I have always been a “Scooby-Doo, Where are You?” enthusiast. The psychedelic Mystery Machine, groovy clothes, cheery music playing in a chase scene, and random guest spots from a 1970s celebrity fills me with nostalgia. I like the cooperative group work it took for those “meddling kids and that dog” to discover, in under 30 minutes, that the boogeyman was really a jerk in a creeper costume trying to steal “priceless” jewels. The mystery was solved and things ended with laughter and a Scooby snack. Such simplicity.
My adult appetite for a mystery continues to be fed, not from the thick, glass screen of my parents’ circa 1985 living room, but by podcasts and streaming services offering up a bevy of true crime stories from Timbuktu to Kalamazoo, each as disturbing as the next. The first series I ever listened to was Southern Fried True Crime by Erica Kelley. Being from the South, I thought, “Aww, that’s a cute name for a series,” but you know what’s not cute? The seriously messed up situations and people out there. The more bizarre, jaw-dropping twists I heard, the more I WANTED to hear! I felt like a warped individual, for being entertained (ugh, I’m awful!) by these human tragedies. No simplicity here!
What is the allure of all things true crime?
From the days of Unsolved Mysteries and America’s Most Wanted to serial podcasts, listeners want more details, more believably unbelievable, and more bizarre. But WHY? Things I’ve read from this little search engine called Google says that it’s basically a case of watching an accident happen and not being able to look away, except to say, “I’m glad that wasn’t me.”
I conducted a very non-scientific poll, asking a few friends what they liked about true crime and everyone basically said the same thing: it is a disbelief that people do such horrible things to other people. A desire to know why things happen the way they do, for someone to be held accountable, along with sharing empathic connections with other human beings.
I still watch old Scooby-Doo episodes with my little one. As a grown-up, I know they’ll always catch the bad guy, Velma will lose her glasses (insert eye roll), and if ever searching a haunted mansion, NEVER leave the main group. Famous last words, “Alright, gang, let’s split up and search for clues.” Uhhh, no way, Fred.