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.

Talkin’ Nerdy: Let’s Get Real About Lola Bunny

Just like the title says, all of this renewed hype about Looney Tunes, brought on by the impending premiere of Looney Tunes Cartoons on HBO Max, has brought to mind one Looney Tune who so far I haven’t seen in any of these shorts…one Lola Bunny.

Lola_Bunny 1

Not since Scrappy-Doo have I encountered so polarizing a cartoon character. You see, when Lola made her debut in Space Jam, she looked like this:

Lola Bunny Space Jam

But later on, when she returned for The Looney Tunes Show, she was changed to this:

Lola Bunny TLTS

While some fans were OK with the change, several others were suddenly like:

And for a long time, I wondered…why? Why are so many fans enraged by this new take on the character? Why does TLTS Lola inspire so much hatred among some folks? Now, if you ask the average Lola hater, they’ll usually say something along the lines of:

Angry Nerd

“Ooooooh, I hate this new Lola Bunny because she’s sexist! She’s an insult! She’s a stereotype! She’s too stupid! She’s a bimbo! She’s not a good role model to young girls! Rant-rant-rant!!”

And you know what?

OhThatsSomeBS

Yeah, all that stuff Lola anti-fans like to throw out and tell you (and tell you and tell you and tell you) is a complete load. It’s Grade A Bolognium. I wish I had some bread so all of this baloney wouldn’t be going to waste. These reasons for hating TLTS Lola have always seemed weird to me, but I could never quite put my finger on what was so off about these complaints, aside from the obvious fact that they make no sense. When I noticed that it’s only MALE fans who go on about the Lola hate that I began to put 2 and 2 together. What REALLY gave it away was when a Lola hater made a comment on this very site proclaiming that Daisy Lou (a love interest rabbit character who only appeared in a single short, “Hare Splitter”, 1948, d. Friz Freleng) would be a better choice for a female Looney Tune than Lola.

That’s when it hit me. Do you want to know the REAL reason why these guys hate the new Lola so much? Do you wanna strip away the convoluted crapola? You really want to get down to it? Forget all that smoke they like blow up your ass. Whenever TLTS Lola haters say all that stuff I typed above, what they’re REALLY saying is this:

Angry Nerd

“I hate the new Lola because she’s not sexy like the original Lola was!”

That’s it. The Space Jam version of Lola made these folks feel funny down there, and they don’t get that same special feeling when watching the new Lola. THAT’S what they’re up in arms about.

Nappa

“NO! That can’t be right! CAN IIIIIT?!!!?”

Trust me, it is. Think about it. None of the arguments they say out loud make any sense.

Angry Nerd

“New Lola is too silly acting and stupid!”

WhyThatsBS

We’re talking about a comedy franchise here. Since when are the likes of Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck, Pete Puma or Beaky Buzzard towering intellects? Since when is that even a requirement? Why is it OK for male characters to goof it up, but when a female character does the same thing, some nonexistent rules are somehow being broken? Not only does that complaint make no sense, but it’s downright hypocritical, because many of these hardcore Lola Bunny haters are also big fans of characters like Pinkie Pie from My Little Pony or Harley Quinn from DC Comics and DC Super Hero Girls. If you think this:

Pinkie Pie

Or this:

Harley Quinn 2019

…Are somehow better than this:

Lola Bunny TLTS 2

…Shut up!

Angry Nerd

The new Lola is sexist! She’s a female stereotype!”

Madea Shut Up

Ladies, don’t you just love it when guys try to mansplain to you what feminism is? I’m not going to get up on a soapbox here, since as a male, I’m hardly an expert on the subject, but based on what I’ve seen, heard, read and observed, ultimately feminism is about choice; namely, a woman is free to choose to be whatever the hell she wants to be, and that includes being funny, silly and ridiculous. Why are the guy Looney Tunes allowed to be silly and loony and zany but when Lola does it, it’s bad? Holding female characters to different standards and decrying a female character for being clownish while deeming it A-OK for a male character to do the same is itself sexist. When you magically grow a vagina, then you can lecture me about feminism. Until then, cram it!

Angry Nerd

“This new Lola isn’t a good role model like the other Looney Tunes!”

“Role models?” Excuse me?? You think these guys…

looney-tunes-bugs-bunny-road-runner-daffy-duckand-of-tasmanian-devil-wallpaper

…THESE GUYS…

…Are role models? Dude, who’s your dealer? ‘Cause that’s some primo stuff you’re spinning on! The Looney Tunes are not, repeat, NOT role models. You’re not supposed to gel any life lessons from these characters; you’re just supposed to laugh at their wacky antics. Bugs Bunny is not a role model; he’s a rebel and a wiseass and a prankster and a troublemaker. That’s why he’s such an awesome character. It’s also why Lola had to change. Regardless of how you felt about The Looney Tunes Show itself, one thing the show did very right was rethink Lola. C’mon, really, what exactly was so great about the Space Jam version?

Lola Bunny Space Jam

Yeah, she may be nice to look at (if you’re into that sort of thing, I’m not personally, but I’m not knocking those who are), but there’s a serious flaw with the original Lola, namely:

SHE. WASN’T. FUNNY. The Looney Tunes franchise has no use for an unfunny character.

I challenge any of these alleged fans of Space Jam Lola to describe the character using any other adjective besides “pretty”, “cute”, “sexy” or “hot”. You can’t, because beyond being ‘Va-Va-Va-Voom!’ sexy,  Space Jam Lola had no personality.

That’s when the anti-fans’ arguments really fall apart. Why is it such a bad thing for a Looney Tune to act loony??

Space Jam Lola would never do any of those things, because that would require her to have a personality, opinions, quirks or a character, which that version is clearly devoid of. Space Jam Lola was just furry fetish fuel, nothing more. I’m not saying that a cartoon character can’t be attractive; goodness knows I’ve had my share of cartoon crushes, but there’s absolutely no reason for a woodland creature to be sexy unless you’re a guy rabbit and you wanna ‘do the math’, if ya know what I mean.

I’m not going to make fun of furries because they don’t deserve to be made fun of, but let’s face it: when these Lola haters see Lola on the screen, they don’t want to laugh; they want to get their rocks off, and they can’t do that with the new Lola, and THAT’S the real reason they hate this new take on the character so much.

So from now on, when the subject of post-Space Jam Lola comes up and one of these folks starts bloviating about how the character’s a disgrace and an abomination and whatnot, keep the above in mind, and then just tell ’em:

Peeks: First Impressions of ‘Looney Tunes Cartoons’ and ‘Jellystone!’

Not too long ago HBO/AT&T/Time-Warner announced the impending arrival of the media’s umpeeth streaming service, HBO Max, set to launch in May 2020.

hbo-max-header-720x720

HBO…to the Max!

In a press release, they listed what we can expect to see on the service: some movies, some shows, some classic movies, Friends, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Sesame Street, etc., etc. My reaction:

Spongebob Meh

OK. Cool. Whatever.

…Then they announced that they’d be showing the new Looney Tunes Cartoons shorts and a new animated series built around the Hanna-Barbera library (and not specifically Scooby-Doo or Tom & Jerry) entitled Jellystone!. My reaction:

funny cartoon eyes

“OK, NOW you’ve got my attention!”

As you may have surmised by now, on today’s Peeks we’ll be giving you our first impressions of these new shows, what we think of what (admittedly little) we know and have seen so far and what we expect (or hope) to see when these shows eventually make their debut.

LOONEY TUNES CARTOONS

looney-tunes cartoons-2

“Ehhh, what’s clickin’, Doc?”

For those who don’t know, Looney Tunes Cartoons is an American animated web television series developed by Peter Browngardt, creator of Cartoon Network’s Secret Mountain Fort Awesome and Uncle Grandpa

Uncle Grandpa

Yeah, that Peter Browngardt.

…and produced by Warner Bros. Animation, based on the characters from Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies. The project made its worldwide premiere at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival on June 10, 2019. This show is the successor to New Looney Tunes, which I actually liked despite some haters nipticking about it.

This project was first announced on June 11, 2018, when Warner Bros. Animation announced that a new series, which would “consist of 1,000 minutes spread across 1–6 minute shorts”…

Looney-Tunes Cartoons 1

 

…would be released in 2019 and that it would feature “the brand’s marquee characters voiced by their current voice actors in simple gag-driven and visually vibrant stories”.

Bugs_Bunny

“Hey, Doc. I’d like to talk to ya about the Looney Tunes Cartoons Initiative.”

The style of the series is to be reminiscent to those of Tex Avery, Chuck Jones, Friz Freleng, Robert McKimson, Bob Clampett and others. President of Warner Bros. Animation, Sam Register (creator of Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi), along with Pete Browngardt  serve as executive producers for the series. The shorts will bring all of the Looney Tunes together under one roof, including more obscure members like Pete Puma, Beaky Buzzard, Hubie and Bertie, Petunia Pig and Cicero Pig.

LTC Cast

If you’ve ever wondered what characters like the Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Marvin the Martian and Taz would’ve looked like had they been created in the ’40’s, wonder no more.

Cicero Pig? Now, that’s obscure. AFAIK, He’s never appeared outside of the comics. No mention of Lola, but I hope she shows up as well, along with Witch Hazel. A man can dream.

On June 12, 2019, a short titled “Dynamite Dance” served as a trailer for the series starring Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd. Roll the clip!

Now I’m not normally one to gush, but what I’ve seen of these cartoons so far is simply…

Amazing GIF

 

LTC - mummydummy

I am in freaking LOVE with the designs and aesthetics of these shorts. Everything just…pops! The colors are bright. The shadows, the light, the buoyancy.  The characters are just bursting with life; they look like they could jump off the screen and starting running amok in your living room at any given moment.

Looney-Tunes-Cartoons-Art

Plus the artists captured the 40’s look and feel perfectly. If these cartoons didn’t look so shiny and new, I’d swear that they were actual classic shorts that got lost in the vault somewhere. If Wabbit/New Looney Tunes had looked like these shorts (though I know  the amount of money required to produce animation of this quality for a weekly TV series would’ve bankrupted a Saudi Arabian king) the show would’ve had far fewer detractors.

ltct_014_still_01-1

And fans rejoice! The mayhem is back! Bombs! Anvils! Props! Squash-and-stretch physics! Solving problems with dynamite! WB listened to fans complaining about the absence of good old-fashioned cartoon chaos from The Looney Tunes Show and brought it back in spades. We wanted the slapstick back, and now we’ve got it. And the skies are ripe with love.

LooneyTunesCartoonsFeature-min-1

Plus it looks like we’ll be getting some classic WB team-ups, like Bugs and Elmer (a combo that was curiously lacking on The Looney Tunes Show and Wabbit/New Looney Tunes)…

LTC - Curseofthemonkeybirdscreen

…And Porky & Daffy. Cool, I’m definitely on board. But you know what we’re really happy to see? The triumphant return of this guy:

LTC - Crazy Daffy

“Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo!”

Remember this toon? The “crazy darn fool duck”? The black-feathered nut case who’s so crazy, he just doesn’t give a darn? Well, he has returned! The re-appearance of manic Daffy Duck on New Looney Tunes was not, repeat, NOT a fluke. This series already sold me the second I saw this:

 

LTC Daffy

YES!! My guy is back! We’ve elaborated on this here before, so I’ll keep it brief, but I can’t begin to say how happy I am to see that WB isn’t finished with OG insane Daffy Duck. I’ve had to endure the jealous, selfish, greedy jerk version of this character for soooo long that I was beginning to lose hope of ever seeing screwloose Daffy again, but he’s still here, and I hope he stays around for a loooong while, perhaps permanently.

LTC - Wetcementscreen

No offense to Chuck Jones, but I’ve always preferred nut-job Daffy to his take. Just keeping it 100.

Now I’m OK with the classic pairings, but one thing (among others, I thought) that New Looney Tunes got very right was that they weren’t afraid to mix things up, pair off characters who didn’t usually interact much, if at all, like Foghorn and Taz or Elmer and Porky or Tweety and Sylvester with Speedy Gonzales, Gabby Goat, Pet Puma, Marc Antony and Claude Cat (seriously, somebody at Warner Bros. remembered the character of Claude Cat!). I hope the producers of these shorts don’t shy away from mixing up the character combinations; that keeps things fresh and interesting. Also don’t be afraid to put new spins on established characters like how NLT gave the bland character of Sniffles a shot in the arm by giving him a vigilante alter ego in the form of Dark Bat:

And I may be alone with this, but I also hope we haven’t seen the last of some of the new characters created for Wabbit/NLT, such as Squeaks the Squirrel…

SqueaksSquirrel

You’re free to disagree, but I thought Squeaks made a decent sidekick for Bugs; aside from team-ups or crossovers, Bugs is usually alone, so a character like Squeaks is good because he gives Bugs someone to bounce lines off of and have his back when he inevitably starts cooking up some deviltry.

I also wouldn’t mind seeing other NLT characters like Leslie P. Lilylegs, King Thes and Rhoda Roundhouse.

Bigfoot_wabbit

Just not Bigfoot. Sorry, but I found him to be irritatingly moronic and annoying. I personally don’t need to see him come back, and I take back the ‘sorry’ part.

-So yeah, I’m definitely digging what I’ve seen of Looney Tunes Cartoons. If they can keep up the quality of what I’ve seen of these cartoons so far as well as implement the stuff I mentioned above…

Happy Camper

…I’m gonna be a happy camper. Now, onto the other HBO Max cartoon that got us curious.

JELLYSTONE!

Jellystone! is an upcoming animated series for streaming service HBO Max, which is set to launch in May 2020. The series is produced by Warner Bros. Animation. C.H. Greenblatt, known for  the series Chowder and Harvey Beaks, and Sam Register will both serve as executive producers.

The series will star many Hanna-Barbera characters, similar to shows like Yogi’s Gang and Laff-a-Lympics, living life in the town of Jellystone. While many living in the town work and play and get along together, there is always gonna be trouble happening for one another.

-OK, that could be cool. Sounds like it could be fun. The idea of a plethora of Hanna-Barbera stars taking up residence in a single area reminds me of Marvels’ Super Hero Squad Show, but with H-B characters. I’m down with the concept, and C. H. Greenblatt can be funny when he has a good concept, so sure. Let’s have a look at this cartoon.

jellystone

Creeped_Out_emoticon_emoji_face-512

“Gah? Ahhh! AAAAAHHHHH! It Burns! It burns so badly!!”

I know I give some folks a hard time for pre-judging a show just by a few images, but these initial designs are AWFUL. To their credit, you can still easily tell who the characters are supposed to be, but these designs look hideously amateurish to be used on a show put out by a major studio for a multi-million dollar streaming service. They look like a 6-year-old child drew these characters with their crayons, and I’ve seen more talented 6-year-old children. I really hope that these are just first drafts and the designs get more refined, polished and improved upon by the time the show make its’ debut.

Not only are these designs super-crude looking, but the characters look so…stupid. As in low-IQ individuals. Seriously, why do they look so derpy? Most of them have these dopey expressions plastered on their faces, making them look like they’d have trouble walking around a tree. Top Cat looks freaking stoned, like he got trapped in a warehouse full of marijuana and had to smoke his way to freedom.

Look at this image of Yogi:

Jellystone Yogi

Yogi Bear has never had a Charles Atlas physique, but he’s never been this round and fat. He looks less like a bear and more like an anthropomorphic meatball with a head, arms and legs.

And how about this screen cap of Magilla Gorilla?

Jellystone Magilla

OK, points for including him. ’cause he’s always been kind of an obscure H-B character, but again, that face: derp-derp. Same deal with Mildew Wolf here:

Jellystone Mildew

OK, this one doesn’t look too bad, but then we come to pics like this one:

Jellystone!_poster.PNG

Gah! There it is again! That whole ‘derp-derp’ thing I mentioned earlier. Look, I’m really trying not to pre-judge this show too harshly, since I do like the idea behind it and I haven’t seen the characters put through the processes of animation nor have I seen any backgrounds, but some of these renderings are ugly with a capital UGH. In addition to many of them looking so moronic that they should be wearing T-shirts reading ‘I’D RATHER BE DROOLING’, there’s no heft to these characters; they all look so flat; there’s no feeling of weight to any of them. No shadows or light. Nothing. How could the same studio that produced something so awesome looking as Looney Tunes Cartoons be okay with putting out something like these cheeseball designs? The ‘classic’ H-B designs looked like Matisse paintings compared to these doodles.

And those long eyelashes on Jabberjaw? Why, just why?? Is Jabberjaw a female shark in this or what?

Speaking of females, there’s one thing we really hope gets addressed on Jellystone!: Namely, the glaring lack of female characters. I really hope Cindy Bear isn’t the only female inhabitant of Jellystone. Even if the producers have to make up a bunch of OCs, that’s preferable to Smurfette Syndrome. Jason had an idea: if you want another female character, since Augie Doggie and Doggie Daddy are on this show, why not show us Augie’s mom as a character? That’s something they’ve never done before. I say why not? Disney recently did the unthinkable by making Huey, Dewey and Louie’s mom Della Duck into a character…

Della Duck

And the fans ate it up. So why not? Go for it, I say.

-Character designs aside, I am remaining cautiously optimistic for Jellystone!. If the show’s funny then that’ll make up for the less-than-stellar artwork and designs. On a final note: I noticed that one of the characters in the title card was Captain Caveman; does this mean that we could be seeing other H-B characters besides the 60’s ‘funny animal’ characters, like the Impossibles, the Chan Clan, Hong Kong Phooey, Space Ghost, the Galaxy Trio, the Teen Angels et al? That could be a hoot to see. Apart from this and the upcoming feature Scoob!

scoob-movie-2020

…Whose art, designs and animations actually look GOOD, just pointing that out…

…It seems that Warner Brothers Animation is really trying to create a Hanna Barbera Shared Universe. (And as a point of interest, Captain Caveman is supposed to appear in Scoob! as well, voiced by Tracy Morgan, of all people. OK, I want to go see this movie for that alone.) C.H. Greenblatt claims he’ll be “digging deep” for obscure characters for Jellystone!; he also says that he’ll be canonizing Yo, Yogi! in some form for this show. I’m fine with that…

Yo Yogi

Just make it absolutely nothing like its’ predecessor, and we’re good!

Talkin’ Nerdy: The Cold, Hard Truth About Tiny Toons

We recently came across this little nugget on the Anime Superhero Forum:

Tiny Toons

“Its really strange how the Tiny Toons characters did not appear as recurring characters in other Looney Tunes cartoon series like Taz-Mania, Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, Duck Dodgers (2003), Looney Tunes Show (2011), New Looney Tunes/wabbit or the HBO Max Looney Tunes Cartoons (2020). Does Warner Bros think the Tiny Toons are not good enough to add to any cartoon series that has the Looney Tunes?.” (Yeah, I’m including the poor punctuation.)

-Really, dude? This is strange to you? You really don’t know why you don’t see Tiny Toons characters turning up in non-TT projects like Taz-Mania, Duck Dodgers and Wabbit/New Looney Tunes? Seriously?

Well, the concrete reason is because the Tiny Toons characters are co-owned by Amblin Entertainment, and Amblin would have to be associated or involved with any such project in order for Warner Bros. to use them, but there’s another, very obvious fly in this particular ointment, a fly the size of a brontosaurus. Here’s the cold, hard truth about Tiny Toon Adventures in relation to the rest of the WB lore:

Exclamation Block

The Looney Tunes don’t need the Tiny Toons. At all. The Tiny Toons need the Looney Tunes, but not vice-versa.

What would the Tiny Toons do in a Looney Tunes project? Seriously, I’m asking: what exactly would they do? What purpose would they serve, beyond popping up on screen every so often to remind us that they exist? The problem with trying to integrate the Tiny Toons characters into the Looney Tunes universe is simply that the Tiny Toons are just super-deformed teen versions of the Looney Tunes characters; take away the ‘kid factor’ and they’re just clones of the Looney Tunes and they’d just be redundant appearing alongside of them. Why would you need Buster Bunny when you have Bugs Bunny? Why do you need Plucky Duck when you have Daffy Duck? What need is there for Dizzy Devil when Taz is around? And so on.

As previously stated, Warner Bros. would have to secure permission and/or collaboration from Amblin to use the Tiny Toons for anything, but frankly such a move wouldn’t be worth the effort; Warner doesn’t need the Tiny Toons for anything since they already have the Looney Tunes, whom they own lock, stock and barrel. If you own the rights to Rice Krispies, then you have no reason to buy a cheap knockoff cereal from Aldi.

This is also the reason why the WB shows that came after Tiny Toons have fared better and are remembered more fondly. Tiny Toons‘ greatest success was that of a trailblazer: the series kick-started Warner Bros. Animation’s Silver Age, leading to the likes of Animaniacs, Pinky & the Brain, Freakazoid! et al, but those shows, most notably Animaniacs, are celebrated more and have more staying power because the casts of those shows were original characters with no blatant ties or associations with any pre-existing franchise. Yeah it was cool whenever A! or F! would reference or call back to or feature a brief cameo by a Looney Tunes star, but they didn’t rely on those characters in order for their shows to work or their characters to flourish; the casts of A! and F! could stand on their own. By contrast, the notoriety and legacy of Looney Tunes is baked into Tiny Toon Adventures’ DNA; the Tiny Toons could not and would not exist without Looney Tunes, and at the end of the day, they’re basically just knockoffs that we don’t need when the genuine articles are around. If Tiny Toons had never happened, the Looney Tunes would still continue to exist as they always have.

You know how you never see Scrappy-Doo turning up in these latest Scooby-Doo projects?

scrappy-doo-clipart

The calmer, more rational Scrappy who actually helped move the plots along and devised his ‘Scrappy Traps’ was basically a composite stand-in for Fred and Velma…

Scooby Gang

…But now that Mysteries, Inc. is back together as a Five Man Band, they don’t need Scrappy anymore.

Or how about Roger Rabbit?

Roger Rabbit

After Who Framed Roger Rabbit? came out in 1987, in the wake of the huge “toon boom” that followed the movie, Disney tired making a big push to incorporate Roger into the Disney shorts gang alongside Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Pluto et al, but despite Disney’s best efforts (including having Betty White flat-out state in a Disney anniversary special that Roger was the Disney gang’s “new buddy”) this didn’t happen. Know why? Well, for one thing, again, Roger is co-owned by Amblin, so the Mouse House couldn’t really use him without their involvement or association. For another, let’s look at this character for a moment; what’s he known for? He’s well-meaning, but kind of a bumbler; he’s a little accident prone and has a habit of causing chaos and confusion wherever he goes. Hmm, that sounds kind of familiar. Who else in the Mickey Gang is like that? Maybe…

Goofy_transparent

….THIS GUY.

Yeah, aside from ownership rights, the reason Roger Rabbit was never fully integrated into the Disney shorts canon was because Roger was basically Goofy, and Mickey’s Gang already had a Goofy. Sticking Roger in there with them would’ve just been redundant.

It’s the same principle with the Tiny Toons: now that Warner is doing stuff with the Looney Tunes again, they don’t need to use the Tiny Toons for stuff, as they were just teenage stand-ins for the Looney Tunes. Tiny Toon Adventures was a nice kiddification/love letter to the Looney Tunes franchise, but those characters just aren’t needed now, as they didn’t bring anything new to the table that Bugs, Daffy, Porky, Elmer, Sam and the others don’t already contribute. And that’s the reason.

-Side bar: in this same thread, we came across this post:

“If it weren’t for Tiny Toons we’d never have Lola. Remember Babs didn’t really have an LT counterpart so when Space Jam was made they gave her one years after the fact. Even though they never met.”

UmmNo

Sorry, but that’s simply incorrect. Lola Bunny’s creation had nothing to do with Babs. Lola’s first appearance was Space Jam, which opened in 1996; Tiny Toons ran from 1990 to 1995, and was already over by the time Space Jam came around.

Lola was based on Honey Bunny, a character from the Looney Tunes comic books; a female Bugs counterpart who served as his love interest or rival, depending on what the situation called for.

 

Bugs_Bunny_comic featuring Honey Bunny

The story goes that Honey Bunny was going to make her big screen debut in Space Jam, but the movie’s execs weren’t pleased with her appearance; they thought she looked like Bugs in drag, so the artists redesigned the character, making her curvier and more feminine looking, until they eventually decided that this was a completely different character, thus Lola was born. She was not created to be a mentor for Babs. That issue was addressed in the TTA episode “Fields of Honey” where Honey was given a revisionist history to make her seem more important  and interesting than she actually was, instead of just being Minnie Mouse to Bosko’s Mickey. So the above statement isn’t remotely accurate.

Steak Knives

But thanks for playing, and enjoy your complimentary set of steak knives!

 

Toon Adjacent: Bugs Bunny Meets the Super Heroes

So recently Jason came across this and showed it to me:

 

‘Kay.

My initial thought upon seeing this was:

Whaaaat

…But after having a little more time to process things, I have a little more to say about it. Unfortunately, we never actually saw this majestic spectacle unfold, and as far as we know, no more footage of this extravaganza exists, so I can only offer my initial impressions on it.

-First of all, I love how Wonder Woman, Batman and Robin are referred to as “The Super Heroes”, as if these 3 are the only superheroes in existence.

bigthreeaveng

“So they’re ‘The Super Heroes’, huh? And what are we, chopped liver?”

A more accurate title would be Bugs Bunny Meets the Justice League or Bugs Bunny Meets the Super Friends or Bugs Bunny Meets the DC Super Heroes, or the 3 of Them That We Could Fit Into This Venue, Anyway.

While the DC roster is, shall we say, a trifle limited, I can at least see the reasoning for it, from a technical standpoint. I can understand why Flash and Green Lantern weren’t used for this:

flash-green-lantern

…As their super powers would have been impossible to replicate on a live stage, especially at such a small theater.

Nerdy-Accountant

“A guy who can move at the speed of light and a space cop who can make green energy constructs? No way in Helvetica can we afford that!”

Aquaman

Similarly, I understand why they didn’t go with Aquaman: ’cause then they would’ve had to put a pool on the stage and the performers would have had to avoid falling into it, and the guy who would’ve played Aquaman would not only have to be able to fit into the suit, but also be a good swimmer, so yeah, it would’ve been too much of a hassle to make the ‘story’ of this show center around the ocean in order to accommodate him.

Green-Arrow

Green Arrow would’ve simply been redundant: they didn’t need 2 rich guys with toys, plus they couldn’t risk a stray arrow hitting somebody in the audience.

They likely went with Wonder Woman, Batman and Robin because they were the easiest ones to replicate on a live stage with no special effects. Of course you wouldn’t be seeing Batman whipping out his grappling hook or Wondy snaring someone with her magic lasso; once you strip away all the fancy stuff like the Lasso of Truth, silver armbands and fancy Bat-Gadgets, their powers basically amount to punching and kicking, so we just get 3 Justice League members for this show. Two if we’re not counting sidekicks.

Robin-teen-titans-9542628-1024-768_zpsf972e501

“Well, screw you too, buddy!”

On the Looney Tunes side, we get Bugs of course, Daffy Duck, Sylvester, Taz, Speedy Gonzales, Foghorn Leghorn and a grossly oversized Tweety Bird. (Though not the human Looney Tunes like Elmer Fudd or Yosemite Sam for some reason.) I gotta say, these aren’t the greatest costumes I’ve ever seen. Daffy looks like he’s suffering from a bad case of Can’t-Shut-My-Beak-Itis. My guess is that Warner Bros. just gave whoever came up with this the OK to use their characters, but otherwise weren’t heavily involved in it. These costumes look more like outfits you’d buy for a kid’s birthday at Party City.

looney-tunes-six-flags-980x586

Heck, the mascots at Six Flags look better than this.

What’s funny about this is that it ran at the Baltimore Civic Center, and we’re Marylanders. How did this manage to slip past us? We’ve honestly never heard of this until Jason saw this commercial on his YouTube feed. The kid versions of ourselves would’ve wanted to go see this; I’m sure it would’ve been pure cheese, but it would’ve been entertaining cheese. For kid comic book and cartoon geeks, the Looney Tunes and the Justice League sharing a stage was like a video arcade that also had free pizza. If nothing else this could’ve been a fun show to riff on MST3K style. Now I wish I had seen this; I’m dying to know what sort of circumstances would create the need for 3 members of the Justice League to team up with the Looney Tunes. The very idea that Foghorn Leghorn exists somewhere in the DCU is utterly side-splitting to me.

One final note about the roster: we get Batman, Robin and Wonder Woman, but there’s a glaring omission here, one the size of a brontosaurus…

4-7

…WHERE THE HECK IS SUPERMAN???

You can’t have a live show starring the DC Super Heroes and not have Superman. That’d be like having a Disney live show without Mickey Mouse or a Muppets special without Kermit the Frog. You just don’t do that. What’s especially strange about Superman’s absence is that this show happened in 1979…

Superman The Movie

…The same year Superman: The Movie opened in theaters. You’d think any entrepreneur worth their salt would put Supes in the show just to cash in on all the hype. And it’s not like they couldn’t use Big Blue: all they’d have to do is put a buff guy in the blue-and-red suit and make some breakaway props for him to smash up. I know they couldn’t have him flying or using heat vision, but he could at least burst through a prop wall or something.

The big question raised by this is simply: who comes up with something like this??

Bugs Bunny 2

“Eh, campy stage shows were just somethin’ ya did in the 70’s doc. Like listenin’ to disco music or snortin’ lines o’ cocaine!”