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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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 he wouldn’t be participating in the Animaniacs reboot:
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’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.
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)…
…LeBron bumps into Bugs. After some classic toon shenanigans…
…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.
The first planet Bugs and LeBron visit is DC World, home of — no surprise — the DC Super Heroes.
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???!?”)
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…
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…
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?)
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.
A Dance with Roosters
Next we find Foghorn Leghorn as Daenerys, riding a dragon outside of Game of Thrones World.
-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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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:
But later on, when she returned for The Looney Tunes Show, she was changed to this:
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:
“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?
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:
“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.
“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.
“New Lola is too silly acting and stupid!”
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:
…Are somehow better than this:
The new Lola is sexist! She’s a female stereotype!”
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!
“This new Lola isn’t a good role model like the other Looney Tunes!”
“Role models?” Excuse me?? You think 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?
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:
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…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:
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:
“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
“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…
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”…
…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”.
“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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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)…
…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:
“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:
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.
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…
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.
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…
…I’m gonna be a happy camper. Now, onto the other HBO Max cartoon that got us curious.
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.
“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:
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?
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:
OK, this one doesn’t look too bad, but then we come to pics like this one:
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…
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!…
…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…
Just make it absolutely nothing like its’ predecessor, and we’re good!
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