Aug. 21, 2014 at 9:03 AM ET
Want to curse a woman? In the "Scooby-Doo" universe, apparently all you have to do is plump her up a few sizes. At least, that's the message of "Scooby-Doo! Frankencreepy," the latest direct-to-video offering in the long-running, beloved mystery series for kids.
A loose reworking of Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein," in "Frankencreepy" the Scooby gang head to Pennsylvania where Velma has inherited a distant relative's cursed castle. Once there, strange things begin happening ... and Daphne's vanity over her size 2 figure leads her to be "cursed" by becoming a size 8.
The problems with this as a plot device are both obvious and subtle. First of all, a size 8 is aspirational for most women; the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that the average woman in America is about 5'4" and weighs 166 pounds — well above a size 8.
Secondly, the notion that the only way to get at Daphne's narcissism was to inflate her body — rather than give her face monster-like proportions, which would have been in the spirit of the series — suggests a certain tone-deafness from the script writer.
And finally, the image of Daphne's new shape does not depict a size 8. As Tom Burns writes on his The Good Men Project blog, "'Fat Daphne' is drawn like she's Violet Beauregarde from Willy Wonka, like she's puffed up like a balloon." Later, he adds, "It's sad to think that my daughter can’t even watch a cartoon about a dog solving mysteries without negative body stereotypes being thrown in her face."
Still, the movie, which was released on DVD and Blu-Ray on Aug. 19, has a nearly five-star rating on Amazon right now. And at least one commenter notes that the film is trying to do the right thing rather than fat-shame Daphne.
"I actually have to defend the writers here because Daphne realized she was being superficial throughout that story arc, it added to the story in a meaningful way (it allows her to evade iron face) and the most importantly: Fred didn't notice/care and said that she 'always looked good to him'," writes D. Davidson. "I would say it was more about acceptance and not being superficial than anything."