The Looney Tunes Show – Cartoons for Adults


WB’s ‘The Looney Tunes Show’ isn’t your childhood ‘Merry Melodies.’ It’s more a grown-up version of ‘Tiny Toons’ geared to the pop-culture-oriented adult.


There’s a difference between the old school Looney Tunes cartoons and Cartoon Network’s Looney Tunes Show. Although the old school WB cartoons focused on a child audience, with a secondary layer for adults, the new school Looney Tunes Show focuses on savvy adults while including comic pratfalls to entertain the elementary aged viewer. Basically, these contemporary cartoons are geared towards former Saturday morning watchers who want cartoons they can watch with their kids while the old school Merry Melodies were geared towards our younger selves with elements our parents could appreciate.

Daffy snarks about the American education system.

Cartoon Network’s Looney Tunes Show clearly targets an older audience while maintaining slapstick for the younger crowd. If you haven’t caught an episode, Bugs and Daffy are adult male roommates, a la Bert and Ernie, who handle dating while snarking on contemporary society. In the “Black Widow,” Daffy takes a spring vacation while Bugs recreates a 1930s mystery with his girlfriend, Lola. Is it like the original Tex Avery/Chuck Jones cartoons? No. The Looney Tunes Show is closer to its mid-90s WB cartoon siblings who used pop culture to comment on contemporary society for a more aware adult audience. There’s a great opening moment when Daffy snarks about the number of vacation and holidays in the American education system while deciding his low-employed self should vacate instead. The episode includes mild unspoken commentary on adults who recreate their former youth and deliberately enact mischief while fearing facing the consequences. Porky’s ongoing “I left my iron/curling iron/magnifying glass/etc. on”, will resonate with every single vacationing adult.

Kristen Wiig’s the master of vocal deadpan.

The show features a lot of SNL vocal talent. Kristen Wiig is hilarious as Lola Bunny. The ongoing literal metaphor gag (“letting the cat out of the bag”) got me every single time. While I’ve seen other cartoons use literal metaphors humorously, I’ve never fallen for it. However, Kristen Wiig’s the master of vocal deadpan. Every time she matter-of-factly discussed the elephant in the room I never expected its accompanying visual cue. Jeff Bergman is equally talented. Without checking IMDb, I wouldn’t’ve known that he played BOTH Bugs and Daffy, with two clearly distinct personalities and vocal inflections. Finally, I would not have pegged Fred Armisen as Speedy Gonzalez without IMDb’s help.

I still prefer the original 1930-1969 Tex Avery/Chuck Jones cartoons.

However, I still find the original 1930-1969 Tex Avery/Chuck Jones cartoons like “What’s Opera Doc” or “Rabbit of Seville” smarter than its contemporary offspring. The current show features too much dialogue where silence and gestures could’ve served equally well. “Black Widow” might’ve included more punch if the filler scenes, i.e. Daffy and Porky en route to their vacation, didn’t use as much verbal text. I wonder about our culture that’s losing the ability to read visual cues and between the lines, when we overtly crowd our shows with unnecessary words. Additionally, animation-wise, I miss the detailed backgrounds.

Silly rabbit, The Looney Tunes Show is for adults, not kids.

Overall, I think the contemporary Looney Tunes Show is smart because of its vocal talents and covert social commentary. It isn’t the Looney Tunes from our childhood and it isn’t meant to be. It’s more a grown-up version of Tiny Toons than anything else. Think of Lola as a grown-up Babs and Bugs as a wiser Buster. It’s geared towards our grown-up selves who own our own homes and want our contemporary issues reflected back at us in animated form. Rather than our mimicking Bugs and Daffy in “Rabbit Seasoning” as children, they mirror us with tanning salons, cars and daddy issues.

Silly rabbit, The Looney Tunes Show is for adults, not kids. New episodes appear on Cartoon Network every Tuesday at 8/7 central.

Photo Credit: Cartoon Network

4 Comments on “The Looney Tunes Show – Cartoons for Adults

  1. I like the ones from 1985-1990.

  2. It’s a pretty solid show, even if it can be hit or miss. And I agree, Wiig brings a lot to the table with Lola.

  3. The Looney Tunes cartoons from 1930-1969 were originally made for adults. The directors of those cartoons (especially Bob Clampett) did not make them with children in mind. The versions that air on Cartoon Network edit out many scenes just so it’s appropriate for children to see.

  4. Haven’t seen it yet, but now planning on checking it out. I thought the old school Looney Tunes were smart & sophisticated. To me, part of the joke was, it wasn’t catering to adults on the surface, but really was. It was probably one of the biggest influences on me (not just because I ended up doing animated comedy for adults.)

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