On Scooby Doo
When I was a small child, my very favorite thing to do in the whole world was to watch television; and , if I had my choice cartoons; and, if it was on–and it always was–Scooby Doo. The show actually scared me right outta my footie pajamas. I often watched the bulk of the show through slits in my fingers. The fact that the monsters always turned out to be mundane humans never provided the comfort I think it was supposed to.
It still doesn’t.
When I got a little older and more world weary I realized that Scooby Doo, like most things I used to (and secretly still did) love, was ‘lame.’ I mean seriously, how could any group of non-institutionalized people remain so undauntingly credulous? You’d think by the later episodes they would be approaching these mysteries a little differently:
“Ok gang, before we split up and search this abandoned amusement park/mine/vacation village, let’s do a little research, see if there’s any land claims or business deals gone bad, maybe something involving a guy who goes by the moniker Old Man ___________?”
Then I discovered marijuana and sex; and all of the sudden Scooby Doo was brilliant again. They weren’t there to solve any mysteries – well, maybe Velma was, or that’s what she told herself anyway, but I never bought her Nancy Drew meets Cousin Oliver act. Fred and Daphne were looking to add a little spice to their rather vanilla sex life. Why do you think they always dragged poor Velma along with them when splitting up from Shaggy and Scooby only to ditch her moments later? She probably would have been happier hot-boxing the Mystery Machine with Shaggy and Scooby then freaking out on the adrenalin of fear. Teenagers can be so cruel in their narcissism.
So, you see, Scooby Doo wasn’t about solving mysteries, or getting pot references past the censors, or even a big inside joke for alumns of the Five Collages; Scooby Doo was about looking for genuine experience in the late 20th century polyurethaned prison state. Scooby Doo was about flowers blooming through cracks in the asphalt. Scooby Doo was about freedom.