The announcement of Mindy Kaling’s new adult-centric Scooby-Doo spinoff Velma yesterday drew a ton of controversy, despite very little being known about the show. The one photo of it that’s been shared points only to two things: 1) The new Velma will be South Asian; and 2) she’ll likely continue the tradition of Velma being very, very hot.
Of course, it’s the former of those two points that’s causing the drama — boring, uncreative and just plain racist people are upset that their beloved character from a show about a talking dog who solves mysteries will now be a skin color other than white (though Warner Bros. has stated that this new version will not feature Scooby or the van, which frankly, is fucking bullshit). Obviously, though, her being South Asian doesn’t change anything about the premise of the Scooby-Doo franchise and it’ll likely only enhance the plot. It’s also not even as though this is the first time Velma has been presented as non-white. In two previous live-action made-for-TV Scooby films, Velma was played by Japanese-American Kayley Kiyoko.
Another undercurrent to the Velma news, however, is the continued discourse around adult Velma being hot. I guess, hypothetically, Velma is supposed to be the nerdy foil to the more-attractive Daphne. But nobody seems to agree with this — both are clearly good looking, and Velma’s nerdiness is precisely why so many people like her. What’s not hot about the glasses, the thigh high socks, the pleated miniskirt and the turtleneck sweater clearly accommodating a rather voluptuous bod? She’s always been sexy, and this new spinoff will hopefully be no different, particularly since it’s intended for an adult audience.
But until Kaling’s version of the show debuts, there’s one clear, reigning winner in the sexy Velma war: Linda Cardellini in the 2002 and 2004 films, Scooby-Doo and Scooby-Doo 2. In these movies, which stuck to Velma’s usual dorky schtick, there are moments where they explicitly present her as erotically appealling. Most significantly, there’s a scene in the sequel where Velma puts on a full-body red leather jumpsuit and says, “Who’s your mommy?”
Based on the hundreds of tweets about the scene, it’s not an exaggeration to say that it fundamentally changed people.
Velma doesn’t need to go that far to prove the character’s sexiness, but again, given that it’s for grown-ups, I certainly wouldn’t mind if they did. While we’re on the topic, I also wouldn’t mind if they finally gave the people what they want and threw a little queerness in there, too (it’s apparently canon that Velma is a lesbian). Maybe in this show — and this is just an idea! — Daphne and Velma could have a little smooch or something… you know, as a treat.
In any case, I’m looking forward to Velma, even if there will be no Scooby or Mystery Machine, simply because I enjoy Velma in her many forms. She doesn’t have to be hot for people to like her, but as Linda Cardellini’s rendition of her shows, it certainly doesn’t hurt.