On and off since 1969 the Scooby-Doo franchise has been giving kids fun haunts and cool mysteries that most of the time they can try to solve before the characters, which is one of the draws of mystery stories for many people. Me, I just liked seeing them try to solve it and the wacky hijinks that made the story light and fun, but that’s probably because I kind of suck at solving mysteries. Nobody’s hiring me to be a detective anytime soon. Not being able to solve a Scooby mystery is one of my running gags.
As with any long-running franchise various opinions of what is the “real” Scooby-Doo and friends have come up…mostly the response of people who can’t accept a fun kids show at the intended face value and insist “this is what’s really going on, but they can’t get away with it in a kids show”. In other cases the Mandela Effect comes into play and what people are convinced was ALWAYS part of the franchise turns out to not really stand up to the actual watching, either because the exceptions have been ignored or forgotten, the parody and modern interpretations based on those misunderstandings have taken over what the culture believes was “always” part of Scooby-Doo, or both. So since I’m doing a whole lot of Scooby stuff this October and another one of these has just reared it’s ugly head again, let’s get into what the message boards told you is Scooby-Doo and what is actually Scooby-Doo. Let’s see who these tropes really are.
Fred and Daphne were always a couple.
The Mystery: Well, it’s so obvious, isn’t it? Fred is the jock, Daphne is the pretty one, they’re totally hooking up. In fact, Velma is usually sent off with Shaggy and Scooby not to “split up and cover more ground” but so they can be alone for awhile.
The Clues: As with most of this list the clues do not really stand up. In fact the majority of the time Velma is with Fred and Daphne looking for clues. The only time Velma went with Shag and Scoob was went they wanted her part of the comedy. Back especially in Where Are You! anytime Velma lost her glasses she didn’t just lose her eyesight, she also lost her intelligence. While she would be there to spot clues and ask questions she spent most of the time with the other mystery solvers while Shaggy and Scooby hunted for food and hiding places while pulling Bugs Bunny level tricks on the crooks in costumes.
Now let’s see who you really are: The idea of Fred and Daphne being a couple seems to be based solely on stereotyping, which is maybe true for some of these long-running jokes. Johnny Bravo lampshaded this thought by having Velma go off with Scooby (after Daphne subtly alerted Fred to the fact that they should go off together), leaving Johnny with “Jughead” (aka Shaggy) as a gag. I don’t really count this as evidence of anything, not even the next mystery, because this was a comedy and they were playing with the tropes everyone gets wrong. This was the first time I heard of this supposed couple. The early direct-to-video movies did a better job, by slowing forming a romantic connection between Fred and Daphne officially, though that has been dropped in some of the modern era Scooby productions. (I do hear that Daph pursued Freddy in Mystery, Incorporated but I’ll get into why I didn’t watch that show when I cover the intro.) While Dobie Gillis, I Love A Mystery, and the Archies were inspirations early on by the time the show started a lot had changed from the initial concept.
Let’s go to the malt shop: Do they still have malt shops anywhere? Anyway, I’m actually not against the idea of a Fred/Daphne romance, though it would have been really weird given the direction Fred’s taken recently as a himbo obsessed with traps rather than just solving a mystery. I could put that on the list too but it’s a more recent attempt to “improve” Fred, like when he kept adding gadgets to the Mystery Machine that James Bond would be jealous of. Fred and Daphne do have some decent chemistry but if they were a couple, are they trying to say that the reason Fred disappeared from the show even when Daphne returned was because they broke up? Fred eventually becomes a novelist in what I call the classic timeline of Scooby-Doo, the original Saturday Morning shows from CBS, later ABC, and Velma goes to work for NASA while Daphne rejoins Shaggy and the dogs in traveling around, the point where the franchise returned to its roots before going horribly off the rails with The 13 Ghosts. It was Scooby-Doo On Zombie Island and some of the other direct-to-video movies before they turn a tonal shift to something closer to What’s New Scooby-Doo that sold me on their potential romance. However, it was never part of their depiction in any version prior. I’m not sure they even liked each other in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo half the time.
Velma’s totally into chicks, you guys.
The Mystery: Yeah, you knew this was coming, especially after a recent movie released decided to go all-in on what James Gunn and Tony Cervone say they wanted to do with their respective takes on Velma, and I’m betting this Velma in name only show they’re working on minus the rest of the gang will do as well. “But wasn’t she always a lesbian? That’s what the message boards say.” They also say most of this list and they were wrong on all of them, too. This isn’t even the last time we’ll have to put James Gunn in a Scrappy Trap. (Yes, I chose that on purpose. Kiss off, Gunn!)
The Clues: Is there a stereotype I’m missing somewhere? I’ve been asking this for years and have never gotten a definitive answer. She wears glasses and oversized turtleneck sweaters, is a bit on the plus size, is supersmart, and that equals….lesbian…somehow? Did they think she was Daphne’s gay best friend or something? Nothing about her portrayal ever spoke lesbian to me, even when I grew up and learned what one was.
Now let’s see who you really are: We haven’t seen Velma going gaga for guys that often, but the same is true of Daphne. Nobody thought Fred was just into threesomes? However, you can’t say it never happened. In the classic period of Scooby-Doo we did see her join Daphne in swooning over teen heartthrob Davy Jones, and that’s the only time in The New Scooby-Doo Movies you couldn’t pass it off as being starstruck given that the gang would get over it the moment they said the star’s name. We also see her fawn over the muscular groundskeeper in Scooby-Doo On Zombie Island, the movie that started the Fred/Daphne romance for real instead of just adults on a message board who can’t just enjoy a kids show as a good story. So while James Gunn wanted to make her gay in his movies (one of the reasons I don’t like his movies…and only tangentially connected to why I don’t like him personally) and Tony Cervone hinted at her being into “Hot Dog Water”…what the hell kind of name is that? Yeah, I’m not interested in that show, but maybe the reason Velma and Shaggy were a poor match is that they’re nothing alike even if both are straight?
Let’s go back to the malt shop: Good thing I’m not lactose intolerant. Anyway, this is a franchise for kids and while there’s this annoying group of adults who can’t stand something they might like isn’t playing to them and have to shove adult elements into a show for middle schoolers and younger the reason Velma, Daphne, and everyone else never dated is they were playing to an audience who might not yet be convinced cooties aren’t real. There has been little romantic connection for any of these characters. The Davy Jones thing only happened because Daphne and Velma are teenagers and this was Davy Jones during his solo career. Marcia Brady did the same thing. Meanwhile, Shaggy left food long enough to date Googie in Scooby-Doo And The Reluctant Werewolf and he and Scooby both met pretty girls who turned out to be space aliens in Scooby-Doo And The Alien Invaders. In both cases they were as stuck in the 1960s as he is. Velma on the other hand went for a muscular guy in Zombie Island, meaning her fawning over Johnny Bravo wasn’t as silly as the other gags in that crossover or in the CN promo skit. (Though again, not taking it as canon.)
I don’t care what the fan boards say, and that will include the rest of this list, there is nothing indicating Velma is a lesbian. I wouldn’t even call her a tomboy necessarily though she may be suffering the same fate as tomboys, who despite every insistence from when I was a kid now HAS to be butch, trans, or non-binary to the allegedly supportive crowd–which should be considered an insult to all three but these are people who live for stereotypes because learning about people as people is too hard. Which leads to…
Shaggy and Scooby are, like, totally on drugs, man!
The Mystery: Of everything on this list it looks like the easiest case to make on paper. Shaggy is almost always hungry and eats five times his body weight and food…and somehow never actually adds to that weight. The only answer has to be he’s higher than the Empire State, and of course Scooby would be there inhaling the good stuff with him because he’s Shaggy’s dog. Besides, Shaggy’s a hippie and every hippie lit the blunt all the time. (Wait, I’m the “right winger” and I’m less insulting of hippies?)
The Clues: That’s right, Scooby’s a dog. Have you ever been around a dog? They’ll eat anything so long as they’re hungry and they seem to be hungry a lot. Granted, my exposure to dogs is mostly at family gatherings with a lot of food, but the joke about dogs eating anything, even their own…leftovers…came from somewhere. Heck, every trope here came from somewhere, even if I can’t figure out where that somewhere is. (See the last entry.) In some versions he was a stray dog until Shaggy adopted him, though in the classic period and A Pup Named we get to meet many of his family members. That kind of encourages you to eat when you can find something and with an owner that likes to eat that’s pretty easy. Meanwhile Shaggy is a thin teenager. A friend of mine in his teens could eat as much as he wanted and never gain weight. Heck, teenagers who aren’t accused of being on drugs still have a running gag of snacking a lot. Shaggy just does his in bulk. Captain Caveman eats a whole safe in his show’s intro and nobody accuses him of anything.
Now let’s see who you really are: A constantly scared teenager running from criminals in monster, ghost, and killer alien costumes on the regular. If he already has a high metabolism he’s in need of a caloric intake that rivals The Flash…as seen in two different continuities where the gang meets the Flash. He doesn’t need drugs to be a bottomless stomach. He and Scooby (who do show up as fat after a hearty meal that would feed G.I. Joe) work those pounds off a lot running from people trying to hurt them while taking up disguises and doing improv to escape or trap the villain, and that’s in addition to whatever it is they do on their downtime, which has been shown to be things other than eating. One time he was a race car driver, we’ve seen him dancing, and for a supposed coward he watches scary movies.
Back to the malt shop: While we’re talking about Shag and Scoob, today’s writers need to remember that with or without Velma joining them, our boys did find clues and on a couple of occasions even solved the mystery by finding THE clue. That’s not counting the time he did the occasional assignment for his Uncle Fearless’ detective agency (if NerdSync wants a new Scooby topic, look into the gang’s family) with Scooby and Scrappy. They talk about being cowards but when their friends need them, Shaggy and Scooby do come through and save them, plus the fact that they don’t leave even when Fred doesn’t stop them (I mean why hang around three people obsessed with solving mysteries if you don’t want to help, especially when you’re part of it) shows that for the most part they’re not the cowards they think they are. They’re just not as brave as the others.
The chase music bit was always part of Scooby-Doo shows. It’s iconic!
The Mystery: Let’s end on a lighter note. While The Monkees didn’t create the idea of chases set to songs, they did popularize it. So clearly the show originally pitched as about a traveling band was all in on this idea. I remember seeing it in Scooby-Doo Where Are You!, A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, What’s New Scooby-Doo, and all the direct to video movies!
The Clues: Congratulations, that’s the only times it really shows up, homage and parody shows aside. Heck, watch season one of Scooby-Doo Where Are You! The Looney Tunes style gags as Shaggy, Scooby, and on occasion the others run from the monster interfering with their investigation never included chase music. That didn’t start until season two, and by the next show, The New Scooby-Doo Movies, it disappeared except when they had a musical guest star like Davy Jones or Jerry Reed. We didn’t see it again until A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, and it’s been an homage staple ever since.
Now let’s see who you really are: For that matter, when Reed and Jones did their songs, Jones featured him singing “I Can Make You Happy”, one of the songs from Where Are You season 2 because Hanna-Barbera didn’t have to pay for what they already owned, to help himself and the girls escape the giant frog man. Meanwhile, Reed did “Pretty Mary Sunlight” (so well that until I grew up and learned the show order I thought WAS a Jerry Reed song) in the hopes the gang could find him when the obligatory showplace phantom kidnapped him. This is an example of fans deciding what’s “iconic”, like Shaggy’s classic green shirt despite wearing red for 13 Ghosts and some of the made-for-TV movies. Remember, one of the inspirations for the show was the Filmation Archie cartoons, and they actually had a hit song on real-world radio, “Sugar Sugar”, credited to The Archies to this day. I don’t even think they were the voice actors. It wasn’t something that was a regular part of the show, and wasn’t even in the first season of the very first Scooby-Doo series. It’s just we love the idea so much that now everyone wants to use it in the newer incarnations and we’re happy they do. It’s a fun part of the show.
Let’s go back to the barn dance, they got the lights working and I’m tired of the malt shop : In a similar vein is the annoying laugh track. I don’t hate it but I don’t understand it in this show either. They didn’t shove it into every comedy cartoon around that time. It disappeared eventually , though the Scooby wiki is unclear when it ended. It was removed from syndicated reruns until Cartoon Network and home video put it back for the nostalgia, so the only time I can confirm it truly ended is interestingly enough version two of Scooby And Scrappy Doo, the one you all hate and we’ll discuss eventually in the Many, Many Intro series.
There are a few others. Fred’s recent obsession with traps, the Mystery Machine supposedly breaking down all the time, and setting the record straight on Scrappy-Doo (though given that hate it should be its own article even though I’ve defended him more than once already) come to mind. However, these are the big ones that people think were all the franchise was about for one reason or another but doesn’t stand up to actually watching it. Have the head cannon if you want but it isn’t in the show. Velma’s into dudes, Shaggy is into food, and Fred and Daphne wasn’t originally into each other. I love the chase scenes but it actually is barely part of the franchise. And you would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for that meddling blogger.
Scooby-Doo and the Witch’s Ghost also has Velma celebrity/fan-crushing on Ben Ravencroft, too.
I thought about that one but as I recall she was just a huge fan, like some of the celebrities they met, not necessarily looking to be the next Mrs. Ravencroft. Starstruck isn’t the same as being sexually/romantically attracted to someone.
The funny thing is I somehow thought that was Jonathan Frakes as Ravencroft originally because it sounded closer to him than Tim Curry, plus it’s a role that would match Xantos from Gargoyles.
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Good point – and yes, Ravencroft *did* look an awful lot like Xanatos. I thought it was Frakes at first, too. Ravencroft sure looked and acted a lot like Frakes’ Xanatos – though he did make an error Xanatos wouldn’t have: He underestimated his ancestress.
Xanatos would not have done that.
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