A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Looney Tunes is a classic cartoon that's been through many reincarnations starring its popular characters such as Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Wile E. Coyote, and Daffy Duck. Older episodes reflect the cultural leanings of the time and often show stereotypes of minorities and women that are offensive by today's standards. This cartoon is probably best known for its use of physical gags for humor, particularly between rivals such as Sylvester Cat and Tweety Bird, so you'll see characters hit, kicked, crushed, stretched, tied in knots, tied to a railroad track, shot (no blood or injury beyond a blackened face), and blown up, none of which lasts beyond a scene change.
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What's the story?
LOONEY TUNES is a classic TV franchise that introduced such iconic characters as Bugs Bunny, Porky Pig, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Pepé Le Pew, Tasmanian Devil, and Daffy Duck (all voiced by Mel Blanc) in animated shorts during the 1940s through the 1960s. Notorious feuds such as those of Wile E. Coyote (Blanc again) and the Road Runner; Elmer Fudd (Arthur Q. Bryan; later Blanc) and Bugs Bunny; and Sylvester the Cat (Blanc) and Tweety Bird (Blanc) evolved during the course of Looney Tunes' original run. Many of the characters and plots have been revisited in numerous reincarnations of the characters in the years since Warner Bros. first brought them to the small screen.
Is it any good?
There's a reason this show and its characters continue to inspire reimaginings so many years after it first came on the scene. Looney Tunes has become a catch-all phrase for both the collection of cartoons starring these animated celebrities and the characters themselves. Either way, the name is synonymous with hilarious gags, longstanding rivalries, and colorful characters who rarely disappoint fans looking for some laughs. Though the humor's not particularly edgy (you've gotta be a fan of anvil-dropping, shotgun-blasting comedy), you'll see the universal appeal that's given these characters such longevity.
For all the violence they generate, the tortured rivalries are undeniably fun to watch, and the show's superb use of music as a plot device adds so much to the shorts. It's worth noting that many of the early episodes reflect their time in racial stereotypes, drinking, and other now-controversial content, so much so that some have been edited for TV viewing, although not always for DVDs.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Looney Tunes reflects the changes in society's tolerance for stereotypes and violence. Do you see a difference between the content of older episodes and newer ones? Why were racial stereotypes in particular considered acceptable during the mid-1900s?
Can any harm come from watching the kind of inconsequential violence for which this show is known? How has the content of cartoons changed over time and for what reasons?
How do you account for the longevity of these characters? Which are your favorites, and why? Can you point to any modern animated characters you think might enjoy similar extended popularity?
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