Sunday, February 28, 2016

"Dear Journal": Why "Doug"?

WRITER'S NOTE: Some of you may be asking yourselves, why am I even talking about this series in the first place? Why would I be interested in or even bother with characters of different colors, including a title character who daydreams and puts himself in fantastical situations?

(l-r) Skeeter Valentine, Doug Funnie, and Patti Mayonnaise
The best stories are those that not only allow us to escape from reality for a few moments, but also help us deal with reality. Fantasies can be a good and meaningful form of escapism, and there is a time and a place for them. But sooner or later, there are things in life we all have to deal with and learn from. “Doug” is about dealing with those things—and not just during adolescence—whether we want to or not, and no matter how hard we try to avoid them, even if we fantasize away from them.

Furthermore, "Doug" represents a piece of what our culture needs, which is sincerity, honesty, uniqueness, and originality. It also represents what has been absent in ninety-nine percent of today's "kids' shows," which instead focus on cheap laughs, poor writing, and Hollywood interference. (Exceptions can be made, I suppose, for the current Disney channel series, "Girl Meets World," a spin-off of "Boy Meets World," and the new Netflix series "Fuller House," based on the classic 90s family show.) 

The Early 90s or, Genres and Topics in Bluffington
We've obviously come a long way with trends in pop culture and social media, in terms of the way we communicate and interact. From cell phones to iPads to Facebook, we've obviously become more and more tech-savvy in recent years. On "Doug," the fictitious community of Bluffington (based off of creator Jim Jinkins' hometown of Richmond, Virginia) encompasses a nostalgic period of hang-outs at local restaurants and shopping malls, watching television and videocassettes, being involved with cub scouts, listening to rock or dance music, and having conversations over the telephone or person-to-person. 

One of the interesting things I discovered as I was researching and watching episodes of this series was how diverse it was not only in its characters but also in its themes and topics. This series was never about just one thing (e.g., a pre-teenager journaling his everyday thoughts). Almost every episode had something different to say and had something for everybody to learn, in creative, entertaining, and sometimes enlightening ways. Season One alone focuses on various topics and genres as nature, dance, crime/mystery, animal psychology, photography, camping, rock music or yodeling, Shakespeare, courtroom drama, government, sports, footwear, cosmetology, comic book heroes, fishing, family, business/economics, cooking, babysitting, romance, teamwork, and friendship.

Personally, this represents how writing (as the title character himself does) allows us to consider and understand these various aspects of life. In addition, it should be noted that Doug's many roles, besides that of his fantastical alter egos (Quailman, Smash Adams, Race Canyon), include journalist, artist, banjo player, and baseball player. These themes and ideas can allow us to understand our various roles as individuals, as well as what makes us, in the words of Patti Mayonnaise, "one-of-a-kind". The same could be said about this series--at least, the Nickelodeon version. 

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a great show Bryan:) Now because of you, i am researching about it haha;) And I really wanna watch it now. I loved this post because it was so easy to read, even for someone with ADHD like myself who gets distracted and whose mind wanders ~Emily Boecker