Since 1969, Scooby Doo and his gang have been a staple of American cartoons. The original television series Scooby Doo Where Are You? only ran from 1969-1970, but those two years of the gang solving mysteries inspired 11 television reboots and over thirty movies. But what makes this concept so popular and fresh every time it is rebooted? It’s the fact that each character is a stereotype of a current type of teenager. The gang represents four types of teenagers that every reboot tweaks and adjusts so that the stereotype is accurate to current times.
Scooby Doo Where Are You? had stereotypes of 60’s teenagers. Fred was normal and average. He participated in hip slang and hip fashion (with the famous ascot), but was nothing else than the straight-man character. Daphne defined the cool teenager because of her fashion sense and her characterization as being “the hot girl”. Also with some classic 20th century sexism, she was the damsel in distress because you can’t be cool, beautiful and smart. Velma played the nerd which in the 60’s made you uncool, explaining her appearance and the contrast between her and Daphne. Of course Shaggy was the free spirited one, representing the counterculture of the late 60’s.
However, as reboots were being made and times were changing, these stereotypes had to be fixed to be more relevant. The 1983 reboot The New Scooby Doo and Scrappy Doo Show depicted Daphne as a writer for a teen magazine. This kept her character, but she was now cool by 80’s standards (teen magazines were one of the many things in the 80’s that defined pop culture). The 2001 movie Scooby Doo and the Cyber Chase features Fred taking more of a leadership role in the group and acting very confident as he flirts with Daphne/constantly talking about sports. This changed his average teen of the 60’s character to the confident jock of the early 2000’s.
The latest reboot, 2015’s Be Cool, Scooby Doo, probably has the most drastic character updates. Making Daphne a quirky girl who is persistent in all her random pursuits such as becoming a stand-up comedian and trying not to be reliant on technology. She owns this quirkiness too making her not only funny and weird, but independent. This personality almost resembles that of a stereotypical teenage Tumblr user. This character also strays away from the damsel in destress of the 60’s and creates an independent woman of the 21st century. Velma shows how the nerd character has changed since the 60’s. Velma owns her intelligence and constant need to learn more. She prides herself in her love for learning and technology which is a very common thing in the 2010’s especially with the instant access we have to all this information. Shaggy in this new series has strayed away from being a hippy and is being focused on being more goofy and silly. He has become the fun loving character as opposed to the chill character of the “groovy” years.
Overall, the Scooby Doo franchise will never die because as the reboots keep updating the same concept, they will also update the characters. Its as simple as watching an episode Scooby Doo Where Are You? and then watching Be Cool, Scooby Doo and seeing how its gone from hippies and the groovy mystery machine, to hipsters and Fred with smartphone.