Why is Doug the best out of the original three? It was its relatability to the demographic. Rugrats was good at reminding you of how fun it was to be an infant and have that sense of wonder, Ren and Stimpy was good at, well, being absolutely insane, but Doug felt like the more real and the more grounded. Every guy growing up has a Patty Mayonnaise, that unrequited love that you would do stupid stuff for in hopes of impressing her. Yet, you could never actually tell her how you felt, even as it tore you up from the inside. Everyone has had a crazy friend like Skeeter (I myself knew a lot of skater guys growing up, but they didn’t honk randomly… suffice it to say that’s the reason our friendship ended), and we’ve all had to deal with bullies like Roger or complete snobs like B.B. Bluff (the daughter of the eccentric Mayor Bluff).
Even when it came to music, Doug had it right on the nose. As we grow, we begin to discover music and let’s face it — bands affect us when we’re younger way more than they do in our 20s. Doug and company’s obsession with The Beets (an obvious play on The Beatles, whoever they are) mirrors how kids will latch onto a particular band; their songs, their look, everything. And for anyone who’s ever heard “Killer Tofu,” you realize that if you lived in Bluffington, you’d probably be obsessed too.
My personal favorite moments in Doug took place within his imaginary world. Many times, Doug’s personal problems would manifest themselves into an adventure featuring his superhero alter-ego known as “Quailman.” Quailman looked just like Doug save for a Q on his green vest, a belt on his head, and his tighty whities worn over his khaki shorts. Whatever Doug’s real-life issue was that episode (for example, having to stand up to Roger), the Quailman part would mirror that in a more outlandish way (Roger would become the gigantic dinosaur Klotzilla… who would still wear his sweet leather jacket). As Doug would succeed in real life, he would also succeed in the superhero world, and I love the metaphor brought on by that; although the way Doug dealt with the problem may have been small to others, in his mind it took a superhero effort to overcome those obstacles. As a man who was once 11, I can definitely vouch for this because the small hurdles I overcame at the time felt like I was Superman slapping Lex Luthor with a whip made out of knives (SUPER knives, mind you).