A 90s cartoon that remains in the hearts of millennials (and many others) everywhere, Doug is a Nickelodeon animated sitcom that originally aired in 1991. Created by Jim Jinkins, the show centers around the early adolescent life of Douglas “Doug” Funnie and the various situations that unfold growing up in Bluffington. Essentially an early, cartoon version of Diary of a Wimpy Kid books and films, Doug narrates each story in his journal and gets help with a number of imaginary sequences. Although he wasn’t necessarily considered ‘wimpy’ at the time, one of the things that made Doug so lovable was the fact that he was just a normal, (typically) happy young man. Either way, it seems that many gravitated towards the series because it’s as realistic as it is entertaining.
Delving into the common teen antics, viewers of this show witness Doug meet new friends, deal with bullying, fall in love, and many other situations faced by the average tween/teen in this age. Many of these situations and characters become as important to the show as Doug himself. Indeed, Doug’s love for Patti Mayonnaise, alone, became one of the most well-known, essential elements of this show. Nevertheless, the world of animation tends to be a strange, often twisted place. No matter how big of a fan you were of the show, there are likely quite a few odd tidbits you somehow missed. That said, the following is a closer look at 15 weird things you never knew about childhood favorite, Doug.
15. The Character Existed Before The Show
Although many never think of cartoons working their way up within the entertainment business, it is actually more common than you’d think. The show that almost never was, Doug was originally just a sketch and a bunch of ideas in creator Jim Jinkins’ notebook. From there, quite a bit happened before he was ready for cable television. In particular, Nickelodeon wasn’t his first real gig. In fact, Doug first had a non-speaking role in a grapefruit commercial that aired in 1988. By 1990, he had worked his way up to another non-speaking role for the cable channel USA, in which an early version of his dog, Porkchop, also appeared by his side. Eventually, the character became a show and the rest is Nickelodeon history.
14. It’s All Real Life (Mostly)
If you’re a fan of the show, you may know by now that this is a mostly autobiographical cartoon (if there is a such a thing). Either way, many of the characters and even the scenarios depicted in this cartoon actually happened in real life and the show is largely thought to be Jinkins’ method of reliving his golden years. For instance, his love interest, Patti, his best friend, Skeeter, and his (hardly) lovable bully, Roger, were all real people who existed in Jinkins’ life as a pre-teen/teen. Although we don’t have the complete “where are they now” details, we can assume being drawn into Nicktoon infamy must be quite flattering, to say the very least (although Roger may be rethinking a few things). Furthermore, once the show aired, he even sent a card to the lady who inspired Patti, telling her to pay some extra special attention to the character.
13. There’s No Secret Reason For Doug’s Bald Head
In the real world, Doug’s hair would have been the subject of constant ridicule and bullying. However, in the show, it is hardly considered or mentioned. Nevertheless, despite the fact that all the other characters have rather impressive hair, Doug seems to have gotten the wrong end of the bargain on that deal. However, the creator, Jinkins, asserts that there is nothing innately wrong with Doug nor is there any meaningful reason for his awesomely unruly hair. Quite the contrary, since Doug was originally created from a series of sketches made by Jinkins, the real reason for Doug’s laughable hair is simply that Jinkins was too lazy to think up a suitable do. The hair plant looking hair is really just a testament to how much Jinkins has grown as an artist and cartoonist.
12. Doug Was Almost Called ‘Brian’
Although we have all become well-acquainted with the character known as ‘Doug’, and the gang, the character we know and love was almost someone else entirely. While his influence for choosing either name, specifically, remain a bit of a mystery, what we do know is that Jinkins almost called the cartoon and main character of the show ‘Brian’. While a name may not seem like such a big deal, having a good or bad name can literally make or break a series. (Just ask Mayim Bialik about Blossom vs Molloy). Therefore, feeling the name was too fancy, Jinkins eventually settled on the name Doug, which he felt was much more appropriate. On the whole, the goal of Jinkins was to create an average, relatable character for young kids as he had a goal of instilling positive messages and values in this demographic.
11. Doug Was Supposed To Teach Kids That Honesty Is The Best Policy
The main goal of this series was to instil positive messages into young kids. With a goal of having a positive influence on the world at large, Jinkins made it a point to infuse a positive message into each episode. Much unlike many of the shows on TV today, for the most part, Doug, was good wholesome fun intended to help kids learn how to properly face certain situations and grow into adults with integrity. Overall, the main message Jinkins wanted to instil in his young viewers is that honesty is the best policy. For this reason, Doug was constantly put into situations in which his ethical views and integrity were tested. But of course, he always passed with flying colors.
10. Judy Is Technically Shakespeare’s Sister
Although he technically took many characters from his personal life, the names are another story entirely. For instance, his overly dramatic sister is not that way by chance. Rather, Jinkins borrowed the character from an article written by Virginia Woolf. The overall point of the essay being that a woman with Shakespeare’s talents (represented by his fictional sister, Judith) would have likely been oppressed rather than celebrated during that time. For this reason, Doug’s sister is very artsy, creative, and dramatic. We are frequently subjected to her awesomely bad renditions of various plays, including Shakespearean sonnets, which she, of course, is a huge fan of. Furthermore, Jinkins’ loved this character so much he actually pitched a spin-off, centering on Judy. However, Disney did not share his enthusiasm and declined the pitch.
9. Disney Made Reggie Meaner And He Faced Less Consequences
For die-hard fans of the show, you likely noticed an array of changes that occurred after the show was moved from Nickelodeon to the Disney channel. In fact, many areas of this series received a makeover as a part of the Disney deal. For instance, Doug was not only a tad older (he went from 11.5 to 12.5) but he was also slightly slimmer and had a new voice in the updated version. Moreover, another major difference is the appearance of Skunky Beaumont, who, although occasionally mentioned by the other characters, never made an official appearance on the show until it appeared on Disney. Furthermore, although the reasons for doing so are unknown, Roger (also with a new voice) became a much meaner bully on Disney’s watch; the infractions also seemed to be less frequent.
8. Skeeter’s Address And Other Historical References
As you may or may not have noticed, this series, like many cartoons, is loaded with inside jokes. Many of these inside jokes include historical references of some sort and, in particular, he seems to be rather fond of ship references. Although the specific reasons for doing so remain unknown, one can assume that hiding these tiny jokes throughout the series is just a manner of keeping his young audience on their toes. For instance, Skeeter’s address, 1492 Ocean Blue, is actually a nod to the well-known rhyme, “In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue.” Moreover, there is a poster on Doug’s wall that includes the words “loose lips” over a huge ship. This is actually a reference to the notorious saying that began in the WWII era: “loose lips sink ships”.
7. What The “Dinks” Really Represent
Moreover, the Funnies’ neighbors, the Dinks, had a lot more going on than meets the eye. Although, on the surface, they may have seemed like just an annoying couple with a lot of time and money on their hands, that is just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, many are unaware that D.I.N.K. is actually an acronym for “double income no kids”. In other words, the reason the Dinks were so well off was no secret at all, they are simply one of those couples who refrain from having kids so they can enjoy their time and money without the added stress and responsibility that comes along with being a parent. So, if you found this couple especially annoying, rest assured, this was no accident, they were purposely created to be overly meddlesome and ostentatious.
6. One Too Many Margaritas + Unconventional Colors = Racially Ambiguous Characters
On the flip side, while many have claimed he may be African American, of Spanish descent, or a variety of other options, the race of Skeeter, and various other characters on the show, were a source of confusion purposely. In an effort to promote true diversity and acceptance amongst children everywhere, once Jinkins came to the realization that he could make his characters any colors he chose (a realization caused by a margarita-induced stupor), he decided to use some non-conventional colors as a means of finding a fun, creative way to introduce the notions of race and ethnicity to younger kids. Moreover, as Jinkins’ ultimate goal was to have a positive impact on the world at large, he encouraged viewers to have these discussions and to assign whatever race to the characters they saw fit.
5. Doug And Patti Didn’t Work Out
Given the fact that Jinkins admitted that Patti was a genuine grade school crush, many hopeless romantics have held out hope that they actually ended up together. However, the real world rarely works out as well as the world of television. Sadly, after missing his 10-year reunion, Jinkins received a call from the real Patti. After asking why he missed their high school reunion, she invited him over to catch up. Short story shorter, after being incredibly nervous to even visit her, and finding her to still be beautiful and perfect in every way, she embraces him, points out that she finally grew boobs (apparently, the real Patti was lacking in the chest area and was routinely mocked with the name “Flatty Patti”), and then tells Jinkins she wants him to meet her husband. Bummer. But in the name of keeping it realistic, Jinkins has stated that if there is ever a reboot (here’s hoping) Patti and Doug will not be together, at least to start. Rather, he plans to put her in a serious relationship with another man. The horror.
4. The Schizophrenia Conspiracy
No good series is complete without a working conspiracy theory created by adoring fans. In this instance, there is a conspiracy that asserts Doug is mentally ill and his stories are a part of his delusions. More specifically, the theory says that Doug has schizophrenia and frequently suffers from vivid hallucinations. One of the reasons behind this logic lies in not only the frequency of Doug’s daydreams, but also in the fact that he tends to physically act out his fantasies as apparently, such antics are characteristic of this disease specifically. Furthermore, the fact that he repeatedly puts himself in danger whilst experiencing these delusions, this is an even further indication that what we are witnessing is not a simple case of a healthy imagination.
3. The Show Is Peppered With Random Parodies
In addition, the show also had its share of fun with random parodies, a running gag that has become commonplace in cartoons of all kinds. For instance, the band The Beets were actually a parody of The Beatles as two of the members bared a striking resemblance to Ringo and Robert. However, the continuous and seemingly unending series of “reunion” concerts is a nod to none other than the infamous comeback band, The Who. Furthermore, in the show in which Doug returned on the bus from visiting his grandmother, he was on a “Beagle” bus, which is an obvious parody of Greyhound. Furthermore, one of the main fixtures on the show, the burger joint known as “Honker Burger”, is really just a parody of the well-known franchise, In-N-Out Burger.
2. The Story Behind Doug’s Love For Banana Pizza
For those who are yet unfamiliar, a ‘show bible’ is a book that outlines all the minuscule details of any given show. Some of these facts are well-known and widespread, others are hidden details kept secret and only used for reference purposes. This next tidbit seems to be a bit of both. Although it is said that the bible asserts Doug’s love of banana pizza, this hardly appears on the show. However, they did go so far as to explain where this obsession came from. In one show, Doug had to bake with Patti as a part of his cooking class. After working very hard to prepare the pizza, they bumped into Roger, who was throwing away the banana pudding he just ruined and, of course, he ruins their pizza as well. Either way, the pizza turns out to be a huge hit and this is where Doug’s not so secret love of banana pizza was born.
1. Doug Went Live
Many are unaware of the fact that Doug “went live”. No, this is not the same as the weird phenomenon where people broadcast the details of their life via social media. However, Doug actually became a live show, for a time, back in 1999 at the Walt Disney World Resort, which was known as Disney MGM Studios at the time. Using a backdrop in order to set the scene on stage, the show lasted about 25-minutes long but also included a 30-minute pre-show which called for crowd participation. Each of the characters wore fanciful hair pieces to look more like the characters did on TV. Lasting a little over 2 years, the show came to an end in 2001. After the show ended, the studio remained mostly unused until the creation of The American Idol Experience, which opened in 2009.
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