AVAHS – Bah, Humduck! A Looney Tunes Christmas Review

Rating: 7/10

Plot: In a modern retelling of A Christmas Carol, Daffy Duck, owner of the Lucky Duck Superstore, treats his employees and everyone else like garbage. He’s especially unsympathetic around Christmas. All he loves is money, money and sometimes he has a soft spot in his heart for money. On the night of Christmas Eve, after destroying the Christmas dreams of all of his employees and forcing them to come into work at 5AM Christmas morning, he finds himself stuck in his store for the night. Three ghostly guests will take this opportunity to try and salvage his soul and his Christmas spirit.

Breakdown: It wouldn’t be Christmas without yet another retelling of A Christmas Carol – This time with the Looney Tunes!

In this universe, Daffy Duck takes the role of Ebeneezer Scrooge, but none of the characters, besides the ghosts, are named after the characters in the original tale, so he’s just Daffy. He’s filthy rich and the owner of a massive superstore called Lucky Duck. Daffy is basically a slave driver here, somehow worse than Scrooge if you ask me. He’s greedy, yes, but at least Scrooge let his employees take Christmas off, even if it pissed him off.

Daffy refuses to let Marvin have time off to go home to Mars for Christmas, he won’t give Porky enough money to buy a doll for his daughter, he won’t let Wile E. Coyote eat during work and he somehow wasn’t arrested for forcing Elmer to work 37 straight triple shifts, causing him to constantly collapse in exhaustion.

And as a topping on the Scrooge cake, he’s not only forcing all of his employees to work through Christmas, but he’s opening the store at 5AM and demands they all be there.

As you can guess, this prompts the appearance of the four ghosts – Sylvester, who takes the role of Jacob Marley, named Sylvester the Investor, who was a fellow CEO of another superstore who died because of a disgruntled exployee, Granny and Tweety – the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Yosemite Sam – The Ghost of Christmas Present, and Taz – The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

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I really thought they’d balk on the more tender moments of the story since it’s Looney Tunes and all, but they technically didn’t. I say ‘technically’ because they still load up the stories with typical Looney Tunes humor and cut out some stuff, but the tender moments were still quite sweet.

The backstory is changed quite a bit, and most of the segments are fairly short. In the Past segment, we see that Daffy was an orphan and, for some dumb reason, they always had mass adoptions on Christmas day, like people nabbing up kittens and puppies for Christmas gifts, and Daffy was never adopted. He never had a family, and he grew up to resent Christmas as a result. I’d think the mass Christmas adoption spree would be a better reason to hate Christmas, but I understand that it’s purely the fact that he was always alone that really soured his disposition over time.

In the Present segment, we see Elmer nearly freezing to death as he falls asleep in a snow storm, Marvin looking up to Mars with longing and Porky talking with his young daughter, Priscilla, who is basically sugar incarnate. Literally all she wants for Christmas is a Pretty Pudgy Piggy doll, but Porky can’t afford it.

In Yet to Come, we see Porky and Priscilla visiting Daffy’s grave. This segment is, morbidly, the best of them all because Daffy is so greedy he tried to leave his store to himself in his will, which was obviously impossible, so the store shut down, causing everyone to be laid off. We also have one of the sweetest things I’ve ever seen with Priscilla leaving a plate of Christmas cookies at Daffy’s grave, stating she’ll visit him every year on Christmas because she knows how painful it is to be alone during the holidays (since her dad works on them due to Daffy) and Christmas is the one time of year when everyone’s family.

This isn’t even tainted by the not subtle implication that she believes Daffy’s in HELL. I actually burst out laughing at that.

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Daffy’s, of course, a changed duck after that, giving everyone exactly what they wanted for Christmas and much more. And everyone, including Daffy, had a very merry Christmas.

I fairly like this spin on A Christmas Carol. It’s predictable, sure, and I think they spend a little too long on the first half and not quite enough time with the ghosts, but that’s not too bad. What they rewrote was more appropriate for Looney Tunes while also being fairly sad and sweet.

Daffy’s backstory was probably the laziest, though. They have a messed up message as a result, too. One message keeps popping up in this movie and that’s that Daffy is such a terrible person because he never had a family. That’s obviously a very wrong and insulting message to any orphan in existence. They try to offset it by having the other message be that Christmas is the one time of year where everyone’s family, but that obviously wasn’t true when he was a little duck and I’m not sure having a family one day a year would save you from becoming an ass.

Friends are also brought up, which is very important as friends can be a surrogate family, but they mostly focus on Daffy’s lack of family.

His backstory is entirely different from Scrooge’s. Scrooge was a nice enough child, but had a very harsh and strict father who sent him off to boarding school. Scrooge’s one shining light in his life back then was his sister, Fan, who tragically died giving birth to her child, Fred. Several years later, he enjoyed Christmas while working for his kind and fun boss, Mr. Fezziwig, where he met and fell in love with a woman named Belle. A Christmas a few years later showed her leaving him because he was more preoccupied with his money than he was with her.

I’m obviously not expecting some intricately woven backstory by Looney Tunes, and you definitely don’t have to follow the source material to a T, but saying that Daffy is such a greedy grouch just because he was a lonely orphan is a little screwed up.

Bugs’ role here was also quite odd. You’ll notice that I haven’t mentioned Bugs this whole time, and I’m sad to say that Bugs was entirely pointless here. He just kinda pops in and out of scenes during the non-ghost parts. He berates Daffy for being a grinch and performs his regular physical comedy shtick. That’s it. He didn’t even really have an actual role. He wasn’t affected at all by the events of the movie. He was locked in the store with Daffy, but that’s about it. I think there’s a major misstep somewhere in production if you can’t figure out what to do with Bugs Bunny.

They say he’s supposed to be a Fred-like character, but I don’t really see it to be honest.

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Some might complain about Priscilla being a rather washed Tiny Tim replacement. She’s not sick or handicapped and she doesn’t die in the bleak future – the only thing that hinges on Daffy turning good is whether she gets a pig doll or not. However, I found this change to be perfectly fine. I liked Priscilla a lot and she brought just as much sweetness to this movie as Tim did.

The art and animation are very good for a direct-to-dvd title, especially one over a decade old. There are some hiccups here and there, but the artwork is very well-detailed, the colors pop and the Looney Tunes move the way you expect them to move. There’s a lot of energy here, and I really like it.

One problem I do have is that everything feels so empty. You have this story taking place in a very successful and supposedly busy superstore and yet only Bugs and Penelope (The cat Pepe constantly harasses) are seen as actual customers. I kept wondering if the store was actually open until Bugs said he was shopping there. Where is everyone?

The music was also really good – again, better than you think you’d get for direct-to-DVD – but there were some times when the sound mixing was a bit off. Several times I thought a musical number was about to begin because the music seemed grand and was getting louder and louder over important parts, but there are no musical numbers to be had.

Overall, this was a pretty enjoyable Christmas movie. Not gut-busting hilarious but still fairly funny and heartwarming. Being another A Christmas Carol adaptation, it’s obviously very predictable, and what changes they make tend to hurt the story more than improve it, except maybe Priscilla, but it’s still pretty good.


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Animating Halloween: Tiny Toon Adventures – Night Ghoulery Review

Plot: The Tiny Toons parody numerous horror movies and shows for their Halloween special.

Breakdown: Now that the Looney Tunes have had their shot at a Halloween special review this year and pretty much flopped, how did the Tiny Toons do?

Much better, I’m happy to report. And I was trying really hard not to be biased because I did watch this special a lot as a kid (I especially remember loving the parody of The Tell-Tale Heart.)

Instead of taking old existing cartoon shorts and sloppily taping them together to make a Halloween movie, Tiny Toons went all out and made a full 45 minute long special with all new shorts parodying a variety of horror based movies and TV shows.

The shorts are bookended by sequences where Babs is parodying the TV series, Night Gallery, which a horror anthology show hosted by Rod Sterling (with Babs doing a Rod Sterling impression throughout) that was akin to the Twilight Zone.

Some of the segments are almost confusingly short and are not bookended by the Babs Night Gallery scenes, which can sometimes make it difficult to know where and why a new short is starting, but it’s not nearly as bad as Bugs Bunny’s Howl-oween Special.

Most of the shorts, however, are pretty entertaining. Not really busting a gut laughing, but I was laughing quietly to myself. It even started me off laughing since the special started with a parody of Nightmare Before Christmas. There were many moments that had me chuckling. Obviously, some of the shorts land harder than others, but they had their moments

I was baffled at how only one of them featured Buster at all. This special was covered in Plucky and Hamton, though, which is fine because I love those two, but it’s a little confusing why they were given so much focus. They, together, got two shorts to themselves, and Plucky even got another while partnered with Buster. Babs only got one short to herself, and Babs and Buster never had a short together.

I didn’t particularly care for the fact that two of these shorts had a character, both played by Plucky, that did the ol’ ‘There’s something scary!’ *tries to show other person* *There’s nothing there* *Character is treated like an idiot or crazy* trope twice in this special, especially considering that my least favorite part of Bugs Bunny’s Howl-oween Special was the one where they did that same trope with Sylvester.

Also, Tiny Toons does prove to get a little dated at spots. Nothing cringe or eye-roll worthy, but there are still instances here and there where you can see its age. In addition, even as an adult, there are a ton of references I just don’t get.

I really appreciated that they made a custom theme song for the special. Not only is it an extended version of the regular song, but it’s animated and lyrically changed to fit the Halloween theme, which was awesome. They even ended the special on a different ending rendition of it.

Overall, this is a really great special for any Looney Tune or Tiny Toon fan around Halloween. It’s obviously not scary at all, it’s Tiny Toons so it’s not meant to be, but it’s a great bit of Halloween humor with a little something for everyone. Plus, we got to see Furrball dressed as a Ghostbuster, come on.


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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.