The Looney Tunes are back! But can this show recapture the old Warner Brothers Animation magic? Or is it just a pale shadow of the hilarity that was?
Well? Take the jump so I can tell you!
PORTRAIT OF THE REVIEWER AS A PICKY CHILD
As a kid I always enjoyed Looney Tunes cartoons, whether repackaged as an anthology show or shown in-between programs. If Bugs was on, I was glued to the TV. That is why I have always been interested in other Looney Tunes projects, which has gone poorly for me. Suffice it to say that, aside from Space Jam, nothing that has the Looney Tunes name on it has sat well with me (Most egregiously Loonatics Unleashed and Baby Looney Tunes… blech). So I was leery of a new Looney Tunes project; and when Warner Bros. sent us a review copy of The Looney Tunes Show: There Goes The Neighborhood, containing the latter 14 shows of the first season, I was not expecting to like it.
The show takes Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck and sets them as odd couple roommates in a suburban sitcom situation. Bugs is dating Lola (whom you may remember from Space Jam) and Daffy has a girlfriend on his own who I believe is a brand new character. They hang out with Porky Pig, usually at Speedy Gonzales’ Pizza restaurant ‘Pizzarriba’. The show revolves around Daffy getting Bugs and Porky into wacky sitcom situations, which quickly escalate into a crazy resolution. Sounds terrible, right?
It’s not, it’s actually amazing!
I’m going to put this one solidly on the writing team. These guys are taking what makes these characters appealing and applying it effortlessly to the sitcom formula. Daffy Duck is a gutless narcissist which is a hilarious combination with too-nice guy, Porky. Some adjustments have been made, Bugs is more of a voice of reason, rather than the devilish trickster we have seen in the past and Lola has become world-class ditz rather than the super-capable Mary Sue she was in Space Jam. I wasn’t crazy about the changes at first but they really facilitate what the show is trying to accomplish. Taking old beloved characters and updating their sense of humor without compromising their wackyness.
And that is, in fact what makes The Looney Tunes Show shine. This is old school unashamed humor with modern sensibilities, there are plenty of cross-dressing scenes, there are scenes that have Daffy, Granny and Bugs shooting revolvers, others where Daffy is convinced that Porky is a homicidal maniac. Here’s a good example:
“Get in the van?” Not something you hear from your average Cartoon Network program, right? The cherry on top are the Merrie Melodies segments which are song breaks unrelated to the plot, and although some come across only as filler, others are absolutely hysterical. I almost choked from laughing so hard the first time I heard Robot Love. In fact I’d say this collection is worth owning on the merit of that short alone.
FINAL VERDICT: OWN IT ON DVD!
Look guys, if you’ve read some of my other video reviews you know that I’m pretty straightforward and I don’t pull any punches. But this series is doing something fun and exciting. In this age of reboots and re-imaginings it’s easy to dismiss a piece for doing just that, but I strongly recommend that you check out The Looney Tunes Show: There Goes The Neighborhood DVD set, because this is an example of someone doing it right.
The Looney Tunes Show: There Goes the Neighborhood DVD set gets four and a half stars from me. It’s choice cartoon humor, go out and get this today!