I couldn't believe how hard I was laughing the first time I watched this disc. What, the Looney Tunes are funny again?! In a 21st century setting? How'd that happen?
Some viewers are awfully disappointed that THE LOONEY TUNES SHOW isn't an attempt to revive the characters in the style of the classic theatrical shorts we all know and love. First of all, Looney Tunes Back In Action tried to do that very thing, and failed miserably. Second, this show is a TV sitcom, but a sitcom so aware of six decades of television history that it comes to us with a sly, subversive panache worthy of Bugs himself. There are knowing winks at SEINFELD's great ensemble pieces and its comedy of escalating nuisances; THE ODD COUPLE's successful formula of oil-and-water roommates; THE REN & STIMPY SHOW's unholy marriage of kidvid and August Strindberg; and THE JACK BENNY SHOW's metafictional premise of comic actors playing warped versions of themselves (in this case, it's Bugs and Daffy playing new, downscaled characters called "Bugs Bunny" and "Daffy Duck" -- and it works brilliantly).
Let's remember that the theatrical Looney Tunes shorts were made for adults as well as kids, and the new show takes that outlook and runs with it. It's disconcerting but somehow logical to see Bugs and Daffy cohabitating, though Daffy is a bum who crashed on Bugs's sofa five years ago and hasn't left since; they remind me of a divorced showbiz couple living only to torment each other, but who stay together because the act is too good to break up. Lola Bunny returns as a beautiful but completely crazy stalker obsessed with Bugs. Yosemite Sam is scarier as a well meaning but paranoid next door neighbor than he ever was as a career criminal. And no one's pretending that Mac and Tosh, the gophers, are anything other than a deliriously happy gay couple now living in a permanent honeymoon.
Forget the rounded look of the old cartoons, though. Now the characters are drawn in an angular, extremely stylized manner owing a lot to John Kricfalusi and his crew. Daffy's wild takes in the second kitchen sequence in "Best Friends" (with Daffy on the receiving end of a "motivational" speech by a no-nonsense Speedy Gonzalez) could've been lifted wholesale from episodes of the twenty-year-old REN & STIMPY SHOW, but I'm damned if they don't look good in this setting. The voice work is uniformly excellent, and the backgrounds are drawn with real character and presence -- more than once I was reminded of Maurice Noble's gorgeously rendered environments from forty or fifty years ago.
In short: these characters may be cash cows, but they ain't museum pieces. These are Tunes for our times, and they're as funny as they ever were.