promise the memories won't be as insanely long from now on. The whole thing about episode 2 airing first is just bothering me. :)


Fear Street said...


I am so glad someone started a Nick blog!!!

I miss classic Nickelodeon so much. *sigh*

I can't wait for the next entry.

colleenn said...

Thanks! I miss it too. It's gone way downhill since I was a kid. My goal is to try to update on weekends, so I should hopefully have recap #2 up soon.

I've read your blog a few times too, and I like it and have been meaning to get caught up on your archive. I was just a loser who only read maybe two or three Fear Street books when I was younger. The recaps are still funny though even without the bonus of having read the books before.

MilkMan said...

Doug was probably one of my favorite Nicktoons. I even followed it to when it got moved to Disney's One Saturday Morning on ABC even though they gave Doug long sleeves, a different voice and I was way too old to still be watching it. My mom would always comment that he was such a nerd though. Haha, even my mom ranked on him.

I think Danny Cooksey also did the voice of Stoop Kid on an episode or two of "Hey Arnold!" my other favorite Nicktoon.

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

Awesome blog! I remember that first episode of Doug so clearly, it is amazing. Nickelodeon was so good back then. The Nicktoons had a bizarre sense of humor to them. Let me put in my request for the Secret World of Alex Mack. I was obsessed with it.

BTW - I am flattered you are using my idea of starting with a "memory reaction."

Anonymous said...

Thanks for starting an awesome blog! I loved Doug back in the day, and I definitely miss the good old days of Nickelodeon. I agree with Kristen that Nick seemed to have such an interesting, bizarre sense of humor back in the day. I miss it! No other networks seem to be filling that same void for kids today.

And I LOVE Porkchop! :)

Molly said...

There is NOTHING WRONG with insanely long :D I'm enjoying reliving things I loved so much nearly twenty years ago (fucking hell, I'm old...)! I think I'm going to love this blog.

And I'd forgotten the bumper, but I can picture it so clearly. What the heck was up with the weird voice for Doug?

Any chance of getting some material about Hey Dude, Salute Your Shorts or Clarissa Explains it All on here? Clarissa made such an impression on my father that HE still brings it up from time to time. (Not in a creepy way, he just loved the weirdness and humor of it - the guy LOVES cartoons, too, it's where I get it from :) )

annakelly said...

Squee! This blog is right up my ally. I forgot how much I loved "Doug" - just yesterday, I was thinking about the episode where they're all about to graduate and Doug's the only one who's sad to be leaving middle school. Oh, Doug, you're so cute.

Also, I am requesting that you do "Clarissa" and "Salute Your Shorts." Go Colleenn!

Rainbowfeet said...

Oh man, this blog is going to be amazing! Thank you for starting it.

I love Doug so much. I've always had a particular fondness for this episode and "Can't Dance"/"Gets Busted," strange animation and all. (Wah-na-na... Jack Bandit!)

colleenn said...

This is my attempt to reply to all the questions in one big comment. :)

Kristen - Thanks again for the memories idea. :) I will so defintiely review Alex Mack once I can find episodes somewhere. It's one of the last Nick shows I could watch without wanting to rip my eyes out. Now that I've tracked down Doug I want to search for Alex Mack, Fifteen, and Welcome Freshmen because I have nothing from those yet.

Molly - All three of those shows are on my list. :) I only have season 1 of Clarissa right now because it's the only one easily avaialble on dvd, but I have all of Salute Your Shorts and Hey Dude and those will definitely be coming.

Once I get myself more organized I'll try to add a "in the pipeline" sort of sidebar list so people know what's coming up. Sort of like those "Coming up next" bits on Nickelodeon. :)

Anonymous said...

Current Identity: Porkchops and Applesauce.

Thanks for making this blog, colleenn. Personally, I never really liked Doug so I didn't watch it very often. (I don't remember this episode at all.) But I did like that all the characters had funny names...or Funnie names. Hee hee. As a note, I think Doug was on the right track about Mr. Dink. That guy freaked me out. That crazy Dinkian guffaw is the stuff of nightmares and boogeymen.

Anonymous said...

Was Roger pissed at Doug when he tried to explain that his dog was covered up in mud & sticks?