I like to think that I’m somewhat intelligent. Somewhat being the key word here. The books I read, while plenty entertaining with rich plot and interesting, complex characters, lean a bit more towards the literary than the commercial side. I have nothing against glittering vampires or convoluted S&M with rich bachelors; they’re just not my thing. I also enjoy movies and shows that require at least some brain activity to understand. If it’s starring Larry the Cable Guy, chances are I won’t be buying a ticket. I’m far from Mensa worthy, but I do need more.
Then again…we all have our guilty pleasures or vices or whatever you want to call them and mine would have to be Looney Tunes cartoons. I love them! Like, love them. Not the new cartoons that are a full half hour and computer generated. Oh no. I’m a fan of the old school Looney Tunes, the ones that lasted four minutes (six tops), were hand-drawn, and featured all the favorites back when they were all voiced by one guy.
Bugs Bunny playing tricks on Elmer Fudd. Pepe le Pew courting a poor bedraggled female cat unfortunately streaked with paint (I always enjoyed Pepe’s consternation when the tables were turned). Daffy Duck spraying spit everywhere. All brought to hilarious life thanks to the vocal genius Mel Blanc. He was the premier cartoon voice actor and launched all of these characters into legendary status. Check out Mel Blanc’s biography some time (who knew he voiced Barney Rubble??). A man of 1,000 voices indeed. If the character isn’t voiced by him, I’m not interested.
In fact, I hate the new Looney Tunes show. It shouldn’t even be considered true Looney Tunes. It’s a pale reflection of the original. I cling firmly to the old, majestic pieces that used classical sonatas and overtures to set the tone. Hell, most of what I know and love of classical music and opera today comes straight from watching these cartoons. They’re short nuggets of pure fun and tomfoolery. I love them so much that, thanks to Boomerang, having them on the t.v. is one of my primo weapons against nighttime anxiety on those occasions when I just can’t seem to shut my brain off from the stressful things I was faced with all day.
I must say, though, that I find it heartbreaking that Wile E. Coyote will always be remembered for his failures instead of his true artistic talent and creative brilliance. (Yes, this is how much I’ve analyzed the cartoons.) He truly was an innovative thinker. He painted fake roads, train tracks (so real that even trains were confused), and used tricks of visual perception to make a flat boulder look like a tunnel. Wile E. constantly rebelled against modern convention and thumbed his nose at the laws of physics on numerous occasions. He built rockets for god’s sake and catapults and plucking mechanisms. All for naught, but the genius was there nonetheless. Suuuper genius.
I also find it sad that Marvin the Martian never once got to blow up the Earth. Had he succeeded it would have sucked for us, but imagine his point of view. Never once did he get to reach the one goal he set for himself in life. It’s tragic really.
While all of those characters have a special place in my heart, my absolute favorites are the Goofy Gophers. Remember them? Perhaps a little further down in the Looney Tunes canon, but they had a style all their own. Snobby and pretentious? Yes. But charming, genial, accommodating, and well-mannered to a T, their prissy aristocratic accents capped off what I found to be a hilarious pair. I loved it. “Shall we hit Elmer Fudd on the head with this hammer?” “Why yes, let’s.” “Indubitably.” Classic!
Maybe my love of Looney Tunes isn’t a guilty pleasure. Maybe the characters are complex enough and “deep” enough to rationalize my love of them. Or maybe I’m just a grown woman who loves cartoon animals chasing each other with dynamite. You decide.