How Velma became the most hated show on TV

She would have gotten away with it too if it wasn’t for that interference Scooby Doo fans. When HBO hired comedian and actress Mindy Kaling to relaunch the delightfully spooky 1970s cartoon for its new streaming service, HBO Max, it seemed like a no-brainer.

Scooby Doo was hilarious at first and has a large and surprisingly loyal following — many of the same generation as 43-year-old Kaling. Plus, Kaling’s animated series, VelmaShe’d celebrate original nerd girl Velma Dinkley — she with the oversized glasses and the not-so-secret brain of the surgery. Geeks have never been cooler. Kaling is one of the most respected comedians on American television. What could go wrong?

Velma has already been renewed for a second series, despite having an approval rating of 6 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Velma has already been renewed for a second series, despite having an approval rating of 6 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.Credit:HBO/Binge

Many, it turns out. The backlash against Velma has essentially united all of humanity – and all sides of the culture wars. His diverse casting and racist revisionism have angered extremists. Viewers on the other end of the spectrum are appalled by the sexualization of teenagers and their youthful humor. From childish anti-quit websites like 4Chan to “woke” Twitter, rarely has a series raised the hairs on the back of the neck so forcefully. The series currently has an abysmal approval rating of 6 percent on the Rotten Tomatoes review site and seems destined to become the most loathed TV show of all time. We live in a time when nobody can agree on anything. But now we can all come together to share our dislike of Velma.

How could a Scooby Doo Spin-off failed so emphatically? The answer to this question will be provided after 30 seconds Velmawhose first two episodes were met with horror and outrage Scooby Doo Follower. It begins with our heroine – voiced by Kaling – watching in disgusted fascination as two cockroaches enthusiastically mate. Next comes a lurid shower scene with semi-nude and sexualized depictions of 15-year-old girls.

Then the victim of a serial killer falls out of a locker and is revealed to have had his head slashed open in a style reminiscent of a “torture porn” movie. “She has no brains!” says Velma. The remark could have been aimed at the show itself.

Scooby Doo Diehards didn’t hesitate to vent their dislike (“seething hatred” is probably more accurate). Velma, which purports to tell the origin story of the “mysterious gang” of Velma, Fred, Daphne and Stoner Shaggy, hasn’t exactly received a warm welcome on social media. “Velma was just boring and unfunny and sexualized teenagers,” tweeted one viewer after the first two episodes debuted in the US on Jan. 12.

Velma upset everyone.

Velma upset everyone.Credit:HBO/BINGE

“It looks like Velma is shaping up to be a massive disaster,” said another viewer. “Notice how it says she’s 15… The first picture on the show was of a naked Daphne, so they’re sexualizing a minor AND the author is transphobic.” The transphobic claim stems from the fact that Kaling read a tweet from JK Rowling, whose views on gender have made her a bete noire in certain areas of the internet.

Whatever the truth of Kaling’s personal views, the real issues with Velma are proud to see on screen. Red-haired Daphne – East Asian in this tale – is reborn as a sexually aggressive, mean girl (age 15). Goody two-shoes Fred is a sexist, blue-blooded himbo whose biggest crime is being white. Shaggy – introduced by his “real” name Norville – is a broken male child who has an unrequited crush on Velma. None bears any resemblance to hers Scooby Doo even. How Velma became the most hated show on TV

Jaclyn Diaz

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