Et tu, Scooby Doo? Kiddie Shows Pack Both Memories and Messages

Scooby DooHaving kids means getting to enjoy your favorite children’s shows all over again. But watching “Scooby Doo” anew taught me how some shows pack more than just a few silly laughs into 20-odd minutes.

Netflix offers “Scooby Doo! Mystery Incorporated,” a 2010 reboot of the classic cartoon series. All our old pals are back, although some of the voices have changed. Now, the actor who played Shaggy in the two “Scooby Doo” films, Matthew Lillard, takes over for the great Casey Kasem.

Zoinks!

That’s not the only change. The gang uses blogs and other modern technology, and the dynamic between the players is markedly different. I don’t remember any flirting going on during the old series – beyond Scooby Doo making googly eyes at his signature snacks. The reboot finds Velma in love with Shaggy and Daphne pining for Fred.

Change is inevitable, and even a property like “Scooby Doo” needs to shake up the formula. What I found fascinating as a father was how the love stories are told. Both Velma and Daphne are shown as lovesick, eager and, well, pathetic. Feminists might seethe at the portrayal, and they would have a point. Meanwhile, Shaggy and Fred are cool and aloof, interested in the girls’ affections but too wrapped up in their mysteries to pay them much mind.

It’s just a TV show, right?

Companies spend millions to influence young minds with clever commercials. Who can argue the cliched women of “Scooby Doo” won’t impact pre-teen girls who see Daphne and Velma as cool, hip and worth emulating?

It’s why watching the shows your children enjoy is so important for dads. Yes, suffering through “Barney” and “Caillou” merits hazard pay, and most kiddie shows either pack no messages at all or simply valuable lessons on sharing and being kind to others. That’s not always the case. Children’s show artists have plenty on their minds, and it’s up to you as a father to make sure their messages are appropriate for young minds.

Comments

  1. says

    Christian, you make two really good points! Enjoying shows with your kids is an awesome thing to do and you can monitor what their littleminds are being fed at the same time! Happy New Year!

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