WDAY.com |

North Dakota's #1 news website 10,650,498 page views — March 2014

Published May 24, 2011, 12:00 AM

Parenting Perspectives: Is Bugs Bunny too violent?

Warner Bros has brought back the Looney Tunes characters on the Cartoon Network. Apparently in the new versions, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are roommates. What?

By: Kathy Tofflemire, INFORUM

Warner Bros has brought back the Looney Tunes characters on the Cartoon Network.

Apparently in the new versions, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are roommates. What?

Everyone knows that the “wascally wabbit” lives to torment the Duck. They’ve never been friends, let alone roomies. I am suspect.

I’m also a fan, owning five multidisc DVDs of Looney Tunes cartoons. I like Bugs and Daffy, Marvin the Martian and his “illudium Q-36 explosive space mod-u-la-tor” and a more obscure character: Gossamer, the hairy red monster who wears giant tennis shoes.

But when my grandsons come over to my house, they always want to watch the same disc: Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner.

They never tire of the Coyote and his unsuccessful attempts to catch the swift desert bird. None of the contraptions he buys from Acme Co. ever do the trick. They almost always backfire, and Coyote becomes the victim of his own traps.

In fact, while researching online, I found a faux lawsuit in which Mr. Coyote seeks damages for injuries received while using Acme products. It’s a hoot.

According to “court” filings:

“Mr. Coyote states that on eighty-five separate occasions he has purchased of the Acme Company (hereinafter, ‘Defendant’), through that company’s mail-order department, certain products which did cause him bodily injury due to defects in manufacture or improper cautionary labeling. …”

Good luck, Wile.

My research, of course, also led me to reports on how violent cartoons affect children. One of the examples listed was “Scooby-Doo.”

Now, no child has probably watched more of those cartoons in his lifetime than my younger grandson.

He’s a huge Scooby-Doo fan.

He’s been Scooby-Doo for Halloween, twice, I believe, and has all manner of Scooby paraphernalia. He loves the character to the point that

we often affectionately add “Doo” to the end of his name.

Those cartoons always involved a mystery of some sort, hence the group’s “Mystery Machine,” but I wouldn’t call them violent.

I remember as a child watching “Popeye,” in which consuming a can of spinach gave the Sailor Man the strength needed to beat Bluto to a pulp and thus win the hand of the fickle Olive Oyl. I can’t argue that those cartoons weren’t violent. But my favorite character was Wimpy, who would “gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

Maybe a steady diet of cartoons could have an adverse effect on a young child, but I think most children realize the drawn characters aren’t any more real than the characters in their storybooks.

My grandsons are attracted to Wile and the Road Runner, like generations before them, because, as my older grandson explained: “They’re funny.”

As for Bugs and Daffy and the new “Looney Tunes Show,” this is not your grandmother’s cartoon program, or even your mother’s. It plays like a modern-day buddy sitcom. Daffy is closer to the character of yore in looks, voice and personality. Bugs, on the other hand, used to be a smart-aleck with a wink to the audience. Now, he’s a different character altogether.

In the pilot, he describes five-year roommate Daffy as a “mean-spirited, self-absorbed, disturbed little weirdo” but his best friend. Huh? That’s not the Bugs I knew and loved.

I suppose this is Looney Tunes brought into the 21st century, and it may be just fine for those who don’t remember the classic cartoons with the wonderful voice of Mel Blanc, but I think I’ll pass.

Kathy Tofflemire is a copy editor at The Forum. Readers can reach her at (701) 241-5514