Can 'Looney Tunes' Be Any Good Without the Violence?

Jeanne Sager
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Looney TunesParents, we should have seen this coming. The Looney Tunes have been resurrected. Pawing through kids' toy box already feels like a walk down memory lane, so why not surfing the kids' TV channels?

Erm, maybe because the cartoons that were short on talk and heavy on the violence that left us in stitches when we were growing up have met the new generation of parents, who are all about "talking out our feelings," but terrified of their kids actually displaying any? To successfully put out a new version of Looney Tunes, it was going to have to be violence free. And what's the fun in that?

You've heard the term, "Looney Tunes violence?" It's that famous, and OK, I'll admit as a parent looking back as a cute little critter had an anvil dropped on its head I could see how some would say it's not exactly a model of perfect behavior. But the vitriol for the old series that I've found on the 'net made me wonder if I dare peruse a screener of the new Cartoon Network show -- airing this Tuesday, May 3 -- in front of my kid.

People aren't just questioning their own parents for letting them watch the looney lot. Scientists are telling us they screwed us up -- hard core. So would just a 5 minute gander with the 5-year-old create, as a study by researchers at the Seattle Children's Hospital warned, "behavior which include[s] cheating, being mean, disobedience, destructiveness, and demonstrating a lack of remorse for their actions"?

But what the hey, the kid has to have something really good to talk about in therapy, so I popped it in the DVD player and settled on the couch with the 5-year-old. So here's the deal: There are no anvils. No smashing on the head. No cats eating birds. On the other hand, Daffy Duck is still a bit of a sociopath with a bad lisp. Bugs Bunny still says what's up doc. But MAN is there a lot of talking.

I'm starting to understand why they had so much violence back in the day. We didn't have to listen to Daffy sputter. And they didn't have to make up much dialogue. For what it's worth, the new "The Looney Tunes Show" as it's been dubbed is more or less violence-free, and in turn it's gotten a real plot. In the first episode, Best Friends, you see Bugs and Daffy as roommates who argue, but they don't beat the crap out of each other.

And my 5-year-old still found it to be "really funny." I guess there is fun to be had in a violence-free Looney Tunes. But let's be clear -- all that talk means a little less action. It's not quite the walk down memory lane you had in mind.

Do you let your kids watch the old Looney Tunes? How about the new one?

 

Image via Cartoon Network

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