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Jul 23

The Looney Tunes Show (A Review)

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.