Scooby-Doo Debunks Rumors That Shaggy Uses Drugs

Warning: The following contains SPOILERS for the Velma pilot.HBO Max’s R-rated Scooby-Doo spinoff Velma debunks the idea that Shaggy makes a habit of using drugs. This is surprising, given that the character has been the subject of jokes suggesting his ferocious appetite and paranoia were the result of extensive marijuana abuse since he first appeared in Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! in 1969. Velma reveals, however, that its version of Shaggy lives a drug-free lifestyle.

Velma has courted scandal since it was first announced, with many decrying the show’s base concept of an R-rated Scooby-Doo as a bad idea. Much of the controversy was based around the producers’ decision to employ color-blind casting to diversify the classic Mysteries Inc. team, featuring a Black Shaggy and Asian Daphne, in addition to a South Asian Velma voiced by Mindy Kaling. The show also defies tradition by presenting a more driven take on Shaggy, who is usually portrayed as a laid-back hippie with few interests outside of food and avoiding monsters.

Velma’s Norville Rogers Is An Anti-Drug Crusader

Velma’s Shaggy, in contrast to the original, is incredibly vocal about his commitment to avoid using drugs on even the most casual level. An aspiring journalist who acts as editor-in-chief of the Crystal Cove High School newspaper, Velma‘s version of Norville “Shaggy” Rogers is shown to be investigating rumors of the local malt shop being a front for drug dealers. This leads him to voice his deep hatred of illegal drugs to Velma, as they start exploring the death of their classmate Brenda, which Norville thinks is tied to his investigation.

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Why Velma’s Version Of Shaggy Isn’t A Stoner

Velma and Norville in car in Velma PilotVelma and Norville in car in Velma Pilot

The most likely reason that Velma’s Norville Rogers doesn’t use drugs is because jokes about Shaggy being a habitual marijuana smoker have been done to death in other Scooby-Doo parodies, and even made their way into official Hanna-Barbera productions. Shaggy was arrested on suspicion of drug possession in the Adult Swim series Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law, in the episode “Shaggy Busted.” Another joke teased Shaggy’s love of marijuana in the first live-action Scooby-Doo movie, which James Gunn wrote, by having Shaggy fall in love with a girl named Mary Jane, which he noted was his favorite girl’s name. Not coincidentally, Mary Jane is a common slang term for marijuana.

Good comedy is based upon surprising the audience, and jokes about Shaggy’s drug-taking reputation are precisely the kind of thing most would expect to see in an adult take on the Scooby-Doo mythos. Given that, it makes sense that Velma would make its version of Shaggy into an anti-drug crusader. Beyond being unexpected and ironic, this also allows the show to avoid negative stereotyping by portraying a Black teenager as a drug user.

Velma releases on Thursdays on HBO Max.

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