My first note for episode 7 is “this clown appears to have hung himself.” I would say that’s a great metaphor for how WTF this episode was. Surprisingly, for once it was not WTF in the sense that there was over-the-top edgy humor or the characters doing shocking things; it was more in the sense that the writers made a lot of really odd decisions with the plot.
After the end of last episode, I would have expected this episode to be mainly centered around the killer, but it isn’t hardly at all. The killer shows up for a single scene that lasts only a few seconds up until the last four minutes of the episode. We had quite a few different developments happen in this episode, but many of them were very random.
Looking first at Velma, Velma is upset about the sheriff’s law that all women need to be accompanied by a man to the Fog Fest dance. We have a brief detour where Velma investigates what the word “Jinkies” means, which was written on her mom’s note that Velma found at the end of last episode. Velma quickly realizes that her mother’s script which she’d been using to kill spiders had all the answers, and even had the killer’s phone number written on it. Personally, from a creative standpoint, I found this to be very lazy. A consistent issue I’ve had with this show is that it often uses really lazy plot devices to advance the story rather than actually creating an engaging mystery. Velma then calls the killer at the number on the script, and they breathe heavily into the phone. I thought that scene was decently creepy, even if it wasn’t amazingly done.
The episode then switches a completely unrelated plot where Velma dresses up as a man to get around the sheriff’s law that women need a chaperone. For most of the rest of the episode, we get this weird social commentary plot where Velma realizes that the qualities she is chastised for as a woman are celebrated by people when she is dressed up as a man. We also are shown some weird cutaways in which Velma experiences male privilege, such as handing her potential employer a resumé that just reads “I’m awesome” written sloppily in marker, and the employer delightedly responds by handing her a huge sack of money with a sign reading “you’re hired!” I did want to find that funny, but with that particular joke, I feel like it’s been done a zillion times, and I’ve seen the same joke done so much better, so it wasn’t the groundbreaking, edgy joke that the writers expected it to be. I will admit I laughed at the cutaway where Velma exaggeratedly exclaims “oh yeah!” and puts her thumbs up after peeing in a urinal.
Before moving on to the other characters, I want to talk about the humor for a moment. Like last episode, the humor felt much more toned down and not as in-your-face as previous episodes have. There were certainly a few edgy jokes, like the “nut tap” one was weird, but it seems like the writers have realized that they don’t need to try so intensely hard to be edgy every second. I have to say, that’s a nice change and even if some of the humor is still cringey, I appreciate the fact that it’s no longer constant.
I’ll move onto Daphne next. Daphne’s plot was kind of weird this episode. She becomes depressed and begins binge drinking at the fog fest. Given what she went through with finding her parents, it’s kind of understandable…but it felt like the show made some leaps. She seems kinda content at the end of last episode, so how she went from that to suddenly becoming a heavy drinker is really confusing and feels like it needed some more development. While Daphne’s drunk, she runs into Velma (under her alternate persona “Manny” the man), and starts getting a crush on her. This creates a lot of drama as Velma realizes this is a chance to act on her crush for Daphne. Personally, I still don’t feel the drama is done well. It seems very random and is not developed at all. In general, this show seems to have a way of forgetting about certain aspects of the plot, and then randomly bringing them up again at a later point with no explanation as to why they ignored it for a few episodes. Also, for all the crappy social commentaries in this show, I have to admit I found Daphne’s remark “I’d punch you if men didn’t sexualize women fighting” to actually be a pretty good social commentary. It’s one of the very few in the show that worked IMO.
Moving on to Norville, Gigi and him broke up off-screen (illustrating my point perfectly about how this show is really random and nonsensical with plot threads). Noriville tries to win Gigi back by asking her to the Fog Fest, and instantly does. They end up going to the Fog Fest and Gigi gets mad at Norville again…but then instantly backtracks without Norville even saying anything, and says she loves him because he treats her well. In particular, that end scene where she’s mad and then instantly falls in love with him again is really odd. Sometimes it feels like the writers just have something in their mind that they want to happen, and then they’re like “we’re gonna make this happen no matter if it makes sense with the plot or not!” Honestly, just as a side note, I feel like that was something I didn’t really care for about this episode in general. The writers were so determined to make a social commentary about male privilege that they just randomly shoved it in here, and as a result, squandered an opportunity to make an episode that focused on the mystery and the killer, in a creepy setting like the Fog Fest no less.
Fred’s main plot line is that he wants to be the Fog Fest King, and is mad that Shaggy is appearing to be the front runner. They’ve completely dropped the plot where he’s learning about feminism for some inexplicable reason, which was strange. Without getting too political, there have been some theories that Velma is a right wing sysop. Honestly, Fred’s comment where he says “the serial killer is whatever you need it to be” kinda felt like something right-wing people would typically mock left-wing people with, which gives a little bit of validity to that theory. I won’t comment on the political aspect of it any further, I just thought it was interesting. There wasn’t really much notable about Fred, so I’ll just talk about his scenes with the killer. The last four minutes of the episode features the gang being chased around the Fog Fest by the serial killer, while classic Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? music is played. Personally, I felt the music was a bit forced. It didn’t really fit, and kinda screamed Mindy Kaling thinking “woah, wouldn’t it be awesome to have the gang chased by a serial killer over the classic score?” It just felt unnatural and did not really work IMO. Also, I never thought I’d hear Fred say “Damn girl, how’d you get all that ass in those little slacks?” to himself in the mirror lol.
Moving onto episode 8, we once again got a clearer focus on the mystery, which was nice. The episode centers around Norville, Velma, Daphne and Gigi all getting stuck in the woods when Norville accidentally misinterprets Gigi’s request to have a romantic weekend together. I felt there was a lot of unnecessary drama and fighting in the episode: Gigi is mad at Norville because he didn’t get her obvious signals about wanting to be alone at her cabin in the woods. Daphne is mad at Velma for faking a hallucination so that she would come to Velma to investigate in the woods, instead of hanging out with Olive, whom we learn Daphne has a crush on. On a random aside, we also see that Gigi has a bloody bear rug of a skinned bear carcass in her living room, which I thought was very bizarre.
A series of unfortunate events causes all four of them to fall into an underground cave and become trapped by a rock. They learn that one person will have to be crushed because of how tightly the rock is pinning them. I feel the characters express their worst qualities there when instead of someone volunteering to sacrifice themselves, they all immediately try to kill each other without hesitation.
Meanwhile, Fred is kidnapped by the serial killer and put into a locked room. In this room, he finds the brains of the murdered girls conserved in some sort of fluid, and they are still able to talk somehow through device. I found Fred’s antics with the brains to be kinda weird, especially all the jokes about Fred having a love affair with each of the girls’ brains. The joke about Fred accidentally almost getting one of the girls’ brains pregnant was particularly cringey and over-the-top. I did not find the police leaving Velma, Daphne, Gigi and Norville after already finding them so they could rescue Fred (because he’s a white person) to be funny. It was definitely another very cringily executed social commentary.
Velma and Daphne separate from the rest of the group as they fall into the cave, and hear Fred. They’re able to rescue him, but Velma nearly falls into a hole in the cave when the walls begin disintegrating. Velma is saved by none other than her mother, and all five of them escape the cave. I have to admit, the joke I found the funniest was Fred running through the cave (which is collapsing due to loud sounds) screaming “Help! Help!” at top volume. It was one of those jokes that was just so stupid to watch that I found it hilarious.
The episode ends with Velma’s mom going to the hospital saying she can’t remember anything about who kidnapped her, and we learn that she only has 72 hours to remember otherwise her memories will be lost forever. They don’t explain why, but I’m sure it will be for some cringey nonsensical reason lol. I'm guessing she will be the killer, and is faking the memory loss. Also, random aside, but another one of the jokes I liked the most is Velma’s shirt at the beginning of the episode, which says “Missing” has a picture of her mother holding a cat on it, and in parentheses below the picture, it says “the mom, not the cat.” It was so random and ridiculous that it worked for me.
The flashback format of this episode was interesting. I don’t know if I’d say it was super well executed, but it wasn’t badly executed either. All of the meta jokes about how flashbacks are best done in TV shows definitely gives validity to the theory that I’ve seen a lot of people say on the Internet, where it seems like many of the jokes in this show were written by TV writers who only talk to other TV writers.
Overall, I thought these two episodes were okay. I didn’t feel they were quite as strong as the last episodes writing-wise. I felt episode 7 squandered an opportunity to focus on the mystery in favor of a weird male privilege social commentary that has been done far better in so many other shows and movies. I liked that they focused on the mystery more in episode 8, so that was definitely a bonus. However, the constant fighting got old pretty quickly. I feel this show’s mystery has the potential to be interesting, but they are wasting so much time on drama and social commentaries that it is detracting from the ability to develop the overall plot.
On the more positive side, I am glad they are toning down the humor a bit. The cringey jokes felt constant in the first four episodes, so it’s good they’ve brought it down to a more manageable level. I feel I’m able to ignore some of the more cringey jokes when they are popping up as a result, and I’m finding more jokes funny than I did in the first four. As a brief aside I didn’t mention in the main review, the one joke I felt to be extremely over-the-top in episode 8 was the joke where Velma casually asks if she can have some more edible underwear to eat, as if they are potato chips or something. I know this show loves its edgy humor, but that one stood out to me as hypersexual to the extreme.
I can’t believe we only have one more week left now! The show’s gone really fast. I’m guessing with all the controversy and how it’s been commonly called “one of the worst shows ever” by many critics, this isn’t going to be renewed, so I have to believe next Thursday is it. I’m interested to see what happens, and I look forward to hearing all of your thoughts on this week’s episodes!
1. The Sins of the Fathers and Some of the Mothers
2. Marching Band Sleepover
3. A Velma in the Woods
4. Fog Fest
5. The Candy Man
7. Velma Makes a List
8. Velma Kai
I can't believe we're already halfway through the series! I have to admit I didn't dislike these episodes as much as last week's, but the show is still by no means good IMO. More of the jokes landed for me this week, and I particularly liked the joke of somebody crashing headfirst through a window when the police said "intolerance." It was so goofy and ridiculous I'll admit it got a laugh out of me. As an aficionado of dad jokes, I also liked the "you must be this neander-tall to ride" pun haha. The Casey Kasem bit was fun too. I liked the little reference to him and I was happy they did something tasteful, given the show's track record of making everything as inappropriate as possible.
Speaking of which, the plot about Daphne's parents was really interesting. It still felt a bit rushed and could have been developed better than it was, but it was at least engaging unlike the constant shock humor in the last two episodes. I liked how Daphne's parents were dressed up like Captain Caveman, as well as the nod to Fred, Wilma and Pebbles, and the caveman from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?. The Jetsons reference was also interesting. I also noticed the eyes in the dark were drawn in the same style as The New Scooby-Doo Movies, and Shaggy has a poster of Charlie the Funland Robot on his wall. We also get to see Captain Cutler, whom Velma actually captures when fishing with her dad.
While there was a little bit of mystery on Velma's end, the whole marching band plot was initially interesting, but it turned into another "WTF" moment for me. The idea of a marching band sleepover where all the band members are playing their instruments at the party was funny, but it quickly devolved when the marching band started eating Velma's carpets and furniture because they hadn't been fed. I don't necessarily feel it was inappropriate or a bad joke, it was just kinda weird. I also thought the joke with the trombone was a great example of how this show takes what could have been funny and makes it mean-spirited. I thought the guy making the "wah wah" noise when Daphne didn't get what she wanted was funny, but then Daphne kicked the guy in the crotch. I don't like this show's tendency to make the characters cruel like that. The trombone joke was funny on its own, so I don't understand why the writers feel they need to turn the knob from 1 to 100 and make the jokes as in-your-face and antagonistic as possible.
That being said, there were actually a few extreme jokes that made me laugh this time. I liked the police putting out the "only murderers walk the streets at night" sign. The flashback where the mine's owner just randomly says "Mine's closed. Everyone's fired!" as all the lights shut off made me laugh quite a bit, just because it came so out of nowhere lol. That comment about Fred needing his previous actions covered up by an Israeli security firm also made me wonder what he did haha. The last joke I found funny was super quick and many people may have missed it, but I found it funny that the salad bag was marked "Salad!" with an exclamation point haha. I feel that these jokes demonstrate that the writers can actually write good material, so it's a shame they waste it on try-hard edgy stuff like Velma saying "no sweat off my underboobs!" and a cop intentionally running over Velma with his squad car.
Moving to episode 6, I enjoyed this one a little more too. I thought they did a decent job with the mystery elements this time, and I appreciated that we're starting to dive more into the mystery. Out of all the episodes so far, I would say the mystery felt least overshadowed in this episode. It was still overshadowed a bit by the weird stuff with Velma's dad, however, but I liked how the mystery at least didn't feel like an afterthought for a change.
It was really interesting to hear the backstory behind why Velma's mom disappeared. Given we're halfway through the show, I feel like we should have found out at least a few more details about that way before now, but better late than never I suppose haha. It was neat that the general's operation was named "SCOOBI," and how they incorporated masks and meddling kids into the plot. The bit at the end with the serial killer breathing heavily was really creepy, and I would say this is the first time in these three weeks that I've actually felt a little curious to find out what happens next. I felt they still cut corners a bit when it came to the mystery...like the explanation of how Daphne's parents found her felt rushed...but overall, I really appreciated that there was a bit more of a focus on the mystery.
I liked more of the humor than I did in previous episodes, although some of it still fell into the try-hard edgy category. I was surprised to find that a few of the "shock humor" jokes landed for me this time. Fred reading Yas Queens throughout History, only for his father to take it away and hand him a shot glass and loaded rifle was intense haha. Velma's mom and dad singing "just the three of us" as they spray mud all over Velma was similarly so shocking I have to admit I got a little chuckle out of it. One of my favorite jokes of the episode was Velma's father Googling "how to play catch." Let's hope that's not where our increasing reliance on the Internet is taking us lol. I also found it hilarious how Shaggy was acting tough and dressing up in a leather jacket that says "Mr. Bad Bear."
This episode also had the joke that I've probably laughed the hardest at, that being the part where Velma is outraged by her father installing a tracking app on her phone. His reaction of "Sophie installed it so you wouldn't catch us in bed talking smack about you!" was so shocking and random that I found it hilarious. Given how poorly characterized most of the characters are here, I have to admit it was pretty funny to have a meta-joke highlighting what terrible parents Velma has.
I still found some of the humor to be overly raunchy and try-hard edgy, most notably the bit where Velma's dad takes her to a strip club for lunch. One of the strippers being named "Chestiny" was particularly over-the-top. However, the biggest "WTF am I watching?" moment I've had in the episode, and the show thus far, was Velma deciding to do a pole dance because she's angry with her father, as guys shout things such as "Oh yeah baby, keep it all on!" This show certainly has a knack for creating unbearably weird moments to watch lol.
Oh, and we also learn Velma's previous catchphrase to Jinkies was "Keep it frosty!" which was very odd haha.
Overall, these two episodes were definitely an improvement on the last two, and I would say episode 6 might be the best in the show. That being said, "best" is a term to be taken lightly, since I still don't really enjoy for the show due to the poorly written characters, the try-hard edgy humor, and the cutting of corners when it comes to the mystery. However, these two episodes, particularly episode 6, were at least more tolerable and I found some enjoyment in them, whereas episode 3 and 4 were nearly unbearable slogs of nonsensical WTF moments. Perhaps a little bit of it is because I'm getting used to the inane weirdness of the show after seeing a few episodes, but I also did feel there was at least some meaningful mystery development in these episodes, which is definitely an improvement. I hope we continue to see more mystery development in the coming episodes.
1. The Sins of the Fathers and Some of the Mothers
2. Marching Band Sleepover
3. The Candy Man
5. Velma Makes a List
6. Velma Kai
I just finished episodes 3 and 4, and honestly, I thought they were even worse than the first two episodes. I thought the third episode started out surprisingly well with two amusing jokes. The cat taking the hair and nail vitamins and suddenly getting luscious hair gave me a good chuckle. That Russian soldier spying on Velma because he's curious if she's gay was so random that it made me laugh quite a bit.
However, I thought overall, episode 3 showcased what terrible people the characters are, especially Velma and Daphne. The fact that they were fighting each other until blood sprayed out of their bodies was quite the sight, and the fact that a song in which the phrase "Bad Ass Motherf**ker" is repeated was played during the montage was probably one of the most shocking scenes in the franchise. I mentioned in the last review that I thought Velma and Daphne had some redeemable qualities, but after this episode, I don't feel that way anymore. Velma reading Daphne's deepest, darkest secrets from her diary in front of the entire school was really awful, and made me lose what little respect I had for her as a character. The joke where Velma says Daphne punched her so hard that her tubes had to be tied was really gross, and took it too far in my opinion. In general, this kind of sums up the second major issue I had with this episode.
The first two episodes at least had the mystery to diversify the plot a bit, but this episode's plot felt like it was almost entirely just shock value stuff. As with the previous episodes, humor that's clearly intended to be super raunchy just to get people to be shocked and offended isn't up my alley. I felt the joke about Fred saying his mom watches him while he's peeing, and Shaggy sharing that his mom just told him he was an accident, illustrates this really well. I completely understand that some people enjoy this humor, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. If you enjoyed the inappropriate humor, that's great, and I'm glad you liked the episode. For me though, the shock humor felt almost constant in this episode, which greatly took away from my enjoyment. I also felt a lot of the humor got repetitive as if the writers were obsessed with certain jokes, like how they reference Velma putting bean bags in her bra to make her breasts look bigger numerous times throughout the episode. I was able to ignore it easier when they were also juggling the plot with the mystery of Velma's mom's disappearance and the serial killer, but this episode was pretty much no mystery and all shock.
The romance stuff doesn't really interest me at all. I know some people enjoy that, but for me, the romance here is not well written. The Scooby-Doo franchise has had a history of not doing romantic plots well in my opinion, but this show writes it particularly poorly IMO. The "love rectangle" is kind of nonsensical and is not really explored in any depth. It feels like it just feeds into the "shock value" of the show to an extent. I also was not a fan of how they intentionally tried to make certain scenes awkward, like Velma and Daphne trying to decide if their boobs should touch during a hug. The part where Velma narrates and says she knows viewers are wondering if she's "g-g-g-g-gay" was also a bit too much IMO. Again, while there's not anything wrong with it, this show seems to like making things as intense and edgy as possible, and it continues to feel try-hard.
One thing I wanted to note that I found interesting from "Velma Kai" was the backstory of Velma abandoning Daphne as a kid due to an issue with her mother. It seems like they took that from the Daphne & Velma novels, because there's a backstory there of Daphne parting ways with Velma due to an issue with her mother.
Speaking of references, I found the references kind of interesting in general in these two episodes. It was surprising Mayor Janet Nettles from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated appeared in a picture on the wall. I thought that was a neat, obscure little references. Daphne calling a list of Hanna-Barbera characters to find out about her mom, including Mumbly, The Clue Club, Inch-High Private High, Goober and the Ghost Chasers, Snooper and Blabber was also interesting to see. I'm not sure if anyone else noticed, but Daphne also has a poster on the wall that appears to be picture of The Hex Girls, although it says "Teen Angels." It's unclear to me whether that was a mistake, or if it was supposed to be the Teen Angels and they just happened to look a lot like the Hex Girls.
The next episode wasn't quite as bad as "Velma Kai," which I would honestly say would probably make it on my all-time worst list for the franchise. However, it still was not good and I had a lot of the same issues. The plot doesn't really make any logical sense. The police drawing that attention to all the hot girls by having a top 5 list of them does nothing to protect them (in fact, it would just encourage the serial killer). It was painfully clear they only did this plot so they could make a social commentary episode on beauty norms. While that's fine, the fact that the writers could not think of anything better than having the cops stage a beauty contest is bad writing in my opinion. The writers could have better introduced the exact same plot with a lot better writing that didn't randomly and nonsensically throw us into the "hottest girls list" plot.
The "shock value" humor was still very present in this episode, particularly Shaggy saying he remembers breastfeeding, and perhaps most notably, the high school girls acting sexy to distract the cops from watching Velma's stepmom giving birth. I'm positive the writers' motivation behind this scene was to shock and offend people, and make them say "oh my god, I can't believe those girls are being sexual/rubbing on things erotically while a woman is giving birth!" To be honest, I wasn't shocked or offended; I just thought it was dumb how painfully obvious the writers were being about trying to shock people. Although I'm not a fan of shock humor in general, I would argue it could be much better done than this. I feel shock humor should be an occasional thing, rather than constantly shoving it in the audience's face. The fact that the writers are obsessed with constantly needing to shock the audience gets cringey very quickly, and the fact that it's constant honestly makes it less shocking and more annoying. As an aside, Fred's animation for when he's horny is probably the most repulsive thing I've seen in this show lol.
The one thing I did really like about this episode is that the "everyone has different ways of being feminine, and that's okay" message. I thought that was nice and positive message to put out there, and it felt kind of wholesome. It actually surprised me a little bit in a good way that they put a message like this in there, given it was all shock humor and edgy stuff, but I thought it was great that they included this.
Sorry to be so negative in this review, but I honestly really did not enjoy these two episodes. If I were to sum up my issues, I would say it's slightly reminiscent with an issue I have with The Simpsons. For those of you who don't know, I'm a huge fan of The Simpsons. Recently, I feel their episodes have been very hit or miss due to the huge amount of social commentaries and parodies. While The Simpsons doesn't intentionally pander to shock the audience, and I still love the show, I've noticed that the show essentially throws characterization out the window sometimes for the sake of the plot. The characters sometimes behave unlike themselves so that they'll fit the plot of the week, and are essentially empty plot vessels without strong character development. (I actually wrote an entire article on this, which you can read here if you're interested!)
Velma has a kind of similar issue, although to a much worse extent. I watched a review of the show the other day, and I thought this review excellently illustrated that the writers are obsessed with social identity, and the characters are written very two-dimensionally as a result. I agree with this argument, and I'd honestly even take it a little further and argue that the writers are using these "shock value" type jokes to the series' detriment, because there's so much focus on being "edgy" that there isn't much focus on character development, or compelling any advancement of the plot. I realize this is a bit of strong opinion and you're welcome to disagree with me, but this was a realization I came to when watching these two episodes.
All of that being said, even though I really did not like these two episodes, I still plan to see the series through to the end. I look forward to hearing what others thought of the episode, whether you loved it, hated it, or are somewhere in the middle.
1. The Candy Man
3. Velma Makes a List
4. Velma Kai
I just finished watching the first two episodes of Velma, and since the show is one large recurring plot, I think I'm going to do my reviews in groups of two as the episodes come out, rather than reviewing each of the individual episodes separately. I also want to highlight that this is a non-spoiler review, as I want people to be able to read this review if they're wanting a sense of the series even if they haven't watched it.
I went into the show remaining open to whatever it might be, and to be completely honest, I didn't love it. The show feels like Scooby-Doo done in the style of Family Guy. I'm not really a big fan of Family Guy personally for its "edgy for the sake of edgy" tone, and I must say that this struck a very similar tone. That being said, I'm not just going to stop watching the show and say "it's garbage" or "the franchise has been ruined!" At this point in time, I can safely say that the show isn't quite my cup of tea, but I can definitely see how the show would appeal to some people.
I did like Velma as a character. I think Mindy does a great job voicing her, and even though she's a bit edgier and sassier, the character development feels natural and she still feels like Velma. With Daphne, the character development doesn't feel quite as natural because Daphne acts very stuck-up and entitled at times; however, she was like this in A Pup Named Scooby-Doo and that YouTube fan series that I like, Mystery Incorporated. I didn't feel her entitledness was overbearing, and it honestly reminds me a lot of her characterization in the YouTube series. I thought Constance Wu did a great job with voicing her.
With Norville and Fred, I was not as big of a fan of their characters or voice actors. Both of them felt like almost entirely different characters. Norville was the better of those two characters, but besides the fact that he has a cooking YouTube channel, nothing about the character really screamed "Shaggy" to me. His voice actor did a fine job, but the fact that it felt like a completely different character kept me from enjoying it as much as I could have.
Fred's character is very odd, and I don't love his voice actor. He's very childish in his demeanors and can't do anything for himself, even things such as cutting a piece of steak. I will outright say I did not like the recurring joke where he's made fun of for not hitting puberty and having a tiny penis. I know society likes to make fun of people for that, but that's not something that can really be helped, so I feel making fun of someone for it is quite mean and immature. If it were just one joke, I could have ignored it, but it seems they are milking the joke for all it's worth, and I'm sure we haven't heard the last of those jokes. In general, Fred's character is kind of annoying and thus far, I'm not really a fan.
The other characters are fine. I don't have a lot to say about them since they haven't appeared much, but the couple standout characters for me were Daphne's moms. I thought they were quite amusing, especially with them immediately rushing to help Daphne with a sick cat.
I don't have much of a comment about Fred or Shaggy's parents, other than Frank Welker does a really good job as Fred's dad.
Velma's dad is interesting, and I'd say my favorite aspect of the show is the mystery of Velma's missing mom and sister. I'm definitely fascinated by where that plot point is going, and I can't wait to see more about it and why the murderers are happening. I also like Velma's fear of mysteries and panic attacks being represented as physical monsters attacking her. I thought that was a really neat way to still incorporate monsters into the show, even though the show does not actually have a monster-of-the-week.
Velma's first mystery being the discovery of her mom being a smoker was a bit odd, and the stuff about giving her mom "idea juice" (aka hard liquor) was a bit much, especially in the scenes where Velma gets drunk off her mom's alcohol as a little girl. Velma being voted "most revengey" in the yearbook was funny. As another aside, I liked the social commentary where Velma says she'll give Daphne's text a "thumbs up" by Monday was hilarious. Personally, I don't understand how people can just give texts a thumbs up without responding, especially when it's a direct question, so that part really amused me.
I thought the references to the Creeper with that mask, and the pictures of Redbeard, the Ghost Clown and Carlotta were neat.
Like I briefly mentioned at the beginning, the humor is not my cup of tea in most cases, though there were a few funny jokes, namely Velma saying all of her money is tied up in streaming services, Shaggy's blog about Lil Wayne, and the literal humor that came with Velma actually spray painting "Daphne is a huge bitch who ditches people to be cool" and signing her own name haha.
Granted, I want to underscore that the humor is not objectively bad. I can absolutely see the appeal for that type of humor, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with liking edgier, more mature humor. Personally, I just don't enjoy humor that is "edgy for the sake of being edgy," which a lot of this seemed to be. Stuff like the two bugs getting intimate and Shaggy trying to cut out his own kidney was a bit too much. There was also some humor I just didn't find funny, like the joke where Shaggy says "420" means adults who still watch cartoons, since that's basically just drawing upon a bad stereotype that cartoon-watching adults are all burnouts sitting on their mom's couch in the basement.
All in all, while this show doesn't really seem like my cup of tea at the moment, I didn't hate it and I plan to watch and review the rest of this season. Even for people who thought it was the worst thing ever, I feel like there still isn't any reason to freak out about it. This isn't going to impact the rest of the franchise in any major way, and my guess is that this will only last one season, and by next month, the show will be over. I hope you enjoyed reading my review, and here are my rankings thus far of the two episodes:
1. The Candy Man
I wasn't really sure what to expect going into this one. Overall, I really liked it! Please note that this review will have spoilers, so if you have not had time to watch the film yet, I would recommend not reading this review until you do if you are looking to avoid spoilers.
The retcon of Coco Diablo being responsible for all the gang's costumes is interesting. I wouldn't want to just consider it official continuity for the entire franchise now, but I kind of think of it like Get a Clue. It works really well as a continuity on its own, but I don't think it really fits with the franchise. I liked the gang's plan for stopping Coco at the beginning of the film, but I feel it's a bit rushed. There's no real buildup where the viewer gets to be shocked like that amazing reveal at the end of "Wrath of the Krampus," it just kind of happens and then it's over with.
We have to get into the opening song next, because I got a really good laugh out that "no more ghouls and ghosts. Just helpin' folks!" line haha. I love that the gang is helping out Elias Kingston in the grocery store. How very wholesome of them lol.
I thought it was very interesting how Velma was crushing on Coco Diablo. It seems they were perhaps testing out what Velma plans to do in the kids' side of the franchise. From what little I've read online about fan reactions to the film, I do hope that there's not going to be some huge controversy about "omg Velma is a lesbian!" To be fair, Velma does not state she is a lesbian in this film; the film only confirms she is romantically interested in women. It does not retroactively say that her male love interests in the past did not happen, so it's also possible Velma is bi/pansexual as well. Regardless, it was neat they explored it here and I thought it was done in a very natural way.
The prison scene was quite intense. John Simms clearly has some anger issues if he has made a Scooby voodoo doll in prison and is poking it in the mouth haha. In the scene where the warden is shaking down Harry the Hypnotist, it looks as if the bars were so wide that the inmate could have fit through the bars. Speaking of that scene, the warden's veins showing in his arms as he's roughing up the inmate was an interesting thing to animate. Although the animation is rougher and more messy in this film than Guess Who was, I feel like it allowed for some interesting details to shine through, like the vein thing. I will say that all the snot jokes with Trevor were gross and unnecessary.
I really liked the villains, particularly the Misery Company. The fact that their guts and brains were exposed made them even creepier. Coco Diablo worked was as a villain too, and although I'm not always a huge fan of the "the heroes have to be helped by their old foe" type plots (because I feel they're often predictable), I thought it was done in a fun way here. I'll have to admit I did wonder for a moment if it actually was Coco when they were setting it up to look like it was undeniably her, so the fact that it was the warden was interesting. I love how happy-go-lucky the warden is about carrying out the plan, to the point of him kissing all the clues as he's leaving them. I think that's super cute lol. I also found it funny how he exclaimed "Hi Mystery Inc.!" in a goofy voice when he was caught. It was a shame that the one preview kinda ruined that reveal (although I did wonder briefly if it was Coco). I was also happy they included a more diverse selection of villains here, rather than just all Where Are You villains. It was interesting to see some New Scooby-Doo Mysteries villains that weren't even in costumes retconned.
I was interested by the fact they fell back on the "Scooby hates cats" plotline. I feel like they kind of use that trope when they want, but sometimes they drop it. And speaking of cats, it was cool they retconned the Catman. One retcon I was surprised about though was that we see Igor from "A Halloween Hassle at Dracula's Castle" among the inmates. That is a major retcon, since he was never arrested (in fact, the ghouls embraced what he did).
Just a random note, as I made quite a few of them as I watched the film, I would have been interested in knowing why Velma got detention lol.
Although I overall liked this movie, I LOVED how the last 20 minutes just divulged into random chaos. Random, absurdist humor is exactly my humor style, so it really worked for me.
I've talked in several posts about how I stan Sassy Fred, and we can now add Sassy Gators to my list of characters I stan for. I loved how those gators came up out of the sewer just to cross their arms and give the gang side-eye lol.
Although I am a cat lover, I didn't love Esteban, although the end had two great scenes with him. The fact that he had a cat computer was super funny. What I most liked though was Scooby rhetorically asking Esteban "do you like me?" to which after not speaking the entire movie, Esteban speaks in a deep voice and says "No!", but then they both agree that they don't like each other and shake hands haha.
I really liked Trevor's Mystery Machine design! One thing I will say though, I am getting a bit tired of "the Mystery Machine blows up" plots. They've done it in Return to Zombie Island, Happy Halloween, and now this one. I wasn't really that bothered by it here; I guess I'm just saying that I'm at the point where I feel like they've done enough of those and should perhaps give it a rest after this film.
I liked the bit with the prisoners escaping at the end. The "I know but this is a family movie!" comment from the Warden was funny. Given this information, I can only assume he was going to shout the f-bomb if it wasn't a family movie lol. It was really neat to see the gang wearing the classic monster costumes. I'm unsure why Captain Cutler believed it was the real ghost of Captain Cutler...you could even see Velma's face through the costume lol. It was cute how Fred wore his ascot over the Knight costume. Speaking of which, I have so much appreciation for Fred's casually saying "Hey Mr. Wickles! What a night for a knight!" It gives off such casual sass and I love it haha. Speaking of Sassy Fred, I also think the fact that the Mystery Machine rearview mirror reads "Objects in mirror are probably Fred Jones" also has major sassy vibes lol.
One plotline I felt they could have expanded upon more was Daphne questioning her role in the gang. I thought it could have been a good plotline, but they just mentioned it once towards the beginning and it's never brought up again until the end. I wish that plotline would have been developed more.
The fact that Trevor was actually a random surfer dude in a costume was hilarious. Definitely the kind of random humor I enjoy.
The one joke I didn't really enjoy, other than the snot jokes, was Scooby breaking the fourth wall to say "this whole franchise is named after me!" That's more of a personal preference than anything and I don't think the joke was objectively bad, but it felt a bit cringey to me.
I realize I'm sort of divulging into random comments now rather than giving a cohesive review, but I have some remaining notes. It was cool how the 10,000 Volt Ghost costume looks kind of like Phantom of Vasquez Castle when it is just the suit that's not powered on.
I've got a long comment to end us off here about that wishing well lol. First of all...where did Fred get that wad of cash?!? Secondly, I love how the ending is just Fred and the gang laughing nervously as they throw dollar bills down a wishing well. I genuinely don't think they could have thought of a weirder ending and I just adore it haha. I absolutely get why they did it, but I honestly think it would have been even slightly better if there was no monster eye at the bottom of the well. The ending should have just been the gang aimlessly throwing dollar bills down the well as they slowly have an existential crisis lol. It'd be dark, but also random and amusing as heck haha. I can't make a GIF since digital download sites don't allow screenshots, but somebody needs to make a GIF of that scene of them throwing dollar bills down the well as they nervously laugh, and caption it "Capitalism be like..." hahaha.
Anyway, that's my review for the film! I really enjoyed this film even a bit more than I thought, especially the last 20 minutes of it for its random chaos. I don't think this is what I would have expected when we first heard about the Trick or Treat project in August 2021, but I am very satisfied with what we got, even if it's the only Scooby movie or show we get this year (and it likely will be).
I had originally planned to read this over the course of several days. However, I just couldn't help myself and I read the entire book in one sitting today. Overall, I absolutely loved the book and thought it was quite a fitting ending to this trilogy. It was definitely worth the two years of waiting. Although I will not reveal the culprit in this review, I will be discussing events that happen in the book throughout this review. If that's something that bothers you, I would recommend waiting to read this review.
One of the biggest things I enjoyed about this trilogy is the solid characterizations of Daphne, Velma, and Shaggy. All of them have very three-dimensional personalities, and each characters' emotions are well-written. You can definitely feel the emotional struggle present for each of the characters throughout the book, whether it be Daphne's insecurities about her parents' divorce, Velma's desire to be liked by others, and Shaggy's trust issues about being open with others. I liked how Shaggy's character arc from Mystery Begins was borrowed, where he struggles to make friends. Speaking of theatrical movies, I also thought it was interesting that Velma's family was Latinx in this book, which sort of feels like it was carried over from SCOOB!. (I will admit it's been a long time since I've read the other two, so if there was a brief mention of it in a previous book, I may have forgotten about it.)
I also thought it was an interesting touch that Velma and Daphne displayed brief overtones of jealousy towards one another. In Velma's chapter, she thinks “She twirled a lock of her perfect hair and stared off into the distance.” Later, in Daphne's chapter, she says “She twirled a lock of her perfect hair and stared off into the distance.” This part felt like a good representation of how it often is for people in high school. In high school, people often wish they were something more than they are, whether it be prettier, cooler, smarter...but the reality is, the other person is probably just as insecure about somebody else as you are about them. In high school, it's all kind of a popularity contest where everyone is trying to be the most well-liked (and social media has only made that worse). However, once you get out of high school, you begin to realize that maybe being the prettiest or the coolest, or whatever it may be, doesn't really matter all that much...it matters much more that you are unashamedly yourself. It may be a cheesy sentiment, but I feel like it's true, at least in my opinion. That being said, it was a nice little detail that really made it feel true to what high school is often like.
On the same subject, while I've never really had any complaints about this series in the past, I have to be honest that I didn't really care for Velma pining over Fred. Granted, I'm absolutely not saying that these parts were poorly written or that they detracted from the plot in any way. I completely understand that as someone in my 20s, I'm not exactly the target audience for this young adult book series. I thought the romantic pieces were certainly better done than Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, where the Shaggy/Velma relationship felt toxic and overshadowed the plot. I'm just not into teenage-like romantic drama, even if it fit the genre well in this case. Something about the hopeless pining of "Does this person who I'm madly in love with even notice me?!?" does not appeal to me at all, because it feels unnecessarily dramatic and angsty. Even though I didn't like this piece, I wouldn't say it made me like the book any less, nor would I say Morgan did a bad job with it. I think she did quite a good job of keeping it at a minimum where it wasn't completely consuming the plot. If I'm honest, there's no way I would have enjoyed it because I guess I just find that sort of teenage romantic pining to be a bit cringey, such as Velma's comment "I dashed up the steps, cursing my heart for its insistence on beating double time whenever I saw him!" I know Taylor Swift told us to embrace the cringe, but how much cringe can one take? haha
Even though Scooby didn't talk, I liked how his personality kind of came through too, when he gives Shaggy an excited look when he says "quibble" (mishearing it as "kibble"). It was a nice, subtle way to allow Scooby's personality to still shine through a little bit, and I appreciated it.
The plot of the book felt more high-stakes than the previous books, especially in the sense that a character was murdered, and the culprit tries to kill Fred and Addie by trapping them in a fire. I already thought Morgan did a good job in the other two books with creating suspense and tying in horror elements, but Silas Mohl's ghost felt even creepier than both of them. The description of him having no face was quite creepy. In addition, the scene where the ghost confronts Velma in the woods and only whispers "shhh!" was incredibly vivid and terrifying. The writing perfectly described the imagery in a way that set the stage for a super creepy moment, which can be hard to do when it's not a visual piece of media, so I give Morgan major props for that.
I also want to comment on what a great job Morgan did with including very snappy phrases in her writing. Among my favorites were "Sometimes Daphne was blinded by her Blake privilege - all that new money and fame," as well as "He was capitalism in action!" to describe Shaggy's father. Perhaps my favorite was "Lots of people got phone calls. Not my friends of me, of course, because nobody under the age of forty talks on phones." It's just such a sassy line (and a great social commentary about how phone calls are now seen as being only for old people) that I can't help but love it haha. Speaking of teenagers, do teens actually say "bee tee dub" instead of "by the way" now? I'm genuinely curious now given Fred said it in this book haha.
Speaking of remaining "hip" amongst the youth, sadly, our Official Bougie Count stays at one. I was really hopeful they'd say it again, since it was said in the second book and I figured this book would be the best chance of updating it, but alas, it was not to be. I can only hope that someday someone will say "bougie" again in the franchise so I can update it lol.
I liked that Shaggy got more of a part in this book than he had in the past two. Although we never got any part of the book from his perspective, he felt like much more of a main character, as opposed to the previous two books where his appearances were much lessened. His character arc with struggling with the fallout from his rich dad's company was also very intriguing.
The ending of this was certainly surprising, and I didn't expect the culprit to be who they were. I wasn't really upset by this, but I was surprised that the series kind of ended on a cliffhanger. I would have understood if it were left it open to reader interpretation, but it wasn't. It just ended on Daphne and Velma going to search for the map. I sort of wonder if this means another book was planned to wrap things up, but Scholastic pulled the plug before that could happen. I didn't really mind that it ended without us finding out what happened, but it felt quite abrupt and it surprised me, because I was expecting this book to wrap everything up. I wish we would have gotten to see how the overarching plot ended, given it was so prevalent throughout all three books. Although that part of the ending wasn't left open to reader interpretation, I will say I think it's really cool how the culprit claimed that they did not chase Velma in the woods. Given the culprit confessed to murder, there would be no reason for them not to confess to chasing somebody, so to me, it seems like maybe that was the real ghost of Silas Mohl.
Looking back at the trilogy as a whole, I really enjoyed this series. The characterizations of the gang, especially Daphne, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby were really well done. Fred was quite unlikeable with his womanizing and toxic masculinity, but that's exactly what the book were going for. Even though I didn't like the character, I still thought the characterization was good. The villains were all great, and Morgan did an excellent job building suspense and horror all throughout this series. The other thing I really appreciated was how well Morgan pulled in various pieces of continuity from the franchise, and creatively interpreted it to fit the story. For example, Shaggy's cousin Jack was a likely nod to Dapper Jack from Shaggy's Showdown, they carried over Daphne's parents names and one of Shaggy's parents (although it's his mom instead of his dad) being a policeman from A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Shaggy's dad's name is Samuel like in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Daphne's sisters names are carried over from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, etc. Morgan easily could just made up new names/details for all these people, so the fact that she took the time and connected all of these details from various incarnations of the franchise definitely deserves praise. I'm definitely sad this series has ended, but I think this made an amazing addition to the Scooby franchise.
So I originally had no plans to do this review, and I don't want to commit to doing reviews on anything else since I'm not entirely sure I'll have the time. In fact, this review is so random that even I didn't know I was doing it until like 20 minutes ago lol. I've never really liked this episode, tbh. Even though my favorite series is The New Scooby-Doo Movies, I just could never quite get into this one. The lack of presence of the villain and obvious culprit always bothered me, and Jerry's involvement in the episode didn't feel as strong as most of the other guest stars in the series. A few people in the comments have been suggesting I rewatch this episode for quite a while to see if my thoughts have changed, so I wanted to give it a fair chance not having seen it in years. I thought about just responding to those people in the comments, but since my review was so long, I thought I'd just share them with all of you, since others might enjoy reading my thoughts as well.
As much as I wanted to gain an appreciation for this episode after all these years, I really couldn't get into it. Don't get me wrong, there are definitely elements here that are enjoyable, but several things brought this episode down for me. I like the spooky atmosphere of the country music hall, and the gang searching for Jerry was a fun plot. The gang having to follow the sound of Jerry's voice to figure out what room he's in made for a very unique storyline.
However, I think revealing the culprits were Bertha and Ben Bing right away took away from the spookiness of it (I don't even feel bad about putting this spoiler right here, because they literally make it so obvious within the first few minutes with Bertha and Ben talking about "getting rid of the snoopers"). I've read other reviews that mention they like how "The Phantom" isn't really a physical threat that you can see, and I think this would have been a much cooler concept if they hadn't told you who the culprits were so early on. I think the "non-physical threat" idea would have been more enjoyable if the audience would have had no idea who or what could possibly be doing this. There are some cases where I don't really mind when the culprit is made kinda obvious before the actual unmasking, like it works in "The Loch Ness Mess" since they'd already built up such a good mystery. However, here, with without a strong villain, revealing the culprit so early on made it kind of a weaker episode in my opinion.
Going further into the villains, I felt like the whole "The Phantom could be anywhere" trope also would have been better if that was the only villain. Instead, we also get the Viking and Davy Crockett, which were not very good villains in my opinion. They popped up a couple times watching from the background, but it wasn't in a particularly creepy way. The scenes were always them just walking from room to room, rather than lurking around or trying to sneak up on the gang. Neither of them didn't feel spooky or memorable at all, given they were barely there. The gang doesn't ever see them until the trap at the end. There's definitely a way to do the "you never know where the villain is lurking" plot well, but this didn't feel like the way to do it. The villains felt barely present, making the stakes feel not as high as a typical Scooby episode.
I have to comment on Fred, because his reactions to things were interesting in this episode lol. The chemistry between him and Jerry in particular was really strange. Multiple times in the episode, Jerry would make a normal comment and Fred would respond as if he wasn't even listening to what Jerry said lol. For example, Jerry says "Boy am I glad to see you!" when he's rescued, and Fred just says "you're welcome!" haha. In another part, Jerry says "If we don't find my guitar, there ain't gonna be no opening!" Fred simply replies "True." I hadn't noticed it in any previous rewatches, but I was amusing myself throughout this whole episode with how Fred just seems like he's vaguely listening, and he's hoping whatever he says kinda half fits whatever Jerry's saying lol. Later on, after Fred says he's fit as a fiddle now that Jerry rescues him, Jerry jokes "but what I need is a guitar!" In the most serious voice imaginable, Fred replies "Yeah, I know." Besides Jerry, Fred also has quite an extreme reaction to Shaggy at one point. When Shaggy gets frightened by a statue's head tumbling down the stairs and jumps in Scooby's arms, Fred shouts "You oughta be ashamed of yourself!" It seems like the situation did not require such an intense reaction to that lol. What in the world was Fred going through in this episode? hahahaha
While it wasn't a significant issue, I have to say I'm not here for the weird sexist comments in this series. Towards the end, when they're trying to figure out who's the bait, Shaggy suggests Daphne be bait instead of him, and Velma simply replies "a girl can't do it!" I guess it's not as inappropriate as Fred's horrific "how is a woman like a desert?" joke from "Ghastly Ghost Town," but I'd say it's right up there with Fred saying it's too dangerous for the girls to go with the guys to trap Bigfoot in "The Ghost of Bigfoot." Although I would honestly say it's a bit more sad here, since it's Velma herself that says it.
Besides Fred and Velma, Shaggy also had a bit of a rough time in this episode with some of his animation. It's pretty well known about how that frame where Scooby looks evil was accidentally animated into "Mine Your Own Business." I'd never noticed it before, but we also get evil Shaggy when he's playing the xylophone. I think the animators were just trying to make him seem focused or whatever, but with the weird grin, he genuinely looks kinda evil here to me. Like he's about ready to beat that xylophone up lol.
I don't even know how to describe these other ones, other than WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? hahahahaha
There were quite a few other animation errors in this episode, including the villains for some reason exiting the room twice towards the end. Another notable error was that Shaggy comments that "10 pairs of eyes are better than four," when it should have been "5 pairs of eyes" or "10 eyes." (Thanks Jayden for pointing these out!)
Even if the episode didn't grow on me like I wanted it to, I actually had a lot of fun writing this and noticing those little things I hadn't before. This remains my second-least favorite episode of the series, only behind "Mystery in Persia." I don't really know if I'll do something like this again, but it was a fun spontaneous thing to do and I hope you enjoyed reading this review as much as I did writing it.
Admittedly, I originally didn't plan to check this out right away, but I decided to check this out after a few people had recommended it to me. I must say, I was really pleasantly surprised about how great this was. The acting was excellent, the plot development was engaging, and they really did justice to the characters here. It felt almost like Scooby-Doo done in the style of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The following review is semi-spoiler free; this meaning that I do reference specific events that happened in the episode, but without ruining any part of the ending.
Starting off with the characters, I found them all to be really well written. One of people's main complaints about fan-made content is that the character personalities are completely different from the source material. While there was some creativity in expanding the characters beyond the scope of what's been explored in the franchise, all of the character development felt logical. None of the changes were out of place or shocking.
Shaggy's character was quite interesting. His portrayal as a misunderstood loner reminded me of how he's characterized in Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins. The scenes of him being bullied really made me feel for his character. Moreover, the plot point of him buying drugs for bullies in order to prevent further harassment is a fun twist on the popular notion that Shaggy is a stoner. While we're talking about this, I found it fascinating that Flim Flam is a drug dealer in this. My jaw dropped a little when Shaggy asked for the strongest drug he had, which is quickly revealed to be Flim Flam's signature Joy Juice. For those reading this that haven't watched the show, I realize this may make you think "what the heck is this crazy show?" However, I thought the decision to make Joy Juice a drug was quite an interesting way to include Flim Flam in the show, and it fit with the plot surprisingly well.
I thought the decision to go with A Pup Named Scooby-Doo's canon of Shaggy's father being a police was an excellent inclusion. It amused me when Shaggy's dad harped on Shaggy for using "zoinks," referring to it as a gibberish slang word. Given this show is a more mature, realistic interpretation of the franchise, I thought that little detail was good. As a random trivia tidbit, we find out that Shaggy is a Harry Potter fan. If you look closely, you can see Shaggy has Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone displayed in his bedroom.
The first note I have written for Fred is "woah, Fred is ripped!" haha. I thought they did a great job making Fred's character three-dimensional, showing that he has a lot of internal struggle around his parents' death. I was glad they avoided making him just stereotypical muscle-bound jock. I was amused he had his lawyer programmed in his phone as "Idiot Lawyer" lol. The one minor criticism I had with Fred, along with several other characters, is that they did not particularly look high school aged. I'm not sure how old the actor playing Fred is, but he looked to be about 25-30 years old, if I had to guess. Several other male high school students throughout the episode looked to be much older than high school age as well, particularly during the party scene. The instance of this that amused me the most is that there is a guy at the party who looks to be in his late 30s or 40s (picture included below). Either he just wanted an excuse to attend a high school party, or he's really not done well in his classes lol. That being said, I have nothing against this series in particular for it. It seems very common in media that people in their 20s are often cast as high school aged characters, and it's a bit of a pet peeve of mine. If a lot of famous Hollywood films have done this, I can't fault this series for it, and regardless, it didn't bother me overly much.
I thought the bond between Fred and Velma was really sweet, and I look forward to seeing how that develops. Speaking of which, I liked Velma's character overall, but I would have to say she's probably the character I enjoyed the least. It didn't feel like we got to see as much of her personality as we did with Fred, Daphne and Shaggy, but I could definitely see her growing on me. I found it interesting that her mom owns a book shop, and wondered if it was a reference to Dinkley's Mystery Books from Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island. Her mom being interested in the occult seemed to be a subtle nod to Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.
Lastly, I would say Daphne is my favorite character. Don't get me wrong, she's very stuck up and bitchy, but the scene at the beginning with her mother was a clear window into why she acts the way she does. I was really happy this was included as the opening scene, as it was very direct and immediately explained to viewers why she's like this. Daphne's mom telling her “Envy is a simple and powerful tool, and it’s right at your disposal. Use it!" was extremely powerful to me, as it demonstrates her parents have put a lot of pressure on her, and made her feel like she needs to be the best at everything. Moreover, it shows that her mom has made her think that the way to make herself feel good is by putting others down. It's really heartbreaking, because you can tell that Daphne doesn't even realize how horrible these philosophies her mom is teaching her are. It's sort of hinted that Daphne wants to try to be a better person, as we see with her stopping Ophelia from drinking the spiked drink, which really makes you feel for Daphne and wish she could see how wrong her mother's ideals are.
There's not too much to say with Scooby since he's just a regular dog who doesn't talk, other than he's a cutie lol. Speaking of side characters, I liked that The Hex Girls were included. Their rendition of "Hex Girl" was decent. The principal was another interesting side character. I found his enthusiasm charming and hope we see him again at some point.
I really liked how they went for a darker, more serious tone with this series. The plot of the occult and the 13 Pillars seems like it's going to be super high stakes, and I'm excited to see how it plays out. The live-action demons looked super creepy, and I feel like they were even a little better than we saw in Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed. It was neat they had the Miner 49er and the Black Knight appear. The whole bit with Fred's nickname and his excited "you used the name!" line was adorable. I thought it was fun how they incorporated (no pun intended lol) a brief reference to Jonathan Jacobo. The backstory of a pterodactyl demon telling him to "cleanse the Earth" is terrifying!
Speaking of references, I thought this episode did a great job with including references to previous Scooby-Doo content. Asmodeous, Ben Ravencroft, and even Bucky (the deputy from "Dead Justice" in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated) were all unexpected inclusions here, and it was fun to see them pop up. We also learn Coolsville is once again in Ohio, as has been canon in other Scooby content. It was interesting they gender-swapped Van Ghoul as a priestess here, even if it was just a mention. I wonder if she'll appear in later episodes.
Without ruining anything, the ending was absolutely heart-stopping! I enjoyed this show so much more than I thought I would and I can't wait for the next episode. Honestly, if the upcoming Velma series is anything like this, I think I'll love it! The production was excellent and looked extremely professional. I believe WB has authorized this show, although it's not an officially licensed piece of media (unless I'm mistaken). According to a comment the crew for the series made on the YouTube video for this episode, this is apparently the only episode they've gotten filmed, as they currently do not have episode 2 funded yet.
I hope you enjoyed reading this review! If anybody else has seen this and wants to share their thoughts, I'd love to discuss it with you in the comments!
I just finished watching this special live, and I absolutely loved it! This special exceeded my expectations. It felt like a parody, homage, and 'making-of' type production all in one, and I thought it was done wonderfully. If you haven't watched this yet, you may want to avoid reading further than this point until you do, because this review does include spoilers!
The humor in this special was hilarious. I know there was some worry from fans that the special would be overly adult and raunchy, but they did a great job working in humor for adults without making it too inappropriate for kids. I have to say my jaw dropped a little when Velma said "Scooby's a nudist!" Daphne dating Captain Caveman was quite amusing as well. My favorite joke of the special though was Janel warning Scooby about saying Snagglepuss's catchphrase because "Snagglepuss is extremely litigious!" hahaha. One of the only two jokes I didn't care for was where Scooby said he peed in Snagglepuss's suit. I'm not a big fan of bodily humor, as it feels a bit overly childish. The other joke I didn't care for was the Scrappy one. I was really disappointed the moment they brought Scrappy up, because I could tell it was going to be them bashing him again. Honestly, it made me a little sad, because it wasn't even a single "What's a Scrappy?" type joke; it was repeated bashing and just felt unnecessary, particularly the comment about Scrappy defaming Scooby in AOL chat rooms. Scrappy's nowhere near my favorite character, but when they've been making this same joke over and over again since the 2002 live-action, it becomes a bit tiring as a fan to see. This was definitely a small part of the special and it didn't bother me as much as this semi-long explanation might make it sound, but I do think WB needs to move on from making the "Scrappy sucks haha!" jokes.
I'm not typically a huge fan of animation/live action hybrids, but I really enjoyed the contrast between the two here. It felt almost The Scooby-Doo Project-ish, especially given this special was a parody of sorts. I didn't even mind the corny-looking Snow Ghost, in fact, I thought it fit well with the special. Speaking of the villain, I did think it was hilarious how the villain was a sixth character who was written out of the show. I would have loved to see an episode with the mechanic as a main character, especially given the episode they edited her into was "The Mystery of Haunted Island."
I thought all the guest star additions were great. All the Hanna-Barbera (and DC) characters having cameos throughout were cute. All the guest stars worked really well, and I especially enjoyed Karamo. As a huge fan of The Simpsons, it made me smile to see David Silverman. Janel Parrish was a really good host. I wasn't familiar with her, but she did a nice job hosting the special. However, I don't think most people were as excited for him as I was, but did anyone notice Iain Armitage's absence? It was really strange because he was announced as a guest star, but he just wasn't there.
One of my favorite parts of the special was all the various writer/animation historian stories throughout. Even if I knew almost all of the behind-the-scenes stuff about the show, it was fun to learn a few new tidbits about the franchise. It was really sweet that all the voice actors talked a bit at the end. I particularly liked hearing Frank Welker's stories...and also hearing him say "Put your hands in the air like you just don't care!" lol. It was quite unexpected and therefore funny haha.
I enjoyed the little flashbacks, though there is a bit of an asterisk to that. It bugged me that they spliced in new audio in old scenes. I believe Kate Micucci re-recorded one of Velma's lines, and nearly all of the monster roars were re-recorded. I wondered at first if it was because they couldn't get the rights to such old content, but even the Slime Mutant's roar was re-recorded, and that was a very recent villain. I really don't have much knowledge about how copyright works when they're trying to use sound effects from old content, but it would be very strange if they weren't able to. I can't imagine anyone's going to take them to court and say "You used my monster roar without my permission!"...well, unless it's Snagglepuss haha.
I thought it was quite mean of Scooby to use someone who was clearly idolized him as his "spit bucket cleaner." That's so cruel!
The history of unmaskings at the end was interesting. I wouldn't have chosen some of the more obscure villains like the Sky Skeleton or the president ghosts as the most famous unmaskings, but I thought the montage worked well. I looked closely because I had a feeling they were going to get some of the years wrong in the history of unmaskings, and I was right..."A Night Louse in the White House" aired in 1984, not 1983; "Scooby Dudes" aired in 1988, not 1990; and "Mystery 101" aired in 2015, not 2014. It's possible they were going by production years on "Night Louse" and "Mystery 101," but it wouldn't explain why they were two years ahead in Pup. Kate Micucci also mentions she started voicing Velma in 2014, which would back up my production year theory, but it doesn't make sense why they wouldn't be consistent, or why they'd be two years off on "Scooby Dudes."
The last thing I wanted to talk about was the music. Firstly, I didn't mind that they reused "Scooby Abracadabra Doo" for the chase song. It didn't feel like they just forced it in where it didn't fit like with Scooby-Doo Adventures: The Mystery Map, where they reused a bunch of old songs from recent DTVs. It felt almost like a callback to an old chase song. While I love the Anarbor What's New, Scooby-Doo? cover...wow, they've used that version so much lol. They even have used it on a bunch of DVD menus. There must be some WB executive that loves that version of the theme, and is like coming to every Scooby production meeting excitedly seeing if they can somehow work it in to yet another Scooby movie lol. That's my headcanon, at least haha.
Overall, I absolutely loved this reunion special and am really happy they did something like this. It was a cute, quirky 60 minutes of fun and I felt, with the exception of a few small things, it honored the franchise wonderfully. :)
Also, this is the second Scooby-Doo production in a row to end with a dance party. Is every Scooby production just going to end with a dance party now?!? haha
On December 15, 2019, we heard about this movie for the first time after I stumbled upon a TCM listing (which was removed shortly after) for this and Happy Halloween, Scooby-Doo. Now, over two years later, the movie is finally out!
A lot of people watched Scooby-Doo and Courage the Cowardly Dog throughout their childhood, so a crossover was a dream come true for them. I came into this film with a bit of a different perspective, as I never watched Courage as a kid. However, this didn't affect how much I absolutely adored this film.
Even as someone who wasn't a Courage fan, I thought this movie was so well done. It seemed like they really combined the best of both worlds here, and I thought they introduced the Courage franchise in a way that could be easily understood to someone who had never seen the show before, while not overdoing the background information. I thought it was easily as good as Happy Halloween; in fact, I would say it was even better.
One of my favorite things about the movie was the tone. It had a very dark, creepy tone to it and that made for an incredibly engaging mystery. I know some fans were worried about Courage's dark tone not fitting very well with Scooby's more lighthearted mysteries, but I thought they found the perfect balance between the two tones.
I quite enjoyed the humor in the film, for the most part. I found it amusing how Eustace repeatedly brought up that he didn't vote for the mayor. Velma's political satire at the end was quite funny as well. The clown repeatedly showing up in the film was also pretty funny. I was annoyed by the immature fart jokes with the mustard bottle, especially the fact that they went back to the joke a second time. Bodily function jokes have always seemed like very lazy writing to me, and it was unfortunate they chose to do that here as I thought all the other jokes were quite good.
I really liked the cicadas as villains! I'm usually not a huge fan of bug/animal monsters to be honest, but the cicadas were super creepy in this film and I would say I liked it just as much as the Cicada Monster from Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated. Speaking of villains though, while I know they were using classic villains from Scooby and Courage in the intro, I wasn't a fan of them using the green ghost, Redbeard, and the Space Kook for the millionth time. I understand that it's a cool reference to Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?, but when those villains have cameos practically every other DTV at this point, it starts to feel less like a fun reference and more like they're trying to beat you over the head with forced nostalgia. If they are going to continue to reference classic villains as Easter eggs, I'd much prefer we get more obscure ones like The Wax Phantom or the Headless Spectre for example, rather than reusing the same 10 villains over and over.
I thought the film had a great balance of Scooby and Courage, and it never felt like one franchise was overshadowing the other at any point. I quite liked Courage as a character, and Muriel was super sweet. Eustace's grouchiness was quite amusing as well. Speaking of him though, Eustace rapping was incredibly cringey and him shaking his butt is not something I ever want to see again haha. I guess it makes a little sense given they riffed off Straight Outta Compton for the title of this film, but it was still really bad lol.
As a random trivia bit, I believe this is also the first time that live-action footage has been interspersed with animation, when Eustace is watching his show on TV. It's a trope I absolutely hate in animation, so it's not something I want to see again, but I thought it was worth pointing out.
I think one of my favorite parts of the film was how they explored the theme of courage, and how it doesn't mean the absence of fear, but it means being brave when there is fear. It was really neat that they chose to explore that theme, given it's such a prominent part of Scooby and Courage's character, and shows that they really did put some thought into the plot of this film instead of just trying to cash in on people's nostalgia. I quite enjoyed the self-help app Shaggy and Scooby were using too.
I thought it was neat how the culprits were two Courage villains, Katz and LeQuack. The motive behind what they did was super interesting, particularly how they dressed up as the mayor. It was quite amusing how Fred, Daphne and Velma tried to pull the mask off of Katz. Velma didn't seem overly skeptical of anything other than Katz and LeQuack not being real, but it was done in an amusing way that didn't feel overbearing like she has been in recent films.
The ending was...interesting, to say the least. The general's character honestly seemed like they just based it off of the General from those insurance commercials haha. I'm generally not a fan of movies that end with "and now everyone's dancing together!" because it seems cringey, but I didn't hate this. I'm not really sure how to feel about it though; it was just so random and out of nowhere (extra points if you got that terrible pun lol). I probably shouldn't say this, but it genuinely sounds like Eustace is saying "Where's my dang b*tches?" when he's coming down the stairs at the end hahahaha. I watched that part three times and I still can't figure out what he's saying, because I can't imagine it's that lol.
Overall, I thought this was an incredible crossover and it exceeded my expectations. They did an amazing job combining the two shows, and the message about the meaning of courage was a really cute addition. This is one of my favorite DTVs in recent years and I hope to see more movies like it in the future.
~ WildwindVampire ~