RIP Velma Dinkley 1969-2022

You can mourn the death of a fictional character but can you mourn the ‘death’ of a fictional character? Mindy Kaling’s ‘reimagining’ of Scooby Doo’s Velma sure seems like the death of the character we all know and love.

Why? I mean, Kaling is not short on talent but she couldn’t have created something original instead? She’s already remaking the character, how much additional effort would be needed to make one truly her own? Not much! one wonders whether Kaling pitched an original show that got shot down for [insert your own reasons here] but got a reprieve when some executive realised they could leverage existing IP by making it about Velma.

And why does it have to be for adults? We’ve seen time and again that ‘adult’ shows are a niche product while shows with broader appeal can be just as ‘adult’ without toeing the line between PG and Rule 34.

The Simpsons is a prime example. You don’t get much more ‘adult’ than showcasing the effects of divorce on the kids, or even better, political campaigns. I suppose that’s all a bit too boring these days though.

The risk of officially-santioned Rule 34 material is also very real. Ren & Stimpy in its original series was a Nicktoon and while it was infamous for getting crap past the radar, when John K. was given free reign to indulge himself, the results are deeply buried for very good reasons; sullying the reputation of the original (amongst other reasons). The ‘nudge nudge, wink wink’ tone of a series mkaes for a good in-joke but once the secret was out, well, where’s the fun in that?

Will the same happen to Velma and Scooby Doo? What happens when Velma is taken beyond her natural environment of a kids show and relocated to a trope-laden college setting? Will the series be a critical take on female characters like Velma or is it destined to be a run-of-the-mill adult show with no real substance of any kind? Given the raft of such shows lately, my guess is a firm yes.

I like Velma, but can I like Kaling’s version of Velma? It’s too early to tell but I’m not optimistic.

What are you thoughts?