Fred Jones was supposed to be the hot one. The leader of the Scooby-Doo gang, with his blond hair and sharp jawline, exuded the type of preppy white masculinity popular in the postwar era. Since 1969, over 14 animated series, 30 straight-to-video movies, 13 comic books and two live-action films (plus video games, stage productions and memorabilia), Fred — with his signature ascot, collar, white sweater and golden-brown loafers — has looked the part of the ideal boy next door.
But what’s he packing? Doubt it’s much. The real BDE in the gang belongs to Shaggy, and Hollywood finally figured it out. With Scoob!, the beloved animated series is back with an animated film for a new generation, but this time, you won’t find Fred (Zac Efron) driving the Mystery Machine.
Clad in their classic uniforms, the characters are the same, but the culture around this team of young sleuths has changed drastically. (Watch out for jokes about Netflix and Tinder.) As a modern teen, Fred isn’t the All-American male he spent a half-century epitomizing. He’s an assertive yet dimwitted shell of male privilege.
This is good news for Shaggy (Will Forte), once the sad sack of the gang, who’s rocked unkempt brown hair and a patchy goatee for 50 years. For the first time, Norville Rogers is leading the gang.
A Fanfic Reappraisal
In 2020, the traits that once made Shaggy nebbishy and cowardly are now kinda cool. He’s emotionally attuned and easygoing. His loose clothing, disheveled hair and air of aloofness exude a Venice Beach vibe. Shaggy is a stoner with big dick energy.
Don’t believe us? Just look at erotic Scooby-Doo fanfic. Shaggy is often depicted as a sensitive top, barebacking Fred in the back of the Mystery Machine. (Oh, you thought Shaggy was straight?)
Ryan Maniulit, a comic artist from Seattle, published a Fred and Shaggy fanzine called “My Boyfriend Has a Talking Dog.” “I liked the idea of seeing two iconic characters who I enjoyed so much growing up being boyfriends,” Maniulit tells me.
Fellow fanfic artist Jimmy Nguyen, from London, Ontario, sees Shaggy as a stoner who’s into kinky sex. “He has a hint of grunge that feels like he’d be down for some dirty fun or just stay in and chill, y’know?” Nguyen tells me.
In his artwork, Nguyen depicts Shaggy as an otter — a hairy, lean man with a big dick. He drew inspiration from a diner fight scene in Scooby-Doo! Legend of the Phantosaur, the 2011 direct-to-DVD animated movie.
Shaggy takes down a gang of leather biker daddies. He’s swift and agile, using his lanky twink realness to its advantage. “He’s clearly supposed to be a comedic coward, but he still willingly(ish) puts himself in harm’s way to help capture whatever culprit the gang is after,” Nguyen says.
A Sensitive Leading Man
Just like the originator of big dick energy, Pete Davidson, Shaggy is a little awkward. His best friend is a talking dog. He’s easily startled and uses an obnoxious catchphrase, “Zoinks!” Even his name is a farce, derived from his shaggy, haphazard style.
Still, his charm is this soft, cool demeanor. Shaggy is the guy who’d pass his weed pen without asking you to Venmo him for a hit. All that time caring for Scooby has made him a loving partner who won’t let a few menacing villains stand in his way. “He knows how to have fun even in scary situations,” Maniulit says.