Friday, June 14, 2024

I'm surprised that Scooby-Doo's overall message was never challenged by anyone in its many iterations.

Scooby-Doo has a lasting legacy as a cartoon. I used to enjoy watching the original cartoons when I was a kid. But now that I'm older, I'm kind of digging a little deeper, wondering what this cartoon is about. Without talking to the actual creators or looking at a pitch meeting for the show, I think there are a variety of things one could say about it. For example, it's about kids solving mysteries but a ton of those mysteries have to do with the supernatural. And the end result for as many episodes as I can remember was always the same: some person (human) was the threat, and they were using the supernatural to frighten or endanger a person or a group.

However, if one goes back and watches many of those original episodes, there are lots of unexplained supernatural gags. For example, Scooby transforms his appearance with a magic book, or there's a talking skull. The supernatural definitely exists in Scooby-Doo. It's just depicted as being harmless. So, it would be erroneous then to say that the show was about "dispelling the supernatural."

I think that Scooby-Doo as a concept is one of the most versatile franchises out there. At its core, it is just Scooby Doo and Shaggy and his friends (most of the time they are Fred, Daphne, and Velma) solving mysteries. Then you just add in a very basic characterization of being afraid of ghosts and monsters and being hungry all of the time due to "drug-related munchies". It's extremely easy to build different character personalities based on those traits which is why each interaction has the characters the same on the very basic level, but they end up different overall because each show can give them depth and personality in other ways.

So you could do Scooby-Doo but Isekai

or, Scooby Doo Noir 

or, Scooby Doo Into the Dooby-Verse

And you literally could just keep going. In a way, it's kind of like Monopoly the board game in the sense that you could have hundreds of different versions of the game and just keep selling it to new people. They've even got a new "anime" version that is coming out in the next year. As a huge lover of Japanese folklore, I'm looking forward to seeing what they do with this. They could introduce the tricky shape-shifting kitsune, the beautiful yet deadly yuki-onna, the powerful and proud wind gods that are the Tengu. 

Anyway, it kinda looks like they are definitely continuing to embrace the supernatural. But there will probably be lots of humans who are revealed to be the real threat. It's weird to think that this is a cartoon that has been broadcasting that message to children for a long time (humans will deceive and lie to you), and no one's had an issue at all with it, especially since many of the villains under those "supernatural masks" were white men. I think that it is still relevant decades after that first episode aired on television is pretty telling and may say a lot about the people who pitched this show oh so many years ago.

1 comment:

  1. For obvious reasons most of the bad guys in mystery shows in the 60s-70s were white men. Why would anyone have cared? Probably 90% of the actors then were white.


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