To start off, I am a media nut. Pop culture, movies, TV, anime, fanfiction, you name it, I consume it. When I watch movies with my friends or announce new reboots, I find myself acting as a sort of Scrooge that brings the entire mood down. As soon as we stepped out of the theater after Don’t Worry Darling, my friends smiled and nodded as they expressed that they really liked the movie, while I was pissed off and ready to rant. I may or may not have raised my voice in the women’s bathroom an inappropriate amount, but I am here to talk about why I am so cynical about a lot of new media coming out. Our standards are too low when it comes to movies and TV shows, and we don’t care that they might be extremely derivative or downright unnecessary.
I want to start with an explanation of derivative media with Don’t Worry Darling. Being a bored movie-enjoyer, I watched the 2004 movie The Stepford Wives the week before I watched Don’t Worry Darling. It was a good concept, but not a good movie—and I found that almost everything was the same within the two films. In The Stepford Wives, men alter their wives to become subservient and ‘perfect housewives.’ They go to dance class during the day, and live in a very ’50s, ’60s Americana paradise. The boys all go to the boys’ club during the day while the women clean the house or talk about housework together. Sound familiar? And ultimately, it is fine to sort of copy another movie, but Olivia Wilde, the director of Don’t Worry Darling, needed to acknowledge that or title the movie as such. And just because The Stepford Wives isn’t super popular (and it shouldn’t be—it is bad), we still cannot just remake the movie, claim it as original, and let everyone sing its praises. This movie isn’t original, so don’t give it credit, please. We deserve originality from Hollywood. What are the hundreds of millions of dollars we give them for anyway?
Now that I am properly getting worked up, let’s talk about Scooby Doo. Scooby Doo has been around since September 13, 1969 and has been rebooted in different ways over the 53 years of its existence. Most recently, in a film called Trick or Treat Scooby Doo!, Velma is shown explicitly having a female love interest. That’s perfectly okay—I am bisexual, and I love a good sapphic romance. And everyone is praising the creators for finally making Velma gay. But what if I told you she’s been gay since 2010? In the series Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, she is heavily implied to have a relationship with a character called Marcie (Hot Dog Water, for any of you fans out there). In fact, if you look up “Velma gay” on Google, Marcie and Velma are the first result. So this concept isn’t original at all, and the praise should be going to the 2010 series instead of this new derivative movie. This isn’t a new, special concept, and so the movie shouldn’t be getting praise for it.
I don’t really have a call to action for this column because the only thing I could say is “do your research” and that’s obnoxious, especially when discussing movies. I just needed to let you know that these movies aren’t as groundbreaking and special as they’re being praised for, and we shouldn’t be accepting and loving media that Hollywood isn’t even trying with.