I don’t want to become one of those “old guys” who complains about the shit quality of these modern cartoons. Oh they lack this or that or the animation looks it was drawn by monkeys, the monkeys who were supposed to by writing Shakespeare. I don’t want to be that adult, but it’s not easy. Oh sure there are some top notch ones late night like “Archer” or “Futurama,” but what about when it’s Saturday morning and need something to go along with brightly colored cereal I’m eating? Or Saturday afternoon when I want to watch cartoons?
So in my hunt for cartoons I came across the latest incarnation of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and the rest of the Looney Tunes gang in what they are calling “The Looney Tunes Show.” I was surprised by what this show was, more on that in a bit. As I thought about it though I should have not been surprised. Over the past two decades Warner Bros. has taken their beloved characters and put them in shows that were different than their classic shtick. Let’s do a run down.
Tiny Toon Adventures
I remember being in 2nd grade and waiting with my classmates in a line to go into the school at the start of the day or after recess or some stupid shit, I didn’t say I remembered it well. Anyway, as we waited, the entire line broke out singing the “Tiny Toon’s” theme song. This show was huge when I was a kid. So as far as I can tell this was the first attempt to do something different with the Looney Toons characters.
What is interesting about this is at the time there were other popular franchises that had re-imagined their favorite characters as children, “Muppet Babies,” “The Flintstone Kids,” and even “A Pup Named Scooby Doo.” I can’t say for certain, but I think someone in the Warner Bros. animation department saw this and thought they may be a bit unrealistic. Essentially these cartoons showed that adult friends were all friends as children and I call bull shit on that. Sure two of my best friends now went to my same elementary school, but we weren’t friends then, we didn’t even know each other. They’re a year older and in elementary school I didn’t interact with the other grades too often. Except for that one Asian kid that used to pick on me and a few friends. That guy was a dick, fuckin Asian kid.
“Muppet Babies” I’ll buy since they were all weirdos and it seems like they would have difficulty trying to find others to accept their weirdo ways. And Shaggy and Scooby I can get on board with as it’s a boy and his dog, you don’t out grow that. But Fred Flintstone? Did that SOB have any redeeming qualities? I have no idea why anyone would be friends with Fred for any length of time, let alone since childhood.
I like to think this Warner Bros. animation department had these same thoughts and decided fuck that noise, we’re not doing these guys as kids. Also depicting a couple of trigger happy gun fanatics as children probably would have upset a few people. So they created new characters with similar personalities to the classic ones and put them in a school setting with occasional appearances by the OG toons. They changed the formula and it was a success.
Shortly after “Tiny Toon Adventures” became popular, the Looney Tunes gang found themselves back in the mainstream and began to dominate clothing and other merchandise. You weren’t cool if you didn’t have a shirt with one of these characters on it dressed as thugs. The two most popular characters, found on nearly every piece, were Bugs Bunny and the Tazmanian Devil. Everyone love dTaz, probably for all his, well I’m not sure why. And like any smart company Warner Bros. knew they had to cash in on this and gave Taz his own show.
So we’re magically whisked away to a land that’s way under down under (where the sky’s always yellow in rain or shine). This is the island of Tasmania and Taz’s homeland. We get to meet his family, in which he is the eldest child, and his friends who are all some kind of parody of famous people. Taz’s dad as Bing Crosby is the only one I can remember off the top of my head.
So here we get to see a character in his natural habitat, and what he’s doing when he’s not trying to eat Bugs Bunny. Again an interesting and different take on the character.
But as I started thinking about this article and remembering these shows something struck me about this one. Taz is from a family of Tasmanian devils, all of which wear clothes, can talk, and function like people. While Taz continues to be the Taz from the old timey cartoons. Leaving me to assume that Taz is mentally retarded. Let’s look at the evidence, he spins in circles constantly, he drools and slobbers worse than an infant, he has speech problems, and that stuff I mentioned above. I guess you could say “Taz-Mania” was like an animated version of “Life Goes On,” only without the constant reminder that people are dicks to the mentally retarded.
The Tweety and Sylvester Mysteries
I have no idea if that is the actual name, and by now you should know I don’t look shit like that up, but that title is close enough. Turns out trying to find a picture meant I looked up the correct name. Well played image search. I didn’t actually watch this show as my sister was a Tweety fan so I took that as Tweety and Sylvester were girls stuff. Yeah.
I may have seen some of this show and I believe it centered around Granny having a detective agency, but it was always Tweety who actually solved the case, kind of like Penny and Inspector Gadget. Meanwhile Sylvester tried to eat Tweety the entire time and failed because he sucks at doing cat shit.
I don’t have anything else to say about this one, and yes essentially Sylvester and Tweety are doing the same thing, now they’re multitasking and solving mysteries at the same time. We also get to see that Granny is more than some old lady who exists merely to break up cat and bird fights (read: smack a cat around with a broom).
Baby Looney Tunes
So as the name implies they set out what I thought they were trying to avoid with “Tiny Toons.” This is another one I didn’t watch due in part to the reasons mentioned above and also because when this show came out I was an adult and it felt weird watching a cartoon about babies. I suppose this was just an attempt…I’m not making excuses for this, I don’t give a shit.
The Looney Tunes Show
So this brings us back to “The Looney Tunes Show.” The ads I saw before I watched this show were just new drawings of the characters surrounding the words “The Looney Tunes Show.” So I thought neat, they just modernized these guys. And I expected the classic fodder where everyone was essentially trying to beat the shit out of Bugs.
This show is more like a sitcom. Bugs and Daffy are sharing a house and other characters pop up now and then. But it really just is like an animated sitcom going so far as to include classic sitcom story lines like a bachelor auction, a houseguest from hell, and a school reunion. Basically if you saw it happen in a sitcom in the 90s you will see it here portrayed by a rabbit or a duck.
While these stories aren’t very inspired or new, it is another example of using the characters in a new and somewhat interesting way. But truth be told I would still rather watch the classic shit where Daffy gets blasted in the face with a shot gun. Which gives another point to “The Looney Tunes Show” as every episode ends with a new Wile E. Coyote cartoon. It’s a computer animated romp of Wile E. still trying to catch that prick Road Runner, but now with new technology screwing him over.
Final summation, in my eyes The Looney Tunes can do no wrong, unless they are crawling around in diapers.
18 Aug 2011 Lee S. Hart