What’s So Bad About Scrappy-Doo? A Defense of History’s Most Hated Cartoon Dog


There are loads of issues I don’t get in regards to the Scooby-Doo franchise. I don’t get why Velma, assured and affable within the first sequence, has since been made a cynical, deadpan nerd with vanity points. I don’t get why Scooby and Shaggy have been rendered peripheral characters in so a lot of their very own exhibits, irrelevant to the plot at finest and an lively hindrance to the gang at worst. I don’t get why Scooby-Doo is a franchise in any respect; the components could also be entertaining, however there are solely so many occasions I’m ready to take a seat via it, even with the occasional actual monster and design replace. But most of all, I don’t get the continued disdain geared toward one pint-sized nephew named Scrappy Dappy Doo.


He’s been put via the wringer, Scrappy has. He was unceremoniously dropped from the franchise on the finish of the Nineteen Eighties and hasn’t been allowed again into the TV sequence since. Those few references made to him on the assorted exhibits of latest years are derogatory. The ill-advised 2002 live-action movie made him right into a maniacal villain. Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law loved subjecting him to humiliating cameos, typically as a corpse. Even Cartoon Network acquired its kicks in through one of their bumpers within the early 2000s. And “the Scrappy” has grow to be a well-liked time period for late-addition characters rejected by followers.

RELATED: Why ‘Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island’ Is One of the Best & Scariest Films of the Franchise

Of course, that type of outrage over a Saturday morning cartoon ought to at all times be taken with an enormous shaker’s value of salt, particularly within the age of Twitter and YouTube feedback sections. It’s a secure guess that such rabid anti-fans have larger quantity than they do numbers. Still, Scrappy’s taken pictures fairly persistently for the previous three many years, so there’s something to the unfavourable fan reception. Is he actually that dangerous?

Those Scooby followers who flip their nostril up at Scrappy and blame him for bringing the franchise down ought to know that Scrappy’s the one motive Scooby-Doo survived lengthy sufficient to achieve the age of recent media franchising. In 1979, after three sequence and a spread of gimmicks from superstar visitor stars to dimwit cousin Scrappy-Dum, Scooby-Doo was on its final legs. Repeition was such a problem even then that ABC was speaking cancelation. This was untenable to Hanna-Barbera, they usually determined that what Scooby-Doo wanted was a brand new star character. Joe Barbera established the fundamental concept of slightly nephew named Scrappy-Doo, animator Iwo Takamoto (in all probability) ready a personality design, and author Mark Evanier developed Scrappy’s persona with Looney Tunes star Henry Hawk as a mannequin. Why Henry Hawk? Because the ABC govt who would determine Scooby’s destiny was allegedly enamored with the basic Looney Tunes and would approve cartoons primarily based on their connections to the classics. Evanier later had trigger to doubt the manager’s devotion to the Looney Tunes, however he duly took his cues from Henry Hawk and wrote the script for what amounted to an unofficial pilot for Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo. On the power of that script, the sequence was picked up.

It was, on the finish of the day, the identical previous story: spooky mysteries ending with a man in a masks. Only now, there was an irascible pet that needed to duke it out with the crooks as a substitute of fleeing from them or fixing the thriller. Scrappy’s cries of “Let me at ‘em!” and “puppy power!” (apparently an ad-lib from a rejected voice actor that Barbera took a liking to) sounded relentlessly via each new episode, and the motion more and more centered on the trio of Scooby, Shaggy, and Scrappy. So a lot focus was given over to them that, come second season, Fred, Daphne, and Velma have been written out. Daphne would sometimes rejoin the forged in sure incarnations, however for a lot of the Nineteen Eighties, Scooby-Doo was a three-man group.

Scrappy did the job he was made for; ABC didn’t cancel, and rankings improved. The writers (not less than a few of them) even enjoyed working with the character. But Scrappy got here in for hassle earlier than he ever made it to the air. Finding the suitable voice was a torturous course of requiring a number of recordings of the whole episode, and a cash and persona dispute ended up costing Scrappy his first performer after only one season (Don Messick, Scooby’s VA, in the end acquired the half for many of Scrappy’s run). According to Evanier, Standards and Practices discovered the little man “too independent” and needed im to adapt extra along with his uncle Scooby. Evanier efficiently refuted their calls for in a convention, however Hanna-Barbera would later cave and have one other author water Scrappy down. And his preliminary run of episodes was given out to a lower than stellar animation home.

Evanier finally concluded that Scrappy wasn’t a great addition to the forged long-term. His capability to talk comprehensibly in comparison with Scooby “tore the already-frail ‘reality’” in his evaluation. I doubt was the difficulty. For all of the issues I questioned about Scooby-Doo whilst a child, the 2 speaking canine having totally different speech patterns by no means crossed my thoughts, and I’ve by no means seen a Scrappy hater deliver it up. The coincidental determination to have actual supernatural beings in the course of the Scrappy years was a extra important shake-up to the components, one which some discovered repulsive (a later effort would cut back the Skeptical Inquirer to tears). And the truth that this new character burst onto the scene with equal billing on the title – whereas three core forged members have been dumped – rubbed some followers the mistaken means (and helped to encourage Poochie on The Simpsons years later).

But as initially conceived, Scooby-Doo was a sequence with 5 lead characters and two personalities to separate amongst them. Velma had a catchphrase and a operating gag together with her glasses, however Fred and Daphne had just about no distinguishing character traits. Daphne’s time away from the sequence didn’t acquire her any persona at any time when she did return for a season or two, and the main target remained on Shaggy and the canine in any case. Whatever else you could say about him, Scrappy has a particular persona, one that might have an effect on the course of a narrative. Which wasn’t at all times a optimistic; rewatching episodes of Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo for this text, I’ll readily concede that Scrappy is an obnoxious little tyke, aggressively shoved into each potential scene with catchphrases which can be crushed to dying – in his first season.

But Scrappy developed with time, rather more quickly than the unique forged had. One season and a forged change later, he had mellowed significantly, turning into extra of a wide-eyed and keen younger sleuth than a would-be brawler. His blind, delusional hero-worship of his uncle Scooby gave approach to a extra life like (however nonetheless affectionate) opinion. The shrinking forged would enable him to evolve additional. Bland as they have been, Fred and Velma did put clues collectively and resolve mysteries, and together with Daphne, they delivered a lot of the exposition and requested needed questions. With their departure, and with Shaggy and Scooby nonetheless performed as comedian characters, Scrappy was left to take up the slack, in impact turning into the straight man of the franchise – a youthful, extra energetic, and lively straight man who discovered the concept of ghosts and goblins thrilling.

This was most obvious in what might be known as the Red Shirt Shaggy period. This interval of the franchise started with The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo. Daphne (and Flim Flam, a much more obnoxious sidekick than Scrappy ever was) have been nonetheless alongside for the trip, however when The 13 Ghosts completed its very transient run, Scooby-Doo endured as a sequence of TV films with Scooby, Scrappy, and a palette-swapped Shaggy combined up in numerous supernatural conditions. His crimson shirt appeared to present Shaggy slightly extra sense of duty, and because the solely human in the principle forged, he virtually needed to grow to be extra of a detective and straight man. But it was Scrappy who embraced no matter journey the gang grew to become entangled in and pursued the mysteries and monstrosities concerned – and by this level, he did it with out attempting to “splat” anybody or evoke “puppy power.”

Were these TV films any good? The 80s as an entire aren’t precisely essentially the most beloved period of Scooby-Doo, or animated community tv as an entire for that matter, and a padded, meandering movie like Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers isn’t going to win any Emmys. But Scooby-Doo is a franchise for teenagers, and as a child, I loved Scrappy and the Red Shirt Shaggy period as a lot as I loved every other Scooby sequence – that’s to say, effectively sufficient. Looking again as an grownup, I don’t see a case for Scrappy having introduced the franchise to its knees. Hanna-Barbera’s TV animation by no means had good manufacturing worth, and the standard of the writing (by no means precisely Pulitzer-worthy) began to slide effectively earlier than Scrappy turned up. If Scrappy was pushed too aggressively when he first appeared – and was a bit an excessive amount of of a twerp – he grew to become a extra tenable character with time, and a extra fascinating straight man than the choice.

Fred, Daphne, and Velma would finally be again, to remain. More latest sequence and movies have tried to graft personalities on to them, typically on the expense of any significant function for Shaggy and Scooby within the numerous movies and exhibits of the fashionable period. These efforts have been reasonably profitable, at occasions, however in comparison with Scrappy’s decade-long stint, he nonetheless appears the extra strong character. A pared-down forged that includes him, Shaggy, and Scooby let the latter duo extra successfully be the true stars of what’s alleged to be their present. And for a way uneven they have been, there was a way of experimentation with the totally different ghostly encounters of the Red Shirt Shaggy interval that’s enjoyable to look at, and not less than affords some aid from the in any other case interminable “man in mask” components. So, for all these causes – no, Scrappy wasn’t so dangerous. And if the franchise is to proceed—which all indicators level to, nonetheless baffling I discover it—then it is perhaps value giving Scoob’s nephew his personal reintroduction.


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