Movie Reviews

Velma Show Changes The Meaning Of Daphne's Nickname

Warning! SPOILERS for Velma season 1.HBO Max’s Velma puts a new spin on the “Danger-Prone Daphne” nickname that Daphne Blake acquired in the original Scooby-Doo cartoons. Originally Daphne’s primary role in the Mysteries Incorporated team was to be the damsel in distress who was captured by the villain of the week. While later Scooby-Doo series and movies made her a more capable heroine, Daphne Blake is still the Scooby-Doo character most likely to get lost or accidentally stumble upon a secret passageway or trap-door.

The adult animated series Velma averts this, making significant changes to the classic Scooby-Doo characters. Chief among these changes are Daphne Blake and Velma Dinkley being frenemies rather than best friends and Daphne being adopted by two lesbian police detectives rather than the spoiled daughter of an upper-class family. Despite this, Daphne is still known as “Danger-Prone,” but for an entirely different reason than in the classic Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!

Related: Velma Show Follows Through On Her Recent Scooby-Doo Movie Reveal

The early episodes of Velma established that Daphne Blake had a dark side, dealing drugs at her high school to secretly finance her search for her biological parents. However, Velma season 1, episode 4, “Velma Makes A List” revealed that dealing drugs under her mothers’ noses was only the latest in a long line of risky activities that Daphne had become involved in over the course of her short life. Her tendency to actively seek out thrills prompted her mothers to nickname her “Danger-Prone Daphne.”

A flashback montage full of the R-rated humor distinguishing Velma from Scooby-Doo confirmed Daphne’s rebellious nature while mimicking an earlier sequence that showed Velma’s tendency to revel in the strange and spooky. While Velma was terrifying their classmates with a scary monster mask, Daphne was drawing herself jumping through a flaming hoop on a motorcycle. She then set the picture on fire. Daphne was also shown skipping along roof-ledges, picking the pocket of her science teacher and pulling a knife on a fellow cheerleader who was bullying Velma.

Beyond defying audience expectations of how Daphne Blake should behave, Velma likely changed the character to avoid any vestige of the sexist tropes that originally defined Daphne. Most recent interpretations of Scooby-Doo have taken care to avoid portraying Daphne as a damsel in distress with no interests outside of fashion and shopping. Perhaps the most famous example of this is the live-action Scooby-Doo movie written by James Gunn, which starred Sarah Michelle Gellar as a karate-practicing Daphne. Ironically, the Velma series’ troubled take on “Danger-Prone Daphne” is far closer to the modern interpretations of the character than the classic Scooby-Doo that it goes out of its way to avoid imitating.

More: Is New Scooby-Doo Series Velma Suitable For Kids?

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