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Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Looney Tunes Show

This post is something that I wanted to get off of my chest for a while. Judging by the title, I think you already know what it is. So here we (Or I ,rather) go...

To begin, this show has been bashed by so many animation fans simply because of the new character designs by one of my favorite modern artists, Jessica Borutski. (And it's not even out yet!) I liked her two shorts, I Like Pandas and The Good Bunny With the Bad Teeth. That constellations idea she had for a show was really cool too. Overall, her art is very pleasant to look at and she definatly has developed a style of her own.
However, back last year, she was bashed for her designs on a new Looney Tunes show. If you haven't seen it, here they are:
That's just Bugs and Daffy. So why are people bashing Miss Borutski, you ask? Well first of all, some animation fans, like me, grew up with these characters and really don't want to see their appearances changed on this kind of level. If you noticed, the characters are more angular than before and they have extremely simplified shapes so that they can be animated easier on a flash program like ToonBoom or whatever it's called. A lot of animation fans really hate this kind of thing and prefer the lush style of traditional animation. I know I refer the old way over flash.

Even the plot of the show got people fired up in a bad way. Well, instead of being their usual, slapstick selves, we get to see what life is like for Bugs, Daffy, and the other Looney Tunes outside of the Warner Bros lot. We see the rabbit and duck (both voiced by Jeff Burgman for the first time in 10 years) living together in a house. Trust me, they didn't want to see them looking like this:

Now now it comes to this: what do I think of them?

Well, they are appealing in their own right. I'm not too angry about the radical change of appearances. Even 70 years ago, the great directors and artists of Termite Terrace had changed these characters slightly to fit their own styles. Jones, Avery, Clampett, McKimson, Freling, Davis, Tashlin, and all the other animation directors had their own way of designing these characters and modeling their personalities to their own desire. Even I do it! (I think I'll try this again in a while in color too.) For instance, I give Bugs' ears black tips, a feature not seen since Elmer's Candid Camera in 1940. Say what you want, I think they look kind of cool.

I actually like some of these designs myself. While Bug's new look mis growing on me, I really enjoy the way Daffy, Pepe, Marvin, The Gossamer, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn, Sylvester, and Petunia Pig. (kudos on Borutski for reintroducing a character not seen since 1937) I think my favorite overall is Sylvester's look. It kind of reminds me of McKimson's look for the cat: a big nose with short legs.
I accept the fact that these are Borutski's own versions of theses classic characters and as true admirers of animation, we should try to look at the positives. After all, she's doing something that not a lot of new artists get the chance to do: reintroduce these classic characters to a new generation with new concepts and ideas. I think it's only fair that we should at least honor Borutski for her efforts and goals for this show. If you have kids, then I would expose them to both this new show and the classics that are beautifully restored on the boxed DVD sets. If they like one over the other, that's fine.

As for the show's writing quality, well... look for yourself:



I wasn't impressed by the first clip, but I thought that the second was a little better. (I just noticed Mac and Tosh made a cameo)

I think I'm going to wait until February when this show comes out and take a look for myself. To be honest, it looks better than some of the other attempts of reintroducing the Looney Tunes or classic cartoon characters in general. (Remember Loonatics?.... I thought not. And don't make me mention that godawful Yogi Bear movie!) Keep in mind that this is going to be completely different from the classics of the golden age because humor has changed over the years.

For now, I'm keeping my optimistic perspective for this new show and hope it turns out better than people claim it is. My only hope that after this Borutski can have a shot of doing more of her own original ideas for TV. So rest your sphincters, gentlemen.

Phew! Glad I got that off of my chest!

Oh, and Happy New Year to you readers.


Derek said...


Chris Sig said...

From my own experience when it comes to reviewing any animation - revamp, original, TV, Movie or otherwise - to some it depends on the quality or form of the chosen animation; traditional, Flash, CGI, stop-motion, water, whatever. But for me, nothing, and I mean NOTHING, will ever float unless the writing is top-notch, keeps everything and everyone in line and, above all, makes me laugh. Pixar have proven that strong characters and stories comes before anything else - shame no one told James Cameron that...

And anyway, I don't see why everyone's so hyped about Bugs and Daffy becoming roomies - when you spend half a dozen shorts travelling with a rabbit on "shared vacations", it had to come down to this. Besides, it's not like Daffy can make a living selling novelty gags forever...! ;)

Overall, nice insight. Sensible above everything else.

JSmith said...

Thanks Chris. That's true, characters come first. That's really why people still love the Looney Tunes because they have very colorful personalities. It's really nice to see that Borutski understands them well enough to put them in completely new situations.

I'm just happy that they're in the hands of someone that really does understand these characters vs. someone that had no idea who they were. I'd rather have this revival over no revival at all.

Derek: Thanks for the correction. I'll fix it.

TWill said...

I'm just happy they are not trying to re-do Looney Tunes with the cgi in the first trailer.

That would really grind my gears.

This doesn't bother me as much, change can be a good thing. Who knows in this case.

.... said...

Toonboom is not Flash and has nothing to do with adobe flash or makes animation in anyway like flash.

Toonboom was used to make Princess and the frog so it is more than capable of doing complex animations and making it easy.

No it is just lazyness and to push out the animation fast that they make it look like crap flash cartoons. the fact that quick web cartoon are popular only fuels the lazy ness. and the reason flash is made simple is because back in the olds days of flash and computer power that is all it could handle and now that they got away with it they just keep doing it.

Examples the new my little pony and care bears cartoons. HEll I wont talk about the shows but the chracters and animation looked good... the new stuff is horrible god awful and this is pretty close to it.

pepe le pew should be done like this by somebody that can do it at all times,

now the show looks like a cheep web cartoon....Hell some of warner bros cheep web cartoons for loony tunes looked better.

No this is lazyness and the fact that noob kids don't really know or care what cartoons look like anymore and don't know what quailty could be.

and what the hell did they do to lola bunny she looks the most nothing like her 1996 space jam showing... she is not even that old..

and duck dodgers was the last good looney tunes show and it looked great then they started with the crap remakes of it for punk kids that I guess like chracters to be skinny ass and poorly drawn with huge thick lines and other bad features.

.... said...

Also I would have liked a CGI 3d loony tunes movie/tv show

one that looked like the "over the hedge" movie would have been way better than this junky animation style.

You can put it on any brand new tv show you want but do not mess with the art style of old ones that much and make it worse it was good enough then and still is.

This art style trend started by cheep flash cartoons and cheep Corner cuts is getting horrible. Maybe it was southpark that uses 3d maya to make it look crappy but that is it's humor, power puff girls, again part of the humor.

But now it is just getting old and lazy when you bring back old cartoons in this style for no reason other than they think kids like it that way or to be lazy and cheep with there aniamtions.

Andrew said...

for me, I don't care so much what was done to bugs and daffy, I am more upset with what was done to Lola, in space jam, she was so beautiful and smart and sexy, and here they made her into a dimwit ugly character, personally, I don't like the simplified porly drawn style that has been popular for the last 10 years, I prefer the ways they did stuff in the 90s, like Tiny toons.