Thursday, July 6, 2017

Scooby-Doo, Why Do I Watch You?

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I’m bringing up Scooby-Doo today, on account of I have watched eighteen Scooby-Doo movies since December 2016. It takes up enough of my time that I thought it worth reflecting on.

Here’s the big question: Why watch Scooby-Doo?

It’s a question I’ve asked myself many a time. In fact, if you ever have the misfortune to watch Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf, you will probably spend the second half of the movie seriously contemplating a premature end to the whole affair.

Nonetheless, Scooby-Doo draws me. Here are a few reasons why.

It’s funny. This is probably the easiest way to get me to watch anything, whether it is Scooby-Doo, Fight Club, or Night Court. The recent Scooby-Doo films are playful and almost self-aware. Fred believes that everyone runs into as many monsters as the gang; it would be too much of a coincidence otherwise (Stage Fright). Shaggy justifies not packing for a week-long trip because they always wear the same clothes (Wrestlemania Mystery). Scooby-Doo is an old enough franchise that there is not just a pattern, but room to make fun of that pattern moving forward.

I can study change. Scooby-Doo has received several redesigns and new series. Each iteration brings something different to the table. The first season of The New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show cut Fred and Velma’s characters; now it’s rare to see the gang apart (Scrappy excepted). Most films end with a human culprit, but in others, the supernatural situations are real. In one series, the gang is in middle school (A Pup Named Scooby-Doo). In the late nineties, the humans are in their post-college lives. The interplay between fact, freedom, and friendship varies with every show. It’s fascinating.

Variety creates conflict. The different portrayals of Scooby-Doo also reflect different values. I mean, diversity has never been a big deal on Scooby-Doo, but sometimes they’re more willing to play with gender. Scooby and Shaggy are always cowards—never a really “masculine” trait—but they also confront their fears and save the day by dressing in drag to gain entrance to a party (Scooby-Doo and the Goblin King). In the films sponsored by WWE, though, Shaggy and Scooby tend to have an almost childish fascination with wrestling and racecars, which also results in a fascination with the more masculine moral and social codes that an organization like WWE might promote. Different films prioritize different character traits, and so it is interesting to see where characters diverge from the patterns—if they do at all!


I keep an irrational hope when I watch Scooby-Doo. It certainly has its problems, but I also see where they could surpass those issues. Maybe someday Daphne will not ditch Velma every time a wealthy, “empowered” woman comes along. I hope Velma receives well-rounded interests and more respect. I hope someone recognizes in the future that dinosaurs could literally not be encapsulated in quartz. Anything’s possible, I suppose.

At any rate, there’s enough humor and change to keep me interested. I hope there’s more to come.

My favorite Scooby-Doo films are Music of the Vampire, Big Top Scooby Doo, and Stage Fright. Have you watched any Scooby-Doo movies?



6 comments :

  1. Scooby doo is great! I used to watch it when I was younger and it's a shame I stopped. I think I inevitably got sucked into Disney. :') I think the point about variety is a really good one - I love shows that have untypical characters.

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    1. XD Well, there's no rule that says you can't watch Warner Brothers AND Disney. And yes, getting to see how they play with that variety makes Scooby-Doo fun! :)

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  2. I haven't watched any Scooby Doo, although it was really cool when I was in primary school. (side note: this is what happens when you don't have a TV. Thanks a lot, parents). I think it's really interesting what you're saying about it, and I feel like I should watch at least one movie, if only to understand all the references to it in other things.

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    1. Well, I'm sure you get to have a less-melted brain than mine for living sans TV. :) If you decide to watch one, I hope you enjoy it. :)

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  3. Scooby-Doo is my go-to "sick show" when I have a cold. I can't say I've watched too many of the movies, other than the cyberchase one. Even that one has been a while.

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    1. Nice! Although, of course, getting colds is unfortunate—I hope you stay healthy! But yes, the direct-to-video seem difficult to come across unless you're hunting them directly.

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