Scooby-Doo: Where Are You! Episodes 8-13, 15 (1969) – a Hanna-Barbera cartoon – Starring Don Messick, Casey Kasem, Frank Welker, Nicole Jaffe, Indira Stefanianna.
If you read the info blurb just above this, you’ll notice that it says episodes 8-13, 15. That’s because I’m watching these via the DVD release and that’s how they’re packaged. Why? Who knows, man, the universe just hates us, I guess.
In watching this show again I’m amazed at how well they hold up and how well, for the most part, the formula doesn’t get old. There are some bits that make me groan – “Would you do it for a Scooby snack?” and Velma losing her glasses chief in that regard – but for the most part these are highly enjoyable shows that keep you interested, even if you watch 4 or 5 in a row.
To repost from last time, here are the ten essential life lessons this program imparts on your kids:
1. There’s always a natural solution to a supernatural mystery.
2. The guy who comes up with intricate plans for no obvious reason is probably a douche.
3. There’s always time and room for more food.
4. Redheads are useless.
5. Nerdy girls who take off their glasses do not become hot. They become blind.
6. If you hang out with a stoner and a dog, you can always partner up with the ladies and they’ll never complain. Even if you’re a total douche.
7. Constantly traveling by van leads to bad posture. Especially when running.
8. There’s always a secret room or passageway.
9. Cops totally appreciate it when you solve their mysteries for them.
10. You can bribe stoners with dog food.
To which I think we can safely add:
11. Never trust old people. They’re not all bad, but why take the risk?
And on to the latest batch of episodes.
Episode 8: “Foul Play in Funland”
Monster: Charlie the Robot
Life Lesson: If an amusement park starts running by itself in the middle of the night with no one around, you’re allowed to ride all the rides.
This is a generally creepy kids cartoon. The gang is partying on a beach, mowing on clams, when the amusement park next door starts itself up and gets running. The group investigates and discovers it’s a robot named Charlie that’s doing everything. The two old folks, a brother and sister, who live next store also happen to be programming geniuses. Mr. Jenkins wants the robot to help run the park more efficiently while his sister disagrees. “I just don’t think robots should be at a park where kids come to have fun,” she declares, proving she’s the most anti-robot racist this side of Will Smith in I-Robot.
Episode 9: “The Backstage Rage”
Monster: The Puppetmaster
Life Lesson: “Ropes don’t cut themselves.” – Velma
Velma’s right. Ropes don’t cut themselves. This is kind of a blah episode where an old guy tries to convince us that there are ghosts about when really they’re big marionettes. Even the gang doesn’t really believe it.
Episode 10: “Bedlam in the Big Top”
Monster: The Ghost Clown
Life Lesson: Never. Trust. Clowns.
God, I hate clowns. Hate them. HATE. THEM. Creepy, creepy bastards. (Although my brain just did one of those things where it said that clowns are like the aggressive counterparts to passive mimes and now I want to write a story where clowns and mimes are raging a war across the cosmos. I will waste months writing that story.) Anyway, this is another creepy episode where this evil clown hypnotizes people when he’s not lurking menacingly on a hill overlooking the circus.
What a dick.
Episode 11: “A Gaggle of Galloping Ghosts”
Monster: A vampire, a Frankenstein, a werewolf, and a gypsy
Life Lesson: “Fortune telling is all nonsense.” – Velma. Preach it, sister.
Bonus Life Lesson for Criminals: “I’d have gotten away with it, too, if it wasn’t for those blasted kids and that dog!”
Yup, after 10 episodes of not hearing it, “Gaggle” is the first episode where we get to hear some version of “those meddling kids!” That’s about all that’s noteworthy about this episode that neglects mystery in favor of an abundance of bad guys. The gang stops off at Franken Castle, which has been transported brick-by-brick from Transylvania and, yeah, I mean, I don’t like to say anyone is asking for trouble, but they totally were asking for trouble.
This is another one of those episodes, too, that sees Velma without her glasses. Velma without her glasses is Dumb Velma and when the show wants to kneecap the smart woman, it has her lose her glasses and go crawling around on the floor and make stupid mistakes.
Episode 12: “Scooby-Doo and a Mummy, Too”
Monster: The Mummy
Life Lesson: Liverwurst and ice cream is a delicious combination. If you’re a stoner so baked out of your mind that you think your dog is talking to you, at least.
Ancient mummy curse … mummy goes missing … people turned to stone … next!
Episode 13: “Which Witch is Which?”
Monster: a Swamp Witch and a Zombie
Life Lesson: If you are a smart woman lacking in the looks department, hang out with a hot redhead because if one of you is going to get kidnapped by a zombie and bound and gagged in a swamp, it’s not going to be you.
“Which Witch” is kind of like the late ’60s version of Destination Truth, except it’s not completely full of sh*t.* There’s a local legend about a voodoo priestess and a zombie terrorizing a swamp community. Velma says one of the most unbelievable responses in history when a local explains the voodoo/zombie thing to her and she says, “I’ve never heard of such a thing.”
What? Is this the pilot? Because you hear stuff like that every freaking week, Velma.
*Honestly, how can anyone make fun of Ghost Hunters or Jersey Shore or Glenn Beck when we’ve got Destination Truth on the air. (OK, you can still make fun of those shows.) Have you ever watched this show? They spend more time doing silly voice overs in gift shops than they do looking for completely made up crap, and they treat every crack of a twig as evidence that the Wolfman is standing ten feet from them. No one on this show actually believes they’re ever going to find Sasquatch or the Jersey Devil or the Magical Danger Fish of Guadalajara but the program is put together like this group of “adventurers” is f*cking MI-6.
And I just made the Magical Danger Fish of Guadalajara up, but I bet they go looking for it next season. Also, I’m totally jealous of the fact that these folks get to fly around the world on SyFy’s dime looking for stuff that doesn’t exist. I wonder if I can get SyFy to pay me to spend a month in Ireland looking for pots of gold.
Episode 15: “Spooky Space Kook”
Monster: The Space Kook
Life Lesson: When your hanging by your belt from a hoist high over the ground, ignore the hot redhead and go right to the brainy nerd.
In one of the best silent slams in the history of history, Fred blows off Daphne in a moment of crisis. He gets hoisted up off the ground by his belt and the gang wants to get him down. Daphne openly wonders, “What does the lever look like?” which seems like a perfectly fine question, but Fred completely ignores her and goes right to Velma. “Surely you can figure it out,” he pleads. Velma gives Fred a weak, “Mechanics aren’t my strong suit,” even though Fred is asking her to find a lever and not a mercury fluid link.
Velma can clearly find a lever, so her slam at Fred is even better than Fred’s dismissal of Daphne. Clearly, Fred and Velma have slept together at some point and she’s into him while he’s only into her when Daphne isn’t around. In a moment of crisis, though, Fred wants brains and Velma is totally letting him hang. Literally.
Good for you, Velma. Good for you.
SCOOBY-DOO, WHERE ARE YOU! Review Index:
Episodes 1-7: Let’s Split Up and Search for This Ape-Man Who Eats Hamburgers
Episodes 8-13, 15: You’re the First Clam Dog I Ever Heard Of
Episodes 14, 16-21: How was the Magic Show at the High School, Freddy?
Episodes 22-25: How Can You Have Heads and Tails on a Slice of Bologna?