Three Scooby Doo movies, three distinct memories.
Scooby-Doo: Where Are You! is a Saturday morning classic. The Hanna-Barbera joint is basically a cartoon procedural: In each episode or feature length movie, a group of four teens of Breakfast Club personas and their talking Great Dane solve mysteries. The mysteries are always supernatural in nature and the ghosts, monsters, etc. are invariably revealed to be a previously-seen adult who would have gotten away with it too if it weren’t for those meddling kids.
It’s a delightful cartoon. Certainly one worth revisiting and I have to imagine full of sly nods that would make it especially fun for an older audiences. Or maybe not! Maybe it really is just silly monster gags and jinkies. In any case, when it came time to brainstorm Cartoon Week topics, Scooby-Doo was immediately on the short list, but when it came time to decide I realized I actually had three dueling, distinct, but also brief, memories about Scooby Doo I wanted to revisit.
1. Scooby-Doo: Monsters Unleashed
In 2002, Fox produced a live-action Scooby Doo movie and in 2004, they released a sequel called Scooby-Doo: Monsters Unleashed. Both are quite fun, achieving an ideal balance between wholesome family content and cheeky adult humor. The cast — Sarah Michelle Gellar as Daphne, Linda Cardellini as Velma, Freddie Prinze, Jr. as Fred and Matthew Lillard as Shaggy — was perfect and the supplemental animation was aptly goofy.
Anyways! In 2004, I lived in Milan, Italy. I have a very distinct memory of going to a downtown movie theater that played English language movies with my sister. Nothing was playing in English, or else nothing that was age-appropriate for us, but we were there so we just saw Monsters Unleashed in Italian. It was great! I understood it all. And it has forever immortalized Scooby Doo as part of a surreal memory of being fluent in a language I am no longer fluent in.
2. Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated
I don’t remember the specific occasion, but at some point in college, I was home for…a weekend? A month? It doesn’t matter. My parents had less-than-ideal WiFi for various reasons then which meant that I watched cable TV instead of losing myself on the internet when it came time to procrastinate. I’ve watched a sporadic and embarrassing number of episodes of a random array of shows because of this.
Anyways! I have a, again, very distinct memory of flipping channels and seeing Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated on TV. There must have been literally nothing else of interest on, because I put it on because I really liked Scooby-Doo! as a kid.
Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated was a reboot that ran for two seasons between 2010 and 2013 and it’s reboot about which I know exactly one thing: Mystery Incorporated an ongoing storyline of Velma and Shaggy having an on-again, off-again relationship. This would be bad and unnecessary on its own, but the episode I saw also involved Velma losing her jealous mind because Shaggy cared more about Scooby than her.
For the purposes of this article, I tried to get to the bottom of this memory and unfortunately, Fandom can confirm:
She pursued a relationship with Shaggy Rogers and became frustrated when he seemed more interested in his dog and food than in her. When she thought Shaggy didn’t want to take her to the prom, she actually kicked over several tombstones in a cemetery they were exploring.
After being dumped by Shaggy, she takes the break-up very hard and decides to ignore Shaggy and Scooby’s attempts at friendship, showing she can be very bitter. Despite her history with them, she eventually realized that they need to work together to perform their best as part of the gang, and she admits that she would never let anything bad happen to Scooby despite the fact that her boyfriend chose him over her.
Later she and Shaggy seem to have chemistry again, but that time it’s Velma who says she doesn’t feel the same way and Shaggy seems disappointed.
Why on earth.
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Scoob! is a new, entirely animated feature-length Scooby-Doo story. It’s…fine! A stacked voice cast doesn’t do much with the opportunity, the story is standard and it’s not particularly clever or funny — though to be fair, the target audience may disagree. It’s a Scooby movie for a new generation of kids, and that’s nice, but it’s not the kind of animated kids’ movie that you push on everyone you know, whether they have children or not. (Pro-tip: Watch Megamind.)
I watched Scoob! this past weekend for a review as part of Cartoon Week. This isn’t really the important part of the story and/or memory though and if we’re being entirely honest, I wonder whether I will even remember this detail. No, the important and still somewhat Scooby related detail is that I also adopted a dog this weekend! He is four years old, his name is Jack and much like a lonely 11-year-old Shaggy in the early minutes of Scoob!, I solemnly swear I will never, ever leave my always snacking, never lacking, often napping new best bud.
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