Last summer, my sister and I finally decided to organize our extensive DVD collection. Considering we haven’t used DVDs in years, our cabinets had fallen into disarray, each disk seemingly lost in a black hole. That’s when we came across a gold mine: several movies and episodes of our favorite childhood cartoon, Scooby-Doo.

In an overwhelming wave of nostalgia, we watched all three of the movies we found (I regret nothing). Watching the movies, I was hit with this extreme hate for every single villain that I’m sure stemmed from my childhood.

My sister even joked, recalling how much I hated the Scooby-Doo villains and how terrified of them I was when we were little. Even though the whole point of the show was to prove that monsters aren’t real, the show’s iconic masked masterminds gave me nightmares. I mean, these were people willing to dress up as monsters and wreak havoc on innocent people, usually so they could expand their theme parks or condos. Shouldn’t I be terrified of such dedication to profit?

I can’t pinpoint the exact moment it happened, but during our viewing of Scooby-Doo: Pirates Ahoy! I realized that the series had a much larger impact on my life that I realized. I’m now convinced that Scooby-Doo kickstarted my strong anti-capitalist ideologies. Here’s why.

In pretty much every Scooby-Doo episode or movie, capitalism is at the root of the issue. More specifically, capitalist attitudes that prioritize money and profit over all else.

Pirates Ahoy is a prime example of how the series actually encompasses these principles. In the film, the gang goes on a cruise with Fred’s parents for his birthday. What should’ve been a relaxing escape from their usual stressors turned terrifying when their cruise ship is attacked by ghost pirates who kidnap everyone except for them and Rupert Garcia, an astrocartographer. It’s ultimately revealed that the evil genius behind the ghost pirates was Mr. Mysterio, a sketchy hypnotist in search of a meteor of solid gold called Heaven’s Light. In order to accomplish this, Mr. Mysterio hypnotized literally every single person on the cruise, as well as another ship he had hijacked.

Let that sink in. He hypnotized probably over one hundred people so that he could find this hunk of gold and be a billionaire. That’s scarier than any horror movie villain if you ask me. Solely for the pursuit of capitalist gain, he caused pain and suffering to hundreds of people who were just enjoying a cruise.

But, crucially, Mr. Mysterio is no outlier. Pretty much every single villain in the show is dedicated to profit and success in a capitalist institution. In Scooby-Doo and the Monster of Mexico, the villain is an entertainment mogul looking to build a new theme park. In Scooby-Doo and the Legend of the Vampire, the villains are members of a band seeking fame and fortune.

In the Scooby-Doo and Supernatural crossover episode, Velma even says “monsters are nothing more than crooks in masks – usually unscrupulous real estate developers.”

Still from Scoobynatural: A cartoon group of people and a dog sit around a diner table. Via
[Image Description: Still from Scoobynatural: A cartoon group of people and a dog sit around a diner table. Via]
See the pattern yet?

Overt or not, it’s clear to me that in the Scooby-Doo universe, capitalism is the true villain, and that depiction had a bigger impact on me than I initially realized. The shows we watch as children have a significant role in our worldly perspectives. The earlier we’re introduced to certain ideas, the easier they imprint on our brains.

As I become more aware of the society I live in, the more I’m disillusioned with it. The more I absolutely abhor it. And in the past few years, that’s led to me staunchly aligning myself with anti-capitalist ideologies. An ideology first planted in my mind by Scooby-Doo. Essentially, the show primed me to hate money-grabbing capitalists from a very young age. And I’m so grateful for that.

Trust me, I’m not alone when I say this. When I told my sister about my epiphany, she agreed. It’s impossible to side with the villains of Scooby-Doo, so naturally, we found it impossible to side with the capitalist villains of our world. I guess the only difference is that our villains aren’t afraid to show their faces.

I must admit though, as much as I relish the idea of Scooby-Doo writers purposely writing anti-capitalist plotlines, I don’t think that was the intention of the show. But what I do know is that those meddling kids make their world better with each villain they unmask. At the very least, the show proves that capitalism really is the root of all evil, the mother of monsters.

I don’t know about you, but I certainly wouldn’t want to live in a world without the Scooby Gang. If that makes me anti-capitalist, I’ll wear the label proudly.

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  • Apoorva Verghese

    Apoorva Verghese is a Paul Tulane Scholar at Tulane University, studying psychology and anthropology. She serves as an editor for the Intersections section of the Tulane Hullabaloo and her work is forthcoming in the Brown Girl Magazine print anthology. In her free time, she can be found experimenting with her new Nespresso machine with varying degrees of success.