Carolyn M. Walker

Old Blog of Carolyn M. Walker

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Scooby Dooby Doo, Where's the Truth?

Scooby Doo Mystery Machine Stories
My daughter Amber and I love to sit back on a lazy weekend afternoon and watch old Scooby Doo Episodes on cable, Netflix or wherever we can snag a good mystery. It's one of the few cartoons from my childhood that I still love to this day. That makes it even more nostalgic that it is one of my daughter's favorite cartoons too. I have a sneaking suspicion that one day she will be curled up on the couch with her little one(s), riding the mystery machine down memory lane too. Ah, some things never change... or do they?

We love Scooby and that sentiment goes for both old and new installments of the beloved Hanna-Barbera original. But I've noticed quite a few changes over the years, and it's not just the different voice actors (Casey Kasem, rest his soulhe was epic). The stories changed. It didn't really occur to me in its entirety, until I was on the edge of my daughter's bed fruitlessly telling her all the reasons NOT to be afraid of the dark.

She lay, wrapped tightly in multiple layers of blankets like an overstuffed burrito.

"There's no need to be afraid sweetie," I said. (and we all know how well THAT one works...) "I promise it's nothing more than your imagination."

"But there's monsters in the—"

"No there's not! I'm telling's just like on Scooby Doo when they find out at the end that the 'monster' was actually some guy with a mask and wig." It was then that I paused. That wasn't totally the truth. Not if you look at the more recent episodes and movies of Scooby Doo. As I sat there in silence, my daughter took the opportunity to throw in my face everything I had just thought about. It seemed there was more to this than I had originally thought.

In the 1998 film Scooby Doo on Zombie Island, both the lagoon zombies, and werecat descendants Lena and Simone Lenoir are of supernatural origin. No rational explanation is given, because there wasn't one!

Scooby Zombies Stories
Exhibit A: Undead Lagoonies
Scooby Zombie Stories
Exhibit B: Werecats...apparently REAL ones
In the 1999 film Scooby Doo! and the Witch's Ghost, acclaimed mystery writer Ben Ravencroft is literally sucked into a spell book along with the actual ghost of his ancestor Sarah Ravencroft, who turns out to be a witch!

Scooby Sarah Ravencroft pulls Ben in Book
Exhibit C: Into the book...see?
There are numerous other examples, where supernatural instances like these go unchecked and unexplained. Mystery Incorporated, anyone? So this begs the question: why the change? Well, I think as a society deeply rooted in superstition and legend, it stands to reason that we would be fascinated with the notion of monsters being real. Now, more than ever we become lost in the romance of mystery and the thrill of the unknown. We openly allow ourselves to suspend disbelief and turn our attentions to the "what if's" of life.

Horrors have become more "real" and the unknown has become the norm. Just look at the slew of supernatural horror films flooding the market these days! I can't turn a corner without something pertaining to an exorcism, poltergeist, vampire or zombie staring me in the face! We fantasize about these vampires, build fan pages about the zombies and watch reality ghost hunter shows like it were the evening news. In short, consumers cannot get enough of the mystery train!

And children's shows are no exception. You don't just see it with Scooby Doo, you see it in the magic of Disney and among the superheroes of Marvel and DC Comics. In actuality, this isn't new but it is an ever-growing trend becoming more an more prominent among new generations who will usher in a new age of understanding and perception of well...everything!

So I looked down at my wide-eyed daughter buried under a mountain of blankets that would surely not save her from the proverbial boogeyman, and I was at a loss of words (and this doesn't happen often)! The monsters that lurked in the dark, lived in her mind and they were put there by the silent messages of entertainment that whisper, "guess what's real." So it seems the age of storytelling is ever-changing and more rapidly than ever as it reaches younger and younger audiences. Basically it's more acceptable to suspend disbelief and allow those monsters to be real, nowadays. Why explain it away with logic and practicality? Why keep it rational when it is so much more interesting to entertain that idea of "what if?" Just saying.

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