Big Ideas : A NEW New Tom & Jerry Show

Hey, y’all.

Have you guys been enjoying the new Looney Tunes Cartoons show on HBO Max?

looney-tunes cartoons-2

I know I have; it’s old-school cartoon cool, done in a beautiful new art and animation style which manages to pay tribute to the classic style, put a slightly modern twist on it and remain timeless.

To my pleasant surprise, many people on the internet seem to be digging the show as well, but one comment in particular caught my attention. Someone on the interwebz said:

Tom & Jerry 2

“I wish Warner Brothers would give Tom and Jerry this kind of treatment.”

Now I think that’d be a cool idea: why not do a Looney Tunes Cartoons type show for Tom & Jerry? I know there’s a Tom & Jerry movie coming up, but that’s supposed to be one of those live-action/animation hybrids, where it’s live-action humans everywhere and a CGI Tom and Jerry doing Tom and Jerry stuff. Not exactly feeling that.

More recently, there’s been Tom & Jerry Tales

Tom and Jerry Tales

…And The Tom & Jerry Show

Tom & Jerry Show

…Which, while not terrible, were met with mixed reception. Those shows at least tried to recapture the spirit of the original shorts, I’ll give them that, but that might have been part of the problem.

They’ve also appeared in a number of DTVs, usually consisting of them crossing over with some other show, movie or pop-culture character like Jonny Quest and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Tom+and+jerry+spy+quest+box

Tom-and-jerry-willy-wonka-movie-poster

You’re not hallucinating; these things actually happened.

More recently, a thread popped up on the Anime Superhero forum, where a poster opined the following:

“Warner Bros really should reinvent Tom and Jerry, they need to retire the 1940’s Cat chases Mouse humor. Like reimagine the entire cast with new personalities and have Tom and Jerry talk more often and give it humor similar to shows such as Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, SpongeBob SquarePants, Invader Zim and The Amazing World of Gumball. This would really improve the cartoon for modern times and it would be very entertaining.”

The wha…?

OK, I get the thought of modernizing the characters a tad and expanding their horizons a little more, but “make it similar to Adventure Time, Gravity Falls, SpongeBob Squarepants, Invader Zim and The Amazing World of Gumball?” What does that even mean? Those shows aren’t even similar to one another, and none of them possess any correlation with Tom & Jerry. Make Tom & Jerry like those shows how, exactly??

This same fellow goes on to say:

“The old cat chases mouse formula has been done so much its like beating a dead horse. Warner Bros had the nerve to keep them outdated and unfunny.”

And:

“I don’t understand why that would hurt Tom and Jerry, Nothing wrong with Tom and Jerry feeling like The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack or Regular Show. Just better to move up with the times rather than being trapped in the 1940’s.”

How About No

Again, I’m not sure where this kid is coming from with “feeling like The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack or Regular Show“. What are you saying?

MordecaiAndRigby

Turn Tom and Jerry into 20-something slackers, have them play video games and shout “OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” from time to time? The problem with that is that if you try to modernize them too much, then the characters would cease to be Tom & Jerry. Updating characters doesn’t just mean strapping guitars around their waists and have them spouting out a bunch of soon-to-be dated buzzwords, and you can’t stop the characters from chasing and trying to outshine and out-maneuver one another, because that’s who they are and what they do. Tom and Jerry are a CAT and a MOUSE, so they have to act like a cat and a mouse. You take that dynamic away, and they’re not Tom & Jerry anymore. You’d end up with something like Yo, Yogi, and NO ONE wants another Yo, Yogi.

That said, I still think a new Tom & Jerry show could be done. If Warner Bros. gave me the keys to the Maserati and asked me to make a new Tom & Jerry show for HBO Max, here’s how I personally would do it. NOTE: I’m not saying that my way is the best way or the only way, but it is a way. Hear me out. Here’s my pitch:

For one thing, I would take a cure or two from 1975’s Tom & Jerry Show.

Tom_Jerry_Show

Yup, that one.

Yeah, I know that this show caught a lot of flak for downplaying the mutual animosity between the 2 characters and essentially making them friends, but this show did do some things right: to compensate for the lack of feuding, the writers introduced some silly but funny jokes and shticks that I admit did make me laugh sometimes, and it didn’t entirely remove the slapstick, especially in regards to Tom, who of the duo was basically the more unlucky and prone to be the butt of physical comedy, which has always been the case. I wouldn’t change that, however, I wouldn’t stop them from doing chase gags (because as previously stated, they are a cat and mouse, so they can’t stop doing cat and mouse things) and I wouldn’t put them in random situations that any person could get into (more on that later).

I also would take a couple of cues from Tom & Jerry: The Movie.

T&J Movie 1

burn-the-witch-monty-python

I know, I know. Hear me out!

I’m NOT suggesting having the characters don straw hats and canes and sing muscial numbers about the magic of friendship…

T&J Movie 2

I’m crazy, but I’m not stupid.

No. No. Perish the thought. But there were one or two salvageable ideas from that film, believe it or not. For one thing, I don’t consider it blasphemous to have Tom and Jerry talk, at least sometimes. I’m not suggesting having them speak nonstop like in the Tom & Jerry comics…

Tom & Jerry Comics

Just have them say a few words at a time to pepper and punctuate some scenes, like in several of the original shorts. Yes, Tom and Jerry did talk sometimes in their original cartoons, people tend to forget that. Just do it that way, only a tad more frequently.

I’d also do away with putting the characters in random setting and situations all the time. Another thing I didn’t mind about the movie was how it tried to establish a concrete setting for the characters. Like I said above, I’d stop putting them in human-like situations. I’d keep Tom and Jerry as house pets, but I’d expand the cast to include other characters for them to bounce lines, jokes and stories off of…

Tom & Jerry Show 3

…Not just Spike.

In the movie, they ended up living with a girl named Robyn Starling and her gazillionaire adventurer dad….

Robyn Starling 3

I’d do something similar to that, combined with Rick and Ginger, the couple who owned Tom and Spike in several episodes of The Tom & Jerry Show, but I’d expand that. The example I cite for this is Harvey Comics’ Little Dot.

Little Dot

Harvey Comics knew they couldn’t have every story just be Dot going ga-ga over spots, so they expanded her comics to depict her indulging in shtick and shenanigans with her assorted kooky relatives.

DotUncles21A

I’d do something like that: have Tom and Jerry live in a big house/mansion with a wacky family, each of whom has his/her own shtick that can make for entertaining shorts and stories, that way you have more characters to play off of and react to Tom & Jerry and the cat-and-mouse chasing shtick doesn’t need to be thrust into the foreground and done to death. (Have one of the kids be a child prodigy who sometimes uses Tom and Jerry as guinea pigs for their experiments, for example). BTW, you’d be able to see all of the human characters, including their faces. Plus you could add Spike, Tuffy, Butch and/or some of other pets to be in orbit around Tom and Jerry as well.

walle

Since the family’s rich, why not toss in a crazy robot servant or appliance or 2? That’s something they haven’t tried before.

the_loud_house_family_by_creativenutso_dc2181b-fullview

Basically a more opulent Loud House, with Tom and Jerry (and possibly Spike and Tuffy) as the pets, doing their usual shtick amid or in conjunction with the family’s antics.

Loud Kids Black

Since it’s the 21st century, you could also make the family non-white. That wouldn’t hurt.

Mammytwoshoes-1-

Just don’t make ’em anything like Mammy Two-Shoes, and you’re good.

Heck, just to pay homage to the old cartoons, why not add classic MGM characters like Droopy…

Droopy

“Hello, all you happy people.”

And Barney Bear in there as well, either as added attractions, or just random weirdos who turn up in the Tom & Jerry shorts from time to time.

Barney Bear

Structurally, the show would be similar to Looney Tunes Cartoons, with 2 or 3 main shorts ranging from 1 to 6 minutes in length, with blackout gags and skits in between. You want to keep the stories and plots short and simple because it’s freaking Tom & Jerry. Like the Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry’s shtick and style of humor don’t lend themselves to drawn out or complicated plots, that’s why those DTVs didn’t work for me.

-Anyways, that what I’d do.

So there you go, Warner Brothers. A way to do a new Tom & Jerry show a la Looney Tunes Cartoons for HBO Max.

Youre Welcome

 

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!”

Brain Candy: Aw, Nutz!

Back in 2008, Tom Ruegger (producer of such Warner Brothers hit series as Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs!) pitched an idea for a potential new series that would feature the Looney Tunes characters interacting with classic characters from the Hanna Barbera studio (this became possible due to WB absorbing H-B studios in 1999). The series, had it happened, would have been called Mixed Nutz.

Incidentally, the pictures shown below are all cut-and-paste clip art. since Warner Brothers never greenlit the series, no actual footage was ever made.

mixed nutz 1

This is just a sample of the fun that might have been.

Mixed Nutz - scooby and daffy haunted house lighter bg

This idea is certainly an interesting one, and it’s almost a shame that WB ultimately passed on it. However, despite the novelty of seeing the Looney Tunes interacting with H-B’s stars, I can’t get too excited about such a prospect. While I wouldn’t turn my nose up at this particular idea, I’m not sad that it didn’t happen.

The both of us are HUGE Looney Tunes fans, and unless you’re visiting this site for the very first time, you already know that. And while I like Hanna-Barbera cartoons OK, for the most part, I’ve never felt like H-B was ever on par with Looney Tunes. When I initially read about this series prospect, all it did was make me think about how much more awesome a Looney Tunes/Disney syngery would have been.

WB logo with Bugs

The_Walt_Disney_Studios_logo

This is the cartoon collaboration that everyone wants to see! You want a WB/Disney show. I want a WB/Disney show. He wants a WB/Disney show. She wants a WB/Disney show. They want a WB/Disney show. EVERYONE wants to see a WB/Disney collabo!

TV Executive: We’re making a cartoon where Bugs teams up with Yogi Bear.

meh emoji-38-512

Oh? Eh, that could be good, I guess.

TV Executive: We’re making a cartoon where Bugs Bunny teams up with Mickey Mouse.

Yeah, baby!

Bugs, Daffy and Porky teaming up with Mickey, Donald and Goofy? You’ve got my attention! Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck hanging out with Lola Bunny? Yes, please! Pete teaming up with Yosemite Sam? When and where? Chip ‘n’ Dale and Humphrey the Bear fleeing from Taz? I’m listening! Daffy Duck hanging out in Duckberg? Sign me up!

Imagine an entire series (or series of shorts like this):

 

Oh Hell Yeah

Listen, I’m OK with Hanna-Barbera. Some of their cartoons have been entertaining. I won’t deny that. But Looney Tunes are in a different class entirely. It’s like the video game Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe.

Mortal Kombat Vs DC Universe

Sure, it was a cool idea, and the game at least had the potential to be awesome (DC putting unnecessary restrictions on their heroes aside), but the game mostly just made me long for the fighting game team-ups that fans really want: Marvel VS DC, or Mortal Kombat VS Street Fighter, neither of which will likely ever happen outside of M.U.G.E.N.

The only thing that the prospect of Mixed Nutz did for me was make me want to see WB team up with Disney for a comedy cartoon series. I’d watch the heck out of that. Unfortunately, getting rival companies to work together is like pulling teeth: very hard. Such a series would likely be stuck in development hell for several years.

angry-almond-nut-character-cartoon-vector-18728354

“Aaaaaww, NUTS!”

Brain Candy: Yabba Dabba Done

WARNING: The post that you’re about to read is very rambly. There’s going to be a lot of zig-zagging from one subject to another and also a fair amount of sub-referencing. You’ve been warned!

Hey! Do you remember that Highly Opinionated post that I made back in 2012 titled “The All New Something, Something Whatever Show”? Where I said that Warner Brothers had no interest in doing anything new with The Flintstones franchise? Remember that? Well, apparently, I was wrong….kind of.

A few weeks a ago, while surfing the web, I came across an article announcing a new animated series produced by Warner Brothers Animation that’s scheduled to air on the Boomerang streaming service (and possibly the Boomerang channel also) based on the Flintstones franchise titled Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs.

Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs

Yeah, that’s the thing.

Originally, I was going to talk about this show on Peeks, but I decided not to for a specific reason, which I’ll go into a little later. Suspense! Anywho, here’s the lowdown on this new series, courtesy of Cartoon Brew:

Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs!

Yabba-Dabba-Doo! Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are back in this quarter-hour animated comedy series, Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs! Warner Bros. Animation takes you beyond Bedrock to The Crags, a vast land that is as dangerous and wild as the dinosaurs that inhabit it.

Pebbles Flintstone and Bamm-Bamm Rubble are two best friends, growing up in the prehistoric time when dinosaurs and giant beasts still walked the earth. But as exciting as that sounds, they live in peaceful, quiet old Bedrock, a modern domestic civilization similar to our own (but with stone cars that run on leg-power). That’s why whenever they get the chance, Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm and Dino head to the open wilderness, helping new friends, fighting new enemies, and learning about life through their endless crazy adventures. Back in Bedrock, Fred, Wilma, Barney and Betty still enjoy all the familiar quirks and trappings of life as a modern Stone Age family not knowing all the trouble (and fun!) their kids are getting themselves into.

Yabba-Dabba Dinosaurs! is produced by Warner Bros. Animation. Mark Marek (producer, MAD, Be Cool Scooby-Doo!) and Marly Halpern-Graser (executive producer, Right Now Kapow) serve as producer with Sam Register as executive producer.

dumb-donald

“Uh……what??”

That premise sounds…interesting, to say the least. So all this time there’s been a savage land teaming with dangerous, feral dinosaurs located just outside of Bedrock and we’ve just never seen it before?  And no one on the show has ever mentioned this place in 40+ years? Now don’t that churn yer butter? Here’s what we know so far:

This series will mostly focus around Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm, not unlike Cave Kids (which I never saw). This time around, P&BB appear to be grade school aged, not toddlers nor teenagers, but right in the middle. Regarding this series, one fan noted:

“I think that this series will focus on Pebbles, Bamm-Bamm, Dino and Hoppy.”

Hoppy?? Wow…I’m just blown away that somebody remembers that character!

Hoppy

My advice: forget about Hoparoo. The rest of the world has.

I’m not sure why dinosaurs should be a major selling point for a Flintstones series when that show has always had plenty of dinosaurs, most notably Dino.

Dino_from__The_Flintstones_

I know that Dino is technically a Snorkasaurus, but let’s be real here: Dino has always been much closer to a dog than a dinosaur. Except in that one weird episode of The Flintstones where Fred and Barney were hunting Dino and Dino was intelligent and he could talk and he was doing shtick like Bugs Bunny and Fred and Barney were like a two man Elmer Fudd, and then that episode was completely forgotten about after that episode ended. Seriously, what was up with that? What happened to Dino’s intelligence? Damon (Silverstar) offers this theory:

Maybe he got conked on the head with a bowling ball. That seems to be a common cause of amnesia in Bedrock.

Another user in cyberspace speculated, “I wonder if Moonrock, Wiggy, Penny and Bad Luck Shleprock will be in this show?”

waynesworld2-outside

“Exsqueeze me? Baking powder??”

Penny Moonrock & Wiggy

Again, I’m just amazed that somebody remembers those characters. As for them being on this show, I’m not sure what led to that speculation. Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm are clearly younger than teenagers here, and it’s not like those characters have seen the light of day since The Flintstone Comedy Hour, which was back in ancient 1972.

Pebbles & Bamm-Bamm Show

Now this is strictly an opinion, but I personally felt that The Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm Show was just too much like The Archies for my tastes, right down to the characters forming a bubblegum rock band performing tunes that would make the Monkees cringe, so if Warner Brothers never used Wiggy, Penny, Moonrock, Bad Luck Shleprock or the Bronto Bunch in anything else again, I’d be totally fine with that.

moonrock-crater-the-pebbles-and-bamm-bamm-show-4.39

“I concur. Oh, wait…”

Anyway…here’s a trailer for the show. Unfortunately, it focuses mainly on the principal characters and barely touches upon The Crags, but you take what you can get. Viz…

 

YDD 2

The character designs are courtesy of Mark Marek. If you don’t know who he is, he’s the guy who did the Henry and June segments on Nickelodeons Kablam!. The character designs are different, but not terrible.  I don’t know who’s idea it was to give Bamm-Bamm long pants. No one on The Flintstones ever wore pants. That just looks odd.

Also, I read that Captain Caveman would be appearing on this show; in what capacity, I have no idea. Would he be a denizen of The Crags? (He’d actually be a better fit there than he would in Bedrock, honestly.) Would he be a fictional character on an in-universe TV show like he was on Flintstone Kids? Who knows? But it’s apparent that the idea of Cavey being part of the Flintstones universe is something HB producers refuse to let go of.

Captain-Caveman-Hanna-Barbera

“Me gotta stay in Bedrock. My cave on top of the Teen Angels’ van got repossessed after the girls all got jobs as swimsuit models! Rent high, man, rent high.”

YDD3

And then, the unusual Flintstones shtick is still going on in Bedrock and the parents have no idea that their kids are going to this savage land? OK. For the first time in years, there’s a Flintstones project that I actually give a crud about. The addition of The Crags to Bedrock is in an interesting angle, and I do like the idea of shifting the show’s focus away from Fred and Barney for a change, especially for something that’s not the “Pebbles, Dino and Bamm-Bamm” segments from The Flintstones Comedy Show”; at least this idea isn’t a lame Scooby Doo knockoff. I have a theory about this (and it’s just a theory. I have no solid evidence to back this up whatsoever): I think that Warner Brothers had originally planned for this show to be an attempt to cash in on the success of Jurassic Park, a show about 2 kids who venture into the world of wild, savage dinosaurs, and then someone at WB said “Hey! The Flintstones has dinosaurs! Why don’t we make the Crags adjacent to Bedrock and make the 2 kids Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm?”

Anyway…I haven’t seen a complete episode of Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs! yet, as the series hasn’t yet premiered. The pilot episode is (or was at one time) available for viewing on the Boomerang streaming service. But it hardly matters because…wait for it…about two weeks after I read that article, the news was dropped that Warner Brothers announced that there won’t be a second season of YDD! Yep, that’s right, Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs! is effectively already canceled!

And that, friends, is why I decided not to cover this show on Peeks. What’s the point of previewing a series that doesn’t have a future? I suspected as much when I found out that YDD would be airing exclusively on Boomerang. If WB and Turner thought that they had a hit on their hands, they would have run the show on their main channel (that of course being Cartoon Network), or on both channels simultaneously. Instead, it looks like this show is going to be a one-and-done before it’s even officially premiered. And if you haven’t figured it out by now…

Studios generally only do this when they know they’ve got a major league bombasaurus on their hands. WB apparently thinks that this show sucks and the studio just wants to cut it’s losses. So it looks as if WB is going to with Yabba Dabba Dinosaurs what they did with Transformers: Robots in Disguise, Pocketville and The Peanuts Show; just burn through the episodes that have already been made and then just sweep the show under the rug and act like it never existed. Too bad, since based on what I saw and read of it, buried somewhere beneath all of those layers of what the what, I thought that there was a sliver of an interesting idea in there somewhere. I even kind of like the show’s title for some bizarre reason.

The real tragedy (for Flintstones fans, anyway) is that the message that WB may take from this is that Flintstones series don’t work or resonate with modern audiences and so it may be years before we see another one.

Flintstones - WWE crossover

At least not one that’s not a crossover with WWE wrestlers.

Cartoon Country: New Looney Tunes

Just when you thought it was safe to return to Twinsanity…..

CARTOON COUNTRY RETURNS!!!

Bender Applause

We’re back, baby!

Today’s Cartoon Country is all about a show I’m grooving on right now: New Looney Tunes.

New_Looney_Tunes_Square

For the uninformed, New Looney Tunes began as Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production. Stylized as wabbit. and known also as bugs! in parts of Europe, the Middle East and Japan, Wabbit is/was an American animated television series from Warner Bros. Animation. The series premiered on September 21, 2015, on Cartoon Network, and later premiered on October 5, 2015, on Boomerang. Eventually, the series was rechristened New Looney Tunes and its’ universe was expanded to include the rest of the Looney Tunes gang.

I probably don’t need to say this anymore, but like all of the Cartoon Countries, this isn’t a review; I won’t be breaking down any of the show’s specific episodes, for the simple fact that I can’t; currently the series isn’t airing anywhere in the US (on March 7, 2017, Turner and Warner Bros. announced that the unaired episodes will be released on Boomerang’s SVOD service, but there doesn’t seem to have been any follow-up to that), so I’ve only caught sporadic glimpses of New Looney Tunes, much to my chagrin. (Fun Fact: I had originally planned to examine New Looney Tunes as a What The Funny, but was unable to due to the lack of resources, references, clips, stills and information available.) Instead, I’ll just be giving a brief overview of the show and my views and opinions on it.

The series returns to its’ slapstick roots. This is a good thing, as physical comedy was something NLT’s predecessor, The Looney Tunes Show, was sorely lacking. FTR, I thought The Looney Tunes Show was just so-so; I didn’t hate it like so many other people on the internet, but I’ll openly admit that it wasn’t what I wanted from a new Looney Tunes series. Intro time. (I know I showed this here once already, but it makes me happy, so here it is again:)

Each episode of Wabbit contained two shorts, starring Bugs Bunny as the main character. When the show transitioned to New Looney Tunes, each thirty-minute episode contains four shorts, with Bugs Bunny as the main character. In the show, Bugs confronts other characters from the Looney Tunes shorts, as well as some new friends and enemies.

Some characters are given new traits. For example:

wabbit wile e coyote

Wile E. Coyote is Bugs’ pompous, smart-alecky, technology-obsessed neighbor, whose desert expanse is separated from Bugs’ forest rabbit hole setting by a single wooden fence. His ‘vast intellect’ and obsession with the latest gizmos always loses out to Bugs’ simple wise-ass cunning.

elmerfudd

Elmer Fudd returns, and about time too, I say. Elmer was barely featured on The Looney Tunes Show and I thought it was weird how in this new series which stars Bugs Bunny and whose title is in ‘Elmer Fudd-ese’, didn’t feature the character until now, but Fudd is back, and he’s still no match for Bugs.

wabbit taz

Taz here (in what as far as I know is his only appearance in the series so far) is ‘Theodore Tasmanian’, employed as an accountant who tries to repress his savage nature.

OK, this take on Taz is a bit weird. It’s funny to hear Taz speaking full sentences, but it’s just kind of strange. I’m not sure if the show will keep Taz in this guise for future episodes, but I’m sure fans like this more than Taz being a pet like he was in TLTS. (Though to be fair, I didn’t think that was a bad idea either, I just wouldn’t have made him Bugs’ pet, as animals keeping other animals as pets is just weird and kind of…wrong somehow. I’d have given Taz to Granny or something.)

There are also new characters (Yes! I’m glad that the producers are mixing things up and adding new characters into the fray rather than just relying on old formulas), such as Squeaks the Squirrel, whose nonsensical chattering is provided by Dee Bradley Baker…

wabbit_squeaks

wabbit bugs and bigfoot

…And the weakest character in my opinion, Bigfoot, a childlike, mindlessly destructive and very, very, very stupid Sasquatch who routinely calls Bugs “Lady”. I don’t find Bigfoot especially funny, but it is good that the producers aren’t afraid to knock Bugs around a little; this keeps him from becoming smug and too perfect to be interesting.

And then we come to Daffy. Insane. Unhinged. Totally nuts. Woo-hoo-ing all over the place.

wabbit daffy and porky

And this is my reaction.

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THANK YOU! I’ve already elaborated on this in Unpopular Opinions, but I am SO glad to see Daffy Duck being a nut-job again instead of a greedy, selfish, cowardly a-hole! This series gets my respect just for bringing my favorite take on my favorite Looney Tune back!

wabbit bugs and sam

Now, with the slapstick comedy back, Bugs back in the rabbit hole, Sam having his guns again and Elmer antagonizing Bugs again, you’d think fans would be happy….

Belushi But No

But NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Of course, people still have to look for trivial reasons to bitch, whine and moan about this show. The prevalent complaint I hear about this series is the characters’ designs; people think they look ‘weird”. I actually heard this statement uttered about the show’s aesthetic choices:

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“Why can’t we get a series where the characters look ‘the normal way’?

“The normal way?”

Madea Shut Up

First, we FINALLY get a Looney Tunes show where the characters are acting loony again, and now you’re complaining about the designs? Second, what’s “the normal way”? How are we defining “normal” here? You know every artist has their own style, right? There has NEVER been one specific way to design these or any characters.

Bugs_Bunny

Heck, even the Termite Terrace directors each had their own sets of artists: Friz Freleng’s Bugs looked different from Tex Avery’s Bugs who looked different from Chuck Jones’ Bugs who looked different from Robert McKimson’s Bugs. As long as the characters are still recognizable as who they’re supposed to be, what’s the problem?

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Granted, that face on Foghorn is a little weird…

wabbit yosemite sam

…And Yosemite Sam looks like he escaped from the Ren & Stimpy Show. Still, you recognize that it’s Yosemite Sam, so I don’t see what the big deal is.

Porky_Pig

And for those who are asking, “Why is Porky so fat here?”….

Early Porky Pig

…This is closer to how he looked originally.

Also, curiously absent from the fun (so far) is Lola Bunny. If she were to show up, one wonders if we’ll get something closer to the Space Jam version…

Lola_Bunny 1

…Or the Looney Tunes Show version.

LolaBunny

And no, I’m NOT opening that can of worms again. We’re not going to launch that tired debate about which version of Lola is better. Here’s my answer to that question:

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Seriously, that argument is so old it’s growing mold! As long as Lola is A) funny and B) an actual character, not just some secondary love interest or some hyper-competent “I don’t need no man”, cipher-like embodiment of Girl Power (TM) or some den mother whose only job is to remind the boys how dumb they’re being, I’m fine with her portrayal.

In summation, I’m liking what I’ve seen so far of New Looney Tunes, and I’m hoping the show will come back to the States in full capacity so I can rake in some good old-mixed-with-new style cartoon cool.

wabbit bugs and squeaks

Grab yourself some crunchy carrots and enjoy the show!