There are a lot of good things to be said about Cartoon Network’s new series, The Looney Tunes Show. It’s smartly written with a rapid-fire succession of jokes, complimented by some impressively fluid and nuanced character animation that makes even the lengthy dialogue exchanges fun to look at. The use of the classic Looney Tunes cast for various supporting roles is inspired and they never feel like they’re being mishandled or under-utilized. The “Merrie Melodies” musical segments can be pretty hit or miss, sure, but I think they’ve had more successes than failures. Even the CG-animated Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner segments serve their purpose, infusing furious, slapstick action into a show that’s more concerned with sitcom style banter and less extreme gags (an oddity for something carrying Looney Tunes in the title, admittedly.)

Yes, The Looney Tunes Show has been great and I could go on praising it until I’m blue in the face. However, there’s one accomplishment to the show’s credit that I think warrants its very own spotlight.

The Looney Tunes Show has done the impossible by completely overhauling Lola Bunny and transforming her, for the first time ever, into not just a good character, but an awesome character. And she may very well be the best character in the whole show.

Why she sucked

Originally created for the inexplicable Looney Tunes/Michael Jordan crossover film Space Jam, Lola Bunny was conceived as a flawed character right from the start. The movie “needed” a female cartoon character in the lead, and since the only females in the Looney Tunes stable are a 90 year-old woman (Granny), a cackling sorceress (Witch Hazel) and a perpetual rape victim (Penelope Pussycat), an original one had to be created. So what we got was Lola Bunny: The most boring Looney Tunes character since, I dunno, Buddy. But even he got a pretty awesome revival on Animaniacs (and he’s technically a Merrie Melodies character, anyway.)

Born purely from the loins of political correctness (gotta have that female character!), there was nothing interesting about her whatsoever. Lola was a female rabbit, thus naturally attracting the affections of Bugs Bunny, but because she was a Strong Female Character, she found Bugs’ well-intentioned if not well-spoken advances annoying and insulting (disliking being called “doll”, for example.)

Unlike every other Looney Tunes character, Lola was immune to slapstick antics or pratfalls at her expense, because she was a girl… and violence toward girls is wrong. She had no exaggerated personality traits, she behaved like a total stick in the mud, she couldn’t engage in any zany antics because the censors couldn’t permit female cartoon characters to be hurt…

Lola Bunny was just about the worst character ever.

However, she was “hot”, at least by anthropomorphic cartoon animal standards. So the pig-yiffing furries of the internet managed to keep her memory alive through Rule 34 fanart long after her star had crashed and burned.

But bestiality-infused sex appeal does not a good character make. There was nothing good about Lola Bunny. That is until…

The Looney Tunes Show

In an April, 2011 interview with Comic Book Resources, The Looney Tunes Show writer Rachel Ramras weighed in on how shitty a character the original Lola Bunny was, “Ours is nothing like that Lola… We had the benefit of knowing [Lola Bunny voice actress] Kristen Wiig, so we had the advantage to write to her strengths.”

So essentially they recreated Lola Bunny from the ground up, using no reference to her original incarnation save the fact that she was a tan-colored female rabbit in a romantic relationship with Bugs Bunny. Thank God for that.

First appearing in the second episode of the series, “Members Only”, this Lola Bunny is anything but the bland, lifeless cut-out of furry sex-appeal from Space Jam. She’s spastic and brimming over with an excess of energy and enthusiasm; constantly talking as though she has no internal monologue whatsoever. Turning the relationship angle on its head for “The Looney Tunes Show”, the writers found more potential for humor by making Lola the one pursuing Bugs rather than vice versa.

Lola is now something of an insane, needy, clingy stalker whom Bugs finds absolutely terrifying but cannot shake despite his best efforts (he later grows to find her more charming, if still taxing to be around). This was a brilliant reversal, as not only does it give Lola a quirky behavioral tic, but it succeeds in making Bugs more interesting, too. Bugs hasn’t gotten as much play as his more remarkable Looney Tunes costars in the past few decades because, like Mickey Mouse, he’s come to be the straight-man; the stiff voice of reason amongst a gaggle of stronger personalities. Writers have focused too much on his smooth and unwavering confidence to the point that he’s practically in “god-mode” at all times; nothing can faze him and nothing can beat him (try suffering through “Bah Humduck” if you’re brave-enough). He can conquer any challenge because he’s smarter and better than everybody else.

And that’s just boring.

But Lola, on the other hand, presents a challenge he can’t overcome as easily as dimwitted hunters, nerdy Martians or temperamental cowboys. And for me, Bugs Bunny is at his most amusing when he’s struggling with a conflict that he can’t resolve with the same tired-old “Hunters Trilogy” gags he’s been using for seventy years.

And yet, the new Lola Bunny doesn’t necessarily need Bugs to be funny. The only notable thing about the Space Jam era Lola was that she was Bugs’ girlfriend. Take that away from her and, being such an incredibly hollow creation, she had nothing left to stand on her own with. But this Lola has more than enough personality to headline adventures as a solo act. The episode “The DMV” sees the cast undergoing various trials and tribulations necessary to get their driver’s licenses renewed. Lola’s segment was easily the best and it featured her playing off of Yosemite Sam, not Bugs.

And if you didn’t laugh at her “President’s Day” song then I don’t know what’s wrong with you.

“My country ‘tis of thee; Sweet land of Mister T; And Mrs. T!”

In short, Lola Bunny actually feels like she deserves to be called a Looney Tunes character, now. She’s got personality in excess and undergoes the same levels of physical trauma as her male counterparts, proving herself a true equal.

Any problems?

If anything worries me, I suppose it might be that Lola Bunny is really just Kristen Wiig, a comedian and actress perhaps best known for being on Saturday Night Live. As writer Rachel Ramas noted in that interview, this new Lola Bunny was tailored to Wiig’s characteristics and strengths and she is as responsible for Lola’s success as the writers and character designer Jessica Borutski (who created her distinct new look). The problem I’m foreseeing is: What happens if Wiig becomes unavailable to voice Lola in future Looney Tunes productions?

Recasting could be tricky, since this incarnation of Lola essentially *is* Kristen Wiig. And I’d rather not lose this new version forever or have her go through another reincarnation, especially now that they’ve finally perfected her.

In conclusion

The Looney Tunes Show is awesome on all fronts and if you haven’t watched it yet, then you really, really ought to. This new Lola Bunny, however, is true evidence that “there’s no such thing as bad characters, just bad writers”. If a character as irredeemably terrible as Lola Bunny can be reworked into the highlight of a series, outshining even her costars with seventy years of cartoon cred, then I really think there’s hope for everybody. No matter how much they suck.

  • Is it bestiality if the animal is a cartoon?

  • Adam Winters

    Cudos for this great analysis, Mark!  I really have come to appreciate The Looney Tunes Show, ever since I saw Elmer’s Grilled Cheese video on YouTube.  I think if there’s one gripe I have with it, it’s that Daffy is now inconceivably stupid.  It’s new territory for the Duck, and a trait that I don’t necessarily think fits his character.  Aside from that, however, this show is fantastic, especially considering the last two incarnations of the franchise we’ve had to put up with were Baby Looney Tunes (horrifying) and Loonatics (admittedly never watched).

  • Tedd17

    I agree with the fact that Lola from Space Jam was too “normal” to truly be called a “Looney”: tune, but I think the new Lola is a bit too annoying. It may just be me as a big Bugs fan, but in Space Jam Lola was sexy and desirable, and the entire movie you were just waiting for her to give in to Bugs. In the new show she is pure creepy and even the way she is drawn lacks any appeal. Basically, in SJ I was always looking forward to seeing the Bugs + Lola combo, now I just feel sorry for Bugs. I just think the crazy stalker thing was taken a bit too far. It’s like her only character trait, at all. But the show still rocks. 

  • Taylor Kerekes

    Mark, you are wrong on so many levels about the “Space Jam” Lola! I don’t care what you say about the “Space Jam” Lola; she’s interesting and cool in her own way! The “Looney Tunes Show” Lola, on the other hand, is just plain annoying! I suggest that you GET A LIFE!!!!!!

    • I suggest that you seek help for living with your crippling autism.

      I’ve checked your DA account where apparently you tried to “rally the troops”, so to speak, and I’ve come to a particular conclusion:  You are genuinely *in love* with these fictional cartoon animals.  Your soliloquies regarding Princess Sally and Fifi La Fume are kind of a dead giveaway.

      Now, whatever floats your boat, furry; I won’t tell you what you can and can’t get off on.  But any individual who dedicates a portion of their life to “defending the honor” of a fictional cartoon animal that they are in love with has no business insisting someone else “get a life”.

      I’d suggest that you “get a human girlfriend”, but again, I imagine the autism might be something of a socializing roadblock for you.

      • Taylor Kerekes

        No, you listen here. I have plenty of friends that are girls and I do hope to find a girlfriend someday, but YOU are just plain ignorant and blind to the fact that a lot of us furries are good people deep down. That, and the fact that your claim that I’m “genuinely in love” with these fictional cartoon animals is nothing more than an exaggeration.

        Oh, yeah, and from the way you talk about my autism, it almost seems like you are prejudiced against people with autism. If you have a problem with my autism, then you have a problem with me and my friends who are also autistic. I knew you were too good to be true, Mark. I know I felt guilty posting your work on my DA page without your consent, but it doesn’t really matter now, because judging from your contributions on here, it seems pretty clear to me that you are are nothing but a selfish, ignorant, single-minded, pessimistic FOOL! I don’t wanna have anything more to do with you unless I have a good reason to! Now get a life and leave me alone!!!!

        • The autism thing was just a guess, but apparently I nailed it.  Not that you don’t make your handicap grotesquely obvious.

          Anyhow, if you took the time to actually read most of my articles, you’d find the majority of them optimistic and positive.  I counter balance my criticisms with praise and I back up my opinions with examples and observations.  My criticisms are, of course, merely *opinion* and you seem to have a difficult time handling opinions that differ from your own… particularly ones involving cartoon animals you have a certain level of devotion to (of the unhealthy sexual variety).

          You urge me to “leave you alone”… by coming to the website I write for to tell me that?  Does that seem logical to you? 

          Now, if you don’t agree with my opinions on cartoon characters or whatever, then you are entitled to those disagreements.  If I’m entitled to critique a cartoon, then you are entitled to critique my critique.  But perhaps you should actually read most of the articles you are railing against before you condemn them as “selfish”, “ignorant”, “pessimistic” and “single-minded”.

          My articles are open to disagreements with my opinions, made evident by the comments section inviting counterpoints (so that strikes “selfish”).  My articles cite examples and sources and passionate, detailed observations to express my reasoning (so that strikes “ignorant”).  My articles contain negative opinions on certain subjects (Space Jam-Lola), but they are balanced with positive remarks as well (Looney Tunes Show-Lola, of which even the title of this article praises) (so that strikes “pessimistic”).  And lastly, my articles cover a wide variety of topics from cartoons to movies to comics to original material (so that strikes “single-minded”).

          Not saying I’m a perfect author by any stretch; I could definitely stand to proof read more thoroughly and I don’t manage the list format well.

          But if you’re going to criticise my work, you could do better than to back your claims with “stop being mean to the fictional animals I masturbate to!”  Just a pro tip.

          • Taylor Kerekes

             I understand everything you’ve said and I’m glad you’ve written some positive articles as well, and I’m sorry for all the negative things I’ve said about you, but I’m still sticking by my opinions about the “Space Jam” Lola. I strongly believe that your claims about the two Lolas are not 100% accurate and I also believe that the “Space Jam” Lola is more entertaining and vastly superior to the “Looney Tunes Show” Lola. Why can’t you change your mind about the “Space Jam” Lola?

          • And by that token, why can’t you change your mind about The Looney Tunes Show-Lola?  You are displaying what’s called a “double standard”.  You should watch out for that.

            And anyway, they’re called “preferences”.  It isn’t a matter of “right” vs. “wrong”, it’s a matter of “like” vs. “dislike”.  I dislike Space Jam-Lola for the myriad of reasons I detailed in the article above and have no need to repeat in the comments section.  You dislike Looney Tunes Show-Lola for being “annoying”, which is the only counterpoint you have thus far contributed, but fine.

            And you are perfectly entitled to that opinion of the character, just as I am entitled to mine.  Not everyone is going to agree with you on the things that you like; that’s just a simple fact of life I’d hope you’d have come to accept by now.

          • Taylor Kerekes

            I understand, and I’m sorry. If it makes you feel any better, though, I won’t have anything more to do with this website, since I still hate it. No offense.

      • Super Smash

        I’m sorry about what my friend did, but that Tiny Toon Adventures article was really harsh, especially to good fans of the series like me. I don’t get why you hate it now, you use to do comics of it. The reason why Fifi La Fume is so popular with TTA fans (Besides the obvious) is she is generally one of the best characters in the series. She is one of the kindest and friendliest characters (Most of the others are jerks), and she is adorable and beautiful, too. She has the perfect voice. You have to feel sorry for her, too. Despite her kindness and beauty, all the boys keep on running away from her (And most actually feel sorry for her once they get away) because of her smell, and she lives in the junkyard. You even use to do comics of her all the time, so I know you like her too. Also, How I Spent My Vacation is coming out on DVD in a few days (Although only in America, which sucks for me because I live in Europe).

  • Taylor Kerekes

    Oh, yeah, and that interview with Rachel Ramas said absolutely NOTHING about the “Space Jam” Lola being sh*tty!

  • Dragonrider1227

    I’ll admit that while I laughed the hardest at Lola’s episodes in the Looney Tunes Show, It pissed me off that they took a strong, independent female character and turned her into another typical ditzy girl

  • Taylor Kerekes

    Hey, Mark, it’s me, Taylor. I know I haven’t complained to you in a while, but you know my friend Stephen Ricketts? He really hates the LTS Lola as much as I do, and both of us prefer the old Space Jam Lola. Stephen even expressed it real well in this crossover fanfiction:

    Just thought I’d let you know. Besides, I highly believe that the Space Jam Lola is actually kinda funny in a rather subtle way, when you think about it. Plus, I still maintain that Space Jam Lola has better personality than LTS Lola.

    • Who ARE you people?

      Look, I’ve said it before but it clearly hasn’t penetrated, so I’ll repeat myself.

      You seem to have me confused with somebody else.

      I use the user name “DrSpengler” at various messageboards, true, but you must have me mistaken with somebody else who used that same username.

      Now, you’ve confessed to being mentally handicapped in these comments, so I can understand how by your line of reasoning all people on the internet who use the handle “DrSpengler” must be the same guy, but I assure you that isn’t the case.

      I’m pretty much exausted with trying to reason with you. If you don’t agree with my opinions on 20 year-old cartoons then that is entirely your priviledge, but I assure you that you care more about my views on “Tiny Toons” and “Space Jam” than I do. I know that autism causes an individual to become focused and obsessed on specific minutia and costs them their ability to rationalize and socialize on a functional level. With that in mind, I see that trying to converse with you and convince you that I am not the same “DrSpengler” from some other message board is a fruitless endeavor. And quite frankly, I’m sick of trying.
      Consider this the last time I ever dignify you with a reply.

  • JCT

    Just so you know. Space Jam Lola wasn’t the only character to be sex appealed to furries, there are plenty of other characters that was made before her were considered as sex symbols. I mean Minerva Mink was one, Callie Briggs second, Cleo from Heathcliff, Carbine from Biker Mice from Mars, Fifi La Fume from Tiny Toons and even Babs Bunny. All of those female cute looking characters or maybe sexy looking characters get sexually aroused by perverted artists and will make more fetish art of it for Rule 34 anyway, no exceptions. Also about Lola’s new rendition for The Looney Tunes Show, that whole design change to stop perverted artists to make more pictures rumor was an epic fail. The new design for Lola is still sex appealing to furries. No matter what designers do to Lola Bunny WILL NOT stop at all from people making photos of her in Rule 34, even if they make her look ugly, dress her modestly, cute, fun, or even herself looking like a true looney tunes DOES NOT HELP AT ALL. The redesigning for the Looney Tunes even Lola was the biggest mistake WB has ever done of the Looney Tunes Show, according to the part where the designer Jessica Borutski was bashed for it Honestly, they really should reincarnate the Looney Tunes back to where they were before, especially Lola from Space Jam but instead we are not gonna take the characteristics she had in Space Jam, obviously. I would like to take back Lola’s original design and give her the personality and modesty she had in the Looney Tunes Show, and of course her awesome voice too. XD So in that way Lola would be twice as perfect and if anybody thinks that taking back her original likeness will bring in more rule 34 images, who gives a shit about them really. They are losers. I’m also a Lola Bunny fan myself, both versions too. I mostly draw the original Lola and TLTS Lola combined together and it feels like that I am the only Lola fan here who don’t draw fetish related pictures of her. Anyway these are just my thoughts and opinions of the future Lola should be and in case people think that would attract more furry fetishists to make more porn of her, I got three words: Fuck. Those. Losers.

  • Orca-Baducuss

    I don’t like old Lola OR new Lola. One is a personality-stricken slut
    who was chosen over any suggestions Chuck Jones had made, and the other
    is a brainless psychopathic stalker with the most shittiest design ever made by Jessica Borutski, the most fail animator/designer to ever walk on the planet. Fuck the Looney Tunes Show and Space Jam, classics are far more better than those pieces of garbage.

    I prefer the DC Comics Lola, she is way more funnier and enjoyable than the old Lola AND the new Lola.

  • LooneyFan23

    Watched it like you said, it sucks. That and new Lola is stupid and dosen’t deserve to show up more often. I prefer Space Jam Lola 1000 times better not only she’s sex appealing, she could be funny as well if she haves the new Lola’s personality.

  • John

    I disagree what most you said…The show is awesome? Who would enjoy a show like that? It’s not even funny! The Looney Tunes are not being themselves and the format of the show is terrible! I’m glad the show stopped, because they would continue to ruin the toons over and over again, especially Lola.

    …even if Chuck Jones was alive and saw this he would LITERALLY destroy the show. This show didn’t age well at all.

    R.I.P. Looney Tunes