If you grew up in the 90s (like me), then you know it was a great time to be alive in terms of animation. The Disney Renaissance was in full swing and the airwaves were full of amazing cartoons! In this decade television animation experienced a surge of quality and created a host of memorable shows (like Batman: The Animated Series). One of my favorites growing up was Tiny Toon Adventures, a sort-of next generation take on Looney Tunes, just updated to the 90s. Contrary to popular belief, the Tiny Toons characters are NOT the children of the classic stars (except for Gogo Dodo). Rather, they’re young toons who take after particular characters. For example:
Buster Bunny/Babs Bunny: These rabbits are both inspired by Bugs Bunny. Buster represents Bugs playing the “straight man” during the 1950s while Babs represents Bugs’ more wacky side as seen in the 1940s.
Plucky Duck: Plucky is almost a carbon copy of Daffy Duck (except that he’s green), right down to his greed and resentment of Buster and Babs.
Hamton Pig: Supposed to be inspired by Porky, but honestly I don’t see it.
Elmyra: It might not be clear, but Elmyra (feminine of Elmer) is a take-off on Elmer Fudd. Except instead of hunting animals with a gun, Elmyra “hunts” animals to be her unwilling pets. She LOVES animals, any kind of animal, in fact she’s been known to chase after several of the characters. A running gag is everyone being terrified by the mere mention of her name.
Montana Max: a spoiled millionaire brat inspired by Yosemite Sam (he gets his comeuppance frequently throughout the series).
Sweetie Pie: Picture Tweetie Pie as a girl and the instigator of conflict instead of the victim. That’s Sweetie in a nutshell.
Fifi: If Pepe le Pew were a girl and could control his scent at will, that’s Fifi.
Calamity Coyote/Little Beeper: The younger versions of Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner. Sadly you don’t see these two very often (from what I read, Chuck Jones, who created Coyote and Road Runner in the first place, was not amused by their appearance and made his displeasure known).
Gogo Dodo: The only character confirmed to be the son of an original character, Gogo lives in Wackyland and acts just like the original Dodo.
A lot of Tiny Toon episodes were parodies of famous TV show or movies, or whatever happened to be popular at the time. For instance, the 2nd episode “A Quack in the Quarks” is a shameless parody of Star Wars (Duck Vader anyone?). There’s also “The Acme Acre Zone” (The Twilight Zone, where Charlie Adler (voice of Buster) does a pretty good impression of Rod Serling), “Citizen Max” (Citizen Kane) and “Duck Trek” (Star Trek), just to name a few. There are also too many Disney parodies to count, but my particular favorite is the rip-off of Night on Bald Mountain (from Fantasia) in “Stuff That Goes Bump in the Night.” Many episodes also center around Acme Looniversity where the toons learn how to be proper cartoon characters.
The series is understandably a little dated especially when technology comes up (some of the characters brag about owning a VCR) but most of the humor still works (though there are some quips about Donald Trump (not many but they are in there) that might rub you the wrong way).
Tiny Toon Adventures paved the way for several spin-off series, including Animaniacs, Pinky and the Brain, and the very short-lived Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain. Currently the entire series is available to stream on Hulu (and is also available on DVD if Hulu isn’t an option). I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about this cartoon series. Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!
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Oh man, I was pretty into this show growing up. Unfortunately, a lot of the celebrity and pop-culture jokes went right over my head as a kid. I should probably go back and watch it and see how many of the references I get now that I’m a little more cultured.
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you should, it’s fun to see how many references I can actually get (and to see how well some of the jokes have aged…or not)
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I actually just finished binging all of Animaniacs on Hulu and it was so interesting revising childhood characters that were just a little more adult than my age should have allowed. When I was a kid, the jokes, same as with Tiny Toons, went right over my head but I giggled endlessly as the cartoons took mallets over each others heads. Now, I can finally giggle, not because of the physical humor, but the great writing only adults of the time could really get.
I’m actually about to start Tiny Toons, thanks to this post, to fill the void this show has officially left.