“I Agree.” That’s what my best friend and colleague Will Wamser said when I told him the headline of this article. Wamser, who is the Op/Ed section editor, 2018 Allentown mayoral candidate, and in-house funnyman of The Bad Ones (Muhlenberg’s best comedy group), agrees. As the other in-house funnyman of The Bad Ones, I have an opinion to present you, one that can’t be refuted. A Pup Named Scooby Doo is a masterpiece. “Ruh Roh,” am I right? Let’s talk about it.
A Pup Named Scooby Doo debuted on Sept. 10, 1988. It ran until Aug. 17, 1991, and had FOUR seasons, COUNT ‘EM, FOUR! Now that’s a “Jinkies!” if I’ve ever heard one. The series racked up a whole TWENTY SEVEN episodes. “Zoinks!” The show features younger versions of the classic Scooby Doo gang. They go around Coolsville solving mysteries as the Scooby Doo Detective Agency. The key difference between A Pup Named Scooby Doo and other incarnations of the series is self-awareness. Self-awareness creates a cartoon that can be enjoyed by adults and children alike. Let’s take a look at “Terror thy Name is Zombo,” the twenty-first episode of the show and see if we can find some moments of self-awareness.
Now here, my loyal and lovely readers, is where I have to put a spoiler warning. The big man upstairs is making me. The Scooby Doo Detective Agency, AKA “the gang,” go down to Coolsville’s best amusement park, Jipner’s Joyland. Scooby and Shaggy plan on being the first to ride the new ride, Monster Mountain. To accomplish this they eat FOUR HUNDRED AND FIFTY boxes of cereal, “Hi, I’m Fred,” am I right? When the gang arrives, they find that the amusement park is closed, The gang then meets Jolly Jipner, the turnip mascot for Jipner’s Joyland. Turnip mascot. He tells them that the park is closed because Zombo’s Ghost has shown up to get revenge as he used to own Jipner’s Joyland. He introduces them to his brother Joey Jipner. Joey ends up being Zombo, I don’t have time to explain all of how we got there, just the important bits. I’m wasting time saying this even! Come on. At some point Velma says “Jinkies!” which means she found a clue. She says “Jinkies!” again shortly after, to which Shaggy says that Velma is “on a roll.” I forgot to mention that Velma is a pseudo-mute in this series. Oh look, a new paragraph, how cool.
My favorite part of this entire series, and what really sets it apart, are the monster chase scenes. Let me tell you why, and stop rushing me, would you? Thank you. Ok, so in this episode when the Zombo pops out and is about to chase the gang through the park, all the characters get scared in the classic cartoon jump and hold mid-air fashion. Except Daphne. This is of course because she had just gotten her hair done and didn’t want to ruin it. So she solved this problem the only way she could. She called her butler Jinkins, and had him be scared for her. All the while she is telling the other characters to not start the music yet. This is important because during chase scenes the characters all take breaks to dance. Yes, dance. They stop being chased or find a spot away from the monster to dance. Here’s the kicker, even THE MONSTER will dance. It’s truly absurd in the best way possible. This is possibly the most blatant example of the self-awareness. It’s insane that they all stop to dance. It takes the classic Scooby Doo formula and twists it, only slightly, never too much. The classic formula never says “ouch!”, and instead lets out the slow sigh of relief of a good back crack.
When they finally stop the monster at the end of the chase scene, the gang spouts their ideas of who the monster could be. Daphne says that it is Bart Jipner, who owns the bad amusement park, Sloppo Land, just next door. Probably my second favorite thing in this series is the fact that every episode, yes every episode, Fred accuses his neighborhood bully, Red Herring, of being the monster. But in this episode, Fred can’t figure out who it is, so Red comes out of nowhere and asks Fred if he’s going to accuse him again, to which Fred exclaims that yes in fact, Red Herring is Zombo. In every episode, Velma will say the correct theory, because she’s some kind of genius. Pfft. Show off.
Self-awareness is what makes this show as great as it is. It doesn’t act like the mystery is hard to solve or particularly intriguing. It doesn’t act like only children will ever watch it. It’s not afraid be sillier than it should be, it’s not afraid to call its characters stupid, and it sure isn’t afraid to make you laugh. You should watch it, you won’t regret it.
P.S. No matter what they tell you, I DID NOT hack into The Weekly to publish this very important article. Thank you, I love you.