We watch... so you don't have to.

Rut-Roh! It's a Whole New Doo

I've always been a "just say no" kind of guy. For the most part, I like my neural pathways clean and orderly and unaltered by any sort of chemicals. But I must admit that every now and then, I succumb to a bit of curiosity about what a more pharmacologically enhanced worldview might be like.

Fortunately, I've stumbled upon a number of perfectly safe and legal substitutes to your average drug trip. David Lynch movies, for example. Or those old Superman's Pal, Jimmy Olsen comics from the 1960s, where Jimmy is always getting turned into a werewolf or a gorilla or a giant turtle, and Jimmy and Superman have this truly creepy codependent relationship. ("Gosh, Superman! Don't be so mad at me!" "Jimmy, you're a hateful brat, and I'm going to throw you into the sun! Ha! Just kidding, little pal.") Just one of these is, as far as I can tell, the equivalent of an entire sheet of suspiciously marked blotter paper.

More recently, I discovered reruns of The New Scooby-Doo Movies, which has about the same effect as the entire 1968 Woodstock festival, squeezed into 44 minutes of limited animation. Apparently, back in the '70s, Hanna-Barbera's neverending quest to squeeze more money out of America's favorite talking, mystery-solving dog led them to an admittedly novel concept: celebrity guests. Every week, the poorly drawn and repetitively animated Scooby Gang stumbles into a chance encounter with a poorly drawn and repetitively animated famous person, doing their own actual voice, and together they all embark on some wacky mystery involving a very unconvincing ghost or monster. Hilarity, and profit, ensues.

Some of the guest stars were mercifully fictional, like the Addams Family or Batman and Robin -- the latter pretty much an All-Star Battle of the Disturbing Subtexts. But then you'd get Tim Conway as a hapless, dumpy sports coach. Dick Van Dyke as a wacky ice cream man. Sandy Duncan, back when she apparently had a fan club of some kind. Don freakin' Knotts. And -- I kid you not -- Mama Cass. In hindsight, all those jokes about Mama Cass liking to eat inhuman amounts of unhealthy food just get so much funnier, don't they?

Actually, considering AOL Time Warner's similar efforts to flog poor Scooby for all the cash he's worth, I'm surprised no one's thought about reviving The New Scooby-Doo Movies. Adults would watch for the irony and self-aware camp value; kids would watch because, well, AOL Time Warner tells them to. I can just see it now:


While passing through Yorba Linda, California, the gang is baffled to hear reports that the Ghost of Richard Nixon is haunting his own presidential library. Through a series of wacky mishaps, they join forces with gonzo journalist-turned-ghost-catcher Hunter S. Thompson, whose stated goal is to "put that pile of rancid pig shit back in the ground where he belongs."

SHAGGY: Like, it sure is dark and spooky in this museum, Scoob!

SCOOBY: Reah! Rark and rooky!

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: Is that dog supposed to be talking?

VELMA: Of course, Mr. Thompson! That's just ol' Scooby.

HUNTER S. THOMPSON: Oh, thank Christ. I thought the ether was viciously turning on me. He's got a hell of a speech impediment, though. Bats! Get 'em off! &*#$!

[HUNTER S. THOMPSON injects a horse-sized needle directly into his neck and begins to speak in tongues. Everyone else laughs.]


Shaggy's old pal Ozzy Osbourne invited the gang to join his family at Osbourne Manor, the aging rocker's ancestral British estate. Ozzy stands to inherit the whole thing from his deceased Great-Uncle Wilfred if he and his family can spend an entire night inside the supposedly haunted mansion. But no sooner have they all arrived than Ozzy mysteriously vanishes! And a strange phantom wanders the halls, moaning incoherently!

VELMA: Look! The ghost tripped over the sofa, and he's not moving!

FRED: Now let's see who the ghost really is!


DAPHNE: It's Ozzy Osbourne!

OZZY: Huh? Wha? Wha' time izzit?

SHARON: Sweetheart, did get lost and wander into the linen closet again?

OZZY: Izzat where I was?

KELLY: He does this all the [beep]ing time.

JACK: It's so [beep]ing embarrassing.

SHARON: Watch your [beep]ing mouth, kids.

SCOOBY AND OZZY: I don't get it!

[Everyone laughs.]


President George W. Bush summons the Scooby Gang to Washington to catch the strange spirit haunting the White House. Identified only as a "Middle Eastern male between the ages of 18 and 40," he appears to deliver vague but dire threats about impending bombings that terrify the country. Is the ghost really mean old Senator Hillary Clinton? Or shifty-eyed Al Gore, still contesting the Florida election results? If Dubya, Scooby and the gang can't catch this fanatical phantom, the terrorists will have won!

VELMA: Look, Mr. President! We caught the ghost!

GEORGE W. BUSH: That's wonderful! You kids did a helluva job capturing that spooky specter. Now let's get to executifying him!

DAPHNE: Uh... don't you want to see who it is first?

GEORGE W. BUSH: Oh. Is that how it's supposed to go?

FRED: Let's see who the terrorist ghost REALLY is!


SHAGGY: Like, it's that spooky old Mr. Cheney from the Vice President's office!

DICK CHENEY: Dammit, George, you weren't supposed to let them catch me!


VELMA: Don't worry, Mr. President, I can explain. You see, first--

DICK CHENEY: Actually, young lady, that information is classified, for reasons of national security.

VELMA: But I--

DICK CHENEY: Enemy combatant! Enemy combatant!

[SECRET SERVICE AGENTS rush in, grab VELMA, and begin to drag her away.]

GEORGE W. BUSH: So! Anyone want a pretzel?

[EVERYONE but VELMA laughs.]

See? There's no shortage of story possibilities for a "New Scooby-Doo Movies" revival. Who knows, maybe the Scooby Gang could even hang out at AOL Time Warner Headquarters with Fred's Uncle Steve Case. They could catch that pesky gremlin, the Invisible Hand, who's been throwing so many monkey wrenches in the company's plans. The gang would learn a valuable lesson about why enormous corporate mergers are good for everybody, as long as you make sure to keep the books "balanced." And once the gremlin had been buried under a stack of unused AOL promotional CDs, they could all share a hearty laugh.

... On second thought, maybe I should just say "yes."


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