First Impressions: VelmaThe Dark Herald
Well, this is some low-hanging fruit. I mean it’s so low it’s been sitting on the ground for three weeks.
This is not a review proper because I haven’t seen the entire first season and I am absolutely not going to do that. I am out as of now. One episode was all I could manage, and I had to stop frequently. I am quite serious when I say I had to do this one in five-minute chunks. It was that bad.
Anybody remember I Am Not Starfire? That horrendous graphic novel with the author’s fat self-insert character as a sarcastic edgy heroine who while being hyper-obese and ugly, still gets everything she wants?
This is the animated version of that.
I’m only covering this because pretty much everyone else is.
The show starts off in a girls’ locker room shower. The first thing you see is two roaches fucking. No, I’m not joking and neither is this show but it thinks it is. The cheerleaders start with self-referential jokes about girls’ locker rooms in horror movies. Scream wore it better. They go on at great length about how sexist and exploitative it is to show nudity while showing nudity (more or less, the nudity is all strategic bubbles and butt cracks).* Since this is absolutely meant to be an adult cartoon, I don’t get the modesty bubbles. I’m sure this was all part and parcel of creator Mindy Kaling being a comedic genius the likes of which I am fundamentally incapable of understanding and given the basement-dwelling RT score of 9% neither does anyone else.
Mindy Kaling is a Hindustani American consequently so is Velma Dinkley. Velma is a worst-case scenario self-insert. Velma is too above it all, to be above it all. While being completely above it all. The self-referential humor is laid on like foundational concrete. The show is absolutely and utterly pleased with itself for being so clever at all times.
Velma has a bisexual teenage love life. And is quite proud of being a power slut about it, she’s super-empowered by being the easiest lay in town. Indicating that despite Desi-Velma being the smartest and edgiest girl in Crystal Cove, remains completely unaware that she is a “grenade.” The girl the wingman throws himself on while the Alpha lands Daphne.
This show is viciously spirited in every aspect of its existence. The Scooby gang has been Woke-washed. Fred is now bigoted and immensely stupid; he hasn’t gone through puberty yet and has a small penis. I don’t know why Velma felt the need to mention it given that if Fred has Kallmann syndrome, the size of his penis is completely irrelevant because it doesn’t work. Suffice it to say, Fred is still white.
Daphne is now an Asian or half-Asian bitch, she leans hard into the mean girl cliches but eventually sleeps with the completely irresistible Velma. Her parents are lesbian police detectives and she deals in high school. She has to keep mentioning that she’s Asian because she doesn’t look it.
Shaggy is also in love with Velma too, but she has friend-zoned him hard. Also, he isn’t named Shaggy, it’s Norville and he looks like a black man named Norville. He’s proud of not doing drugs unlike the real Shaggy, who canonically didn’t do drugs either he was just stupid. Whereas Norville is super smart. And friend-zoned.
This show harps on about sex constantly while presenting the viewer with no one you want to smash. It also can’t shut up about how tired reboots are. See how clever it is? See? I suspect Mindy Kailing tried to sell a cartoon about herself (because she only ever plays herself) and no one was interested but she could get her Daria fanfic version of Velma greenlit. So she plays Velma as herself while quietly seething about not being able to play herself.
Scooby-Doo has not made an appearance so far. If he never does Mindy Kaling will claim that a talking dog wasn’t realistic for her cartoon. More likely someone with an ounce of brains at Warner Brothers said, “Hell no, you can’t do that with the dog! In fact, you can’t have the dog at all. How did this get greenlit?”
I can answer that last question. Warner was green-lighting everything animated during the lockdown and Mindy Kaling had a resume because of The Office. Kaling must have gotten this one finished just before Zaslav started axing everything in sight. I’ve heard a rumor it’s been renewed but this is from CBR, not Variety so I don’t take it seriously.
The most exceptional thing about this show is the hatred. The writer’s hatred is the only pure thing in the show. That is the one thing about Velma that feels at all genuine.
The only hilarious thing connected with this show is that it has both sides of the great cultural divide claiming it was made for the other half.
Well done Mindy Kaling, everyone hates your show.
UPDATE: The rumor is that originally the bubbles weren’t there but then somebody at Warner Brothers screamed “What the fuck are you doing? These girls are supposed to be fifteen!”