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Looney Tunes Isn’t in Need of Rescuing

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of
AP Photo/Kamran Jabreili

Hollywood is clearly running out of new programs for us to consume. 

Why? There is no shortage of stories to tell on the big screen or through streaming services. In fact, it’s distressing to see the regurgitation of the same movie or show over and over again. Instead, Tinseltown believes we, the viewers, really desire remakes and new iterations of beloved American classic cartoons. 

Which classic is being subjected to revamping now? First it was Disney, now the beloved “Looney Tunes” franchise is getting some semblance of a “make-over.” 

HBO Max, a new video streaming service of the AT&T-owned WarnerMedia Entertainment, unveiled its new series “Looney Tunes Cartoons.” 

According to one report, the episodes will vary from one to six minutes in length. Bugs Bunny and other familiar fixtures will return. The program’s aesthetic, it added, will “take their cues from the “Looney Tunes” glory years of the 1940s and ’50s, more revival than reboot. Here’s more on the reboot

"Starring the cherished Looney Tunes characters. Looney Tunes Cartoons echoes the high production value and process of the original Looney Tunes theatrical shorts with a cartoonist-driven approach to storytelling. Marquee Looney Tunes characters will be featured in their classic pairings in simple, gag-driven and visually vibrant stories. The new series from Warner Bros. Animation is comprised of animated shorts that vary in length and includes adapted storylines for today's audience."

What is notably absent in this reboot, per the show’s creators? Firearms, of course—the convenient and oft-vilified Hollywood scapegoat. 

Telegraph noted, “In response to US gun violence, the showrunners will not include firearms in Fudd’s arsenal. That is not to say that he has given up hunting Bugs Bunny, though - he just uses a scythe instead.” 

But wait, there’s more! The New York Times reassures us, “The old “Looney Tunes” violence is here, too: the sticks of dynamite, the intricate booby traps, the anvils and bank safes dropped on unsuspecting heads.” 

A scythe? Really? How is a scythe any less dangerous than a firearm? Booby traps? Anvils? Bank safes? Also, nobody hunts rabbits with scythes—hunting dogs like beagles, shotguns, and snare traps are commonly used. 

Remember: This is the same Hollywood that virtue signals about gun safety, yet glorifies violence in many of its films and programs. This is the same Hollywood home to actors and actresses who boast armed security yet loudly clamor for gun control. This is the same Hollywood that lumps law-abiding gun owners with hardened criminals.

Not surprisingly, this change-up is part of Warner Brothers’ “greater” mission to embark on “a five-alarm rescue effort.” What rescuing is “Looney Tunes” in need of that we are unaware of? Is it in danger of losing popularity, despite how readily available and consumed reruns are? There’s no way the “Looney Toons” is better off with this.  

Not everyone is convinced this hypocrisy will go unnoticed.  

TMZ declared, “It does seem a bit hypocritical to ban guns, but not other explosives that are depicted with as much verve and explicit violence as Elmer's rifle and Sam's pistols used to be in the old days.”

Beloved “Looney Tunes” characters don’t need to be sanitized to fit a progressive mold. They are fictitious characters. And as far as studies go, there’s no established correlation between watching this show and a corresponding spike in violence. 

Why are we seeing more Hollywood remakes? It’s simple: They’re profitable and rake in a lot of cash. And while many consumers get fatigued by reboots or remakes, Hollywood believes more content, not less, is what we really want. 

CNET explained, “Streaming platforms, hungry for content, revive old network shows not just because they see the economic viability of nostalgia...but because they need more content than ever before.”

Why ruin something timeless by diluting it? Since 1930, “Looney Tunes” and its sister series “Merrie Melodies” have brought joy to millions of Americans. Reruns broadcasted since then have equally been enjoyed by children and adults—myself included. 

Four cartoons have been inducted into the National Film Registry, and 22 have been nominated for Academy Awards—with five cartoons winning Best Short Subject in the Cartoon category. 

Why change what works? The original “Looney Tunes” series isn’t in need of rescuing; perhaps it is the film industry needing some rescuing from itself.


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