Nickelodeon's Doug - Shaping My AWKWARD Childhood

This is an article about Nickelodeon's Doug and how it shaped an important part of my youth.
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February 02, 2015
This is my first article and there is nothing more I would love to start off with on RetroJunk.com than remembering "Doug" as the sole reason I made it through middle school (Junior High).



I remember it like it was yesterday (currently age 28). The carefree days of my youth passed me by before I knew it. After Elementary school had come and gone I went into that summer as if it were any other summer. I had no idea what horrors awaited me just around the corner in September… Middle School!

Every school in every state is different. Some Junior High Schools are grades 7-8, others are “Middle Schools” grades 6-8, and even still, I have heard of some being 7-9 (which seems odd to me, but I digress). My school happened to be 6-8. I remember the awkward pre-teen blues (zits, weight gain, growth spurts, peach fuzz, longing for the most beautiful girl in school, changing in gym class with kids older and more mature) it was a mess. What cruel and sick dictator invented “Middle School”?



I sat at home most afternoons just sulking in what teens now would call an “emo” mood. One day I finally got cable in my own bedroom. I no longer had to sit through dopey teen angst shows my sister enjoyed in our living room. I sat on my bed, turned on the television and looked around. I spotted a BLUE teen with a “Flash” t-shirt. I thought “How odd, but strangely cool.” Then I watched my first episode of “Doug.” I was hooked. Maybe at eleven I was above the average viewer’s age, but I didn’t care. No one understood me (as far as I was concerned) anyway.

I’ll never forget, it was “Doug Bags a Neematoad” which coincidentally happened to be the first episode (I later found). He was trying to fit in and was having trouble. Skeeter introduced him around and showed him the ropes. He gets a crush on Patty Mayonnaise, and the episode pretty much shows you his world in a 22 minute premiere.


I enjoy drawing, it’s my passion. Doug loved to draw. It inspired me to sketch my own comics and artwork from my favorite movies, games, cartoons, etc. When Doug started drawing his adventures of “Quailman” I was inspired. This show spoke to me in ways no show ever did before (or has since in many ways). I had a crush on a girl in class, we were in the “friendzone.” We played basketball together after school (Doug and Patty played Baseball). I was sitting in class one day when a few of my sketches hit the floor (fell out of my JanSport Backpack). A kid named Charlie saw my drawings and I was HUMILIATED! I just knew he would laugh at how juvenile my work was. He looked at my work for what seemed like hours (maybe 30 seconds) before saying, “You like Doug?” I just smiled and said “Yeah, I like cartoons, and drawing comics and stuff.” We talked about Doug and how he felt too. He loved to draw and we spent time making our own comics. We shared music, movies, and games. I think we spent the entire 6th and 7th grade doodling and creating things. That was probably my most fond memories from a rough patch in my life. I leaned on “Doug” like a crutch through a few very hard years. Now, it’s hard to remember the bad things, but I fondly remember the good things.

I remember how the show made me feel. I would go home after school and watch “Stick Stickly” in the afternoon and even though I really got into “Kablaam!” “Ahhh! Real Monsters” “Ren + Stimpy” and even "Hey Arnold" etc, “Doug” was always my favorite. Then after realizing I was watching syndicated episodes (re-runs) Disney created “Disney’s Doug” about his next phase of life.



Disney’s Doug wasn’t anything close to the quality of Nickelodeon’s (or maybe I was just out growing that phase in my life) but I remember being let down after season one. I remember watching “One Saturday Morning” for one year… “Pepper Ann” “Doug” and so on. However, at this point, I was turning thirteen, going into eighth grade, Charlie moved away the summer between seventh and eighth grade. I shot up to six foot two by this time and joined sports.

You don’t realize it at the time, but phases come and go so quickly in our lives. Two years today seem like the blink of an eye. I haven’t changed much since I was 26 years old until now, but when I think back on my changes between 11 and 13, it’s like I was a whole different person. One thing that sticks with me to this day is how “DOUG” made me feel. You may forget details about episodes, details about everyday life, but the last thing you forget is the way things make you feel. I could relate to “Doug” at that particular time in my life better than any other fictional character at any other chapter so far.

Favorite Episodes:
“Doug’s Huge Zit”/”Doug Flies a Kite”
“Doug is Quailman / Doug Out in Left Field"
"Doug and the Yard of Doom / Doug's Garage Band"
"Doug En Vogue / Doug's Mail Order Mania"
Any episode featuring “The Beets” or “Quailman with Silver Skeeter and of course “Doug Bags a Neematoad.”
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Comments
3 years, 7 months ago
I too loved to watch Doug. My favorite episode has to dougs big catch. When he and Mr dink try and catch Chester.
    3 years, 7 months ago
    I loved that episode. My wife recently bought Doug the nickelodeon series on DVD for me. I just watched that episode. Mr. Dink needed more stories.
      6 years, 11 months ago
      One of the best cartoons of my younger says with some moral fiber. The neematoad ep was classic! But the one ep that mirrored my life was the basketball shoes episode. Man that hit me, because I wanted these Reebok Kamikaze shoes when I was a kid but they didn't have my size. Just like in the episode, no joke! Classic! Hahaha
      The Beets band was also awesome! Killer tofuuuu! Thanks for this article! Good job!
        6 years, 11 months ago
        Me too! I love Basketball. I wanted Air Jordan IV. The episode on Doug was Sky Davis! Another episode was the one where he had the comic book collection due to my love for Superman. Great comment.
          6 years, 11 months ago
          I never had Nickelodeon as a kid, so I only watched a smidgeon of Doug, but I loved what I saw. This is a wonderful article and I think we can expect great things from you in the future. I can understand how a cartoon can provide comfort. As I child, I think my first heroes were Huey, Dewey, and Louie. I would have given anything to live in Duckburg and go on adventures with Scrooge McDuck. Well done, can't wait to here more from you.
            6 years, 11 months ago
            Thank you Bro, that means a lot. I'm so glad I found a place where others share the same emotional attachment to their childhood inspirations (shows, games, movies, etc).

            I too loved "Ducktales" and the original Disney Afternoon block. I think the important thing is that even if you haven't watched "Doug" like I did, you know where I'm coming from with my feelings towards a show (whatever show made you feel this way too) it's the nostalgia that lives on. Thanks.
              6 years, 11 months ago
              I think they aired "Doug Can't Dance" first..........
                6 years, 11 months ago
                "Doug Can't Dance" was the pilot episode that was pitched to Nickelodeon and the basis for the show being picked up for season one. However, they went back and made "Doug Bags a Neematoad" and aired it first as Episode 1 Season 1. They wanted to give Doug an origin story (Moves to Bluffington).

                However you are correct, Doug Can't dance was the first episode ever made.
                  6 years, 11 months ago
                  Great first article! It's a nice break from the usual articles about video games here. I have fond memories of watching Doug as well. Although I watched it during its original run. (I never saw an episode of Disney's Doug.) I don't recall the show ever "speaking" to me, but I suppose in middle school Doug and I had a lot in common.
                    6 years, 11 months ago
                    Thanks twcfan92. What made Nickelodeon's Doug special was how relatable it was. There are shows built to make kids laugh, there are shows that are fantasy adventure, and then you have shows that "speak" to kids.

                    I think the biggest difference between Disney's Doug and Nick's is that Disney tried to focus on fantastical ideas. Roger's family wins the lottery, and Doug/Skeeter are more interested in fairy tale adventure type story arcs. Nick's Doug struggled with bullies, homework, relationships, pre-teen/teen awkwardness. There were fantasy aspects, but it was usually a daydream or applied to the current situation. Thanks for the comment. :)
                      6 years, 11 months ago
                      as someone who's working on their first article currently, its always interesting to see what other people's firsts are like so thanks! but while i never watched this show, i can totally relate to how you felt about it. i'm sure many of us have our own shows or movies that had the same effect. :)
                        6 years, 11 months ago
                        Thanks Bouncy X. That's exactly why I shared my experience in my article the way I did. I didn't want to write a generic article about why "DouG" was the best and all cartoons today are garbage, or try to summarize the entire series.

                        I wanted to share why it was so important to me and maybe others had similar experiences. Glad to see other shows had an impact on you the way "DouG" did on me. It's amazing how something will touch you at a particular time in your life.
                          6 years, 11 months ago
                          I had the same life experiences too
                            6 years, 11 months ago
                            I'm relieved I'm not the only one. It's nice to find out others had similar experiences.
                              6 years, 11 months ago
                              Doug was a definite must-watch for me as a kid, I remember that one fantasy of his where he has a conference with all three of his fantasy personas: Quailman, Race Canyon, and Smash Adams.
                                6 years, 11 months ago
                                I loved his alternate personas. I remember fantasizing I was "James Bond" or "Indiana Jones" and even "Superman". So when Doug did the same thing with Smash Adams, Race Canyon, and Quailman, I could relate. When you're young, you want to be strong, confident, sure of yourself, and cool.

                                That's why I loved this show. There are so many things I could relate to. I don't see many shows out there on Nick, CN, or Disney like this anymore. Not trying to sound nostalgic/close minded. Just a general observation.

                                Thanks for commenting, I love it when others have the same memories I did.
                                  6 years, 11 months ago
                                  Awesome, article! I loved it! My sentiments exactly! :O)
                                  I was born in the 70's. Yet, I consider myself an 80's kid (good times). But when I was already a young adult, after 3yrs. of Army Infantry, I was a college student, but I was obligated to take care of my younger sister. Therefore, I still enjoyed cartoons while watching them with her. And even as an adult, I LOVED Doug. I related to the character in many of the same ways you did! It made me think of when I was younger and (just like you) acted a lot like the character. Great writing, well thought out! Thanks again friend!

                                  Oh and one more thing. When I was in school, THERE WAS NO SUCH THING as a Middle School (thank goodness). I went to grammar school, which was K-8th grades. And then we graduated and had our four years of high school. As a teacher, I always thought that was best (my opinion). Peace. GTO
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