A few months back when quarantine was just beginning, my partner and I decided to overthink the straight to video Scooby Doo movies. Based on our observations while watching the “Zombie Island” movie, we posed the thought that the Scooby movies don’t follow the same formula as the shows, and took it upon ourselves to not only research this, but also do a full report on what we found using the scientific method.
Below lie our findings, and our surprising ultimate conclusion.
A Study on Whether “Scooby Doo!” movies adhere to two basic principles established in the Scooby universe.
Hypothesis: None of the movies follow the formula of episodes, which have two standard rules.
Experiment: Evaluate synopses of Scooby movies and decide whether they adhere to two rules:
1: Is the “monster” actually a human being who is acting poorly and/or is there an actual monster, ghost, or other supernatural force involved in the plot
2: Is there a moral to the unmasking of the villain, or a lesson that brings the team closer together?
Scooby Doo Meets the Boo Brothers
Scooby Doo and the Ghoul School
The girls are actual monsters
Scooby Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf
Scooby Doo in Arabian Nights
Actual magic in plot
Scooby Doo on Zombie Island
The Zombies are real
Scooby Doo and the Witch’s Ghost
Scooby Doo and the Alien Invaders
Scooby Doo and the Cyberchase
Futuristic Tech non-canon to Scooby Universe
Scooby Doo and the Legend of the Vampire
Scooby Doo and the Monster of Mexico
Scooby Doo and the Loch Ness Monster
No moral lesson
Aloha, Scooby Doo
Scooby Doo in Where’s my Mummy
Velma is a bitch for no reason and no one learns anything
Scooby Doo Pirates Ahoy
Chill Out Scooby Doo
Scooby Doo and the Goblin King
Scooby Doo and the Samurai Sword
No moral lesson
Scooby Doo AbraCadabraDoo
Scooby Doo Camp Scare
Scooby Doo Legend of the Phantosaur
Scooby Doo Music of the Vampire
Big Top Scooby Doo
Scooby Doo Mask of the Blue Falcon
No moral lesson
Scooby Doo Adventures the Mystery Map
No moral lesson
Scooby Doo Stage Fright
Scooby Doo Wrestlemania Mystery
Scooby Doo Frankencreepy
Scooby Doo Moon Monster Madness
Scooby Doo & Kiss Rock and Roll Mystery
Scooby Doo Haunted Hollywood
Scooby Doo & WWE Curse of the Speed Demon
Scooby Doo Shaggy’s Showdown
Lego Scooby Doo Blowout Beach Bash
Scooby Doo and Batman Brave & Bold
Scooby Doo and the Gourmet Ghost
No moral lesson
Scooby Doo and the Curse of the 13th Ghost
Scooby Doo Return to Zombie Island
Zombies are still Real
From the selections above we can conclude that 8/37 break both rules in some way, 13/37 break only one rule, with 5/13 having no moral lesson; and 13/37 break neither rule. This also brings us our three outlier films. These three selections fall outside of the rules in that they could occur as canon in the universe they are taken from, even though they are not able to be canon to the Scooby Universe.
The data can be arranged as follows:
Conclusion: From this data, we can conclude that our initial hypothesis was completely incorrect. While nearly 57% of the films break the rules in the study, this is not all of the films, and thus invalidates our hypothesis. From this study we also learned that there is a deviation for films that cannot be judged by our current criteria.
Further study can be conducted upon acquiring the films noted in this study and watching them rather than reading synopses. This topic will be revisited with new standards and a new hypothesis.
Basically the title. There is no shame in saying a piece of media saved your life. Sometimes introspection and relating to a piece of media can help you work through things better than a conversation with a person. However, I am not saying to latch onto a piece of media as your only reason to live, or anything like that. We’re not coping, we’re thriving. Keep in mind that I will not be talking about “fandom” in this post. Fandom is a gamble, it can so easily dissolve into an echo chamber and can often hold you back from getting better due to the false perception of “safety” it gives you.
I often tell people that Dragon Age and Dr. Strange saved my life. In truth, they very well may have, if not for anything because they distracted me enough from the things that were troubling me that I was actually able to weather the storms with them as my shelter. Now I know that sounds hokey. I probably should have gone to therapy and actually gotten some fresh air, and all that. BUT that’s not how it happened!
Therapy was prohibitively expensive, and I was in a living situation where I had to make myself small, hidden, and quiet. And so I fell in love with a video game franchise. A close friend was increasingly excited about the upcoming game, Dragon Age Inquisition, and pulled me into the loop. She preordered me a copy, saying that even if I didn’t like it she was just thrilled to share her favorite thing with a dear friend. At this point in my life, a sharp downturn in depression had robbed me of my ability to really “get into” anything, so I decided I was going to jump in feet first.
For the first time in my life I pre-planned a character. Because I had not played the first two games in the franchise, I read up on the lore and decisions you could make in the previous games, carefully cultivating a “backstory” on the Dragon Age Keep. I researched the cultures that inspired the race I chose to play (Qunari), and worked to pick a name and create a bit of a roleplay backstory for him to make my gameplay more engaging. I took in as much information as I could, so that on November 18th I sat down and felt as though I’d already intimately known Derya Adaar for years and was just continuing his adventure.
I proceeded to put over 200 hours into just his file. I touched everything, I read everything, I spoke to everyone. I befriended Varric. I romanced The Iron Bull. The rotating party characters became my family, and I loved watching their interactions warm up and grow. I watched my character who I’d painstakingly cultivated fall deeply in love with a man who loved him in a way I’d never known was possible, despite playing the game several feet away from the man I was married to.
Throughout the game and my research,I learned more about the Qunari culture and belief system and slowly began to apply parts of it to my own life. The main tenet of the Qun is that everyone and everything is a piece of a larger picture. People and things have a nature about them and that’s just how they are. You cannot fight it, you can only accept and adapt to or work around it. This helped me let go of a lot of limited beliefs and behaviors in my life. I still sit back sometimes and check the motives of myself or others against the idea of what greater purpose their actions serve, and it has deeply changed the way I relate to others.
During my last semester of college I was having an extremely rough go of it and spur of the moment decided I was going to channel my mental breakdown into a tattoo. I thought hard about the things that were most important to me at the time, and kept coming back to the Qun. The Qunari heraldry is a gorgeous piece of spiritual geometry that to me has always resembled a series of stones stacking to create the whole. With that in mind I combined a few words in Qunlat, and created the design that adorns my right forearm. Surrounding it are the words “Panahedan” and “Saarebas”, which simply put are “Where there is danger, go in peace” . A reminder to myself that I can get through anything and that there is no reason to harm myself fighting a losing fight against the nature of people and things.
Onto Dr. Strange. I’ll be the first to tell you that I never thought I’d get into what many people consider a “third string superhero” in terms of popularity. Keep in mind this is before the movies really made him into a household name.
As a child my entire world revolved around XMen comics. I remember reading my books so many times that they eventually fell apart. In my little bubble, I had no idea that other comics were even still running because they just weren’t on my radar. Cut to 2011, I was dating my ex husband and we’d just started seeing Marvel movies together. I mused aloud that it was “super weird” that they were making comic book movies even though comics were a dead industry. Little did I know that in the time since I was a six year old reading my XMen Adventures comics there had been thousands of books and countless adventures with characters I’d never even heard of.
So I dove into comics. Admittedly the worst possible way, with an ipad full of pirated books that a friend lent me. I found things I loved, things I hated, I tore through everything on there and when I ran out I tried to start a pull box at a local comic shop. Unfortunately my LCS couldn’t support pull boxes because they were in a college town and often screwed over by clients, plus I quickly learned how expensive books get when you start subscribing. Between this, and a depression brought on by my failing marriage, I pulled back from comics.
Christmas of 2017 I was alone due to extenuating circumstances and I decided to set up a Discord and watch Marvel movies to pass the holiday. I started with the ones I’d not seen yet, specifically Dr. Strange. I fell in love. I proceeded to watch it four times. I started buying comics on comixology shortly after. I consumed everything I could, because finally, I found a disabled superhero whose disability behaved like mine. Our stories were drastically different, but as someone with nerve damage that causes limited use of their hands and muscle control issues, this was huge for me.
Stephen Strange had to learn to not only overcome a physical limitation, but also drop the bad attitudes and limiting behaviors and mindsets that held him back in order to become the Sorcerer Supreme. He had to choose to be better so that he could meet his own needs. Silly as it sounds, one of the most successful ways I began to manage my frustration with myself and my setbacks by yelling “Dormammu I’ve come to bargain!” at them until I’m laughing too much to be upset.
Over time Dr. Strange became my grounding thought when things would get hard. In the last year I have found myself getting a lot worse in terms of the effects of my disability, and had a hard time coping with it. I also had some scars that were in need of coverage, so I put together a concept with some symbols that are important to me and created my Dr. Strange inspired tattoo.
First and foremost is the New York Sanctum symbol. Landed gently upon the top is an emperor butterfly, not only my favorite type; but also because it symbolizes change. Finally the filler around it, a shattered prism (a nod to the mirrorverse) but also a series of rainbow ladders. The Rainbow Ladder Support Team started by Youtubers EatYourKimchi has been another vital part of me accepting my situation and adapting to it rather than fixating on the things I cannot change. The fact that they go in all directions is a reminder that growth can go anywhere, it is not linear, we are not meant to grow only one way at a time, but to branch off, like cracks in a mirror.
I’d always found the phrase “let go of limiting behaviors” grating, some new age-y funk that only applied to pretty girls in yoga pants, but it really does work. I just needed it presented in formats that clicked for me. You’ll find your format too.
It’s been a long time since I last fired up my laptop, let alone went on wordpress even to read.
Last October something happened that drastically altered the course of my life and I had to struggle and find a way to get through it and keep moving. It’s taken this long for things to even normalize. Today I won’t be talking about the situation that led me here, but where we’re going from here.
With the current state of affairs and the COVID-19 pandemic, I have been forced to semi-social distance. My day job has asked that we stay home as much as humanly possible, and I intend to make the most of this time.
Starting with a revamp. As of today, I will be working on bringing you structured content and slowly create a schedule. The current things I would like to pursue are as always book reviews, travel diaries, crafts, and posts about coping with a worsening chronic illness.
Sorry for the sparseness of this post, I was over eager to get back out there.
“Polymorph” is a HELL of a drug. You might even say it was a…transformative read… This book is a thrill ride of erotica, post-apoc, and espionage. The story follows Lee, a person capable of changing her appearance at will based on anything she can imagine. These changes include superficial, musculoskeletal, and physiological. For the most part she uses her gift of anonymity to spice up her dating life, but this tale follows her having to utilize it to stop the only other polymorph she’s ever encountered. A villain who while they are not particularly villainous, is such a massive douche that you just want them to get their comeuppance. This review is laced with spoilers and talking points, so if you are considering tracking down this out of print treasure, please be aware.
I will preface this particular essay with a warning that this book was written in the mid-nineties. The language used in the book is NOT a representation of the current character of the author Scott Westerfeld, and does not represent his feelings towards any particular marginalized groups or those that fall into them. The language wasn’t really seen as inappropriate at the time, especially by people on the edgier side of thinking. That being said, I will omit the language from my personal sentiments of the book, but will keep it in place if quoting the text. This is also your fair warning that this book contains several fairly detailed sex scenes, and at least one graphic depiction of rape. The rape is plot-relevant, however. There are also elements of gore and body horror in play.
This book is a really cool specimen because not only is this Westerfeld’s first published work, it also scratched a very latent itch in my soul for the old-fashioned wordy sci-fi that our parents bought us by the milk crate at yard sales twenty years ago. It is equal parts futuristic and tired of the banality of the landscape the characters live in, and it really captures the essence of a feeling of embitterment about your home. I also found the handling of the gender fluidity of the protagonist and antagonist extremely progressive given this novel’s age. The author seamlessly switches between pronouns as Lee shifts into a male form during the second act of the story, and seamlessly back when he returns to Lee.
The amount of research put into the tech of this story is also fascinating. Lee, tired of merely copying things on the streets has at some point found her way into college in order to steal data disks of anatomy and physiology in order to give herself strange and new mutations, as well as experiment with the absolute limits of human tissues. I’ll admit that this particular attribute of hers gave me extreme echoes of the popular Youtube series “Monster Factory”, which really helped me picture the mutations Lee comes up with. There is also fairly accurate handling of old BBS message boards integrated with the not too distant technologies of VR and AR. It was like a time capsule of things that I was just too young to interact with.
Westerfeld also does a stunning job with giving polymorphism rules. Rules that we are introduced to at the same rate the protagonist is, with Lee’s understanding deepening throughout the narrative and a lovely passive growth. In the beginning of the story, Lee uses her powers while on a one night stand with recurring character Freddie to integrate her nervous tissue with his, and completely erase his carpal tunnel syndrome. For no other reason than to see if she could do it. This whole scene is painted against the backdrop of particularly erotic descriptions of their tryst, yet another staple of those old, yellowed yard sale novels mentioned above.
Lee lets on very early on that she enjoys picking body shapes and mutations that garner attention but just enough to cause someone to glance twice. She introduces her polymorphy to us by mutating her hands into a pair of gnarled claws which become her calling card of sorts. We are also treated to the gory details (literally) of Lee’s transformation into Milica, in which her entire physiology changes from female to male. The descriptions are equal parts scientific and something straight out of Hannibal. She also changes her skin color as well as giving herself the illusion of facial hair and scarification to match her character.
Much later in the narrative as Lee is tracking Bonita/o, we learn that Polymorphs are also capable of rearranging their organs and using this talent to defy death. Through journals kept by Bonita/o we find out that as an adolescent he took great joy in rearranging himself and causing himself extreme trauma just to see if he could recover from it and beat death. Following their final scuffle where Lee absorbs part of Bonita/o’s tissue, Lee is also able to do this.
The depictions of New York are also a staple of Westerfeld’s work. He seems particularly fond of the Domino Sugar Factory in Brooklyn, as it is referenced nearly a decade later in “So Yesterday” as well. He does a spectacular job of putting a face to a landscape ravaged by years of crumbling and being band-aided, something not usually done in the genre, and extremely welcome. Being able to pull up the neighborhoods on a map, or even a wiki about the places and events adds a tinge of relatability to the content and keeps you from forming your own mental holodeck.
This book was actually kind of spectacular. It suffers greatly from pacing issues that were standard in the genre, but makes up for it in vivid detail and easy to imagine storytelling. Characters who were meant to be mysterious unfolded slowly before us, and I never once felt like the narrator was “keeping something” from me. The story had a meandering way of getting there, but it had a clearly defined beginning and ending. And Bonita/o still got what he deserved, because he was a raging douche canoe.
“So Yesterday” was one of my favorite books of all time when I was in middle and high school. This was my first experience reading Westerfeld, and it was the first book I’d ever read that felt like something I could have written, that felt accessible and written from the same fast-wit and punchy disposition. It was edgy, but the fun edgy, like an adult writing cultural observations gleaned from twitter hashtags. I carried the same copy in my backpack from seventh grade through high school and read it until the cover fell off. The copy I read for this review was actually my original! Fun fact, I found a four leaf clover pressed into Chapter Fourteen. But more on that later.
The story follows Hunter, a high-school aged guy who is a “cool hunter”; an underplayed way of saying he’s a precursor to an Instagram Influencer. While on a hunt, Hunter meets Jen, and adventure ensues. Hunter, seeking his missing boss Mandy, and Jen seeking adventure in the bleak landscape of early oughts New York. They meet a group of people determined to undermine the trends and bring down the trendsetters that make them big, thereby finding Mandy. Through twists and failures of everyone involved we return to the same park, and the same bleakness. Two people brought together by shoelaces.
“So Yesterday” is written like a treatment for a movie which lends itself to being read in one sitting, something I’m guilty of even for this past read. The story is fast-paced and the reader is quite often smacked by new doors opening within the plot. The characters are all vaguely relatable, but also a really cool mixture of characters that I loved being able to project on when I was a kid. This book was also ahead of its time in a lot of ways, including very early on bringing up a problem that still persists today. Using Jen as his mouthpiece, he brings up the “Missing Black Woman Formation” (Westerfeld 14). This is described as a phenomenon where in any group of people, there is never a black woman, only black men. It is also eventually shrugged out of the room by other characters after a brief “hoo-ah” of agreement, much like it is in media today.
Another interesting thing Westerfeld employs is a healthy smattering of well-researched and well-executed mental fuckery. At the magazine launch party Hunter experiences various types of manipulation, between being fed copious amounts of alcohol and the seizure-inducing promotional cameras, all designed to embarrass the trendsetters in attendance at the party. These things contribute to the unraveling of the mystery and cultivate a really neat sense of wonder at how we are subliminally advertised to or directed towards decisions. The characters were relatable in that “cool older kid” way to middle school me, and in that “oh kids these days” way to adult me. In all this is an excellent quick read that has aged really well. One of the greatest injustices is that the tv/film option didn’t pan out before the book became “unreal” to the target demographic.
The four-leaf clover was a real treat though. It was pressed into Chapter Fourteen, which is sort of significant because the chapter opens with main character Hunter walking into the house in his new, improved, incognito look. His parents understandably overreact because he is seeing a new girl and coming home with new haircuts, but they also accept him and don’t chastise him, and that’s something I always wished for as a kid. It was a real treat, and at some point deserved the honor of pressing a four-leaf clover into.
Thank you so much for reading! I do apologize for the lack of substance in this initial essay, but it was the first selection of four, so I didn’t have much to work with yet. There will definitely be more said about this in the wrap-up following week four! How do you feel about this selection? Have you read it? Let me know in the comments below!
Throughout this October I will be writing an analysis of four selections from Scott Westerfeld’s bibliography based on criteria I’ve set for them! Each of these books was chosen with equal parts nostalgia and yearning to squeeze something new out of them rereading them as an adult.
Week One: “So Yesterday”
“So Yesterday” was one of my favorite books in middle and high school. I would read and reread my copy until the cover fell off, and it’s still full of post-it flags from years past. This book features a fast-paced thriller-y mystery encased in an exploration of trendsetting and trend-freaking. I chose this based on nostalgia, and it was the inspiration for this project.
Week Two: “Polymorph”
This selection was an interesting one. I wanted to give a shot to Westerfeld’s adult works, and I figured his first novel would be a great jumping off point. I am jumping into this one completely blind and hoping for the best.
Week Three: “Uglies”
This trilogy was frequently pitted against the “Hunger Games” trilogy as the quintessential YA Dystopian/Utopian story. I always stood for “Uglies” because it was helmed by a much stronger female character than THG. I am really hoping it holds up, because I remember loving it so much and constantly rereading it.
Week Four: “Peeps”
I was hoping to round out the month with a book featuring a strong male protagonist, but outside of “there’s a boy in the lead part”, I know nothing about “Peeps”. I’m hoping this ends up being a good read, because it also has a sequel? That I may or may not attempt!
As I read each of these selections I will post an essay about them and the overlaps I find between them, culminating in a big wrap-up post the first week of November! See you Saturday for the first installment!
Capsule Chix are adorable figurines are produced by Moose Toys, who brought the American Market many genre-defining blind box toys including Shopkins and Treasure X. These seem to be their attempt at breaking into the 4” figure market and getting a piece of MGA’s LOLSurprise audience. These toys boast “billions” of combinations of torsos, legs, faces, hair, and accessories that you can put together to create dolls to fit any mood. If that mood involves a lot of cotton-candy colors and fashion that ranges from the mid-2000s Fashion Polly line and the more cutified Bratz dolls.
Each package of Capsule Chix contains 5 capsules which hold enough parts to build one whole doll. These seem to be fairly coordinated into a matched doll right off the bat, but we did open one box that gave us legs that were a completely different color than the head or torso.
We opened four boxes total, and this review is about the “Ram Rock” collection box specifically.
Our first capsule was the torso, which sported an awesome armor-looking top and a piece of the supposedly rare fabric accessory, in the form of a pretty cool high-necked cape. The arms were printed with the same circuit pattern as the other dolls, and the hands pop on and off easily to aid in putting on accessories and bags. I’ll admit this part was a little terrifying, because I have a huuuge penchant for accidentally breaking dolls by yanking off hands without checking that they are supposed to come off.
The second capsule contained the shoes, purse, and accessory. These were made of a soft rubber, reminiscent of the Fashion Polly clothes from the mid-2000s. The shoes have a slit in the back that makes them easy to put onto the dolls, and the bracelet has enough flex to it that you don’t have to remove the hands to put them on.
Third was the legs, which I’ll admit I just about screeched when I opened. These were FLOCKED bell bottom jeans! They were so soft to touch, and I don’t know about you, but I love flocked things, they’re just so cool to me! I was a bit worried that the shoes wouldn’t fit under the creases of the hard molded plastic bell bottoms, but they slid right on and don’t look like they’re laying weird or anything. The legs also came with a rubber waist sash.
The head for this doll has a very sassy expression on her face and beautiful green eyes. Her makeup is really subdued compared to the other dolls I’ve opened, but it works really well with the look the randomized parts created. The heads also sport holes on the sides of the heads for headphones and other ear accessories.
This doll’s hair is BIG and a scrumptious raspberry color. The bangs and rest of the hair are in two separate pieces that snap on and frame the head. Some hair is accessorized with hats or other goodies.
Having opened four of these dolls, I have to say I am absolutely in love. They are cute and a nice small size that lends itself to easy display. The included base/stand system is also awesome! The pricepoint also makes these a fun toy to collect casually, with each box retailing for $14.99. They are a great pick me up on a bad day.
Thinking about trying one for yourself? Use our affiliate link here!