Here's a confession, just because we're such good friends: The day after Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, I felt weird having spent my career retreating into '90s nostalgia. 2016, as a whole, felt like a little too much for everybody. On the day of the inauguration, though, I found myself watching Nickelodeon's Doug for peace of mind, and in a hilarious stab of irony, it was a very special Trump episode.
OK, maybe not literally, but do you remember the pesky, persistent Mayor White, Bluffington's least finest politician? The one who was always badgering residents to "vote for me"? The mayor gets a starring role in the episode "Doug, Mayor For A Day," which has our sweater-vested hero tailing him in the office to write a school paper for Student Government Day. Doug quickly learns that the orange-skinned, hairpiece-wearing, self-important, utterly indecisive man is completely inadequate. You know, the kind of swell guy who when asked if he should approve this year's budget responds, "I don't know that, call my wife." Wow. Doug, of course, is lightly worried about how his paper is going to turn out (just like we're worried about how our entire country is gonna turn out).
During the course of Doug's visit, however, there's a meltdown at the Mr. Swirly factory, meaning that (gasp!) there won't be any deliveries for the Student Government Day Ice Cream Extravaganza. Mayor White, of course, starts panicking because this means that he'll lose votes from the sixth-graders, who can't legally vote for him for another seven years (but who cares about the law when you're in politics, amirite?). He bails, looking to seek out his wife for guidance.
So, who has to step in and take care of the situation? That's right, Doug Funnie, an 11-and-a-half-year-old boy. He picks up the phone when Mr. Swirly starts panicking and advises him through their dilemma, telling the factory to allow the chips to hit the fan.
For those following along at home, Mayor White is Trump, Doug is the American people, his paper is America, Mr. Swirly's factory is planet Earth undergoing global warming, and Mayor White's wife is probably Vladimir Putin. Something to that ilk. But concisely put, Doug has to step up and fix the mess that his government is neglecting. Doug is doing what we should all do.
Of course, for the super-political sect of the audience, I do want to confirm: This is an egregious over-simplification of our situation. There's no subplot about Mayor White trying to build a wall to keep out Mexican immigrants, he's not flanked by a staff that's working to halt reproductive rights for the women of Bluffington. We, at no point, see him tweet something so outrageous that it makes Skeeter's honks look goddamn profound. It is a cartoon from the '90s, so yeah, the mayor is simply benign-but-stupid. The problems that threaten their world, likewise, are certainly trite, and honestly, I don't think the Nicktoon was written with an agenda in mind (that was Rugrats, probably).
But in all sincerity, let this be a lighthearted way to look at battling our current national climate. In short: Do something. Do a lot of somethings. Go out to one of the many Women's Marches being held on Saturday, be it in D.C. or your closest neighboring city. Donate to Planned Parenthood or the ACLU or some sort of cause you believe in, a cause that may be neglected during this administration. Educate yourself on the issues that come with some under-qualified in the Oval Office. There are a million little things you could do to make this country — this world — a better place. You have to go out and do it.
To amend my previous beliefs, I do believe that creative catharsis is essential when dealing with chaos like this. I will always believe that to some degree. Preferably, they should be used as a brief escape to make you laugh and ease your mental health, instead of a full-on retreat from reality. So, hop to Hulu and allow yourself 12 minutes to laugh at this Doug episode. Then go out and save America.
It's what Doug Funnie would do.