The Looney Tunes Show: “Jailbird and Jailbunny” (Review)

Posted: May 19, 2011 in Uncategorized
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Tony here. Time for a review of the latest episode of The Looney Tunes Show, the latest re-imagining of the classic animated shorts. The episode, “Jailbird and Jailbunny”, aired last night, May 17th, 2011, on Cartoon Network. I’d lump this together with Scooby Doo, Mystery Inc. to comprise a full CN Tuesday recap, but I don’t follow Mystery Inc. enough to give a full critique of it week-after-week, at least not yet. Let’s get started.

In “Jailbird and Jailbunny”, Bugs, Daffy, and Porky visit the Grand Canyon, where Daffy throws his empty can of soda into the canyon and faces charges for littering on federal property. Due to his incompetency in defending his case and embarrassing behavior to defendants, he and Bugs are sentenced to spend time in prison. Needless to say, hilarity ensues.

All over the internet, since the second images of this series began to show up, people have teared apart this show for any reason they can think of. Be it for the new sitcom approach, the new character designs, the voice actors, or even for being fucking “liberal”. Some of these complaints, however, ring true-in its first two episodes, The Looney Tunes Show did not deliver on the hilarious, tongue-in-cheek humor that the promos promised. By no means bad, these two episodes were certainly not as good as they could–and should–have been, with issues with characterization, and simply not being funny enough.

Fortunately, the third episode has atoned for the mistakes of the previous episodes and delivered a clever, tonally solid episode which nails just the right amount of hilarity and tongue-and-cheek humor.

The Looney Tunes Show is, unambiguously, a sitcom. The plotting, therefore, typically runs off as stale and almost formulaic, with Bugs and Daffy downgraded to mismatched sitcom pals. “Jailbird and Jailbunny”, however, was a breath of fresh air, as we see the two in prison, a set-up that truthfully does feel something like an old school Looney Tunes short. Interestingly enough, Bugs also seemed more in tone with his previous characterization from the shorts in this episode then in the previous ones, dropping the Straight Man routine from the previous two.

And perhaps most importantly, this episode was flat-out hilarious. From the opening gag of Daffy pointing out ludicrous names on vanity license plates at the gift shop to the recurring gag of Porky Pigs’ lack of pants, this episode delivered on the laugh-out-loud funny jokes missing from previous installments of this show. Not much can be said, really, about this except that it really is legitimately hilarious.

I understand there’s a lot of, shall we say. . .mixed reception over the Merrie Melodies shorts in this new show. Positioned as basically kid-friendly SNL Digital Shorts, with Looney Tunes characters singing/rapping comedic songs. Deemed way to out in left field for Looney Tunes, there is vocal criticism of these recurring segments for being simply unfunny and out-of-tone. I, personally, have no problem with them, but I also sort of feel spoiled–I’ve seen thus far all the aired Merrie Melodies songs before the episodes have aired thanks to online previews, and so I really haven’t had the experience of seeing the bits with fresh eyes. This episode’s “Blow My Stack” was catchy and worked in some clever under-the-radar comedy, though its not particularly what I’d call a “gem”.

The final act of this episode sort of dissolved back into the whole “sitcom” bit, with Bugs and Daffy chained together, but the jokes kept on moving and landing rather well. The animation, too, was astonishing. I enjoy these character designs for the majority of the time, though Porky’s design could use some reworking. Still, the whole thing is smooth and bright, with some really impressive storyboarding on display as well, which really helps with the show’s timing and visual gags.

Definitely the best episode of this show so far. I give it an A.

Watch The Looney Tunes Show every Tuesday night at 8:00pm on Cartoon Network, and be sure to continue reading Toons with Tony for animation updates and opinions.

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