Has there ever been a cartoon character as universally hated as Scrappy-Doo?
Ever since this puppy started hanging around his Uncle Scooby and the Mystery Inc. gang, he’s been reviled as nothing more than a desperate gimmick to attract younger viewers. Although kids loved him when he first broke out onto the scene back in the late 70s, those kids have since grown up into Scooby-Doo fans of more refined taste. These fans have demonized Scrappy as an annoying sidekick that ruined the integrity of a show about an anthropomorphized stoner dog that solves mysteries.
Scooby-Doo fans hate that Scrappy’s energetic puppy personality completely overshadowed the rest of the characters. It doesn’t help that the plot of any Scrappy episode involves preventing him going totally aggro on the monster of the day. The hatred for Scrappy is so unanimous that the main villain of the live-action Scooby-Doo film was a roided-out demon Scrappy living inside the body of Mr. Bean (it wasn’t a great movie).
With so much hate for Scrappy-Doo it seems the little guy can never catch a break — even his name has become a term used to describe the most hated character in any given work of fiction. What do Wesley Crusher, Snarf and Jar-Jar Binks have in common? They’re all considered the Scrappy of their respective universes. But while everyone is busy loathing Scrappy and dragging his name through the mud, nobody ever stops to think of the positive qualities that he brings to the table.
Like the fact that Scrappy is the only member of Mystery Inc. who ever remembers that monsters aren’t a real thing.
Each episode of Scooby-Doo follows one formula: some salacious business owner sets up an elaborate monster hoax to help broker a shady real estate deal. The gang always uncovers the ruse, but only after a half hour of getting into madcap hijinks involving musical chase sequences and giant sandwiches.
Can you really blame Scrappy for wanting to drop all pretenses and just start punching dicks? Isn’t that a more direct solution than running around in an abandoned amusement park, trying to set up complex Rube Goldberg traps that only end up backfiring anyway?
Worst-case scenario, the monster ends up being a real thing — in which case Scrappy is covered by his comically disproportionate superhuman strength. If Scrappy can break down brick walls with a single punch, what chance does a monster’s skull have when it meets his fists of fury?
Alas, that may be Scrappy’s true folly—the fact that he makes the rest of Mystery Inc. look like a bunch of chumps who are holding him back. If Scrappy were only just a rambunctious puppy that needed to be reined in every now and then, fans would be able to stomach his antics. Instead he’s a rambunctious puppy that needs to be reined in so that his direct approach to mystery solving doesn’t spoil a half hour’s worth of wild goose chases and buddy comedy bits for the rest of the gang.
Maybe Scrappy would have gotten a better deal if he had broken away from Mystery Inc. and starred in his own spin-off. “Scrappy Unleashed” could have featured a grown-up Scrappy travelling across a post-apocalyptic wasteland that’s been savaged by greedy business owners dressed like monsters.
One by one they would all die by Scrappy’s hand.