Wednesday, February 13, 2019

What's New, Scooby-Doo: "A Scooby Doo Valentine"

Premiered February 11, 2005.

Note from your trusted holiday reviewers:
2019 marks the 50th “birthday” of the world’s favorite mystery-solving Great Dane, Scooby-Doo.  Scooby and the "meddling kids" of Mystery Inc. have appeared in lots of holiday specials and episodes.  Throughout the year, we’ll be reviewing several of these.  We start with this Valentine’s Day offering!:

Scooby-Doo (Frank Welker) and the Mystery Inc. gang return to their hometown of Coolsville after a long road trip.  It's almost Valentine's Day, which excites Daphne (Grey Griffin), who says it's her favorite holiday.  The next day, they all them receive Valentine cards signed “your secret admirer.”  

The gang learns that teenagers have been disappearing from the local Lover's Lane hangout.  Velma (Mindy Cohn) finds an adhesive at the hangout and thinks it may be a clue.  

Shaggy  (Casey Kasem) runs into his old girlfriend Rachel (Joey Lauren Adams), who is covering the missing teens for the local paper.  

Shaggy and Scooby run into their respective ex-girlfriends, Rachel and Roxanne.
She tells Shaggy that she has a new boyfriend, singer JC Chasez (himself) of the group NSYNC.  Rachel’s relationship with Chasez makes Shaggy jealous and makes Velma and Daphne very envious.  

The Scooby gang's attempt to solve the mystery of the missing teens gets complicated when Sheila (Rachael MacFarlane), who was attacked the night before, identifies them as the culprits who menaced her and kidnapped her boyfriend.  They’re shocked and confused by this accusation.  

Later, Mystery Inc. gets more Valentines, which ask them to show up at Lover's Lane at midnight.  They believe there’s a connection between the kidnapped teens and their secret admirer.    

Upon arrival, they’re ambushed by...themselves!  Or some sort of clones Mystery Inc. that also posses super-strength.  

Coolsville police officer McBride (Dan Castellaneta), who isn't crazy about the gang to begin with, gladly arrests Mystery Inc. and sends them all to jail!

Can Scooby and the gang clear their names and solve the mystery of the missing teenagers?  Or will they spend Valentine’s Day in the Coolsville Jail?

J.A. Morris says: 

I’ve been a fan of Scooby-Doo and his friends for a long time, and this Valentine episode was deliberately meant to remind us of Scooby’s earlier series.  It’s a fun episode and since Valentine’s Day doesn’t have nearly as many episodes as the “bigger” holidays, it’s always nice to have more Valentine-themed programming.  However, there are problems with “A Scooby-Doo Valentine.”

The “fake” versions of the Scooby gang display super-strength and the ability to jump long distances.  This is never explained during the reveal of the villain.  I admit it’s silly to look for “logic” in a Scooby-Doo cartoon, but I wanted to know where they got their enhanced abilities.  

The New Scooby-Doo Movies, an earlier series from the 70s, usually featured celebrity guests who often provided their own voice.  In the tradition of that series, this episode features a guest appearance of JC Chasez.  Many of you might not know who that is and will wonder why everyone is shocked when they hear he’s dating Rachel.  I’m thinking that Chasez’ group NSYNC had already peaked when this episode first aired in 2005, since they hadn’t recorded anything for several years.  

In addition to Chasez, “A Scooby-Doo Valentine” also features a guest voice appearance by actor/director Joey Lauren Adams.  She does a nice job as Rachel.  When she screams “GET OUT!” at Shaggy during the flashback sequence, viewers will likely be reminded of Adams’ performance in Chasing Amy.

I enjoyed the gang’s misadventures in this episodes and the “secret admirer” letters were a nice storytelling device for a Valentine’s Day episode.  We also get a funny flashback scene where we see younger versions of Shaggy and Scooby.   

“A Scooby-Doo Valentine” features a very strong cast of voice actors.  Frank Welker and Casey Kasem were the original voices of Fred and Shaggy.  They give great performances of their old characters and Welker also performs Scooby’s voice (Don Messick, Scooby-Doo’s original voice actor had passed away by this time).  Velma is voiced by Mindy Cohn, who my generation will remember as Natalie Green on The Facts Of Life.  

I enjoyed “A Scooby-Doo Valentine” but its dated pop culture references and plot holes keep me from giving it a higher rating.

J.A. Morris’ rating:

2 and a half Valentine hearts.

RigbyMel says: 

This Valentine’s episode is from the third season of What’s New, Scooby-Doo?, a 21st century update on the Scooby Gang featuring new adventures.    Interestingly,  “A Scooby-Doo Valentine” was written by Nahnatchka Khan, who is probably best known as the producer of shows like Fresh Off The Boat.  

Khan includes a lot of fun meta-references for longtime Scooby-philes, like Daphne’s mention of Sarah Michelle Gellar (who played the character in the live action Scooby-Doo from 2002 and its 2004 sequel) or the inclusion of a “celebrity guest star”.  She also works in a good red herring or two as to who the culprit for the kidnappings might be.    

As J.A. Morris says above, it’s nice to have another addition to the Valentine’s Day TV canon and there are secret admirer messages aplenty, plus it’s always fun to hang out with Scooby and his friends. However, there are also some holes in the plot that bugged me, such as the whole Scooby-doppelgangers' “super-strength without explanation” thing.   

Also, the motivation of the culprit seems a bit … thin considering the elaborateness of the kidnappings.  Then again, maybe that wouldn’t bother the intended audience of kids (whose nostalgic parents or aunties or suchlike might be looking in with a more critical eye than we did when we were watching older iterations of the series).  

Maybe it's that weird mix of nostalgia plus aiming at an audience that is too really young to have nostalgia for earlier iterations of Scooby-Doo that doesn't entirely work for me?    Meaning that in my estimation, “A Scooby-Doo Valentine” is enjoyable all-ages silly fun, but not a classic.

Valentine's Day reminds Scooby and Shaggy of their first love:Food!
RigbyMel’s rating: 

2 Valentine hearts

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