Where strange fact and stranger fiction collide
It is as if I am trapped inside a gigantic painting. I sense depth but it’s all illusionary, based only on the distance of an object, which I think I know the size of. I look at the old antebellum house with moss and ivy covered pillars, it looks a fair distance off because it is so small, not because I perceive anything like a third-dimension.
The night’s sky is a gray purple hue. With a large moon rising above the mansion. The landscape is both alien and yet somehow familiar. Though I must admit there is a diffident creepiness factor here. I still can’t get over the apparent flatness of the world.
I am standing on a ledge. I look down but it looks more like I am looking at a painting on the ground than an actual depression. I decide to throw caution to the wind. I begin to run towards the cliff. My legs are literally spinning like a windmill at the knees. For a few seconds I am motionless as if I was trying to get traction. Then like a bolt I stream off over the ledge. For several yards I travel in a straight line, even though there is nothing beneath to support me. Eventually the laws of gravity begin to kick in and I feel like I am about to fall. In a panic I begin to flap my arms like a great bird. I rise a little then float back to the safety of the ledge. This little stunt took all the energy out of me. With my hands I grab my knees and begin to huff and puff till I get my second wind. Less than a minute in the land of Cartoons and I nearly pull a Wil E. Coyote.
“Jinkies Dave.” I hear a voice behind me. “You almost fell to your death back there. You need to be more careful.”
Still panting I turn to see who is speaking to me. She stands only a little bit above five feet, with thick classes, an orange sweeter and skirt and Mary Jane boots. It is super smart super sleuth, Velma Dinkley. “I…I…am…OK.” I insist trying to regain my pride.
“If you say so.” She says not to convinced.
I take one more deep breath and regain my composer. “So…” I say trying to start the interview on a less embarrassing note. “…I have interviewed, starship captains, superheroes, and kings but you are the first cartoon character I have ever interviewed.”
“Golly, Dave I am honored to be your first.” She gushes.
“So the first question is what in the world possessed you to jump in a van with your best friends and talking dog, and travel America exposing criminals acting like fake monster?”
She looks momentarily perplexed at that question. “Who wouldn’t want to do that? The open road, your besties, the excitement of solving a mystery and a talking Great Dane to boot.”
She has a point. I take a deep breath. “Ok…I am kind of embarrassed to ask this but…Well the readers of Dave’s Corner of the Universe demand that I ask the hard hitting questions…”
She rolls her eyes. “Oh bother, I think I know where this is going.”
I blush, “Well there has been rumors ‘bout your sexual orientation.”
She grimaces. “OK, for the record I am not a lesbian. Warner Brothers who holds my copyright made an official announcement that I am heterosexual. They did that because they feared a backlash if they didn’t make that statement. Even though the actress playing me and the producer of the first live action movie assumed I was gay. And many gay females see me as a role model But basically I am a sixties kid’s cartoon character. I was deliberately created and portrayed as asexual as possible and still be a female. I think that why a lot of people project what they want me to be.”
“So for the record you are not gay?” I ask.
Her oversized eyes blink. “Well there was that time in college when Valerie form Josie and the Pussy Cats and I got really drunk…Do you want to hear about that?”
“Uh…no…That is OK.” I say trying to hang on to the last bit of innocence of my youth. “So if you are not gay what is your relationship with Daphne?”
She shrugs. “For two people who live out of the same van, we hardly have one. I have less words of dialog with her than any other member of Mystery Inc. including the dog. It is almost as if the writers where saying the cute girl and the smart girl have nothing in common.”
“A continuing theme with many of the characters that I talk to, who have anything to do with spooky or horror stories is the slut/last girl trope, do you have that in Scooby Doo?” I ask.
“Oh absolutely.” Velma explains. “But again this is a kid’s show, so the slut can’t be too slutty, she is instead portrayed as girly and air-headed. And you can’t kill her off so instead she gets abducted and tied up. Same thing the last girl can’t be the only survivor, so instead of being the only one alive at the end, her reward is being able to figure out what is going on before everyone else.”
“In the new incarnation of the show there is a Velma and shaggy romance, care to comment on that?” I ask.
She blushes. ”It is kind out of the blue. I think the Warner Bros, are still afraid of that whole lesbian cloud, and that may have had something to do with it. Also there is a whole arc about Scooby being jealous. Honestly I also blame Twilight, after Stephanie Myers, execs think that anything towards a young audience must have a love sub-plot.”
“Now back in the SDWaY? Days you were the only one who ever used violence against the dudes in the costumes, like when kicked the creepier in the shins, how come?”
She laughs and pushes her glasses back up to the bridge of her nose. “Well back then violence was taboo on Saturday morning cartoons. Even batman couldn’t punch the Joker. So if Fred or Shaggy tried it or even Scooby biting someone then it would have been censored, but the smart girl kicking a fake monster, well that was funny enough to get under the censors radar.”
“One of the things that allows Scooby Doo Where are You? To still be watched and loved today is that there is a timelessness about the show. In that I mean nothing that screams late sixties or early seventies. There is rock music but it is pretty generic, the van and your iconic clothing could pretty much be from any recent time period. But the newer shows have a very twenty first century vibe with items like laptops and cell phone, doesn’t dating the show like that, you know, prevent its longevity?”
She rubs her chin and thinks for a moment before answering. “Well kids now a days grew up with the technology. Honestly they would notice if it is not in the show. They may not put the puzzles pieces together right away but to them it wouldn’t seem normal without the electronic high tech gadgets.”
“Fair enough.” I reply. “Now they tried to do a Scooby show without you and it really didn’t work.”
“Well thank you for saying so.” She gushes.
“Did you want to talk about Scrappy?” I ask
“Oh my, what a ham.” Velma continues. “Well the Scooby franchise was losing viewers so they needed to do something. And for a while it worked, ratings went back up, for a time. But I mean just like cousin Oliver, the Scrappy story lines kind of self-destructed in a pile of cuteness. Bringing him in was defiantly a jump the shark moment. There was a lot of eventual fan backlash…Did you know he wasn’t really a puppy at all he had a glandular problem.”
“I heard that somewhere.” I reply. “How would you reply to the accusation that you were a monster of the week show?”
She shrugs. “We were. Or in our case a villain in a mask of the week. But remember our target audience, kids are lot cooler with things like that than a lot of adults. Now a days shows are more arc driven, that may be a reason that the writers brought in over arcing plotlines like me dating shaggy.”
“One thing I never got was the one Hour New Scooby Doo Movies. With the guest stars. I get you would want to use other Hanna Barbara titles like Batman, Josie & the P-Cats, or the Harlem Globetrotters. But Phyllis Diller, Don Knotts, and Tim Conway? I mean they weren’t really big draws for kids even in 1972?”
“We were kind of the last hurrah for the celebrity guest variety show. I mean it would continue in the Love Boat and fantasy Island, but that was a staple since the days of Uncle Milty on TV. Eventually it died out. Another example would be the Star Wars Holiday special. It was a time where older actors form the early period of TV flourished as guests. It was also the last time that Nicolle Jaffe my original voice artist portrayed me, so to me it has fond memories.”
“OK since we try to tie everything to Batman, here at DCotU how dose Scooby tie into Batman?” I ask.
She scratches her head. “Well besides the obvious factor of the two cases we solved with him. Well I guess if you think about it we are kind of like superheroes. We solve mysteries. We catch criminals, and have a vehicle, maybe it isn’t the Batmobile, but we have a cool van, we don’t have gadgets but we set traps and we even have a talking dog and if that isn’t a superpower I don’t know what is.”
“Well thanks for the interview.” Our time concluded, I then ask. “Hey what do you say about you and I head off to the malt shop and split an ice-cream sundae, then go explore an abandoned supposedly haunted amusement park, then catch a villain in a mask using a hugely complicated trap?’
“Oh Jinkies Dave.” She says. “But I got a date with Johnny Bravo.”
“Johnny Bravo?” I ask shocked.
“Yeah I know but he is really a nice guy once you get to know him.” Then she scampers off leaving me all alone in my two dimensional world.