Simply put, Doug is the story of a young boy as he tries to navigate his way through 6th grade making friends and falling in love and he does all of this by writing everything down in his journal.
Air Dates: 1991-1997
Network: Nickelodeon (Seasons 1-4) & ABC (Seasons 5-7)
Theatrical Film Releases: 1
In case you’re wondering why it says there are 7 seasons of Doug total and not the traditional 4, here’s your answer. There seems to be bit of controversy over how many seasons Doug actually consisted of. Technically speaking, it only had 4 seasons that aired on Nickelodeon from 1991-1994. But there were 3 additional seasons that aired on ABC. And in the final season run, the show as actually renamed to Disney’s Doug and all syndicated episodes went by this new title. As a kid, I don’t recall ever watching the show on ABC, so I consider Doug to only have 4 true seasons. In fact, when I was looking to see where I could watch the show for this challenge, I couldn’t find any streaming service that actually had any seasons of Doug that went past season 4. But that could also be due to the fact that Nickelodeon allowed streaming rights while ABC didn’t. But that’s just a guess. So, there ya go.
Like Rugrats, Doug also aired the year that I was born. However, there’s no doubt in my mind that I didn’t watch this show until much later and can safely assume the show was already in syndication by the time I actually was able to watch it. But watched it, I did.
- Pilot Title: “Doug Bags a Neematoad”
- Directed by Howard Beckerman & Yvette Kaplan
- Written by Alicia Marie Schudt
- Original Air Date: August 18, 1991
- Synopsis: The Funnies have just moved to Bluffington & 11-year-old Doug Funnie finds himself making new friends and developing crushes. However, things get dicey when the town bully tricks Doug into thinking he needs to catch a monster called a Neematoad in order to become the town hero.
I should say right off the bat that I don’t remember a whole lot about Doug. I mostly remember his best friend Skeeter and his crush on Patti Mayonnaise. So rewatching this pilot was like watching it for the first time all over again.
First off, I love that this show quite literally has people of every color and I don’t just mean of different races. The characters are practically every color of the rainbow. This is a definite highlight for a children’s show airing in the early 90’s.
I gotta say that I completely relate to Doug’s inner monologue. While on his way to The Honker Burger, he’s really excited to meet kids his own age and make some friends. But within a split second, he’s suddenly afraid that they won’t like him or that he won’t fit in. I, thankfully, never moved to a different town when I was a kid, but I know the feeling when it comes to being afraid that people won’t like you.
And along with new friends, comes the local bully. Roger immediately uses Doug’s fear of being liked to trick him into (hopefully) humiliating himself by catching a Neematoad. And unfortunately, Doug falls for it. But he manages to think his way out of the situation with the help of Porkchop.
Overall, this is a solid pilot. Doug is introduced as an average kid who just wants to fit in but his obsessive need for people to like him ends up getting him into trouble. Which I think everyone can unfortunately relate to whether you’re a kid or an adult. The side characters are introduced well and have their own quirks that make them unique and stand out. I did find Doug’s family to be a bit boring, with the exception of Porkchop, who is right in line with the iconic Snoopy’s of the world.
But other than that, you find yourself immediately invested in Doug and want him to be accepted in his new life. At least, I know I do. There are plenty of other shows that I watched more frequently than this show as a kid, but it still ranks pretty high and is one that I haven’t forgotten.
Up next: Gargoyles!