*Sigh* Here we go. Mindy Kaling’s newest
vanity vehicle television show, “Velma,” is not only a terrible excuse for entertainment, but a disgrace to one of the most influential cartoon shows ever made in America. The show doesn’t even feature the most famous character and talking dog in the original program, “Scooby Doo”.
But the show also abhors the fact that it is an animated program, with many references made to the original in a cynical way, like making many catchphrases into drugs, ‘’Jeepers,’’ ‘’Zoinks” and ‘’Mystery Machine.’’ Not only this, but I believe that this show is the apex of a theory called “sacrificial trash.”
First off, what is “Sacrificial Trash?” This is a term coined by YouTuber Sarah Z in this video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUziUNg8LTw). To summarize it for you, sacrificial trash is a show that is created so badly and is, well, trash, but tries to shield itself from all criticism due to it having a diverse cast or any hint of diversity. In this current political climate, any show with a non white lead is attacked by intolerant people online. Even if a piece of media is diverse but good (e.g. “Spiderverse,” “The Last of Us,” “Captain Marvel,” “She-Hulk”), some people will attack it. But what if the show is bad and has no redeeming features except its diverse cast? Now you have people scared to criticize the show for fear of being lumped in with the racists and intolerants.
Before the show was released I will have to admit, I was excited for it. I love the character of Velma and I saw myself and many people saw themselves as her, appreciating seeing a female character that was smart, yet not uptight, overly concerned with appearance, and was hilarious or sassy at times, while also being short and seemingly plus-sized in some animated versions. As a Black nerdy woman, I was also excited to see a dark-skinned South Asian take on Velma. While I was never a fan of Mindy Kaling, I admired her tenacity of working her way up and developing herself as a woman of color in the entertainment industry. Readers, I was wrong. I was so so wrong.
This show is an abomination and doesn’t even deserve to be written on the paper that was provided by the studio. While the animation is top notch and has many references to old Scooby-Doo, the writing feels like it hates the fact that it is a Scooby-Doo show. Velma is insufferable, Daphne is a stereotypical mean girl, Shaggy, now referred to his real name Norville is a loser who grovels at Velma’s feet (also, NORVILLE? REALLY?), and Fred is portrayed as a punching bag and a massive jerk with a personality comparable to white bread instead of the lovable oaf we’ve known for our lives. The paper thin narrative that they call a plot is boiled down to Velma attempting to solve a series of grisly murders of the local teenage girls at her high school while navigating the disappearance of her mother, but the jokes and pure trashy writing make the plot feel like just a vehicle to move from bad joke to bad joke.
Velma also feels ashamed of her culture, with jokes like, “like a desert course at an Indian restaurant, just forget it.” Also, the pure sexualization of high school students just to be edgy, calling them sluts and whores, it feels like the show wanted to be “Riverdale.” They even had Velma and Daphne become an item, which was wanted by fans for many years, but was botched horrendously in the show, borderline making the pairing a joke with slapping Velman then kissing her to help her come to her senses while experiencing a panic attack.
This show is currently the number one most watched show on HBO Max beating out critical darling and objectively superior show, “The Last of Us.” This is a travesty because many programs such as “Infinity Train,” “OK K.O.!,” and “Victor and Valentino” have been written off and deleted for tax write off purposes and have diverse casts, interesting plots, and are generally better made shows.
Last year was a bloodbath at Warner Bros. Discovery. I am shocked this show survived and I hope that this trash doesn’t go forward. Either way, at least we have the culmination of the “90-Day Fiance” universe, “90-Day Fiance: Secret Wives.”