Almost any kid who grew up in the 1990s remembers flying with Quailman, wooing Patti Mayonnaise, and hiding from bully Roger Klotz. Here are 12 things you might not know about Jim Jinkins' hit animated series Doug.
1. It was one of Nickelodeon’s first cartoons.
Doug premiered in 1991 as part of Nickelodeon’s gamble on three new cartoons: Doug, The Ren & Stimpy Show, and Rugrats. Until then, the kid-centered cable network—which had been broadcasting for 12 years—did not feature any cartoons.
2. Creator Jim Jinkins fell in love with drawing as a child.
Doug creator Jim Jinkins was always a doodler. "As a little kid having to sit quietly in church, you pray there’s a little blank spot on the bulletin to draw on," he recalled. "So, drawing Doug was just something that came naturally. The idea of him expressing my twisted points of view and all that, that just sort of gathered momentum when it got started."
3. DOUG WAS ALMOST CALLED BRIAN.
Originally, Doug going to be called Brian, but Jinkins felt that name was “too fancy.” “I geared it down and started calling him Doug,” he said in a 2014 interview with The Huffington Post. “If you think about what that sounds like, it sounds incredibly average, and that’s what I was trying to do: express from that point of view.”
4. THE SERIES WAS NOT DOUG'S TV DEBUT.
Before his hit TV show, Doug was featured a 1989 Florida Grapefruit commercial. The ad features Doug bouncing around on a pogo stick, with a glass of grapefruit juice in hand, to show how the drink will put a spring in your step.
5. AN UNPUBLISHED BOOK IS WHAT GOT DOUG HIS OWN SERIES.
Jinkins visited several publishing houses with his book, Doug Got a New Pair of Shoes, but was never able to nail down a deal. The unpublished book was what he later used to pitch the series to Nickelodeon executives.
6. NICKELODEON WAS PRETTY EXCITED ABOUT THE IDEA.
In his first meeting with Nickelodeon, Jinkins recalled to The Huffington Post, Nickelodeon executive Vanessa Coffey "looked at the cover of the book and, in the middle of me describing it, just ran out of the room ... which is, you know, disturbing." Coffey wasn’t running from the idea; she just couldn’t wait to tell her boss that they needed to take the idea to pilot.
7. SKEETER'S RACE HAS ALWAYS BEEN UP TO THE VIEWER.
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
The ethnicity of Doug's best friend, Skeeter, has been a widely debated topic since Doug first premiered. In an interview, Jinkins said he chose nontraditional colors for his characters after the realization that, as the creator of Bluffington, he could make the characters whatever colors he wanted. Jinkins embraces the discussions of race in Doug’s world and wants the audience to make the characters their own.
8. THE SHOW'S MAIN MESSAGE WAS HONESTY.
Jinkins wanted the importance of always telling the truth to be the biggest lesson kids learned from the series.
9. The unusual music, including the theme song, was almost all voice effects.
10. Doug only aged when the show moved to Disney.
In 1994, the show transferred from Nickelodeon to Disney. Not only was Disney Doug slightly slimmer than Nick Doug, but his age was changed from 11-and-a-half to 12-and-a-half.
11. The Beets had some pretty familiar-looking members.
Nickelodeon Animation Studio
Two of the members of Doug and Skeeter’s favorite band, while animated, bear striking resemblances to Ringo Starr and Robert Plant. The group’s seemingly endless “reunion” tours are a nod to The Who.
12. Jinkins reconnected with the real Patti, Skeeter, and Roger through the series.
The three characters are based on Jinkins' real-life crush, best friend, and bully—respectively—during middle and high school. Though he had lost touch with all of them, Jinkins eventually reached out to all three and even sent a card to the girl who inspired Patti, telling her to pay close attention to the character.