Ah, Doug. “Doug” is one of Nickelodeon’s old Nicktoons, about a bunch of 6th graders, focusing on Doug, who learns life lessons. Basically it was like Boy Meets World, but weirder and without as many serious moments.
And like many cartoons, it has a Halloween episode, which you could guess. This one is sort of unusual for me, though, because I have only seen it once in my entire life. It was so weird, back in the 90s when Doug still aired regularly during normal viewing hours, I could never seem to find this episode. Even during October, it was either never on, or it was never on when I could watch it. I was beginning to think the episode didn’t actually exist, until…
Back when I was in 5th or 6th grade, we lived right next to the school I went to. So I woke up early, to make sure I wouldn’t be late, so waking up early+living 5 minutes from the school meant I had like an hour every morning to just watch tv. And finally, one day, early in the morning, this Halloween episode of Doug came on. I can’t remember anything about it, because that was like 10 years ago and I haven’t seen the episode since. It took place at an amusement park, and I remember finding it scary, and I think it might’ve had the same twist all the spooky Hey Arnold episodes have, but I can’t be sure.
So, without further ado, let’s get to it!
We start with Skeeter – Mosquito Valentine, Doug’s blue-skinned best friend – telling a story. Once upon a time, a baron built a beautiful palace for his beloved. After 17 years, it was finally finished, and he carried his new bride over the threshold, and they fell to their deaths, because the guy had forgot to put in a floor. Man, not enough children’s shows today immediately start with people dying violently.
The castle is apparently haunted to this day, and no one had dared enter it for some time, until some mysterious, cloaked man bought it, and built an amusement park around it, leaving the castle as an attraction within the park, and calling it “Bloodstone Manor.” So the presumably Eastern European von Hassenpfeffer or Dinglehopper or whatever Skeeter said apparently built his giant castle in the Midwestern United States.
Tonight, it seems, is the grand opening of this theme park with the haunted castle in it, and Skeeter demands he and Doug go. Doug is not enthusiastic, but agrees to go anyway. Also apparently Bloodstone Manor is actually a roller-coaster, and not just a haunted house attraction. Doug wishes he could be brave like hero Race Canyon, an Indiana Jones reference that gets major points for not being named “State Generic-last-name” like every other Indiana Jones knock-off.
Doug has a fantasy about Dr. Canyon scaling the big cliff up to Bloodstone Manor, and showing no fear even in the face of… whatever this is:
Doug’s fantasy ends and he dresses up like Race Canyon, by putting on a jacket and a hat over his regular clothes – LAME – because apparently you get into the park free if you’re wearing a costume. He heads over to Skeeter’s house, carrying two bags, and asks Skeeter if he’s ready to go trick-or-treating. Skeeter’s like “Nah man I told you we were going to Blood Manor!” and Doug’s all “What kind of foolish fool gives up the chance to score some free candy!” (I may have embellished that conversation a bit.) Skeeter agrees to go, even though he points out there will be huge lines at the park if they don’t get there early. A short scene cut later, Skeeter wonders if maybe they aren’t too old to go trick or treating. Doug’s trying to stall to keep them from going to the theme park, and insists they aren’t too old, as they’re surrounded by unsupervised children about half their size. You see, children, in the olden days, once you were in middle school, you were considered too old to go begging for free candy house to house. I know that’s hard to believe, what with people not only trick-or-treating up through senior year of high school, but not even bothering to put on costumes, but it’s true!
They are embarrassed when they knock on a door that turns out to belong to one of their classmates, and Skeeter starts getting impatient. Doug tries to come up with something to stall them a bit longer, when green-skinned bully Roger Klaatz “scares” them, and by that I mean he covers his head going “Whoooa who chopped off my head?” and Doug just says “Hi, Roger,” but Roger and his bully gang seem to think they’ve “scared the pants off them.” Roger makes fun of their costumes, even though he’s just wearing his regular clothes with a domino/Lone Ranger/burglar mask on.
Doug and Skeeter head to the park, Doug reluctantly, when Doug’s crush Patty, and her dad, pull up.
By the way, I just realized that for anyone who hasn’t seen this show, you may or may not be thinking me saying “blue-skinned” and “green-skinned” was some sort of metaphor, or a reference, or something. No, some people on this show literally have blue, green, or purple skin, in addition to some characters who have more of a peach color, or the tan that Patty has up there. I remember the creators said this was because they didn’t want to have to keep using boring skin tones all the time, so the blue/green/purple is to add a bit of fun to the show. It’s sort of weird, but I’ve always thought of the blue- and purple-skinned people as being dark-skinned. Maybe it had a lot to do with Doug’s neighbor looking like Bill Cosby. I don’t know.
Anyway, Patty asks if Doug and Skeeter are going trick-or-treating. They deny it, and she says she’s going to a party. I got distracted here because while she talks there’s just a solid loop of animation where she keeps moving her head to the side while she talks.
Patty asks what the boys are dressed as, and when Doug says he’s a hobo (because he lost his hat earlier), Patty says she would’ve guessed he was Race Canyon, but without the hat, and if he were a little taller he’d be the spitting image. This lights a fire within Doug and he suddenly feels brave enough to head to Bloodstone Manor. He asks Patty if her dad would be willing to give them a ride. Patty’s in awe of the boys, and says she’d never go on that ride, not after what happened to those two guys! Doug’s bravery quavers as he asks “What two guys?” Mr. Mayonnaise, Patty’s father (yes, her name is Patty Mayonnaise) says two guys went on the ride and were never seen again, just their shoes. Considering the ride just opened that day I would question the validity of that story.
Skeet and Doug finally get to the ride, but there’s a HUGE line. Like, Splash Mountain in July huge. Or Toy Story Midway Mania when it first opened *shudder*. The boys have just made it to the front of the line after waiting for over an hour, with only 15 minutes left til the park closes. Hm, are they not going to get a chance to ride it while the park is still open, causing them to hide out and sneak onto the ride, only to run into supernatural shenanigans?
Roger butts his way to the front of the line, thanking Doug and Skeet for holding his place, to the objection of absolutely no one behind him. The employee at the door announces the park is closing and no one else can ride tonight, but the gift shop is open. The big line of people behind them apparently teleported away, and the employee entered the Manor, so the three boys are left alone. And wouldn’t you know it, the doors to the place just happen to open, causing them to agree to sneak onto the ride?
So the enter, and the doors close behind them. And then a portrait starts talking.
The lump in the picture frame takes the form of that hooded green guy in that second cap, and calls the boys trespassers. There’s apparently no way out of the room they’re in, except down because I guess the front door doesn’t work both ways. So there’s this huge area of the floor that’s all green and cavernous and spiky, and the front wall of the place starts pushing forward, like it’s going to push them into the pit. It turns out there’s a huge glass piece over it, though, so no harm done.
Then a secret passageway opens, the hooded green guy is in it, and tells them to come this way. They follow it and enter a dining room, where the green guy is in another portrait. It’s pretty obvious if this were real life that would have to be an actual person, or a ghost, but none of the boys think about that at all.
Ghoul guy tells them to eat, and that he thought they might enjoy a small salad.
The chairs grab them, and lower them into another floor, where they are plopped into a roller coaster car. Doug and Skeet are having a ton of fun, but Roger’s scared out of his mind, and then the car stops and the lights go out.
They turn back on, and Skeeter observes that it’s 10 pm – the park is officially closed. So no one at this park actually goes to check to make sure no one is still on the rides, that there aren’t personal items, bombs, etc? I’m pretty sure they also do some maintenance ride-throughs at the beginning and end of each day at places like Disneyland.
Doug and Skeeter get off the car, to see if they can find an exit, or someone to help them. There’s a set of stairs leading down inside a gravepit, and they follow it, finding the ride’s control room and presumably exit. Skeeter pushes random buttons to see if he can get a dial tone on the phone, and that makes one of the rides cars pull up. Then the ghoulish guy – who I’m not sure if we’re supposed to find doubly creepy because of his dark green skin, because a lot of people have green skin on this show – shows up and is all “Alright you made it THIS time, but you won’t be so lucky next time!” Then a ride car pulls up that just has Roger’s shoes in it.
They then decide that Roger was always a jerk anyway, and leave the park without telling anyone what happened. The end.
No, they hear Roger calling from help from… somewhere, and… well, actually, Doug and Skeeter do almost leave without going back for Roger (I wasn’t even trying to predict what would happen, and I was actually right!), but Doug’s conscience gets the better of him and they go inside. Maybe it would make more sense for them to go find a park employee and ask them for help, but that wouldn’t make for a very good cartoon.
So Doug and Skeet go back into the ride, find a giant hole, wonder if Roger fell down it, Doug says no it must be like the bottomless pit at the beginning that has a sheet of glass over it, but no.
They both fall down the hole and end up in a place that seems to be part control room and part storage area, with random props and stuff hanging around. Doug finds a sarcophagus propped up against a wall, and opens it.
This green guy has teleportation powers that would rival One-Eyed Jack/Elmyra’s in that Tiny Toon Adventures episode. Before you can say “AAAAAAAAAAAAAGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH,” the green guy grabs Doug’s shoulder and demands to know what he’s doing down there. I don’t know, man, you’re the one who trapped them on the ride in the first place!
Doug and Skeeter are like “Oh, we were just leaving” and head in the opposite direction, until Doug hears Roger saying “Over here, this way, guys!” Doug sees a chicken in the mirror instead of himself, and decides to march right over the green guy and demand that he leaves them alone so they can find Roger. Green guy’s like “Okay” and opens up a secret passage that has an entrance in the sarcophagus. All three of them head down a spiral staircase together, and at this point they have to be at least 45 feet below ground, probably more around 60 feet.
Green guy leads the boys over to a control panel that apparently serves as the security area for the ride – which begs the question, where was the security guard who should’ve been making sure no one snuck aboard the ride after closing? Also, all the screens apparently get their feed from the exact same camera, which is sort of pointless.
It turns out, Roger got off the ride and called over his bully squad to put together a prank to scare Doug and Skeeter again, and also they’re going to throw s’mores or something at them.
The Green Goblin replays some footage for the boys to show them exactly what happened. Doug is displeased – they went to all that trouble to save Roger, and he’s just going to dump eggs and toilet paper all over them?! The Green Goblin has other plans, however, as he laughs mischievously. I don’t know what to think about that.
Roger grows impatient, waiting for Doug to show up. Then a spooky voice calls out for Roger, seemingly from nowhere. Roger blames one of his friends, but it wasn’t him. It was… the ghosts of Doug and Skeeter!
It turns out Gobby set up a rig in the basement, so Doug and Skeeter are dressed up and suspended by wires, and Gobby is projecting them out onto the lawn, which I’m not really sure is possible, or at least wasn’t in the early 90s.
Doug and Skeeter say that it’s all Roger’s fault that they’re ghosts now, and they call Roger a chicken, and say it was rotten of him to TP all those houses. Roger agrees with the chicken comment, and him and the goons say they’ll clean up all the houses that very night! Before they leave, though, there’s just one more thing.
I don’t know why, but this guy really seemed less threatening after I decided he looks like the Green Goblin. Really.
Later, Gobby escorts Doug and Skeeter out of the amusement park, the three of them laughing at the severe psychological torture they’ve just imposed upon Roger and the two goons he hangs out with. Doug thanks Gobby, saying they couldn’t have done it without him. Gobby, whose voice, while still deep and gravelly, isn’t as scary and electronically mixed as it was before, says he has something that belongs to Doug.
Doug’s Race Canyon hat. The hat that got sucked up onto a bus earlier. That one that cloaked green guy couldn’t possibly have gotten ahold of or known that it belonged to Doug. Unless… Of course! It was obvious! I can’t believe I didn’t see it! All this time, he was… the bus driver!
No, no. When Doug asks who he is, he says you can just call him “Baron von Heffenhopper,” then he laughs maniacally and disappears into a tornado of black ink and stars.
So… The ghost of Baron von Pooperscooper bought his own house? Assuming he was the mysterious cloaked guy Skeeter mentioned in his story. How exactly did that business deal go down?
“HELLO. I AM, UM… TED… SMITH. I WOULD LIKE TO PURCHASE THIS BUILDING.”
“Um, sure, Mr… Smith. Why would you like to purchase it?”
“BECAUSE I ALREADY LIVE THER- I MEAN I DIED- I MEAN I AM DYING TO… TO… TURN THE PLACE INTO… A… AN AMUSEMENT PARK RIDE! YES!”
“….Okay… Well full disclosure, we have to tell you that several people have died on the premises, and the bodies were never recovered, so-”
“YES YES I KNOW ALREADY. WE’LL JUST PAVE OVER THE BODIES OR SOMETHING. AND MAKE SURE WE PUT A FLOOR IN THIS TIME. MAYBE A BIG SHEET OF GLASS TO COVER THE GIANT GAPING HOLE SO NO ONE FALLS IN AGAIN LIKE ME AND MY WI- WHY WHITE CANDLE, WHITE CANDLE, DON’T LET OUR LOVE DIE~.”
“…Um… yeah, so do you have any forms of I.D., a credit card, or…?”
So Doug and Skeeter run out of the park, because it either doesn’t have gates or the gates are still open despite the park being closed. Doug wonders if Race Canyon ever ran away from anything, but he still feels brave, or something.
That wasn’t scary at all. Why was I scared of this the one time I saw it when I was 11? I mean, Baron von Noodlemeier was kind of scary-looking and -sounding, but… not terrifying the way I remember. Hm. Ah, well. I have a good idea for what Halloween-related cartoon I’ll review next, based on this trend of “kids run from scary thing, turns out there’s a mundane explanation, actually there’s also a ghost” plots (although this Doug episode didn’t exactly follow that besides there still being a ghost at the end).
Also, I’d like to just say that I was considering talking about that one Boy Meets World episode that, while not a Halloween episode, is pretty scary, but I decided to leave that for later. I think that’s in season 5, and we’re barely into season 3. There’s also another great one that’s from season 6 or 7, but… we’ll get to it. Eventually.
…You know, the scariest part of this episode is that Doug had a fantasy sequence that included Green Goblin/Baron von Bergermeister before he even went to Blood Manor and saw that his fantasy was a real guy.