The popularity of Scooby Doo over the years seems a bit perplexing on the surface. The show is completely predictable, the characters unrealistic, and the animation is just OK. Why do people continue to love the show after generations of viewers?
- Suspense is overrated. No less than Kurt Vonnegut has said the same (Check out number 8). Everyone knows how Scooby Doo will end: The bad guy will be unmasked, complain about meddling kids, and be taken away as Scooby and Shaggy eat. This is in a mystery show, and there is zero suspense.
- Characters need to be relatable. Everyone loves Scooby and Shaggy, more than the others. Why? They aren’t smart, good-looking, or brave. They are funny, sure, but mostly relatable. They get scared when we would get scared. They like to eat and chill out like we like to eat and chill out. We love Scooby and Shaggy because we are Scooby and Shaggy.
- Don’t mess with success. Scooby Doo has varied the cast a little bit over the years, but the basic formula is the same: Mystery plus comedy, with a chase scene and special guest star. Even the dialogue fits a recognizable pattern. Novelty and originality can be great, but so can the simple comfort of relatable characters doing what you know they ought to.
Do I follow these in my writing? Judge for yourself with a copy of And God Said…An Absurd Tale of Love, Power, and Paperwork.