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View Full Version : Et tu, Scooby Doo? (A Satire)



Tamburlain
06-25-2009, 01:22 PM
For a moment, if you will... forget about revolutions in Iran, governors leaving elected posts to "hike the Appalachian Trail", and the rising price of oil. I'm here to bring your attention to a matter of real importance. That's right, I'm talking Scooby Doo. And how the cartoon watched by gazillions of kids today bears little in common with the venerable cartoon that I (and perhaps you) grew up loving. And to its detriment!

In short, Scooby Doo is ruined. Back in my day a viewer could count on a rational explanation for all of the fantastical brouhaha that Scoobs and his pals were called in to dispel. In the end, always, we discovered that there were human agents at work behind the scenes, pulling the strings; in the end, inevitably, these all-too-human puppet masters would be out-witted, exposed, and reduced to muttering impotent curses while our heroes dispensed Scooby Snacks in what I always envisioned as a sacramental celebration of pluck and reason triumphant over greed and superstition.

But no more. Unlike days of yore, when Fred, Velma, Daphne, Shaggy, and Scoobs had to rely upon their gritty human powers of observation and careful deduction to get to the bottom of a given mystery, today the Mystery Inc. kid must throw down mono y mono with actual supernatural adversaries, real demons and real vampires, a la Buffy the Freaking Vampire Slayer. There is no mystery to be solved, because there is no mystery, period. Yessir, that Aztec space-witch seeking to bag Shaggy's unkempt nog for her collection of shrunken heads is no longer "just" a costumed real estate agent hired by the debt-ridden avuncular owner of a Mesoamerican antiquities museum! Oh no, and her villainy is certainly not "just" motivated by a scheme to drive away those meddling kids and scare the locals so that she can drive down the asking price for said museum... (how mundane!). No no, friends, she actually is a psychotic Aztec space-witch who really is hanging out in a Mesoamerican museum and who truly is zooming around trying to cut Shaggy's head off. Whoo hoo! It's anything goes in whacky supernatural land. Vampires will bite-cha! Werewolves will claw-ya! Aliens will probe-ya! Mummies will... well--they'll do to ya whatever it is that mummies do when they finally catch their victims.

Now I'm not here to hate on Buffy. Nor cast aspersions on cartoon supernaturalism, per se. It's all good. Many classic cartoons are meant to incorporate the supernatural into their storylines (e.g. Casper), and they do so admirably with entertaining results. But, dating from its inception in 1969, the the uniquely elegant and hence essential premise of the original Scooby Doo, Where are You? cartoons rested on certain naturalistic assumptions. Collectively, I refer to this bedrock philosophy of the old school Hanna-Barbera cartoon as Scoobian Naturalism (http://grognardia.blogspot.com/2008/09/gygaxian-naturalism.html). In researching the origins of Scoobian Naturalism, I have discovered that the worldview enjoys a rich and multi-textured history within the pulp mystery cannon, as well as demonstrating influences from other literary traditions. But I digress.

Others have their own stories of how they gradually became disaffected by the very cartoon that launched their cartoon-watching careers, but my own sense is that the show began to roll nauseously downhill soon after Scrappy Doo was introduced into the storyline in the early 80s. Obviously pandering to a younger generation raised on video games and cable TV, soon thereafter the show seemed to diverge more and more from its Saturday-morning network television roots. The animation began to feature flatter brighter styles and departed from the darker shading and effects used in the early days.

Gradually, the result was less like a cartoon and more like a media franchise... Scooby Doo lunch boxes, Scooby Doo toothpaste, Scooby Doo goes to Hollywood. Barf. Truth is I reached a snapping point one fated cartoon-watching afternoon, one which began innocently much like myriad others before it. As our custom, my friends and I had gathered to pass around the Funyuns, swill some Gatorade, and pop in the latest Scooby Doo Mystery DVD; yet, upon the conclusion of the episode, we were left dumfounded, frozen in mute astonishment even as the last few Funyuns dropped from our open mouths. Some moments later when the fog in my brain cleared, I realized what it was I had just witnessed. And I swore silently to myself: this time, Cartoon Network, you have gone too far!

How so, you ask? First, let me say that I consider myself to be a cool-headed and forgiving sort of chap. For instance, I was willing to let it slide when the rights were sold to Nabisco in order to market a "Scooby Snacks" brand of breakfast cereal. I was even willing to look past the obvious pandering to a younger viewing audience as evidenced by the many odd guest appearances from whatever no-talent pop stars happened to be famous that season. (After all, the original cartoon, too, featured the occasional celebrity cameo, but those old school celebs were cut from a classier jib; I'm talking the likes of Jerry Reed, Johnny Cash, Davey Jones, Don Knotts, Mama Cass, and the Harlem Globe Trotters, okay? Class acts, all of 'em.) BUT, when I realized that I had just watched an episode of my beloved Scooby Doo, during which the climactic final act revealed Confederate solidier zombies and swamp-dwelling werecats to be real!--well I literally choked in disgust. It was as if something in me had died! And then got resurrected as a zombie and began to dance a little rotten zombie dance to mock the sanctity of my childhood.

Dear reader, you may think I am over-reacting, and surely that is your prerogative. But I say it's a question of dignity. And where dignity is concerned, we must be prepared to draw lines in the sand. Now I'm no rube, and in my interviews with key industry players of the time, I happen to have acquired inside information that cuts to the sordid heart of the matter. Folks, prepare yourself; for you too will soon appreciate how deep and dank doth run the rabbit's hole. It turns out that the suits at Cartoon Network felt they needed real monsters in the cartoon so that they could easily market a slew of upcoming monster-themed Scooby Doo VIDEO GAMES for the detestable SONY PlayStation and Nintendo Game Boy Advance! HA! Ah HA! So now we know whose unholy coin purchased the betrayal of the Judas rabbit!--Er, I mean the digital gaming industry and Cartoon Network. Yeah. Anyway, surely you can see now that when the powers that be chose to jettison the essential premise of Scooby Do, they effectively shat in the faces of their core audience; namely, upon the loyal acolytes of Scoobian Naturalism. In this act of pollution, I feel that they took something innocent and precious, not just from the world, but from me, personally.

Getting out was the only answer. Like many other dedicated fans who felt utterly betrayed, I simply turned away and have never looked back. Except occasionally and with bitter contempt.

These days, I avoid not only the latest edition of show but also the company of its depressingly ignorant fans, instead seeking solace in my ongoing scholarship of all things Scoobiana and in the brotherhood of exiled Scoobnards. I know, simply based on what I have chanced to overhear issuing from the slack-jawed "new Scooby" fanboys, that the show simply bears no resemblance to Scooby Do, Where Are You? It now regularly features fantastical elements that turn out, upon final analsysis, to be 100% fantastically real. The fanboys further descriptions of the show's new "fun" computer-generated graphics have also confirmed the flip-side of my worst suspicion; namely, that having sold its soul to Mammon, the new Scooby Doo is little more than a video game in disguise. Ruh-ro, indeed.

O' but if only Velma, Fred, Daphne, Shaggy, and Scoobs could come to life, they might rip the mask from the scheming impostor that the show itself has become! But what is done is done. Scoobian Naturalism has been usurped and tossed aside in favor of fancy-pants "power-cartoonism" and an accompanying ethos of instant gratification that, frankly speaking, I believe may very well poison the creativity and self-reliance of an entire generation of cartoon-watchers. Where's the grit? Where are the clues to the fiendish plots? Where is the subtext? I ask you.

This post is not just a rant, but also an invitation. I am, in fact, completing the necessary research needed to fuel content for a blog that I will soon be hosting, Scoobnardia, that will provide a sober and scholarly analysis of the origins of Scooby Doo,Where Are You? as well as an investigation into what went wrong with later versions of the Doo Mythos as its custodianship passed into less capable and more profit-hungry hands.

But more than just a repository for my scholarship, I hope that we may build a community where disaffected Scooby-lovers of all stripes may experience sanctum sanctorum if you will, a shelter from the obscene carnival that is contemporary Scooby Doo. Ultimately, I envision Scoobnardia serving as a vital clarion throughout the greater cartoon-watching community. By "clarion", of course, I mean a resounding unison of rebuke and malediction: KEEP, O' PLEBEIANS, YOUR WRETCHED DIGITAL TWITCHCRAFT TO YOURSELVES, AND COMPLAIN NOT WHEN COMES THE BLIZZARD, WHENCE YOU FIND YOURSELVES CIRCLING YOUR OWN TRACKS, SNOWBLIND, UNPREPARED TO ESPY THE TRUTH BEHIND THE YETI'S MASK! A FROZEN HOWL ON YOUR MOUTHS! SCOOBY DOO! WHERE ARE YOU?! AND NEITHER ICE NOR ECHOES WILL REPLY."

Who's with me?

Arkhemedes
06-25-2009, 02:00 PM
zzzzzzzz....what? who? what? ....Oh yeah, HERE! HERE! I'm with you all the way Tam!
I whole-heartedly agree! But to be honest, I gave up on old Scoobs when Scrappy-Doo came into the picture. I saw where it was headed back then. And though I know there are those who will disagree with me here, the same can be said about a lot of the later cartoons. Prime example: Pok-ee-mon - a cartoon made solely for the purpose of trying to gets kids (or rather their parents) to buy their toys and products. It's all about the money now.

Harwel
06-25-2009, 05:54 PM
Scrappy Doo was indeed the defining moment of sharkjumpitude for Scooby Doo. It's been a big steaming stinking pile of Great Dane poop ever since.

Aidan
06-25-2009, 10:08 PM
Hilarious, but I think some posters have missed the satirical nature. Hint: follow the Scoobian Naturalism link.

Tamburlain
06-25-2009, 10:22 PM
Hilarious, but I think some posters have missed the satirical nature. Hint: follow the Scoobian Naturalism link.

;) Well, it's a long post. I can't blame anybody for skimming. Glad you caught the satire, though.

Panthro82
06-26-2009, 12:09 AM
ZOINKS! That post was waaaaaay too long! Hey I was into video games and stuff of that nature even back when the original aired and I was no where near appealed to Scrappy Doo! Most episodes I secretly hoped old man withers who was disguised as a ghost would rip scrappies stupid head off.

The Simpsons did an intelligent and hilarious episode that touched on this new age cartoon/video game media circus marketing frenzy that is todays culture. It was awesome.

Oh and don't get me started on Power Rangers and Pokemon....ugh!!!!!! I hope all the worse things in life happen to the creators of both shows simply for destroying 2 entire generations creativity and brains with mindless, propagandic, marketing rubbish. As the Critic would, I refer to these shows as FANTACRAP!!! (A mixture of both fantasy and crap)

Tamburlain
06-26-2009, 08:36 PM
ZOINKS! That post was waaaaaay too long! Hey I was into video games and stuff of that nature even back when the original aired and I was no where near appealed to Scrappy Doo! Most episodes I secretly hoped old man withers who was disguised as a ghost would rip scrappies stupid head off.

The Simpsons did an intelligent and hilarious episode that touched on this new age cartoon/video game media circus marketing frenzy that is todays culture. It was awesome.

Oh and don't get me started on Power Rangers and Pokemon....ugh!!!!!! I hope all the worse things in life happen to the creators of both shows simply for destroying 2 entire generations creativity and brains with mindless, propagandic, marketing rubbish. As the Critic would, I refer to these shows as FANTACRAP!!! (A mixture of both fantasy and crap)

Panthro, you more than almost anyone, should appreciate the satire here.

Panthro82
06-27-2009, 03:32 AM
Oh I did like it. It was funny but a lot of reading. I do agree that the change from greedy people disguised as supernatural, into straight up supernatural and creatures was plain aweful. The original show was a classic. If I flip through the channels and see it on to this day most likely I will stop to watch it. You didn't mention how there were a billion drug references in the original. Maybe that was why old man Hurn was angry at the team. They were eating scooby snacks in his abandoned house. :)

nijineko
07-01-2009, 02:22 AM
i enjoyed your post greatly, and the link, and the subsequent link in that article too. quite enlightening. =D

Tamburlain
07-01-2009, 08:30 PM
i enjoyed your post greatly, and the link, and the subsequent link in that article too. quite enlightening. =D

Ah, nijineko, thanks! Along with Aidan, you are one of few, the proud, the capable of appreciating irony! :biggrin:

Baldwin Stonewood
07-02-2009, 10:21 AM
This was an excellent post. Thanks