Looney Tunes Cartoons Avoid Guns

The launch of WarnerMedia’s new streaming service HBO Max came with a load of Looney Tunes Cartoons, a reboot of the classic Warner Bros. animated shorts that used to play in movie theaters until they became a staple of kids cartoon programming on syndicated television. The new Looney Tunes Cartoons are an impressive, delightful throwback to the timeless comedic spirit of those original shorts, but there’s one element of the classic cartoons that will not be making a comeback.

The new Looney Tunes Cartoons will not be giving Bugs Bunny’s arch enemy Elmer Fudd the rifle he used to hunt the wascally wabbit. The same goes for Yosemite Sam, another frequent Bugs Bunny adversary, who will no longer be wielding his dual cowboy pistols.

Executive producer and showrunner Peter Browngardt confirmed the decision to have Looney Tunes Cartoons avoid guns in The New York Times. Though he doesn’t explicitly say this is in response to the rising concerns about gun violence and calls for gun control in the United States, it’s clear that the creators want to avoid making light of gun violence when there have been so many shootings in schools, churches, nightclubs, movie theaters, and pretty much everywhere people congregate.

Instead of using a gun to hunt down Bugs Bunny, fans will see Elmer Fudd chasing the wabbit down with a scythe, the blade that the cloaked personification of Death is constantly wielding. Meanwhile, Yosemite Sam can be seen wielding a grass hook. There are also plenty of other traditional weapons the characters will be using, such as cannons, anvils, pianos, and dynamite. As Browngardt puts it, “We’re not doing guns. But we can do cartoony violence — TNT, the Acme stuff. All that was kind of grandfathered in.”

Despite this decision that many gun owners and 2nd amendment defenders will undoubtedly condemn and mock, Looney Tunes Cartoons aren’t being softened for “snowflakes.” The same cartoon violence and conflict will still be very much there. Story editor Johnny Ryan added:

“We’re going through this wave of anti-bullying, everybody needs to be friends, everybody needs to get along. Looney Tunes’ is pretty much the antithesis of that. It’s two characters in conflict, sometimes getting pretty violent.”

You can see that the battle between Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny is still very much intact in this short:

If that’s not good enough for you, maybe you should remember that Elmer Fudd wasn’t always hunting Bugs Bunny. Early iterations saw Fudd merely trying to take pictures of Bugs and even saying that he “wikes wabbits,” going so far as to try adopting Bugs as a pet. So this is hardly anything to get worked up about. And if you don’t believe me, I’ve watched a bunch of the new Looney Tunes shorts, and it never even occurred to me that the guns were gone until this detail was pointed out. It would appear that most viewers didn’t notice or care either, because it’s the most popular series on HBO Max. That’s how good the Looney Tunes Cartoons are at capturing the spirit of the original shorts.

Looney Tunes Cartoons are available on HBO Max right now and many more are on the way.

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