To celebrate Scooby Doo reaching the milestone of three hundred and fifty episodes I thought it would be apt to list some of my favourite episodes from the long-running cartoon series and why I liked them so much.
Foul Play In Fred’s Funhouse
Synopsis: This episode first introduces us to the idea that Fred has a life outside of solving diabolical mysteries with the rest of the gang. When the workers at Fred’s Funhouse, a fake jeans-manufacturing sweatshop in Indonesia, start to disappear, hitting Fred’s massive profit margin and threatening to curtail his partying and ghost-debunking lifestyle, Fred brings the rest of Mystery Inc. into the picture to help him track down the cause behind it. A trip to Southern Asia, a villagers’ tale about the terrifying Jungle Gorilla Ghost, and trouble clearing Scooby Snacks through customs are just some of the highlights in this exciting adventure. With hilarious consequences!
Why I really liked this: The conclusion of this episode was the first to vary from the normal formula used up until then (the "surprise" unmasking of someone pretending to be something supernatural) when it transpires that most of Fred’s workers have merely been labelled as "enemy combatants" and spirited out of the country by U.S. special forces, leaving Fred no option but to burn the plant down for the insurance.
Chaotic Chaos At Chaos Circus On Chaos Beach
Synopsis: The gang receive free passes to a travelling circus that has set up on the beach along with a message for help, apparently from the Bearded Lady, and attend an evening’s show. When they can’t find the Bearded Lady and everybody they speak to claims no knowledge of her or her hirsute face they decide to launch an investigation in the only way they know how: Scooby and Shaggy pretend to be an hilarious knife-throwing act, Velma makes some startling discoveries in the clown car, and Fred and Daphne are noticeable by their absence. With hilarious consequences!
Why I really liked this: Children need to know that success isn’t guaranteed no matter how spunky you are. I knew that at an early age but cartoons never expressed this lifetruth until this groundbreaking episode when it transpires at the end that Daphne’s secret dyslexia has led the gang to the wrong circus and the Bearded Lady, a heroin addict at Cosy Circus on Comfy Beach, purposely overdosed when she thought that Mystery Inc. didn’t care about her after all.
Synopsis: Shaggy falls asleep in his hammock leaving a box of Scooby Snacks open on his stomach. Scooby’s keen nose sniffs them out and he decides to help himself. Unfortunately, Scooby can’t quite work out how to climb into the hammock without getting tangled up! With hilarious consequences!
Why I really liked this: 30 minutes of hammock!!!
The Diabolical Doctor Doom’s Disco
Synopsis: Fred and Daphne are bitten by the disco bug while on a vacation in Peru and, on their return, enrol the whole gang in a new disco school in San Francisco. The disco turns out to be a brainwashing factory that uses the funky beat and flashing lights to hypnotise the students into performing crimes for the diabolical headmaster, Theodore Doom, Ph.D. Only Scooby and Shaggy are immune to the power of the lights as they’re used to more powerful hallucinogens on a daily basis. But can they stop the doctor? With hilarious consequences!
Why I really liked this: Fred dancing to "Upside Down" by Diana Ross is truly unforgettable. Velma’s struggle to control the flashbacks of murders she has committed is also noteworthy.
A Scare For Scooby
Synopsis: Scooby suspects he has bowel cancer and tries to mime his concern to his best friend Shaggy. Shaggy, finally wise to the fact that Scooby’s mimes usually mean that something scary is standing behind him, rushes off in a blind panic to find Fred, Daphne, and Velma. Meanwhile, Scooby takes the time to remember back on a life of mystery-solving in a poignant introspective episode of the popular cartoon series. With teary consequences!
Why I really liked this: The bravery at tackling such a serious subject was the precursor to other children’s shows doing similar: the HIV+ character on Sesame Street, the death of Ned Flanders’ wife on The Simpsons, Miss Piggy’s sex addiction and subsequent descent into depression on The Muppets, the suicide of Charlie Mouse on Bagpuss, and the rape of Linus in A Charlie Brown Wrongful Arrest And Incarceration to name but a few. The guest direction from David Lynch helped to confuse most viewers and the happy twist at the end – worms not cancer! – kept the tone just light enough for Scooby Doo fans worldwide.
Scrappy Doo Is Hanged, Drawn, And Quartered
Synopsis: Scrappy Doo is hanged, drawn, and quartered.
Why I really liked this: Scrappy Doo is hanged, drawn, and quartered.
If you’ve got any particular favourite Scooby Doo episodes I’d love to hear about them. I’m not just saying that.