YMMV: Looney Tunes

  • Adaptation Displacement: Bob Clampett's adaptation of Dr. Seuss' Horton Hatches the Egg (1942) used the book itself as a storyboard with additional gag ideas (and Horton's "Hut-Sut" song) written in.
  • Archive Panic: Exactly 1,000 classic-era theatrical shorts, plus the SNAFU shorts and other bits of miscellanea—it's been estimated that watching a non stop marathon of them all would require a week without sleep—even getting through all the shorts already on DVD note  will take you around 3685 minutes, or two and a half days of viewing. At least there haven't been new Looney Tunes shorts regularly made since 1969. That would make the series even more grueling to get through (both in viewing it and for Warner Brothers Studios to actually put out all the classics — and not-so-classics — on DVD and/or Blu-Ray).
  • Award Snub: Despite winning seven Oscars, almost no Looney Tunes productions has ever gained an Annie Award, which is an award ceremony exclusively for animation. The biggest letdown would've had to be Looney Tunes: Back in Action losing to Finding Nemo.
    • Then there was the famous incident in which A Wild Hare, the first Bugs Bunny cartoon (and the one that pretty much established the kind of cartoons Warner Bros. would put out in the years to come), as well as Puss Gets the Boot, the first Tom and Jerry cartoon, were passed up for an Academy Award for one of MGM's oneshot shorts, The Milky Way.
    • Happens in-universe in What's Cookin', Doc? Bugs loses the Oscar for "Best Actor/Actress" to James Cagney. He spends the entire cartoon trying to convince everybody that he really deserved that Oscar (even playing footage from Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt - a cartoon that was itself nominated for an Oscar but lost). The cartoon ends with Bugs being given his very own Oscar just to finally shut him up.
  • Badass Decay: Daffy Duck changed from a Crazy Awesome prankster into a pompous Straw Loser for Bugs and other stars. Odd features remind us he's still capable of being a crazy little black duck, but he's still primarily a Butt Monkey nowadays.
    • Milder case for Cecil Turtle. In his first two appearances, he was a clear cut Always Someone Better to Bugs, anticipating the latter's every move and having the full control usually adorned to the rabbit himself. In "Rabbit Transit" however, he is a more arrogant cheat, the short playing more as an Escalating War with Cecil even getting visibly frustrated at Bugs outsmarting him at times (Bugs actually beats him this time, though Cecil returns to form with a moral victory).
    • Yosemite Sam started off as a Worthy Opponent for Bugs, to counter Elmer's pitiful streak, being more capable of genuinely menacing Bugs. As time passed however, the series' usual Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain formula took over him as well, and by the mid fifties he was actually less of a threat than Elmer (who could at least outsmart Bugs on rare occasions), just more of a prideful Asshole Victim about it.
  • Bizarro Episode: "Porky in Wackyland" and "Dough For The Do-do" are extremely nonsensical, even by the standards of these cartoons.
    • The second half of "Hare Brush," where Bugs' and Elmer's usual roles are reversed.
    • "Rabbit of Seville". ALL OF IT. It's just a chain of Big Lipped Alligator Moments that could even make the most creative and crazy of people go: "Huh?"
  • Broken Base: Surprisingly heated arguments get started between Looney Tunes fans as to what the correct onomatopoeia is for Road Runner's vocalizations: "Meep Meep" vs. "Beep Beep" vs. the incredibly specific "Mwheep Mwheep!"
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Has it's own page!
  • Designated Hero: Bugs Bunny. Bugs Bunny, BUGS BUNNY. It was for this reason that a more vicious villain was made as his foe in the mid-forties (Yosemite Sam), to occasionally replace Elmer Fudd (who's much more affable), because Bugs was looking like an outright bully towards him. Eventually, Yosemite Sam was looking like an Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain as well, and therefore Marvin The Martian was created, a character who's calm and polite but a competent villain who could still pose a threat.
  • Designated Villain: Sometimes, Elmer Fudd (when outside antagonistic roles, keep that in mind) gets depicted as a villain simply for trying to get animals off his property for bothering him (Robot Rabbit, Pests For Guests). Granted, he calls for rather extreme measures to do so, but it's a little understandable seeing as how annoying they can be.
  • Dork Age: Every cartoon produced in the 1960s after the WB animation studio initially closed its doors (Except for Norman Normal).
    • Far earlier than that, the studio went through an early dork age during the period after Harman and Ising left during late 1933 to 1935, resulting in a huge downslide in quality, as well as the advent of the impossibly bland Buddy. Fortunately, Tex Avery and Frank Tashlin's arrival began pulling the studio out of this from 1936 and onward.
    • And some of the cartoons made after Mel Blanc died and other voice actors were hired to replace him (that includes the TV shows like Baby Looney Tunes, Loonatics Unleashed, and The Looney Tunes Show), like Greg Burson, Billy West, Jeff Bergman, Tom Kenny, etc.
    • Arguably this could include the batch of 75 black-and-white Looney Tunes that were previously part of the Sunset Films/Guild Films packages which WB had sent to Korea in 1967 to be redrawn and painted in color. The trace jobs were sloppy, color schemes were off key and synchronization faltered in spots.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • The mynah bird, despite only appearing in a handful of cartoons (many of which are banned for also featuring a stereotypical African boy named Inki), is somewhat popular as a Memetic Badass.
    • Michigan J. Frog
    • Daffy Duck, Bugs Bunny, Tweety, the Roadrunner... hell, any major character that wasn't in the lineup from the beginning.
    • Penelope from the Pepe Le Pew cartoons garnered a following due to being a woobie, pretty and genuinely liking Pepe but avoiding him because of his stink.
  • Ethnic Scrappy: Some fans see Speedy as this (in his early years), due to his tendencies to yell "Arriba! Andale!" and chase around his opponents not completely unlike a Troll. Granted, he's a Karmic Trickster, but it can still be pretty annoying.
  • Fandom Berserk Button: The easiest way to annoy fans of the series is to misspell it as Looney Toons; ironically, even some official art or descriptions make this mistake.
    • Even mentioning post Golden Age material like Space Jam or Loonatics Unleashed is an easy way to piss off a hardcore Looney Tunes fan. Praising them only adds more fuel to the fire. Some diehards even hate the spinoffs, such as Tiny Toons or Animaniacs.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: There are a large number of fans that tend to ignore most of the pre-1940's Looney Tunes shorts, as well as those who ignore most of the post-1964 shorts (though it's hard to ignore the cartoons made after 1964 when CBS and Nickelodeon used to air the Daffy Duck and Speedy Gonzales cartoons on their respective classic short block shows and you were alive when they were heavily featured).
    • Many fans go as far as ignoring any post theatrical era Looney Tunes property, especially Space Jam, The Looney Tunes Show, Baby Looney Tunes and especially Loonatics Unleashed. Not even the generally well received Back In Action is safe in some circles.
    • Want to know what's even more tossed under the bus? The 2000s era flash parody online cartoons. Several of which weren't even included on the two DVD releases, But enough people try to ignore them people don't know there's a The Matrix parody with Bugs and Elmer we should be complaining about not having on DVD.
  • Fandom Rivalry: Looney Tunes fans opposed to Classic Disney Shorts fans, although there is a substantial bit of Friendly Fandoms thrown into the mix, as many cartoon fans love both of them.
  • Foe Yay: Bugs and Elmer (i.e., Rabbit of Seville, Bugs' Bonnets, What's Opera, Doc??), Bugs and Yosemite Sam (i.e., Hare Trimmed) ... Bugs and most of his adversaries at some point, really.
    • Daffy and Porky:
    Daffy Duck:: Have you got a marriage license?
    Porky Pig:: G-g-gosh no, I'm not married.
    Daffy Duck:: Aha! Not married eh? Well — *jumps into Porky's arms* — whaddya say you and me go steady?
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The Japanese getting bombed in "Tokyo Woes" and the end of "Hop and Go."
    • Beaky's Disney Death in "The Bashful Buzzard" (complete with his mother fretting over him) has a slightly tragic undertone, given Beaky's voice actor, Kent Rogers, died in action during the production of the short.
    • In "Often an Orphan", Charlie Dog laments that he doesn't want to go back to the city, and imagines a hypothetical scenario where "the towers, they're falling!" The short was released in 1949 so obviously this was meant to be a non-sequitur remark about how overwhelming and unforgiving the city landscape is, but hearing about "falling towers" is kind of eerie post-9/11.
    • Similarly, "Falling Hare" shows a plane on a collision course with a pair of boxy-looking skyscrapers, as its pilot (the Gremlin) laughs maniacally. Again, a bit jarring post-9/11.
  • Gateway Series: When asking someone what was their favorite cartoons or what inspired them to do animation, and it isn't a more contemporary work, it will be either Looney Tunes or Disney, or both.
  • Growing the Beard: Initially, the Looney Tunes started as shameless ripoffs of Disney's success and Merrie Melodies was just made to sell Warner Studio's sheet music (it's the 1930s version of the music video). That all changed after Hugh Harman and Rudolph Ising parted ways with Leon Schlesinger, forcing him to assemble a new staff—many of them important in shaping the studio's future. While the shorts still remained Disney like in nature, Tex Avery and Bob began going against the status quo of animation, starting with Tex's landmark short "Gold Diggers of '49" where he started taking advantage of cartoons being able to do anything and use them as vehicles for gags. It's generally agreed that things vastly improved as a whole when Tex Avery and Bob Clampett began to direct, as they were both a big part of shaping the Looney Tunes sense of humor we know today. However, it's the '40s that are often seen as the high point in the studio's history (ironically, Avery had left WB in 1941, but his influence had already been established).
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: In "Tortoise Wins By a Hare," one of the headlines on the newspaper advertising the race between Bugs Bunny and Cecil the Turtle reads, "Hitler Commits Suicide." This cartoon was released in 1943, a mere two years before that actually happened. It would be Harsher in Hindsight, but this is Hitler we're talking about...
    • Some jokes about prices unavoidably get this, thanks to inflation. Daffy complaining about paying 25 cents for cab fare in "Show Biz Bugs" is one of the funnier examples. Most people nowadays would kill for fare like this.
    • In 1990's "Box-Office Bunny", Daffy complains about paying seven dollars to see a movie. Compare that to today where it can cost more than twenty dollars for just one person to get admission!
    • 1943's "Super-Rabbit" parodies the Superman Theatrical Cartoons of the 1940s, with Bugs as a Captain Ersatz version of Superman. A similar premise is used in "Stupor Duck" in 1956, only with Daffy instead of Bugs. Now, many years later, Superman and all of the other DC Comics superheroes are legal property of Warner Bros. This has enabled direct Shout Outs in later cartoons such as The Looney Tunes Show, where both Bugs and Daffy claim to be Batman and the batsuit and bat-signal are both shown.
    • Knowing the fact that Elmer Fudd always falls hard for Bugs in drag back in the day, and then everyone saying that Bugs makes an ugly woman in The Looney Tunes Show, is pretty amusing.
    • "Porky and Gabby" has the latter character climbing up two trees, one foot and hand on each tree. This would become a central game mechanic in Donkey Kong Jr.
    • In the 1955 short "Pizzicato Pussycat", it had the cat becoming popular for being able to play the piano (even though it's really a mouse doing all the work.) Fast forward to 2007 with a certain viral Youtube video of a cat playing the piano.
  • I Am Not Shazam: The title Looney Tunes does not refer to the characters, be it individually or as a group, just to the no-continuity cartoons themselves.
  • Iron Woobie: Wile E. Coyote. After all he's been through, it's a mystery how he's even still alive. While all of the villains (and even some of the good guys) get screwed over time and time again, Wile E. is unique in never having gotten a single victory, and the closest he ever came was a Yank the Dog's Chain. He's also unusual in that his failures almost never have anything to do with his intended prey-the universe just goes out of its way to screw him over for no apparent reason. Still, he never even considers giving up on catching the Roadrunner.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Some see Daffy as this.
    • Claude Cat in the Hubie and Bertie shorts. Wasn't a Jerk Ass in those shorts though.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Bugs Bunny, of course, but one character that really rivals him at this is Cecil Turtle.
  • Memetic Mutation: Enough to get its own page.
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: Speedy Gonzales, despite being perceived as an Ethnic Scrappy by Cartoon Network and even banned from airing, was very popular with Latin Americans, Mexicans to be more specific.
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: The Looney Tunes racing game for the Sega Dreamcast, which was very well received. Desert Demolition and Bugs Bunny in Double Trouble are also fairly liked.
    • Looney Tunes Collector Martian Alert and Marvin Strikes Back!/Looney Tunes Collector: Martian Revenge! for the GBC are fun Zelda-esque Looney Tunes games which are also fairly well received.
    • Bugs Bunny: Lost in Time for the PS1 and PC is a great Rayman 2-esque 3D Platformer which is very fun and captures the style of the show perfectly, and was also very well received.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games: Many of the Looney Tunes tie-in video games range from mediocre (i.e. Bugs Bunny's Birthday Blowout) to outright terrible, most notably Bugs Bunny's Crazy Castle and Looney Tunes: Acme Arsenal, the latter of which was critically panned.
  • Recycled Script: Several early black-and-white shorts were later remade in color:
    • Porky's Badtime Story (1937 with Gabby Goat) as Tick Tock Tuckered (1944 with Daffy Duck)
    • Injun Trouble (1938) as Wagon Heels (1945)
    • Scalp Trouble (1938) as Slightly Daffy (1944)
    • Notes To You (1941 with Porky and unnamed cat) as Back Alley Oproar (1947 with Elmer and Sylvester)
    • Porky's Pooch (1941) as Little Orphan Airedale (1947)
    • Porky in Wackyland (1938) as Dough For The Do-Do (1949)
      • Friz Freleng's cartoons are notorious for recycling scripts from earlier cartoons (and recycling scenes).
  • Rooting for the Empire: Most of the shorts' antagonists are jerks, but utterly harmless and pitiful, usually getting maimed and humiliating to a sadistic degree by their far more competent foes. Chuck Jones implemented this trope deliberately with Wile E Coyote and the Road Runner and even lampshaded it in Adventures Of The Road Runner.
  • Sacred Cow: People will open fire upon you if you openly declare your distaste for the 1940s shorts (or worse, say you like the post-70's shorts). That's not even getting into dislking the characters or any of the 90's television series directly descended from the theatrical series.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Buddy, the studio's main character from 1933—1935. Unusually for a Scrappy, he wasn't that annoying. In fact, he wasn't really anything at all — his problem was that he had absolutely zero personality, which was compounded by the dull, plotless cartoons that he starred in.
    • Gabby Goat, whom was Porky Pig's sidekick in three 1937 cartoons. He was often shown to be rather obnoxious and unlikeable by fans.
    • A lot of people feel that Tweety deserves this title too, though he also has his fans.
    • Pepe Le Pew due to how formulaic his shorts are or because his amorous pursuit of Penelope comes off as very creepy and/or gross in this era where Black Comedy Rape is becoming less and less funny.
    • Henery Hawk from the Foghorn Leghorn cartoons is practically the Ur-Example of a Scrappy in as much as he even share's Scrappy Doo's personality and physical traits (Mark Evanier admitted outright he used Henery's character as a basis for Scrappy). He's a belligerent, loudmouthed little pipsqueak who picks fights with other characters many times bigger than him.
    • The series introduced a whole army of Scrappies in the late 1960s, when the original creative staff was dumped and Alex Lovy took over the studio. In a desperate attempt to stay in the game, Lovy created some new characters to supplant the classic line-up, and we were treated to such memorable characters as Cool Cat, Merlin the Magic Mouse, and Bunny & Claude. The new characters proved unimaginative, unfunny and unmemorable, and it was soon game over for the original Looney Tunes series. One "Cool Cat" cartoon even went to the trouble to introduce "Spooky", a seriously dull ghost character, with a mention in the opening titles. A case of hitching your wagon to a sinking ship there. By this point the few original characters still present in the shorts were considered Scrappies as well. Daffy and Speedy in particular due to personality changes and a questionable teamup of the two, though granted outside this era they are Ensemble Darkhorses more than anything else.
  • Seasonal Rot: The period in which the quality of the shorts goes downhill varies for everyone (similar to how people argue about the quality going downhill on such shows as Saturday Night Live, The Simpsons, and Family Guy), but it's generally agreed that when duties moved to DePatie-Freleng in 1963, things took a turn for the worse and, outside of a few exceptions, never really recovered.
    • There are some who argue that while DePatie-Freleng's cartoons were a big step down from the studio's heyday, they were still better than 95% of what the other animation studios at the time were producing. However, even DePatie-Freleng fans generally admit that the quality of the cartoons totally bottomed out when the Warner Bros.-Seven Arts era began in 1967, and that while things did improve when Robert McKimson returned for one last spell during the studi's final year, it was too little too late.
  • Seinfeld Is Unfunny: Given these are some of the popular, influential cartoons in the history of animation, it's very easy to take for granted just how groundbreaking and unique these shorts were for their time.
  • Song Association:
    • The theme songs for the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies were actually not made for them, but were originally standalone songs, The Merry Go Round Broke Down and Merrily We Roll Along, but because of them being the themes of both series for decades and heard virtually nowhere else, they will always be associated with the Looney Tunes franchise.
    • Likewise, Raymond Scott's "Powerhouse", a music track originally made in 1937, is a music cue that is often known because of its recurring use in Looney Tunes shorts.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: At the very end of "Hare Brush", Elmer does a victory dance to a tune that is very similar to the (then) recently-created "bunny hop" dance.
    • The beginning and end of "The Last Hungry Cat" feature a melodic parody of the theme to "Alfred Hitchcock Presents", aka "Funeral March of a Marionette" by Charles Gounod.
    • Bugs Bunny's cameo in the Paramount George Pal Puppetoon Jasper Goes Hunting is introduced with an ersatz rendition of the Merrie Melodies theme.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The pseudo-Disney Looney Tunes made around the mid 30's, especially the Merrie Melodies of that period. They tried to emulate Disney's cutesy fare and failed miserably. The arrival of Tex Avery by late 1935 soon pulled them out of this phase.
    • However, most of Chuck Jones's early work (like the earliest Sniffles cartoons), made during the 1938-1941 period when he was still heavily influenced by Disney's Silly Symphonies shorts, tend to suffer from this. Sniffles the Mouse was one of Warner Bros' few attempts to create a cutesy Disney-like character.
  • Tear Jerker: You'd never expect it from these cartoons, but the ending to What's Opera, Doc? defiantly invokes this. But then again, who expects a happy ending from an Opera anyway?
    • Feed the Kitty also unintentionally is a tear jerker for some. Chuck Jones said it was meant to be funny, but something about how heartbroken Marc Anthony the bulldog gets when he thinks his pet kitten is being baked into a batch of cookies (when the audience is shown that this is not the case) just kind of tugs at the heartstrings, as silly as the situation is.
      • "Feed the Kitty" was an exercise in personality animation and how Chuck Jones could elicit emotions from audiences by using the characters' expressions. That, coupled with the music by Carl Stalling, was why that scene with Marc Anthony crying over his baked kitten was so heart-wrenching.
    • "Porky's Romance" probably deserves mention, after a love struck Porky gets rejected by Petunia, he becomes heartbroken to the point of suicide.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks: The Warner Bros.-Seven Arts regime in the late 60s axed all the original Looney Tunes characters — save for Daffy and Speedy — and introduced a bunch of new forgettable ones such as Rapid Rabbit, Merlin Mouse and Cool Cat. Needless to say, the new characters only lasted three years.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Beans was the first real example of a Screwy Squirrel in the series, and a refreshing change from the characters who had gone before him. After his first few cartoons however, the animators started depicting him in much the same way as Buddy, meaning that while he at least outlasted some of the other characters from that period, in the long term he was completely eclipsed by Porky.
    • Gabby Goat from the '30s, who was basically a Captain Ersatz of Donald Duck, could have been a great star if they had bothered to have any chemistry between him and Porky.
    • The series actually ran on this. The studio was constantly attempting to find new stars that the audience would take to, with many previous bit players or one shots given a test in center spotlight. Porky, Daffy and Bugs were among those that took on and became the series' Breakout Characters. The likes of Beaky Buzzard, Charlie Dog and The Three Bears however ran only a brief stint of shorts before becoming mostly forgotten extras.
  • Tough Act to Follow: With only a handful of exceptions, not a single revival has been able to live up to the spirit of the original shorts, the biggest reason being that the creators simply left very big shoes to fill, not to mention worked in a specific environment conducive to that creative process (you could say Animaniacs was Steven Spielberg buying that environment). Every attempt WB has made to revive the characters that isn't out of a love for them has only continued to burry the franchise deeper and deeper.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic: Several of the reoccurring antagonists. Jerks or not, it was hard not to eventually feel for them after their millionth painful fail. Especially when it came to characters who were just hunting for prey out of instinct, like Wile E. and Sylvester.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Daffy.
  • Values Dissonance: A number of the old Looney Tunes shorts can't be shown on TV anymore, due to overt racism, sexism, smoking, drinking or other topics that are no longer considered acceptable to show to young audiences. In particular, many of the old racial stereotype jokes are no longer considered funny in a post-Civil Rights world.
  • "Weird Al" Effect: A lot of the characters (particularly Pepe Le Pew and Foghorn Leghorn) are based on near-obscure celebrities that people these days wouldn't recognize without thinking of the Looney Tunes. Pepe Le Pew is based on French actor Charles Boyer, while Foghorn Leghorn is based on Fred Allen's "Senator Claghorn" character
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit: Much of WB's use of the characters from the 1970s to now can be seen as a form of this.
  • What an Idiot: It's a wonder Private Snafu wasn't declared 4F due to mental incompetence.
    • A lot of Looney Tunes characters' behavior comes off as this, but only because the story wouldn't be funny or have much in the way of plot without the characters acting or doing something stupid (the Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote cartoons, the 1953 Pepe Le Pew cartoon "Wild Over You," and any cartoon where Bugs Bunny is hunted by Elmer Fudd or Yosemite Sam would definitely suffer if not for this trope and the Idiot Ball)
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: A lot of people (particularly the ones who grew up seeing the Edited for Syndication broadcasts of the Looney Tunes on Saturday morning TV, after school on weekday afternoons [or weekday mornings before school, depending on local station scheduling], or on Cartoon Network and have never seen the cartoons made before 1948, including the World War II-era shorts and the Private Snafu cartoons) will be surprised to discover that the Looney Tunes has a lot of humor that is either not appropriate for children or will fly over the heads of children and those who know nothing of the pop culture or history at the time. In that regard, the Looney Tunes can be seen as The Simpsons or Family Guy if either show was a 5-7 minute short shown exclusively in theaters before a feature film, right down to the fact that all three are or have been shown on TV with jokes and scenes cut for time and/or content and are readily available on DVD or online with these "offending" scenes intact.
    • It should be noted pop culture remembrance has gone in phases, more recently if you are raised in the era the internet took off you may be surprised how much more pop culture before your time people only a few years older than you got from just watching tv in the late 80s and early 90s. When you had to do it yourself on the web due to Network Decay, it's became a lot harder.
    • In interviews with each of the main directors when asked this question they reply that they never had kids in mind when making their cartoons.
      • The shorts originally played before anything in the WB library (which could include gritty crime dramas aimed at older audiences), so yeah, they weren't for kids. It's just that due to edgier material that has come out since its heydey (as well as the aforementioned airings on Saturday mornings), a lot of the content seems tame today. Also, due to the Hays Code being in effect from 1934 until the late 1960s all Hollywood movies could be watched by a family audience in theaters.
  • The Woobie: The alien in "Martian Through Georgia".
    • Penelope Pussycat, especially if you consider the hints that she actually does like Pepe.
    • Porky Pig, while his abuse is usually Played for Laughs, there are sometimes you really have to feel sorry for him, especially considering, unlike most other Butt Monkeys in the series, he rarely brings it on himself. Taken to poignant levels in "Porky's Romance".
    • Beaky Buzzard tries to live up to his "Killer" moniker, however in reality he's a shy, clumsy imbecile, making him one of the most wrathless antagonists in the series (except in "The Lion's Busy", where he's oddly depicted as a full-blown Screwy Squirrel).