That’s all, folks. The upcoming “Looney Tunes” reboot on HBO Max will be implementing a progressive update: stripping the characters Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam of their guns.
“Warner Bros is stripping Elmer Fudd of his rifle in a new Looney Tunes cartoon series on HBO Max, handicapping the grumpy hunter as he continues his decades-long pursuit of the wise-cracking Bugs Bunny,” reports New York Post. “The change in the latest incarnation of the iconic animated series is a response to the gun violence in the US.”
The original “Looney Tunes” cartoon regularly featured Elmer Fudd hunting Bugs Bunny with a rifle only to be outsmarted by his bag of tricks every time. Beyond Elmer Fudd, the show contained plenty of cartoon violence, from Wile E. Coyote’s skirmishes with the Road Runner to Speedy Gonzales escaping the clutches of Sylvester the Cat.
Speaking with The New York Times, executive producer Peter Browngardt said that the show will still feature plenty of cartoon violence sans guns.
“We’re not doing guns,” said Browngardt. “But we can do cartoony violence — TNT, the Acme stuff. All of that was kind of grandfathered in.”
Elmer Fudd will instead hunt Bugs Bunny with a scythe because that weapon is somehow less scary or threatening than a gun.
However, despite the absence of guns, that does not mean “Looney Tunes” will be losing its edge. After all, this is “Looney Toons,” not Mickey Mouse.
“The 200 new cartoons, which will feature other Looney Toons ‘stars,’ will still have an edge — Porky Pig sucks the poison out of Daffy Duck’s leg in one skit, Sylvester the Cat is haunted by the ghost of his traditional target, Tweety Bird, and Satan even makes a cameo in one toon,” reported the New York Post.
Executive producer Peter Browngardt said that some episodes may be a bit too racy for today’s political climate.
“Some of them have maybe gone a little too far, so they might come out in a different format,” Browngardt told The New York Times. “We’re going through this wave of anti-bullying, everybody needs to be friends, everybody needs to get along. Looney Toons is pretty much the antithesis of that. It’s two characters in conflict, sometimes getting pretty violent.”
The original “Looney Tunes” has been subject to criticism throughout the decades for its depiction of racial and ethnic minorities. On the Golden Collection DVDs released between 2003 and 2008, actress Whoopi Goldberg, a longtime fan of the cartoons, said in her introduction to the series that even though those jokes were wrong and offensive, they should not be erased from history.
“Some of the cartoons here reflect some of the prejudices that were commonplace in American society, especially when it came to the treatment of racial and ethnic minorities,” she said. “These jokes were wrong then and they are wrong today, but removing these inexcusable images and jokes would be the same as saying they never existed, so they are presented here to accurately reflect a part of our history that cannot and should not be ignored.”
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