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.

smiley-faces

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:

assy_400x400

“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?

Foghorn_Leghorn_in_Wabbit

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:

Squidward_Meme_-_Nobody_Cares

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!

Unpopular Opinions: Keep Daffy Duck Daffy!

Recently, thanks to one of our regular correspondents Inspiration Date, it has come to our attention that Warner Brothers’ Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production has been re-christened New Looney Tunes.

New Looney Tunes

And with the new title comes a slight alteration in the show’s format: the series now features the rest of the Looney Tunes gang alongside Bugs Bunny. Here’s the new opening:

Upon learning of this, I perked up a little when I read that this format change would include new shorts featuring my favorite Looney Tunes character, Daffy Duck.

Daffy_Duck_2011.svg

I was initially apprehensive about how this team of producers and writers were going to render Daffy, especially in the wake of The Looney Tunes Show, but then I read that this take on Daffy would be “totally nuts”, and then I saw some clips:

And this was my reaction:

Which brings us to today’s Unpopular Opinion: I’ve always liked the earlier, crazy Daffy Duck more than the later, greedy, selfish version.

Angry Daffy

“WHAT?!???”

Don’t misunderstand me; I like the egomaniacal, greedy, cowardly version of Daffy well enough. I enjoyed the “Duck Season/Rabbit Season” trilogy. Chuck Jones did a masterful job of playing this darker version of Daffy opposite Bugs Bunny and as the completely unfit genre film heroes in the 1950’s shorts, but unfortunately Jones seemed to have done his job too well; for a long time afterwards many artists, writers, producers and fans have come to accept this version of Daffy as the definitive version, and this is the take of the character that most often permeates his appearances.

I have nothing but respect and admiration for Chuck Jones, but part of me wishes he had never tried to change Daffy (maybe Jones could’ve used another character for the greedy, selfish jerk role, like resurrect Gabby Goat or Beans or somebody else) so we could still have the bonkers version of the character throughout the subsequent decades, as that version’s always been my favorite. For a long time, I had to settle for imitations, like Quack-Up from Hanna-Barbera’s Yogi’s Space Race.

Quack Up

Go Duck Yourself!

In fact, I sometimes like to imagine an alternate universe in which the loony Daffy never went away, so we could get that version in productions such as Tiny Toon Adventures. How cool would it have been to have a Tiny Toons version of insane Daffy Duck? Imagine how different Plucky Duck would’ve been.

Plucky

Gogo Dodo

The only disadvantage to having a nut-job Daffy protege would be that with one absurd bird on the show, then Gogo Dodo wouldn’t have needed to have been on the show, which would’ve been a shame, but a small price to pay.

I don’t know how the general public is reacting to New Looney Tunes‘ version of Daffy, since for some reason Turner/WB and Cartoon Network are fridging the show and not airing it in the US (it’s not even airing on Boomerang Online!), which ticks me off, but that’s a separate rant unto itself, but if I could say one thing to Warner Brothers, it would be this:

Crazy Daffy Duck

Daffy Duck is fine as a greedy, selfish, snarky, cowardly, self-serving loudmouth, but he’s best when he’s unhinged, demented and totally nuts! Keep Daffy Duck daffy! It’s in his name, for crying out loud!

Toons & Tunes: Dueling Wabbit Themes

Warner Brothers’ latest animated outing, Wabbit – A Looney Tunes Production, which currently airs simultaneously on both Boomerang and Cartoon Network, isn’t perfect, but it’s pretty decent overall, especially since the show is much welcome return to form for it’s star, the wascally wabbit Bugs Bunny himself. Ol’ Bugsy is back to being an energetic, wise-ass trickster and troublemaker again, rather than his much more restrained self from The Looney Tunes Show. In Wabbit, Bugs takes on every manner of foe from tiny peg-shaped ninjas to giant irascible painters to a feisty King of the Jungle to the Tooth Fairy. The art and drawing style takes some getting used to (Yosemite Sam in particular looks like he jumped off the Spumco drawing board) and some of the stories work better than others (the shorts in which Bugs interacts with Bigfoot tend to irritate more than amuse) but overall the hyper-kinetic pace and the non-stop barrage of gags keep things entertaining, and with the promise of more Looney Tunes stars to appear on the show, including Porky Pig and a “totally nuts” Daffy Duck, Wabbit looks to be a winner.

However, the series has already performed a bizarre oddity: it suddenly and without warning switched its’ opening and closing theme music from this jazzy score:

To this more Bluegrass-ey number:

 

hee_haw_intro_moseley

“I’m a -pickin!” “And I’m a-grinnin’!”

This is not a complaint, mind you; both themes are OK (I admit to liking the first one a little more, but that’s probably because by this time I’ve grown more accustomed to it). I don’t mind the change necessarily, it’s just that there was nothing wrong with first theme and the switch just seemed to come from out of nowhere, like the sudden shift from Power Rangers Zeo to Power Rangers Turbo. Weird, right?

Fry_Looking_Squint

“That seemed unnecessary.”

 

Looney Goons

Today I was searching the internwebz looking for more info on the upcoming Warner Bros. Animation series Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production, set to debut on Cartoon Network in 2015. A poster on a message board I’m on linked to an article about the show on Animation Scoop. I was curious to read what my fellow animation enthusiasts were saying about Wabbit, so I checked the comments page, and to my surprise I discovered that nearly all of the comments were people hating on The Looney Tunes Show. Seriously? To these people I just have 3 words:

Come on, people. It’s been around 6 months since TLTS’s cancellation was announced, and people are STILL passing out Haterade about that show? Was TLTS really that bad? Enough already. I agree TLTS wasn’t great, but it’s done now. Time to move on. We’ve got a new Looney Tunes series on the way, which is set to NOT be a copy of TLTS. Let me count the ways:
  • The show will contain 4 shorts per episode. So it’s NOT going to be another sitcom.
  • Bugs will be going up against Barbarians, Ninjas, and Terminators. See? Bugs will be outwitting foes again. NOT like TLTS.
  • Taz will be featured, but he will now be known as Theadore Tasmanian. He will work in the accounting department and is repressing his true wild and crazy self. OK, this sounds kind of LTS-esque, but it could possibly work. He won’t, however, be a pet like on TLTS.
  • Wile E. Coyote is going to be an annoying, know-it-all neighbor. Again, unlike on TLTS. I’m also looking forward to this since Wile E.’s “super-genius” persona has largely been buried in favor of his mute form while chasing the Road Runner.
  • Erik Kuska will be producing the show (he was an animator on Looney Tunes: Back in Action). Not Spike Brandt or Tony Cervone.
  • The show is staying away from cliches (aka no anvils). Fine with me, as long as there are still some toon style gags and old fashioned cartoon chaos.
So how’s about we give cautious optimism a chance and hope that Wabbit will be worth the wait? WB and CN have moved on, how about we do the same? For all those still butt-hurt about The Looney Tunes Show
“I suggest you get over it!”