Table of Contents
- Will Forte, Gina Rodriguez and Tracy Morgan to Star in Animated Scooby-Doo Movie (Exclusive)
- 1. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? (1969-1972, CBS)
- 2. The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972-1974, CBS)
- 3. The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Show (1976-1977, ABC)
- 4. Scooby’s All-Star Laff-a-Lympics (1977-1978, ABC)
- 5. Scooby’s All-Stars (1978-1979, ABC)
- 6. Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo (1979-1980, ABC)
- 7. The Richie Rich/Scooby-Doo Show (1980-1982, ABC)
- 8. The Scooby & Scrappy-Doo/Puppy Hour (1982-1983, ABC)
- 9. The All-New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show (1983-1984, ABC)
- 10. The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries (1984-1985, ABC)
- 11. The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo (1985-1986, ABC)
- 12. A Pup Named Scooby-Doo (1988-1991, ABC)
- 13. What’s New Scooby-Doo? (2002-2006, Kids’ WB)
- 14. Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get a Clue! (2006-2008, Kids’ WB on CW)
- 15. Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated (2010-2013, Cartoon Network)
- 16. Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! (2014-2018, Cartoon Network)
- 17. Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? (2019-?, Boomerang app & streaming)
- 18. An Aside for the Movies
- Netflix’s Dead to Me renewed for season 2 with Linda Cardellini, Christina Applegate returning
Will Forte, Gina Rodriguez and Tracy Morgan to Star in Animated Scooby-Doo Movie (Exclusive)
Tony Cervone is directing the feature, which counts Chris Columbus, Charles Roven and Allison Abbate as producers.
The project brings the mysterious and borderline supernatural hijinks of four teens and their (borderline) talking Great Dane, Scooby-Doo, to the big screen for the first time since 2004’s live-action Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed.
Rodriguez will voice Velma, known as the brains of the group. Forte will voice Shaggy, the scaredy-cat slacker who is best friends with Scooby. Morgan will voice a character not part of the Scooby universe, but rather part of the larger Hanna-Barbera cartoon universe, Captain Caveman.
The story sees the Mystery Inc. gang join forces with other heroes of the Hanna-Barbera universe to save the world from Dick Dastardly and his evil plans…and this time, we are told, the threat is real. The movie is slated for a May 2020 release.
Rodriguez, who in 2018 appeared with Natalie Portman in the sci-fi thriller Annihilation, voiced a character in Smallfoot, an animated offering from Warner’s animated arm, WAG. She is repped by CAA and Jackoway Tyerman.
Forte, who for a decade appeared on Saturday Night Live, recently voiced the part of Abraham Lincoln in Lego Movie 2: The Second Part. He recently wrapped a dramatic role in Laundromat, directed by Steven Soderbergh and also starring Meryl Streep and Gary Oldman.
SNL and 30 Rock alum Morgan will voice Captain Caveman. He also has the Netflix animated series Green Eggs and Ham coming up.
Veteran voice actor Welker’s relationship with Scooby-Doo dates to originating the role of Fred on the 1969-1970 series Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!
March 2, 12:48 p.m. An earlier version misstated when Frank Welker first began his relationship with the world of Scooby-Doo.
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Think for a moment about the greatest mystery solvers in the history of television. Who belongs on that list? Columbo, certainly. The variation incarnations of Sherlock Holmes. Probably Magnum or Jessica Fletcher and Jim Rockford, along with Luther and Monk and Mannix. Kojak and Veronica Mars, Pembleton and Bayliss, Jimmy McNulty? The list is seemingly endless, but it would certainly be incomplete without the team of Mystery, Inc. Over the course of 14 distinct series and dozens of movies, four friends and their canine companion have captured criminals disguised as all manners of spooks and specters while occasionally running afoul of true supernatural threats and super-villains. Believe or not, Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby-Doo turn 50 this September. Here’s a look at their mystery history, from 1969 to their brand-new streaming series.
1. Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? (1969-1972, CBS)
The original intro.
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The original Hanna-Barbera series introduces us to the four teens of Mystery, Inc. (Fred Jones, Daphne Blake, Velma Dinkley, and Norville “Shaggy” Rogers) and Shaggy’s best buddy, Great Dane Scooby-Doo. From the beginning, Scooby talks, but frequently starts words with a “R,” which leads to such famous pronunciations as “Ruh-Roh” and “Raggy” (when yelling for his best friend). Most of the recognizable conventions of the series are evident in the earliest episodes, which generally involve criminals trying to cover their tracks by pretending to be supernatural creatures; the “meddling kids” invariably solve the mystery through a combination of Velma’s research, the group’s combined clue-finding, Fred’s elaborate traps, and Shaggy and Scooby’s fear-driven haplessness. Also present from the start is their groovy van, the Mystery Machine. Twenty-five half-hour episodes were produced, and they ran over and over. From the first episode to the present day, the voice of Fred has been acted by Frank Welker.
2. The New Scooby-Doo Movies (1972-1974, CBS)
Among the most fondly remembered episodes by fans are the 24 New Scooby-Doo Movies installments. Clocking in at an hour each, every show featured a different celebrity guest-star, both fictional and from the real world. The gang was just as likely to solve a mystery alongside Mama Cass Elliott and Don Knotts as they were to team up with Batman and Robin or Josie and the Pussycats; when real-life celebrities appeared, they also provided their own voices. Batman and Robin were voiced by Olan Soule and Casey Kasem (who also voiced Shaggy); the dynamic duo of voice actors would also speak for their characters when Hanna-Barbera launched the Super-Friends series in 1973.
3. The Scooby-Doo/Dynomutt Show (1976-1977, ABC)
The gang made the transition to ABC in 1976 after a year reruns on CBS. ABC created new half-hour episodes paired with the new Dynomutt series, which featured the adventures of super-hero Blue Falcon and his dimwitted robot dog, Dynomutt. In November of that year, the network added reruns of Where Are You? to create a 90-minute show-block.
4. Scooby’s All-Star Laff-a-Lympics (1977-1978, ABC)
The 1977 Laff-a-Lympics opening.
This is how you can tell Scooby-Doo had become the cornerstone of ABC’s animated line-up. This two-hour, five-show block include three separate Scooby series, plus 11-minute episodes of The Blue Falcon & Dynomutt and new show Captain Caveman and the Teen Angels. The Scooby shows were The Scooby-Doo Show (new episodes), Where Are You? reruns, and an all-new series, Laff-a-Lympics. That show boasted a roster of 45 Hanna-Barbera characters split among three teams competing in Olympic-style events around the world; Scooby led the Scooby Doobies against Yogi Bear’s Yogi Yahooeys and Mumbly’s Really Rottens.
5. Scooby’s All-Stars (1978-1979, ABC)
ABC tinkered with the format in the next year, eliminating the Where Are You? reruns and moving Dynomutt into its own show. All-Stars retained new Scooby episodes, Laff-a-Lympics, and Captain Caveman. In later syndication, the initial run of new ABC Scooby shows was separated out into a package called, appropriately, The Scooby Show, while Laff-a-Lympics, Dynomutt, and Captain Caveman all ran separately.
6. Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo (1979-1980, ABC)
The 1979 opening.
Here begins the most contentious chapter in the history of our mystery-solving dog. Despite the fact that ABC had built a fair chuck of animated programming around the Scooby brand, ratings had begun to decline a bit. The network decided to apply the same logic that they frequently do to long-running sitcoms, and that’s to add a younger character. The “Cousin Oliver” in this particular case was Scooby’s diminutive nephew Scrappy, a smaller Great Dane that was as foolishly brave as Scooby was comically cowardly. The little loudmouth was a hit with younger viewers but disdained by the older audience. Regardless, ratings went up, leading to more controversial moves in the next iteration.
7. The Richie Rich/Scooby-Doo Show (1980-1982, ABC)
Hanna-Barbera took a different approach for the next two seasons. Longtime Harvey Comics character Richie Rich and his supporting cast made their animated debut in this one-hour series, which split alternating seven-minute segments between Richie’s cartoons and the Scooby gang. Not only did ABC’s top dog get second billing, but Fred, Daphne, and Velma were written out of the show, leaving only Shaggy, Scooby, and the divisive Scrappy. Interestingly, the Scooby villains started to drift into actual supernatural territory versus the traditional “crooks in costumes” concept.
8. The Scooby & Scrappy-Doo/Puppy Hour (1982-1983, ABC)
Okay, this is weird. We have the truncated Scooby gang again sharing a show, but this time with The Puppy’s New Adventures, a Ruby-Spears series that spun-out of four ABC Weekend Specials, based on the work of children’s author Jane Thayer, that ran between 1979 and 1981; in the series, Petey Puppy and his dog friends travel to world trying to find his owner, Timmy. This configuration would only last for one season as ABC put the Puppy cast in a new show, The Puppy’s Further Adventures, and put the gang into their own solo show again.
9. The All-New Scooby and Scrappy-Doo Show (1983-1984, ABC)
Hey, look! Daphne’s back! The first 11 episodes of this half-hour series each told two stories; the final two episodes switched back to the full-episode story format. This led immediately into . . .
10. The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries (1984-1985, ABC)
This season followed a similar format to the previous season, alternating episodes that contained single mysteries with two shorter stories. Fred and Velma appeared again in various episodes. One notable episode, “A Halloween Hassle at Dracula’s Castle,” featured a reversal where the gang helps classic monsters like the Count and Frankenstein’s monster figure out who’s been haunting them.
11. The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo (1985-1986, ABC)
The 13 Ghosts of Scooby-Doo opening.
13 Ghosts marked a major departure for the series. For the first time, there was an overarching story to the season and a loose continuity between episodes. In the premiere, Scooby-Doo and Shaggy accidentally opened a chest of 13 demons that scattered across the planet. Scooby, Shaggy, Scrappy, Daphne, and their new ally, a child named Flim-Flam, sought to return the demons to the chest with the guidance of Doctor Strange-like mentor Vincent Van Ghoul (voiced by horror film legend Vincent Price). The show ran for 13 episodes, but the plot wasn’t resolved in the final episode. With the drastic change of the next series, the whole conceit was dropped, and would not be revisited until the 2019 direct-to-DVD film Scooby-Doo! and the Curse of the 13th Ghost. During the 1985-1986 television season, ABC also ran a show called Scooby’s Mystery Funhouse; however, this series was composed entirely of reruns from the various 1980 to 1985 shows, and doesn’t count as a true separate series.
12. A Pup Named Scooby-Doo (1988-1991, ABC)
The final Scooby series to run on ABC was a reinvention that de-aged the cast back to junior high kids, while Scooby became the titular puppy. Gone was Scrappy-Doo, and in was a meta sensibility that included bits like breaking the fourth wall and Fred wanting to blame every mystery on a kid named Red Herring. The new iteration proved to be popular and ran for four seasons.
13. What’s New Scooby-Doo? (2002-2006, Kids’ WB)
The What’s New Scooby-Doo? Opening.
The Scooby franchise was dormant for a few years save for the Scooby-Doo! In Arabian Knights special on TBS in 1994. In the late ‘90s, Warner Brother embarked on a series of direct-to-video movies starring an updated, more modern version of the gang; these films, which kicked off with Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island in 1998, started off with supernatural adversaries for the first few installments. The videos proved popular enough that Kids’ WB launched a new regular series called What’s New Scooby-Doo? Using the more modern designs and settings, and a modern theme song by the pop-punk band Simple Plan, but the reliable formula of “crooks in costumes,” the show proved extremely popular and ran for three seasons. Mindy Cohn, perhaps best known as Natalie from The Facts of Life, began her run as the voice of Velma, even earning a Daytime Emmy for her work. Grey Griffin, who began playing Daphne with 2001’s direct-to-video Scooby-Doo and the Cyber Chase, continued into this series and has held the role since. Particularly notable was 2003’s A Scooby-Doo Halloween, which featured an appearance (and voice-acting) by legendary rockers KISS, who also performed “Shout It Out Loud.”
14. Shaggy and Scooby-Doo Get a Clue! (2006-2008, Kids’ WB on CW)
A mystifying reinvention of the show, this series focused on Shaggy and Scooby moving into a mansion that was left to Shaggy by an eccentric inventor uncle. A rogue’s gallery attempts to steal a secret invention with Shaggy and Scooby (and occasionally, other members of the gang) work to foil them. It ran for two seasons.
15. Scooby-Doo: Mystery Incorporated (2010-2013, Cartoon Network)
Scooby-Doo’s showdown with the Fright Hound invokes The Terminator and Aliens.
A thoroughly modern makeover in all the best ways, Mystery Inc., as it’s known, emphasized tight continuity and an ongoing story that pulled in elements from the entire existence of the franchise. The 52-episode series told one large tale while delving into tangled romantic plots, satire, meta-humor, world mythology, and occasional social commentary (like teacher pay and shallow advertising). Individual episodes were loaded with homages and references, invoking everything from the works of H.P. Lovecraft to James Cameron’s films to Twin Peaks. Other Hanna-Barbera characters appeared, notably the Blue Falcon, Dynomutt, and the cast of Jonny Quest. Writer Harlan Ellison guested twice as himself. After 41 years, Casey Kasem turned the voice of Shaggy over to Matthew Lillard, who had played the character in two live-action films; Kasem stuck around for cameos as Shaggy’s dad. Many other well-known actors voiced regular characters, including Lewis Black, Vivica A. Fox, Gary Cole, Linda Cardellini (who also played Velma in live-action), Patrick Warburton, and Warhol-film veteran Udo Kier, who handled the role of the evil parrot Professor Pericles. Easily the most ambitious version of the show, it remains a high-water mark for Cartoon Network’s non-Adult-Swim work in this decade.
16. Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! (2014-2018, Cartoon Network)
This series reverse-engineered the darker tone of Mystery Inc. and leaned into a more comedic and self-referential vibe. Comedian Kate Micucci signed on as Velma in this run, wherein the animation veered into a more comedy-oriented style reminiscent of other Cartoon Network projects like Regular Show. The durable format also lasted 52 episodes.
17. Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? (2019-?, Boomerang app & streaming)
The trailer for Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?
Everything old is new again! Premiering last month on the Boomerang app and streaming service, Scooby-Doo and Guess Who? is a modern update of The New Scooby Movies, with fictional and celebrity guest-stars. The animation has moved back to the style of What’s New and the direct-to-video films. Guests for the new run include Wonder Woman, Sherlock Holmes, Ricky Gervais, Wanda Sykes, Bill Nye the Science Guy, and, of course, the gang’s old pal, Batman.
18. An Aside for the Movies
The VHS trailer for Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island from 1998.
The first Scooby-Doo television special to run in prime-time was Scooby-Doo Goes Hollywood in 1979; four others have run between 1998 and 2015. Between 1987 and 1994, the gang was featured in four animated TV-movies (Scooby-Doo Meets the Boo Brothers, Scooby-Doo and the Ghoul School, Scooby-Doo and the Reluctant Werewolf, and the aforementioned Arabian Knights). Since 1998, there have been 32 direct-to-video Scooby-Doo films and six shorter direct-to-video specials. Two big-budget live-action films were made in 2002 and 2004; Scooby-Doo and Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unlimited were written by James Gunn (known today for directing the Guardians of the Galaxy films) and starred Freddie Prinze Jr., Sarah Michelle Gellar, Lillard, and Cardellini, with the voice of Scooby-Doo provided by Neil Fanning. Two additional live-action TV movies and the direct-to-video Daphne & Velma have appeared. Scooby-Doo and friends are scheduled to return to the big-screen in the 3D-animated Scoob!, which is set for 2020; it’s slated to be directed by Tony Cervone, who is a veteran director and producer of a number of the direct-to-video films.
Over the past 50 years, Scooby, Shaggy, Fred, Daphne, Velma, and even Scrappy, have entered the popular lexicon. Phrases like “Jinkies!” and “Ruh-roh!” are unmistakable in their origins, and an endless number of films and TV shows use the program as a reference point. In addition to TV and video, the gang lives on in web specials, video games, Lego sets, toys, clothing, and more. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks; as long as criminals pretend to be ghosts and teenage detectives are willing to meddle, Scooby-Doo doesn’t need to change a thing.
Featured Image: The latest Scooby series, Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?, launched in June on the Boomerang app and streaming service. (©Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc.)
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Netflix’s Dead to Me renewed for season 2 with Linda Cardellini, Christina Applegate returning
Saeed Adyani/Netflix type
- TV Show
Hopefully Dead to Me isn’t dead to you, because there’s going to be more of it.
At a panel with the cast Monday, creator Liz Feldman announced that the dark comedy series has been renewed by Netflix for a second season. Stars Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini will both be returning.
Feldman teased her plans for a potential season 2 to EW before the renewal. “It will be about the further exploration of this friendship, and relationship, and now very complicated dynamic, or even more complicated dynamic between these two women,” Feldman said at the time. “What I wanted to do was create a situation where they’re forced together, and they need each other now in some ways more than they did at the beginning of season 1.”
The first season of Dead to Me ended on a cliffhanger with the death of Judy’s (Cardellini) boyfriend, Steve (James Marsden), possibly at the hands of Jen (Applegate). Applegate’s performance was lauded by several critics, including EW’s own Kristen Baldwin, who predicted that Applegate might land a Best Actress in a Comedy Series nomination for her work.
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It’s a great time to be Linda Cardellini.
The 39-year-old actress — who first starred in the cult TV
classic, Freaks and Geeks — has been busy over the past year following
an Emmy-nominated guest role as Sylvia Rosen on Mad Men. In addition to
starring on Netflix’s Bloodline, created by Glenn and Todd Kessler,
Cardellini appeared on FOX’s New Girl, and has two new movies opening
The first being Welcome to Me, which tells the story
of Alice (Kristen Wiig), a woman with borderline personality disorder who wins
the lottery and launches her own talk show. And the other film is the ensemble
blockbuster, Marvel’s The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which features
Cardellini in a recently leaked role.
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“I still don’t know if I can talk about it! I’m in
this in between zone,” she tells ETonline about the part — which we won’t
spoil — and keeping it quiet. “I love keeping a secret. It makes it more
fun. In this day and age where everybody has a lot of information, to be one of
the last kept secrets in a movie of that size is pretty fun.”
Ahead of her big opening weekend, Cardellini talks to
ETonline about her thoughts on going nude, binge-watching Bloodline, and
how she ended up rapping with Snoop Dogg.
ETonline: Let’s talk about your character, Gina, in Welcome
to Me. You play Kristen Wiig’s best friend, but you’re very much on the
sidelines watching her unravel on live TV. What was that like?
Linda Cardellini: I loved her relationship with
Alice. I think she’s just a caregiver from birth — it’s who she is — and she
cares more about people maybe more than they care about her. She’s one of those
givers… It’s really difficult for somebody to watch someone who they love so
much suffer. Nobody’s more excited for Alice when she wins the lottery.
Nobody’s more terrified for her when she wins the lottery because she knows
Alice and wants to protect her so much. Now, with all this money she has a
newfound autonomy. Alice is someone who is very much on routine and now to see
her break this routine is very unnerving.
I love the idea of here’s a movie about mental illness and
how the disease is not always funny, and quirky, and perfect like movies can
make it out to be. It’s dangerous and very difficult for the people are around her
and the people who love her. It’s not easy for her.
I’m glad you mentioned that because the movie is
presented as a comedy, but it’s much darker than that. What genre would you put
the film in?
It’s almost in its own genre in a way. It’s hard to
describe, but that’s what I loved about it — that’s what I loved about the
script. It’s so funny, yet in parts, it’s dark. It’s not broad even though some
of the things does is outrageous. They’re all within reason for Alice.
One surprising moment is when Kristen walks nude through
the casino. Have you ever been presented with the opportunity to do nudity or
would you do it if a role like this called for it?
Yeah, I would definitely do it, especially in the way it is
in this scene. It’s a vital part of her ultimate breakdown and it’s incredibly
important to the movie. That to me is something where nudity really serves a
purpose. Not only is she naked in every sense of the word — in terms of her
emotions, vulnerability and mental state — it speaks to so many different
things. It’s such an important scene for the film.
You’ve had quite the year and it seemed to have started
with Mad Men. Did that role suddenly open new doors or was it very much
you kicking it into high gear?
I had taken some time off — I had a baby. Mad Men
was my first venture back in and it proved to be something so wonderful. It was
such a great role. So to be a part of that was a huge honor. It was very
exciting. People in the industry definitely saw it and they saw me in a
different way. And I’ve been busy ever since, so I can’t complain.
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Bloodline got a lot of attention when it first
came out. I know at one point you hadn’t watched it all yet. Have you finished
Oh, yes, I’ve seen it. Knowing it and then watching it.
There’s just so much fun stuff to watch.
Did you binge-watch it like the rest of us?
Oh, I had to binge-watch that. I had to get
to know it. — what they put together was different
than what we knew. I wanted to see what they did. It’s hard to watch yourself,
but I really like to see what everybody else is up to and what everybody else
did… Seeing all of the things together, all of the people you consider your
friends, all the people you know behind the camera who worked so hard to make
every piece of it look the way it does — I don’t know, I just like to see what
the village accomplished.
It’s an interesting one to binge-watch considering there
isn’t a pilot and it subtly changes as it goes on.
It sort of only exists in that world. This format that they
did — it started off and seems to be one thing then it subtly changes, as you
said, into something else. There are so many layers to it. I feel like by the
time you watch the end of the show it’s very different from the beginning of
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There are so many things to talk about with this show,
but I couldn’t help but notice how casual your character, Meg, was when it came
to dressing up for court.
OK, so I asked — we had some neighbors that were lawyers
from Miami and they said dealing with lawyers or going to court in the Keys is
unlike anything else with judges showing up without a shirt underneath their
gown or in flip flops.
Another thing that you’ve been doing a lot of, which
people may not realize, is voice acting for animated shows. Do you have a
favorite character from over the years?
Oh, it’s really fun. I’m a huge cartoon lover, which I’ve
said before. It’s a part of what was alluring about Scooby Doo — I love
cartoons. To do voiceovers is sort of a dream. Even when I was acting, I was
like, ‘I wonder if I can do that too.’ I didn’t know it was necessarily
One of my favorite things is I’m on an upcoming episode of Sanjay
and Craig where I get to rap. Snoop Dogg is also one of the characters, so
I’m actually cartoon rapping with Snoop Dogg, which is something I never
thought I’d be able to do that in my career.
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You’re also starring in the upcoming Daddy’s Home,
which I think is your first big comedy since Grandma’s Boy. I bring this
up because it’d be great to see you to finally have a reason to host Saturday
Night Live next season.
Oh wow, that would be amazing. I would love that.
And then you could reunite with Kenan for Kenan & Kel…
That would be great. Wow, that’s really
calling back something!
In this age of the Internet, old roles never go away.
No, they don’t! It’s great. Freaks and Geeks would be
dead forever if it weren’t for the Internet.
The entire cast of Freaks and Geeks recently reunited at the TV Land Awards, watch all excitement below:
Christopher Kane dress, $3,895 at christopherkane.com. Photo: Jacq Harriet
It’s the day after her 44th birthday, and Linda Cardellini is already having the best year of her life. The night before, she joined her friend singer-songwriter Regina Spektor on Broadway to duet “They Can’t Take That Away From Me” for Spektor’s residency at the Lunt-Fontanne theater. She describes how Spektor instructed the whole audience to say “Happy Birthday” to her as she walked out onstage, and handed out cupcakes at a gathering after the show. The next day she is still basking in the afterglow of this sublime experience.
For Cardellini, a self-described lifelong “late bloomer,” it was another dream coming true on her own timeline. Cardellini was singing in the school hallway as a kid when a teacher overheard and drafted her into plays. A theater kid ever since, she tells the story of an NBC event in 1999, right after Freaks & Geeks was picked up. “I remember somebody asked me, What are you doing next?,” presumably asking about television roles. “And I was like, Oh I’m doing this medieval play festival in Italy.” She was just as excited about the Italian medieval play festival as booking the pilot. Her favorite musicals are Hair and Jesus Christ Superstar. Asked who she’d play in JCS, she says “they’re all great roles, especially Judas.”
Versace turtleneck, $400 at versace.com. Stella McCartney sweater, $960 at neimanmarcus.com. Joseph skirt, $515 at joseph-fashion.com. Photo: Jacq Harriet
She plays a Judas role of sorts, coincidentally named Judy, on her recent Netflix show Dead to Me. The details of Judy’s life spill out over the season, and gives Cardellini a rare showcase for her talent at playing multiple emotions at the same time. The show passes the Bechdel Test easily, hinging on the chemistry between two great actresses playing complex women who happen to be in their 40s. “It’s two strong female leads and that doesn’t come along very often,” says Cardellini, who plays opposite Christina Applegate. “A lot of times you read a script and the female characters can be interchanged. You could take one person’s lines and give them to the other character — they just dress differently, or one has a different color hair and one wears glasses.”
Cardellini grew up in Redwood City, California. She remembers her first role in a community theater production of The Music Man, as a “little old lady.” Her mom showed her Lon Chaney movies, which gave her the transformation bug. She still wants to play a role where she could become unrecognizable under makeup and wigs. “There were times in high school and college when they’d be like you can play the ingenue or you could play the woman who’s got a hunch on her back. And the hunchback was always my choice.” She moved to study theater at Loyola Marymount University and started auditioning, getting cast as “the sarcastic girlfriend or the funny friend” on family sitcoms like Step by Step and Boy Meets World and playing small supporting parts on the big screen in comedies like Dead Man on Campus and Good Burger.
But it was the Judd Apatow cult-favorite Freaks and Geeks that made her a kind of teenage-icon — despite that she was in her 20s at the time. In the single season of the show’s existence, she played Lindsay Weir, a mathlete who wants to break out of her “geeky” roots, so she befriends a group of “freaks” but never quite feels at home in any situation. Cardellini describes Lindsay as someone who “wants to rebel, but really loves her parents.” In the episode “Chokin’ and Tokin’” Linsday smokes pot for the first time to prove she’s not a goody-two-shoes, and then realizes she has to babysit. Cardellini plays the bad trip for all its layers — the giggly first high transforming into panic, disassociation, and walls-closing-in paranoia. And somehow, she plays it funny. Cardellini’s performance holds the show’s ensemble cast together, which is quite an accomplishment considering her cast members included future comedy stars like Seth Rogen and James Franco.
She met another member of that ensemble, actress Busy Philipps, when they were both students at Loyola Marymount. Cardellini was still involved in the LMU theater program, but “she was already the stuff of legend because she was working so much professionally,” Philipps says. “And so I knew about her before I met her. All the things people said about her were true. She was the coolest and so friendly and kind and obviously extremely talented.” Philipps was going out for her first season of casting at the same time Cardellini booked the Freaks & Geeks pilot. Philipps’s agent wanted her to try for a lead role on another show rather than the supporting role of complicated tough girl Kim Kelly. It was Cardellini who convinced her she had to take the show, at a chance encounter at the airport where they were both picking up friends. “She ran up to me and said ‘I heard they offered you Kim! Dude, I’m Lindsay. You’ve got to do it.’ And it was in that moment at LAX when I just knew for certain, I had to do this show. Just the way she said it to me — it was done,” Philipps says. “I had never worked professionally before and the comfort of this awesome girl who I already looked up to being on there with me. I knew that she would help look out for me, and I was right.”
TSE sweater, $995 at tsecashmere.com. Giorgio Armani trousers, $1495 at armani.com. Photo: Jacq Harriet
When I ask if she’s encountered sexism in the entertainment industry, she’s diplomatic. “I’ve certainly been paid less,” she says. “I’ve certainly had less to do.” She feels privileged to be working this much at all. (“I never thought being involved in Hollywood would be fair,” she said. “I kind of always had to have a screw loose to think that I could do it, but there wasn’t another choice for me.”) In the two decades since Freaks & Geeks, she’s played smart women of all stripes. Nerdy Velma in Scooby Doo; permed evil schemer Chutney in Legally Blonde; resilient single mom nurse Samantha Taggart on the final seasons of ER; and dark, depressed women like Sylvia Rosen on Mad Men and Meg Rayburn on Bloodline. On Bloodline, her mother was played by Sissy Spacek, which she says was another career-high moment. “Sissy Spacek is an incredible human being, an angel. There’s something otherworldly about her.” She says actresses with long, eclectic careers, like Spacek, are her role models. She was working steadily in film, appearing in Green Book and Daddy’s Home (and the sequel), and playing Mrs. Hawkeye in the Avengers franchise, when Dead to Me knocked.
She was hooked in immediately by the pilot’s script, although she assumed she was being considered for Jen, the repressed straight-arrow widow. But the show wanted her to play Judy, the wild-card friend Jen meets at a support group who has recently lost her fiancé. Their grief brings them together, a friendship forged through wine and weed and late-night phone calls; but a secret Judy is keeping drives the series’ tension, threatening to tear the women apart. The idea of playing someone who is in many ways, a very bad guy, scared her so much she decided to do it.
“I loved the people involved, and that it was predominantly women,” she said of Dead to Me’s female-dominated workplace. “It was very safe and open, and I think that is not always the case. So it’s a fresh feeling. It’s a new experience and it’s somewhere I felt really comfortable and really safe, as the characters go through so much really traumatic stuff.” The series premiered in the spring but in some ways it’s an ideal smart person’s summer show. It’s as twisty and fast-paced as a beach read, with stellar performances from the leads and a feeling of lightness despite overall the dark subject matter. The chemistry between Applegate and Cardellini is a stroke of casting genius — two underrated comic powerhouses in a vehicle worthy of them.
Showrunner Liz Feldman recalls one scene where Cardellini turned on her full power. “In episode three she’s looking at herself in the mirror. She’s going through this really intense array of emotions — guilt and self-loathing and grief and pain. Watching her do that and make that transformation. It was incredible. You know, I’m pretty sure that was one take. It was just mind blowing.”
As a working actress, Cardellini is extremely diplomatic about the availability of roles for women, especially women over 40, in Hollywood. She refuses to knock any wife roles she’s played, nor to knock any project she’s been part of, really. But it’s clear that Dead to Me was a special project for everyone involved. Rather than discuss the relative scarcity of complex roles for women in the past, Cardellini wants to focus on the present moment where the opportunities are being created and hopefully multiplying for stories about people whose experiences may have been previously marginalized on screen, of all kinds.
Philipps reiterates that the solution is women working together to dispel that myth of scarcity and competition. She thinks Dead to Me is part of a new wave of projects that allow women and other marginalized groups to create new kinds of workplaces for themselves. “A lot of us bought into what we were told by the establishment, that we will always be in competition with one another. And then I think we are realizing this is not doing any of us any good.” She says the misogyny of Hollywood is hopefully unraveling in larger ways like exposing sexual predators, but that the smaller scale stuff is insidious as well. “The dudes keep hiring each other and working together and like, what is happening? Where is our route?” She says the reason she looked up to Cardellini from the get-go was because of her refusal to play that game. “That is such an important thing when you meet a woman who’s like, ‘No, fuck all that bullshit. We’re going to be friends. We are going to make a sisterhood.’”
Cardellini sees it less as a sisterhood than a gathering of people of all genders that she has accumulated throughout her life. She says she’s friends with men who are “tender souls.” Her romantic partner, Steven Rodriguez, who currently does the primary childcare, is a friend she’s known since childhood who works as a makeup artist. “I was never a party person who had tons of friends. I have a lot of close friends and I keep them for a long time. My other half, he’s one of them. I guess I love to go through life collecting amazing people. And that’s one of the things I love about my job. I love people. I think I love working in ensembles because I think of it as teamwork.”
Next up, she’s playing Mae Capone — as in, the wife of the mobster — against Tom Hardy in the upcoming Fonzo, which takes place after Al Capone returned from Alcatraz. She’s started a production company, writing with a partner, and is thinking about directing in the future. “I’m working on finding things where I can be more in control of creating rich parts and projects, not even just for myself.” She looks forward to holding the door open for more women. As an actress, she says, “you’re at the mercy of looking for good material, and then you’re hoping that the good material wants to choose you. That’s a process that I’ve been involved with for a long time and it’s not always gone my way. And so the idea of having more control in that capacity and creating something for myself and for others would be exciting.”
As someone who’s come of age through several phases of life on screen, Cardellini doesn’t want to be the spokesperson for all actresses in their 40s. “To be honest, now that I had my birthday yesterday. It’s a gift to be able to have been this long in the industry, and if it’s people seeing me aging, so what? Great.”
Linda Cardellini stepped out on the red carpet to support Best Picture-nominated film Green Book on Sunday night, but some people seem to be confusing her with a character on Sesame Street after seeing her red carpet look.
The actress, known for her roles in Freaks and Geeks and Scooby-Doo, arrived at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles on Sunday in a statement-making dress that has incited mixed reviews. The hot pink chiffon high-low hem gown with a light pink bow caught everyone’s attention, but only some had positive things to say about the bold look.
Linda Cardellini arrived on the red carpet in a hot pink dress. (Photo: Getty Images)More
I’m living for Linda Cardellini’s gorgeous pink gown paired with a strong lip and complementary cheek. #Oscar2019 pic.twitter.com/Fe35mh7VSw
— Kirbie Johnson (@kirbiejohnson) February 24, 2019
Linda Cardellini has gone all-in for her #Oscars moment and I respect it. pic.twitter.com/wXc9ztmC8y
— Alan (@nalanaheem) February 24, 2019
Just audibly gasped – Linda Cardellini did THAT. This is her best look ever #Oscars pic.twitter.com/OY6PpxQZC4
— Emily O’Donnell (@emily_odonnell) February 24, 2019
it’s time we started paying more attention to Linda Cardellini and she knows it #Oscars pic.twitter.com/L7PPdRNxy3
— Meredith B. Kile (@em_bee_kay) February 24, 2019
Others compared Cardellini to Elmo or Big Bird’s red-headed sister, and one even said the 43-year-old looked like she had gone into somebody’s craft closet for the ensemble.
Ok – my first hate, Linda Cardellini – TOO MUCH is TOO MUCH #Oscars2019
— Teri Hart (@TeriHart) February 24, 2019
Linda Cardellini appears to have skinned Elmo for the sake of fashion. #Oscars2019
— M-D November (@thatsmdtoyou) February 24, 2019
How many muppets had to die for Linda Cardellini’s terrible dress #OscarsRedCarpet
— Laura O’Herlihy (@Leulah) February 24, 2019
Is Linda Cardellini wearing Big Bird’s red-headed sister? #Oscars2019
— The1MeowQueen (@The1MeowQueen) February 24, 2019
Someone please help Linda Cardellini (the actress from the Green Book) she appears to have been attacked and eaten by the red ruffle monster! #oscars
— Michelle B. Young (@MichelleBYoung1) February 24, 2019
Linda Cardellini is so pretty, and yet she chooses to dress up as my mom’s crafts drawer. https://t.co/uHE8Trf7IG
— Gary Legum (@GaryLegum) February 24, 2019
Regardless of the various reactions, Cardellini is earning points for confidently owning her style.
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We went out the next afternoon as I had suggested last night and we ate our clam chowder breadbaskets over looking the wharf’s bay, watching the seals playfully barking at each other on the rocks nearby. Shortly after we were driven to the private airstrip and took off for Los Angeles. On the plane was an unexpected visitor. Matt Groening the producer of the The Simpson’s TV show was catching a ride with us. I was so excited, as I loved watching his show and acted like a star struck fan, asking him everything from his initial idea for creating the show to where he got his characters from. He told me it was all based on his own family make up, but without the crazy father and son scenes of Homers hand around Bart’s throat.
I was enjoying our conversation, when Jeffrey insisted that I give Matt a foot massage throughout the duration of the short flight. I never turned down a client but when I saw the shape of his feet, I nearly threw up at the thought of having to touch them. He had yellow crusty toenails that even someone with a chainsaw would’ve had troubles cutting through and then there was the fluffy balls of leftover pieces of sock wedged between the crevices of his sweaty toes, now that was the real icing on the cake for me, no way could I attempt this I thought. Then I had an idea. I went to the back of the plane and rinsed a wash cloth in warm soapy water and returned for his dreaded foot massage but not before attempting to clean them first.
In return for my services Matt was kind enough to draw me two quick sketches on blank paper from his briefcase of my two favorite characters, Homer and Bart. I asked if he would make them out to my little brother and dad, the true fans of the family not missing an episode during dinner over the past ten years or so. Next to the A-4 size drawing he was able to fit in the quote “To my greatest fan from Matt Groening” and their names next to it. I knew they’d absolutely love it, and it was such a nice gesture his feet were no longer an issue as I laughed it off and even made a joke to the comedian about getting a pedicure before hitting L.A.’s beaches.
The flight was only short and we arrived in busy L.A. within the hour, saying Good-Bye to Matt, who was a pleasure to meet.
At this point, it is not clear if this alleged massage is the extent of Groening’s interactions with Epstein. In a sworn affidavit, Juan P. Alessi, an employee at Epstein’s home in Palm Beach, Florida, says that he was asked earlier by an attorney about Groening, however his answer to that question remains behind sealed court records.
New documents allege that Matt Groening (left) flew on the personal plane of Jeffrey Epstein (right) and received a massage from a 16-year-old girl. (Groening photo: Gage Skidmore, used under CC BY-SA 3.0 license.)
Fox’s corporate communications did not respond to Cartoon Brew’s multiple requests for comment asking for clarifications about Groening’s association with Epstein.
The Simpsons was acquired by The Walt Disney Company as part of its recent purchase of 21st Century Fox assets.