Created by former Nickelodeon artist Jim Jinkins in 1990 and produced through Jinkins' production company, Jumbo Pictures Inc., "Doug" follows the life of an average kid named Doug Funnie.
In 1991, the Nickelodeon episodes began airing and we find 11 1/2 year-old Douglas Yancey Funnie and his family (Phil, Theda and sister Judy), having just moved from their former residence in Bloatsburg, to the new town of Bluffington. There he meets quirky Skeeter Valentine, drop-dead gorgeous Patti Mayonnaise, school bully Roger Klotz and stuck-up rich girl Beebe Bluff, and his new life in a new town begins! Doug writes in his journal and sometimes even imagines himself as a superhero named Quailman to help him out with situations and decisions. In 1994 after 52 episodes, Doug was cancelled by Nickelodeon.
In February 1996, Disney Enterprises bought Jumbo Pictures, Inc. and ordered new episodes of "Doug" to be produced (re-named "Brand Spanking New! Doug" and then later "Disney's Doug"). These new episodes brought a new baby sister for Doug as well as a change in age to 12 1/2 years old. It also brought a new haircut for Patti, more money for Roger and much more including a change of clothes for everyone (not to mention a brand new middle school).
We liked Doug because his life was our life. We all had that rich bitch parading down our school's halls. We all had that one bully—the bane of our existence. We as a people have taken for granted the entertainingly insightful "Doug" since its death. "Doug" deserves to be revived, but not on our television screens, but in our heart screens.
We must realize that Doug was life. Doug dealt with modern issues in an "old school" way; a way that our current society could learn from. For example, in episode three of the first season, while casually visiting the home of his best friend Skeeter, Doug encounters his blue companion's little brother, Dale. Seemingly harmless at first, Doug approaches the infant with genuine care, but is insulted by the baby, calling Doug a "Big Nose." This hurtful remark shatters Doug's self-esteem and suddenly he becomes a more self-conscious person. This is unbelievably horrible timing for Doug because School Photo Swap Day is fast approaching and his crush, Patti, would not find Doug physically attractive if his nose protrudes from the wallet size picture and pokes out Patti's beady, black left eye.
Too many teens all over our country face problems like these everyday. What with television shows like "The O.C." and hip stores such as Abercrombie & Fitch, there is a lot of pressure on kids today to look physically attractive. This pressure leads to issues such as anorexia (See episode 81, "Doug's Chubby Buddy"), bulimia, depression, the Goth look, and even obsessive eating (See episode 42, "Doug Tips the Scale"). By watching Doug resolve his problem by coming to terms with the fact that he cannot change the way his purple-skinned god made him, he became a happier person and regained his self-esteem. In fact, Doug had never had such a wonderful School Photo Swap Day.
This issue of personal appearance indirectly ties in with racism and prejudice, as well. As any viewer could see, the characters that wrapped the gift of "Doug" came in all sorts of colors. Skin tones ranged from sky blue, royal purple, and light green. However, it should be noted that the only character that had a "Caucasian" appearance was that of the title character. Yet, they lived in a world with more colors than ours and experienced no obvious form of hate.
Episode 17 tells of the arrival of a foreign exchange student from the far off communist, beat-famine stricken nation of Yakestonia. In order to ease the arrival of their new peer, Fentruck Stimmel, Doug's school went through a complete change in order to fit the customs that Fentruck is accustomed to at home. However, Fentruck didn't need all that to be happy—he just wanted friends. Fortunately for him, he was thoroughly embraced by the arms of the fair city of Bluffington, despite his dark green skin, curly hair, glasses, and brown sweater vest.