i’m way more defensive of wabbit than the looney tunes show but that’s just cause everyone hates wabbit for no good reason and only talks about it to say the looney tunes show is better. i gotta stick up for wabbit. it’s just doing what’s right
I really don’t get Tom & Jerry’s continued success.
Over the past ten years or so, there’s been what feels like fifteen feature-length movies, and I think around three different TV series. So obviously kids are watching these things. I enjoy most of the features- they’re surprisingly funny and entertaining.
But I was never much of a Tom & Jerry fan. When I was about eleven or so, I stopped watching the original Hanna-Barbera-directed shorts regularly (they didn’t play the Chuck Jones or Gene Deitch ones very much at the time)… because I was bored of ‘em. Y’see, I started to notice I couldn’t distinguish any of them- they’re all sort of the same, y’know? And I thought the worst part was that other than the wild takes, 90% of the facial expressions are the same weirdly puckered look of mild surprise or mild irritation. I actually have fonder memories of Tom & Jerry Kids, but that may be because of the Droopy segments.
So it bewilders me that after all the Yo Yogi! and Loonatics Unleashed and The Looney Tunes Show-type reboots, Tom & Jerry have somehow remained almost completely the same after seventy-something years. They’re still the same cat chasing the same mouse, and have been traditionally animated for the most part. There’s been no real effort to update them or modernize them, or somehow make them more dimensional characters. Why is that Looney Tunes characters are under constant threat of “reimagining”, while the higher-ups at Warner Bros. leave Tom & Jerry alone? Why is Tom & Jerry’s formula so much more successful nowadays while most of WB’s other animation properties are shadowed by doubt of their relevance and commercial appeal? This is especially weird when you consider that there was a time that Tom & Jerry came in third after Looney Tunes and Tex Avery’s MGM cartoons, as far as classic comedy animation goes.
One of the strangest parts is that I actually like the movies better than any other Tom & Jerry cartoon ever made. They seem to have ironed out some of the kinks by surrounding the main duo with other characters that can talk, and placing them in fantastic situations. I find them funnier than all the older Tom & Jerry shorts put together.
So what’s Warner Bros.’s deal? They keep screwing around with the Powerpuff Girls and Scooby-Doo and only sorta manage to leave Bugs Bunny untainted in Wabbit, while Tom & Jerry get to have the same directors and animators as the Duck Dodgers series and adapt classic children’s fantasy stories.
(I will say, however, that I’m extremely dubious about the new Willy Wonka movie, especially so soon after Gene Wilder’s death, since the original is one of my very favorite childhood movies. Wonka looks more like the Nestlé commercials than Gene, but still…)
I guess the cat’s finally out of the bag! It’s something I’ve been yearning to tell people for over a year, so here it is:
The last cartoon I boarded on season 1 of Wabbit was one of the craziest things I’ve ever had the chance to do; I was able to bring back the classic, crazy, woo-hooing Daffy Duck for the first time in many decades! It was a lot of work, but an absolute blast to let Daffy live up to his namesake again. Dee Bradley Baker does the voice of Daffy here (the first time he’s done it since Space Jam 20 years ago), and he absolutely KILLED it! He captures the mischievous, wacky spirit of the character so perfectly, and it’s such a treat to be able to work to his voice. He, along with Bob Bergen’s amazing performance as Porky (who we made to be the little chubby butterball that he used to be back in the 1930′s) make a hilarious team!
I got pretty sick while working on this short, and because of it I had to step off the show a bit prematurely, so thankfully one of my fellow boarders on the show David “Pez” Hofmann stepped in and finished my board for me, going over my roughs, adding breakdowns and little flourishes and really made it all shine. We’re both very proud of how it turned out.
So far, the show has only aired outside of the US (this short clip comes from South Africa, of all places). But hopefully you guys here in the States will be able to see it soon! I’ll eventually go more in detail about it once the short finally airs, but until then, look forward to seeing some more fun and crazy antics in the future!