Animating Halloween: Doug’s Halloween Adventure (Nickelodeon’s Doug)

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Plot: Doug and Skeeter gear up to go to FunkyTown’s latest attraction; a haunted house called Bloostone Manor. While Doug is initially excited to go, especially when he’s going while dressed as one of his heroes, Race Canyon, he becomes more and more scared as people talk about how scary it is. He stalls going to the park by trick-or-treating and getting to the park so late that the line is so long that making it to the front before closing would be very hard. Lo and behold, they make it to the front just as the park closes.

After one of the park employees leaves, the door to the haunted house opens and Doug, Skeeter and Roger go in. They enjoy the various thrills and scares of the ride until the ride suddenly shuts down due to the park closing. Trapped in the haunted house, Doug and Skeeter lose track of Roger and slowly start believing that the place truly is haunted and that Roger is in trouble. While Skeeter wants to leave as soon as possible, Doug continues to try and find him.

They’re shooed away by what seems like the real maniac of the mansion but as Doug realizes that he’s being a chicken again, he gathers up his courage and faces the maniac to find Roger. Surprisingly, the maniac is more than willing to lead the two boys to the security control room where he shows them video footage of Roger setting up a prank for the two, leading up to a finale where he and his cronies will egg them when they leave. The maniac helps them set up some sweet revenge, and Roger and the others run off. Doug and Skeeter are very thankful for the help of their new friend, until he reveals that he’s a real ghost. Despite the bravery of the night, Doug and Skeeter run home screaming.

Breakdown: I watched Doug an awful lot as a kid. I remember watching the movie in theaters, buying the VHS and always being annoyed by the fateful question “When will Doug Kiss Patti?”

Looking back…..I don’t know why I loved it so much. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t find the show to be bad or even aged badly….I just……I don’t understand what held my attention so much. When you look at them, the plots and stories of the episodes are really milk toast and there aren’t many jokes that are all that good. Hell, there aren’t many jokes period. It’s mostly just living day to day life with people who are basically really normal outside of their skin colors that feature every color of the rainbow and more. Plus a crapton of cutaways to Doug getting lost in fantasies, delusions and to an extent hallucinations.

I don’t even remember many episode plots outside of one episode where Porkchop ran away and one episode where Judy…started dressing and acting weird? I’m sure if you gave me a plot synopsis I’d remember a good chunk of the episode right away, but off the top of my head? Probably nothing.

Is it just because, in a flood of 90’s craziness, Doug was a sense of normalcy? Of relatability? I did relate a lot to Doug’s overactive imagination, and my mannerisms were somewhat similar to Skeeter’s. I can also relate a lot to liking someone and just never getting the nerve to do a damn thing about it.

Hm….Oh yeah, review thing.

The first part is fairly boring with Doug just stalling going to the park. Also, apparently, both he and Skeeter think they’re too old to go trick-or-treating…….dude, you’re both 11 years old. I have 20 year olds coming up to my door looking for their Halloween handouts. You’re well below the threshold of acceptable trick-or-treating age.

When they finally make it to the ride aspect, it’s a bit interesting. Parts of it are actually really interesting material for a haunted house ride like shoving riders with a moving wall into what seems like a bottomless pit of spikes when the floor they’re standing on is actually glass. And the next room has the maniac of the mansion telling them to sit down to dinner and eat when the food is alive. Then the ride turns into a typical tracked ride with pop up ghosts and skulls and stuff.

Them being trapped in a haunted house ride is also a pretty interesting set up. Some of the time it seems like something supernatural could actually be occurring in the house yet the other half is filled with various theme park aspects of the ride like finding prop rooms and control panels. It allows the plot to hang in the air that maybe there could be something weird going on, but it could also be explained away through logic.

I will admit that Roger’s prank even kinda fooled me for a minute. However, from the instant that you meet the maniac, you know exactly how it will end. And I gotta say, while the revenge on Roger and the others was pretty nice, the whole ‘the maniac was a real ghost the whole time’ just makes no sense…or it’s just stupid.

The story behind Bloodstone manor is that a guy with a name I won’t try to spell loved a woman very much. To show his love, he spent 11 years building a huge mansion for them to live in. After it was complete, he carried her wedding-style over the threshold only for them to fall to their deaths. See, he never built a floor.

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I get that they’re trying to be funny there, but even that makes no sense. They didn’t install a floor?…..did they also install no foundation? Did they also dig a bottomless pit below the mansion as they were building it for some reason? The house is on a hill. What is going on?

So not only does the ghost of the guy haunt the place for all eternity for some reason (and not his lover because….pfffftttdunno) but his house was bought by Funkytown, moved to Funkytown and was gutted and turned into a theme park ride by Funkytown. And he still haunts it for some reason. He forces people to leave the ride, yet people still go there and he seems fine with it. But he’s really a nice guy who likes helping kids as long as they show some cojones to stand up to him at least a little. I just don’t get the story behind this guy.

All in all, this was a fairly entertaining episode. While the ghost’s whole existence and story is just dumb and confusing, it’s a fun little Halloween special about facing your fears…..though, to be fair, Skeeter was the one literally dragging him away and Doug just suddenly says he’s being a chicken and running away. If we saw him struggle more with the fear instead of Skeeter, this lesson would have more weight.

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