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What Is ‘Velma’ DOING With This Awful #MeToo ‘Joke’?

Let's solve the case of the joke in poor taste.

Velma holds a frying pan with Fred and Velma's father in the background.

Velma, the HBO Max adult cartoon about the best detective in Mystery Inc., seems to pride itself on having a more “adult,” cynical take on the gang of teenage crime solvers. However, that “adult” nature has led to some horrifically tasteless jokes.

In the second episode of the series, Velma makes a truly bizarre comment to Daphne, claiming “I spit the truth without a filter, like every comedian before #MeToo.”

Genuinely: What the hell.

I will try to be fair to the series; it does seem that this version of Velma is meant to be self-involved and judgmental to the point of short-sightedness. These early episodes establish Velma as the type of girl who’s “not like the other girls” and who gets challenged when she and Daphne rekindle their friendship. This line also occurs in the middle of a discussion where Daphne accuses Velma of believing her snap judgments of other people to always be correct—meaning that much like those supposed “truth-spitting comedians,” Velma is not acknowledging other people’s experiences because they don’t fit into her personal perception of “the truth.”

But that line seems designed almost entirely for shock value, with almost no self-awareness or acknowledgment of how out there it is. It’s hard to imagine how it appeals to anyone other than people who are still fans of Louis C.K. To be honest, though, that also summarizes the show, which appears to be going through an identity crisis regarding whether it wants to be an edgy, adult take on the characters of Scooby-Doo or a genuine exploration of these characters’ flaws.

In one episode of What’s New Scooby-Doo?, titled “It’s all Greek to Me,” Velma reacts poorly when she doesn’t correctly solve the mystery, going off on a rant about how she couldn’t have possibly known it was a certain character because the gang hadn’t met them. That obsessive need to be right seems to be what this version of Velma needs to deal with as a character.

Obviously, it’s hard to tell where the series will go with this in the space of two 30-minute episodes, but I do hope Velma (both the character and the show) manages to figure out who they are and what they want to be.

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Kimberly Terasaki is a Creative Writing graduate, fanfiction author, and intersectional feminist. She liked Ahsoka Tano before it was cool, will fight you about Rey being a “Mary Sue,” and is a Kamala Khan stan. She appreciates all constructive criticism and genuine discussion.