Opinion: Is there a place for Looney Tunes in this day and age?

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Jaime Weinman is the author of Anvils, Mallets & Dynamite: The Unauthorized Biography of Looney Tunes, which was published this week.

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earlier this year, Space Jam: A New Legacy prove what the original space Jam Proven 25 years ago: The looney tunes The characters – Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig and all the other talking animals – have trouble breaking through to mainstream popularity without LeBron James or Michael Jordan to help them. It raises a question I’ve been wondering about for a long time: why is it so hard to produce new looney tunes Content to revive the franchise for a new generation? Warner Bros. rivals Disney’s lead characters Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck remain popular, but since the closure of the original Warner Bros. cartoon studio in the early 1960s, Bugs Bunny has struggled to stay relevant—when unless basketball is somehow not involved.

Some of it is just a matter of money. Original looney tunes Cartoons were created to play in movie theaters, and when they were not on the budget, they used what is known as “full animation”, where characters were made to move fluidly and act with their entire bodies. There are enough pictures. The Road Runner cartoons, which used the same basic ghazals over and over again, continued to be funny until they were forced to switch to low-budget limited animation in the 1960s; It turns out that the thing we were really laughing at wasn’t the fifteenth shot of a coyote falling off a cliff, but the accuracy of the timing and his beautifully animated reactions to his latest failure.

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No wonder Chuck Jones, the creator of the Road Runner series, wrote in 1959 that the series was “only possible with full animation. It is as wise to think about these characters any other way as it is about Charlie Chaplin.” I have to think in a series of poses.” After more than 60 years, no one has found a way to make good looney tunes Cartoons on a tight budget, and the characters are so defined by movement that they’ve never done particularly well in comics.

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However, with a good budget, coming up with a new story looney tunes Characters can be a challenge, as they go against much of what we think of as good storytelling. For example, any screenwriter might tell you that a hero must have a worthy opponent and face obstacles on the way to victory. And for most franchises, they would be right. But in Bugs Bunny cartoons, their villains are usually total idiots like Yosemite Sam and Marvin the Martian, and in the story they have to win at everything, sometimes even yawning at how easy it is.

Not only that, guys (sorry, I couldn’t resist): most writers today would also say that characters in a series should have coherent personalities, histories, and relationships. And for most chains, they are correct. but in classic looney tunes, there is no continuity. Because Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd almost never address each other by name, Bugs chooses from his vast stock of insults and Elmer ends up going with “Mr.”. Wabbit,” that is, there’s no suggestion they’ve met before. Sometimes Sylvester is an alley cat that tries to break into Tweety’s house; sometimes she’s with Tweety’s owner, Grandma. Tweety has no owner, only sometimes Tweety has no boss. Even character traits can change at random. During World War II, the studio put out a cartoon in which Daffy Duck is a commando which kills Hitler with a mallet, and a cartoon where he is a cowardly suburban housekeeper who attempts to murder the man who brings him his draft notice.

model for looney tunes There were great comedians of silent and early sound films, who created iconic characters but never considered them as part of any kind of continuous story. Groucho Marx is the biggest influence on Bugs Bunny, each film with a different name and work. So it should come as no surprise that Elmer Fudd could be vegetarian in one cartoon and poached rabbit stew in another. but even then looney tunes were still underway, this approach began to fall out of favor. Radio and especially television tend toward situation comedy, where the characters are always in the same place, at the same time, with the same family and if anything changes without explanation, it’s probably a dream sequence. .

It is not surprising, then, that many attempts to re-imagine looney tunes Stable characters engage in trying to give them certain relationships, jobs, places. In space Jam In the movies, characters who never met each other in the original series (which is to say, most of them) all share a homeland and shoot hoops together. The Looney Tunes Show Tried to re-imagine them as sitcom characters, with Daffy and Speedy Gonzales as the wacky housewives of the Bugs. latest tv version, looney tunes cartoon, where Canadian actor Eric Bauza won praise as the voice of both Bugs and Daffy, uses a more classic format but cleverly arranges things for a bit more continuity than before. The characters on the show are often portrayed as friend or foe for a long time, where in the old days they were generally total strangers.

it’s a nice adjustment looney tunes formula, but may require major adjustments for the franchise to really move forward. Daffy Duck’s original cartoon series was saved in the 1950s, when he was transformed from a self-described “screwball” into an angry loser, but Warner Bros. executives kept him in that characterization for decades. Kept frozen, until it stopped being funny. It’s not impossible to create new looney tunes Projects that are just as good as the original – but they have to be just as good in a different way. What can today’s creators do with Daffy that’s new and fresh? How do you portray Bugs Bunny in a cartoon that follows a modern storytelling tradition, but is still recognizable about Bugs? This can happen if Warner Bros. gives enough time and resources to the creators. If not, well, at least he’ll have a permanent job as the NBA’s mascot.

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