Harry Situation Reviews: Velma
Jinkies! That's a lot of hate for this show!
Velma is an adult animated mystery series streaming on HBO Max. It features the voice talents of Mindy Kaling (who is also the series' executive producer), Constance Wu, Glen Howerton, Sam Richardson, Jane Lynch, Wanda Sykes, Stephen Root, and Frank Welker.
The series centers around Velma Dinkley (voiced by Mindy Kaling) as a brilliant but cynical high school student as she tries to solve a major mystery: who has been killing her fellow classmates? In order to solve this mystery, she'll need the help of Daphne Blake (voiced by Constance Wu), the popular mean girl; Fred Jones (voiced by Glen Howerton), the spoiled rich kid; and Norville Rogers (voiced by Sam Richardson), Velma's best friend who has a crush on her.
So, this show has been gaining a lot of buzz lately, and not in a good way. But you know what they say: bad publicity is also good publicity. At least that's how the writers and executives see it anyway. Even before its premiere the show has garnered some negative feedback. And when it finally premiered, much to no one's surprise, this show was widely hated by everyone. Even critics didn't have a ton of positive feedback for this series.
But ignoring all the negative reception it has garnered I still wanted to go into this series with an open mind and give my personal thoughts into the series. Well, if I'm talking about this show now after having to sit down and watch the whole season, I can confirm that the show is really, really bad.
What I really don't like about this series is the complete bastardization of each of the characters. All of these characters have been written in a way that makes them unrecognizable to their counterparts. Like I said earlier, Daphne is this mean girl archetype, who also sells drugs on the side. She also has this side story about wanting to find her real parents, which feels so irrelevant to the main story. And outside of that, she really has nothing going for her aside from what I mentioned. She's only there to exist in the series, and that's the worst thing you can have for a character.
Fred is the complete opposite of his counterpart. Instead of being a likeable, nice guy leader who has somewhat of a dorky personality, Fred in this series is an entitled, self-absorbed man-child, who can't do anything basic like cut his own food. Also, the series has a habit of bringing up the fact that Fred has a small penis. He's mainly the series' punching bag solely because he's an entitled rich white guy. I mean, I don't have any love for them either, speaking as a white guy myself, but I don't need to be constantly reminded why they suck in every episode.
The only character that is somewhat decent is Norville, whom you may know better as Shaggy. For the record, Norville is Shaggy's real name. However, he is the one character who is written to be extremely different from his counterpart. There are no signs of him being cowardly, no signs that he's a foodie (aside from a snack blog that he has for one episode), and he's written to be this pathetic simp for Velma. He's also, for some reason, very anti-drug. I'm not sure what they're trying to get at with that. I mean there's that whole in-joke among fans that Shaggy is a stoner, but that's the thing, it's just an in-joke. It's not canon with the character.
But the worst offender is the titular character herself: Velma. She comes off as rude and cynical, with an extreme holier-than-thou attitude. However, the whole school and even the whole town seem to hate her and it's not hard to see why. This version of Velma is a complete bitch. She puts herself above others, she mistreats her friends, she's quickly judgmental about everyone, and she's just awful. There's nothing I like about her, and she has zero redeeming qualities. I get that they're trying to make her akin to characters like House or Daria, but the only problem is that, despite their attitudes, House and Daria are likeable characters, and they understand that they're not perfect people. Velma is not likeable, which makes it hard to root for her. It really begs the question why I should be invested in this character if she's so despicable.
What's really strange is that Daphne, Fred, and Norville all seem to crush on Velma (and vice versa) throughout the show, and I can't figure out why. All these characters have nothing but pure venom for each other. Why would any of them have a crush on Velma? Why would Velma crush on any other them? Hell, why would any of them like each other as friends? This four are supposed to make up the Scooby Gang but they don't act like friends.
I should also mention that all the main characters, aside from Fred, have been race-swapped. Velma is Indian American, Shaggy is African American, and Daphne is Asian-American. Honestly, the race changes make no difference to me. Hell, Velma in other incarnations has been either part Asian-American and Latina in the recent animated theatrical film. I only bring this up because the show constantly brings up race as either a commentary or tasteless joke. It's also worth noting that one of the main writers for the series, Charlie Grandy, is white, and based on what I've seen so far, he's completely clueless on how to write a diverse cast of characters.
The worst thing a comedy show can be is not funny, and unfortunately, Velma commits that very sin. Velma's idea of comedy is making meta references to classic tropes and then committing those exact same tropes. This show gets way too crazy with trying to be meta. The tries to act like it's self-aware without any sort of subtlety. Also, remember when I mentioned earlier that Fred in this show has a small penis? Get used to hearing that over and over again.
Now you're probably noticing something is off about my review. I've mentioned the names of Velma, Shaggy, Fred, and Daphne. I bet you're wondering why haven't I brought up Scooby-Doo? That's because Scooby-Doo isn't in the show at all, and the reason for his absence is ridiculous. According to the creators, the reason Scooby-Doo isn't in this show is because they thought the idea of a talking dog was childish and couldn't work in an adult cartoon. Childish? Gee, I wonder what's more childish: a talking dog or a scene where two cockroaches fuck in a high school locker room? Or in the very next scene of the same said locker room, it shows of gratuitous nudity of Daphne and other teenage girls? Yeah, that's not childish at all. Also, did they forget that Brian Griffen from Family Guy exists?
Despite all the negative points I've made about this show so far there are a small handful of positives I can give. The first positive is that the animation does look good. I mean the character designs, the settings, the backgrounds, it all looks very well done. The stand outs are the different hallucinations that Velma tends to have throughout the series. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that Velma has a tendency to hallucinate about her missing mother as some sort of specter? Why this happens I'm not sure, but when it does happen the animation really shows.
The voiceover performances are pretty good too. I can't comment too much on it because, for the most part, it just sounds like celebrities just voicing themselves instead of putting more effort into, however, with the material they've been given they do a good enough job. I will say that the standout is Glen Howerton as Fred, as at least he tried so sound like a caricature.
Also, I do admit I do find the mystery of what happened to Velma's mother intriguing. Velma's mother is a mystery writer who went missing when Velma was young and has been a driving force for her. It's something new and different for the franchise that I can totally get behind. Too bad it's overshadowed by the main mystery of a murderer killing teenagers and taking their brains, which is the least interesting aspect of the series, and it often gets forgotten in a few episodes to make way for uninteresting and unfunny storylines. Also, too bad I don't care for Velma as a character at all, otherwise the mystery of her missing mother might have been a worthwhile selling point for the series. And if you're wondering if these two mysteries are somehow intertwined, you're absolutely right. Now you don't have to watch the show!
I've seen people actually call this show worse than High Guardian Spice. Personally, I don't think it's that close to being bad. At least Velma has a story. At least Velma has good animation and voiceover. However, much like High Guardian Spice, I'm not sure who the intended audience is. Who was this show made for exactly? Obviously, this show was never intended for kids with the use of graphic violence, language, and nudity. Obviously, it was aiming for an adult audience, however the writers went out of their way to insult said audience by making fun of adults that watch cartoons. Wait a minute, I think I figured it out. I know who this show was intended for. Them! It was made specifically for the writers and producers of this show. They made this show to make themselves feel good. The show was intended for their mindset and their kind of humor.
What makes it more frustrating is that they knew general audiences would hate this show. They knew people will hate watching the show and review bomb it (which btw, that's really childish, don't do this). They knew people will watch it out of spite, which is why it became HBO Max's most watch series, which guaranteed them a second season. Way to go everyone. You played right into their hands. You know, what would ensure them that nobody likes their show? You know what will ensure that they don't get a second season? DON'T WATCH THE SHOW!
Overall, is Velma a bad show? Yes. It's a badly written, unfunny show with completely unlikeable main characters that the audience is forced to watch. Is it the worst thing related to Scooby-Doo? Personally, I think so. I've been a big fan of Scooby-Doo since I was a little kid. It doesn't matter how many times Scooby and the gang solve the same mystery over and over again; it just goes to show that the character, as well as the franchise, still works, and personally I'll never grow tired of it. Is it the worst show ever made? No, I've seen worse. This doesn't even compare to High Guardian Spice, although I'm sure there are some that will argue that Velma is worse than High Guardian Spice, but you know to each their own. Does it deserve all the hate? Probably, but probably not. I'll let you be the judge of that.
-Intriguing mystery about Velma's mother
-Unlikable main characters
-Lack of subtlety
-The overall mystery
-Complete bastardization of the Scooby-Doo franchise
Final Grade: D
So those are my thoughts on Velma. Have you seen it? What were your thoughts on it? What's your favorite Scooby-Doo show that's way more entertaining than Velma? Please be kind, leave a like and comment, and check out more reviews here on Prose!
Norville: "You do know what 420 is, right?"
Velma: "Yeah. That's code for adults who still watch cartoons."
#harrysituationreviews #tv #opinion #streaming #HBOMax #animation #ScoobyDoo #mystery #murder #comedy #horror #ThisShowSucks
Harry Situation Reviews: M3GAN
2023 is kicking off to a good start so far...
The first film to review for the new year is none other than M3GAN. M3GAN is the latest science fiction horror thriller produced by James Wan and directed by Gerard Johnstone.
The story centers a young girl who becomes orphaned when her parents were killed in a car accident during their vacation. She is placed under the care of her aunt (played by Allison Williams), a roboticist for a toy company. Having a hard time trying to connect with her niece, she builds a life-like doll with an artificial intelligence called M3GAN. The girl and M3GAN bond well. Perhaps too well when M3GAN starts to become self-aware and becomes hostile towards anyone that comes between her and her companion.
So first positive obviously goes to the titular robotic nightmare herself, M3GAN (or Model 3 Generation). There's something about robots with that uncanny valley look that utterly creeps me out, and M3GAN is no exception. She's super creepy, but what she does throughout the whole movie is hilarious. I mean, there are moments where she is singing to her ways of trying to kill people. And let's not forget that dance sequence that constantly appears in promos. M3GAN is an absolute riot.
The performances are great too. Everyone does a solid job of selling the idea that this could potentially be a thing in the real world, no matter how hilarious or creepy it looks.
What I think makes the film work is how it explores the theme of human connection. It's a scary thought to allow people, at least children, to be so connected to technology. When the girl gets connected with M3GAN, that's all she devotes her time with. She sees her as a person rather than a machine. At first, you, along with the aunt, are fooled to believe that there's nothing wrong with that. But then you see that she interacts with no one else but M3GAN, not even her aunt. Think about it. We're pretty close to doing this to our own children, having them rely so much on technology as a form of comfort and shutting out everyone in the world in order to help them face their problems.
The only issues I have with the movie is that I feel like that the runtime could have been cut down by at least fifteen minutes. There were a couple moments during the climax where I thought this was where they were going to end it only for it to turn out to be a fake out scare.
Also, I think this movie could have benefited with an R-rating. Despite M3GAN seemingly looking like a movie about a killer robot doll there really isn't a lot of kills in this movie. I know, it was kind of shocking, and a bummer. Think what they could really show off with an R-rating. I bet the kills would be a lot more memorable. I'm sure it was an executive choice to make the movie PG-13 to appeal to a wider audience. However, if an R-rated cut exists, I'd definitely want to check it out.
Overall, M3GAN is really just dumb fun. I found the movie to be stupid but an enjoyable watch. I think even the writers and producers realize how ridiculous the concept is and they have fun with it.
-Theme of human connection
-Runtime could be cut down
Final Grade: B-
So those are my thoughts on M3GAN. Have you seen it? What were your thoughts on it? Please be kind, leave a like and comment, and check out more reviews here on Prose!
David Lin: "This is gonna punch Hasbro in the dick."
#harrysituationreviews #film #opinion #scifi #horror #thriller #robots #dolls #uncannyvalley #dumbfun