In the various 1970s and 1980s cartoon series, the gang are often questionably criminal themselves, routinely doing things like breaking and entering in pursuit of solving mysteries they are in no way obliged to involve themselves with. Fred, Daphne and Velma are also prone to "volunteering" Shaggy and Scooby for things that involve actual danger. There are times when it come across as Protagonist-Centered Morality with the liberties they take in what is essentially a hobby.
Shaggy being a marijuana smoker, based on his being portrayed as constantly hungry, usually shown wearing a dirty t-shirt and a scraggly beard, riding around in a psychedelically painted van, and having conversations with his dog. The Movie plays with this. An episode of Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law also played with it, lampshading the theory when they get falsely arrested for being pot-smokers. Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back also plays with this: Jay and Silent Bob are picked up by the Scooby-Doo gang and turn them on to "Doobie Snacks."
For that matter, is Shaggy really a "lazy beatnik" or is he the Only Sane Man who wants to do the sensible thing and let the law enforcement handle the problem? Adding on to this, we only really see him when he's tired and annoyed about being somewhere he's not supposed to be doing something he doesn't really want to do in the middle of the night. In the 80's series he steps up to the plate with relative ease. In fact, he might just be one of the smarter members of the gang and among the most capable: In Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School he's a teacher which requires a college degree to be certified as, and fairly good at said job for that matter, and has a number of additional talents including being a champion mini-golfer. Many of which, as should be noted, are daytime activities when he would have more sleep than the typical scooby chase scene.
Daphne could well be Silk Hiding Steel. IRL, getting kidnapped in the middle of the night once by a guy in a creepy costume would be quite traumatizing, but Daphne shrugs it off and continues trying to help. She also does quite well leading Mystery Inc. in Fred and Velma's absence.
The most popular interpretation for the other characters is that Fred and Daphne always run off together to have sex, and Velma is a lesbian. (Velma being a lesbian started in reference to Sheila James Kuehl, the actress who played Zelda Gilroy, a character from Dobie Gillis on whom Velma was based. Keuhl was the first openly gay person to be elected to the California Senate.)
Alternatively, Velma is straight. But she's traveling with a dog, a pothead, a lesbian, and a gay man (the last two acting as beards for each other).
Why does the gang stick together, and why is it named the Scooby Doo Detective Agency? Fred, for whatever reason (paranoia, misguided sense of justice, just wanting to impress Daphne), wants to solve crimes. Of course he has to take Daphne, she's the one he's trying to impress. He knows that Velma is both smart and into him, so he gets her to come along to give the operation some legitimacy. But that still doesn't explain Shaggy and Scooby - they rarely make an effort to contribute to the investigations, and often are a detriment to the team, especially considering their low morale. The answer is simple: Shaggy is a pot dealer, and he owns the van. That's why they never tell him to take his dog and leave: because without him, the whole operation falls apart.
On top of that, some speculate that Scooby can't really talk, and his vocalizations are all in Shaggy's head from eating too many Scooby Snax...which are really "special" brownies.
Heavily and played with thematically in the The Venture Bros. episode "¡Viva los Muertos!" Not only are the "Groovy Gang" re-characterized as several kinds of crazy, they're also tied to actual crazies, with Daphne renamed Patty, and drawn scripted to resemble Patty Hearst, and Shaggy/Sonny modeled on David Berkowitz, the serial killer known as the Son of Sam, and Scooby/Groovy on Berkowitz's neighbor's dog Harvey that Berkowitz claimed was possessed by an ancient demon and commanded him to commit murders.
Scooby-Doo has multiple animated incarnations and while the characterizations for the majority of the main cast are consistent, nobody's varies more than Fred's due to his original incarnation being The Generic Guy. In A Pup Named Scooby-Doo he is a conspiracy nut that believes in aliens and monsters, the live action movies interpret him as a self-absorbed jerk whose leader status is purely self-appointed, What's New, Scooby-Doo? has him he's presented as a lovable idiot who bumbles his way through his leadership role, and finally there's Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated where he is an almost insanely oblivious guy absolutely obsessed with complicated traps.
Daphne varies quite a lot too. In the original series, she was an introverted airhead who contributed nothing more than getting herself and the rest of the gang in danger, or occasionally finding a clue by accident. However as the years went by, she seemed to get smarter and more independent as Velma got more quiet and distant. By the time Pup came along, she had completely taken Velma's place as the snarky female of the gang. In Zombie Island, she even became something of a leader, which included driving the Mystery Machine itself. However, Scooby-Doo! and the Witch's Ghost saw her return to being more of The Chick, though this has lessened slightly as the years went by. In the first live action film, both Velma and Daphne were equally independent.
Is Scrappy truly ignorant of Scooby's cowardice? Or is he in denial? Or is he trying to boost his uncle's confidence and help him grow a spine?
Archive Panic: This franchise has run since 1969, with 16 TV series (almost 400 episodes), five live-action movies, 29 direct-to-video movies and 10 video games.
Broken Base: One of the most divisive issues in regards to the franchise is whether or not it benefits with Mystery, Inc. encountering and dealing with real monsters and ghosts instead of just criminals disguised as ghosts and monsters. A primary reason for the naysayers' contempt is how many of the franchise installments with genuine supernatural elements (such as The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo, Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School, and Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf) were part of the era featuring the polarizing character Scrappy-Doo, while fans supportive of the concept do so because having Scooby and the gang face genuine supernatural phenomenon adds some variety to the formula.
Complaining About Shows You Don't Watch: It's amazing how many people claim to despise Scrappy but then mistakenly call him Scooby's "cousin". note Despite, y'know, him calling Scooby Uncle many times in every single episode he's in?
The Ghoul School Girls, who only appeared in one special to date, but are fondly remembered by the fanbase. They eventually reappeared in an episode of OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes30 years later , with three of them having their original voice actresses.
Vincent Van Ghoul from The 13 Ghosts of Scooby Doo. Being voiced by Vincent Price may have something to do with it, and it's most likely the reason why Van Ghoul returns in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.
Several of the monsters have become very popular, such as the Tar Monster and Captain Cutler.
Another monster, the Creeper, is another fan favorite, to the point that it's appeared in later installments of the franchise, including Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase and Mystery Incorporated.
Daphne/Shaggy. Noticeably in the final seasons where they traveled together with Scooby and Scrappy solving mysteries or battling ghosts, visibly aging and changing clothes, appearance, and van in the final season with no explanation. Surprisingly, (and likely in part to no one willing to admit a Scrappy season had something worth mentioning in it), nobody brings up that the two were together. Seth MacFarlane also has an unhealthy fixation on Daphne/Scooby, as heard on the Family Guy album.
A 1991 article in Wild Cartoon Kingdom magazine theorizes that not only is Velma a lesbian but she's living her alternative lifestyle with Daphne. Velma/Daphne especially caught on amongst fans in the 2010s as an alternative to Shaggy/Velma and Fred/Daphne.
An alternative is Shaggy/Velma due to what could be seen as Ship Tease between the two in early incarnations and due to Pair the Spares. Mystery Incorporated and later Scooby Apocalypse finally make it into Ascended Fanon, although their takes are taken in rapidly different directions.
Fred/Daphne was originally this. In the original cartoon they were just close friends. Due to fan theories and jokes, it soon spread that they were in a Secret Relationship. Eventually a romance between the two became Ascended Fanon and it has appeared in almost every incarnation since.
Fair for Its Day: While there have been several instances of Values Dissonance, as shown below, there were several times where the show was remarkably progressive for the time.
While there were a number of times that First Nations were depicted incredibly badly, or their cultures and language was played for comedy, which is cringe inducing today, the gang shows plenty of respect to the people themselves, and the First Nations people who are interacted with do not have any traditional stereotypes attached to them. This was unheard of in the 60's and 70's and it still rarely happens today.
While Daphne was all too often depicted as being the one who fell into traps and become the Damsel in Distress, there were a number of times where she was able to escape by herself, and at times, throw a wrench into the villains plan, which did not happen often in the 60's.
The disembodied pair of eyes at the beginning of most Scooby-Doo opening credits was pretty sinister to begin with, but at least you knew it was really just some petty criminal who probably wouldn't do any real harm. Then we get Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, where we get to meet Nibiru, themostterrifyingScooby-Doo villain ever. And he is very, very, real. What is the first form he takes on? A pair of disembodied eyes, of course!The Fridge Horror really sets in when you realize that, due to the creature's nature, the eyes probably mean that Nibiru's been watching the gang the whole time. And because of his connection to Mystery Incorporated'sCosmic Retcon, which is hinted to be the cause of every Continuity Reboot in the franchise's history, that series probably wasn't the first time the gang fought encountered Nibiru.
As of 2012, the episode "The Tar Monster" may fall into this, as the name of the government official was "Ben Ghazi".
The show changing the main cast to be just about Shaggy, Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo becomes this when you realize that their original voice actors, Casey Kasem and Don Messick, were the first to pass away. Daphne being the first character to return to the series is also this, with Heather North being the next to pass on.
One outside the show, but the internet's embrace of Shaggy's Memetic Badass becomes this when Matthew Lillard, who took over the role of Shaggy for the newer shows (and by an extent in the past, the 2002 live action movie), was replaced for the upcoming Scooby Doo projects. Without knowing he was replaced.
At the end of Scooby Doo! Pirates Ahoy, Fred's dad mentions they should give them a trip to the Himalayas for Fred's birthday next year, which Shaggy quickly passes on because he doesn't want to risk a run in with the abominable snowman. The next year's movie, Chill Out, Scooby Doo! saw this happen as the main plot.
The New Scooby-Doo MysteriesHalloween Episode "A Halloween Hassle at Dracula's Castle" saw Shaggy attend a costume party as a werewolf. Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf aired four years later.
Although that may be because Simba is the Swahili work for "lion".
Casey Kasem's dispute over wanting Shaggy to be a vegetarian after he had to voice Shaggy in a commercial for Burger King is amusing now that Burger King now promotes a meatless vegetarian burger, and is one of the very few major fast food chains to do so.
A mummy, on the Orient Express. Sorry, Doctor, Scooby did it first in the 1980s.
All those theories about Velma being a lesbian can be this in light of the fact that the actress who plays her in the live action Scooby-Doo prequels is a real life lesbian.
Ho Yay: The last scene of the What's New episode "Pompeii and Circumstance". Supping on a plate of spaghetti, Shaggy and Scooby are sucking in the same noodle, and...well, you know what happens next. Might be considered Interspecies Romance if Shaggy and Scooby weren't repulsed by the result.
Mystery Incorporated had a recent recurring sub-plot that had Scooby being jealous of Velma as Shaggy's girlfriend. This given a Take That!Curse of the Lake Monster: Shaggy develops a crush on Velma and it has Scooby feeling a bit left out at times only for them to kiss and realize relationships aren't for them.
Scooby: Hmph. Velma, Velma, Velma.
An upcoming live-action movie, Daphne And Velma, is said to be about when the two girls of Mystery Inc. first met. Certain fans are anticipating a gay relationship.
From Jeepers, It's the Creeper: At the school's barn dance, Shaggy is dancing with Velma when Scooby enters and asks Shaggy to let him cut in. To Velma's shock and disappointment, Scooby goes off dancing with Shaggy.
Velma: Well, I've been a wallflower before. But this is ridiculous!
Subverted with Velma. She fits the appearance but Fred says she's attractive and she even gets a guy for herself.
Played depressingly straight in a few episodes of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, though. Though that series redesigned Velma to give her a more slim and petite look, there were a few episodes where it was constantly pointed out how fat and unattractive she was.
In "Bravo Dooby Doo", when Daphne suggests they split up, she says she and Velma will search the basement. Fred gives her a knowing smirk, so she went with Fred instead while Velma went with Shaggy and Scooby. Although this is mainly shiptease for Daphne and Fred.
In the episode where they meet Josie and the Pussycats, after they ran into the gang Velma just happens to have her hand on Alexandra's leg. Alexandra shook Velma's hand off her leg.
Shaggy and Scooby are, in canon, fairly goofy and uninvolved in the mysteries, but fairly clever when it came to evading monsters (The only reason they didn't stay far away being pushed or bribed into it by their friends) and Scooby is known to be fairly fierce with spooks when his friends are in danger. They're commonly portrayed in fanworks (And some post-WB reboots)as complete morons who would be literally be unable to function without Fred, Daphne, and Velma holding their hands every single second of their waking lives.
Mis-blamed: Many people blame Scrappy-Doo for ruining Scooby-Doo (specifically, dumping half the original cast, switching to a Two Shorts format, and the franchise's first clumsy attempts to lose the "Scooby-Doo" Hoax) due to the timing of his introduction. Ironically, Scrappy is what probably saved the show from cancellation way back in 1979. And the success of that new incarnation of Scooby Doo is likely what has kept the franchise going on for some 40 years. It doesn't help that nearly everyone hates the poor character as if he had destroyed an entire planet despite the fact he was only created by mandate. To put how much people don't like him is ... an understatement.
Moral Event Horizon: There have been some villains that were people dressed as monsters that have actually attempted to murder or critically maim the gang in order to keep their schemes safe (The Snow Ghost, Mr. Hyde, the Ghost of the Red Baron, among others). This explains why Shaggy and Scooby are Lovable Cowards
Periphery Demographic: To some people, the franchise is mere formulaic kid stuff, but science pundit, Carl Sagan, loved the show in the sense that it basically promoted a skeptic point of view of the supernatural with the heroes continually exposing paranormal incidents as mere elaborate hoaxes and providing logical explanations instead.
Popularity Polynomial: This applies to Scrappy Doo, believe it or not. He wasn't terribly hated at the time of his debut, but as time went on, he went down in history as the Trope Codifier for the trope he named. Nowadays, though, more of his fans have come out of the woodwork (and even some of his haters have warmed up to him slightly) and believe that Scrappy could be rescued from his own heap if someone actually tried to improve him as a character. People are more willing defend the little guy, as well, such as pointing out how he actually saved Scooby Doo from petering out. Of course, that isn't to say people don't still hate him now, but the reception to the critter is warmer that it has been in years.
Scrappy-Doo is so infamous that he is the Trope Namer, though presently he is more of a Base-Breaking Character. Also an example of Leeroy Jenkins, annoying some of the audience with his thoroughly obnoxious behavior of vainly boasting about picking a fight with villains he couldn't hope to harm. Our page for The Scrappy tells much more about why the show introduced Scrappy, why the fans came to hate him, and how the franchise reacted.
Before Scrappy, there was Scooby-Dum. Though generally speaking, people didn't seem to mind him as much, as he had a low-key personality in contrast to Scrappy, who started out as high-strung and obnoxious. Scooby-Dum even made it into the Laff-a-Lympics team over the other gang members.
Values Dissonance: Given the franchise is 50 years old, some of the older shows have depictions and plots that would make modern viewers cringe.
Depicting Daphne as a constant Damsel in Distress in the 60's and 70's would be very hard to get away with in the current decade due to the rise of several powerful female protagonists.
Several episodes, especially in the 60's and 70's have played Indigenous culture and language for cheap jokes, or them being used for gags. The increasing awareness about how many Indigenous languages and cultures are imperilled with extinction, along with the issue of cultural appropriation, would make any such depiction impossible today.
"Fred Bat" in the What's New, Scooby-Doo? episode "The Vampire Strikes Back".
The first live-action film:
Alternate Character Interpretation: Scrappy-Doo could be a sympathetic villain. In the cartoons, he idolized his Uncle Scooby; in the live action movie, he wanted to destroy humanity with a plague of monsters. Maybe he found out what a coward Scooby was and that his own parents didn't want him around. He may have a genetic disorder that kept him at midget canine status, which made him twisted when he grew up. The bloated ego in the movie could be his need for attention and affection.
Special props to Shaggy and Scooby's burping and farting contest.
Broken Base: The film's depiction and treatment of Scrappy-Doo. If you never liked the character, his portrayal as a villain and being defeated by Mystery, Inc. in the end is a very satisfying Take That, Scrappy! scenario. If you're one of the characters' fans, you'll likely find it off-putting to see his negative qualities ramped up and the way he's treated by Scooby and the others in the flashback scene coming off as blatantly out-of-character, in addition to the dubiousness of Scrappy wanting to kill his uncle when the cartoons clearly showed him as thinking his uncle is the best thing since sliced bread.
Crosses the Line Twice: Shaggy and Scooby's out-of-nowhere farting contest. So juvenile, so unnecessary... but so funny!
Critical Backlash: Though much is made by Scrappy's very Vocal Minority about how "annoying" he is, viewers can get surprised by how normal he is. Even in his earliest appearances he didn't spout "Puppy Power" a tenth as much as said hatedom implied, and had more personality and dynamics than Fred and Velma.
Cult Classic: Though it received mixed reviews from fans and critics alike, it's loved in it's own right by fans of early 2000s pop culture.
Designated Hero: Fred, Shaggy, Daphne, Velma, and Scooby are pretty unlikable in this movie due to getting hit with Adaptational Jerkass. When Fred, Daphne and Velma spend much of the movie bickering, Shaggy suggests letting Fred and Velma get eaten after they're abducted by monsters, and the gang (in a flashback) casually abandons Scrappy in the middle of the desert (yeah, he did pee on Daphne and act annoying, but that was still uncalled for), it's hard to feel anything but contempt for them.
He Really Can Act: Matthew Lillard's performance as Shaggy has been heavily praised by critics and the audience for nailing the character so much that he was chosen to be Casey Kasem's successor for the cartoons.
Memetic Molester: The Luna Ghost because it is heavily implied that he groped Daphne.
Never Live It Down: James Gunn is repeatedly blamed by Scrappy Doo fans for cementing him in the status of the trope associated with him. While he would apologize for it, Scrappy's reputation would have him be said trope for years and Warner Bros. endlessly throwing Take Thats towards him, with Scooby Apocalypse being the only material to feature him, even if it's just another version of his character.
Special Effects Failure: Even in 2002, computer graphics weren't quite there in rendering a cartoony character like Scooby in live action, and could only go as far as giving his exaggerated design hyper realistic features. Even for an $80 million feature film, all of the CGI characters look more like something out of a PS1 game. To give one an idea of just how much technology has advanced since, the two made-for-TV prequels, released towards the end of the decade, had better CGI.
Squick: Scooby making Scrappy sneeze and get covered in his snot.
The fact that the group not only were separated for two years, but even after all that time still held a grudge is sad for anyone remembering the show for their friendship.
The entire gang splits after Velma quits, leaving only Shaggy and Scooby. Shaggy drives the Mystery Machine away while Scooby looks out the back window for the others, heartbroken.
Shaggy: Looks like it's just you and me now, Scoob.
The fact that as the Gang are fighting, Shaggy tries to smooth things over, and as they quit he can just softly protest.
Even more of a Tear Jerker if you consider "The Mystery Begins" to take place in the same continuity and you learn how Shaggy and Scooby came to join Mystery Inc. in the first place, Scooby had been rejected countless times until he was adopted by Shaggy and Shaggy was a Shrinking Violet that had trouble making friends until he met Fred, Daphne and Velma and the reason he stays with the group is because he considered them to be his friends. To have his closest friends, whom he has been with for such a long time to suddenly break up and not speak to each other for two years must have been really hard for him, even more if you consider what he said to Scooby.
Scooby: (sadly) Do I quit too?
Shaggy: (somberly) No, Scoob, best friends DON'T quit....
The way he says, he probably tried hard to stay strong for Scooby's sake.
In the deleted scenes, Fred's, Velma's and Daphne's descriptions of their lives since the gang split up show that, despite their claims, their lives were not going well since they left the gang.
Uncanny Valley: The CGI designs of Scooby and Scrappy are a little bit off-putting. At least the design for Scooby in the 2004 one was heavily improved. An intentional example appeared with both Mary Jane while possessed and Scrappy's disguise.
Uncertain Audience: The film is intended to be an Affectionate Parody of the franchise, except that older fans who grew up with the cartoons will recognize that the characterizations of the five in the film is radically different, making the film seem like it doesn't fully understand its subject matter or how to parody it. That aside, younger fans who don't know the cartoons will be lost with all the continuity references the film contains and hinge their plot around, and older fans are probably gonna be put off by the presence of real monsters when the cartoons (mostly) focused on fake monsters.
What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: A lot of the grosser jokes and sexual content in the movie make sense when you realize it was originally going to be an R-rated self-parody. The edgier content was dialed back just enough to earn it a "hard" PG. This is also why the sequel was comparatively more child friendly.