|It wasn’t exactly a groundbreaking idea. Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies and Hanna-Barbera’s own The Flintstone Kids had already explored the idea of animating younger versions of popular characters. But A Pup Named Scooby-Doo did more than simply transpose its classic crimefighters to a kiddie setting; it spoofed the conventions of its 60’s counterpart with an often hilarious self-deprecating humor.
The premise had Freddy, Velma, Daphne, Shaggy, and Scooby as junior sleuths, solving such mysteries as “The Schnook Who Stole My Comic Book,” “Wanted Cheddar Alive,” and “Terror, Thy Name is Zombo.” Velma had a bit more sass in her (she wanted to work for NASA), and Daphne may have been a tad ditzier, but the rest of the gang remained unchanged.
In a recurring gag, Freddy almost invariably accused town bully Red Herring of committing the crime before finally unmasking the true culprit. (In later episodes, Red Herring would call in advance just to let Freddy know he didn’t do it).
Chase scenes were standard, other shows were parodied, and an episode never ended without the mandatory “You meddling kids!” moment. Shaggy and Scooby’s superhero alter egos, Commander Cool and Mellow Mutt, were also introduced in this series.
The animation style further cemented the show’s hip, post-modern image: eyes bugged out and jaws dropped when monsters appeared, legs spun in place when someone tried to run. And perhaps most importantly to the Scooby-Doo canon, it was on an episode of this show that Mama and Daddy Doo revealed Scooby’s given name: “Scoobert.”