A few weeks ago, I gambled on renting "Baby Looney Tunes: Puddle Olympics," at a local video store in hopes that my little boy would find something besides "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse," that would draw his attention for a little while. As it turned out, I was so pleasantly surprised that I bought this product less than a week later.
On this DVD, the cast members at Granny's Daycare are: Granny (voiced by June Foray herself) and the toddler versions of Bugs, Daffy, Sylvester, Tweety, Tazz, and Lola Bunny. Occasionally, they are joined by pint-sized Melissa (Daffy's love interest from 'The Scarlet Pumpernickel') and Petunia Pig. There are eight episodes with four 60-second sing-a-long music videos for a running time of almost 90 minutes.
Four of the episodes are: 1. 'Time & Time Again,' as Daffy learns the value of knowing how to tell time; 2. 'May the Best Taz Win,' as the gang learns why playing is more important than winning; 3. 'Sylvester the Pester' has our favorite feline craving Granny's attention without let-up until Tazz does the same thing to him; and 4. 'Mine!' (our least favorite) has Daffy finding Granny's lost wallet and refusing to give it back.
The next four are: 5. 'Cat-Taz Trophy,' as Sylvester and Tazz learn to share when competing in a toy car derby; 6. 'Duck! Monster! Duck' has Daffy finding out what it is like to be scared; 7. 'Brave Little Tweety' has timid little Tweety finding his own courage; and the title episode is the best, 8. 'Puddle Olympics' shows the tykes turning their imagination into a competitive game to cross a puddle (it looks like a lake to them) to reach the playground on the other side.
Now, frankly, I confess that I wouldn't have been caught dead watching a show like this before I was a parent, but now that I am, I have learned a new perspective. Accordingly, I want to address a few common points made by other reviewers about this program's available DVDs: one, that this show is a travesty on the classic Looney Tunes characters; and two, that the characters' inconsistent behavior tends to veer back and forth between infants and four or five-year olds. I am certainly inclined to agree with those observations, but I think it misses the most vital point: we, as adults, are not this show's intended audience; little kids are.
As a comparison, yes, "Baby Looney Tunes" is in the same genre as "A Pup Named Scooby Doo," and "Little Flintstones," where the original audience (who are now adults) will likely find these new versions vastly inferior to their classic predecessors. However, these new 'kiddy-ified' programs were produced as a way of reinventing classic cartoon characters for a different and much younger generation. Further, "Baby Looney Tunes" has a distinct advantage over similiar kiddy makeovers, where this show actually blending cute, gentle humor with a simple, little life lesson into the story giving the program at least some educational value.
Much like current morning fare on the Disney Channel, such as "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse," I believe "Puddle Olympics" strives to make the featured stories important by making basic concepts, like telling time or sharing toys, attractive to infants and toddlers. It surely isn't always easy to balance fun with learning, but give this program credit for at least trying. Is "Baby Looney Tunes" in the same league as the current bigger-budget Disney Channel programs? Maybe, maybe not, but it does offer its intended audience (not to mention, parents) more than just a mindless diversion.
With that in mind, speaking as a parent, I would highly recommend "Puddle Olympics," as a low-cost, albeit valuable investment for your little ones, particularly as an alternative to your child's favorite show that you just need a break from. Like me, you may be surprised that this charming DVD is much better than you would have reasonably expected.