I used to be a Scooby-Doo expert. That is, there was a time when I could say that I’d seen every Scooby-Doo show multiple times, and was knowledgeable about every single story.
But somewhere along they way, they lost me.
It wasn’t when they introduced Scooby Dum or Scooby Dee. It wasn’t Scrappy Doo. It wasn’t the Harlem Globetrotters or the Laurel and Hardy episodes.
My relationship with Scooby started falling apart when the adventures became irrational and paranormal and supernatural.
In the original formula, the bad guys were always human crooks. There were never any real ghosts or ghouls or goblins. Sometimes part of the mystery wouldn’t be solved, and it was easy to blame it on some supernatural entity, but that assumption was left up to the audience. It was suggested by the story tellers, but never legitimized.
Then all of a sudden there were real UFO aliens and ghosts and zombies and such showing up in the show. And Scooby died a horrible death and was replaced by a cruel clone.
But that’s the way with pop culture, especially stuff made for kids. It keeps getting diluted and polluted with inconsistencies and fallacies because, after all, even if some kid does notice, what are they going to do about it? Are 5 year olds going to start a write-in campaign to the advertisers?
When the big budget movies started coming out, I was excited. I was sure that they would reboot the show and do it right. Needless to say, I was disappointed by the first one. But Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed wasn’t so bad.
Then in 2009 the Cartoon Network created a direct-to-DVD movie called the The Mystery Begins, which was pretty OK. The guy playing Shaggy was trying a little too hard at times, but hey, don’t you *want* the guy playing Shaggy to try too hard at times?! And the bad guys were bad guys, not bad ghosts. So I liked it.
In 2011 Cartoon Network released Curse of the Lake Monster, another direct-to-DVD movie. It’s OK, but the “real” ghosts are back. As the bad-guy ghost is “dying” she says “And I would have got away with it too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids and that dog!” How just plain WRONG is that?!!!
I guess that I’m getting old and easily disappointed. (Get off my lawn!) But what’s wrong with the original formula for Scooby? Why do they have to keep going One Step Beyond? Isn’t there enough Harry Potter and The Lord of the Rings and The X-Files stuff out there already?
Why can’t Scooby Doo just be about human crooks?