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.
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!
We recently came across this little nugget on the Anime Superhero Forum:
“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:
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?
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…
…But now that Mysteries, Inc. is back together as a Five Man Band, they don’t need Scrappy anymore.
Or how about 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…
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.”
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.
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.
But thanks for playing, and enjoy your complimentary set of steak knives!
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