Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Attack of the Shaggy Meme

Stoner vs Kaiju and Saiyan

As I may have mentioned more than once in past posts, the Cerberus at the gates to my personal hell probably has three Scooby Doo heads. While I disliked the entire show during my own childhood, I was particularly unfond of the talking dog and his scraggly chinned, BFF-in-binge eating, Shaggy.

And during the last 15 or so years of parenting, I have felt like there is always a new Scooby Doo movie or TV show sneaking up on me while my back is turned. I wouldn’t say that our kids are major Scooby and Shaggy fans, but their appreciation for the pair has tested my patience on many occasions.

But until recently, I had no idea how Shaggy had been proliferating out of control in the world of online memes. In these memes, the joke is that he is amazingly powerful.

The genesis of online memes can often be random or mysterious, but All Powerful Shaggy has a couple precursors that are easy to spot.

I’ll assume we all know that Shaggy is usually a wimpy, fearful whiner, frequently manipulated into acting as ghoul-bait by promises of food...often dog food. 

But in “Scooby Doo!: Legend of the Phantosaur,” the 16th direct to video movie in the franchise (you read that right: 16th and it was only 2011) Shaggy is hypnotized to become a motorcycle-riding, bar-brawl-winning badass whenever he hears the word “bad.” 

In the earlier 2004 live action “Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed,” there was a memorable scene where Shaggy and Scooby consumed a fridge full of transformative potions, culminating in a ridiculously “buff” super muscly version of Shaggy. (This came immediately after the Shaggy with breasts and a crop top. But the less said about that, the better.)

Perhaps the availability of these source materials made it possible for Shaggy to become the new version of the “Chuck Norris facts” meme.  Chuck Norris facts, as helpfully explained on knowyourmeme.com are, “a series of satirical factoids and hyperbolic claims that characterize the American celebrity martial artist and actor as an extremely tough, virile and alpha-male archetype.” The meme originated in 2005, and lasted a long while. 

For instance: “When Chuck Norris goes to donate blood, he declines the syringe, and instead requests a hand gun and a bucket.”

The Shaggy memes are usually more extreme than even the Chuck Norris facts.

In early 2019, it was popular to declare that Shaggy was actually an all powerful god who could end entire universes using only a small percentage of his powers- i.e. “Shaggy was responsible for the Big Bang while using only 14% of his power.”

Shaggy’s memed all-powerfulness also has anime/ manga inflection to it. He has recently appeared as a modded- in character in the game “Jump Force.” 

Previously some 270,000 people had signed an online petition to have Shaggy added in to the latest version of Mortal Kombat, so clearly the desire to see Shaggy fight is shared by more than just a handful of gamers. 

On this napkin, Shaggy is knocking down Goku, one of the superhuman fighters from Dragon Ball, having already trounced Godzilla. 

I would have liked to include a few more antagonists: Thanos? Darkseid? King Ghidora?
But let’s face it, just Goku and Godzilla were challenge enough.

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