REVIEW: ‘Velma’ Episodes 3 – 4

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Velma Episodes 3 - 4 — But Why Tho

The premiering episodes of Velma left a lot to ponder as to why this show exists, to begin with. And, well, Velma Episodes 3 – 4 solidify that sometimes bad ideas are unavoidable in the creative marketplace. If the notion of Daphne being the epitome of every popular mean girl and the idea that the Mystery Gang selling drugs is enough to make you scratch your head, I wonder what the idea of Daphne and Velma making out for the male gaze or jabs at the idea of people going to therapy will do for you.

There are plot threads stringing the narrative along. Velma is continuing her investigation into her missing mother. Daphne is exploring her dormant feelings for Velma. Norville is struggling to understand why Velma won’t fall in love with him. Fred is still in prison. My confusion about why episodes are dropping in batches subsides when realizing that it’s to make Velma make some semblance of sense. Without these storylines to follow, the show is nothing but pointed tangents on the state of  Velma’s sexuality, female vulnerability, violence against women, and female popularity.

Episode 3 begins with Daphne and Velma making out with excessive moaning and the joke being, “Hey, doesn’t everyone want to know if Velma’s gay?” without being able to get the g-word out. For good humor to work, there is a tug and pull between the subject you are criticizing and the ability to either subvert or enhance the topic. However, when you have Velma stare into the camera and sputter that everyone is invested in the sexuality of a 16-year-old after a makeout session that catered to the male gaze, it feels both distasteful and puzzling.

This continues as Velma and Daphne engage in a competition to see which girl in their high school is the least vulnerable. I don’t think I can explain the irritation and confusion at hearing the multiple jokes being thrown that suggest that female vulnerability is hilarious and tied to physical appearance. If Velma is attempting to make the titular character engage in internalized misogyny at every avenue, they succeed. It paints Velma as both the villain of the series, with a mic drop over the fact that Daphne speaks to a therapist every week, and as vapid.

I don’t want to watch this cynical, unfunny, and sad version of the Mystery Gang that is meandering, shallow, and cringe-inducing. There are no laughs to be had when Fred engages in tearing down women over the age of 35 or states that Velma is unattractive because of her body type. Velma tears other girls down because they’re not as “smart” or “sassy” as she is, the main point of Episode 4, and it gives off very uncomfortable “I’m not like other girls” vibes. A joke centered around Velma needing an inhaler after physical activity just leaves a lot to ponder.

What exactly do showrunners Charly Gandy and Mindy Kaling want to say by using the Scooby-Doo name? By making a ‘timely’ comedy for adults, does that have to mean that women are constantly criticized for their weight, appearance, interests, sexuality, and relationships with men? So many jokes feel like sad truths from women who cannot escape being murdered if they look lonely and vulnerable to there being no safe spaces for women if they’re not skinny or attractive. The point of Velma Episodes 3 – 4, if there is one, feels so muddled in cynicism I seriously question why studio heads greenlit this project.

Velma Episodes 3 – 4 are streaming now, exclusively on HBO Max.

Velma Episodes 3 - 4
  • 2/10
    Rating - 2/10


Velma Episodes 3 – 4 solidify that sometimes bad ideas are unavoidable in the creative marketplace.

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