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.

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!

 

Talkin’ Nerdy: Hey, Nonny-Nonny!

If you’re a Tiny Toons fan, you’ve no doubt seen the short from the Special Classes Day episode, The Just-Us League of Supertoons.

just-us-league-1

In the short, Plucky Duck (once again in the role of superhero Batduck)  and his sidekick Hamton J. Pig as Decoy the Pig Hostage (I love how on-the-nose that name is) get an invite from Buster Bunny (aka Superbun) to join his elite squad of heroes, the Just-Us League of Supertoons.

just-us-league-2

Said League is chock full of Tiny Toon parodies of DC characters:

  • Babs Bunny/Wonder Babs (Wonder Woman)
  • Byron Basset/Aqua-Mutt (Aquaman)
  • Li’l Beeper/Li’l Dasher (The Flash)
  • Fifi LaFume/Scentanna (Zatana)
  • Sweetie Bird/Pink Canary (Black Canary)
  • Shirley the Loon/Hawkloon (Hawkgirl)

batduck

In the short, the League initially rejects Batduck and Decoy for not possessing any super-powers, just a pile of wacky gadgets…

batduck-and-decoy-clogging

Not to mention being amazing clog-dancers.

That is, until arch-villain Wex Wuthor (Montana Max) shows up and tries to drain the Leaguers of their powers, wherein Batduck’s lack of powers ultimately saves the day, earning he and Decoy key positions in the League…as parking valets.

A funny short, however, there is a hiccup: The League rejects Batduck because he has no super powers, BUT….

keen-arrow

…One cape who did make it into the League was Calamity Coyote as Keen Arrow, a spoof of Green Arrow. Green Arrow’s m.o. is similar to Batman’s: he’s another rich guy with cool toys. So the Just-Us League passes on one toon for having no powers, yet they accepted another toon who likewise has no powers. Kind of undermines the premise a little.

chewbacca-defense

“That does Not. Make. Sense!”

Really, all the writers could’ve done was turn that into a one-off joke, like have Batduck say, “Keen Arrow doesn’t have any powers, and he’s in the League!” to which Superbun could’ve said something like, “We have a one-non-powered hero requirement, and that position is already filled. Sorry!”

comic_book_guy

“I certainly hope someone got fired for that blunder!”

On a related rambling, something similar bugged me about the DC Super Hero Girls ‘Super Hero High’ special. From the series’ start, Barbara Gordon only interns at Superhero High in the IT department.

barbara-gordon-2

Easy as Raspberry PI

barbara-gordon-1

In the special, we finally learn why Babs has yet to don the cape and cowl of Batgirl: she isn’t a student at Super Hero High because she feels she’s not worthy of being a student, because she has no powers. In an early scene, Cheetah derides Barbara for being a “Nonny”, as in “Non-Powered Person”, basically this universe’s equivalent to being a Muggle or a Nomag.

Again, this would be fine, EXCEPT….

dcshg-cast

…There are already non-powered students attending Super Hero High!

Heck, Batgirl isn’t even the only non-powered heroine among the main cast. Katana doesn’t have any super powers, just mad samurai skills and a razor-sharp sword (which likely isn’t even possessed here, given that this is a kids’ show). Harley Quinn doesn’t have any powers either, unless we’re going by Quackerjack’s rules and are counting wackiness as a super power. Throughout the entire 60 minutes of that special, I kept waiting for someone to point out to Babs that Harley, Katana, Catwoman and Lady Shiva don’t have powers yet they’re students, but no one did.

batgirl-2

-Which is not to say that Batgirl isn’t worthy of being in Super Hero High, because she most certainly is.

batgirl_animatedstill

“‘Nonny’? I prefer, Hyper-Advanced, Technologically Gifted Mega-Genius!”

captainmystery

“Hey! That’s my line, Red!”

 

Beyond the Background: Elmyra’s Family

By now, most of us are familiar with the famous (or infamous, depending on your point of view) star of Tiny Toon Adventures, Elmyra Duff…..

Relax. It’s because Elmyra is so well known that we won’t be profiling her here. Beyond the Background is for shining the spotlight on the more obscure, lesser-known and forgotten characters, so Elmyra doesn’t qualify.

Instead, we’ll be looking at Elmyra’s family, the Duffs (it’s ‘Fudd’ spelled backwards, get it?), who only appeared in 2 TTA episodes, “Take Elmyra Please” and “Grandma’s Dead”. Some have speculated that these 2 eps were meant to be pilots for an Elmyra spinoff series, but that’s just an internet rumor. Elmyra’s family didn’t even appear in Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain. So whatever became of the Duffs? What are they up to now?

We’re glad we pretended you asked.

First, there’s the mother of the family, Emily Duff, a hard working if somewhat oblivious mom who works at a public radio station. Post TTA, she has been spotted serving jury duty on Animaniacs, and she was most recently a contestant on the popular game show, You Risk Your Life (appearing under the pseudonym “Mrs. Myra Puntridge” due to requests from the radio station, who felt that public radio should never be associated with anything profitable), winning big with her partner, Aristotle.

Say, I wonder what she did with her winnings?
“I…spent it all on exotic cupcakes. Seventeen dozen exotic cupcakes. The Cupcake of the Month Club were very persuasive, and the family ate them all up, literally! But the flavors were so tempting! Carolina Crunchy Creme, Simply Red Velvet, Breakfast Cereal Chunk Cluster, Strawberry Banana Fondue Whip….uh, but I digress. We’ll be discussing it on my next broadcast, Cupcakes and the People Who Love Them.”
 
Next up we have Elmyra’s dad, MacArthur Duff (aka “Mac”, Mac Duff. Get it? GET IT??). He is an inventor, always trying to come up with a revolutionary new discovery. Some of Mac’s previous attempts include a clean-burning fuel made from cholesterol (“Take Elmyra Please”) and drinking water made from tears (“Grandma’s Dead”). Those didn’t exactly take off, but we hear he’s still in the game.
“My latest invention is sure to become a household name! I even paid for a commercial for it! I came up with the name myself!”
 

‘Kay, well, I won’t be forgetting that anytime soon. Moving on…
We next come to Elmyra’s sarcastic teenage older sister, Amanda Duff, who typically spent her time chatting on the phone and being embarrassed and annoyed by her family. I wonder what she’s been doing since her last TV appearance?
“I’ve just been trying to keep up at school, hanging with my friends, putting up with my crazy family, just normal stuff, no big whoop. What? Does every teen TV star have to end up a drug-addicted, sex tape making, felony-facing train wreck??”
**************************************************
Next up is Elmyra’s brother, Duncan Duff, who liked to spend his time play acting either one of 2 superhero personas: Ninja Boy (“Take Elmyra Please”) or Captain Quirk (“Grandma’s Dead”).
 duncanduffcloset
“Please! Those games were ridiculous. I’m matured since then; these days I go by Boy Wonderful! I’m planning to start a suburban division of the Teen Titans called Pre-Teen Titans Midwest! All I need is a T-shaped tower and some kids with super powers to lead. Just don’t tell my folks, OK? My mom worries!”
 
Next up is the family’s foreign-born, super-strong maid, Queegee Bananahoe, who appeared only in “Take Elmyra Please”. We weren’t able to contact Queegee, and all known photos of her have since been removed. Wonder why…
Man in Black
“Ms. Bananahoe was in our country illegally. Her ‘papers’ were just a single sheet of pink construction paper with the words “I B AMERURICAN CITUSEN” written in crayon, so we had to deport her. Besides, who in this day and age thinks a cheap, stereotyped impression of a foreigner is funny?”
 
“Really. Don’ be reediculous!”
 
Finally, we come to the family’s youngest sibling, Baby Duff.
babyduff
Baby’s present whereabouts are not publicly known. When asked, all we could get out of people are hazy recollections of a “device” and rumors of a hidden dungeon said to be located underneath the sandbox of Baby Cakes Day Care Center.
“I told that semi-evolved mouth-breather to stay away from my cookies! Once again, VICTORY IS MINE!”

Talkin’ Nerdy: The Kids’ WB Blues

During my time of internet surfing, I came across this old Kids’ WB! promo advertising the network’s airing the reruns of Steven Spielberg’s Tiny Toon Adventures.


Ah, the dubbing. So bad….

What I find interesting about this particular promo (aside from wondering why only 2 singing voices were heard in the variation of the Tiny Toons theme song if the entire cast of TTA was supposed to be singing) is how it’s acts as though Animaniacs is the seasoned veteran series and the Tiny Toons characters are treated like the new kids on the block, when in reality. Tiny Toons started and stopped before Animaniacs. TTA ran from 1990 to 1995, while A! ran from 1993 to 1999. Yet, on Kids’ WB, Cartoon Network and later The Hub, A! was always acquired first, and TTA wasn’t acquired until after the A! reruns got decent ratings. These weren’t even new episodes of TTA; they were only “new” to Kids’ WB because they never aired on that network before. It must be somewhat grating for the TTA characters to have a series that they helped to create go on to surpass them in popularity. It’s kind of like your little brother or sister constantly getting picked for a team before you.

The Warners didn’t know it yet, but the Tiny Toons were only harbingers to the coming horror. A far greater threat to their security on the WB network was looming over the horizon. A threat that goes by the name of…

Pokemon logo

If the Warners think that having to share a network with the Tiny Toons is bad, wait until all of the comedy cartoons are forced to share a tiny cubicle.