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What Lesson Was “Scooby-Doo” Teaching its Viewers in Fat-Shaming Daphne?

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Parents know why it’s important to monitor the TV and movies our children watch. But can we at least let our guard down when ol’ pal Scooby-Doo is involved?

Some parents said no recently after hearing the plot of a new “Scooby-Doo” adventure.

Frankencreepy,” the latest tale featuring Fred, Daphne and the rest of the crime-solving gang, featured an unorthodox storyline. A wicked curse hits the team, striking at the things each member holds dear.

For the svelte Daphne, it means losing her enviable figure. She ballooned up from a size 2 to a size 8.

Cue the parental outrage, particularly from those who understand how media images impact our children and fear a fresh round of fat shaming.

What was Warner Bros. thinking? The company’s response, however, was more modulated.

While Daphne is at first upset by the sudden change, there is a touching moment where Fred points out that he didn’t even notice a change and that she always looks great to him.

At the end, when Velma explains how they figured out the mystery, she points out that the curse actually DIDN’T take away what means the most to each of them: their friendship.

Much ado over nothing? It wouldn’t be the first time social media mavens pounced without knowing all the facts.

I’d still call it a teachable moment. And it reminds parents not to tip toe out of the room when the family TV is blasting the latest kiddie show.

As a parent, I was more concerned about another, less discussed “Scooby-Doo” development. I started streaming a “Scooby-Doo” reboot with my sons on Netflix a few weeks back. This updated version showed Velma blogging and other modern flourishes.

That’s progress, I suppose.

What struck me was how Velma and Daphne pined after Shaggy and Fred, respectively, like mindless school girls whose lives had little meaning without the objects of their affection. How did the men react to their romantic longings? They either were oblivious or found it distracting.

How will young viewers, especially girls, see this recurring storyline?

It’s foolish to dig too deeply into TV content, particularly for parents who already have enough to juggle on a daily basis. But a steady stream of certain memes shouldn’t be ignored.

I’m always amazed at how much my sons absorb from the world around them. They pick up conversation snippets, bits from the news radio show I listen to each morning and, yes, storylines on their favorite shows.

Today’s content producers need to understand the role they play in shaping our culture. But it’s up to parents to complete the loop, watch the shows our children are glued to and discuss the topics in play. It’s better than firing off an angry tweet and feeling satisfied.

There’s an upside to this, of course. Your children will be amazed at how you spot the “Scooby-Doo” villain long before our heroes do.

Photo credit: Warner Bros. Online via YouTube

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