Talkin’ Nerdy: Tiny Toons’ Head Scratching Adventures
By now, it’s no secret that I’m a Warner Brothers/Looney Tunes fan, and that like many WB/LT fans, that I’m also a fan of Steven Spielberg’s Tiny Toon Adventures. Although I personally like TTA’s successor Animaniacs a little more, TTA remains one of THE best cartoons to come from the 1990s.
Having said that, there are times when even a good show like Tiny Toons would deliver some moments that make you go “Huh?”. The Hub network’s recent acquiring TTA has brought to mind some such moments. Most notably, the episode “High Toon”, which contains no less than 3 head-scratching moments in a single scene.
For those unfamiliar with the story, “High Toon” begins with Buster & Babs Bunny tunneling their way through the High Plains on the way to a theme park known as “Acmeland” (which we never see in the episode), but thanks to a mishap with switching signs courtesy of Beaky Buzzard, B&B are re-routed and end up in “No Man’s Land”, a lawless Western town whose citizens are are being terrorized by a gang of outlaws led by one Coyote Kid (who looks like Wile E. Coyote in a cowboy suit). After Babs and Buster (who initially think that they’re just watching a show) intervene and get their belongings stolen, they vow to bring the Coyote Kid and his gang of outlaws to justice.
The first “What the what?” moment occurs after one of the townspeople tells the rabbits that they would “need an army to beat the Coyote Kid”. Buster responds with “Then we’ll get an army!” He and Babs then leave and a minute later, they return with…….Hamton and Plucky (cue the ‘wah-wah’ musical sting). Now I realize that creatively speaking, this was merely done as a way to incorporate Plucky and Hamton into the story, which isn’t surprising, as the half hour TTA episodes typically focused on these 4 characters almost exclusively, but if this was just done to get Plucky and Hamton involved, then why not just have them there with Buster & Babs from the very start and not bothered with that whole “We’re going to get an army!” business at all? I’m surprised that none of the townsfolk said anything like “Hey, what gives? You said that you were going to get an army! That’s just 2 more people! That’s weak, man! We could’ve gotten 2 more people and saved you a trip! Four people isn’t army, it’s not even enough to be the starting lineup for a basketball team!” Trying to pass 2 more people as an army is no more logical than trying to pass off 2 more people as “The rest” on Gilligan’s Island. To quote comedienne Carol Liefer, “‘The rest’? Come on! It’s just 2 more people. They’re stranded on a desert island. At least let their families know that they’re still alive!”
The second head scratch moment occurs immediately afterwards, where we see Babs telling Plucky and Hamton the real reason why they were brought there; to help them bring in a vicious gang of coyote outlaws, only after they’ve arrived. So if Hamton and Plucky didn’t know that they’re brought there to bring down a gang of outlaws, then why were they both looking tough and menacing when they first arrive?
The third peculiarity is when learning about Buster & Babs’ intention to do battle with the Coyote Kid, Plucky typically wants no part of the skirmish and tries to leave, only for Buster to convince him stay with the promise that “There’s gold in them thar hills!” Plucky’s greed then takes over and now he wants in, but then the gold thing is never mentioned again anymore in the entire episode. This wasn’t the only time that Plucky’s greed was used as a motivation. In another episode, “Europe In Thirty Minutes”, Plucky at least twice plans to abandon the toons’ mission to stop the kidnapping attempt of Prince Charles and Princess Diana (the latter of whom was still alive when this episode was made), and each time this happened, either Buster or Babs would convince Plucky to stay with the prospect of him being knighted. This was a running gag throughout the episode; every time Plucky is about to bail, Buster and/or Babs dangle the porspect of knighthood under his beak and he’s back in.. And also in the episode “Hare Raising Night”, Buster tricks his buddies into accompanying him on his mission to stop the mad scientist Dr. Gene Splicer by telling them that they’re going to the Academy Awards. Plucky continues to believe this ruse long after Babs and Hamton have figured out that it’s false. It’s not like Plucky to just forget about the prospect of getting rich.
Speaking of “Hare Raising Night”, it always struck me as being somewhat curious that Bugs would recruit 4 of his students to defeat a mad scientist instead of, you know, the police or a team of trained professionals. I know that it’s the Tiny Toons’ show, but still, it seemed odd that 4 toon students who aren’t special agents and have zero experience or special training in such matters would be selected for something that doesn’t directly affect them. Extra credit, perhaps?