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