Many improbable, even impossible, things happen in cartoons. Animals talk. Coyotes can get smashed with anvils and survive with no serious injuries. Men from the year 2000 living in the year 3000 and their robot friend can go to the Moon for work. However, one thing is just so implausible it strains all incredulity: Everybody wanting to dress like Doug Funnie.
If you are not familiar, Doug was a cartoon that aired on Nickelodeon in the ‘90s. It also aired on the Disney Channel, but we consider those episodes apocryphal. Doug Funnie, the protagonist, is a bit of an everyman. He’s got a grand imagination, but he’s not remarkable. There’s one episode, “Doug En Vogue,” where Doug goes to school and everybody is dressed like him. Like many cartoon characters, Doug wears the same thing almost every day. Doug is baffled at why he has suddenly become a trendsetter. Then, he finds out they aren’t dressed like Doug. They are dressed like Dylan Farnum, a character from the popular show Teen Heat Street. It’s the “Dylan Farnum look,” not the “Doug look.” Now, people are accusing Doug of copying somebody else’s look, which is weird, because his friends and schoolmates have seen him in the same outfit for years.
Every kid deciding to dress like a popular TV character? That’s not plausible, but it’s fair for a cartoon, especially one for kids. What doesn’t hold water is Doug’s look becoming so cool. Just look at that dude. He wears a V-neck green sweater vest over a white t-shirt every day. He wears brown shorts that are way too baggy for his body and also hang below his knees. Doug is oh-so-close to wearing JNCO floods. His shoes, lowtop and red with white fronts, are pretty cool, but he wears generic white socks that are too high for somebody wearing shorts.
In short, Doug’s look is trash. We know fashion is subjective, but we aren’t backing down from this. Doug is dressed like a sad garden, all ill-fitting greens and browns. The sweater vest is a tough look to pull off, but with a white t-shirt under it? That’s not flying. At one point in “Doug En Vogue,” Doug throws together a bunch of random articles of clothing trying to find a look that isn’t worn by anybody else. His sister Judy informs him that it is, in fact, called the “Schizo” look. Frankly, it’s a major improvement for Doug. He looks like Beck in the ‘90s, or like Harry Solomon from 3rd Rock from the Sun. Now there is a true style icon.
“Doug En Vogue” ends with everybody moving on to a different outfit because Dylan Farnum wore something different on the new episode of Teen Heat Street. Impossibly, he dressed just like Doug’s best friend Skeeter Valentine. Hey, at least that’s an improvement. Skeeter’s got a look we can get behind. Doug, on the other hand? We’ll believe a wallaby can work at a comic shop before we believe his look would ever get trendy.