Classic “Looney Tunes” Characters Are Back For A New Generation

Everything old is new again in this age of Hollywood “reimagining,” so it was probably only a matter of time before the likes of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and other legendary Warner Bros. cartoon characters got their own update. This takes place in The Looney Tunes Show, a new animated series premiering May 3 on Cartoon Network.

In the show, Bugs and Daffy are living together in the suburbs, and end up in more wacky adventures with fellow characters such as Porky Pig, Speedy Gonzales, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, the Tasmanian Devil, Marvin the Martian, Tweety, Sylvester, Granny and Daffy’s new non-nonsense girlfriend, Tina. They weren’t in the episode we screened, but the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote are also slated to appear in CG-animated shorts.

Speaking to the animation, it does live up to the network’s promise of a “vivid, contemporary animation style.” However (again, from the one episode we were able to screen), one thing it does lack is outright looniness. Whereas the original cartoons, in their heyday during the 1940s and ’50s, relied on manic energy, strong visual gags and clever exchanges of dialogue (when there was dialogue), The Looney Tunes Show feels more designed in a traditional sitcom format. We hear Bugs and Daffy squabbling, but not in the brilliant “Rabbit season! Duck season!” type of banter made classic in their previous pairings, but more along the lines of an old married couple. And we don’t often say this about the cast of a TV show, but it would have been nice to see someone get an anvil dropped on the head or something along those lines (if anyone should be able to get away with comic, cartoon violence — even in today’s sensitive era — it should be cartoon characters who have made that their trademark).

There was a funny music video in the episode we saw featuring Elmer Fudd singing the praises of his “gwilled cheese” sandwich, and those elements show the witty potential for the series. It is good to see the old Looney Tunes back, and here’s hoping that — even as they embark on adventures in a new century — they keep their tune in the key of “looney.”