Sunday, May 12, 2013

RR The Looney Tunes Show

The Looney Tunes seemed to struggle to find a way to be reinvented for a new generation this past decade.

That is until they settled down. Literally.

Name: The Looney Tunes Show: Season 1
Created by Spike Brandt & Tony Cervone
Original run 2011
Genre Animated sitcom

The Looney Tunes! Just writing that title brings an awful lot of memories of the timeless classics.

Looney Tunes have always been popular and iconic characters.

With the resurgence of the old time classics on TV re-runs in the 1990s, Warner Bros had successfully brought up those characters in the past. Tiny Toons, Taz-mania, Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries, you name it!

But for some reason the 2000s have never been kind to the Tunes. The studios tried to modernize and reimagine the characters so many times, under so many different directions. But for some reason they always felt flat (Baby Looney Tunes), uninspired (Loonatics) or failed to get any attention (Duck Dodgers).

The Looney Tunes Show was created by Spike Brandt and Tony Cervone, formerly from Nickelodeon Animation Studios. They had worked in the past on some Animaniacs episodes and had supervised the Duck Dodgers series. The chara design of every single toon was redone by Jessica Borutski while the 2D animation was handled by Yearim Productions.

The series originally started as Laff Riot, which would have given the Looney Tunes a return to slapstick and a simpler direction. But the producers didn't like it much. Only one of those Laff Riot episodes was completed (the pilot "Casa de Calma") and some segments with Sylvester and Tweety. They were slightly retooled and incorporated into some later Season One episodes.

The Looney Tunes Show puts the classic toons into a sort of sitcom-setting. Which reminds me of Taz-mania in a way. (altough Taz-mania did allow itself to have some more classic chase episodes or other formats once in a while)

Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck live in the suburbs.

The Tasmanian Devil is now their "pet dog". Yosemite Sam is their annoying neighbor. Across the street lives Witch Hazel and Granny. Foghorn Leghorn is a rich celebrity that ends up taking Daffy under his wing several times. Pepé Le Pew does make one or two appearances here and there. Elmer Fudd is a news anchor, and rarely seen. Mac and Tosh are annoying as ever and inseparable.

Bugs gets a love interest in the form of an all-new reimagined Lola Bunny. And Daffy follows suit with Tina Russo, the coolest most laid back person ever since she tolerates Daffy's presence around her.

It's such a unusual idea to see these highly familiar character in such conventional situations - working, chatting with friends, going to eat something outside, etc. Yet it makes the show revolve around the Looney Tunes most basic and principal trait - their personality.

Episodes of The Looney Tunes Show also contain some musical numbers, the Merrie Melodies, and Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote CGi shorts , at least in the first season.

The toons got an entirely new voice cast for this occasion! Jeff Bergman takes over both Bugs and Daffy and spends most episodes talking to himself! Veteran Maurice LaMarche gets Yosemite Sam while Lola Bunny is given new life (and a personality) thanks to the amazing Kristen Wiig.

Sure some haters might dislike how all of this sounds - but the more haters you get that only goes to show how popular something really is (otherwise people would just simply ignores it).

It's characters a lot of us grew up with, and some might be afraid of change.

The focus of this show is more on random trivial everyday problems. Like in a Seinfeld episode.

This new setting creates great opportunities to play with these classic characters. True great characters don't change much over the years, the environment does. The Looney Tunes Show allow these toons to reach both adults and children alike nowadays, with its more current background.

The other change - at first glance - is that the show seems to revolve more around dialogues than slapstick. Thing is, many of the original Merrie Melodies shorts didn't revolve around slapstick either anyways. But the dialogues. Just check out the most famous shorts, like Rabbit Seasoning (Rabbit season! Duck season!), they also revolved around the dialogues, which the slapstick was only the punchline to. That's the reason why Warner Bros cartoons always were more adult than Disney's animated shorts with the childish humor. The dialogues were key to the Looney Tunes.

But here, it's true, the slapstick has also been diluted and minimized. But it's still present.

The Looney Tunes Show sometimes really feel like Seinfeld episodes with Bugs and Daffy instead of Jerry and George. An episode does revolve around our duo trapped around the DMV. Another sees Daffy completely mesmerized by a TV show. But since this is animated there's actually no boundaries to what they can do.

Bugs ends up chasing down Lola and her parents to be on a family photo, despite his broken tooth. Granny's past is an epic spy story taking place during World War II!

Sure, sometimes some jokes fall a bit flat. Often due to the silly slapstick sell out at the end. But when they hit right it really recaptures the original Looney Tunes magic for a second!

I only really miss the symphonic score even Tiny Toons was able to keep around.

The music videos don't force themselves has often once the show got started, only the first couple of clips seemed really out of place.

The Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote segments were really the weakest part of the show. They tried to capture the epic tone of the recent CGi Looney Tunes shorts Warner produced for a couple films these past few years. That is... without the same budget or talented team of artists behind. They're really bland. And boring. Thankfully, they got rid of those in Season 2!

And Lola was changed from the bland token "chick" into an actual funny goofball! She is finally "Looney" enough as the rest of the crew! She might come off as a bit stupid at first, but she now has an actual (exaggerated) personality to work out with the others.

Overall, it's awesome new show for the Looney Tunes!

After this past decade's awful Looney Tunes recent interpretations (Loonatics, etc.), it's great to finally have our beloved characters back... with a modern twist!

The show had some trouble finding its foot at first, but it quickly grew on me.

The characters design was a bit to radically different in season one, but they fine tuned that since then.

My only complaint is regarding the way Warner Bros released the series on home video. They really messed up the DVD releases. They started releasing Looney Tunes Show with individual volumes of 4 episodes each until releasing all the last 15 final episodes on one disc after that. Then they re-released those first 15 episodes as "Part 1".. Sigh.. I really wish they'll start releasing full "complete season" sets with Season Two!

Anyways, highly recommended for fans of good comedy and/or cartoons!

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Felixes!


  1. Nice review dude. I wish this cartoon had more seasons. Also you misspelled "focus" on the 16th paragraph.

    1. Glad you liked it! ;)

      Yeah, I also miss the show. I truly believe it could have been even greater, had they been given more episodes to stretch out their ideas...

      I wish the next Looney Tunes iteration is at least as good as this... but I fear the worst honestly..

      Nice catch! Thanks, I'll fix it asap.