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Doug: "Doug's Christmas Story"

Season 4 Episodes 13
Airdate: December 16, 1994

Doug Christmas Doug Christmas

The kids are playing hockey on a frozen lake. It's an uneven match. One team has all the athletic kids and hockey sticks. They are the rich kids. The other team is poorer and has to make do with brooms and rakes. It's like the beginning of a Disney sports movie.

Doug Christmas Doug Christmas

Doug's loyal dog, Porkchop, is also there. He is a dog, so he slides on the ice toward the area marked by a "thin ice" sign. The ice starts to crack so Porkchop retreats and the sign falls into the lake.

Doug Christmas Doug Christmas

The pinecone that is being used as puck slides to the thin ice. Beebe Bluff, the little rich girl, skates toward it. Even without the sign, you'd have to be a total moron to not notice the danger.

Porkchop tries to warn Beebe to stay away, but this isn't Family Guy so Porkchop can't talk, and Beebe is too dumb to know what those cracks in the ice mean. Porkchop has no choice but to grab the girl's leg with his teeth and drag her to safety. I know what that is like.

Doug Christmas

Porkchop saved Beebe's life, but to everyone else, it looked like he mauled her leg. Doug asked what happened. Connie shouts at him, "Porkchop attacked Beebe!" Connie is Beebe's loyal fat friend. She sticks up for Beebe mainly because Beebe is skinner and prettier than her and has more money. Secretly, she hates Beebe and scribbles red ink all over Beebe's yearbook photo. I'm certain of it.

Doug Christmas Doug Christmas

Back at Doug's home, Doug punishes Porkchop which, like most dog owners, just means he says "bad dog!" a couple of times. Porkchop has an igloo for a doghouse. It is pretty sweet. Doug's older sister, Judy, picks Doug up to drive him to the mall for Christmas shopping. In the Doug world, everyone drives cars with glass ceilings, so in the event of a crash, the entire top half of the car will shatter and thousands of bits of broken glass will fall on top of every passenger.

The layout of Doug's yard confuses me. Looking at the right screencap above, we see that Porkchop's igloo is located in the backyard, the left side of the backyard if you were outside facing the front door. But when Judy pulls the car into the driveway, it looks like Porkchop's igloo is in the fontyard, to the right of the driveway.

Doug Christmas

This is explained by looking at wider view of the property. Here we see that the igloo is in the backyard and there is no driveway in the front side of the house. I know these screencaps are not the best quality, but you can just barely see that there is a road behind Doug's house that will intersect with the road in front of the house somewhere down the block. The driveway is behind the house.

Note: that Santa in the upper left hand corner is a decoration of Mr. Dink, Doug's neighbor who buys lots and lots of useless shit.

Doug Christmas Doug Christmas

While Doug and his sister are at the mall, the former mayor hosts a local talk radio program. The mayor was a typical dumb, slimy local politician and, earlier this season, Mrs. Dink, the woman who lived next door to Doug, defeated him in the election.

I like how accurate a portrayal of local radio this is. The producer is a bored intern who doesn't want to be here. And the host is a washed up loser who can't get work anywhere else but doesn't let that stop him from spouting off on things he knows nothing about.

What isn't accurate is that the studio has a live singing group to do the jingles between commercial breaks. No radio station has the money for that. They all use pre-recorded music or audio clips from cartoons. This is before Family Guy and South Park, the so the station has to get by with just sounds from The Simpsons and Ren & Stimpy.

Like a real life radio show, this one has idiot callers. A woman calls in and asks, "Can I still call you mayor?" This caller is like those asshole anti-Obama Teabaggers who refuse to call Obama the president because they did not vote for him. I didn't vote for Mrs. Dink, she's not my mayor! I don't have to recognize any law she passes. That's how it works! The caller informs the former mayor about the vicious dog who attacked a girl on the lake.

While we are on the subject of talk radio, do any of you remember Loveline on MTV back in the day? It was this late night sex advice call in show for the young people. Did any of you ever watch it? It was on when I was in middle school, and I think almost everyone who reads this site is younger than me, so maybe you saw it when you were in the fourth grade...or at daycare...or maybe it was on before you were born. I don't know who reads this site. I really don't. But you guys know Loveline, right? OK, here's the Wikipedia page. It turns out Loveline was also a radio show.

I only ask because Adam Carolla was a host on Loveline. He was the one who had no qualifications to give sex advice and made jokes the whole time. I listen to his podcast sometimes where he often complains about having worked in radio. He complains about a lot of things. Mostly about what horrible people work in the government and service industry. If he gets a lousy service at a diner, he'll go into a 45 minute rant into a microphone and upload it to the web. You don't even want to know how mad he gets when he doesn't get some sort of special treatment at the airport. He also likes to complain about woman who complain about sexism and blacks who complain about racism. As far as Adam is concerned, people who protest discrimination are whiners. The real victim in the world is Adam, and it's waiters, secretaries, airline employees, and civil servants who are keeping him down.

Loveline the radio show was syndicated, but I never got it living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. We didn't get any of the national radio shows in the Upper Peninsula, unless it was the angry right-wing stuff. So no Howard Stern. I only knew about Stern from his E! show, which was weird set-up. It an hour long block at 11pm, divided into two half-hour episodes. The first episode was usually a celebrity interview. I watched for the first time when he had Paul McCartney on in 2001. I had just started to get into the Beatles and it was such a treat.

But then the second episode of Stern on E! always had sex stuff, which you'd think would be great but wasn't at all. Like, girls taking their clothes off in the studio. How popular is that on his radio show, really? Wow, you have two hot naked ladies. What do I care? It's the radio.

Or it would be weird stuff. Like throwing bologna on a stripper's ass. I disliked that. It seemed like a waste of good lunch meat. You know what would be sexier? If instead of throwing the bologna on the strippers, you had me sit with them at a table and eat bologna sandwiches. Then we could talk, me and the strippers, you know, about where they come from and what their step-dads did to them to make their lives go so wrong.

Syndicated TV in the UP was just a vacant. You couldn't get anything too racy. We had Oprah Winfrey, but not Jerry Springer, so I never saw an entire episode until I moved away for college, and that was long after the peak popularity of Jerry Springer. When the whole country was talking about his show and it was beating Oprah in the ratings, I could only see a glimpse of it if Talk Soup aired little 30 second clips of fat rednecks fighting.

You know what we got instead of Loveline and Howard Stern? The Goddamn Bob & Tom radio show. Johnny summed up my hatred for Bob & Tom two years ago, so I won't rant about them here. There was another crappy morning zoo show that came in from across Lake Michigan. I used to listen to it on my drive to work when NPR wasn't coming in and my iPod hadn't arrived yet. It was hosted by two young guys (they sounded under 35) who always bragged about how much partying they did the night before at bars. Which was weird because they are morning radio DJs. Don't they have to get up at, like, 4:30 in the morning? How much partying can you really do when you need to be in bed by 8pm? Then there was the local show that my parents tuned in because it announced local school closings. The show played that damn Cardigans song "Lovefool" every single day. Really. Every day. And it was the only song they ever played. I spent most of my middle school years wondering what the hell was the deal with the station manager who loved that song so dearly.

Anyway...

Doug Christmas

Doug returns from the mall to see a crowd around his house. The police have arrested Porkchop and have him in shackles like he is Hannibal Lector. The media is there as well as the former mayor, who takes credit for Porkchop's arrest. This guy's plan is to have a dog put to sleep in order to get re-elected. Bluffington is a fucked up town.

Doug Christmas Doug Christmas

Porkchop is going to be prosecuted, and if found guilty, put to sleep. Doug needs to think of a way to save his dog. He goes door-to-door to ask people to sign a petition stating what a nice dog Porkchop is. Mr. Dink was supportive, but word has already gotten around, and most of the town is reluctant to sign. One old lady is angry he is even bothering her this time of the year. She tells Doug Christmas is a about "cookies and strudels" and is "a happy time" and Doug should do this after Christmas. Doug tells her that it will be too late to save his dog if he waits until after Christmas. "You should have thought of that before!" she shouts and slams the door in his face.

Wow, an angry old person who refuses to take even the minimal amount of effort to help another and then blames that person for problems they face. The Doug writers really nailed the Tea Party twelve years before it came about. I bet this old woman hates black people, too.

The news has a re-enactment of the incident, but re-casts Porkchop as a vicious attack dog. Damn you news media!

Doug Christmas Doug Christmas

Doug tries to appeal directly to Mr. Bluff, Beebe's wealthy father. The town of Bluffington was named after their family. I get the impression that the Bluffs control Bluffington like Mr. Potter controlled Pottersville in the alternative universe in It's a Wonderful Life. You kids know It's a Wonderful Life, don't you? Jimmy Stewert? Donna Reed?...Doesn't ring a bell? Oh, come on! It's on TV every Christmas season...It's a movie...You HAVE to know what I am talking about!!!!

Oh for Christ. It's like the alternative year 2015 in Back to the Future II where Biff controls Hill Valley due to his gambling fortune. Jesus F'ing Christ, you kids I write for.

Anyway, Mr. Bluff refuses to hear Doug's plea. In fact, he will be happy when Porkchop is dead because Porkchop is a dog and dogs have no money. Mr. Bluff actually says this. At least that security guard has a cool haircut.

Doug Christmas Doug Christmas

Doug daydreams about what to do next. Doug daydreams a lot, and today, three of his fantasy characters have come together to work out a plan: Quailman, Smash Adams (his James Bind guy), and his Indiana Jones guy (I don't recall his name). I like that this show for pointing out how most kids are not that original with their fantasizes and tend to copy from TV and movies. During the part of the 80s where I was alive and could talk, I tended to fantasize about being a member of The Real Ghostbusters. In 1990, I moved on to daydreaming that I was a character in TailSpin.

The characters' suggestions to Doug all involve their skills or super powers, which Doug does not have, so they tell Doug to just go find someone who is smart.

Doug seeks help from Al and Moo Sleech, the super smart twin brothers from Doug's class who make inventions in their basement. Their father is a baker, and one episode revolved around the father's disappointment that his sons did not want to follow in his footsteps. Because being a scientist or engineer is such a step down from being a fucking baker. Are there really dads out there who are tied so deeply to the idea that their children must do the same job for the rest of their lives they do? My dad only has ever had crappy jobs, so that was never the case in my family.

The Sleech brothers give Doug an exploding cupcake, which is sure to help Doug rescue his dog.

Doug Christmas

Oh no, the dog pound doesn't allow cupcakes. They have a large yellow sign saying so. I guess people have tried the cupcake trick before. Doug's BFF, Skeeter, distracts the guard by pretending to be sick, which allows Doug to sneak into the holding cell area. Well, that was pretty easy.

Doug Christmas Doug Christmas

This dog pound just like the prison Clarence Starling had to walk through to meet Hannibal Lector in Silence of the Lambs. Porkchop is held in a cage in the maximum security section (for "Very, Very Bad Dogs"). It is like the cage that Hannibal Lector was kept in when he was transferred to Memphis. Alarms go off and security removes Doug before he can help his dog.

This town has a really elaborate dog pound.

Doug Christmas Doug Christmas

Doug thinks back to the first time he met Porkchop. It was Christmas, and the little dog was little Doug's present. Porkchop is one tough pooch, there were no airholes in the box he was wrapped in. The town is going to find that Porkchop will be harder to kill than Rasputin.

Porkchop gave Doug a journal last Christmas. The premise of Doug is that he narrates each episode as he writes about it in his journal. There was one episode where he referred to it as a diary and everyone was drawn really squiggly. That was a dumb episode.

Doug Christmas

Doug then imagines visiting Porkchop's grave. This whole episode has been kind of grim for a children's show.

Doug Christmas Doug Christmas

Porkchop's trial is today. Mr. Bluff is seen talking with the judge right before it begins. Mr. Bluff also sits at the prosecutor's table, which is wildly innapropriate. Two policemen bring Porkchop into the courtroom in shackles. Porkchop sits at he defense table with Doug. Doug will be Porkchop's defense counsel. I like that his family doesn't want to see Porkchop put down, but instead of his mom or dad defending the dog, they leave that the the 11-year-old boy.

We're really having a trial for a dog?

Doug Christmas Doug Christmas

The prosecution throws all they can into building a case against Porkchop. A "doggie psychiatrist" testifies that Porkchop fits the profile of a killer. If I was Doug, my cross-examination would just be to have the man repeat that he is a doggie psychiatrist and then point and laugh at him.

A nurse brings Beebe into the courtroom. She is in a wheelchair and wearing a cast. The whole court room audience (do they call them an audience?) gasps. Porkchop looks really bad now. Beebe takes the the stand. She doesn't get much of a chance to speak because the prosector leads her on.

In Doug's head, his fantasy characters argue over what to do next and fight each other. This is a mental representation of the fact that Doug is going crazy.

Doug Christmas Doug Christmas

Man, a lot of people showed up to watch a dog be sentenced to death.

Doug needs a way to defend Porkchop. Since the dog is the smartest person in town, he communicates to Doug to get everyone to the lake. Maybe Porkchop is planning on the combined weight of the town to crack the ice and they will all drown while Porkchop will swim to freedom. I doubt anyone else in Bluffington is smart enough to start swimming when they are drowning.

Doug asks the court to go to the lake. The prosecution objects, and the judge wants to render a verdict. Doug asks if Porkchop can have the chance to defend himself, but the judge quips "And how is he going to do that? Does anyone hear speak dog?" and the whole courtroom laughs. Um...you are the goes who are putting a dog on trial in the first place.

Doug pleads with the court with a speech about how Christmas time is about caring. He brings up all the ways Porkchop has helped people. He has babysat*, helped with car trouble, brought a hammer and nails and cookies when someone's house burned down, and saved someone's hair. Porkchop even taught the judge's daughter to walk again after her accident. I am not making any of that up. It was all stated in the episode.

Wait, all these people were helped by Porkchop at one time or another and they are still eager to see the dog die? Wow...just wow.

*I bet the woman left and forgot her kids were home alone and Porkchop had to step in. I get the sense Porkchop is smarter than every in town and everyone else in town is very dumb.

Doug Christmas Doug Christmas

Everyone goes to the lake where all this madness began. The adults make Beebe walk on the ice with crutches and one leg in a cast to show them what happened. Porkchop tries to warn her to stay away, but he is held back by the police. Of course Beebe falls through the ice.

Doug Christmas Doug Christmas

While everyone else is standing around doing nothing, Porkchop breaks free of his restraints and dives into the hole to save her life a second time. Porkchop is a better being than I am, that's for sure. If I was going to face capital punishment for saving a person's life, and had to save her life again, I'd take a pass on it. I would let her die out of spite. At least she'd be in hell with me.

Doug Christmas Doug Christmas

The town watches Porkchop pull Beebe out of the water. If it was not for Porkchop, everyone there was going to just stand around and watch Beebe drown. Porkchop is exonerated and becomes a hero once again to this town of utterly cruel retards.

Doug Christmas Doug Christmas

Mr. Bluff is so grateful that he hosts a Christmas dinner in Porkchop's honor for all the he dogs in the pound. The dinner is being held outside while it is snowing. I'm sure the citizens of Bluffington are too dumb to notice.

You know, Mrs. Dink always seemed like a woman with a good head, but she is away this episode. Maybe whenever she leaves, the rest of the town finds themselves too dumb to function. "Derr...da mayor-lady is gone bye-bye. Whad do we do-do? Let's put that doggie-dog on trial and kill it! Kill it I say! Kill it dead! Whooh! I drink ma' own spit."

Porkchop is remarkably forgiving. The entire town was looking forward to him being put to sleep, but he is still cool with everyone. Maybe this town tries to put him to sleep every Christmas and Porkchop has learned to just roll with it.

Final Thoughts:

      Skin Color in Doug. Perhaps the most visually distinguishing feature of Doug is the wide array of skin colors the people have. They are mostly colors that people do not have in the real world, such as orange, blue and purple. I read somewhere that they made it that way so the characters would not be of any particular race. But then they made Doug, the main character and person we are supposed to identity with, white skinned. Not pure white, but the shade of pinkish-tan that most European people are. Kind of seemed liked a bit of a cop-out to me.

As a kid, I wondered who the black people were supposed to be. There isn't anyone who is noticeably Asian or black. Patti Mayonnaise has light brown skin, but both she and her dad have blonde hair. I eventually concluded that Skeeter must be black. His skin is blue, that seems close enough. And his body type is kind of close that of a tall, lanky black boy.

Skeeter's family

Don't you think his family looks black? Only a black family would drive a car where the son sits in the far back, the mother sits in the middle seat, and the dad sits in front and has to stick his legs where the engine should be. And there is only one door. The Doug team must have accidentally sent this to be animated in the wrong Korea.

      Disney's Doug. The last episode of Doug on Nickelodeon aired in 1994. In 1996, Disney stepped in and ordered more episodes, which aired on ABC's Saturday morning block for four years. It was called Disney's Doug. It was originally called Brand Spanking New! Doug, but someone at ABC must have pointed out how dumb that sounded. In addition to moving Doug from elementary school to middle school, Roger Klatz (Doug's bully) became rich, Doug got a new little sister, Cleopatra Dirtbike Funny. So yeah, the new show was as dumb as it sounds. Doug also started wearing shirts that had sleeves that went halfway between the wrist and elbow, which only girl's tops have. The Disney version was not as good as the Nick version.

After Disney bought ABC in 1996, they made the Saturday morning block Disney-centric. You can see this today as the entire lineup is just reruns of Hannah Montana, That's so Raven and Suite Life. When I was in middle school, we had this retarded thing called Disney's One Saturday Morning, which Disney's Doug aired on.

I disliked it because they never put the start time of shows at the top of bottom of the hour. It was always be odd times like 9:16 or 10:42 and the various TV guides would never say when a show was supposed to start. There would be a lot of these dumb little skits featuring characters like the genie from Aladdin to throw off the time. So it would be rare for me to see Disney's Doug and a Christmas miracle if I could see the entire half hour of it. I would usually tune in during dumb fucking Recess, and I hated Recess. Not for the content as much as I wanted to see Disney's Doug and this was a letdown. I went through the same thing years later trying to catch Futurama during NFL season.

The only show I could catch with any consistency was a educational cartoon called Science Court. It was the last show in the lineup, so the Goddamn genie could never make me miss it. It was made by the people behind Dr. Katz and Home Movies, so it was pretty good.