DOUG “DOUG’S CHRISTMAS STORY”
Original Air Date: December 12, 1993
Doug’s dog on death row? Ho ho no!
When compared against its fellow Nicktoons launch programs, Doug may have lacked the staying power of Rugrats and Ren & Stimpy (which eventually found their niches catering to toddlers and adults, respectively), but it was still a pretty decent success and a nice middle ground in one of the most iconic cartoon blocks of all time.
Doug premiered on August 11, 1991 and ran for four seasons on Nickelodeon before creator Jim Jinkins’ Jumbo Studios was purchased by Disney in 1994. As part of the deal, Doug was brought to the Disney-owned ABC, where the show relaunched as a slightly-evolved version called Brand Spanking New Doug, going on to spawn a movie, a Game Boy Color game, and yes, a stage show.
Despite airing for three seasons each on both Nickelodeon and ABC, there were only two Christmas episodes amongst Doug’s 52-episode run. The latter one introduced Doug’s baby sister, Dirtbike Cleopatra Funnie. Ugh. We’re not recapping that one.
Doug’s Christmas Story aired near the end of its Nickelodeon run, which actually works out well since it provides a pretty deep look at the Bluffington community as it’s rocked by one of its biggest scandals ever. We start with the classic animated pan down through a snow-filled sky.
As per winter-break kid tradition, the community is enjoying Canada’s favorite sport: Hockey!
It’s hard to discern who’s playing on which team here, but it’s obvious it’s not an organized sport since Doug and his best friend Skeeter Valentine did not have access to the same intramural budget.
Doug rakes up the goals…
…while Skeeter hopes for a sweep
Doug’s ever faithful dog, Porkchop is also there to engage in antics of the madcap variety. First he spots the pinecone puck amidst the scrum.
Must have been supplied by Bluffington’s 99-percenters Doug and Skeeter…
If you think about it, a pinecone is pretty much the cross-breed of a dog’s two favorite toys – balls and sticks. ‘Chop wants in.
Despite his bipedal skills, he overshoots and ends up at the other side of the lake
Despite the fact that someone far heavier than this tiny dog planted that sign in the first place, the ice cracks quickly, and Porkchop hightails it. Unfortunately, the sign fails at being a sign, as it sinks due to the cracked ice.
Way to be a sign
Shortly after the ice starts breaking, the pinecone goes out of bounds near the thin ice, and Beebe Bluff (the town’s richest kid) goes after the puck. Porkchop knows of the danger, and does his best to keep the rich girl away.
Cross-eyed Porkchop implores you!
However, Beebe doesn’t speak dog, so she soldiers on. With precious little time to keep Beebe from falling in, Porkchop has to resort to force.
While he’s able to drag her from danger, Beebe’s yells attract a crowd, who are quick to ignore the giant pool of ice water mere feet away to place blame at the feet of Porkchop, who is still at the leg of Beebe. This group of kids, who can all be counted amongst Doug’s best friends, immediately turn on his always-genial pup. Even Doug, in a momentary lapse of judgment, scolds his faithful canine companion.
Look what ya did, ya little jerk
Back at home, Doug tries to find out what motivated his dog’s seemingly-newfound bloodlust.
Despite Porkchop’s best attempts at pantomiming the situation, he can’t get the point across to his master, and he’s further scolded.
A LIFE WAS ON THE LINE, FUNNIE
While Doug and Porkchop probably expected this unfortunate event to blow over quickly, they couldn’t have accounted for the political machinations at work. Bluffington’s former mayor and current radio talk show DJ hears of the event, he’s outraged.
While Bob White doesn’t have the outrageous name nor the odd skin pigmentation of most of the cast of Doug, he makes up for it by being a spot-on lampoon of Bill Clinton
Meanwhile, Doug laments his treatment of Porkchop while going Christmas shopping with his beatnik sister, who I used to have a pretty big crush on as a kid.
Silly Judy, dogs can’t play golf
Unfortunately, Doug is unable to deliver his present, as he returns home to a media circus, with a bloodthirsty dog in the center of it.
I ate Beebee’s leg with some fava beans and a nice Chianti
Of course, the ringleader of this chaos is the former Mayor, in full re-election mode. Porkchop is hauled off, while the family learns that Beebe’s father is planning on pressing charges. The family figures out the best way to fight back: With a petition!
TO THE COMMUNITY!
Doug’s quest to exonerate his dog starts off well enough, with his neighbor Bud Dink signing the petition.
Doug celebrates while Dink thinks of ham
Unfortunately, subsequent signings aren’t as easy to procure, as the media hype overwhelms the good of the community.
This lady even scolds Doug for thinking of saving an animal during the holidays
On the way home, Doug partakes in another Christmas cliché, glancing through a shop’s display window just in time to see a TV news reenactment of “The Nightmare on Lucky Duck Lake.”
Still sorta accurate…
Doug attempts to talk to Beebe at the hospital, but is brushed away by her father, who ignores Doug’s pleas as he walks to his towncar and states his disgust at the canine species’ inability to generate income.
You gotta love poorly-animated hallways
With all of his avenues exhausted, Doug has to resort to extremely unprecedented measures, calling on each of his favorite heroes/figments of his imagination.
Smash Adams, Quailman, and Race Canyon enjoy cocktails while wondering who could have summoned this once-in-a-lifetime crossover
The mastermind is Doug himself, who proclaims they will all have to work together as a group to save Porkchop, despite three of them being the delusions of one secretly-schizophrenic kid.
I have mental problems THIS BIG
The trio offer up their ideas. Quailman suggests flying in and using hypnosis, while Race thinks fisticuffs are the answer. Doug denies their ideas, while Smash’s suggestion of using high-tech gadgets wins out.
Let’s not forget that this scene is really just a dude having a conversation with three parts of his multiple personality disorder
Doug first enlists the help of Bluffington’s twin geniuses Al and Moo Sleech, who have all kinds of pastry-based explosive devices. Doug wants to do a kill-free playthrough, however, and takes the smoke-bomb cupcake instead of the far more lethal baked-goods.
When Doug and his best friend Skeeter Valentine arrive at the pound, they’re immediately foiled by their ignorance of the institution’s very specific sign.
They’ve obviously been foiled by cupcakes delivered to dogs before…
Thinking fast on their feet, Skeeter creates a diversion by feigning sickness, while the guard is distracted by a phone call.
Worst guard ever
After searching the catacombs of this pound, Doug finally finds Porkchop in the “Very Very Bad Dogs” section of the penitentiary. Meanwhile, Skeeter’s diversion fails when the guard is unable to adhere to the pound’s main rule.
Guess they’ll need a second poster
Doug is discovered and escorted off the premises as Porkchop resigns himself to further incarceration. Despondent over his dog’s plight, Doug recalls a few Christmas memories involving Porkchop, like the time he got the pup as a present…
Uh, I don’t see any holes on that box…
As well as the year Porkchop bought Doug the source of the show’s narration: A journal. How a dog bought a human a journal I’ll never know.
Meanwhile, Doug bought Porkchop a Walkman. Wut.
His fond Christmas memories vanish away quickly, as he ponders a future without his furry pal.
Wow, things got dark real quick
With the day of the trial at hand, things don’t start well for Porkchop. For one thing, the judge is just as corrupt as the ex-mayor. He conspires with Mr. Bluff to speed through Porkchop’s death sentence.
This is the way society works, kids
Then there’s damming testimony from a dog psychologist…
Look at all those bones in his pocket! He totally knows dogs.
Doug, meanwhile is balancing his role as Porkchop’s attorney and translator, as the dog tries to explain his innocence. While he hasn’t yet had to utilize his non-existent legal knowledge, Doug does decipher Porkchop’s plea to return to the lake.
Seriously, the family couldn’t spring for a lawyer here?
Before offering his rebuttal, the victim herself has to take the stand. AND SHE’S IN A WHEELCHAIR.
Guaranteed to becoming the top Google Image Search result for “Beebe Bluff Upskirt”
This leads to the courtroom becoming unruly at the sight of a crippled girl, and Doug’s own imaginary allies getting into an argument about their revised strategy.
Seriously, this is happening in Doug’s head while he’s supposed to be paying attention to his dog’s trial
Despite the fact that Beebe downplays her injury, the corrupt judge is just about to render a verdict when Doug makes the ultimate power-play: A Christmas speech!
Doug talks about how Christmas is about family, and Porkchop is a part of his family and the Bluffington community. He then highlights Porkchop’s many good deeds, which I’ll print in full because they’d probably earn a human a Nobel Prize. He babysat twins, came over with construction materials the morning after a family’s house burned down, lent a lady $20, fixed another woman’s transmission, and saved a balding dude’s hair. Last, and definitely not least, he taught the judge’s daughter to walk again after she got in an accident.
The judge’s reply? “Well, I helped a little…” SERIOUSLY, FUCK THIS GUY.
Slightly moved (but still wary), the judge agrees to reconvene at the scene of the crime, where Beebe recounts her steps.
She heads right towards the dangerous area, the cracked ice in plain view. Does someone this dumb deserve to live?
Porkchop’s instincts kick in once again, as he flips out trying to stop Beebe again. The crowd, again, ignores the impending danger to gets angry at a dog.
The Bluffington Illuminati disapproves
Without a dog at her ankles, Beebe takes a plunge. Porkchop is able to break free from the clutches of two burly bailiffs and pulls Beebe from the freezing lake.
He also uses the far-more-acceptable “grab them by the coat” saving technique
With his innocence proven, Porkchop is once again in Bluffington’s good graces, even making the front page of this boring town’s newspaper…
…which is in dire need of a copy-editor; who calls a middle-school kid a “tot?”
On Christmas day, Porkchop is back home with the Funnies, who are paid a visit by the forgiving Bluffs. Beebe and her father come by to ask if there’s any way to repay the dog.
Possibly to avoid perjury charges, as Beebe’s went from a wheelchair to cast-free in one day
Porkchop has the perfect idea, a feast for all of the pound’s dogs! The Bluffs fund the meal, the mayor gets the dogs adopted, and the dogs learn to sit upright. Everyone wins.
The dumb, cupcake-eating guard probably got laid off due to the pound becoming irrelevant
Is there anything else left to celebrate the holiday? Oh, right, carols and Santa. Porkchop puts on a costume and the Funnie family sings “Deck the Halls.”
It’s fairly obvious that the community should be worshiping these genius-level dogs. Now that they’ve freed all of them from captivity, it’s only a matter of time before the canines assert their dominance. But uhhh, no Jesus.
Santa is only shown in store advertisements and on billboards, but he makes a few appearances. Most importantly, we learn the answer to the question many had the first time they saw Bluffington’s diverse community.
Even in a world with green- and blue-skinned people, Santa’s still white
Kind of a mixed-bag. On one hand, a lot of the episode is a legal drama, but it’s all overly-sentimentalized in a Christmas-y fashion. Lives were at stake here, which is far more serious than most Doug episodes get. Plus, there’s lots of festive trappings; snow everywhere, people wearing knit caps, and the show’s weird beatbox-y score being applied to a few Christmas classics. It’s almost worth it for the scat versions of “Deck the Halls” and “Jingle Bells” alone.
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Doug’s Christmas Story can be found in Doug: The Best of Season Four. If you still have a VHS player you can get Doug’s Christmas Story on its own. Alas, the single episode never got its own DVD. If you’re new to Doug and want to see where it all began, here’s a link for Doug: Season One.
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