My kids are watching Looney Tunes on Cartoon Network. And laughing. Snorting actually. Now I've never been a big fan of Bugs Bunny. Or the Stooges, or Tom and Jerry. It's my one girl thing I think. But after years of not being tortured by my brother and his love of all things I hate, I'm actually appreciating the humor. So much different than comedy of today, not politically correct, ribald, and down right inappropriate.
Thinking about it, I realize that I learned a great deal from the cast of Looney Tunes.
The culture of the time, especially Hollywood in the 30's, was fair game. The episodes where they skewered the stars of the time was priceless. The styles the dialogue the who's who it didn't matter, Bette Davis, Clark Gable. They were caricatured and ridiculed and it was hilarious. I was probably the only kid in my class who knew who these actors were. I saw them on Looney Tunes and found an encyclopedia, then a biography. Ta Da. I learned something.
Opera and classical music. I grew up in the middle of nowhere Florida. We had no culture. Okay so we had no access to culture that other thing is probably true but I don't want to be tarred and feathered today. Almost all of the Looney Tunes episodes were set to real music, often times it was classical. And really it was my first exposure to the music. Band would make me loathe the music but that was later. And opera, I never would have heard anything operatic without Looney Tunes. The Marriage of Figaro comes to mind and a field of flowers growing Elmer Fudd's head. My favorite was the Kill the Wabbit episode. I can't remember the opera but I remember bugs in breast plates and long blond braids and Elmer hunting him er her. That big fat white horse and Bugs dying in Elmer's arms.
Speaking of blond braids. Lets talk about cross dressing and sexuality. Yep old bugs taught me that too. It's okay for a guy to put on a dress, Bugs loved wearing dresses. He could flirt the pants off...oh wait not too many people wore pants on Looney Tunes. Just Elmer and Sam.
And Yosemite Sam taught me how to cuss. Oh yes he did. That rackin frackin rabbit. I still use frackin. Even Battlestar Galactica used Frack. It's a great faux swear word.
It taught me about gun safety and map reading, if you aren't careful in Albuquerque you could end up in the Himalayas or Scotland. Other cultures popped up regularly, but you know they were probably completely skewered.
Ducks are fowl tempered and jealous, cats have lisps, canaries are sexually ambiguous, women are in short supply except for granny and she ain't all there. Road runners are real and Coyotes have great credit and Acme isn't a great place to buy things from, but they are super speedy.
Bugs Bunny was a cross dressing con artist with a big mouth but he was smarter than everyone on the field.
But the one thing Bugs Bunny taught me, no matter what great comedy will stand the test of time. And nearly a hundred years later he's still funny. He's still cutting edge. And he will forever remind me of my dad.
When my brother and I were watching Justice League of America, my grouchy father stumbled into the TV room and bellowed "why do we have to watch this childish shit, why don't you watch something grown up," and he turned it to Looney Tunes.
Looney Tunes forever became grown up cartoons for me and my brother and you know maybe, just maybe, he was right.