Monday, May 6, 2013

The Looney Tunes Show

 The previous Looney Tunes theatrical shorts used an anarchic style of comedy with settings and situations which could change drastically from short to short. The Looney Tunes Show places those same characters into a stable modern setting in the form of a situation comedy. It first premiered in 2011 on Cartoon Network and has run for 2 seasons so far. 

The character designs were changed for this series. In general they have larger heads, hands, and feet and are also skinnier. In this incarnation Daffy has sharper angles and bugs remains very round. Porky is very similar but slightly thinner. Unlike the other characters Lola Bunny was first introduced in the 90s film Space Jam and has gone from being sexualized design to a goofy design. 

Even though the characters keep their animal like appearances they are treated the same as the regular humans they interact with. The two leading characters are Bugs and Daffy who have become roommates. Lola is Bug’s stalkerish girlfriend and Porky is mainly a friend of Daffy. In some ways the show is a throwback to the sitcoms of the 90s. It features adult characters who are single but dating and who have moved to the city (although they live in a suburb of it and not an apartment).

The plot lines feature a mix of everyday occurrences with common sitcom tropes. In one plotline Bugs goes to a doctor who says he has been drinking too much caffeine. This triggers Bugs to stop drinking coffee and start drinking a large number of energy drinks which turn out to be worse for him than the coffee. Everything returns to normal at the end of the episode just in time to have another zany romp in the next one.

The humor mainly comes from the characters and the situations they get into but there is still some slapstick humor and more physical violence than in a live action sitcom. The show also makes use of squash and stretch animation for exaggerated expressions.  

Fortunately there is no laugh track but the cartoon can feel like a multi-camera sitcom despite having been made in a completely different way. It has the characteristics of a multi-camera approach like the ones Newman Levine outlines in “Upgrading the Situation Comedy” in that it’s “showcasing both verbal and physical comedy” and it is “characterized by pronounced gestures and facial expressions, and loud, distinctive, and even obnoxious voices.” The music for the show is very similar in style to that form of sitcom. The show is like a single camera sitcom mainly in the way it can use the camera dynamically for many different types of shots.

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