TVTropes is wonderful. The site is a wiki, built around the exploration and explanation of all those time-worn plot devices and character types that keep cropping up in TV, movies, comics, and everywhere else in entertainment and life.
A wonderful bit, from the It Just Bugs Me section:
[Q.] How can the Doo family line talk? None of the other animals in the show can speak or do the kind of anthropomorphic stuff that Scooby, Scrappy, and the rest of the Doo clan can do. Did some kind of experiment happen with them during the puppy farm they were born at? Are they spawn of some kind of Noble Demon hellhound? What?[A.] They're descended from Rex the Wonder Dog, who is, in turn descended from the dog in Wuthering Heights, who was present at the Wold Newton Meteor strike, thereby imbuing the lineage with extraordinary qualities. See here for further details. (See what happens when you ask silly questions? You get answers.)
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