“The Looney Tunes Show” review: “Besties”

iPad and newspaper

Belated thanks to being out of town for the last week, but I’ve finally seen the first episode of new series “The Looney Tunes Show,” which remakes the classic characters into being suburbanites (and Bugs and Daffy as roommates). Guess I’ll start with the nitpicks/negative points:

  • The setting is in a so-far-unnamed town. I wouldn’t mind seeing it called “Acme Acres,” but I doubt that’ll happen. Nor, from what I suspect, anything *else* in this show’s setting with the “Acme” name. At least in this episode, no Acme products appear, not even as the name of the cruise ship line. Instead, the dock it’s at is a pun on “Port-a-potty,” which I guess *does* keep up with current animation humor trends (i.e. toilet humor), unfortunately.
  • Along with no Acme products, there’s also not enough incidental music. While I suppose it keeps with the sitcom approach, it feels odd to not hear, say, “Someone’s In the Kitchen With Dinah” while Daffy’s getting something to eat out the fridge.
  • There’s also (to me) not enough slapstick elements or violence, a trademark of most other incarnations of the characters. Though I suppose the series is young…
  • Daffy does come off as a bit too dumb (similar to his characterization in the previous “Duck Dodgers” series). Though some signs of the old versions of Daffy (either the egoistical, cynical version or the “daffy” version) show up in the second half of the series, where things picked up.

And onto the positive points:

  • The Goofy Gophers (Mac and Tosh) are seen here, as their usual over-the-top polite selves, giving them some of the funniest moments of the episode. Even the game show host seemed visibly annoyed by them.
  • Daffy’s answers in the game show (“I don’t do Mondays!”).
  • Similarly, Daffy’s antics to win Bugs back in the cruise ship scenes (including calling the ship’s captain “a glorified bus driver”).
  • The scene with Speedy (who looks like he’s also living with Daffy and Bugs, or at least hangs out at their house a lot) talking to Daffy was also funny. Others online have complained about Speedy’s voice here, though I figure (besides impossible to exactly replicate Mel Blanc) it’s to make him sound a bit less stereotypical versus his old voice. It also helps that it’s one of the few scenes with a bit of slapstick (Daffy’s reactions to “trying harder”).
  • The “Krypton” scene.
  • Some references to previous Looney Tunes lore being dropped: the kid at the ship buffet looked a bit like Ralph Phillips (or how they drew kids in their 50s-era shorts), while Bugs and Daffy’s birthdates (July 27 and April 17 respectively) are the dates of their first animated shorts’ debuts.

Indifferent toward the song number with Elmer singing about a grilled cheese sandwich. Pretty big house he has here, though…

Hopefully, as the series goes on over time, some of the downsides will be improved upon, and the positive points will be even more prominent. Per Toonzone, the ratings for the show’s debut were fairly strong, and it’s being heavily advertised in general (perhaps, as Bugs would say, Time-Warner’s “finally loining” about marketing their shows).

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