Sunday, March 16, 2008

Dig: Old School Saturday Morning Cartoons

You know how much I dig TV. Despite stupid game shows, I take great pleasure in sitting in front of the boob tube letting my mind turn to mush. Don't get me wrong, there ain't much on the old telly that does much to make me smarter with the exception of some of the stuff on the Discovery Channel ("Bone Marrow is Your Friend!"). And what makes your mind mushier than a quality Bugs Bunny cartoon?!

So I'm 40. I've got all kinds of responsibilities with kids, dogs, cars, house (singular) and my on-going efforts to keep them fooled at work. But let's go back to those carefree days when I was about seven, shall we? I do my thing in first grade all week long and go to bed Friday night with nary a care in the world. And then Saturday morning comes, the clouds part and the angels sing - to the tune of the Looney Tunes theme song! Pour me a bowl of FrankenBerry cereal and begin the slightly racist, highly violent entertainment! See you at noon!

Because of the aforementioned kids, I could still watch plenty of cartoons. My kids know that the cartoon channels are 29, 63 and 65. They sure don't know which channel is C-Span but, for that matter, neither do I. And let me tell you something about the cartoons that are on these days - they're kind of freaky! The artwork is really pretty cool and there are boatloads of references that only parents would pick up - just as much, if not more so, than the old Merrie Melodies cartoons of old. But they're not quite as innocent as the ones I used to watch...

So, let's review a few of my old faves, shall we?

Bugs Bunny is the man. He has a devil-may-care attitude, gets all the chicks and makes Elmer Fudd look like an idiot all the time. Heck, he even had that sweet job in the army checking to see if any of the missiles were duds by hitting them with a hammer. And how about all that pain and misery he put Daffy Duck through? That's good stuff! Rabbit season? I think not!

As we've discussed before, I have zero musical ability. Bugs, however, could play the piano with his hands (feet?) AND with his ears! Certainly, if it weren't for Bugs, I would never have been exposed to opera in that old classic, The Barber of Seville. The scene where Bugs shaves Elmer's face with the little lawnmower just kills me!

Let's move on to the Road Runner. Bugs had his Elmer and the Road Runner had Wile E. Coyote. What a great name! That poor son-of-a-bitch sure got screwed by the Road Runner, didn't he? Just how many anvils are out in the middle of the desert, anyway? And who is the mastermind behind the quality products at Acme? One of my favorite aspects of the Road Runner cartoons, though, was the ability to defy gravity all the time. How many times did Wile E. suspend in mid-air long enough to hold up a little sign and then have his body stretch all out before plummeting to his "death"? Now that's entertainment!

Tom and Jerry sucked.

There were a few minor players that I enjoyed, though. Pepe Le Pew ("le pant, le heave"), Foghorn Leghorn ("Fortunately, I keep my feathers numbered for, for just such an emergency"), Droopy ("Hello, boys"), Marvin the Martian, the Tasmanian Devil and even that bulldog on the construction site who befriends the kitten (no voices, just music). These guys added a little variety to the falling anvils, mis-firing shotguns and Acme Electro-magnets with their own brand of violence. They didn't have the same stereotypical references to the Japanese or Native Americans as Bugs did but, in hindsight, they were still plenty offensive.

Do NOT get me started on anime as an art form. They don't even have anvils!

So, there you go. If you want to make me happy (and I'm sure you do) just hook me up with some Frankenberry cereal (I'll settle for Cap'n Crunch with Crunch Berries in a pinch), crank up some old Bugs Bunny cartoons and don't disturb me until the last boulder crushes Wile E. Coyote!