Tuesday, October 13, 2009

"And I would have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for you meddling kids"

When I decided that I wanted to be a detective when I grew up, there was one show that might have influenced me more than any other. I suppose the real instigator was the fact that I read Hardy Boys books, but I never imagined my career chasing down bank robbers, smugglers or even something more intense like murderers. I was interested in solving the strange, unexplainable and scary mysteries in the world. I wanted to be like the Scooby Doo gang!

The fact that shows like The X Files became popular after a generation grew up watching Scooby Doo should come as no surprise. We all at one time or another imagined solving the mystery of the Loch Ness Monster or Bigfoot, debunking haunted houses or perhaps even taking on a “real” monster or two. Of course, the real charm behind the original Scooby Doo was that all those scary things that really did scare us as kids: vampires, mummies and were-wolfs always turned out to be fake in the end. There was a reassuring aspect to the truth that they were always pretend.

Somewhere along the way, Scooby Doo lost its soul. Money is the root cause of its downfall, with endless re-imaginings and new product generated to appeal to new bunches of kids. However, it also lost the heart of the show when the monsters stopped being mysteries to be solved and became real monsters to be battled. There was a certain charm to the idea of high school kids encountering endless conspiracies and crimes masquerading as something scary. Perhaps it was the idea that kids shouldn’t let themselves be scared by something that seemed strange or unexplainable. There was always a truth behind the mask that could be uncovered with courage, determination, and careful deduction.

2 comments:

  1. I LOVE this post. I've used the illustration of Scooby Doo in several classes for about 5 years now...to show the growing trend to the supernatural and spiritual. It shows that people out there are thirsting for the spiritual, we need to show them where they can slake that thirst! Keep it up Jason, blessings on you guys!

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  2. Yeah, I think Scooby Doo is a good illustration (along with Star Trek) of a show that has seen the evolution in pop-culture from a Modern to a Postmodern understanding of the world. They started out showing everything as being very knowable and clearly explained. Later versions of Scooby Doo allow for unscientific and supernatural things to exist.

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