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Doug and his fall from grace

Back in the year of 1991 on the Nickelodeon channel, a vote was held between three cartoons to win as best Nicktoon, Doug, Rugrats, and The Ren & Stimpy Show. For the cartoons that didn't win, they would last for a short number of episodes. While Rugrats ultimately won out of the three, Doug would get a total of four seasons of its run, lasting from 1991 to 1994.

The show focused on the day to day life of eleven year old Doug Funnie as he winds up finding solutions to problems that can be both is own and those around him. His usual friends were Skeeter Valentine, his neighbor, Mr. Dink, and a few of the other students at his school and having a crush on a girl, Patti Mayonnaise. His sister was big on poetry and fashion, sometimes being a problem for him, and other times giving him advice, as well as the local bully, Roger Klotz picking on him any moment he can.

Creator Jim Jenkins explained that he wanted to create a show that young viewers could relate to with its stories and characters, as Doug and others would work around problems like peer pressure, proving your worth that you can impress someone, despite your own flaws, and learning to forgive. Even those that watched the show had said that it helped them develop as matured adults with its life morals. The town of Bluffington and its citizens that inhabit it made for one of the best memorable cartoons on the Network. But unfortunately the magic didn't last forever, leading to an unfortunate drop in quality, in which I tell the story of....

With the show reaching its final season, the bigwigs running the network were giving Jim his last days of the show's run as other shows were beginning to take over the timeslot. As far as he got with creative freedom, he didn't have much else aside from books and VHS tapes of old episodes, but soon he had the plan of reviving the show for ABC and Disney.

One of the last episodes of the fourth season "Doug Graduates" felt like a proper finale as we see Doug and his friends leaving their old school, and potentially a hint at a new series.

The Doug series lied dormant until 1996 when it came back on ABC's "One Saturday Morning" block as "Brand Spankin' New Doug", following right where the Nickelodeon series left off, unfortunately it was a huge step down from expectations of those who watched the prior show. Some familiar locations were destroyed and renovated, with a couple of characters having a new look for the new show.

The episodes were hit and miss, probably one of the biggest examples is from the first few episodes, in which Doug would act like a jerk toward others including Patti, there was even an episode where Doug tried to fit in with Roger's old bully friends. In an episode of the Nickelodeon Doug, he forgave Patti for joining with Roger in throwing rocks at an abandoned house that just so happened to belong to her parents before they moved, but it felt like that episode in particular retconned it for his behavior.

Aside from iconic areas from the Nickelodeon show getting changed, even the fictional band that Doug and Skeeter listened to, The Beets, would no longer be a thing either, with the band members breaking up in a rather cheap and forced kind of way just as an excuse for them not to return.

Even Doug's previous voice actor, Billy West wasn't around for this new series, though he did seem upset about not being contacted about it, most likely the reason why was because Billy was an expensive voice actor to hire, his new voice actor, Tom McHugh didn't exactly fit the voice down as a replacement, and it was noticeable to previous viewers that it especially didn't feel right, coincidentally Billy also voiced Roger Klotz.

The previous characters all returned with their respectable voice actors though, but even they felt like the magic of the Nickelodeon cartoon was gone with all the changes that were happening as that creative freedom that Jim Jenkins got from Nickelodeon before wasn't present here, and even went on saying that he didn't have as much involvement as he had other shows he was working on in between, such as 1997's 101 Dalmatians cartoon and PB & J Otter in 1998.

Doug's last appearance on television media would be from his upcoming box office flop in 1999, called "Doug's First Movie", ironically being his only movie as planned in concept, there were going to be sequels.

Before the Disney show ended, there were hints of the movie's premise, being a supposed myth of a monster living underneath a lake in Bluffington. The film as you would imagine had a fairly lackluster movie gross with it having the same animation budget as the show. This was also accompanied by a live action musical that was happening at the time as well, and one of the last times we would see any form of Doug media at all, leaving a forgettable Game Boy Color game to end it on.

Doug's Big Game was the final nail in the coffin for the franchise releasing as late as December of 2000, being a top down view game in which Doug has to do a number of fetch quests for familiar characters to win the love of Patti, but I'll put this in short in saying that the game is shallow and the ending isn't worth playing through for. On a rare occasion you'll play through some flying levels as Doug's superhero alter ego, Quailman, but it feels like a tease in a change of pace as it doesn't last very long compared to the rest of the game.

And that, ladies and gents is how Doug went from a memorable animated icon to being dragged in the mud from network changes. To this day, many regard the Nickelodeon version as the only series worth watching, and for good reason: because it was everything that Jim Jenkins wanted the series to be.

What are your memories of Doug? Leave a comment and as always, see you next article!

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onipar Posted on Jun 27, 2021 at 02:39 PM

Loved Hey Arnold too!

Benjanime Posted on Jun 26, 2021 at 06:51 PM

@Mr Magic I'll take a few!

@onipar yeah i don't think i even finished watching the whole disney series when i was little, hey arnold was starting to become popular too, so that might have been the reason.

@Julie thankfully i now have the nick series on dvd for us both to watch, my love ❤ thank you always for your support in reading my articles ^^

Julie Posted on Jun 26, 2021 at 06:45 PM

First, my congrats on the always very well written article full of charisma. ❤ Doug achieved relative success, Rugrats was a cute colossus and I've only seen The Ren & Stimpy in a few 16-bit games back then. I also noticed the always great moral lessons in Doug's episodes and enjoyed the series. I didn't even know there was a sequel from Disney (which has only destroyed franchises lately thanks to the destructive woke culture). It's now a memory of a cartoon that was pleasant to watch, a good memory of the 90s.

onipar Posted on Jun 26, 2021 at 06:22 PM

Well, heck, that's pretty sad. I used to always watch Doug on Nick, but I guess by time the second series came out, I was a little too old to care. I feel like a vaguely remember the movie coming out, but again, I didn't see it. I did recently revisit some of the original Doug episodes, and they seem to hold up pretty well for me.

Mr Magic Posted on Jun 26, 2021 at 02:06 AM

Anyone for a Honker Burger?

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