Perhaps one of the most recognised cartoons around the globe, Scooby Doo has been a staple on kids’ televisions shows since 1969. The plot centres around 4 teenage friends and their talking dog traveling around America solving mysteries in their super rad van, the Mystery Machine. Typically, in each episode, the gang always end up in a spooky location with a seemingly supernatural monster terrorising the locals. Ultimately, our heroes solve the mystery and reveal the monster to be a disguised criminal.
But, is there more to the Scooby Doo cartoons than first meets the eye? Many fans seem to think so. One of the most popular theories is that Scooby Doo is set during an economic recession. And there is some evidence to support this theory.
For instance, almost all the places the gang come across are either broken, run down, unused or abandoned. In fact, during the original cartoon series run, the teenage gang (plus dog) explore 4 deserted mansions, 2 abandoned castles, an empty ski resort, an amusement park, a ghost town, a mine, an airfield and a mill. Why would there be so many abandoned and/or run down venues if the economy was doing well?
Moreover, the majority of crimes being investigated by Scooby and his friends involve monetary motives. Out of the first 27 villains that the gang encounter, 23 of them are motivated to commit crime for monetary gain through either theft, smuggling or land speculation. More importantly, the criminals include scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and intellects. 3 had PhDs, 2 were lawyers and another criminal could produce near-identical forged paintings. There was also a magician, a stuntman and a villain who could hypnotise people. Most of these criminals had impressive jobs and skills prior to their criminal behaviour, and they would, arguably, have had no trouble finding a good job. So why did they all turn to crime? Perhaps the jobs had all dried up.
Additionally, Shaggy doesn’t seem to be able to afford to buy food for himself or his dog Scooby. It appears from the cartoon show that these characters live on biscuits alone. There are rare exceptions where they come across real food and look very excited, as if they don’t know where their next meal will come from. Surely this must be due to Shaggy being broke, he wouldn’t choose not to eat, would he?
Also consider that, if there were a major economic collapse, the educational system may cease to work. That would leave the teenagers with nothing to do except stare boredom in the face sitting at home. Thus, the teens feed their inquisitive minds by travelling across the country and solving mysteries.
As much as we would like to say we believe this theory is true, we have to say that there are too many plot holes. For instance, there are many towns that the teens visit where everything seems to run like a normal economy, it’s only in certain small isolated areas where there are dilapidated buildings etc. Also, perhaps it’s just the teens that are poor, not everyone else. It seems like all they do is drive around and solve mysteries for free, they’re never going to earn any money like that. Furthermore, there seems to be some bias in the locations that Scooby and his gang visit which would make it appear as if the whole county is suffering from a recession. Many of the criminals are former owners or employees of run-down estates, so Scooby and the gang are going to be visiting these places a lot, it doesn’t mean the rest of the country is like that though. To conclude, we believe that Scooby Doo is not set during an economic depression.