Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) The Looney Tunes Show

Plot: Bugs and Daffy are roommates living a generally normal life in the suburbs. Daffy desperately wants to win something for once, so he signs him and Bugs up for a show called Besties, where best friends test their knowledge of each other.

Breakdown: Who doesn’t love Looney Tunes? Arguably second to Disney’s Mickey Mouse and friends, Bugs, Daffy and the rest of the Looney Tunes are some of the most world-renowned, beloved and funny characters (they definitely beat Disney in humor) we’ve come to know in the past decades. They’ve had some amazingly funny and memorable adventures, catchphrases, animation, voice acting and they continue to live on in various forms to this day.

That’s not to say Looney Tunes hasn’t had its hiccups when it comes to the quality of their shows and movies. Space Jam, Loonatics Unleashed and Baby Looney Tunes come to mind in that regard.

Well……*hiccup*

The Looney Tunes show definitely caused some conflict when it was first released. A good chunk of people liked the change of scenery and style and even some of the character traits. I definitely remember people arguing back and forth about whether Lola’s reimagining was for the better or worse.

Warning – Rambling that doesn’t have much to do with the episode at hand. Skip down to the blue mark to reenter episode discussion.

While Lola doesn’t show up in this episode, I do know what her character was turned into through clips and wiki research. Lola was not an original character in the short films we know and love. She was specifically made for the half-live-action half-cartoon movie, Space Jam, in order to increase the female demographic.

Even back then, Lola’s character was a source of debate because while some people saw her as a welcome female addition to the Looney Tunes crew, one with an attitude and knew how to play basketball no less, many others saw her as furry bait. She is obviously designed to be as sexually alluring as possible, in both design and her behavior, to all of the other male characters, yes, including the live-action humans, and she even has bunny boobs. She was also seemingly created just to give Bugs a love interest for the movie. She is even knocked into the cliché ‘damsel in distress’ role to give Bugs the even more cliché self-sacrifice scene so they can fall in love.

My opinion? I found Lola entertaining as a kid, but nowadays I just find her character to be a little insulting. If her character is meant to be made for the female viewers on both the basis of being a female character and giving her an attitude of female empowerment, they didn’t do a good job to me. She is eye candy to the core (which is creepy. I mean, give Jessica Rabbit a pass, she’s at least designed as a human.), the fact that she’s described as ‘tomboyish’ is nearly laughable, and making her shut down anyone who calls her ‘doll’ is not enough to warrant that sense of empowerment to me (who even says that anymore?), especially when the cliché gender stereotype roles are still handed to her.

In the Looney Tunes Show, Lola is completely changed from sexpot to ditzy Bugs-obsessed talk-a-mile-a-minute idiot. And, surprise, that is in no way better.

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I had caught this show a bit on TV a few times when it was airing and….I was never impressed enough to watch more than about five minutes. It was just….not funny. Which, for Looney Tunes, is a damn crime.

But I’m a reasonable person and part of this series is giving shows at least a shot to prove their worth. Maybe even prove my passing glances wrong and give me something to binge watch.

And they blew it.

Let me be fair off the bat here. I technically only watched half the episode because this is one of those shows that cuts the episode in half to create two separate stories. I just didn’t watch the second one because I was nearly offended with how not funny or interesting this one was.

First of all, while we’re on the subject of character changes, what the hell happened to Daffy? I know very well that Daffy is not the brightest marker in the Crayola factory, but he is ungodly dumb in this episode. Like Patrick from Spongebob should tutor him kind of dumb. It’s a good thing he doesn’t wear clothes, because I don’t think he’d be able to master the ability to dress himself levels of dumb.

It was actually annoying how dumb he was.

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Now, onto B–…..What’s that you say? Why did I randomly put a stock picture of Speedy Gonzales up?

Well, because the show basically did the same thing. Speedy comes out of nowhere, being stuck to Daffy’s hand vac as he tries to grab ahold of some food that rolled under the fridge (you may go ‘ew’ now) They basically point out that he’s there….and he leaves, never to be seen again the whole episode.

I wasn’t aware that Speedy was the kind of character that warranted a random splash cameo for the sake of fanservice. In fact, weren’t they trying to get rid of him at a point because they thought he was offensive to Mexicans?

Anyhoo, Bugs is left relatively alone, but he’s lost his spunk. He’s way too much on the side of laid-back sarcasm dispenser with none of the pep and energy his character is known to have.

The plot is what really riled me up. I was angry the instant the plot established itself. This is so unbelievable cliché I want to cry. They’ve been doing this stupid ‘game show where the characters have to know facts about another character’ plot line since The Newlywed Game came out. I’m surprised this isn’t a listed TV trope by now. They even name the host Chuck Berost…..which….I think is meant to be a joke, given that the original host of The Newlywed Game was Chuck Barris…..but I don’t get it….Berost…Barris….???

Not only is this a ridiculously cliché plot line to start from, but it’s also incredibly predictable, especially given Daffy’s idiocy. He’s so stupid, he even ruins Bugs’ correct answers because Daffy has an answer that sounds ‘cooler’. It’s obvious Bugs will have an idea that will get them through a good chunk of the game, but then Daffy will screw it up at the very end because he’s sans brain and they’ll lose. And look, that’s what happened.

The only joke that worked for me even a little in this episode was where they’re doing a ‘parody’ of Superman’s Origins. Don’t ask me why they’re doing this. It doesn’t matter. Bugs is acting as baby Kal el and his ‘father’ Jor el says he’ll say “What’s up doc?” indiscriminately, whether there’s a doctor present or not. Yup. And outside of the piece of kryptonite being a crystal carrot, that is the ONLY joke in that whole parody and the only only joke that really works for me during this whole episode. A joke that isn’t even all that funny…..a joke they ruin by having Daffy bring it up at the end of the episode.

See, the question Daffy screws up is ‘what is Bugs’ catchphrase?’ and he gets it wrong. When he learns what it really is, he says ‘we don’t even know any doctors!’

The last thing I have to address is the art style, which I’m….mostly okay with. Everyone’s character designs are mostly left alone, but the heads are obviously bigger and the colors are more saturated.

The animation is pretty good, though I do see various animation errors here and there. It’s smooth, but sometimes slides into ‘someone’s screwing with Flash again’ territory. Also, the animation doesn’t seem to have that elasticity that Looney Tunes is known for.

I will give them props for somewhat keeping the original theme, but this one’s a bit too heavy on the brass for me, which is surprising because the original is nearly entirely brass. It’s just that they add in a lot of jazzy trumpet interludes that are way too loud and intrusive to me.

Final Verdict:

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Nothing clicks in this show for me. The writing, the characters, nothing. I feel like, if the Looney Tunes name wasn’t on this show, it wouldn’t last more than a few episodes….and hell, this show only lasted two seasons with the branding on it. The Looney Tunes show is just not looney.

Episode One-Derland (Cartoons) Loonatics Unleashed

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Plot: In the year 2772, a meteor struck the planet/city/it’s never made clear of Acmetropolis, giving the five descendants of the Looney Tunes super powers. Together, they use their powers to fight off various threats to Acmetropolis.

In this particular episode, a bunch of ice-wielding robot vikings attack and they defeat them…..Yup. Take this all in. Soak it up.

Breakdown: It seems this series is very polarizing. Some people, especially cartoon reviewers, seem to be firmly in the ‘this series is a stain upon the Looney Tunes name’ camp, while others think it’s a perfectly fine adaptation and action comedy show.

I remember seeing this show being promoted on Kids WB, but I never much cared to watch it and it didn’t last very long. Where do I stand on it after this viewing? Well, that’s for later. First, let’s go over the plot because wow, that is…that some plot. Why are the Looney Tune descendants the only ones who got powers from that meteor crash? Why did they take it upon themselves to fight crime when there was no singular or overall threat at the time? I won’t really harp on how insane this concept is because….well, it’s still technically the Looney Tunes, and complaining about crazy plots with the Looney Tunes is utterly pointless. What does matter is the execution. Have they taken this crazy plot and actually made something decent out of it?

Let’s go over the characters.

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Our leader is, obviously, the descendant of Bugs Bunny, Ace Bunny. He’s pretty much a typical action show team leader with a bit more of a slant on wit and jokes…..But I never really felt any of his jokes worked, especially when they tried to shoehorn in Bugs’ catchphrase three times. This character’s personality highlights a problem with the entire series that I’ll discuss later.

Ace’s abilities are laser eye beams and optical enhancement.

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Lexi Bunny is the second-in-command and token 90’s tude-ish girl in the group. She’s also the descendant of Lola Bunny, which explains why she’s not funny. Lexi mostly talks about clothes and looking fat, though she does seem to be an entirely different person when she’s in combat mode, showing effective strategies and focus that earn her the title of second-in-command. I honestly shouldn’t be calling her the token girl both for the fact that she hasn’t really shown too many of those tropes yet (outside of the fashion stuff, weight worries and the fact that her color is, you guessed it, pink) and because, well, Looney Tunes itself is a sausage fest.

In fact, Lola, her ancestor, was created purely to help even up the demographics a bit. Even though Looney Tunes never seemed to have a big problem in that area, I know I was and still am a big fan, I guess Space Jam thought it did.

Her powers include supersonic hearing and brain blasts, which are essentially the same as Ace’s laser beams just being emitted from her ears and being made of psionic energy.

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Probably the most similar to their Looney Tunes descendant is Danger Duck, descendant of Daffy Duck. I say that loosely because while he does retain quite of bit of Daffy’s personality and nearly the exact same character design, his jokes just don’t work very well. They’re probably the best out of the cast, but that’s not saying much.

Danger has the ability to quantum quack, which is basically just teleportation, and create power orbs which are kinda like Easter eggs. They’re orbs that are filled with something like explosives and whatnot that get released upon breaking.

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Slam Tasmanian, descendant of the Tasmanian Devil, is also very loyal to his ancestor…..not that it’s hard to do so considering Taz’s only character traits were being crazy and incoherent.

His powers include super strength, tornado maximizer, which is basically Taz’s trademark spinning twister, just at a much higher rate of speed and even including fire, and thunder mode which allows him to shoot off hurricanes made of lightning from his fists.

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Next up is Tech E. Coyote, descendant of Wile E. Coyote, and as his name suggests he is the techie. He is constantly making gadgets and vehicles for the group, and, as the tech guy with super intelligence, he’s obviously the most useful member of the team who gets the most to do yet doesn’t get enough recognition.

Something I should mention; he talks. Unlike his ancestor who spoke in sign language (get it?! Hehehehehehehehehehe) and spoke on rare occasions, Tech talks all the time and even prattles on when he gets into nerd mode. I don’t have anything against him talking, his voice is fantastic actually, and I definitely didn’t want him to be a silent tech support guy anyway (I’m looking at you, Zorro Generation Z) but it’s something worth noting.

His powers include incredible super intelligence, magnekinesis and molecular regeneration. You read that right; molecular regeneration….super healing. Tech E. Coyote is essentially Wolverine. In fact, according to Wiki, it’s a recurring joke for Tech to be blown to bits and just regenerate himself.

I’m sorry; why is he not, hands down, the leader? He’s the smartest, he has great leadership capabilities, he keeps cool under pressure, he makes gadget after gadget for helping them fight bad guys, he’s by far the most useful, and oh yeah, he’s essentially immortal.

Why do the bunnies with the laser beams get to be first and second in command? Equal opportunity my ass.

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And….finally….we have Rev Runner, descendant of the Road Runner. He….is so annoying. You know how they made it so that Tech spoke just fine even though Wile E. was basically mute? Well, they did the same thing with Rev…..only he has a quirk….he talks really quickly because, well….I think you can figure it out. It is insanely irritating to listen to him and the ‘joke’ gets old after like a millisecond. I am very aware that he’s voiced by WB voice legend, Rob Paulsen, and all respect to Mr. Paulsen, but this direction choice is dumb.

He, oddly enough, seems to have the most powers out of the group. He obviously has super speed, but he also has super intellect (and is actually, ironically, friends with and invention partners with Tech), flight, some degree of clairvoyance, and what is probably the weirdest power in the group, the ability to track down and pinpoint the location of other living organisms like a GPS. While that’s not weird on its own, he also has the ability to transfer what he sees into a hologram. Makes him seem like he’s part robot is all.

So, to clear things up, the smartest and most useful characters, the one with the most powers and the one who is arguably the most powerful are not as important as Ace and Lexi….Bunny bias.

We have one more character in their mysterious leader Zadavia who contacts them by hologram like she’s Zordon. Unlike everything else, we are given no friggin idea as to who she is, where she came from or why she’s leading these guys. We just kinda have to accept that she does. She’s serious and mostly kind but seems to dislike Danger. Him sending in numerous name change requests does not warrant not thanking him for helping save the world. Seriously, it’d be one thing if it was a lump sum thank you, but she thanked everyone individually and straight up didn’t include Danger.

Now for something I hinted at earlier with Ace’s description which is the tone of this series. It’s really a mixture of action, drama and, of course, comedy. The problem is that the Looney Tunes are not really geared for drama/seriousness. They can pull off action a la Duck Dodgers, but the post-apocalyptic setting, the seemingly very serious threats to the global population…all of that makes it so that the characters can’t really be the all that goofy or funny….in essence, they can’t be the Looney Tunes, which might be why they’re technically not.

However, an additional problem is that the threats in question are silly, at least so far, but they’re painted as serious. Sorta like your average run of the mill action team cartoon from the 90s.

Altogether, you have a subpar action superhero show mixed with “diet” Looney Tunes with a serious twist and a hint of Splenda.

Throughout the whole episode, I was just left wondering why these characters even needed to be the Looney Tunes’ descendants. Really, you could just market this as a bunch of anthropomorphized animals with superpowers fighting evil and it would be the same thing. You might get in trouble with character design copyright infringements with Danger and maybe Slam, but everyone else would be okay and I doubt anyone would say it’s the Looney Tunes in any way, barring those catchphrase moments.

The thing is, that really was this series only hook; it was an action superhero team, as was the popular thing back then…..and today….with the Looney Tunes…..Kinda.

It just doesn’t work very well to me. Outside of being a little too crazy without the humor being strong enough to back it up, the first episode is also just bland.

The episode does a good job of explaining the backstory for the most part. They explain the meteor and the opening theme’s shots of the team explain both the names and powers of each team member. Still no explanation as to why only these five beings got powers from the meteor, but whatever.

One thing first episodes are meant to do is start with a very strong first story to hook us in and make us want more. Since it’s not an origin story, the audience typically needs a big memorable conflict to help us get a good taste of how exciting he show will be.

However, we just end up with ice wielding robot vikings, and yes I wasn’t lying, that’s totally a thing, being defeated by an endless supply of gadgets/vehicles and a decent variety of the group’s powers. This is kinda par for the course, but there’s no memorable or noteworthy moments, hence why my plot synopsis is so bare. Not to mention that the vikings use several ice puns….

I will admit that I liked that Danger is not made out to be a complete buffoon who gets in the way more than he helps, but that’s not really anything great.

There’s so much going on in terms of getting new vehicles and new gadgetry and trying out various powers on the enemy that it’s just a never ending stream of that instead of having real plot developments or character development or anything really important happening. The biggest thing in the episode is the vikings shutting down the power core for the city, which effectively leaves the world in the dark (see what I mean by the confusion on whether Acmetropolis is a city or planet?) However, since the Loonatics are around and they have shown time and again that they can melt the ice with little issue and also have no problem taking out the robots, it’s only a matter of time before they take out the robots and melt the ice on the core….

You could shoo that aside if the action is fun enough for you to just enjoy yourself instead of being preoccupied with that stuff. Eh….Not really. There is a never ending stream of action, but like I said none of it is really noteworthy. The powers showcased here are mostly been-there-done-that and even the gadgets aren’t creative. We have blasters, jet packs, motorcycles and a big ship with torpedoes on it. How can the descendants of the Looney Tunes get away with not being creative?

The art is pretty stylized, though slightly too craggy for my tastes. The animation is also pretty nice and fluid with only a few iffy spots here and there. I’m not a big fan of the multi-screen views of a single shot. Seems a bit cheesy, especially for the time.

The voices are good, though I can’t not hear Jason Marsden’s regular voice when he’s playing Danger on several occasions. Half the time, he’s doing a fairly loyal Daffy impression and the other he’s just completely normal voiced.

The music is alright, though mostly forgettable.

Final verdict?

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In my eyes, this show is definitely not bad. There were no moments where I was groaning at the screen or feeling the need to pause because of something stupid. It’s just a subpar action superhero cartoon with the Looney Tunes brand painted over it. I feel no need to continue this, though. There are only 26 episodes so this might be up for a cartoon step-by-step, but since this episode yielded little substance and material I can’t imagine I’d be very driven to even do that much. It’s definitely not the childhood ruining nightmare some people make it out to be.

Recommended Audience: Violence but it’s against robots and any wounds inflicted to the team are either forgotten or instantly healed. Tech does get blown to a pile of mush at the end, but he’s fine by the next scene. 7+?

Final note: Did I say this wasn’t childhood ruining? I meant you must now imagine Daffy Duck, the Tasmanian Devil, Wile E. Coyote, the Road Runner, Bugs and Lola Bunny having sex…..not with each other…Well, maybe Bugs and Lola Bunny. Don’t blame me; blame the premise.