New Rules for Looney Tunes

Yep, it’s another post devoted to Looney Tunes. Wow, we’ve certainly been talking about Looney Tunes a lot lately, haven’t we? Well, we are long time fans of LT, and it’s in the news as of late, so let’s just roll with it.

This is in response to a thread that someone created for both the Toon Zone forum as well as the Big Cartoon Forum regarding the recent news about The Looney Tunes Show wrapping up production upon reaching 52 episodes. The original post is typed in italic:

With announcement of The Looney Tunes Show being cancelled along with Scooby Doo: Mystery Incorporated, and unlike Scooby Doo and even Tom and Jerry…a new Looney Tunes TV show has not been announced!

So when Warner Bros. finally does announce a new animated series based on their iconic characters(and you know they will at one point), they already did a sitcom-approach to it, what kind of direction do you think WB should go for a new LT cartoon series? What should they do and what shouldn’t they try to do?

 

First, I’d like to point out that neither The Looney Tunes Show nor Scooby Doo: Mystery Inc. were “canceled”, as saying so would imply that Warner Brothers had ever intended for either series to go beyond 52 episodes, which was not the case. Tony Cervone and Spike Brandt confirmed that their commitment to TLTS was only for 52 episodes, and 52 episodes was all that we got. If Cartoon Network ever wants more episodes of TLTS, WB could easily produce more, since season #2’s ratings were strong.

Having said that, I can’t really say what sort of new Looney Tunes series that I’d like to see next. I agree that Loonatics Unleashed was terrible and it was a lame attempt to revive the franchise. LU’s biggest problem was that it tried to be half-action, half-comedy when it should have been all comedy. The idea of the LT characters as superheroes itself isn’t a bad one; if Warner Brothers had made the series as a straight-up parody which made fun of the genre a la Ben Edlund’s The Tick, then that might have actually worked. Kind of like a series version of the Tiny Toons short “The Just-Us League of Super Toons”, but with Bugs, Daffy and company as the capes.
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As for new rules for any new potential Looney Tunes projects, here are a few of mine:
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1. Return to the shorts format. The Looney Tunes Show was OK and all, but let’s face it; the characters just aren’t designed to carry 22 minute stories. The shorts have never been plot heavy. Often, the “plot” would serve as little more than a setup for a series of gags. You’d have a setup, a bunch of gags and a punch line Stick to the shorts, as this is the environment that the characters perform best in. I say, have a half hour format consisting of two 11 minute shorts per show or three 7 minute shorts per show.
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2. Don’t be afraid to experiment with new ideas, settings and concepts. I enjoy the classic shorts as much as anyone else, but if the Looney Tunes characters are going to stay relevant, Warner Brothers can’t and shouldn’t just keep recycling their old material. It’s OK to occasionally reference the shorts from the past, but WB needs to forge ahead with the characters and make new comedic possibilities otherwise the franchise is doomed to fail. Therefore, don’t be afraid to experiment with some pairings that haven’t been tried before (EX: Porky and Foghorn Leghorn, Daffy and Wile E. Coyote, Granny and Taz, Marvin the Martian and Elmer Fudd, Lola and Yosemite Sam, etc.), and don’t be afraid to try out some new shticks and introduce new characters when called for, which brings me to my next point…
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3. Don’t try to cram every character into every story. The original shorts were never like that. The best ones only focused on a couple of characters, like Bugs, Elmer and Daffy or just Bugs and Daffy. There’s no need to pad the shorts to obesity.
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4. Do NOT bring in John Kricfalusi as a director! I have zero desire to see Bugs, Daffy and company “Ren & Stimpified”.
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5. Don’t rely on cheap, creatively bankrupt gimmicks or lame attention getting devices, such as turning the characters into babies or teenagers, dropping them in high school, or have them working security in a shopping mall.
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6. Keep Lola loony. I know that I’m in the minority here, but I actually like TLTS’s take on Lola. I honestly don’t get why some fans want to see Lola return to her Space Jam self. In Space Jam, Lola was a boring Mary Sue who served no other purpose than to make every male character stand in awe bugging out their eyes at the sight of her. On TLTS, Lola is funny and she’s loony. Again, I fail to see the problem here.
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7. Stick to comedy. No dramatic moments. To paraphrase something that Hamton Pig once said in the Tiny Toons episode “Toons Take Over”: You guys are funny. Comedy is what you do.”
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8. Show some other facets of Daffy Duck’s character besides his jealousy of Bugs, and above all, keep the character likable. Yes, Daffy has a dark side, but he doesn’t have to be mean all of the time. He’s not a one-dimensional meanie, and it was a mistake casting him as the perpetual antagonist in those terrible shorts made in the mid 60’s.

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9. Don’t be afraid to knock Bugs Bunny around a little. Yes, Bugs is cool, and it’s great to see him achieve victory or his nemeses, but Bugs shouldn’t win all of the time in every single situation. If Bugs never lost, he would become boring and would quickly become a writing problem. Bugs being allowed to lose sometimes keeps him human (as human as an anthropomorphic rabbit can get, anyway) and keeps the character relatable to the audience.

Generally, though, I just hope that the next LT series is funny and enjoyable. However, I do have a suggestion for the Capcom video game company. In the wake of all of Capcom’s crossover titles, I just have 5 words to say:

Looney Tunes VS Street Fighter

Make it happen, Capcom!

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6 Comments

  1. I know this post is from five years ago, but I came across interesting information.

    I found two tweets. One is from someone who once worked with Butch Hartman on Nickelodeon. The other is from Michael Rucco, who served as a storyboard artist on season 1 of Wabbit, aka New Looney Tunes. They’ve definitely shed some light regarding recent Looney Tunes projects.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/NicoColaleo/status/1021696588949770240

    https://mobile.twitter.com/AGuyWhoDraws/status/1021740464599265280

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    • Given that there were supposed to be feature films starring Marvin the Martian and Bugs Bunny, both of which were announced years ago but ultimately weren’t made, I’ll believe it when I see it.

      The Looney Tunes characters just weren’t meant for feature films. Shorts is the way to go. Read “Can A Looney Tunes Movie Not Bomb?“, parts 1 and 2.

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      • I can understand where you’re coming from with the articles, but saying that they can only work in shorts does not sound like a good idea to increase their popularity. Yes, they do well in shorts, but can do well with longer stories too. I mean, think about 11 minute cartoons that had feature films like Recess or SpongeBob, with the film’s being well received. I mean, SpongeBob has simple characters also, but unlike the Looney Tunes, they’re not one dimensional.

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  2. You have a point regarding SpongeBob Squarepants: The Movie, but the SpongeBob movie succeeded largely due to the clever writing coupled with the fact that SpongeBob the series has a fixed setting with a cast of characters who regularly interact with one another as opposed to a series of one and done shorts in which the characters are scattered across multiple settings and only sometimes collide with one another, which is the case with the Looney Tunes characters.

    As for Recess, sure that series did have a feature film, but was said film a critical or commercial success? How many people nowadays even remember that the Recess movie even existed?

    If Tom & Jerry couldn’t sustain a feature length plot without a ton of padding, I doubt very much that Wile E. Coyote would be able to. Of course, I could be proven wrong, but I doubt it. If this film even sees the light of day, I’ll be surprised.

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