Is there any cartoon character in the world more popular and beloved than Scooby-Doo?
Heck, is there any character of any sort more popular and beloved than Scooby-Doo?
Sure, Donald Trump may give Scoob a run for his money, but I’ll lay odds on the big, scaredy Great Dane most days.
Part of Scooby’s appeal, beyond his bravery, is the ensemble he works with — you know … Shaggy, Fred, Daphne, Velma, Stewie, Brian.
Scooby also has some fun and/or annoying family members, starting with his “nephew” Scrappy-Doo and filtering all the way down to his depressing, chronically unemployed sad-sack of a third cousin, Damned-If-You-Doo.
And even more fun than the mere existence of these Scooby-Doo relatives is the fact that so many of them have sketchy backstories.
For example, consider …
Depending on your tastes, Scooby-Dum is either a charming recurring homecoming for Scooby himself, or a mildly annoying grasp by Hanna-Barbera to tweak new parts of their potential audience.
First seen in the September 25, 1976, Scooby episode tiled “The Gruesome Game of the Gator Ghoul,” Dum has an undeniable rapport with his … um … with Scooby.
The two Great Danes greet each other with exaggerated exaltations of each other’s names and seem to get along famously. And, you can’t help but feel sorry/warm for Dum when he whips out his magnifying glass at any mention of a “clue” or an impending mystery.
But there’s a problem with the provenance here.
While the Scooby universe is pretty consistent in placing Dum’s home with Ma and Pa Skillet (uh-huh), the characters themselves disagree on his exact relationship to Scooby.
In particular, the two are positioned as cousins in most episodes … but some others mention that they’re brothers. And that from the lips of Shaggy himself.
Since they’re dogs … could it possibly be … that … *shudder* … they’re both?
OK, I know what you’re thinking here …
Scrappy-Doo may be annoying, and he may represent Scooby’s jumping of the shark, but he’s just a plucky little dude who will never back down from a fight.
He’s spunky to the point of nuisance, yes, but he’s good at his core.
And he’s Scooby’s nephew, son of Scooby’s beloved sister, Ruby-Doo.
And Scrappy’s father is … um … well …
It’s a subject that’s conveniently avoided in Scooby lore. And, why after all these years, does Scrappy never get bigger?
I mean … “Puppy Power”?
The mind reels at the dark possibilities, so I’ll just leave you with one thought …
Some chihuahuas can jump fences.
Scooby-Dee is a beautiful actress dog who moves to Hollywood (from where?) and becomes a movie star.
As the Scoobies are wont to do, Dee pisses off a ghost, this one the remnant of some dead actor named Milo Booth.
Hilarity and horror unfolds, as expected, and Dee gets an escort back to Hollywood courtesy of Doo, Dum, and the gang of kids.
Predictably, she ends up lost, and the troupe has to traipse through a graveyard to find her.
Standard Scooby stuff.
No one seems to know who Scooby-Dee’s parents are.
And, even though she is their “cousin,” both Dum and Doo manage to fall in love with her.
Then … well, she rewards them with kisses at the end of the debacle.
In an episode of The New Scooby and Scrappy Doo Show titled “Wedding Bell Boos,” we learn about one of Scooby’s earliest American ancestors — a dog-dude named Yankee-Doodle-Doo.
We don’t get much of Yankee-Doodle, just a black and white illustration in a book, not surprising when you consider how he came to our shores with his master … on the Mayflower.
Now, when you see Yankee-Doodle, you probably think it’s just Scoob in a pilgrim disguise, but no …
This Doo is ill-tempered and has been dead (presumably) for hundreds of years.
“Yankee Doodle” the song was penned by the British as a derisive description of disorganized American “Yankee” troops … in 1755.
The Mayflower landed at Plymouth Rock in 1620.
So, either Yankee-Doodle-Doo served as the inspiration for one of the first American memes, or he and his descendants are trying to pull one over on us.
Horton-Doo shows up as an uncle of Scooby in Episode 305 of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo. There, in “The Were-Doo of Doo Manor,” Horton regales the gang with his knowledge of science and the macabre, and gives them a tour of his creepy laboratory (that’s pronounced lab-OR-atory in this case).
Thing is, and as the title of the episode hints, there is a werewolf running around the area at the same time.
And eyewitness reports peg the wolfie as a lookalike for Horton. Shaggy get suspicious and makes an uncomfortable accusation.
In the end, Nasty-Doo — the werewolf — turns out to be one Professor Digmi in disguise, and the teens bury the hatchet with Horton.
Again, we don’t really know where Horton came from, or if he’s really Scoob’s uncle.
I mean, he could be some mongrel who waited outside the science building for some unwitting student or prof to walk in and to not be diligent about closing the door behind them.
For all we know, I mean.
And then, it would have been just a short trot to the lab where he could use his canine wits to concoct some truly horrendous things.
Like, maybe all the horrendous things the kids encountered over the years?
Maybe. Because, who can dick you over better than family, even if they’re not real family?