Aside from a handful of reviewers and perhaps Mindy Kaling herself, it seems like the only people truly happy about the new Scooby-Doo prequel Velma are the right-wingers who’ve found a new “woke” show to hate. Over on Rotten Tomatoes, a presumed review-bombing campaign by right-wingers has driven the just-debuted show’s audience rating down to 6%; over on IMDb, the show has garnered a mere 1.3 stars out of ten, a worse score than even Superbabies: Baby Geniuses 2.
The show isn’t great, but it’s not that bad. Among critics, reviews have been mixed; it’s got a 57% critics’ score on Rotten Tomatoes. The Guardian hailed it as “beautifully chaotic.” The Mary Sue declared it “raunchy, forgettable fun.” But Entertainment Weekly dismissed its “crass name-droppy pointlessness.” And Mashable pegged it as a “bizarre” misstep. “All the pieces of a great Scooby spin-off are here, so why does this not come together?” Mashable asked. “The answer: a combination of uneven humor, too little mystery, and a core misunderstanding of Velma herself.”
That may be a little too kind. My own review, after having watched the first episode: There are worse ways to spend a half-hour, I guess, and the show’s heart is in the right place (mostly), but I didn’t laugh once. The humor, such as it is, is gratuitously mean and way too meta; the characters are mostly unfunny one-note jokes, and the priggish, nerdy version of Shaggy is just plain weird. Jane Lynch and Wanda Sykes are wasted as a pair of lesbian cops with no good lines between them.
Of course, the right-wing complaints have little to do with the quality of the show’s humor. No, the right-wingers are mad that Velma is bisexual. They’re incensed that most of the main characters are no longer white–Kaling’s Velma is, like her, Indian; Daphne is Asian, and Norville “Shaggy” Rogers is black. But don’t despair, white supremacists: Fred, Velma’s crush, is still as white as ever. But since he’s depicted as something of a buffoon–no character in the show is without egregious flaws–this only makes the racists madder.
“Velma is a nasty, anti-white, anti-man, anti-human mess that needs to be erased from the brain after watching it,” sniffed a “reviewer” at Newsbusters. “The only two things most shows know how to do nowadays is hate on whitey and make characters gay.”
The racist backlash has put many progressives in an awkward position. Because more than a few of them hate the show too.
n addition to the show not being particularly funny, it’s also not as woke as advertised. More than a few progressives were gobsmacked by a crass “MeToo” joke that made it into the second episode.
One tweeter summed up the problem:
Some progressives have gone so far as to suggest that the show is akin to some right-wing psyop:
Yeah, that last take is just a bit loopy. It’s not black propaganda any more than its Black Power propaganda. It’s just a bad show with a mixture of good and bad politics. I won’t be watching any more of it.
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