"But I'm not a doctor," Judge Clark Douglas kept telling Bugs.
Quack up big time with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck!
Eight episodes in, and I'm starting to get pretty weary of The Looney Tunes Show. Perhaps the first four episodes were actually more promising than this batch, or perhaps I'm just less taken with the novelty of the concept this time around, but it doesn't seem like this animated sitcom is picking up any steam as it proceeds. If anything, it seems to be settling into an increasingly unimaginative routine. The central plots of the four episodes included in this collection are standard-issue sitcom fare, and there are far too few of those gently subversive ideas which elevated a couple episodes in the first collection (the Lola Bunny-centric episode in particular). Here's what you get:
• "Monster Talent"—Daffy Duck (Jeff Bergman, Tiny Toon Adventures) makes an attempt to mentor the hapless young monster Gossamer (Kwesi Boakye, Happy Feet). Alas, Daffy turns out to be a fairly terrible mentor. Meanwhile, Speedy Gonzales (Fred Armisen, Saturday Night Live) persuades Bugs Bunny (Bergman again) to appear in a television commercial.
• "Reunion"—Daffy Duck is invited to a high school reunion, but dreads going because he hasn't achieved anything in the years since he graduated. Bugs has always yearned to go to a high school reunion, and talks Daffy into taking him along. Once they arrive, Daffy decides to bluff his way through the reunion by lying about his profession.
• "Casa de Calma"—Bugs and Daffy visit a vacation resort, where they find themselves getting involved in many wacky hijinks and wooing the beautiful Starlett Johansson.
• "Devil Dog"—The Tasmanian Devil is unleashed and turns up on Bugs and Daffy's doorstep. Bugs thinks Taz is a dog and decides to adopt him. This is bad news for Daffy, who is pursued relentlessly by the savage creature.
Of the four episodes included in this collection, only "Casa de Calma" provides enough entertainment to merit 22 minutes of your time. This is largely due to the fact that it shies away from the tedious plotting that drags down the other installments and largely focuses on silly gags (some of which are actually quite clever). However, the other three episodes are significantly hindered by the amount of time they spend dragging our heroes through a by-the-numbers story. Even more cringe-inducing are the moments in which the episodes attempt to shoehorn some Very Important Messages into the mix. "Conventional" and "sincere" are two shades that don't suit these characters very well. I realize this series isn't going for the unhinged lunacy that marked the original shorts, but it still fares best when wandering off road to indulge its stranger tendencies.
Three of the episodes include "Merrie Melodies" shorts, but none of these are particularly memorable (a Foghorn Leghorn tune is remarkably uninspired). All four of the episodes are capped by a brief CGI Road Runner cartoon. None of these is remarkable, but they generally rank as the highlight of the episode.
The 1.78:1 standard definition anamorphic widescreen transfer is just fine, offering bright colors, solid detail and avoiding significant banding issues. The Dolby 5.1 audio is relatively simple, but it gets the job done with clarity and energy. There are no bonus features.
The Looney Tunes Show: Season One, Volume Two doesn't offer an indication that the series is finding its way, but it's still awfully early in the run. It's much easier to chart the progress and potential of a series with a full-season collection, but we'll have to keep plowing through these 90-minutes chunks for now. Here's hoping things improve next time.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: Warner Bros.
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