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Jul 23

The Looney Tunes Show (A Review)

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Alright.  It’s Saturday Morning and that means it’s time for Toonopolis, The Blog to do another review of a current cartoon series.  I may add some classic stuff down the line if there is interest for that, but right now I’m just doing current stuff.  Much like my first week, where I reviewed Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated, this week I am reviewing a reboot of an old classic, The Looney Tunes Show.

Talk about taking on a tall order. Rebooting the Looney Tunes? How on Earth could anyone have the gall to think they can pull this off?  These folks are working with the concept of taking some of the most classic of cartoon characters, dusting them off, modernizing them, and not screwing up their legacy.  This show has an air of a once-legendary athlete trying to make a come back way past his prime.  Let’s see if they can make it work.

As always, let’s take a look at the voice actors for this show.  While plenty of people have tried to pull off these characters over the years, how on earth can you have Looney Tunes without Mel Blanc doing 95% of the voices?  The first smart thing they did was turn to Jeff Bergman to try to pick up Blanc’s shoes.  He was the first man to ever voice Bugs Bunny after Mel Blanc died and handles Bugs and Daffy extremely well.  His Foghorn Leghorn leaves a little to be desired, however.  Throw in some voice-acting mainstays like Maurice LaMarche and Billy West, and they’ve got enough talent to make the voices work.  Bonus? June Foray, who has played Granny and similar-type characters as long as animation has existed (or so it seems), plays Granny, who rocks as always.

I will come right out and say that I have been pleasantly surprised in how the main two characters have been handled.  Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are absolutely flawless in their bosom buddy style portrayal of roommates.  A big part of my surprise has been that the writers actually channeled the real Bugs Bunny–a sarcastic jerk–instead of the idyllic good guy figure he has somehow become over the years.  Bugs was never meant to be seen as a hero or a nice guy.  There’s a reason, “Ain’t I a stinker?” is one of his taglines.  Yosemite Sam is hilariously handled and Speedy Gonzales is fantastic as well.  The concept of Taz being domesticated by Speedy with some Dog Whisperer tactics made me laugh out loud, as well.

A few characters that really don’t work for me, though, are Foghorn Leghorn and Lola Bunny.  In the big Foghorn episode, I really feel like they missed on the character pretty harshly.  Foghorn’s legacy is that of a laid-back, nothing-phases-him slacker.  They made him passionate about his biopic and even made him fist-fight Daffy Duck, which is way out of character for both of these guys.  Foghorn is too chill to fight.  Daffy is too much of a coward.

Lola bothered me the absolute most.  She isn’t really a classic Looney Tunes character, considering she was introduced in 1996’s Space Jam, the Michael Jordan movie.  In that movie, though, she was represented as a strong, confident, and athletic female who has a huge role in the movie.  She even ignores Bugs’s advances for most of the movie.  In this reboot, Lola is an airhead, love-sick female who is annoying and smitten with Bugs.  In the modern era, strong female characters are a must and Lola doesn’t even come close to what she should have been.  Granny (in a flashback episode to her time as a WWII spy) comes closer to filling that role.

The one part that they haven’t messed up at all?  Road Runner and Coyote bits.  They didn’t merge those two with the other characters and still allow them their few separate minutes of hilarious screen-time with nothing but slapsticky visual gags and unbridled failure on the part of the coyote.  The Road Runner is just as cool as ever.

Overall, the jokes are fairly good.  They’ve modernized things well and the whole concept of all of these characters sharing a suburban neighborhood is pretty funny.  They hit pretty hard on some of the main characters but completely missed on some of the others.  Some characters are completely negligible, such as Porky Pig (WB’s first real star before the rabbit took over).  It’s humorous and it is good for a few giggles, but it isn’t going to come close to replicating the original genius of the Looney Tunes.  Here’s hoping they don’t taint the legacy too badly.  3/5 giant cartoon mallets for the rebooted Looney Tunes Show.

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  1. Calophi

    You aren’t the first person I’ve heard complain about Foghorn. How sad that they ruined him. 🙁

    I didn’t know Lola Bunny was even in the show. It’s upsetting that they ruined her as well. I guess they are relying on cross-dressing Bugs to be the strong female character, heehee.

    1. Jeremy

      Yeah, I was quite upset about Foghorn Leghorn myself. I mean, to make him passionate enough to fight about something is the antithesis of his character. That would be like Disney rebooting Donald Duck and making him calm and relaxed.

      I doubt they will even use the cross-dressing gags. I think I remember one joke look at Bugs’s closet in one episode and you saw some of the dresses and such that he would wear… but yeah, not likely to use that bit in this day and age.

      1. Jeremy

        I should say they won’t use the cross-dressing gags often. They did use it once so far so Bugs could try to get out of his date with Lola, but it wasn’t very funny.

  2. Cami

    Wow, so I watched a couple of clips of the Romantic Date episode on the website, and… “all women are crazy” and “you have to ask a woman” (instead of a man) just in the first couple minutes? They’re careful to make it clear who the show is for, I guess. It’s not like I expect Looney Tunes to be a liberal soapbox, but there’s already enough of that alienating ‘women and gays, amirite’ bullshit in popular media without them doing it too. Bugs is supposed to be a shithead, sure, but I’d rather see him being the slightly sadistic prankster than the Male Values Police.

    Based on what I saw, I’d give it a one. The animation is kind of awkward, I think the sitcom-type setting will limit the humor possibilities a lot, and I’m bummed out at the misogyny and homophobia, however mild it may be.
    /rant

    1. Jeremy

      Don’t disagree at all, Cami. However, the other half of the “Eligible Bachelors” episode (with Daffy and Granny, including the WWII flashbacks that suggest that Tweety Bird is as old as Granny) was fantastic. I literally cringed whenever Lola was on screen at how poorly they handled the bad attempt at man-woman relationship humor.

      It was like a bad stand-up comic trying to rehash old jokes about men and women that weren’t even funny when they were told by a good comic.

      There were enough good parts that I’ve seen to make it somewhat enjoyable at times (“Peel of Fortune” was hilarious and I really enjoyed “Devil Dog” as well). That’s why I went with 3 mallets.

      1. Cami

        You said it well with the “bad stand-up comic” bit. I’ve been watching a couple more episodes (as I said on your Facebook, haha) and it’s like… they took everything funny and interesting about Looney Tunes and just sucked it right out in favor of rehashing the same trite, irritating jokes that have been done to death for decades.
        Which brings me to something else that’s bugging me: why a sitcom? Aren’t sitcoms usually geared more toward adults? As an adult I found it unforgivably bland, which doesn’t really bode well for how kids will receive it. It doesn’t seem to know who its audience is apart from Straight Males (little boys?), but do they really expect a seven-year-old to sit through it when my twenty-two year old friend was too bored to even make it past part one of an episode?

        I also watched one of the Wile E Coyote shorts and was actually horrified at how bad it was. I wish there were a rule that nobody is allowed to use CG unless it meets or surpasses the high standards in place for slapstick 2D animation. When Coyote got all huge and clumsy and ungainly it felt like a metaphor of itself.

        1. Jeremy

          I’m beginning to wonder if I was too generous with 3 mallets. I didn’t really look at the animation from a critique standpoint… more just the writing.

          I guess that’s why you draw my pictures, eh? 🙂

  3. Phoenix

    Needs work. I’m giving it a chance to hit a stride since it requires little effort to do so. Cogent review, though, Jeremy. Lola’s not just ditzy, she’s been remade into a borderline stalker.

    Eager to see how the Thundercats update goes. You planning a review of Young Justice?

    1. Jeremy

      Hopefully they’ll pick up on some of the failures, but at this point we’re talking about core character issues. It’s not like Lola’s suddenly going to become a strong female lead. At this point, I’m hoping they just kill her off for dramatic effect. Nothing else could salvage her at this point.

      I am looking forward to the Thundercats reboot. The show has great nostalgia, but truthfully was really not very well done (animation or voice acting). With the budget behind it, I have Karate Kid-like expectations of the reboot far surpassing the original (even with the blinding of nostalgia hiding a lot of the original’s flaws).

      My next few reviews will pull me away from Cartoon Network for a little bit (I have been ignoring Disney and Nickelodeon unintentionally).

  4. Zobeid Zuma

    I can’t fathom all the hate directed at Lola. To me she’s the looniest — and funniest — character in the show. I’ve laughed myself silly over appearances in episodes 2 and 12. She’s like Pepe Le Pew hopped up on a diabolical mixture of sugar and spice and PCP.

    I especially can’t understand the talk about how they “ruined” the Lola we saw in Space Jam, who really was a big nothing. How can you ruin a nothing character from a movie that was basically landfill material?

    It’s easy to pick at the flaws in this show, but it’s the strongest effort Warner Brothers have made with these characters in many years. I mean, Space Jam was a disaster, Back In Action had a few funny bits surrounded by vast tracts of awkwardness, and the less said about Baby Looney Tunes or about Loonatics Unleashed, the better. The Looney Tunes Show is the one we’ve been waiting for, and I’m hooked on it.

    1. Jeremy

      I wasn’t trying to say Space Jam was a good movie, but Lola in that movie was a strong female, independent and tenacious. She was a modern woman.

      Lola in Looney Tunes is basically Bella from Twilight with rabbit ears (and no, that is not even remotely a good thing).

      I agree that it is a far sight better than anything we’ve seen in years and I think the majority of the characters are very well done. Foghorn Leghorn is one of my favorite WB characters of all time and they really missed there.

      The problem I have with Lola is that they had a chance to build on her as she was represented in Space Jam and give a strong female role model. Instead, they have her fall in love with Daffy Duck after he read off a list she wrote of things “women want to hear,” which included something along the lines of “we will have no friends but each other, etc.”

      WB writers addressed the lack of strong female role models in cartoons during the Tiny Toon Adventures run in the ’90s in the episode “Fields of Honey” when Babs Bunny was trying to find a mentor. Coincidentally, Lola was created around this time.

      I may be a man, but I am married to a doctor and am a stay-at-home dad/househusband/homemaker (whatever you want to call it). In the modern era, I think shows like this have an obligation to represent strong, independent women… not a weak, I-don’t-have-an-identity-without-a-man, stalker like Lola.

      If I were a woman, I’d be offended by the character. Hell, I’m offended FOR women. It would be okay if she were a secondary or tertiary character, but she is not. She is the lead female role and women deserve better.

      1. @jorgekorke

        To be honest, I do prefer that Lola then the one from Space Jam. In the movie (that was not bad, since it marked the childhood of many kids at the time… at least here) she was something like a sexy sybol, perfect on everything. More perfect then the old Bugs in the “golden era” (when I, myself, used to hate him. Never liked the perfect Bugs)… She wasn’t acting as one of the Looney Tunes, except in the ending of the movie.

        And yes, indeed, I agree when you say that “stalker and weak” idea wasn’t so good. That Lola, is more funny. But sometimes, approaches the ridiculous… Also for her craziness, she’s being 1000x more random then Babs Bunny… (good TTA times)

        Well, that’s my opinion… Something I found interesting is that i am looking at many bad reviews about the show over the web, made by the americans (not your case, you used true facts to point out the problems, while some others made just trolling) while the brazillian reviews here says the show is awesome… And it wasn’t released here, since I guess BR-CN is finding problems to get voice actors for here…

        I have watched the episodes 1 to 12, downloaded and had to view with english subtitles (reading english for me is easier then hearing. also helps on getting some kind of jokes) and i really enjoyed it. Didn’t like the Road Runner and Coyote shorts too… but it’s nothing really like ” oh my gosh i need to turn off my comp now “… Also for the Merrie Melodies.

        Ah, and i guess the Lola-Bugs relationship will be like Sonic-Amy, from Sonic the Hedgehog series…

        Sorry if i made some english mistakes, made this post running and… ah, that’s not my language xD
        Greetings from Brazil !

        1. Jeremy

          I think part of the reason you see so many negative reviews might stem from people automatically hating remakes of stuff that they enjoyed as children. I try not to fall into that trap. I’ve found the same thing when reading other online reviews of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated (which I think has the potential to be the best Scooby-Doo series yet!). You do have a good point about Lola not really being a true “Looney Tune” during Space Jam.

          Overall, I enjoy the show and still watch each new episode. Foghorn and Lola are really my only two major issues.

          Welcome to my American blog all the way from Brazil. I can now say I have an international audience! 😉

        2. BJ Selavka

          LOL! Lola is licking the Bugs Bunny’s mouth! Hahahahahahahahahahahaha!

      2. Zobeid Zuma

        This is what I really have to pick on the most: “The problem I have with Lola is that they had a chance to build on her as she was represented in Space Jam and give a strong female role model.”

        Role model? Role model, seriously? This is Looney Tunes we’re talking about, not My Little Pony!

        That’s like complaining that the Three Stooges aren’t role models, or that Beavis & Butthead aren’t role models. They aren’t supposed to be. They’re supposed to be funny. In the first 30 seconds of episode six Daffy managed to commit three felonies. Is that a role model? (And yet, most of the funny things that happen in the show are instigated by Daffy.)

        So. . . Lola is a flaming idiot now. She’ll fit right in with this gang.

        1. Jeremy

          You make a fine point. I laughed hard at the comment about Daffy committing three felonies. It’s a good point you make. Perhaps I just have a dislike for characters like this… women that feel like they need a man to have an identity (eg, Bella in Twilight).

          It’s not so much the ditziness that bothers me (I love Pinkie Pie in the aforementioned My Little Pony, she’s hilarious), but the idea that a girl needs a man to be someone. The whole “list of what a girl wants to hear” bit they ran with Daffy smacked of a room of male writers taking a shot at the entire female gender and made me cringe.

    2. anonymous

      you dislike space jam all you want. but i’ll always favor its lola over the one in the looney tunes show, which i don’t love in the least, especially since its version of that female rabbit’s like a stereotypical gal.

  5. Adam

    I’m very happy with the show considering the torture that was “Lunatics Unleashed.” This show takes the classic characters more or less intact and places them in a suburban sitcom setting. It really works well and I can see a lot of places the series could go for the “topical” humor common to sitcoms. In classic WB style, many of the jokes and much of the art are aimed at adult audiences. Much in the same style that Animaniacs and Freakazoid were. There are still plenty of sight gags for the kids but grown ups can enjoy the show as well. I missed a few episodes so I had to find somewhere to get caught up. I went to DISHOnline.com. It’s free from my TV service provider/employer DISH Network. I spend a lot of time on that sight for the thousands of movies and TV shows.
    I like the Merry Melody segments; they are fun and help to break up the main story. Who doesn’t love the Roadrunner? He and the Coyote are back in nice CGI animation. There have been a few negative reviews for this show but I really like it and I hope it gets a good run.

    1. Jeremy

      See, I let you into the blog because you made some good comments over on the Regular Show review. I have to tell you, though… if you ever bring up Lunatics Unleashed again, I will burn your soul with a BIC.

      That being said, I love the Roadrunner segments for the classic humor but the animation is really not very well done (see the comment by my illustrator Cami above).

    2. Loonatics Unelashed rocks

      Excuse me but I don’t think that Loonatics Unleashed is a bad show. Instead, I half like it and half love it ebcause I love action more than any other gnere. Besides, I like seriosu stuff mroe than funny stuff.

      it’s fine if you dont’ like Loonatics Unleashed. But try to get other people to hate since we all have our own opinions.

      But as for The Looney Tunes Show, it’s my least favorite creation of the Looney Tunes because it ruined most of them. I don’t mind much of how Foghorn Leghorn’s portrayed in there. I’m glad that Yosemite Sam isn’t as much of a jerk as he was in the classical Looney Tune episodes. Hell, he’s my least favorite cahracrer htere due to his abuse of animals.

      But I hate the way that Lola’s shown in the Looney Tunes Show. For crying out loud, this isn’t the eighteenth century anymore! Sexism against female beings should be pretty much done away with. Besides, the Lola before the 2010s is more mature. Sure, she’s not perfect. But at elast, she doesn’t behave like a stereotypical gal.

      Anyway, back to TLTS (The Looney Tunes Show): My least favorite character in ther eisDaffy Duck because of his behavior problem. And to think that he gave that up before the creation of that pathetic series. Why, he makes Sam look like a very decent guy. Hell, I wouldn’t mind seeing Sam beat that duck up if he (Daffy) goes overboard with his nutcase behavior.

      1. Loonatics Unleashed rocks

        I forgot to add “don’t” between “But” and “try.” Sorry for that mistake and others that I amd ein my first post here.

  6. BitBiteOuch

    I’m loving this show, but despite some great voice acting, the rest of the sound design is some of the worst (ie non-exsistent) on television. Every scene feels completely empty, and besides dialogue and the occasional (should NOT be just occasional) sound effect or music q, theres nothing there. Makes the whole show feel cheap and unfinished, really bothers me. Good writing though.

  7. Marley

    I dont like the way Lola is portrayed in the new show. I prefer Lola being in her old way, especially Space Jam, but only when she was strong and an I dont need a man gal. also dont like the new Daffy. The new Daffy is so stupid! LOL he doesnt have a brain. love 2 make fun of him. I like the new show but not as much as I like the old ones. The old ones were better.

  8. John K.

    Cancelled this dreadful reboot and besides this so-called The Looney Tunes Show is the worst cartoon show in history since TinyToons and Animanics, the redesigns is badly ungreat, it’s not fun anymore and ain’t faithful either.

    1. Jeremy

      Did you seriously just diss Tiny Toons and Animaniacs?! Are you sure you belong here? 😉

      1. Ahem

        John can diss Animaniacs whenever he wants. It’s his right to do that. Therefore, you can’t decide whether or not he belongs here. he may not own this webpage. But he has a right to be here whenever he wants.

  9. Timmothy

    I personally love this show. However, I really agree to the fact that they kinda screwed up some of the Looney Tunes. I also think that the two Daffys are very different. The old Daffy was energetic, determinated, keen, smart, and very confident rather he lost in the end or not. This new Daffy is lazy, un-confident, and really dim-witted.
    I also think they should show more of the LT characters instead of just Bugs, Daffy, Sam, Lola, Porky, and Speedy. They should show more of THEM than just regular people, and having the stars that are not human be the only animals in town. I loved the newest episode “Point Lazer Point” because it involved more LT characters, and even showed Wile E. as a cameo! I think this means that the producers are working harder on acheiving these goals. My conclusion, the show has a few kinks in it, but is really fun and I like it!

  10. Tim

    I actually prefer this reboot of Lola bunny than her original Space Jam incarnation.Sure she was strong, confident, and athletic character but she wasn’t funny or even all that interesting. But now she is funny, flawed, and more relatable character than she was before. Also, not every female character has to be a strong and confident. They don’t even have to be strong and confident in order to be a role model.

  11. Bugs

    I don’t see the issue with Lola’s character. The new female duck character is a strong female lead herself. Do all the female characters need to be absolutely flawless and perfect? You act as if there aren’t any ditzy or hyper women on the planet.

    The male characters are very flawed themselves, we’re supposed to laugh at that. Why aren’t we allowed to have any flawed female characters? I suppose we’ve come to the point where every male character should come off as an idiot and every female as a strong independent scientist/business woman/super hero.

    1. anonymous

      i don’t laugh at flawed characters. instead, i laugh at certain villains getting hurt because of my hatred for them.

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