Doug is an American animated sitcom created by Jim Jinkins and co-produced by his studio, Jumbo Pictures, and the French studio Ellipse Programmé with in association with Canal+ and FR 3. The show centers on its title character, Douglas "Doug" Funnie (voiced by Billy West), who takes the role of the common child. The series lampoons several topics, including puppy love, bullying, and rumors. Many episodes center around Doug's attempts to woo classmate Patti Mayonnaise.
Doug originally aired on Nickelodeon in the United States. It, along with Rugrats and The Ren & Stimpy Show, comprised the original three Nicktoons, premiering back-to-back on August 11, 1991. After the series originally ended in 1994, production moved to Disney after they acquired Jumbo Pictures, and the series continued on ABC as part of the Disney's One Saturday Morning programming block from 1996 to 1999, even spawning a feature film. However, the Disney series is not covered on this wiki.
Takes place in the fictitious town of Bluffington and deals with the life and imagination of Doug, his dog Porkchop, and good friends Skeeter Valentine and Patti Mayonnaise. Doug has recently moved to Bluffington from Bloatsburg. Most episodes start with Doug writing in his journal about recent events in his life, with the main action of the episode being a flashback of the events as Doug narrates them. Doug faces all sorts of problems, catching a nematoad, doing a biography on 2 eccentric, brainiac twins, having his sister host the Founder's Day parade, and running for class treasurer. In addition, all the normal responsibilities a teen has at this stage in their life (relationships, school, earning money, etc.)
Doug's older sister, Judy, is a constant source of conflict. She is a dramatic actor who always wears a purple beret and sunglasses, even in the house. Doug is the supposed bane of her existence, as his childlike interests annoy her very much.
A theme in the series is Doug's alternate comic book personality, Quailman. He has a belt worn around his head, and clean briefs over his pants, but is otherwise identical to Doug. Skeeter has an analogous character named the Silver Skeeter (a parody of Marvel's Silver Surfer).
Doug's imagination as he reacts to various situations in his life helps to provide premises for the stories. One episode dealing with a visit to his dentist, for example, contains homages to Goldfinger and Marathon Man.
Another theme in the series regarded Doug's feelings for Patti, with whom he had fallen in love upon first setting eyes on her. Some episodes focused on this, and involved either Doug attempting to get closer to Patti, or his frantic attempts to stop her discovering his feelings . The story ends on an optimistic hope for the two when Patti asks Doug out on a date.
Notable in the series' character design is the frequent use of unusual names and skin colors. Doug is of standard Caucasian tone, whereas his mother is purple, Skeeter is blue, Patti is tan with blonde hair, and Roger is green.
- Douglas "Doug" Yancy Funnie: Performed by Billy West from 1991 to 1994, and Thomas McHugh from 1996 to 1999. Often is writing his thoughts in his journal, which he lost in one episode. He does not like his journal being called a "diary", possibly finding it too feminine. Has many alter-egos. He hates his middle name, although Mr. Schilaki believed that Yancey is the "good Doug" in the episode where Doug was made to look like a troublemaker. Also, Judy referred to Doug as Yancey when she had her boyfriend over in one episode, casting Doug as her butler. Doug is left-handed but in the Disney series he is right-handed.
- Patricia "Patti" Mayonnaise: The girl on whom Doug has a crush. In some thought sequences, she is often depicted as older and/or single or married as Doug's future wife. She has orange skin and is apparently from the South, as she has a distinct Southern accent. She lives with her father, who is a paraplegic but is able to care for her like any other father (her mother was killed in the same accident that crippled her father). Patti is kind, good-natured, athletic, and a good student, although she has also been shown to have a strong competitive streak. Her best friends are Beebe Bluff and Connie Benge.
- Mosquito "Skeeter" Valentine: Doug's best friend who, despite having a very high IQ, does not show it. He lives with his parents and kid brother Dale and is famous for his "honk honk" sound. He has blue skin. He loves music and introduces Doug to the work of The Beets; in fact, he and Doug actually met the band on several occasions. In the final Nickelodeon season, Skeeter developed a crush on a transfer student named Loretta McQuigley.
- Roger M. Klotz: The bully in the series. He lives with his divorced mother and cat, Stinky in a trailer park, they became rich in the Disney version. His rival was Percy Femur, Lamar Bone's nephew. He has green skin. Doug has created many alter-egos for him, and he is the main antagonist in the Quailman comics. According to the final episode of the Nickelodeon series, Roger was in 6th grade for three straight years, indicating he was held back. Since the average 6th grader is 12, Roger is probably 14 in the series. This also indicates that in the Disney series, he is 15-17.
- Porkchop: Doug's anthropomorphic canine companion. He is fiercely loyal to his owner, although in one episode he fell in love with a girl dog and almost ran away for good.
- Beebe Bluff: A spoiled rich girl; friend of Patti's, Doug's, and Skeeter's. Beebe lives in a huge mansion, with her father and mother. Butlers/maids also tend to her every need. Beebe is very snobby and resembles Pebbles from The Flintstones. Doug once mistakenly thought Beebe had a crush on him, but it turned out it was Skeeter (who shows no interest in her) that she liked.
- Mr. Phil Funnie: Doug/Judy's dad, Theda's husband. Phil is a department store photographer. He is the head of the household, and is not afraid to put his foot down.
- Judith "Judy" Anastasia Funnie: Doug's artistic sister. She is a stereotypical "hippie/beatnik" who loves speaking in dramatic tones, and acting out her emotions. She has an extreme liking towards any Shakespearian work. Roger developed a brief crush on her, which she dealt with in typical "Judy style" - by being overly dramatic (causing Roger to think she was too weird for him). Judy is often in her room, preforming plays, or listening to soft jazz. She has directed several of Doug's school plays, including the Founder's day pageant, and her unconventional methods often draw the ire of parents. Judy attends the Moody School, a high school for artistically inclined teenagers. Eventually becomes more mellowed out and relaxed in Disney's Doug.
- Mrs. Theda Funnie: Phil's wife, Doug/Judy's mom. Theda works for the recycling center, she collects cans and separate the recyclables. She has a soft, light voice, but she is not afraid to yell.
- Mr. Buddy "Bud" Dink: Doug's eccentric, spend-thrift neighbor, whom Doug often turns to for advice. Known for his obnoxious Goofy-esque laugh and frequent new purchases of strange devices, always commenting that they were "very expensive." Also was Doug's scoutmaster for many episodes. Bud also has a fear of heights, due to a tree climbing incident.
- Mrs. Tipping "Tippy" Dale Dink: Mr. Dink's wife, and later the mayor of Bluffington. Known for her deadpan reactions to her husband's stupidity.
- Ms. Wingo: Doug's elementary school teacher.
- Stinky: Roger's spoiled female feline companion. Originally thought to be male, but then had kittens.
- Mr. William "Bill" Bluff III: The richest man in town, father of Beebe, and descendant of the town founder.
- Robert "Bob" White: The former mayor of Bluffington, who later becomes the middle school principal. Constantly asserting "Vote for Me!", even to elementary schoolers. He does not make major decisions, which often lead to others making it for him. Mayor White thinks his only responsibility is to "sit in his chair and be the mayor". He often consults his wife on what he should do. His son is Willy.
- William "Willie" White: Willy is the dark-skinned, blue hair, porky friend of Roger. He is a major ditz, and often starts talking by saying "Duuuh" followed by something ridiculous. Although he is the Mayor's son, he still follows around with Roger and his gang. Willy lost the class treasurer race against Doug, the same day his dad lost his Mayor position to Tippy Dink.
- Albert "Al"/Moose "Moo" Sleech: Genius, yet socially inept twin brothers. Their father runs a bakery in their own basement, and they have a dog named Cosmos. Al and Moo love to play video games, and are system hackers. They speak in monotonous tones, and are rarely seen apart.
- Lamarr Bone: The elementary school vice-principal, and later promoted to the same job at the middle school. Depicted as the stereotypical "mean principal" of both schools; he even comes across as physically abusive at times. Likes to yodel and clog-dance on occasion. Mr. Bone's nephew is Percy Femur, who attended their school for a few days. Sometimes breaks away from the stereotype that he has developed into a more caring nature, but it's very rare. Doug has created many alter-egos for him such as "Robobone" and "The Rulemeister". Mr. Bone speaks with a Don Knotts-esque voice.
- The Beets: A band from Liverpool, that Doug and Skeeter are big fans of. They are a parody of the Beatles, with their last album being Let It Beet, a reference to Let It Be. Members are Monroe Yodler, Wendy Nespalm, Flounder, and Chap Lipman. According to an interview with Chap Lipman, they used to practice on trash cans and any other things they could find to get a steady beat. After the initial beat they came up with the lyrics to "Killer Tofu". This fact inspired Doug and Skeeter to (briefly) form their own band. The boys even met the Beets themselves on at least one occasion.
- → Main article: Doug episode list (does not include episodes from the Disney cartoon)
Home video releases
- → Main article: Doug videography (does not include home video releases from the Disney cartoon)
Creator Jim Jinkins based the series on his hometown of Richmond, Virginia. Jinkins first sketched the character of Doug while doodling without thought, not aiming to create a character based on himself.
In the 1980s, he began working on an autobiographical character named "Brian", which he later changed to "Doug", as it was a very general, common name. He began to view the character as his "alter-ego," drawing him in variously cynical and silly scenarios in his sketchbook. In 1984, Jinkins' career took a turn for the worse, as well as his personal life: he had a rough breakup and suffered injuries in a biking accident. During this time, he gained a new outlook on life. Desiring to "create a place where there was no overdue rent and no delinquent phone bills," he began doodling and formed the basis for Bluffington. The character's early designs were solidified alongside friend David Campbell at a small Mexican restaurant in New York. He later credited the character's odd coloring choices from being in a "margarita stupor." Campbell suggested he make Doug into a children's book, titled Doug Got a New Pair of Shoes, which was rejected by all of the city's publishing houses. Simon & Schuster was interested, but management changed before it purchased the pitch. The character made his animated debut in a 1988 Florida Grapefruit Growers commercial, and was also used for a 1989 promotional bumper for the USA Network.
Meanwhile, Nickelodeon, aiming to expand its content and find creative auteurs, began a search for animators to develop their first original animated series. This was very unusual for the time period, which often consisted of pre-licensed characters, such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Where's Waldo?. Jinkins had actually worked at the network when it was named Pinwheel. Jinkins set up a meeting with executive Vanessa Coffey to show her the book prototype. Coffey ran out of the room ("which is, you know, disturbing," Jinkins would recall), but only to inform her boss that "This [Jinkins] guy is the real deal, and we're taking him to pilot." Employing voice artists and writers from New York, Jinkins created a pilot for Doug, titled "Doug Can't Dance". The long contract development took nearly a year to complete. Jinkins made sure that his contract allowed him to take the series to another network if Nickelodeon did not complete the show's order.
In another unusual move, Nickelodeon allowed their purchased pilots to be animated at independent studios. Jinkins founded Jumbo Pictures to produce Doug. He would later recall the oddity of the deal, remarking, "that was a moment in time where we were able to be an independent production company and deliver those shows." Coffey was the main executive in charge of the series' production, and Jinkins would later give her credit in bringing the show to air.
Writing and design
Jinkins characterized the series as not entirely autobiographical, but emotionally accurate to his childhood experiences. The show was designed and based off his experiences growing up in Virginia, designing it as such to give the viewers "a roller coaster of emotions." Each character was based on people from Jinkins' life, with some exaggerations. Prior to the show's premiere, Jinkins sent messages to each subject of inspiration, notifying them of their inclusion. Jinkins' religious upbringing also made its way into the series, albeit without direct reference. For example, if an episode is set on Sunday, Doug's family is dressed in their church clothes. Jinkins felt it was important to not insert overly religious themes into the series, but he viewed it essential that each episode contain a moral. The series was also inspired by Peanuts.
The show's design was labor-intensive, intended to convey a certain logic to the show's universe. In the show's pitch bible, which Jinkins described as "huge," contain floor plans for each main character's homes, as well as maps of each street. In addition, Jinkins and the series' developers paid particular attention to more hidden elements within the series, such as the founding fathers of Bluffington. In writing the series, the production schedule was built around spending several weeks writing the series' scripts. Jinkins asked each writer to place a central theme at the top of each script — what issue Doug is dealing with, and what he learns. Jinkins often told staff that he wanted the show to remain relevant "in 30 years," aiming for a timeless effect. While developing the series, Jinkins wanted to change its name from Doug to The Funnies, but the network encouraged him to stick with the original name. There was a "cross-pollination" among the network's writing staff. This involved story editors being assigned to the show, among them Mitchell Kriegman of Clarissa Explains It All and Will McRobb of The Adventures of Pete & Pete. "There was definitely camaraderie and a quirkiness about who they were hiring," Jinkins later said. "Sometimes it didn't work quite so well, but working with McRobb was awesome!"
In translating the show to animation, the characters' designs were solidified. "Jim Jinkins is an illustrator and not an animator, so his initial drawings were a little bit more of a wiggly line," said Yvette Kaplan. The designs were inspired by Jinkins' period working for R. O. Blechman at the Ink Tank, incorporating Blechman's nervous line quality.
Jinkins was also very involved in the show's music. One of the show'smost notable elements is its unique soundtrack, which consist of various mouth sounds by voice actor Fred Newman. "Fred showed me how you could take out a guitar and use a tuna can filled with water that you'd thump with your finger," said Jinkins. In the series' Doug's favorite rock group is the Beets, a play on the Beatles. The band's members also visually resemble Ringo Starr of the Beatles and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, and their penchant for endless reunion tours owes to the Who. Jinkins viewed the series' music as an accent to the storytelling.
Creating the music for the series was a deliberate attempt to deviate from the standard for animated cartoons, which traditionally followed the works of Carl Stalling. The most complicated piece of music created for the series was for the opening sequence, which was recorded preceding animation, rather than the typical method of composing it afterward. Newman's scat singing plays over transitions in the series. The show also incorporated homemade sound effects.
In the closing credits for the first season, two different pieces of music would play: the first piece would be taken from the second story in the episode, and during the last third, Porkchop would don headphones and listen to music from the first story, immediately drowning out the original background music and angering Doug. Subsequent seasons, however, use a single piece of music for their closing credits (despite using the same animation).
- Doug at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Episode Guide at TV.com
- Doug at the Internet Movie Database
- Doug Wiki
- Disney Wiki: Doug (for information on Disney's continuation)
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