Sunday, August 10, 2008

"Let's get a shot of him feeling my muscle": Doug, 2.11 - Doug Pumps Up/Doug Goes Hollywood

I chose to repeat Doug this week for two reasons. First, this week (August 11) is the anniversary of the day Nickelodeon launched its first three Nicktoons back in 1991. And second is that in honor of the Olympics, since there's no shows I can recall with actual Olympics-themed episodes, I figured I could at least recap episodes that involved sports competitions of some sort these next two weeks. But I must apologize if this is not the best recap ever--I've had a migraine/headache of some sort literally for about three days now, and being on the computer makes it worse.

I remember Doug getting really bad rope burn when he tried to do the rope climb event. It was painful just to watch that scene. And I remember that the only event he could do after that was sit-ups. I always thought I could've won the sit-ups contest too. In my fourth grade journal we had to write in every now and then for one class, I have one entry that says "today I did 200 sit-ups in gym." I definitely would not be able to pull that off now.

Major Characters (since I missed listing them the first time around):
Doug Funnie - Our eleven-and-a-half-year-old main character
Skeeter Valentine - Doug's best friend
Patti Mayonnaise - Doug's friend/secret crush
Roger Klotz - The bully
Beebe Bluff - The rich girl whose father owns pretty much the entire town
Chalky Studebaker - The all-star athlete, natural leader, good student, etc.
Connie Benge - Another classmate of Doug's, sweet and innocent, kind of heavyset in the Nickelodeon years but a lot skinnier in the Disney-fied version of the show
Judy Funnie - Doug's dramatic, Shakespeare-loving older sister
Phil and Theda Funnie - Doug's parents (they have first names?)
Mr. Bone - Doug's school principal
Mr. Bud Dink - Doug's crazy neighbor, known for his lisp and weird guffaw laugh
Mrs. Tippy Dink - Mr. Dink's wife, almost always very dry and sarcastic
Bob White - The mayor of Bluffington. "Vote for me."

Doug Pumps Up
Opening theme. Doug and Skeeter are at the mall, and Doug sees Patti carrying some heavy bags and offers to help. He jokes, "What did you buy, barbells???" and Patti answers, "...yeah" somewhat embarrassedly. Connie and Beebe walk over and just throw their bags into Doug's arms as well. That's kind of rude of them. Doug understandably collapses from the weight, but Beebe and Connie laugh at him because he's so weak. How bitchy is that? They throw their bags at him and then laugh in his face when he drops them (in front of the girl it's blatantly obvious he has a crush on).

Title screen: Doug chases after Porkchop after Porkchop paints the episode title onto the wall, and then Porkchop sneaks back to shut off the light.

Patti helps Doug up after he falls, and Doug mumbles a lame excuse about there being a bump in the sidewalk. Doug and Skeeter see a life-size cardboard cutout of Ronald Weisenheimer (an obvious Arnold Schwarzenegger parody) with a recording telling them to sign up for the All-Bluffington Fitness Test. Doug fantasizes being big and jacked like Weisenheimer. Patti, surrounded by weights and barbells, says in a damsel-in-distress voice, "How are we going to carry all this stuff?" Doug-as-Weisenheimer walks over and grabs all the girls' weights and barbells as he proclaims, "No problemo" in an Arnold-esque accent. Back in real life, Doug and Skeeter both go to sign up for the Fitness Test. Chalky Studebaker is handling the signups, of course. He says hi to Doug but then calls out, "Next!" and doesn't believe Doug when Doug says that he is next.

Walking home, Skeeter also questions Doug's ability to compete in the Fitness Test. Way to be supportive, best friend. Kids really are assholes to each other. Motivational music plays as Doug says that maybe he won't set any records, but he's going to train and in four to five weeks will be ready to pass that test. Skeeter bursts his bubble by telling him that the test is the day after tomorrow. Because he needs to think fast, he for some reason thinks it's a good idea to visit crazy psycho Mr. Dink, who is bound to have exercise equipment. Mr. Dink has just acquired a ("very expensive," as is his trademark) Lazy Guy exercise system that promises to make working out easy and fun. Doug's walking on a treadmill where a background behind him changes the scenery to any kind of setting he'd desire. One of the available backgrounds is the moon, which Mr. Dink says that Tippy loves. "It reminds me of our honeymoon," Tippy replies with her usual dry sarcasm. They must have the weirdest relationship ever. Doug thinks that he should be working hard and sweating, but Mr. Dink assures him that the Lazy Guy does all the hard work for you. He brings Doug over to do pull-ups to work on his arms, but the shot widens to reveal that Doug is standing on a platform that is raising and lowering him automatically for each pull-up. Mr. Dink's reaction is, "I bet you thought working out had to be painful!" Why is Doug even stupid enough to go to Mr. Dink in the first place? The man is obviously insane. And he's not exactly the poster-boy of fitness. Plus, in the first episode of the series I recapped last time, Mr. Dink tells Doug he's a writer. And believe me, there's no way a writer can afford all this "very expensive" crap he's always talking up to anyone who will listen. No wonder Tippy always sounds like she wants to kill herself. Anyway, the pull-up machine goes out of control and is way too fast for Doug.

Doug walks back home, his arms still stuck in pull-up position. He has to bend way over to look at the paper on his front steps because he can't move his arms to pick it up, and when he does succeed in lowering his arms, he can't raise them to lift the paper. He heads to the school gym for a real workout. He starts off trying to lift gigantic barbells that are too heavy for him, but know-it-all Chalky tells him not to strain himself. But Doug rationalizes that since he only has 24 hours to get into shape, he better keep at the big weights. He fantasizes that he is in the Mr. Dumbell competition, once again big and jacked and up against similarly muscular guys. But they are all put to shame by a bodybuilding Porkchop in a Speedo. Poor Doug is even pathetic in his fantasy. I can relate. Back in real life, Doug manages to get the large weight lifted over his head but is losing control of it. Chalky comes by to see if he's OK, and Doug drops the weight and it falls on top of his foot.

After a trip to the nurse's office, Doug's right foot is bandaged up, and he thinks this means he is out of the Fitness Test and that everyone will think he is a goof. But he spies a climbing rope in the gym and gets an idea--he doesn't need his foot for the rope climb, so he can focus on that event. (Here comes that horrible rope-burn scene I remember from when I was a kid....) Doug is having some success at rope climbing, and he fantasizes that he's on Bloatsburg Gladiators, climbing a rope as a challenger pours butter down it. His opponent then bites Doug's rope in half so that Doug falls into an alligator pit. But Doug springs off the alligator's jaws to grab the bell at the top of the rope and ring it with his teeth as the announcer proclaims, "What an athlete!" Back in the real world, Doug has successfully reached the top of his gym rope. But in his celebration, he loses his grip and slides all the way down the rope, his hands smoking from the rope burn. Not fun to watch.

It is the day of the Fitness Test, and the mayor is there with Ronald Weisenheimer. The mayor wants a shot of Weisenheimer feeling his muscle (that sounds a little dirty as I type it...), and Weisenheimer grabs his arm but totally flattens it with his grip. I remember that part! Chalky asks Doug what happened to his hands, which are also now bandaged like his foot. That's the thing about Chalky--he's one of those perfect-at-everything people who you really want to hate except that he's so nice you can't hate him without feeling guilty. I knew someone like that growing up. Doug sits on the sidelines prepared to just watch the Fitness Test. Patti walks over, and her arm is in a sling because she pulled a muscle trying to carry those bags at the mall. I bet Connie and Beebe laughed at her too, bitches. Doug says that Patti can still run without her arm, but Patti thinks she'd look kind of stupid. Doug encourages her to go for it anyway, and she says they should go together. Doug says that sitting is about all he can do, and then gets the brilliant idea to enter the sit-ups contest.

Skeeter counts out Doug's sit-ups as Patti runs in her race. Doug reaches 200 and then 300 sit-ups, and the only other person still left in the competition at this point is of course Chalky. They reach 400, and Patti wins another race. Chalky collapses at 500 sit-ups. Doug is about to quit at 497, but Patti urges him to keep going, and he pushes himself to 501 to win the competition. The mayor comes over to shake Doug's still-rope-burned hands, and Arnold Weisenheimer tells him, "Someday, you will be like me." Dream big, Doug. Patti tells Doug that he was wonderful, causing Doug to spout little hearts on either side of his head, and Chalky tells him that he has a lot of guts. That's kind of arrogant, isn't it? Chalky's trying to act like a good loser, but you know he's secretly beating himself up over losing to a skinny little artsy type like Doug and worried that his over-demanding father will hate him. Or maybe that was just Emilio Estevez in The Breakfast Club. Doug writes in his journal that once he stopped worrying about having to impress everybody, he discovered that he is a sit-up machine. umm, good for you? I guess you have to take what you can get.

Doug Goes Hollywood
Hot-shot director J.B. Spigot is reportedly in Bluffington scouting for a fresh new face to star in his latest big movie. Word is really getting around. Mr. Spigot's limo stops outside the Funnies' lawn, where Phil, Doug, and Porkchop are playing catch. He snaps to his sycophantic little assistant and whispers something in his ear. The assistant walks over to Doug and tells him that he's got something special there. Doug introduces himself and Porkchop, and Mr. Spigot through his assistant says that he's perfect. The assistant snaps a photo and gives Doug Mr. Spigot's business card, promising that "my people will call your people."

Title screen: Same as the one in the first half, with Doug chasing after Porkchop and Porkchop coming back to shut off the light. Were they always the same in both halves of the episode? That is kind of lame.

Doug, who apparently hasn't heard the Spigot buzz around town, wonders if anyone's ever heard of him. Judy and her theater-snob friends are driving to hear Mr. Spigot announce his movie plans to the town, commenting on how Spigot is banal and cliche. And that they'd give anything to be in his movie. The whole town is gathered to hear the announcement, and Doug is shocked that so many people know who Spigot is. Doug apparently lives under a rock. Skeeter informs him that Spigot has done all of the "Wafflestomper" movies, which Doug has actually heard of. Roger says that he intends to be chosen as the new Wafflestomper, and if Patti plays her cards right she could get cast as Wafflestomper's girl.

This, of course, sets Doug's horny little mind off into a fantasy where Patti is tied to a chair (how kinky of you, Doug) by Roger and his gang dressed as evil James Bond-esque villains. They laugh maniacally, but then Doug-as-Wafflestomper with slicked-back hair and a white suit jacket enters and cheesily announces "trick-or-treat" in a low monotone. Villain-Roger claims that they're not doing anything wrong, but Wafflestomper-Doug comes back with the oh-so-clever monotoned retort of "liar, liar, pants on fire." Villain-Roger hates stupid catchphrases and sends his guys to attack Wafflestomper, but Wafflestomper lives up to his name by stomping on the ground with his large feet, causing heavy boxes to fall on Roger's goons. Then he picks up Roger by the collar as Roger calls Wafflestomper a "big-footed baboon." Wafflestomper's monotone cheesy reply here is, "Ouch. You burned me."

Doug is snapped back into reality by the arrival of Mr. Spigot's limo to the town hall. Mr. Spigot's assistant (apparently named Curtis) speaks again on Mr. Spigot's behalf. He says that Mr. Spigot still wants to look at more of the townspeople but wants to see them being themselves in their own element, so they should act as if he isn't there. Anyone who's ever seen an episode of The Real World knows that acting as if they don't have an audience will be impossible for the Bluffington townspeople.

Back at home, Doug hears Judy gushing on the phone about how Mr. Spigot looked right at her when he said the word "star." She wants to take his movie and use it as a stepping-stone into more artistic projects, and she says that if she doesn't get this part, she will just die. Doug tries to tell her that Spigot picked him, but she slams the door in his face. He heads outside and sees Mr. Dink driving his car to the mall in a superhero costume. Although I'm sure this is just part of a normal day for Mr. Dink, Doug asks why he's dressed that way. Spigot is rumored to be at the mall, and word is going around that his new movie is going to be superhero themed. Skeeter shows up on his skateboard dressed as an astronaut, saying he heard it was a space-adventure flick. And then Roger appears dressed as Frankenstein to say that he heard the movie will be a monster movie. Mr. Dink drives them all to the mall, where everyone is dressed in bizarre outfits and trying to perform and show off in front of Mr. Spigot. Just then Doug spots Judy dressed as a homeless person. Maudlin music plays as Judy crawls up to Spigot's table in the mall pizza shop, crying and over-acting as she holds up a ragdoll and says, "It's too late for me, but please, sir, the child!!!" Spigot and his assistant get up without a word to her.

The next day, Doug once again tries to tell Judy that he got the part over her. He asks hypothetically what she'd do if he got the part and she didn't. Judy laughs at him and says she'd hurl herself off of Mount St. Buster. Doug doesn't have the heart to tell her that it's true that he has been selected. He envisions himself as a big-time movie star with what looks like red leather pants with a matching jacket and dark sunglasses, flanked by two bodyguards. They're walking down the street followed by Doug's adoring fans, when they come across a poor homeless Judy, trying to get some money by dressing cats up in tutus and holding up their front legs to make them "dance." Doug's entourage laugh at her as they walk by, but Doug walks back and throws a few coins her way. Homeless Judy cries, "Bless you, sir!" as Doug fades out of his fantasy and back to town hall, where the entire town is once again gathered.

Mr. Spigot, or rather, Curtis, is going to announce his decision to the crowd. He says, "The new star is YOU" and points in Doug's direction, but Doug feels that he can't do that to Judy because acting means the world to her, and he starts to protest and turn the offer down. Curtis then clarifies that he wasn't pointing to Doug, but to Porkchop, who is perfect for the new dog food commercial they're shooting. The entire crowd is of course pissed off to hear that the "big movie" is in reality only a dog food ad, and Roger asks why Mr. Spigot wanted to see the townspeople in the first place. Mr. Spigot himself replies, "Well, somebody's gotta open the can."

Some time later, Doug's family is watching the completed commercial on TV. Porkchop is the star, and Judy got to "act" after all, as she was chosen to be the can-opener. "Don't you love the minimal understatement of the gesture?" she asks Doug.

Random Thoughts:
-I didn't watch the Disney Doug all that much, but now when I watch this one all I can think of is how much I hated Patti's new short hair in the Disney series.
-I love Judy. I don't think I quite "got" her as a nine-year-old when the series first started, but now she is awesome.
-This episode includes the closing credits, whereas the first episode I recapped didn't. If you don't remember them, music from the episode plays as pencil drawings of Doug and Porkchop wave goodbye, growing increasingly more tired/bored as the credits wear on. Porkchop eventually pulls out his headphones and begins dancing, but Doug taps his foot reprimandingly at him and Porkchop sheepishly runs away, with Doug chasing after him.


Anonymous said...

Current Identity: FunnieBone

I remember the opening themes...and I remember the closing credits.
But that's all. :D

annakelly said...

I remember this episode so well! The rope burn (ouch!) and the dog food commercial one. I must've seen it a dozen times.

I agree with your sentiments about Judy! As I read this, I was like, "Why didn't I love her then as much as I do now?" But I think I liked her a lot back then (p.s. I'm kind of the artistic type, too). And what you said about Chalky was spot-on. Sometimes I didn't want to like him, but I could never do it.

BSC Snarker, aka Kristen said...

I remember their being to different credit animations too. This must have been a fluke.

Molly said...

This blog makes me so freaking happy. I loved this episode of Doug. The fitness test one, anyway, I was never hugely into the other one...possibly because like others, I didn't quite "get" Judy as a kid. I mean, I got that she was uberdramatic etc, but it didn't quite resonate, I guess.

If you guys really want to hate on Chalky, there WAS the episode where he cheated off of Doug's test and then let everyone believe Doug had copied HIS test...

colleenn said...

FunnieBone - do you think it's the fact that it's animated or just the general Doug-ness of the show that makes people seem to remember it less? I think Doug was one of the first ones taken off the air because of the Disney buyout, so maybe that's why people seem to remember it less. I think Rocko still might be on Nicktoons Network at odd times. Once I move in a couple weeks I might try to start taping it so that I'll have more than one Nicktoon to review.

annakelly - I think my love for Judy grew as I got older. During season 1 I think I had the attitude of "wow, she's weird." But then as I started to get into theater and stuff, the jokes and scenes involving Judy became funnier. And now here I am with my degree in English and Theatre and trying to go into playwriting, so Judy is awesome now. :)

kristen - I thought the credit animations tended to be different, so that's good that I'm not going crazy. Next time I do another Doug episode I'll have to watch out for it.

molly - ohhh yeah! I completely forgot that Chalky cheats off of Doug's test. There's also the time when Doug does ventriloquism in a talent show and ends up getting placed right after Chalky in the lineup, and Chalky of course is also doing ventriloquism but with two dummies and is perfect. I was never a Chalky fan.