Tony here. Time to review the latest episode of The Looney Tunes Show, the latest incarnation of the classic Looney Tunes franchise. The new episode, “Fish and Visitors”, aired on Cartoon Network yesterday, May 24, 2011. I actually was planning on lumping together a review of this with a review of Scooby Doo, Mystery Inc. to make a full CN Tuesday Recap, and while I do have a few things to say about this week’s episode of that, I’m still not a well-informed enough fan of that show to properly critique it. Spoilers follow. Let’s get started.
In “Fish and Visitors”, Yosemite Sam moves in next door to Bugs and Daffy and installs solar panels to run the electricity in his home so he can be entirely self-dependent. And of course, thunderstorms start brewing constantly, leaving Sam without power. Bugs, taking to the hospitable neighborly-code-of-conduct, lets him use his and Daffy’s house when his power goes out, despite Daffy’s rational (!) objections. Sam becomes an unwanted house guest and mooch soon, after a long-lasting storm leaves him without power for days.
I consider this sort of a notch down from last week’s phenomenal “Jailbird and Jailbunny”, but nonetheless think of it as a step in the right direction–at least tonally–for this series. The whole premise of this series is “Looney Tunes as a sitcom”, and it is this change that has led people to be so turned off and critical of it since it aired. A big problem is that these characters were not made to be sitcom characters, and so rewriting them as such while still being faithful to their roots is a challenge that requires careful, polished writing. The first two episodes of this show stumbled on that front, but by “Jailbird and Jailbunny” the show seemed to know what it’s doing. This episode did not deliver on the same level comedic-wise as “Jailbird” but reached the same level tonally.“Fish and Visitors” was able to take a sitcom premise and make it gel well with Bugs, Daffy, and company.
Again, the jokes did not land as hard as they should have, or as well as they did last week–the whole thing felt sort of in between episode two and last week’s episode. That’s not to say there weren’t some good jokes all around. The exchange: “I’d hate to be Yosemite Sam right now.” “I’d hate to be Yosemite Sam ANY time.” was just brilliant, and while the joke was later repeated in the episode in a new way (“Believe me, you won’t like me when I’m hungry.” “I don’t like you NOW.”) it still managed to be funny. Hey, if a joke works, nothing else can really be said.
The plot was a straight-up sitcom plot without any major surprises or twists, but it remained engrossing and entertaining enough to make you, well, give a shit despite the predictability. Yosemite Sam’s portrayal is, meh…hit or miss. They got the anger better in his “Blow My Stake” Merrie Melody a few episodes back, and here he’s more-or-less downgraded to a jerk mooch who never once throws wild tantrums or fires his gone off in fury (and don’t tell me, “Oh, it’s a kids’ show, they can’t do that”–because they’re able to do it in the Looney Tunes reruns which are rated TV-G as opposed to this show’s TV-PG). That was really my only problem with this episode.
Oh, that and the Merrie Melodies cartoon. By no means do I hate this as viciously as practically everyone else on the internet does, but this episode’s short was just lame. The shorts serve no purpose whatsoever and come off as only sporadically-funny, pointless dribble to fill in airtime before the commercial break. This was Henery Hawk’s first appearance in several years and the material he was given–a off-kilter, uncatchy rap song–failed on several levels. I’ve been fine with the previous Merrie Melodies, but this was just flat out weak. Also, it’s really been bothering me that these shorts appear in the middle of the episode. This just literally interrupts the entire flow of things by cutting things off before the commercial does, throwing off the whole timing of the episode. These shorts need to just be at the end of the episode–I’d say put them in the end credits, but Cartoon Network cuts those off. The placement bothers me more than the blandness of the short itself.
Overall, not a bad episode, as it was able to properly blend the characters with sitcom plotting and humor unflinchingly, but it was definitely a notch down from last week. I give it a B+.
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.