If you’ve ever watched television from anywhere between the late 60s till now, you’ve probably heard of Scooby-Doo. If you haven’t, I strongly suggest you get to know one of television’s best cartoons out there. Most millennials (including myself) remember the cartoon gang – Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and of course, the lovable Great Dane, Scooby.
Created by Hanna-Barbera Productions in 1969, Scooby-Doo has had much success, spurring many spin-offs, movies, and reboots throughout the years. For the most part, the shows were good and did not deviate from the original series. In true Scooby-Doo fashion, the shows that followed utilized the winning formula of its predecessor. The gang would run into a “supernatural” case, opt to solve the mystery, split up, unknowingly run into the supposed supernatural being, hilariously run away from the being, create a trap, and capture the villain to reveal that it had been a character who appeared twenty minutes earlier all along! And of course, the infamous line, “and I would have gotten away with it too, if not for you meddling kids and your dog!” had to be stated at the end of every episode.
So what’s happened to Scooby-Doo since the last time we saw him and his human partners? They’ve gotten an “upgrade,” so to speak. So much so that they’re pretty much a brand new gang.
Remember what the original characters were like? Fred – the brave, fearless leader, who was kind of like a jock; Daphne – the pretty, ditzy, damsel-in-distress; Velma – the nerdy, scientific, smart one of the group; Shaggy – the lovable yet stupid hippie that loves food; and of course, Scooby – the cowardly talking Great Dane who could only be motivated with bribes of Scooby Snacks.
Well, now everyone’s gotten a make-over, and it isn’t all that pretty. To be honest, this change isn’t all that sudden and has been something that the creators have been messing with for quite some time now. You saw in the live-action movie that Daphne had become a strong, independent woman who was now a world class fighter who refused to be the damsel in distress. Originally, it was funny and cool to see her kicking ass, and while I’m all for progressive ideals and stronger female characters, I feel like the direction the creators went with for Daphne has really hurt her as a character.
In the new Scooby-Doo, she’s become a physically and emotionally abusive narcissist who refuses to take blame for any mishaps. She solves all her problems through the use of violence and justifies it by crying and apologizing. It’s incredibly manipulative and makes for a frightening character that I hope no one aspires to become. Fred has changed from the leader to a love struck idiot who follows Daphne around like a puppy. He’s been completely emasculated and has become extremely two-dimensional in the sense that everything he does can be traced back to his motivation to gain Daphne’s approval. Shaggy’s turned from a lovable hippie into a loser hipster whose only redeeming quality is his ability to train dogs. As for Scooby-Doo, he lost almost everything that made his personality so great. There’s no sense of humor, and while he’s still a huge lover of food, it feels like his love of food is just that of a regular dog. He doesn’t get too many speaking lines and has just become a slightly smarter than a normal guard dog. The only saving grace of the new Scooby-Doo is Velma. Velma’s intelligence has received an exponential increase and although her experiment is the reason for all the horrible things happening in the story’s plot, it’s her desire and actions to rectify her mistakes which make her interesting and much easier to root for. Unfortunately, this story can’t be saved by who arguably used to be the least interesting character. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at what they look like now. They say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but sometimes what you see is what you get.