Like most people, adolescence was tough on me. I was awkward, emotional, and didn't really feel as though I fit in anywhere. Thankfully, however, kids TV shows of the '90s were just about the best that anyone could ask for. But there was one in particular which stood out — Doug was the best cartoon ever. Not only did the show provide some sweet escapism from some of the gnarly pains of growing up, but it did so in a way that felt utterly real and relatable. Obviously, there's a ton of reasons why Doug is the best cartoon, and not all of them are just because it provided a glorious after-school reprieve.
The appeal of Doug can be appreciated on multiple levels. Sure, it could be super emotional and make you feel understood as a child, but it could also be gleefully ridiculous and so much fun. It could also be genuinely and surprisingly well-written, never pandering to preconceptions of what a young audience may or may not be old enough to understand. But mostly, Doug was just a beautifully silly way to spend half an hour or so, while also being reminded that hey, you have a heart, kid, and it's totally cool to have feelings.
From the minor details to the big pieces, here are all the reasons why Doug was absolutely the best cartoon.
1. It Had The Weirdest Character Names Ever
A crush called Patti Mayonnaise, a pet dog called Porkchop, and a best friend called Skeeter Valentine. Doug Funnie had the best named crew in town.
2. It Totally Understood The Agonies Of Adolescence
In Doug, as in real life, everything took hard work and, even then, it didn't always turn out the way that anyone planned. It was legitimately devastating how real it could get. Seriously.
3. Porkchop Was A Total Boss
Dear diary, will I ever be as cool as Porkchop? A cartoon dog from a '90s cartoon show? Because it's looking less and less likely, and my self-esteem is totally crushed by that fact. Oh well...
4. It Knew The Maddening Love We Had For Our Crushes
Obsessive, embarrassing, awkward, red-faced love. Doug knew that delicious pain, and so did you.
5. It Had That Simple Yet Mesmerizing Theme Song
Even if you wanted to forget how the theme song went (which, like, why would you?), it's basically impossible. We'll all be surreptitiously humming the Doug theme to ourselves until our dying day.
6. And "Killer Tofu"
A song about deadly, murderous bean curd by a band called The Beets. It was absolute perfection.
7. In Fact, Every Damn Song In This Show Was Absolute Fire
I'll be honest, I'm still not entirely sure what in the great name of Quailman is happening in this song or video. But that doesn't change the fact that I absolutely adore every, ludicrous, insane moment of it.
8. It Featured An Endless Parade Of Wonderfully Bizarre Fantasy Sequences
Like many of us, Doug couldn't make it through the most simple of everyday tasks without siphoning part of his brain off into a blissful, bizarre daydream. And man, those dreams were good.
9. It Had So Much Heart
I want to wear this GIF of baby Doug meeting baby Porkchop for the first time in a heart-shaped locket for all of eternity. This show had so many feelings, you guys.
10. It Celebrated The Complicated Ups & Downs Of Friendship
Seriously, though Skeeter and Doug were besties for life, that doesn't mean that they always saw eye-to-eye on everything. But the cartoon cleverly framed true friendship as being capable of surviving such differences, and even thriving off of them.
11. It Was Always Rooting For Underdogs
There was barely a single character in Doug who felt like they fit in with society, or who exuded total confidence or success. Instead, most of the characters were misfits and underachievers who weren't quite sure what to do about life. And that was something so many kids could easily relate to.
12. Even Villains Were Portrayed With Empathy
Sure, for the majority of the time, Roger Klotz was an unforgivable jackass. But every now and then an episode would come along that would remind us that deep down, he was just as capable of feeling as sad, scared, and vulnerable as everyone else. And that's a pretty amazing lesson for kids to learn.
13. Doug Was A Superhero Before Superheroes Became Cool
Forget your Marvel Cinematic Universe, Quailman is the only superhero worth knowing about.
14. It Was Emo Before Emo Became A Thing
Doug would regularly acknowledge all the pain, suffering, and anguish that was inherent in the universe in its own raw, hurting manner. It could get pretty emotional, guys. I just wish the show could have featured a band called Death Cab For Doug Funnie.
15. It Had A Firm Grasp Of Pop Culture
Seriously, Doug was a daydream chameleon. He could be Michael Jackson one minute and Bob Ross the next, before really signing off on a point with an impromptu MC Hammer style dance routine. It was oh-so effortless.
16. It Knew The True Value Of Pizza
Pizza was a damn life force in this show. And I wholeheartedly support that stance.
17. Oh, & Don't Forget Skeeter's Legendary Honking
No, but seriously: What was with Skeeter's honking? Why did he always do it? And how did he do it? I have so many questions.
We're so overdue for some kind of Doug revival, it's unreal. Like, can you imagine what kind of grown-ups these kids would have become? Because I totally can, and I need to see that show happen like yesterday. Best cartoon ever.