WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Scoob!, available now on video-on-demand services.
Scoob! is chock-full of references to Hanna-Barbera’s vast library of animated properties — many obvious (Blue Falcon and Dynomutt, Dick Dastardly), and others less so (Peebles Pet Shop from The Magilla Gorilla Show). But the most obscure, by far, is an easily missed nod to the studio’s first primetime series, The Flintstones.
The animated reboot pits the Mystery Inc. crew and their newfound allies Blue Falcon, Dynomutt and Dee Dee Sykes, against Dick Dastardly, who seeks to open the gates of the underworld, triggering a global “dogpocalypse.” What ensues is a globe-spanning wacky race to beat Dick and his robotic minions to the last of the film’s McGuffins: a trio of ancient, enormous dog skulls.
With Fred, Daphne and Velma imprisoned on Dastardly’s airship, Team Falcon (with Shaggy and Scoob in tow) traces the location of the final relic to Mystery Island, a prehistoric world hidden miles beneath the North Pole. There they encounter Captain Caveman, star of Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels (which also introduced Dee Dee Sykes), who kindly escorts them to the skull, known by his people as a “slaghoople.”
On the surface, that’s little more than a nonsense term. But dig a little deeper, and it’s revealed as a wink to The Flintstones: Slaghoople is Wilma Flintstone’s maiden name, but more commonly associated with her fearsome mother Pearl. It appears to be a portmanteau, blending two words in typical Flintstones fashion to come up with a name that sounds vaguely “Stone Age” in origin (see Hatrock, Rockendorf, Slagheap, and so on). Slag is what’s left when metal is separated from raw ore; a “hoople” is slang for an idiot, which seems a bit unkind to Wilma and her family.
Introduced in 1962, in the Season 2 episode “Trouble-in-Law,” Pearl Slaghoople was the kind of mother-in-law typical of television comedies of the era — nagging, short-tempered and demanding. With red hair, worn in a bun, like Wilma, but with a body more akin to Fred’s, Pearl made a perfect antagonist (both mental and physical) for her son-in-law.
It’s difficult to detect any deeper meaning behind naming the enormous skull, held sacred by the people of Mystery Island, a “slaghoople.” It’s simply a fun word, with deep roots in Hanna-Barbera history, and a wink to The Flintstones. If the filmmakers had something to say about Fred’s mother-in-law, certainly they would have draped a pink, striped pelt over the platform, or perhaps ringed the skull with pearls.
If nothing else, it offers young audience members a chance to add to their growing vocabulary — “slaghoople!” “slaghoople!” — while leaving older viewers wondering where they’ve heard the word before.
Directed by Tony Cervone, Scoob! stars the voices of Frank Welker, Zac Efron, Gina Rodriguez, Will Forte, Amanda Seyfried, Tracy Morgan, Ken Jeong, Kiersey Clemons, Mark Wahlberg and Jason Isaacs.
Scoob! viewers no doubt caught references to Hanna-Barbera properties like Hong Kong Phooey and Jonny Quest, but what about The Flintstones?