Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Doug's Funnie Bone: A Freaky Lost Episode of Doug

I love old TV shows. Recently, many of the great ones I grew up with have been officially released on DVD (Rocko, Pete & Pete), others still require finding bootleg copies to get the whole series (X-Men Evolution). Some bootlegs, such as the one I have mentioned are extremely high quality and the only revealing issues are a few missing segments before the opening theme and action sequence and a few TV Y7 ratings appearing at the start. It even has an interactive menu and special features. Now that's one hell of a bootleg.

Although it's officially released, I did watch the entire series of Doug on DVD recently from a bootleg set I had borrowed. The quality was lacking and it appeared that the shows had been recording on VHS, duplicated to other cassettes and then burned to DVD. There were no menus and you had to watch the disk from start to finish. Only a few sticky labels were included and told you what the first episode on each disk was to keep track of it to some degree.

The fourth disk shows that it starts with an episode called "Doug Saves Roger". The fifth disk starts the third season with "Doug's Fat Cat". All information on the episodes and seasons is easily found on Wikipedia.

The last episode on disk four would be "Doug's Lucky Hat", and the Wikipedia article confirms this. However, on this disk, there is one more episode after this, but comes before "Doug's Fat Cat" in season three. The episode is titled "Doug's Funnie Bone", and I have never seen it before this DVD and can find no information at all on it.

This has got to be one of the strangest, most surreal and to put it bluntly, fucked up episodes of a TV show I've ever seen.

Unlike the other episodes in the series, this does not begin with Doug writing in his journal and telling the audience of a recent experience. The animation is very crude, and it simply shows Doug and Skeeter riding their bikes down the road, heading to the Honker Burger, which is only known because of the brief dialog between the two characters. After about a minute of watching them riding their bikes, Skeeter is hit by a car. The sound of screaming, screeching tires and sirens is heard for two minutes, while the only footage is a still spinning bicycle wheel and Skeeter twisted on the side of the road, his head turned nearly 180 degrees, seen through the spinning spokes of the wheel.

The next scene is at a hospital. It shows Doug sitting in a hallway with Patti, and for the next several minutes she only says "It's not your fault". One doctor walks by, and the scene shows an unconscious Skeeter in bed with a neck brace and on a life support system, before the previous scene loops again. The scene fades to black.

Then we find Doug dreaming. The animation has become much cruder and more surrealistic. Doug is outside of his house when a monster truck drives up from behind it and crushes it as he narrowly jumps out of the way. He is then chased by the truck throughout Bluffington and he winds up in the school. You can hear the truck revving its engine in the background. Doug runs into the AV room where he finds Larry (the AV nerd) huddled in the corner with his hands over his ears. The revving gets louder and there is a crash, lights fill the room and there is a close up of Larry's face as screeching tires are heard. Doug then wakes up in his own room.

The next scene has no sound effects whatsoever and the only sound heard is a low drone. Doug is walking out of his house and is heading to the scene of Skeeter's accident. Once there, he sits on the side of the road, throwing a few pebbles across the street and watches squirrels running between cars coming down the road. The droning music becomes louder and louder as this scene progresses until it fades to black and the episode apparently ends.

I have no idea if this continues, was continued or what the story behind it is. According to sources, Nickelodeon only produced 52 episodes of Doug and this certainly is not one of them. The style and story are completely outside of the others and completely inappropriate for the audience. Although this certainly never aired (?), what on earth possessed the writers and/or animators to create this episode? Where they trying to get a message or mortality and the fragility of life across to kids of the era? If so, why take such a gruesome approach? Why use a main character? Why end it the way it did?

This is the strangest thing I have ever seen. It gave me chills, and is still haunting me hours after watching it and will probably continue to do so. I know it's a cartoon, but the whole idea and the crude stylings and are so incredibly twisted, it's very hard to forget them.