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“The Looney Tunes Show” review: “Sunday Night Slice”

After a spate of lackluster-even-for-this-series episodes that didn’t rise above the show’s sitcom format straitjacket, this week we get one of the strongest episodes in the run (next to “Devil Dog” and the show’s best entry, “Casa de Calma”). Some actual slapstick, plus the most unusual (but entertaining) “Merrie Melodies” song to date. (SPOILERS ahead.)

Plot: In a flashback (hey, breaking the fourth wall!), Bugs tells the viewers about his failed attempt to run a pizza restaurant, which seems doomed until Speedy lends a hand.

The positive aspects of this episode:

  • As noted above, actual slapstick: Daffy gets zapped by Marvin the Martian’s ray gun *and* gets beaned in the face by a baseball (after he heckles someone at a game).
  • Also as noted above, an actual fourth-wall-breaking.
  • Pete Puma acts in character, i.e. unbelievably stupid, as a restaurant waiter. (“Table for three?”… to his *coworkers*.)
  • Daffy’s somewhat less annoying/dumb than usual this week, and gets a few good moments (fighting with Marvin over his ray gun, the end scene where he’s in a tank).
  • The writers remembered that Witch “Lezah” is an actual *witch*, and we finally see her practice sorcery (with a funny bit about asking the restaurant “who wants to go for Chinese?”).
  • Speedy as a one-mouse wait staff. The writers remembered that Speedy’s a mouse who can keep pace with *the Flash*—as an amusing Latin America Cartoon Network bumper once showed, in a three-way race between the two and the Road Runner. No link though; it’s not up on YouTube anymore…
  • More of Bugs’ love of carrots—he apparently eats pizza with carrots. This was used as a joke on one episode of “Tiny Toon Adventures” (Plucky tells Buster “no carrots on the pie *this* time!” when ordering pizza).
  • Porky’s running gag about eating pepperoni. Guess a bit morbid (and “Pearls Before Swine” did a similar joke years ago), but still amusing.

The former pizza restaurant owner looks familiar, though I’m not sure if he’s been in an old Looney Tunes short before.

The backup segments were pretty good this week. The Road Runner installment has one of the Coyote’s more complicated plans (using compressed cans of air, a skateboard, and a kite), which backfires painfully (barbed wire *and* dynamite!). However, I’m guessing the most popular part of this episode for viewers will be the “Merrie Melodie” song number—a rather lengthy one where Daffy imagines himself as a wizard, in the style of an 80s action-adventure anime series. The animation’s pretty outstanding here, replicating the style of such 80s shows like “Voltron” or “Thundercats” pretty well, all with a melodramatic 80s-style rock ballad playing.

I’d like to see more episodes in the vein of “Sunday Night Slice,” if “Casa de Calma” style writing isn’t possible.

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