They never learn.
Despite watching as countless studios tried and failed to make woke reboots and revivals of famous shows and movies, HBOMax seems to have the kind of studio heads that have to touch the stove multiple times before they learn it burns them.
Someone signed off on a pitch by Mindy Kaling — formerly the crazy relationship-obsessed girl from “The Office” — to do a woke version of Scooby-Doo. Only this version will focus on race-swapped Velma and Scooby won’t even be present in the show.
Since the show’s announcement, Kaling’s woke-ified Velma has faced real pushback. While a lot of it was blamed on the usual excuses from studio showrunners like “racism” and “sexism,” a lot of the anger originated from the fact that the original teaser trailer mocked Scooby fans and people who’ve had it with politicized programming.
On Wednesday, a second trailer dropped for HBOMax’s new “Velma” series and it’s already an immediate disaster. Not only did they turn the comments off on the trailer, but by using a browser plug-in you can uncover the dislike number on YouTube videos. We can see that the like-to-dislike ratio is massive with 117k dislikes to only 6.4k likes.
Things really aren't going well for the new woke, race-swapped, Scooby-less Velma series already, huh @hbomax? I wonder if you coulda saw this coming based on past mistakes by other companies. pic.twitter.com/a8IbDv64wf
— Brandon Morse (@TheBrandonMorse) January 12, 2023
By the look of the trailer, Kaling did everything possible to anger Scooby fans intentionally. As Ryan Kinnel of RK Outpost covered in one of his videos, many changes were made. Velma is now race-swapped to an Indian woman in what seems like a self-insert for Kaling. I’d say that Shaggy is race-swapped too, but he’s been completely taken out of the show and replaced by a black imitator named “Norville.”
The plot synopsis doesn’t do the show any favors. Daphne is still a red-haired woman, but she’s now a drug-dealing mean girl. Fred now “personifies mediocre white richness” and has “teeny widdle privates.”
The show seems more geared toward angering people than actually being a good show. Moreover, it appears that the writing seems to be more of a vanity project that would really only appeal to her fellow Hollywood denizens according to those who pre-screened the show.
For instance, Hollywood Reporter gave the show a somewhat negative review, mentioning that it doesn’t waste too much time in letting you know that Velma is a lesbian. One of the first scenes involves her getting into a naked fight in the shower with another girl.
But where it really fails is the humor as described by Hollywood Reporter author Angie Han:
Amid the semi-topical snipes at teen rom-coms, yass-queen feminism, hairy Brooklynites and, for some reason, the movie Serpico, the future Scooby-Doo gang and their peers can come off less like individuals than joke-delivery machines.
The problem of choosing to make jokes over inserting story and heart is becoming an increasingly bad problem in Hollywood. You saw something similar in “Thor: Love & Thunder.”
It would appear no one in Hollywood is learning the lessons their potential audience is trying to teach them, but no one should be surprised at this point. Hollywood seems more concerned about scratching its own itches and pushing its messages than making quality entertainment and escapism.
Velma hasn’t come out yet but it’s already failing, and it’s likely going to fail when it releases. By the sounds of it, it deserves to, and it will be one more example of how Hollywood has lost touch.