The Morning After…  "A Night of Fright is No Delight!

Where to begin? How does one review a crossover between the innocent, childhood fun of Scooby Doo and the tragic, apocalyptic heartache that is usually Supernatural? Let’s start with…

I LOVED "Scoobynatural"!

ScoobyNatural

Like Dean, and apparently Sam too, I was a fanatic for Scooby Doo cartoons in days gone by. Even after I got married, my husband and I sat on our couch every Saturday morning, propped our 9 inch Sony TV on the armrest, and watched cartoons together (we couldn’t yet afford a console TV… or any other furniture for that matter.) Cartoons are some of the best memories of my childhood. The animated action embodied an innocence of imagination, of having no boundaries of physical space, no limitations of real world realities like gravity, geography or logic. They were more than an escape; they inspired dreams about doing great things like travelling in rocket ships, saving the world, or solving unsolvable mysteries.

 13.16 0381 Mystery Machine

Scooby Doo was my favorite cartoon. I still enjoy singing the words to its theme song…

Scooby-Dooby-Doo, Where Are You? 
We got some work to do now. 
Scooby-Dooby-Doo, Where Are You? 
We need some help from you now. 

Come on Scooby-Doo, I see you... pretending you got a sliver 
But you're not fooling me, cause I can see, the way you shake and shiver. 

You know we got a mystery to solve, 
So Scooby Doo be ready for your act.

Don't hold back! 
And Scooby Doo if you come through 
you're going to have yourself a scooby snack! 
That's a fact!

Scooby-Dooby-Doo, here are you. 
You're ready and you're willing. 
If we can count on you Scooby Doo, 
I know we'll catch that villain.

… so I was surprised to learn that Scooby Doo, Where are You didn’t debut until 1969, a few years later than what could be considered my early childhood days. Regardless, it is an iconic part of all I consider sacred. In 2013, TV Guide ranked Scooby-Doo the fifth “Greatest TV Cartoon of All Time”. A quick scan of its background revealed that 65% of TVs were tuned to Scooby Doo every Saturday morning. That statistic alone explains its treasured status in American pop culture. From the reaction of Supernatural’s fans last night during the “Scoobynatural” cross-over, many of you were a part of that original audience, right there with me, reserving your Saturday mornings for Scooby’s gang.

 

 13.16 Gang

Were those unknowingly the first days of our Supernatural obsession? The Scooby gang is, after all, a bunch of misfits who travel from place to place hunting scary things. They solve mysteries and always have each other’s backs. Was Velma an early manifestation of Sam, always looking for clues, approaching mystical cases with logic and fact? If so, was Fred the caricature of Dean’s innocence, the leader of the group, the driver of their beloved home on the road, the ascot wearing, debonair ladies’ man? Who does that leave for Castiel, then?

Dean: these guys, they’re our friggin’ role models, man…. Just think about it – we do the same thing. We go to spooky places, we solve mysteries, we fight ghosts.
Sam: Yeah, except our ghosts don’t wear masks and we don’t have a talking dog.
Dean: I don’t know. I mean Cas is kind of like a talking dog.

Feel free to speculate below on Castiel’s forerunner!

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“Scoobynatural” was the perfect intersection of my childhood and adulthood. It was the same for my husband and my grown children. The older generation may have watched Scooby Doo on a tiny black and white TV (did I mention it wasn’t even a color set?), while the younger generation watched it in reruns, but Scooby Doo holds a special place in our hearts. We watched it as a family, everyone laughing out loud at silly things, loving the nostalgic moment of shared history. We all anxiously awaited the corridor of doors running-to-escape scene, and we were reassured by the familiarity of lines like,

Sounds like this could be the start of a mystery!

Well, gang, it looks like we've got another mystery on our hands.

Well, whatever is was, it’s gone now!

I would've gotten away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids!
We were comforted by the innocence of “Oh Dean! Boys and girls don’t sleep in the same room, silly.” I grinned through most of the episode from the sheer delight of feeling an innocence long forgotten.

 

So what were some of the best lines of the show?

Never buy anything from Mooselvania (with the associated dirty look from Sam).

Be like Elsa. Let it go.

It’s like I’m wrapped in hugz
Think I’m technically married to their queen now.

My vote for best line goes to Castiel:

I once led armies, and now I'm paired with a scruffy Philistine and a talking dog.
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Besides classic musical interludes from both Supernatural and Scooby Doo, sound effects (bowling alley clashes!) and witty humor, “Scoobynatural” added something important to Supernatural canon!
13.16 0231 ManCave
Who wants to bet that future eps find the brothers enjoying well deserved down time in their new home theater addition to their already secret man cave?
The Fortress of Dean-a-tude (ala Superman’s Fortress of Solitude)
“Scoobynatural” also offered the fascination of seeing Disneyland for the first time. The vividness of the color was amazing! I’ve never seen cartoons on a high definition TV before! I judge the cinematic interest of an episode by how many screencaps I want to include in a review. Honestly, episodes range from fabulous visual experiences where the number of shots deserving freeze frame attention far outnumber the space available in a single review, to episodes where finding interesting scenes is a real struggle. “Scoobynatural” just redefined that spectrum. Every animated scene is a visual delight! 
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There was more to “Scoobynatural” than inspiration, nostalgia and eye candy, though. A shocking number of season 13 threads were brilliantly woven into the script! Scoobyland was another alternate universe, the second the boys have visited this year (third if you count the flashbacks to apocalypse world). Amid all its animation and silly fun, there were still honest-to-goodness clues hidden in that mystery! I don’t want to spoil its magic by bringing it down to the plane of three dimensional reality, though! Seriously, I really thought about not analyzing the script at all so it could remain a simple, innocent cartoon but there were several bright books sticking out from the painted background of the car… Jinkies, I almost gave it away!

S13 Plots and Characters

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Dean Maybe this is an angel thing, or the Trickster. 
Sam: No, he’s dead 
Dean: Or is he?

Supernatural fans know that the Trickster is not dead, but Sam and Dean’s conversation (and TVland situation) foreshadowed them finding out the shocking truth!

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Velma: We just found out that Scooby’s been named as one of the heirs to a fortune, left to him by an old Southern colonel. Scooby saved him from drowning in a fish pond (nod to the “drowning” thread that one of you noted. I’m so sorry. I didn’t write down who!)
As you all know, I am Cosgood Creeps, attorney of the late Colonel Sanders.

Do you think there is any way that Jeffrey Vincent Parise chose to play Asmodeus as an evil Colonel Sanders because he foreshadowed the Scooby Doo episode all along?? Maybe the writers wrote him that way specifically? We found blatant Scooby references in early episodes, but then they seemed to stop. Someone please go back and check if the episodes where we didn’t detect an obvious reference to Scooby (13.6 and beyond) all included Asmodeus as a visual Easter Egg we didn’t detect!

How about this ridiculous situation...

 13.16 0044 dinosaur and sam

being a call back to this ...?

13.9 2000 pawprint

 

There may have been another wink to the audience from the writers as well:    

Sam: Look, if you’ve seen this episode, why can’t we just skip to the end?
Dean: Well, ‘cause sometimes it’s about the journey and not the destination.

That seemed liked a meta message to fans who have complained that Supernatural has nothing new to do, and is simply repeating old plots. It’s not the final destination my friends, it’s enjoying how the landscape has changed over the years. It the nuances and side trips along the way that make the road trip worthwhile.

Free Will and Souls

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Innocent Child: I never wanted to hurt anyone. But the bad man, he makes me.
Castiel: The bad man?
Child: When I died, my soul was tied to a pocketknife.
As so many possessed, brain washed or tricked souls before him this year, the little boy was forced to do something he didn’t want to do by an evil entity using him. Besides being manipulated like a marionette on strings, the boy was also disguised as a phantom, so his true self, which was neither intimidating nor scary, was hidden from those around him.

Impostors/Disguises

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Velma: That costume looks really real!
Velma: Look, Sam, the simple fact is monsters are nothing more than crooks in masks --
Castiel: I’ve never seen a ghost wear such a ridiculous costume.
Sam: Look, that isn't a guy in a mask and a costume. It's a vengeful spirit that's come back from the dead.
Dean: That's the truth.
Velma: So everything you told me, it's true?
Ever since the episode where Castiel returned from the Empty, plots have included disguises, shapeshifters, doppelgangers, and various deceptions surrounding people’s identities. I don’t know if I’m alone in seeing clues that Castiel is not who he pretends to be, but this episode practically screamed at us that the Empty Entity is the spirit who was previously “dead” but is now alive and in a mask and costume. I don’t think it’s mere coincidence that the Trickster’s return was also foreshadowed by questioning if something they thought was dead is really alive. There’s more, too.

Sleeping & Dream Worlds

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Sam: This is a dream. It’s gotta be …
Dean: It’s not a dream.
Dean: This is like a dream come true.
Sam: Your dream is to hang out with the Scooby gang?
Colonel Sanders: Now good night and pleasant dreams, y’all
Daphne: Oh, Dean! Boys and girls don't sleep in the same room, silly.
Dean: It’s called a sleeping robe.  

The entity’s ancient existence consisted of sleeping, a state that Castiel was destined to be in for all eternity had it not be for Jack waking him. So who’s in a dream now? Is this a reference to the Wayward dream walkers? I don’t think so. Rather, the combined, repetitive references to sleeping and dreaming seem to be hinting that someone, in my opinion it’s Castiel, is still sleeping. Alternately, maybe this whole season is a dream of the Entity’s, something to cure his boredom? No, I honestly don’t think the show would go there, especially given the rest of the threads in the episode.

Truth

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Velma: So once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth
Sam: Dean, we have to tell them the truth.
Daphne: What truth?
Sam: The truth about the phantom.

Sam wants to tell us the truth about the spirit who was dead, is now roaming the earth, and is masking the true being inside of him!

Velma: I thought I was blind without my glasses, but I was just blind. How could I be so stupid?
In this case, is Velma speaking as Sam, who is being blind to a reality that is right in front of him, or the fans, who are seeing the clues but dismissing them as improbable or impossible? What do you think?

Walls and Doors

Walls and doors have been a recurring theme this season because of the rift, Mary, the alternate universe, Jack, Kaia… well you know the plots!
Shaggy: Oh, yeah? Then, man, how did he just walk through that wall?!
Velma: Well, there's probably a hidden door.
Freddy: It looks like he was coming out of here. Well, that's not good.
Scooby’s classic chase scene was better than any door visual the season could have created on its own, but there was also the trapped door in the floor and the unsalted doorway that led to the coconut/soap/washing machine trap!

Good and Bad

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Alan (Scared Store Owner): You boys just took down an evil plushie that was trying to kill me. We're all good.

Dean: Giving us this made him feel good, okay… I’m the good guy… Let’s give this bad boy a test run.
Dean: They are pure and innocent and good, and we’re gonna keep it that way.
Dean: Turns out, he’s the bad guy. … then later, Freddy’s “not so bad
Sam: Good enough for Capone, good enough for you.
Little Boy: What about the bad man?

So good won out over evil this time. Scooby wouldn’t have it any other way! In cartoons, simple labels of good guys and bad guys always made it easy to know who to root for. There were no complications like coercion, or good people making bad choices, or good plans leading to disastrous consequences (after all, Dean and Daphne had a Plan B!). Even if it was only for one case, I’m happy that the brothers and Castiel got a well-deserved break from their complicated lives.

Talking and Animals

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Sam: we rolled into town because people were seeing a lizard monster.
The greatest talking dog in history” (Dean)!
Dean (to Freddy): Or are you chicken?
Velma (to Sam): I wouldn't expect such a big, broad-shouldered fella like you to be as chicken as Shaggy.
Sam: Dean, that's like with the killer stuffed dinosaur. And they were both in that pawn shop. Maybe this is all connected.
Velma: Um "killer stuffed dinosaur"?
Sam: Oh, I-I didn't mean a real Dean: It's a book we're writing. Yeah, about killer stuffed dinosaurs. It's called…
Castiel: "The Killer Stuffed Dinosaur in Love.
Dean: Shaggy figured out that the sharks Old Iron Face rode were really just torpedoes disguised to look like sharks.And what about the Black Knight? (an additional reference to the blackness of night when people sleep, i.e. the blackness of the Empty)
Sam: he sicced his pet ghost on us.

Early episodes this season emphasized talking things out, not internalizing nor ignoring feelings or fears. Did all that lead to a talking dog?? Scooby Doo is such an iconic animal, what if all the season’s references to animals were also leading to this episode? It makes sense that “Scoobynatural” was the culmination of the animal thread, rather than there being some supernatural animal creature still ahead of us, but the talking thread too. Time will tell, but what do you think?

Curiosities

  • Scrappy Doo!! Scooby’s nephew didn’t join the series until 1979, so seeing his little feet scampering between open doors in the hallway was a special treat!
  • Clearly Shaggy hung around with Sam and Dean too long. When he saw the ghost in the hallway, he yells, “What the F---, phantom!” The closed captioning and script transcript say only “Ph—ph-ph-phantom”, but listen closely!

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  • Baby became animated because Dean had the car keys in his pocket, but Castiel’s fruit from the tree of life in Syria (which he had no money nor wings to fly to/from) dropped to the ground rather than be animated with him. Thank goodness! I did NOT want Team Free Will to lose such a hard sought after ingredient to a real estate scam! Ah well, suspending reality is part of the charm of television.
  • Andrew Dabb’s Teaser Tweet for the episode read:

“I tell myself I am searching for something. But more and more, it feels like I am wandering, waiting for something to happen to me, something that will change everything, something that my whole life has been leading up to.”

Usually the meaning of his tweets are obvious once we’ve seen the episode, but this one is still very ambiguous. Was he being lighthearted, saying that his whole serious career has led to producing a cartoon for Supernatural? The pinnacle of his many dramatic years on the show is an animated Sam, Dean and Cas with a talking dog? Theories?

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“Scoobynatural” was a brilliant crossover, already taking its place as a classic, if not the classic Supernatural experiment. It was more than that though. Every week I love that Sam and Dean protect the world from all the horrible things that I don’t want to know exist: ghosts (which probably do exist), vampires (which have been written about for centuries), demons (which likely exist since I firmly believe good angels like Castiel exist) etc. Because of “Scoobynatural”, I now know that Dean would take a bullet for Scooby Doo, so not only are they the champions of my real world but they now protect my childhood memories too.   I know my heart is safe with them, and that’s makes Supernatural as sacred to me as Scooby Doo. Scooby Dooby Doo!

P.S. I thought I should back up my claims that my family and I were/are huge Scooby Doo fans, so here's a pic of our Scooby Doo statue that has an honored place among my Supernatural (a print by Megan Padalecki) and Twilight (an etching of my book's cover) collectibles! 

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Song Lyrics courtesy of: https://www.lyricsondemand.com/tvthemes/scoobydoowhereareyoulyrics.html
Script quotes courtesy of: https://www.springfieldspringfield.co.uk/ 
Additional screencaps courtesy of: http://www.homeofthenutty.com/supernatural/screencaps/
Also referenced: http://www.tvguide.com/news/greatest-cartoons-tv-guide-magazine-1071203/         

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