Thursday, February 17, 2005

#18 - Copping a 'Toon 'Tude

I try not to watch too much TV news. Really, I do. Lately, however, I've been enjoying some CSI-type crime shows during the 10:00 hour (when I really should be going to bed), and local news appears immediately following. Last night I'd seen a teaser for something I had very mixed feelings about: a makeover for Warner Bros.' venerable Bugs Bunny.

I say mixed feelings because my perceptions of the Warner Bros. stable have changed over time. Needless to say, like most boomers I grew up watching Bugs and the rest hoodwink their collective way through a Toon life. I was constantly on the floor laughing my fool head off, but that was mostly because I tended to overact on my better days. Anyway, I loved the schtick and still do. However, having reached fogeyhood (as defined by Dave Barry), I'm not such a big fan anymore of allowing today's kids to grow up with the same influences.

Society has done much too efficient a job of turning yesterday's social gaffes into today's social staples. Attitude plays a huge part, and today it mostly stinks. Authority has become a hiss and a byword, if you will, to be mocked at all costs. All popular media, from movies to magazines to cartoons, propagate the theme that the winner-take-all approach to life is the only one worth having. Cartoons that play to these themes become enablers of that attitude and literally teach the kids how to "cop the 'tude." Just what we need.

I recently watched an anthology of Warner Bros. classic 'toons from the studio's heyday. I was astonished at how I felt. While growing up I remembered those cartoons as being hilarious. Watching them a few months ago I found myself thinking, over and over, "Please don't let my kids see this stuff until they're eighteen!"

Over-reacting? Perhaps. But now consider the new and improved Bugs Bunny (and friends!) under development by the studio today.

The new character is named Buzz Bunny, and he's been given the look of a futuristic (circa 2772 AD) super hero. These characters are supposed to be descendents of the originals. One gal quoted in the Daily News says they look "more robotic." More telling was one youngster they interviewed on our local news last night: "He looks evil."


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