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'Tiny Toon Adventures' ruled

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budnick-kayla-top-modelTiny Toon Adventures is sort of the overlooked middle child of Warner Bros. animation. The series was conceived during the late-80s, post-Muppet Babies boomlet for younger versions of beloved cartoon characters, and the series could never match up to the original Looney Tunes animation. At the same time, Tiny Toon only rarely achieved the full-scale madcap insanity of Warner’s later  cartoon Animaniacs. (Much as I love “Particle Man,” I have to agree with John Young that nothing beats the musical sequences on Animaniacs.) Still, I loved Tiny Toon Adventures when I was a kid, for one simple reason: In the heresy of my youth, I liked the one-two combo of Buster Bunny and Babs Bunny much, much, much more than their icon/inspiration, Bugs Bunny.

Bugs Bunny always seemed a bit schizophrenic in his iconic Loony Tunes shorts. Sometimes he was a too-cool-for-school beatnik; other times, he was a madcap whirlwind, playing dress-up and make-believe. Tiny Toon literalized this schizophrenia by creating two new characters who represented those two sides: Buster Bunny was the chill, wry, even smarmy leader of the toon crowd, while Babs was the kooky, lovably Ritalin-starved drama student.

Am I the only one who liked the Tiny Toon characters more than their iconic namesakes? Plucky Duck was always pretty annoying, especially compared to Daffy Duck, who is simply one of the most perfectly miserable characters in cartoon history. But Hamton J. Pig had all of Porky’s sweetness with none of the stuttering, and Calamity Coyote was like an alternate-universe version of Wile E. Coyote who put his engineering prowess to good use for society and didn’t get trapped in a Sisyphean hunt for the Eternal Roadrunner.

I realize as I’m writing this that the Tiny Toon characters were basically the Looney Tunes characters with all the sociopathic urges removed. Montana Max didn’t want to kill bunnies, like Yosemite Sam; he was basically just a rich bully. But hey, when you’re a kid, bullies seem pretty freaky. (Actually, bullies still scare me. I cried when I was playing the game Bully, just because I was so horrified by what my character was doing. Mind you, I didn’t actually stop playing Bully. That game was awesome.)

PopWatchers, am I the only one who thought some of the Tiny Toons were cooler than their predecessors?

Follow Darren on Twitter: @EWDarrenFranich

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