That’s Warner Brothers!/Unpopular Opinions: This Must Be Bizarro World

“The following am very important and worth everyone’s time.”

Htrea, aka Bizarro World, is an imperfect, messed-up funhouse mirror duplicate of Earth where everything is the opposite of our world: cats chase dogs, jokes make people cry, boy bands play instruments and Bizarro Joker is the only sane person on the planet.

These days I swear I must be living on Bizarro World, because there was a time if someone told me that Bugs Bunny Builders, an upcoming preschool show for Cartoon Network’s Cartoonito block, would be the show that interests me and that I’m curious to see an episode or two of…

And Tiny Toons Looniversity, a new adaptation of the wonderful 90’s series Tiny Toon Adventures, would be the show that I couldn’t give two squats about…

I’d have told them they were crazy.

But here we are.

I don’t get it either. I’ve tried, folks; I’ve legitimately tried to generate some interest in Tiny Toons Looniversity, but it just ain’t happening. I have zero interest in this show. I’m not even slightly curious about it.

The show I am interested in seeing is Bugs Bunny Builders, the Cartoonito show with squashed versions of Bugs, Lola, Daffy, Porky and Tweety as construction workers taking on all the jobs that Bob the Builder rejected.

“Can we build it? Eh, maybe.”

I know TTL is the show I should be psyched for; I was a big fan of Tiny Toons back in the day, but I’m just not. I think I know why, though: One reason is Reboot Fatigue: I’m legit getting tired of all of these studios strip-mining the nostalgia of Millennials. Another reason is one that I brought up in an earlier Talkin’ Nerdy: I simply don’t think we need another Tiny Toons show right now.

Don’t get wrong; as previously stated, I was a fan of the original Tiny Toons. It definitely filled a need: TT premiered in 1990; back then there was almost no Looney Tunes media aside from The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show on ABC and assorted VHS compilations (anybody remember VHS?), but those were all just collections of the old theatrical shorts, Warner Bros. wasn’t making any new stuff with the Looney Tunes (Space Jam wouldn’t happen for another six years, and this was even before shows like Bugs & Daffy or The ACME Hour — Cartoon Network wouldn’t launch until 1992), so Tiny Toons was as close as we could get to a new Looney Tunes show at the time. It also didn’t hurt that TT was one of the very few syndicated animated series which was all-comedy in an era when most cartoons were action-based or action-comedy hybrids. So I’m not knocking what Tiny Toons contributed to the cultural lexicon.

BUUUT that was then. Today we’re experiencing a kind of Looney Tunes Renaissance: we’ve since gotten no less than 3 new Looney Tunes shows…

Count ’em. Three.

We had a movie this past summer (Space Jam: A New Legacy) and we’ve got 2 new Looney Tunes shows waiting in the wings: the aforementioned Bugs Bunny Builders

…And Tweety Mysteries. Not to mention that Wile E. Coyote VS ACME movie which is supposedly still happening and will be out…sometime.

So with WB doing all this new stuff with the Looney Tunes, what do we need a new Tiny Toons show for? If you own a designer original, what do you need with a knockoff?

Again, I enjoyed Tiny Toons back in the day, but there’s nothing WB can do with Buster, Babs, Plucky, Hamton and Dizzy that they can’t already do with Bugs, Lola, Daffy, Porky and Taz, and when you strip Tiny Toons down to its’ bare bones, Tiny Toons was just a kiddification. I didn’t think we needed a new Animaniacs either (and still don’t), but at least in the case of A!, the characters, while created in the spirit of Looney Tunes, are still original characters with their own shticks. TT, by contrast, did some great shorts, but the characters will always just be junior versions of the Looney Tunes and consequently will always be in their collective shadow.

“You are wrong! The Tiny Toons are original characters! They’re teenagers, unlike the Looney Tunes! There’s all kinds of stuff they can do with them! You’re just a hater!”

Really, what can the producers do on a new Tiny Toons show? A show devoted to part-time jobs? They did that in the first series. Dating and the prom? They did that too. Cramming for exams? They did that. The big football game? Done that. Field trips? Seen that. The only thing they can’t do in this new series is constantly remind us again and again that it’s the 90’s.

Sure, the producers are doing the world a favor by dropping the odious Elmyra from the show, but that’s still not enough to make me interested in it.

By contrast, Bugs Bunny Builders offers things I haven’t seen before.

For one, the cast.

Rather than centering the show on all of the Tunes as a whole, BBB looks like it’ll just be focusing on a crew of 5: Bugs, Porky, Lola, Daffy and Tweety (Tweety being there without Sylvester is kind of weird, though). I’m sure other Looney Tunes characters will make appearances, but I like the minimalist approach the producers are taking with this show.

Second, it looks like we’ll be getting a version of Lola Bunny that’s actually funny. Dare I say, LOONY!

I’m definitely looking forward to that after the comparatively bland version we got in Space Jam: A New Legacy. It’s quite a leap from a “too cool for school” Lola who sounded like Zendaya to a bubbly, silly one who sounds like one of the Chipettes, but I’m not complaining.

But what really sold me on BBB is this:

If this image is any indication, then it looks like Daffy on this show will be his earlier “crazy, darn-fool” version, which again we didn’t get in New Legacy.

Plucky Duck from Tiny Toons was straight-up 1950’s Daffy, which is fine, but I prefer the nuttier 1940’s version overall.

It looks like we may finally be getting the long-awaited Bugs and Crazy Daffy team-up for the first time…on a preschool show! I tell you, we’re in Bizarro World!

To (finally) sum up, I guess I relate to what producer/writer Paul Rugg said when asked why wouldn’t be participating in the Animaniacs reboot:

“Here’s the thing: I did that. 20 years ago.”

That basically sums up my feelings about these reboots. Tiny Toons was great. Animaniacs was great. But both shows were products of the 90’s that I don’t need to see more of. It’s like Eek! The Cat.

I watched Eek! when it was on, I got a kick out of it, but I don’t need to see Eek! suddenly pop back into existence and find out what he’s been up to these past 20 years. I saw the originals, I’m good.

I haven’t seen 5 of the top tier Looney Tunes try to build stuff with kooky stylized vehicles and equipment, so I’m more inclined to check that out.
“That been very bad post! This will be very unpopular and earn you many, many dislikes!”

-Yeah, I know.

How Comezit? Why is There No Banana Soda?

It’s a question that has boggled the minds of humankind for years:

Why is there no banana soda??

“It’s a PLOT, I tells ya! A CON-spiracy concocted by ‘The Man’ to keep us primates down! ‘They’ want to keep the formula for banana soda under wraps just to keep my species from taking our rightful place as the true rulers of Earth! THE BANANAS ARE NOT WHAT THEY SEEM!!”

“Ah, no, actually. The reason is very simple: the reason that you don’t see banana flavored sodas and juices in wide circulation is simply because a banana doesn’t contain enough liquid to be made into a beverage. Any banana flavored beverage would/will have to be artificially flavored.”

There are, in fact, some banana flavored beverages, all artificially flavored, of course. Among the most notable being Filbert’s Old-Timey Banana Soda…

…And Banana Wave, a soy-based, plant-based banana drink which combines artificial banana flavor with other tantalizing flavors.

Such as Mango, Strawberry and Chocolate.
“Gotta try ’em all!”

There is (or was at one time) even a banana flavored Fanta!

Hope that clears things up.

-Say, while we’ve got you here, Professor, maybe you could fill us in on something semi-related: why is it you never see grape flavored ice cream?

“GRAPE APE! GRAPE APE! That had no relevance to anything, I just didn’t want to be left out of the discussion!”

Oh, that’s a good one. Well, the common belief running around on the internet is that the absence of grape ice cream can be blamed on the Food and Drug Administration, which banned the flavor because of pet-related hazards.

The legend goes that Ben & Jerry’s created a delectable grape ice cream which was then served to a lucky customer who loved it so much that they fed a bit of it to their beloved dog, who immediately died of anthocyanin poisoning. (Anthocyanin is a chemical found in grape skins, and it’s poisonous to dogs and cats.)

After the incident, the FDA ruled that no ice cream manufacturer may sell grape flavored ice cream.

However….

The FDA would never intervene on grape ice cream. After all, chocolate is also poisonous to pets, and you can still buy it practically anywhere.

The actual reason is that when making ice cream at home, you can get fruit like grapes pretty close to a puree, but when you are using fruit as a base on a large scale, that’s when you run into problems. Basically, grapes have high water content, and when manufactured on a large scale, will leave you with unappetizing ice chunks in your ice cream.

It’s also simple supply and demand: there is simply not a huge demand for grape ice cream like there is for, say, chocolate or strawberry or vanilla or even cookie dough.

-So there you have it. Some literal food for thought. That was very informative.

“Say, if you’re interested, I also know a way that Mac Davis’ ‘Baby, Don’t Get Hooked on Me’ can be broken down into an equational algorithm which when applied correctly can control peoples’ minds!”

-Uh, stick a pin in that. Maybe next time.

Player Two Start!: The Jellyfish Pirates

To say that Guilty Gear is a very strange fighting game series with very strange lore and very strange characters with very strange moves in a very strange setting is like pointing out that there’s sand at the beach, but as weird and wacky as the Guilty Gear games are, some of its’ various elements, music, gameplay, moves and characters are odd but also oddly beautiful and fascinating. One such group that falls into the latter category for me are the Jellyfish Pirates.

Smile in the face of danger. Yo-Ho!

This wild ‘n’ woolly band of air pirates (’cause sailing the sea is sooooo last year!), led by the charming and charismatic pirate king Johnny

“Lemme be yer Johnny-bear!”

Traverse the skies in their fish-shaped airship, doing the Robin Hood thing: robbing from the rich, giving to the poor…

…And occasionally stopping for bitchin’ beach barbecues.

There are two interesting things to note about the Jellyfish Pirates: One, that each crew member is named after the month of the year that they joined (that plus the name ‘Jellyfish Pirates’ is very Japanese, and I love it), and two, aside from their captain Johnny…

…Nearly all of them are attractive young women! Rawr-Rawr!

But who are all of these not-so-irate pirates, anyway?

“Jellyfish Roll Call!”

Janus – She’s a cat. A black cat, in a red pirate’s hat, who’s a member of a pirate crew. I told you this game was weird.

Febby – Wears a pink hat and does the laundry.

March – The youngest member of the crew, with pink hair covering one eye. She’s kind of an adorable li’l hot mess: when she first joined the crew, she couldn’t even speak, and loves to see people getting tortured. She goes around barefooted and is rarely seen without her penguin plushie. Her role is Communications, somehow.

April – May’s adoptive sister and best friend. Acts as the ship’s Navigator. Now with glasses!

May – The spunky First Mate and the only Jellyfish Pirate who’s a playable character (technically 1 of 2, but we’ll get to that). She’s young looking and never seems to age, despite the game series spanning across years. Utterly devoted to her captain Johnny, and she’d like to get closer to him in more ways than one. (It’s just a crush. Clean up your minds!) She fights with an anchor and can summon dolphins!

June – Purple hair, pink hat. In charge of Deck Management.

July – Combatant. Rocks an eye-patch. She’s also very well-endowed, wears short-shorts and a top which exposes her stomach. (Bom-Chicka-Wow-Wow!)

Augus – Another Combatant. Brown skin, white hair, purple hat, white top, gold rings. Along with July, rocks the sexy.

September – Medic. Blue hat, brown hair, white shirt, but with an apron in front. We only ever see her smiling with her eyes shut, so her eye color is anyone’s guess.

Octy – The Lookout. Has excellent eyesight, despite her eyes perpetually being covered by her green bangs.

Novel – Mechanic. Red hat, white shirt, yellow tie. Sports goggles on her hat.

Leap – The Chef and Administrative Director. Unlike the other Jellyfish Pirates members, she is much older than the rest of the crew. She is the chef of the group and a maternal figure to them, with them referring to her as “Auntie Leap”. While she isn’t named after a specific month like the other Jellyfish Pirate members, her name comes from a leap year.

Side Bar: This is weird to admit, but I freaking love Leap’s design. Her plump, round, dumpling shape contrasts beautifully with the more svelte and slender looks of the younger pirates. Like the other Jellyfish Pirates members, she joins May in her in-game battle pose and her Instant Kill. She is also featured alongside May in her outro in Guilty Gear Xrd and -Strive-. She is the one who causes the final blow due her weight and size, and I love that. Apart from Leap and Granny of the Looney Tunes from Space Jam: A New Legacy, I seem to be bombarded and mesmerized by little old lady characters lately. Is that weird?

“Hey, don’t knock older women ’til you’ve tried ’em, homie!”

End Side Bar.

Now you may have noticed that I didn’t list a December Pirate; well, they had one for a time, but she’s…not around much these days. No longer with the crew is their Administrative Coordinator Dizzy, the only other playable Jellyfish Pirate character.

Dizzy’s been…elsewhere occupied after her momentary stint with the Pirates, and given that she’s an insanely powerful half-Gear with a tail and sapient shapeshifting wings, Necro and Undine, and has more baggage than L.A. Airport, that’s probably for the best.

Did I mention that Guilty Gear is weird??

That’s Warner Brothers!: Gathering the Tune Squad

I’m not going to pretend that Space Jam: A New Legacy was one of the greatest cinematic achievements of our time, ’cause I know it wasn’t; it was a bloated, blatantly commercial cash grab for Warner Bros. and the NBA.

-But so was the first one.

That said, as a Looney Tunes fan, there were some things about the movie that I really dug. (The Looney Tunes of course being chief among the examples.)

For one thing, I really liked the concept of the WB Server-Verse. The visual geek in me loves the premise that all of Warner Bros.’ various TV shows, movies, franchises and properties residing in their own respective planetoids inside the studio’s giant server. Was it a giant plug for WB? Yes, but I still think it was cool, so I don’t care.

BTW, this image isn’t of the actual WB Server-Verse; it’s a map of the worlds from Video Land from Captain N: The Game Master. I couldn’t find a full image of the WB Server-Verse, but again, I still think the ‘franchise universe’ thing is cool.

I’m not going to recap the entire plot of the movie because a) I’m not a reviewer, b) this ain’t a review of the entire movie and c) it’s been out for a while now, so those of you who have seen it already know the story and those who haven’t clearly don’t care, but my all-favorite sequence in the film, not surprisingly, takes place once Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes show up.

When Al G. Rhythm (get it?) dumps LeBron James into the depths of the Server-Verse, he lands in Looney Tunes World (or just Tune World, potato, po-tah-to)…

Looney, babuh!
BTW, I just love the layout of Tune World. It’s got all of the various recurring settings for Looney Tunes cartoons compressed into a single planetoid. Someone should really consider turning this into a theme park area.
Ah. Nevermind.

…LeBron bumps into Bugs. After some classic toon shenanigans…

Of course the animators had to work Big Chungus in there somewhere. Thanks, internet!

…Bugs relates that he too has a score to settle with Al G. It seems some time prior Al told the Looney Tunes that they were wasting their talents on their home world and convinced them to split to seek their fortunes out in the Server-Verse (what grudge Al G. seemed to have against the Looney Tunes is unclear; professional jealousy maybe? Or perhaps he took them out to dinner one night and they stuck him with the check), causing the other toons to abandon Tune World, leaving Bugs all alone; he opted to stay behind because he enjoys just being a wacky toon and has no other aspirations. Kudos, writers. That is so him. Bugs Bunny is the Alex Rieger of the Looney Tunes. (That’s a reference to Taxi, BTW, kids; ask your parents.)

So we come to my all-favorite sequence in the movie: after Bugs finagles Marvin the Martian into “lending” him his space rocket, LeBron and Bugs embark on an epic journey through the Server-Verse. LeBron thinks they’re assembling a team of WB owned all-stars and heavy hitters to form the ultimate basketball team (such as Superman, Wonder Woman, Gandalf, King Kong and the Iron Giant), but Bugs (who, let’s face it, has gone a little nuts from being on his own for so long) is surreptitiously using this as a means to reunite with his fellow Looney Tunes family.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is: Dude, we’re gettin’ the band back together!

Super, Man!

The first planet Bugs and LeBron visit is DC World, home of — no surprise — the DC Super Heroes.

Can I just mention how awesome the look of DC World is? It’s half Gotham City, half Metropolis, with the two cities connected by a small bridge (makes no sense, but it didn’t make sense in Batman V Superman either) with the DC logo floating in front of it (branding!) and the Justice League Watchtower hovering above its’ surface? No? Well, too bad, I just did.

LeBron expects that since they appear on each planet decked out as famous characters from each world (BTW, whenever they’re on the planet of a live-action property, LeBron’s live-action, but on the world of an animated franchise, he’s a cartoon, nice touch), that here he’ll be somebody dope…

Bugs manifests onto the planet’s surface as Batman (or Bat-Rabbit, I guess) with LeBron as Robin! (“Robin?? I’m freakin’ ROBIN???!?”)

“Hey, who says I’m not dope? Just don’t judge by Teen Titans GO!, OK?”

The entirety of DC World is rendered in the manner of the 90’s through ’00’s DCAU (Detective Comics Animated Universe) cartoons, with the runaway bullet train Bugs and LeBron are pursuing whizzing past the DCAU versions of Dick Grayson, Selina Kyle, Comm. James Gordon, Jimmy Olsen…

Not to mention a certain mild-mannered reporter.

Anyway, it turns out that Daffy Duck is the one responsible for this impending disaster (so what’s changed?); he’s masterminded this whole crisis so he can get filmed saving the day (well, Porky Pig dressed as Jimmy Olsen is the one doing the actual filming) so, he, Superduck, can get admitted into the Justice League. Unfortunately, Daffy breaks the lever that stops the train, so now it really is zooming out of control, all set to crash into an orphanage! The train (with LeBron and Bugs clinging on to the top and Lois Lane, Alfred Pennyworth and Harlene Quinzel trapped inside) zips by the red-skied Gotham City from The New Batman Adventures and the DCAU version of Atlantis, before finally coming to an abrupt halt. Daffy is all set to shout out to the world that he’s the one who did all of this, until he comes face to face with the guy who actually stopped the train…

…Big Blue himself, flanked by Aquaman (sans the hook hand), Batgirl, Green Lantern John Stewart and the Flash. Suddenly the idea of shooting hoops is sounding pretty good to Daffy about now.

“What a Lovely Day!”

The next stop on our Planetary Product Placement tour is Mad Max World, or to be more precise, Mad Max: Fury Road, where the Looney Tunes’ resident desert dwellers, the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote, are currently residing.

Wile has apparently joined the ranks of the War Boys, using his newfound marauder status to — what else?–

…Catch the Road Runner!

He fails of course, but we do get to see some cool explosions. So that’s 2 more down.

“Yeah, Baby, Yeah!”

Next up is Austin Powers World. Here Elmer Fudd has assumed the role of Mini-Me…

“One hundwed biwwion dowwars! Heh-he-he-he-heh!”

While Sylvester has become Dr. Evil’s bald cat, Mr. Bigglesworth!

What happened to Tweety, you ask? When Elmer and Sylvester board the ship, Sylvester spits out Tweety; apparently he devoured him some time previous. (How long does it take toons to digest, anyway?)

Taz-Mania

I can’t add anything to Taz’s entry into the movie, so I’ll just replay it here. Roll the clip!

“Sing it, Sam!

We next visit WB Classic Movies World, specifically Casablanca, where Yosemite Sam has replaced Dooley Wilson in Rick’s Cafe.

“You’ve got issues, lady!”

A Dance with Roosters

Next we find Foghorn Leghorn as Daenerys, riding a dragon outside of Game of Thrones World.

“Winter, I say, winter is comin’!”

-Incidentally, an earlier draft of the script had LeBron and Bugs actually visiting GoT World, and Foghorn was originally going to play Stark. I have no horse in this race because I’ve never watched Game of Thrones. I’ve never watched GoT, never watched Westworld, never watched Deadwood, never watched Boardwalk Empire, but I never missed an episode of Laff-A-Lympics or Freakazoid!. I was that weirdo.

“Matrix Are for Kids”

We next arrive at Matrix World, where the unlikely team of Granny and Speedy Gonzales having taken on the roles of Trinity and Neo, respectively. Here they are in action.

Speedy’s “What’s happenin’, bro?” gets me every time.

Big ups to Gabriel Iglesias who voiced Speedy here. Fluffy knocked it out of the park.

Side Bar: Can I take a moment to point out just how awesome Granny was in this movie? She was only a cheerleader in the first Space Jam (though that didn’t save her from getting tackled by the Monstars when the ball landed in her hands), but here she’s a full-on team member, talking smack, karate kicking, sipping martinis at halftime, taking down the Goon Squad member Chronos and riding her motor scooter through exploding buses being launched by Wile E. Coyote. The producers cranked Granny’s usual spunk up to 11, and I’m here for it. I hope we get to see more of ‘Gonzo Granny’ in future Looney Tunes projects. Fingers crossed. End Side Bar.

This Rabbit, This Warrior

The last Looney Tune to be rounded up is Lola Bunny, who’s migrated to Themyscira, home to Diana, aka Wonder Woman and the Amazons. Wait, didn’t we already go to DC World? No, that was DC TV cartoon world, Lola’s in Wonder Woman comic book world; it’s completely different.

The animation and visuals here are gorgeous. The characters and backgrounds are rendered to look like they came straight out of a comic book, complete with all the scenes being blocked off into panels. The thin outlines on the characters, Wonder Woman’s flowing black hair, the Amazons of all shapes, sizes and colors…(chef’s kiss).

Anyways, Lola is about to partake in a time trial obstacle course in order to become a full-fledged Amazon, not the easiest thing to do when Bugs keeps calling for her attention in the crowd. Bugs and LeBron follow her and nearly fall into a lava pit for their troubles, but when LeBron tells Lola that he needs to rescue his son, she rescues them and agrees to go with them.

Lola doesn’t complete the obstacle course in time, but Wondy informs her that her heroic act cinched her in. Diana declares Lola an Amazon, and she gives her consent to go compete in the ‘ball of baskets’. Yay.

The Looney Tunes are back in da house, baby!

OK, enough gushing. I do have some gripes about this. For one thing (and this is more of a general gripe I had with the film), I really wish could’ve gotten the screwball version of Daffy and the funny version of Lola here. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed their scenes well enough, but think how much cooler those scenes would’ve been if we had the insane version of Daffy just messing with everybody, and would it have killed them to have Lola crack one joke? They had a blueprint for Lola right there from The Looney Tunes Show and New Looney Tunes, and they didn’t use it, why? Even if they wanted to make Lola a jock and a warrior wannabe, I would taken that (though I like scatterbrained weirdo Lola just fine), but even going that route with Lola doesn’t mean she couldn’t be funny. DBK of Toonland Inquirer is right: seeing the Looney Tunes revert back to their 1950’s personas after 2 shows with them adhering to the 1940’s style (which I prefer overall) was a bit of a step down for me, but I still enjoyed them overall.

Finally, my other beef with this sequence is that there was a major glaring omission. Somebody got passed over.

No, not him.
I’m talking about Gossamer.

Of all the Tune Squad, we never saw which planet/franchise Gossamer ended up on; he just poofed onto the deck of the ship during the montage. A companion graphic novel version of the movie depicted Gossamer in the world of Scooby-Doo

“Jinkies! That’s not Professor Hyde-White, that’s an actual red-orange furry monster in sneakers!”

And you know, I’d like to have seen that. If it was was animated, maybe it can be bonus footage on the Space Jam: A New Legacy Blu-Ray.

The again, knowing Warner Brothers, they’d probably just release it as a DVD crossover.

iViva Los Straitjackets!

A big shout-out to Los Straitjackets, my favorite instrumental surf-rock band of Luchadores!

If you haven’t heard the following tracks from this band, you’ve been leading an empty life:

Rockula

Squad Car

Tsunami!

Wrong Planet

The Mad Scientwist (with The World Famous Pon)

They’ve also done a pretty cool cover of The Munsters‘ theme for the collaborative album Halloween Hootenanny. (And how often do you hear the word ‘hootenanny’ nowadays?)

If Rob Zombie doesn’t call these guys so he can use their rendition of the theme in his new Munsters movie, then I guess he’s not the auteur we thought he was.