In 1979, Scrappy-Doo was brought on to revitalize the Scooby-Doo franchise. Before long, the charismatic Great Dane had taken center stage, pushing Daphne, Velma, and Fred out of the spotlight.
However, Scrappy's reign was short-lived. In 1988, he vanished from the scene completely, and when he returned in the late '90s, the cartoon industry had soured on his persona.
Cartoon Network began running promotional shorts that besmirched the pint-sized star's reputation, then the live-action Scooby-Doo movie turned everyone against Scrappy by making him the main antagonist.
While some might attribute Scrappy's fall from grace to his annoying cartoon voice, there's compelling evidence to suggest the dog caught the short end of the stick. There's even an extremely meta Scooby-Doo fan theory that attempts to shed light on why people dislike Scrappy-Doo. If it's to be believed, Scrappy may not be to blame for his unscrupulous public image.
There Seems To Have Been A Purposeful Campaign To End Scrappy's Career
Scrappy-Doo was largely absent from the spotlight from 1988-1999, at which point the powers that be made a concerted effort to run his name through the mud. Surprisingly, much of the animosity for the character began with Cartoon Network.
On Halloween 1999, Cartoon Network aired a series of "found footage" clips referred to as The Scooby-Doo Project. One of the special's promos sees Daphne running terrified through the woods at night, chased by an off-screen assailant. Velma explains that Scrappy-Doo is the pursuer, to which Daphne replies, "I know."
Around this time, Cartoon Network also ran an unflattering network promo featuring Scrappy. In the 60 second advertisement, Scrappy stands outside the studio's door and bullies Cartoon Network's other animated characters as they enter.
To top it off, in 2000 Cartoon Network's website launched an interactive game called Scrappy Stinks. In the game, players are encouraged to throw slime at Scrappy.
An Episode Of 'Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated' Alludes To Scrappy's Fall From Grace
To further fuel the flames of an anti-Scrappy conspiracy, everyone's most-hated pup has a bizarre cameo in a 2011 episode of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated.
While exploring a haunted museum, Fred and Daphne happen upon a wax statue of Scrappy. Daphne recognizes something familiar about him, causing Fred to promptly intervene with, "Look away, Daphne! We all promised each other that we'd never speak of him. Not EVER."
While the series never returns to the topic, it's clear something went horribly wrong between Scrappy and the gang, as current cast members are told never to utter his name.
The 2002 Live-Action Film's Screenwriter Despises Scrappy
Because Scrappy is just a completely fucking awful person. https://t.co/I7dZZ1ET2j— James Gunn (@JamesGunn) January 8, 2016
James Gunn, who wrote the screenplay for the 2002 live-action version of Scooby-Doo, has been unapologetic about his dislike for Scrappy. This perhaps explains why he made Scrappy the villain of the film.
In a 2014 interview with Wired, Gunn called Scrappy "a little piece of sh*t." When a Twitter user asked Gunn why he turned Scrappy into a villain, the screenwriter replied, "Because Scrappy is just a completely f*cking awful person."
In another interview from 2017, the reporter returned to the question of Scrappy, to which Gunn said, "I can tell you I hate the little motherf*cker with all my heart and soul."
The 'Nega-Scooby' Fan Theory Explains Scrappy's Descent Into Evil
One extremely dedicated fan thinks they've pieced together why Scrappy-Doo turned evil, specifically in the live-action film. The author of "The Facts on Scrappy" claims a Nega-Scooby canon was introduced in 1988 that grew steadily throughout the '90s, culminating with Scrappy's monstrous transformation in 2002's Scooby-Doo movie.
According to the theory, it's hard to imagine the cast of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo growing up to become the gang from Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!. The way they're depicted on the juvenile reboot most closely aligns with the sardonic, troubled youths seen in the live-action film. This leads the author to conclude that the two darker installments exist in a negative version of the franchise's canon.
Interestingly, the start of A Pup Named Scooby-Doo coincided with Scrappy's temporary disappearance from the franchise, and when he reappeared as the antagonist of the film, all the heroes featured equally unpleasant character traits that didn't align with the original series. This leads the fan theorist to believe that the original, good Scrappy was forgetten in the '90s in favor of his negative counterpart.