Two guys, two girls, a dog. Ghosts and ghouls. Sexual tension. Maybe weed. Wash, rinse, repeat.
This is the working premise of the Scooby Doo franchise, a beloved show from the 1960s that sees a ragtag mix of white high school cliches – The jock dude, the pretty girl, the nerd girl, the stoner guy, the talking dog, etc. – and mixes them with crime caping. It’s a Hanna-Barbera classic that was perpetually filling Cartoon Network in our childhood, the type of show that was the television equivalent of your mother telling you, “Hi, hungry. I’m mom. Nice to meet you! You’ll have to wait until dinner if you want something to eat.”
While I never quite loved the show, I’ve become attracted to it as a result of an interesting new theory that keeps popping up in my Tumblr feed: the show is about two gay couples and a dog. It all started with Tumblr Stanford Pines’ 2015 post.
okay so theres an episode of whats new scooby doo where the gang goes home on valentines day, and i guess the studio really wanted to avoid the implication that daphne and fred were sleeping together because daphne and velma live together and fred lives with shaggy and scooby
but that attempt at avoiding anything risque backfired spectacularly because now it just seems like daphne and velma are a comfortably domestic couple and fred is trying to learn how to live with his boyfriends over excitable and really hungry great dane
This theory doesn’t end there either: there’s apparently an episode where Fred tells a (male) biker type that his name is Fred. “Unless we’re dating, then it’s Freddie,” he follows. Cut to a few episodes later: Shaggy calls Fred “Freddie” in a moment of terror. The plot thickens.
(The theory does get complicated though as it’s assumed more-than-Shaggy call Fred “Freddie” in which case the group is assumed to be poly. Still: queer is as queer does.)
This isn’t the first time this theory has reared it’s rainbow head. Velma has long been considered a lesbian icon and was originally scripted in the movie adaptation to be gay. Fred has also been called into queer question for his lack of chemistry with Daphne and image obsessed persona.
As if we need any more proof, the most conclusive evidence of queerness in the world is when conservative politicians point the finger toward said media items as evidence of gay propaganda. Enter Iowa’s Mark Segebart, who told the Daily Times Herald in 2012 that the TV can turn people gay. The article is framed around Scooby Doo, specifically as it relates to Fred.
Television shows, movies and media coverage in general can make being gay seem like an awfully intriguing option, said Segebart, who is seeking to represent Senate District 6, a sweep of western Iowa that includes Audubon, Carroll, Sac and Buena Vista counties, and part of Crawford County.
“We need to change the way media — and I’m talking here Hollywood mostly — demonstrates what society should be like, the wrong image of gay people being something more than the rest of us, a protected class, does only more damage to those younger people,” Segebart said. “It puts pressures on them that they do not need.”
Segebart said being gay is an unnatural, manufactured attraction.
Mission accomplished? I guess we did it, liberal Hollywood.
While the show has never had the characters come out, it’s truly a special day when we can observe a classic media item as playing a role in queer history. Moreover, if it also makes conservative people mad? It’s doing something right. Whether intentional or not, that makes Scooby Doo queer. We can add this to the long line of queer history, on this final day of LGBT History Month.