Posts Tagged ‘Scooby Doo’

G-g-ghost! – A Scooby-Doo Story

April 8, 2022

The funeral had been two weeks ago and Shaggy and Scooby still had not gotten much sleep. What was more, they had barely eaten which was so unlike them. Shaggy somehow looked even skinnier and everybody around him was getting really worried. His parents had no idea what to do especially since their Norville would not even hear of going to therapy. He and Scooby just moped around and went on long walks. The sleep they did get was interrupted by nightmares.  

Mystery Incorporated had always been in the business of solving mysteries.. Their first mysteries had been nothing but real estate scams dressed up as the supernatural. They always ended with some jerk getting their mask pulled off and handed over to the cops. Then they had finally unearthed the supernatural and things had never been the same. Werecats, zombies, witch’s ghosts, bodysnatchers, Cerberus, and so many ghosts. 

The incident, as the police were calling it, occurred when the gang had been investigating a real honest to goodness vampire. They had split up as usual while hunting for the creature of the night and everything seemed to be going alright. Well, really they were chaotic but that was par for the course for a Mystery Incorporated mission. As Napoleon said, no plan survives after the first shot. They usually stumbled about and used sheer determination, clever instincts, and dumb luck to save the day. This time, they had fallen short. The gang had arrived in the mansion’s study just as the vampire finished drinking Velma dry. 

The gang had fought in a rage and had killed the vampire. Nothing was left when the sun rose so it was hard to explain to the police. The authorities had eventually bought into the story that Velma had been killed by a desperate criminal that the gang had been investigating. Mystery Incorporated was known at this point for investigating and closing dozens of fraud cases. It was just a matter of time before one of those desperate souls lashed out. The police were still searching for somebody that the gang knew was already dead twice over. They let the cops believe what they wanted as long as they were off the hook and free to grieve.

Shaggy and Scooby wandered over toward Daphne and Fred’s place while they were out for another walk. Fred had the garage door open and the Mystery Machine was partially out in the afternoon sun. Fred had the hood up and was bent over and tinkering with the engine which was definitely a familiar sight. It had been a sight that used to fill Shaggy and Scooby with dread. Engine troubles and flat tires were often omens of spookiness. Really, they were a sign of the gang’s low finances. Fred had replaced so many parts of the Mystery Machine that it was hard to call it the same vehicle they had started with.

“Hey Fred,” Scooby said in his usual mush-mouthed accent.

Fred almost hit his head on the car’s hood as he stood up.

“Like, careful Fred,” Shaggy said. “You ok?”

Fred smiled softly and hugged Shaggy close for a moment and Shaggy had to admit to himself that it felt good. Fred had not been much of a hugger before but now he was all about it. Fred leaned down and petted Scooby for a moment.

“I’m fine,” Fred said. “Can I get you guys something to eat?”

“No we’re good,” Scooby said firmly.

“Like, what he said,” Shaggy said. “We’re not hungry.”

“You look hungry,” Fred said. “You guys need to eat something. It might help you sleep too.” Fred’s eyes showed the worry that Shaggy had seen in so many people he had run into.

“We’re fine,” Shaggy said. 

“Okay,” Fred said, letting it go for now. “It’s good to see you. It’s always good to see you.”

Shaggy nodded. The garage’s interior door opened and Daphne stepped out into the open air.

“I thought I heard talking out here,” Daphne said. “It’s good to see you guys.”

“It’s good to see you,” Shaggy said.

“Can I go back in and get you something?” Daphne asked.

“I offered and they said no,” Fred said. “They know they can always change their minds.”

“Are you here to help fix up the Machine?” Daphne asked. “We need it in tip-top shape before we put it on the market.”

“On the market?” Scooby asked with surprise.

Fred grimaced. “I hadn’t really decided yet but I was thinking of selling it,” Fred said. “I don’t really know what we’re supposed to do now.”

“You’re just going to give up?” Shaggy asked, a little anger rising in his voice. It surprised everybody including himself.

“I’m surprised,” Daphne said. “I would have thought you two would be relieved. You were always the least willing to go on our missions. No offense. I mean, we were all scared but now I think you two might have had the most sense of us.”

“I don’t know,” Shaggy said. “We did a lot of good things. I was always scared but I trusted you guys.”

“Trusted?” Fred asked, looking a bit hurt by the phrasing.

“”I still trust you,” Shaggy said. “We both do.” Scooby nodded. “I don’t want to lose you guys too.”

“We’re right here,” Daphne said. “We’re not going anywhere.”

There was suddenly a buzzing sound from within the van. Everybody looked at each other and then circled around to poke their heads into the interior. There was a tablet computer vibrating under the passenger seat. Daphne reached in and pulled it out.

“The cops really didn’t search thoroughly, did they?” Daphne asked. She pressed the power button and there was an unearthly glow from the screen. Daphne nearly dropped the tablet and Shaggy caught it. Velma’s face formed on the screen as they watched.

“Finally,” the image said in Velma’s voice. “I got your attention.”

“Zoinks!” Shaggy said. “It’s Velma!”

Velma smiled. “It sure is,” she said.

“Or really good footage,” Fred said. 

“I’m not footage,” Velma said.

“Say jinkies three times,” Daphne said.

“Jinkies jinkies jinkies,” Velma said. “That feels weird to say when I’m not startled.”

“How is this real?” Shaggy asked.

“When I died, I kind of drifted for a while,” Velma said. “Vincent Van Ghoul found me and taught me a few things. It’s good to see you guys again.”

“It’s good to see you too,” Scooby said. Everybody was on the verge of tears.

“I’m glad you feel that way,” Velma said. “Because I have a mystery to solve.”



June 11, 2018

(So I am just going for it here so this is your SPOILER WARNING for all 13 seasons of Supernatural but especially the newest one. These are my thoughts on one of the most recent episodes.)

So, recently the lucky 13th season of Supernatural was released on Netflix (#NotSponsored) and I have been greedily eating it up over the past week. Seriously, I am almost done all 24 already because even after 13 years, the show is still really good. In fact, I might even like it better the last few seasons. Everybody involved knows exactly what the show is and everybody seems to still be having fun. They also have a deep well of lore to drink from and they are constantly inventing new things to play with. Quickly for those who might not know and skipped my spoiler warning from above, I will sum up what Supernatural is. Supernatural is a show about two brothers who travel the USA, fighting and killing monsters and often have a huge crisis to try and prevent. They have saved the world several times over, often by beating mythical creatures such as demons, angels, leviathans, Death, and God’s sister. Along the way, they were joined by a fallen angel and a whole bunch of other allies. Sam and Dean Winchester (and Castiel their angel friend) have become iconic figures over time.

Over most of the seasons, the show would occasionally drop very meta episodes often thanks to the character The Trickster (aka the Archangel Gabriel). This past season’s meta episode is one where the Winchesters and Castiel are zapped into an episode of Scooby Doo. The specific episode they enter is “A Night of Fright Is No Delight” which is one I really do remember seeing. I love that they used an actual episode of Scooby Doo Where Are You? so that fans of the original show could have an extra good time. The normal plot of the episode is that Mystery Inc. is summoned to a mansion for a will reading. Scooby saved the life of a man and they stayed friends over the years. The will is read and everybody in attendance (which includes some unsavory relatives) is told that if they stay the night in the haunted mansion, they get a million dollars but if anybody leaves their share goes to whoever remains. As the episode progresses, relatives start disappearing until the gang solves the mystery. Of course, all of that changes when the Winchesters arrive on the scene.

The first thing I loved about this episode is that they picked an episode where the lawyer ends up being the villain. In the original episode, he and his partner dress up as the Green Ghosts. Also, the lawyer is named Cosgood Creeps (and his partner is Mr. Crawls). Tell us how you really feel about lawyers Warner Brothers. Obviously, if the lawyer can scare all of the heirs out of the house before dawn, he can keep the inheritance for himself. This carries on the Scooby Doo tradition of the villains committing bafflingly complicated white collar crimes. The plan here involves holograms, secret tunnels, dummies filled with corn syrup, and running around in costumes. I am a child of two lawyers and I recently became a paralegal myself so I always take notice when lawyers are cast as heroes or villains. Here, Cosgood Creeps, Esq. commits plenty of ethics violations along with various crimes chief of among them are probably assault and terroristic threats.

Most stories where “non-fictional” characters interact with fictional characters, the show deconstructs the original fiction. So, the episode has a lot of fun tearing apart Scooby Doo in a very loving way. The gang (later named Mystery Inc.) are five iconic characters who have become strongly rooted in popular culture for decades. The show has a lot of fun with these characters. First, as characters are murdered for real, the gang remains unflappable and chipper as they work toward solving the mystery. In the original show, there is no such thing as real monsters but even so, there are costumed psychos chasing them around and yet none of them dissolve into a gibbering, insane mess. Here, I feel like their fictional natures work hard against reality seeping in so they become parodies of caricatures. However, one joke is showing yet another elaborate trap constructed by Fred which at first looks like it is over the top as a form of parody. The only thing is, that is the actual trap from the episode which highlights how weird and dumb the traps always were.

There are some other interesting moments that play with Scooby canon. In this episode, the gang encounters their first actual supernatural event which completely unravels them. This will not happen again until Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island because The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo and Scooby Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf do not seem to be canon. The gang also gets injured for the first time which astonishes them. I was very interested in one short conversation between Velma and Daphne because it insinuated they had talked about boys together previously. This was never really shown on the original show as romantic subplots were not the focus. Scooby and Shaggy are shown as cowardly as usual, but interestingly Shaggy falls out of a window and breaks his arm. He mentions leaping from great heights previously and surviving unscathed. This is interesting because I realized the dangerous things that Shaggy and Scooby have done while running away from monsters. They are often seen as chickens but fear motivates them to do some incredible things. When it is revealed that ghosts are real, the gang are all shocked except for Shaggy who finally gets his “I told you so” moment.

The episode is set into motion by Dean’s love of television. This had been alluded to several times throughout the series. He was previously their guide when they were zapped into multiple other television shows. Sam and Dean both had messed up childhoods due to always being on the road with their monster hunter father so Dean often escaped into television. His brother Sam mostly retreated into books instead. The most important part of that for me is that Sam is usually the loremaster and this is one of the rare moments that Dean knows exactly what is going on. What is also interesting is that Castiel is very confused when he shows up later in the episode. In Season 9, the normally out of touch angel is blessed with great pop culture knowledge but he still does not remember Scooby Doo. A lot has happened to Castiel in the time since that episode so he may have lost some of that knowledge or he does not always connect with it the same way we might. Dean seems to have the same memory for characters and episodes that I do. I often remember plots and characters very well which is another reason why I do not rewatch a lot of things. Dean also claims that he idolized Scooby because the gang solved mysteries the same way the Winchesters do which I thought was actually kind of touching.

I also wanted to mention Dean’s crush on Daphne. In the episode, Dean constantly hits on Daphne while Sam is eventually hit on by Velma. This kind of references the pop culture question where guys are often asked which of the two they were attracted to. Dean is shameless when pursuing Daphne until he finally gets the hint that she is legitimately attracted to Fred. Sam is constantly rolling his eyes and reminding Dean both that Daphne is taken and a cartoon character. However, I can really only blame Dean for one of those things. I cannot count on only two hands the number of people who I have talked to who had a crush on a cartoon character when they were younger. It is a safe crush because you can revel in it without being able to go through with it. It is perfectly normal. The other barrier is that she likes Fred but Dean is convinced that she is “settling” because he hates Fred. My theory is that he hates Fred because he reminds him of the popular jock kids that may have picked on Dean when he was in school. Also, Fred is the stable, well-adjusted guy who often gets the girl. Once Dean realizes that Daphne is not just a mindless fictional character and actually has desires and a mind of her own he backs off.

The episode ended up being a lot of fun and way better than the one-note joke that I thought it might be. It played with tropes from both series while being funny, touching, and a great adventure. The animation was very good as it blended animation from the old Scooby Doo with something closer to the various newer Scooby Doo series. The animation style changed throughout the episode as things got more and more “real”. While many might have seen it as a silly one-off diversion, the episode really made me think a little deeper about both series. But I am a pop culture geek so that makes sense.

Scary Rides

November 14, 2016

This is where the haunt takes place. It is actually an abandoned section of the city.

My experience with the Nevermore Haunt was an interesting one. The experience was amazing as those kinds of experiences always are if you let them. I do not want to go into detail about what happened inside the haunt just in case some of it is used again next year. My first reaction even before going through was pride. I love any sort of fiction that has to do with Baltimore and journeying through a pastiche of Poe’s Baltimore was attractive even if I was going to get the bejeezus scared out of me. While I waited in line with my brother, we heard a lot of thunder and a lot of screams from inside the haunt. Every so often, we would hear the door from the lobby into the haunt slam behind the next guests to walk through. It brought up memories.

There are so many great videos out there if you do not have the money to actually visit parks.

I have a somewhat interesting history with rides and attractions. I explained in the The Houses That October Built review that I have a fascination with both rides and attractions. I have studied video, narratives and behind the scenes photos for a lot of haunted house and theme park attractions. However, I never liked actually going through these things as a kid. I was a nervous kid. Maybe it was caused by always being the smallest kid growing up or maybe my vivid imagination just would not let me take the risks. Mentally, I knew there were very few real risks but emotionally I knew I was in great danger.

Just as disappointing and disconcerting as most experiences with Scooby-Doo

Roller coasters were never my thing. The rush was never really attractive to me but I understand if other people like them. I remember being goaded into riding The Scooby Doo! coaster at Kings Dominion as a smallish child. I believe it is now called the Woodstock Express. I remember dreading the whole thing as we waited in line. This will become a theme in this post. We got onto the ride and I did not enjoy myself in the slightest. I was frightened and shaken and when the ride was over, I got a nosebleed as I started out the exit. I would associate this nosebleed with roller coasters for a long time. When my brothers became obsessed with The Big Bad Wolf coaster at Busch Gardens, I always abstained. When it came to the Shipwreck Falls ride at Adventure World, I was happy to watch it splash down instead of riding it.

This does not make me anxious now. It calms me.

I love Disney World. I have never been to Disney Land or any of the overseas versions but Disney World was a magical place for me when I was a little boy. It was also a very frightening place at times. At a certain age, everything is real to you which even includes animatronic characters that are created to look fake as all heck. In fact, I did not even have to encounter any animatronics to actually be scared. I remember standing in line at The Pirates of The Carribean long before Johnny Depp was actually that big of a movie star. This was the OG Pirates ride and the lobby was like walking into a cavern full of lamplight and the sounds of chill but vaguely dark music. I got scared just waiting in line because the place was enclosed and the anticipation of going on a ride scared me. We almost did not go on the ride but we eventually did and I enjoyed it even if it did make me nervous.

Putting this here to remind you how terrifying childhood can be.

The strongest memory I have of being afraid of rides is pretty ridiculous. I was a small child but even if I was not, I would not be ashamed and I would own the memory. I got scared on the Snow White ride. It was during a trip to Disney World with my mom, my uncle and my oldest cousin. My uncle and my mom clearly thought that they could catch a short break by putting my cousin and I on a baby ride for a few minutes. So she and I climbed into a little car and went into the Snow White ride. It did not take long for me to get overwhelmed and eventually I was covering my eyes and waiting for it to end. I clearly remember the witch crying out “Don’t cover your eyes, sweetie!” and I believed then that I was going to die. She could see me. She could see me and she was displeased with my behavior.

Kids these days, their rides don’t threaten to steal their souls.

As a side note, I did some research while looking up some of the attractions for this post. I feel a little better knowing that the ride is actually called Snow White’s Scary Adventures though it does bring up interesting questions about where my mom was. I know she had the best intentions. I think I rode the pre-1994 version and in retrospect, I am glad that I had my eyes closed because the ride does end with the Witch (fictionally) killing the guests with a giant gemstone. I feel a little vindicated about being afraid of that ride even if it is full of statues and good voice acting. While the experience did scare me, it actually probably sparked my interest in the way things are put together and probably led to me being a better artist.

Jem and the Holograms: An Adaptation

July 24, 2015

I’ve been thinking about the uproar over the upcoming Gem and the Holograms movie. I recently watched a few episodes so I feel I have a little more insight into the issue at hand. I realize that a few episodes do not make me an expert. I also realize that I don’t really have a dog in this fight as I claim no ownership since the show was absent from my childhood. If you page through my blog you may notice that I have discussed the top of adaptations before. My philosophy concerning adaptations is that as long as it’s a good movie then I can chalk any differences to a multiverse explanation. It’s an easy mental note to make and I find multiverse theories fun and exciting.

The other night I was thinking about live action adaptations of popular cartoons. I realized I have seen quite a few of them. They are a strange animal and they are a weird choice for a studio to make. I think it’s especially the case since reintroducing these shows again as cartoons has been very successful. My Little Pony, Transformers, GI Joe, Pound Puppies and probably even more have produced successful cartoon shows in the present day. Still, studios really want to make live-action adaptations. Why? It makes a lot of money by utilizing the combined might of nostalgia and star power usually.

I don’t know how Jem and the Holograms is going to work out but there is hope. Let’s look at two examples from the past.

Scooby Doo

I watched the hell out of Scooby Doo when I was a kid even though all of the episodes were made before I was born. The show was hokey, cheaply made and it heavily relied on a formula that they always followed. Even the longest episode wasn’t longer than an hour. The characters always returned to the status quo at the beginning of each episode as the teenagers rattled along in their van from mystery to mystery. The show never really changed but it remained popular. I’m ignoring Thirteen Ghosts of Scooby Doo because everybody else seems to be ignoring it.

When the live action movie was released, they approached it in a curious way. They kept the archetypes that they had created but they also allowed the characters to grow. Instead of seeing the characters as they were on the show, we saw them at a later point in their life after some personal growth. It actually freed them up to not follow the formula exactly which was a more interesting choice. They also made the supernatural threats real instead of fake like they had been before. I thought it was a very entertaining movie although part of that was the good actors they chose. It was kind of like being told about a unicorn and going to look for it but at the same time expecting a cat with a horn glued to its head. Instead, you find a horse with a horn glued to its head. At first your disappointed but then you remember unicorns aren’t real.

Josie and the Pussycats

This movie is a much more relevant example as it was also a show about a band comprised of female characters. However, like Scooby Doo, they also solved mysteries as they travelled from gig to gig. They used the same cheap animation tricks but had the benefit of catchy music and Archie-like characters. The theme song remains a major ear worm for me and I held kind of a soft spot in my heart for Josie and the Pussycats.

The live action movie took an even more radical approach to the source material than Scooby Doo had. They updated the band to a nineties attitude and updated the music to reflect that. They cast popular young starlets (including the excellent Rosario Dawson) and set about making a movie very different from the show. The movie ended up being suprisingly good as it used a lot more satire and parody than the Scooby Doo movie. There is a lot of commentary on the recording industry and fame in general that makes a lot of sense. The movie ends up being smarter than it looks and is definitely worth a watch. It may not hold up as well as I think because I haven’t seen it in over a decade now.
So, will Jem and the Holograms be any good when it comes out? I’d actually held off watching the trailer until right now. Hold on for a sec while I watch it.

Wow, really? The movie looks fairly mediocre really. It has very little to do with the show, that’s for sure. I can understand the hate from fans now. The movie looks different enough that they could have called it anything but decided to bank on the Jem and the Holograms name. Again, I’m not really outraged because I was never a fan. Still, I’m very confused. The show had sci-fi elements to it and they had noble reasons for seeking fame and fortune and none of that is in the trailer. It’s definitely not a movie I’m going to see. I’ll be interested to see how it does in the box office though as they may have made a miscalculation or maybe not. There are enough young people who never saw the show who will love this movie. At least, that’s what I think.

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