By and large, life is a cyclical thing. Each generation that comes into the world is convinced that it was made exponentially worse by their predecessors.
Frankly, I think the baby boomers have the final say in that regard, as they are coming after, you know, nazis, but who am I to judge?
Millennials are currently at bat, and their stat line leaves a lot to be desired. Typified as being entitled, lazy and precious, the world glances at our soy lattes and smashed avocado toast and turns their nose up in disgust. That meal costs about $20, so it’s not without reason.
Trying to find a face for this generation is a tricky bit of business, because with the rise of the Internet, we now have immediate access to even the most mediocre of celebrities. Case in point: Bhad Bhabie, whose claim to fame doesn’t stretch much further than being as detestable as is humanly possible.
I’d like to propose an unlikely candidate, if I may: one who hasn’t been in the public consciousness for over twenty years, but still resonates in the back of our mind, like a childhood friend or that one song by Mr. Big.
Ladies and gentlemen, I’m talking about Douglas Yancey Funnie. The goofy, affable cartoon character of early Nicktoons fame, later repurposed by Disney as a noble young man who protects the wellbeing of swamp monsters because fuck it, why not?
The defining qualitiy of Doug is that he is decidedly average. Not the most popular, but not a pariah. Not the brightest, but not a Darwin award candidate. Not particularly athletic, but he kicks a damn good field goal when there’s no pressure.
I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself, ‘well sure, but that could describe any generation! We’re all average — that’s why there is an average, you rube/square/whatever filthy gen Z insult is currently doing the rounds!’ And this much is true, but Doug also has another trait that drives much of the show’s content, and it is pure millennial.
Doug is a dreamer.
Not just a dreamer in fact, but a stiflingly overambitious one. Any random thought that pops into his head is assigned utmost importance, like he has finally figured out the key to success.
Starting up a garage band? They’re on the fast path to superstardom. New basketball shoes? He’s clearly going to be the next Michael Jordan. Accused of having a big nose? He’s probably got a big dick, too. That last one wasn’t ever an actual episode, and yet it slots in so well you probably didn’t even notice.
In a display of fickleness that is almost admirable, Doug will try anything if he thinks it’s going to make him money. He’s had more hobbies than the Kardashians have collectively had thoughts (more than five, then), and he goes into it with full conviction. It’s going to work this time, dammit, because ventriloquism is obviously Doug’s true calling. The doy dought the fucking dasketdall.
However, there’s always a drawback that prevents Doug’s best intentions from being fully realised. For you see, Doug actually has no tangible skills. He’s always too busy pissing around with Skeeter or fantasising about how wonderful he is, that he rarely ever gets anything done.
Each of his newfound fascinations will be pushed aside by the episode’s end, and considering the timeline of one story is rarely more than a couple of days, you can see the lack of longterm dedication. Spitters are quitters, and so is our boy, Doug. He always spits. Always.
How, then, has he clung onto his middling status? Why is he not ostracised as the underachieving failure he is? Why is he the only white person in a multicoloured community, and what does that actually mean?
We arrive now at section two for Doug’s case as king of the millenials: a distinct lack of accountability. Just like all white people, if you were wondering how that last point was relevant.
At times, Doug is selfish, deceitful and cowardly. Though he’s not a bad person by any means, he rarely ever sees his comeuppance, and generally comes out of the whole ordeal no worse than when he went in.
His greatest strength in life, it seems, is his plot armour. Doug will rely on deus ex machina to get him through even the toughest of jams as opposed to showing any initiative — frequently rewarded for dumb luck and allowed to just continue living in the same comfortable manner.
Because of this, he never learns from his mistakes. At times, he may attest that he’ll ‘never do that again’, that he’s ‘a changed man’ and that he ‘apologises to the immediate family members for his sins and is now a servant of God’.
However, as soon as that title card drops for the next misadventure, he’ll get right back to his machiavellian ways, no wiser and no more scrupulous than he had been before.
A tendency to avoid his problems, and hope that everything will just work out in the end, simply because? Does this remind you of anyone else you know? Could it even be you, the enterprising reader, with your extensive list of failed ventures and discarded curios? Are you ever actually going to install that spice rack in the kitchen, or are you secretly hopeful that Beebe Bluff will offer an alternative that is infinitely easier, with the added promise of untold wealth and plentiful cocaine?
To be clear, there’s nothing wrong with being this way. It’s just how we were raised: told that we could do anything we set our minds to, and that we were special. To his credit, Doug was perhaps going to do something with his adulthood, as his relationship with Patti began to flourish and he started fresh with a brand new journal to scrawl his chicken scratch into.
That journal was given to him by his dog, incidentally, so that’s certainly something. My dog only ever offered me ant-riddled soup bones and tried to hump my head once.
But the point is, we’ll be okay, no doubt. We’re on the threshold of greatness, all we need is our big break to finally set the wheels in motion. I’m all open for any ideas, because my latest gambit of trying to break into the plunger pornography-related industry just went balls up. Quite literally.