|First appearance||"What a Night for a Knight" Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!|
Velma Dinkley (last name revealed to be an Americanization of Von Dinkenstein) is a fictional character in the American television animated series Scooby-Doo. She is prone to losing her glasses. She is usually seen wearing a baggy orange turtleneck, short pleated skirt (or in later episodes an A-line skirt, or sometimes shorts), knee socks, and Mary Janes. She is seen as the brain of the group.
Throughout her various incarnations, Velma is usually portrayed as a highly intelligent young woman with highly specific interests in science (which in the Scooby and Scrappy Doo series leads her to pursue a career as a NASA research scientist) or merely being very well read on obscure fields, such as Viking writing (as in the third Scooby-Doo series The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries). In Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo, Velma is described by her younger sister Madelyn as being "born with a mystery book in her hand". Consequently, Velma is usually the one to figure out the mystery, sometimes with the help of Fred and Daphne. The Velma character was inspired by the brainy tomboy Zelda Gilroy, as played by Sheila James, from the late 1950s/early 1960s American sitcom The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.
A running gag in Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! and The New Scooby-Doo Movies is Velma's severe nearsightedness and her trouble with keeping her glasses on her face (often resulting in them falling off while she is being chased by the villain). Another running gag is that despite the fact that she is the smallest of the Scooby Doo gang she can actually carry away the whole gang in her arms from a villain.
When Scooby-Doo is too afraid to volunteer to help with a mission, Velma often offers him a dog treat called a "Scooby Snack" as a bribe. Her catchphrases are: "Jinkies!," and "My glasses! I can't see without my glasses!" (when she accidentally loses her glasses).
Like all of the Scooby-Doo kids, later ret-conned as Mystery Incorporated members, Velma has differing personal backgrounds and histories depending on which series one is referring to.
In the original flagship Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! series, Velma attended the same high school as the rest of the gang (as stated in the inaugural episode "What a Night for a Knight"). However, by The New Scooby Doo Movies, Velma is said to have graduated from a different high school than her friends (as stated in the episode "Spirited Spooked Sports Show").
Although Velma has only been in an on-screen relationship once (Patrick in the live-action Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed), she has had several love interests in various shows:
- Several fan crushes one on Ben Ravencroft in Scooby-Doo and the Witch's Ghost a writer whom she adored. JC Chasez, she attempted several times to win a date with him in a contest, and another on a French film actor Guy L'Avorton, one of the few suspects she didn't want to believe he was a culprit.
- Detective Beau Neville in Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island
- several unrequited crushes, from George the mailman from their old hometown, Gibby Norton, and Jason in the Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated episode "Howl of the Fright Hound"
- a possible love interest with Prince Omar in Scooby-Doo! in Where's My Mummy? and Winsor in Scooby-Doo! Legend of the Phantosaur.
- In a Cartoon Network mini cartoon Velma was dating Johnny Bravo. Although given a choice between mysteries and Bravo, Johnny gets dumped as usual.
Up until Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated and Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster neither Velma or Shaggy ever showed any real attraction beyond friendship in their previous incarnations. Though the two did often dance together or would go off together, along with Scooby-Doo, when the group separated for clues. In Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, Velma begins a relationship with Shaggy. Velma and Shaggy have begun to secretly date, but the relationship has many ups and downs. One is that Velma began pushing Shaggy to make their relationship official. Shaggy, however, is hesitant as he wants to hide the relationship from Scooby-Doo until such a time when he feels confident enough to tell him. This causes some tension between Shaggy and Velma. Eventually, Scooby-Doo becomes aware that they are dating and his initial reaction was exactly what Shaggy had feared: anger, jealousy, and a sense of betrayal. The tension causes Velma to become jealous of Scooby-Doo and even often cruel to him (a stark contrast from her previous incarnations with their relationship). Ultimately, Shaggy chooses Scooby-Doo over Velma, telling her that he does not feel ready to have a girlfriend. Later, Velma reconciles her friendship with Shaggy and reveals that she no longer has romantic feelings for him.
In Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster, Shaggy is the one smitten with Velma. Following Velma around, he slowly works up the courage to ask her out on a date. Oblivious to all this (partly due to being possessed by Wanda Grubwort) until Shaggy eventually does ask her out, she reluctantly agrees to a date. Scooby (once again jealous of this new, budding relationship) attempts to sabotage the pair's affections. When Velma finally frees herself of the possession, she asks Shaggy if he was serious about his attraction to her and goaded on by Fred and Daphne, they kiss. Realizing that there is no chemistry between them, they agree to stay friends (much to Scooby-Doo's relief).
In Scooby-Doo! Legend of the Phantosaur, Winsor is the first real relationship Velma really explores. Velma goes to the point of trying to be more girlish to try and gain his affection. After some embarrassing moments, Velma lets go of her anxiety and both enjoy a somewhat normal date. When the Phantosaur begins to cause more havoc for the town, Velma refuses to believe that Winsor could be a suspect. Its noted that Velma's only looked away from two possible suspects Guy L'Avorton, as she was a big fan of a his foreign films and Winsor himself. Velma would get a big heart break when it was revealed that Winsor was one of the bad guys, he later on apologizes for deceiving her. He admits he really did care for her, but Velma's still hurt but his lies. By the end, she does forgive him and even asks if they can go out when he's released from jail. An offer Winsor joyfully accepted.
Members of the fanbase of the original Scooby-Doo speculated that Velma was a lesbian, even though the cartoon Scooby-Doo series' either do not explicitly refer to Velma's sexuality or clearly portray her as heterosexual. James Gunn, the screenwriter of the Scooby-Doo film, said that he was "pretty sure she's gay." Linda Cardellini, the actress who portrayed Velma in the film, said "There were a few scenes where Velma comes out of her shell. I wouldn't say she comes out of the closet." Cardellini added, "I thought more along the lines that maybe her sexuality is a little ambiguous." Jeffrey P. Dennis, author of "The Same Thing We Do Every Night: Signifying Same-Sex Desire in Television Cartoons," argued that the romantic connection between Velma and Daphne Blake is "mostly wishful thinking" because Velma and Daphne "barely acknowledge each other's existence." The makers of the film script inserted a reference to the rumor, where Velma ogles Daphne, in a draft script and the writers later intended for Velma to kiss Daphne, but the scenes were never filmed.
Relatives of Velma shown during the series' run include:
- Dale and Angie Dinkley
- Velma's parents, voiced by Kevin Dunn and Frances Conroy. They own the Crystal Cove Mystery Museum, which has in its display all of the costumes from the villains the gang has defeated over the years, as well as other objects that have connections to the supernatural or the unexplainable. Angie constantly tries to help her daughter in any way she can, while Dale tends to reprimand Velma.
- Madelyn Dinkley
- Velma's younger sister voiced by Danica McKellar. She appears to be in her late teens and somewhat resembles her older sister in appearance & personality. Ironically, Velma herself refers to Madelyn as a nerd and does not seem to realize how much alike they really are. Unlike Velma, Madelyn was not exactly sure what she wanted to do for a living and had previously attended clown college until she discovered a fondness for stage magic and enrolls in a school for stage magicians. Madelyn has a huge crush on Shaggy Rogers and as a result of this, Shaggy refers to Madelyn as "Doe-eyed Dinkley" or by simply "Madds". She plays an important role in Scooby-Doo! Abracadabra-Doo, when the magic school she's enrolled in is being terrorized by a giant griffin.
- Aunt Meg and Uncle Evan
- Velma's aunt and uncle (voiced by Julia Sweeney and Diedrich Bader), who live in a small town called Banning Junction which features in a Halloween episode of What's New, Scooby-Doo?.
- Velma's cousin and the daughter of Meg and Evan. She is studying mechanical engineering in college, but unlike Velma she is fashionable. This along with Marcy's interest in Fred made her Daphne's rival of sorts. She was born on Halloween which over time led to her hatred of the holiday as it usually upstaged her birthday (even her parents have forgotten it). Consequently, she used local legend and her engineering background to create Mechanical Scarecrow Monsters to terrorize the town on her eighteenth birthday.
- Aunt Thelma: works with dolphins at a marine institute.
- Uncle Dave (Walton)
- Uncle John: works as an archaeologist.
- Uncle Cosmo: also works as an archaeologist.
- Uncle Elmo: a doctor.
- Uncle Ted: also works as an archaeologist.
- Great Uncle Dr. Von Dinkenstein: Velma's infamous great uncle, resembling Frankenstein. He's the reason for Velma's crime solving business.
Velma has been voiced by several actresses. From 1969 to 1974, Nicole Jaffe voiced Velma; from 1976 to 1979, the late Pat Stevens voiced the character. From 1979 to 1980, Marla Frumkin provided her voice. Velma did not speak in the Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo final episode, "The Ransom of Scooby Chief". After the character's absence from 1980 to 1983 series, Marla Frumkin reprised the role of Velma as a guest star in The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries. Velma was absent again until A Pup Named Scooby-Doo when Christina Lange voiced the role. B.J. Ward voiced Velma in a Johnny Bravo crossover episode. From the animated movie, Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island, B.J. Ward reprised her role in all movies through Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase. Nicole Jaffe returned to voice Velma in the movies, Scooby-Doo! and the Legend of the Vampire and Scooby-Doo! and the Monster of Mexico.
In What's New, Scooby-Doo?, Shaggy & Scooby-Doo Get a Clue! and Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, as well as all cartoon movies made since 2004, Velma is voiced by Mindy Cohn of The Facts of Life fame. In Scooby-Doo! Adventures: The Mystery Map, Velma is voiced by Stephanie D'Abruzzo. On July 8, 2015, it was announced that Kate Micucci would take over the role of Velma in the upcoming series Be Cool, Scooby-Doo!, with Cohn continuing to provide her voice for future direct-to-DVD movies and games. In the 2002 and 2004 live-action movies, Velma is played by Linda Cardellini. Velma is portrayed by Hayley Kiyoko in the 2009 live-action movie Scooby-Doo! The Mystery Begins and its live-action sequel Scooby-Doo! Curse of the Lake Monster.
- Evanier, Mark. (July 10, 2002).Post on "News from Me" blog for Povonline.com. Retrieved on March 27, 2006. Excerpt: "Fred was based on Dobie, Thelma on Zelda, Daphne on Thalia and Shaggy on Maynard."
- Breznican, Anthony. "Are hidden meanings present in the 'Scooby-Doo'movie?, Filmmakers and cast members say some hints are there, but won't be understood by children." Associated Press at the Philadelphia Inquirer. June 20, 2002. D10 Features Magazine. Retrieved on December 12, 2010.
- Sigesmund, B.J. "The Inside Dope." Newsweek. June 14, 2002. Available at Lexis-Nexis
- Breznican, Anthony. "'Scooby-Doo' drops lusty looks and gay gags to keep PG rating." Associated Press at the Seattle Times. Friday June 14, 2002. Retrieved on December 12, 2010.
- Dennis, Jeffrey P. "The Same Thing We Do Every Night: Signifying Same-Sex Desire in Television Cartoons." Journal of Popular Film & Television. Fall 2003. Volume 31, Issue 3. 132-140. 9p, 3bw. Within the PDF document the source info is on p. 135 (4/10)