Tuesday, August 23, 2011

In Defense of Fred

So, I'm supposed to be writing something else right now. Of course that means that I can't get something completely unrelated out of my head so instead I'm going to do this, which furthers nothing and hardly anyone will read...

Of all of the childhood cartoons and entertainment, Scooby Do, Where Are You? gets a large amount of attention. Mostly, of course, it's on the recreational habits of Shaggy and his, lets face it, amazing talking dog. Any talk of Fred is to dismiss him as the square with the ascot and his 'thing' with Daphne.

But it occurs to me that we're being too hard on Fred. I've been thinking about the other clues we have about Fred beyond that ascot and maybe Fred is more of a free spirit that we give him credit for.

First of all, that van that they travel around in, the one with the swirly hippie paint job and giant 'Mystery Machine' painted on the side of it? That's Fred's van. Fred of the ascot and wide collar shirt. Put that together, loafer wearing Fred bought a van and painted it swirly green with flowers and a big bubbly "Mystery Machine" on the side. Not that pothead Shaggy, but Fred.

And on the subject of Shaggy...whose friend is he, anyway? Certainly not Daphne. you don't see many tights wearing, model posing cheerleader types with stoners who talk with their dogs. Sure, could be Thelma, booky chicks have hung out with wastoids before, but to the point where she invites him along on their aimless search across the country looking for mystery? No, Shaggy is clearly Fred's friend. They might even go back long enough that Fred bought a van so his buddy Shaggy could take that dog of his with him when they hung out. Maybe they were chilling in the front yard, feet in their kiddie pool one day when Shaggy suggested covering the thing in green hippie paint.

Not to mention this wild, rudderless trip in the first place. Ascot and loafer wearing people prepare for college, not seek out cranky caretakers in rubber masks.

So what's up? What happened to our man Fred? Is he the Dobbie Gillis to Shaggy's (clear inspiration) Manard G. Krebs? No, Dobbie joined the military and even talked his beatnick friend into going with him. Wally was always talking Eddie out of trouble, not loading him in a van to go looking for it. No, it's clear that in core mentality Fred is closer to Shaggy than the other way around.

No, the answer is clear. Daphne. Daphne is what happened. I imagine if we had picked up the Scooby Doo gang just a little earlier we would have seen a Fred with long hair and t-shirt and jeans not much different than Shaggy. But then he met Daphne who probably said something like, "You know what would look good on you? An ascot. And why don't you get a haircut?"

Now, I want to stop here and make sure I'm not painting Daphne as a ballbuster who has emasculated Fred. She went on the journey with everyone else and doesn't really seemed that bothered by Fred's hippie friend and dog tagging along. Maybe she's even the one who talked her brainy friend into joining them because she'd be able to help. She's on board and contributes.

But it's also clear that she contributes to Fred's fashion choices. Because, dudes, who amongst us hasn't donned something out of character because a pair of fluttering eyelashes suggested we might look good in it? This really isn't out of fealty, but rather because we've perhaps not really taken aesthetics into account as much as comfort. And while we won't admit it because it would make us sound like someone from Jersey Shore, we'd like to look good to the ladies, even if that means that we end up looking like that goofball square in the ascot and loafers driving a hippie van to abandoned amusement parks.

I imagine that there a few times that he'd like to get paired up with his old buddy Shaggy for some Scooby snacks of their own. For old times.

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