What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this '90s cartoon has great messages for grade-schoolers about managing relationships, staying true to your ideals, and overcoming life's daily challenges. The protagonist is an average kid with relatable troubles, and he relies on his family, his friends, and his vivid imagination to help him chart his path. The show's simple style gives it a dated feel that might not appeal to kids at first glance, but if they give it a chance, they'll find that the colorful characters more than make up for the visual blandness. Watch out for some bullying by means of teasing and name-calling ("loser" and "moron," for starters), which probably rules it out for young kids who like to repeat everything they hear on TV.
What's the story?
DOUG is a '90s cartoon that centers on the misadventures of an average 11-year-old boy named Doug Funnie (Billy West, later Tom McHugh), who lives in a nondescript burg called Bluffington with his parents and older sister, Judy (Becca Lish). Doug relates the ups and downs of his life through the narration of his journal and his imaginative escapades as a variety of heroic characters. Whether it's trouble with the class bully, Roger (West again), or a new development in his relationship with his crush, Patti (Constance Shulman), Doug always has a lot to say about his experiences.
Is it any good?
Doug was one of Nickelodeon's first original cartoons, airing on Nick for three years in the early '90s before moving to Disney and enduring some character, plot, and title changes. The show's simple animation style makes it easy to overlook -- especially amid the bolder, flashier versions that vie for kids' attention these days -- but the stories are rich with teaching moments that center on issues grade-schoolers will understand, like having a crush on a classmate, being teased at school, and coping with uncomfortable social situations.
Kids will like the show's quirky characters, from Doug's loyal, green-skinned best friend, Skeeter (Fred Newman), to his dramatic big sister, for whom the whole world's a stage. It's a sure bet that they'll find something in Doug's life that reflects their own, so there is some value in their seeing how he identifies problems and seeks out solutions based on his personal moral code, not to mention how he turns to journaling as a constructive outlet for his emotions.
Families can talk about...
Families can talk about bullying. In what ways is Roger a bully to Doug? Have you had experiences with someone like that? What other forms can bullying take besides schoolyard teasing? How can you cope with it if you ever face it?
Kids: What outlets do you have for when you're frustrated or overwhelmed? What hobbies help you cope with the pressures of everyday life? How does journaling help Doug cope? To whom do you turn when you need to talk?
Kids: Do you like this show's animation style? How does it differ from that of other shows you watch? Do you think this series shows its age? If so, how? Are the stories still relatable, though? What do you think is the intention of the show?