Yes, I mean YOU, the person reading this.
First, some backstory.
“Velma” is an animated comedy series on HBO MAX (aka “Home Box Office Maximum?”). It’s a parody of a couple things, namely ‘Scooby Doo’ and ‘Riverdale.’
That’s key. It’s a parody.
Taken in a vacuum, the show is just fine. It’s a comedy show with a lot of funny parts (and funny actors). It’s kind of not remarkable for the fact that its competent and does what it set out to do.
That should be the end of the story right there. That’s it.
But we live in an insane wild world of insane idiots who perform idiocy non-stop.
I first heard about “Velma” in the most 2022 way possible: by catching snippets of complaints on social media. The stories are all out there — they’re easy to find. And it’s not just standard trolls doing this; magazines like The Atlantic have articles with click-bait titles such as “Why Everyone Hates ‘Velma,’” and “The Line ‘Velma’ Crossed.”
It’s pretty strange. When you take a step back and take in the actual facts before us (a B+ comedy show parodying a B- cartoon)… I mean… there are much bigger things to worry about.
But no. Apparently, somehow — SOMEWAY — “Velma” is too smart for people, despite the fact that it’s really not!
That sounds like a criticism of the show, but I don’t mean it that way. What I mean to say is that while “Velma” is a fine show, I didn’t want it to get confused with, say, “Atlanta” or “Seinfeld” or some other show folks might consider “top tier.” It’s not top tier. I am certain the creators know this, too. They did their best, their best was enough, and we all should have watched it (or not, you know?), had our opinions and moved on. In the nicest way possible, I must state that “Velma” does not deserve this much brain space.
AND YET… and yet….
Naturally, a lot of the vitriol is stemmed in racism, sexism and every other predictably stupid thing you can imagine. Velma, the character, is re-imagined as an Indian-American (to suit Kaling’s voice and persona), and other characters get similar switching around. The show is loudly dealing with racism (for laughs!), so. . . you know the one thing that makes white people uncomfortable.
The dumbest part of the whole argument, in my opinion, is that apparently — APPARENTLY — a big reason people are upset with the show is because it doesn’t honor the source material.
As a reminder, that source material was about a (sorta) talking dog who helped solve mysteries.
That. That’s what people say they’re upset about. A show which — I thought — we’d all agreed to laugh at ever since at least Wayne’s World.
Like I said, there’s no reason we should be thinking this much about any of this. Instead, here I am, typing my feelings and trying my best not to explain how or why are jokes… or how humor works… or how, actually, it is a funny idea to make Velma a kind of unlikable character.
And yet — AND YET — I had to respond to these unwanted criticisms with an unwarranted tyraid. I want everyone to know:
- The show is fine.
- The show is also nothing spectacular.
- It’s ok to parody things.
- If you don’t like the show, that’s fine…
- But if you don’t like it for a stupid reason, then you’re an idiot.
What a hill to die on.
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