A super-interesting essay on how Scooby Doo affected a generation of storytellers

You heard me. SUPER-INTERESTING.

For its purposes—minding its audience—Scooby Doo wanted to simply unleash chaos and then resolve it within a 20-minute segment. Its form was never conducive to a deep dive into the philosophical questions that plagued the gothic. And although its mysteries were watered-down to be palatable and villains were dressed up to mask their humanity when committing their crimes, the genius of the show lies, ironically, in what most people would say is its weakness: its repetition. On one level, the show performs the very function dictated to it by detective fiction, which is to reassure the viewer that justice will prevail and that order will be reinstated. On another level, the show’s very pattern allows the viewer to predict the plot of upcoming episodes: Even during the celebration of catching one villain, the viewer begins to imagine the next. Repetition is, ultimately, a cornerstone of life, and harmful cycles can only be broken if something changes.

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