Doug Funnie

By Conor Murphy

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The Funnies are the newest family to move to the little town of Bluffington. Doug Funnie is the younger child of the two in his family, and the title character of the Nickelodeon show “Doug”. Doug is a shy, honest and clumsy eleven year old kid that always means well even if things don’t work out how he wants. His older sister Judy is a very artistic and spiritual girl that see’s herself as mature and enlightened for her age. Mr. and Mrs. Funnie are both caring and mild-mannered parents who don’t play a very large role in the stories of Doug’s adventures. Doug’s family is in no way dysfunctional and has no negative impact on the development of his personality.
Since moving to Bluffington Doug has become acquainted with many interesting characters around town. Mr. Dink is Doug’s retired next door neighbor that always has the latest gadget to show off to Doug, even though most of these gadgets are completely useless. Despite Doug’s timid nature he found plenty of friends at the Honker Burger, the local hangout spot and burger joint that all of the kids from school go to. Skeeter, Doug’s best friend, is very outgoing and introduced himself to Doug and helped him learn the local terminology used to order food at the Honker Burger. Doug has a secret crush on Patti Mayonnaise, a kind girl that is always looking out for Doug. The local bully is Roger Klotz, who constantly harasses Doug and makes him feel self-conscious and inadequate. Doug’s interactions with his classmates and other residents around Bluffington provide insight into his personality and allow us to draw inferences about his past development.

Trait Approach
Using Gordon Allport’s “Big Five” personality characteristics to analyze the personality of Doug Funnie is probably the easiest way to make sense of Doug’s thoughts and actions. It is clear that Doug is not a very extroverted person, shown by his passivity and lack of sociability. When he first moved to Bluffington he went to the Honker Burger and all of the interactions there were dictated by others and he was very overwhelmed. The only reason Doug made his first friend, Skeeter, is because Doug was unable to figure out how to order food on his own. Doug is not very assertive either, in the episode “Doug’s New Shoes” he goes shopping for a cool pair of sneaker’s and gets talked into buying a pair of sneakers that fit worse than clown shoes, only because the sales lady says how great they look! Doug always tries to make people happy and would be rated fairly high on agreeableness. Doug is very modest and friendly with everybody he meets and never wants to upset anybody. His trusting nature is showcased in the first episode “Doug Bags a Neematoad”. Roger Klotz convinces Doug that if he catches a mysterious neematoad he’ll be the coolest kid in the town. Doug doesn’t realize that neematoads don’t even exist and that Roger and his friends were playing a prank on him until he finds them laughing at him from the bushes. A display of Doug’s friendly nature is in his interactions with his neighbor, Bud Dink, who always wants to tell Doug about his latest purchase which is always “very expensive!” Most of the time Doug clearly has no interest in Mr. Dinks various technological devices but spends the time to listen to him anyway. Doug has shown himself to equally high on the conscientious aspect of the “Big Five” as he is on agreeableness. Doug’s best friend Skeeter can always depend on Doug to be there for him. When Doug and Skeeter win tickets to see their favorite band, “The Beets”, but Skeeter gets grounded and can’t go anymore, Doug stays in with Skeeter instead of going to the show without him. In another episode Skeeter gets scared that his parents are going to make him move away from Bluffington and Doug made his best effort to help him hide out to keep him from leaving. Neuroticism is an aspect where Doug lands just below the middle. He gets very anxious and worried about how other people see him and is very nervous about interactions with his classmates. Doug doesn’t show many signs of depression or emotional instability though. Even through all the trouble that Roger gives Doug, Doug rarely shows signs of hostility toward him. When Doug loses his journal it brings out the vulnerable side in him, he puts so much effort into finding it and dreads the consequences of anybody else finding it. Although Doug doesn’t actively seek new experiences he is open to them when they are presented to him. He quickly adapted to living in a new town and was able to not only handle the changes but embraced many of them. Doug has a very active imagination and often daydreams about things like his sneakers talking to him. He’s dreamed up many alter egos for himself including the superhero, Quail Man, and the suave secret agent, Smash Adams. The audience doesn’t just see how Doug acts, but is also given insight to his thoughts. With this information it is clear that his dominating traits are agreeableness and conscientiousness, while the trait that is least characteristic of him (out of the five) is extroversion, while his showing openness or neuroticism is neither prevalent nor uncommon.

Psychoanalytic Approach
Viewing Doug’s personality from Sigmund Freud’s psychoanalytical perspective allows us to see the aspects of his personality that are due to both successful and unsuccessful navigation of the psychosexual stages. Doug has no oral fixations such as chewing gum or excessive eating, so it is safe to make the claim that he developed normally through this stage. Doug’s room is very neat and he shows some signs of being anal-retentive. His closet is filled with the same outfit and all of the clothes are arranged exactly as they would be worn, with the vest over the shirt and shorts hanging below. These characteristics are indicative of a possible fixation on the anal stage of psychosexual development. The next stage Doug went through was the phallic stage. Doug has a healthy relationship with his father and a well developed superego. This evidence shows that he successfully navigated this stage as well. Currently, Doug is in the middle of the latent stage, in which his libidinal energy is directed towards socially acceptable activities such as friendships and hobbies. Doug has been fostering relationships with new friends ever since his family made the move to Bluffington. He regularly engages in other activities such as kickball, basketball and playing the banjo. Porkchop, Doug’s dog, also occupies much of Doug’s time. It is obvious that Doug’s attention is not focused on gratification of sexual urges, but instead he is focused on other aspects of his life, which is characteristic of normal development in the latent stage.
The next thing that needs to be assessed as part of the psychoanalytical approach is the formation of the id, ego, and superego. It is obvious that Doug has a highly developed superego because he is very moral and always concerned with doing the right thing. When his friend Beebe has her radio stolen he becomes immediately concerned with finding it and catching whoever is responsible for taking it. Doug’s id is often overshadowed by his superego but his primitive desires can still be seen in his dreams. He often dreams of alter egos that are capable of doing the things that he is unable to do himself. His dreams consist of things like defeating Dr. Klotzenstein (a mental representation of Roger) as Quail Man or sweeping Patti Mayonnaise off of her feet as the dashing secret agent, Smash Adams. The way Doug views himself in these dreams (as a protagonist) is further testament to his well developed superego, but the way he views others sheds light on his primitive urges. Stopping Dr. Klotzenstein shows his aggressive desires towards Roger, who is constantly dwarfing Doug and making him feel bad about himself. Winning the affection of Patti gives insight into his emotional attachment to the girl and his desire for the opposite sex. Doug’s ego is dominated by his superego and his view of reality. To Doug, the reality of his life is that he is inadequate and insecure. His confidence is lacking in most situations and he is very shy. Morality is always the driving force behind Doug’s actions, showing that his superego has a much bigger influence on him than his id does.

The defining aspect of Doug Funnie’s personality is his timid nature. Now that his personality has been assessed through both the Trait approach and the Psychoanalytic approach it is easy to see why his shyness trumps all other dimensions of Doug’s character. The overshadowed id prevents him from being true to his desires in any way and the overactive superego plays into his need to please. This fits right into his tendency toward introversion; he isn’t confident with himself and feels that he can’t be himself around people he doesn’t know well because they might not like him. Always being concerned with how others think of him has prevented him from being the best he can be. Although there is no account given of Doug’s early childhood, this could have stemmed from his possible fixation on the anal stage of development. Even though Doug may be shy he is able to work through it and be himself around his closest friends, there is nothing strange about Doug’s personality or development, he is simply the new kid on the block and he’s still getting used to it.

Friedman, H.S. & Schustack, M.W. (2009). Personality (4th ed.) Boston, MA: Pearson Higher Education
Jinkins, Jim. (1991-1994). Seasons 1-4 Jumbo Pictures (Producer) Doug Nickelodeon