Everyone’s favorite mystery-solving gang is back on screen, but the first two episodes of HBO Max’s Velma have Gen Zers crying foul.
Velma was announced as an adult animated series that follows Velma Dinkley, a member of the beloved Scooby-Doo franchise, through her adolescence. This version deviated from previous Scooby-Doo projects with its diverse cast makeover, Velma’s LGBTQ identity and its promise of a full backstory for one of the franchise’s favorite characters.
Yet there was concern before the show aired and since its release about how much of a “Scooby-Doo” sensibility was actually in this revamped production, led by showrunner Mindy Kaling, who also serves as the voice of Velma.
“There is nothing Scooby-Doo about the show. At all, ” he said in the video. “This is just Mindy Kaling.”
Kaling has received backlash in the past because some viewers think she inserts herself in the plot of her series — which now affects “Velma.”
“It seems like she inserts herself and her preference into the characters,” said @olivialayne6 in her post. The TikToker also called Kaling out for using the same type of love interest in many of her shows.
“We have The Mindy Project, her and Danny. One of Devi’s main love interests [in Never Have I Ever] is Ben. Now we have The Sex Lives of College Girls, Bela and Eric. Do you see a pattern?”
One TikToker, @sadgirlreflections, even called out Kaling’s perceived tendency to “portray Indian girls” negatively.
first devi then bela then velma let me just assure young brown girls that you are not losers #desitiktok #southasian #browntiktok #desi #brown #mindykaling #browngirl #indian #neverhaveiever #slocg #devivishwakumar #belamalhotra #velma #mindykalingshows #greenscreenvideo
♬ Escapism. – Super Sped Up – RAYE
“Trust [M]indy [K]aling to turn even scooby doo into another platform to portray [I]ndian girls as losers who need to completely change their external appearance to be deemed worthy of respect,” wrote @sadgirlreflections in her post.
TikTokers have noted this trend in series outside of Velma.
“Mindy come up with a new Indian girl character challenge (IMPOSSIBLE),” commented @jpkmensah under this post.
In addition to the way Velma is portrayed, there are also critiques of how other characters come across. Fans claim their personalities have strayed too far from previous iterations — specifically Fred. Historically, he is a nice character but has a “rude personality” in the show.
“Fred’s literally the nicest himbo why would they do this to him,” commented @harrystyles1443.
“Why did they make Fred like this? He never acted like this in any version of Scooby Doo…” wrote TikTok user @bumpcentral.
Reviews are pouring in from the first two episodes, and the bad outweighs the good. The show has a 50% critics rating on Rotten Tomatoes but just a 9% audience score.
“Jinkies! This radical reworking of the beloved Mystery Team has plenty of attitude and style, but it doesn’t have the first clue for how to turn its clever subversion into engaging fun,” read the critics consensus on the website.
From the portrayal of its characters to the fact that Scooby-Doo isn’t even present in this show, Gen Zers have stated their claim as to why they aren’t fans of this reboot.
TikTok user @swill029 commented on @moeschmobro’s video and said what a lot of people were already thinking.
“Idk why they felt the need to slap Scooby-Doo on this when they could’ve easily marketed it just on it being a new Kaling show.”
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