When our eldest started school three years ago, Scooby-Doo and the gang became a strong presence in our house. Now that his little brother has joined him, we are inundated! They are in a French immersion program and the school’s library has a comprehensive collection of primer Scooby-Doo books in both languages. Let me tell you, it is a popular choice for boys in the primary to grade three set.
Did you know that when a Scooby-Doo book is translated into French, a couple of the character names are changed? Velma becomes Vera, and Shaggy becomes Sammy. Why? I don’t know, but it messes with my head! My tongue’s muscle memory is sometimes too strong and I revert to their Anglo names. I am sternly corrected each time.
Of course, Scooby, still talks with an “R” starting each word but in broken French, such that “R’okay” becomes “R’accord”. The fun side of the French translations are the awesome exclamations. For example, Shaggy’s trademark “Zoinks!” becomes Sammy’s “Sapristi!” which is a wonderfully archaic oath meaning “good heavens”. It has quickly become a household favourite.
I was delighted when Scooby and the gang became popular with the boys and quickly began recording shows off the TV. We watched a movie or two and a few of the old classics and I was pleasantly transported back to my own childhood. When I saw there was a new incarnation, Scooby-Doo!
Mystery Incorporated, I excitedly set the DVR.
Have any of you watched this latest version? Well, when I sat down and watched it with the boys, I was shocked! It is as if they have written the show for the adult fans of Scooby-Doo instead of elementary school children. The whole show is very tongue-in-cheek with thinly veiled references to the campiness of the original. It made me sad because they were mocking things too much, but perhaps that is just my bruised nostalgia talking.
What really bothered me, and caused me to delete the series recording, was the new sexual undertones. First, let me assure you that I am not a prude. I enjoy a little romantic side story as much as the next gal, but these writers have completely changed the tone of the show. Let me begin by talking about Velma.
Good ol’ brainy Velma is now obsessed with her hair, constantly fixing her bows (What? Velma has BOWS in her hair!) and looking for ways to get some time alone with Shaggy.
Poor Shaggy is in caught in the classic male struggle, forced to choose between his girl and his dog. Moreover, his dog can talk which just makes the choice all the more difficult, no matter how hot a body Velma has under that sweater.
Fred is no longer so oblivious to the charms of the very attractive Daphne and they are quite the couple. With everyone paired off, Scooby is like the uninvited guest on a double date.
Honestly, I do not know what Warner Bros. Animation was thinking. All that romantic tension and teenage angst made me feel like I was reading Twilight. Or an Archie comic.