‘Doug’: The Show’s Main Character Aged a Year and You May Have Never Noticed

Oh, to be a kid growing up in the 90s. There wasn’t a smartphone or tablet in sight to distract you, and you had your pick of any number of great cartoons to watch on TV. Kids could find some of the very best of 90s cartoons in Nickelodeon. One of those cartoons, in particular, was very popular — a show called Doug

While the character of Doug remained largely unchanged throughout the series’ run on two networks, there was one slight change regarding Doug’s age that only those paying close attention may have observed. Let’s take a closer look at when during the show’s timeline Doug aged a year. 

What was ‘Doug’ about? 

During the 90s, Nickelodeon developed a number of innovative and popular cartoons. Shows like Ren and Stimpy were a little weirder, appealing to kids who loved gross out humor. Rugrats was a bit more on the wholesome side, following the adventures of several babies. 

There was nothing outstanding or special about Doug, and that’s what made it so great. It told the story of an average preteen. Joined by his trusty dog Porkchop and his best friend Skeeter, Doug was a main character kids that age could identify with. Also featured on the show were his crush, Patti Mayonnaise, and his bully, Roger Klotz. 

The legacy of ‘Doug’

Voice actor Billy West during an interview with host Jay Leno
Voice actor Billy West during an interview with host Jay Leno | Margaret Norton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank

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Doug became one of Nickelodeon’s most popular cartoons, leaving a lasting legacy fans of the show still remember to this day. According to an interview with Entertainment Weekly, creator Jim Jinkins actually based the show on himself and people he knew growing up: 

“Doug is an exaggerated version of my memory of being a kid. Doug is me. I had a real crush on a girl named Patti, and my best friend’s name was Tommy, but he’s Skeeter, and Roger was an older guy down the street.” 

Nickelodeon executive Vanessa Coffey, an early champion of the show, summarized the network and the show’s approach the best: 

“That really was Nickelodeon. Nickelodeon was, “We’re kids. We’re the kids channel. We’re your channel.” And so I thought Doug fit into that perfectly, because it was their demographic and their story.”

Throughout the show’s run, the show’s tone and humor stayed consistent for the most part. There was aspect of it that changed at one point, but it’s something that most viewers likely didn’t catch. 

You may have missed it, but Doug actually aged a year at one point

One of the best parts about cartoon characters? They’re essentially ageless. Whatever age they start the show as that’s typically where they remain. It’s what has enabled The Simpsons to keep Bart in fourth grade for three decades.

But while Doug spent much of the show as the same age, there was a time when he did age a year. You just might not have noticed. 

According to Mental Floss, in 1994, Doug switched networks. Though it initially premiered on Nickelodeon, that year it switched to The Disney Channel. The House of Mouse took a few opportunities to make some changes. Doug had a slimmer look when moving to Disney.

They also aged him by a year. Though Doug was 11.5 years old while on Nick, the Disney version of the character was billed as being 12.5. 

While the nature of the show didn’t change much — Doug was still the same fun-loving, average kid he’d been before — this is a fun wrinkle to discover for many super fans of the show who may not have caught it.