Back when I was five or so my favorite cartoon was Scooby-Doo. I remember watching the episodes over and over again on the black-and-white television in my dad’s art studio while he worked on his art projects. My brother liked the cartoon too. One Halloween my mom made me a Scooby-Doo outfit and my brother a Scrappy-Doo outfit. (The photo she took of us in those costumes is still one of my favorite childhood photos.)
Fast forward 30 years. I have four kids. The oldest three (ages 6, 5, and 4) are the same age I was back in the late 1970s/early 1980s when I liked Scooby-Doo. What’s their favorite thing to watch on TV or stream from Netflix? Episodes of Scooby-Doo.
The other night, too tired to write, I sat down and watch an episode with them. I was a little surprised that the writers are still using the same formulaic. Yes, the show’s been updated. The characters use cell phones and computers, but they still dress the same and drive The Mystery Machine. The bad guy always dress up in monster costumes, Scooby and Shaggy are still cowards, eat like pigs, and manage to stay thin, and the villain always says that he/she “would have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for you meddling kids” at the end of every episode.
But why mess with something that’s not broken? I liked it 30 years ago and my kids like it now. (My oldest has a Mystery Machine lunch box he takes to school every day.) In fact the new episodes are just as fun as the ones I remember watching as a kid. If anything, it’s nice to have something like Scooby-Doo that stretches across generations. I know who Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby are, I’m happy to get my kids “Scooby snacks” from the treat cupboard, or laugh with them at the silly slapstick humor in every episode.
Kudos to those who have been able to keep the show alive in various incarnations over the years. May it still be around when I have grandkids that are old enough to enjoy it too.