Jun 19, 2013

The Looney Tunes Show: Only Heterosexuals Exist, Yet Again

On the latest version of the Warner Brother cartoon mythos, the Cartoon Network's Looney Tunes Show (2011-), Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck are suburban housemates.  Other WB characters appear in secondary roles: Yosemite Sam as a cantankerous neighbor, Witch Hazel (renamed Lezah) a therapist, Speedy Gonzalez the owner of a pizza place.

They have stable back stories and careers, and their adventures are sitcom-style:
Daffy pretends to be a success at his high school reunion.
Bugs and Daffy participate in a bachelor auction.
Daffy must babysit his girlfriend's nephew.

But the domestication of the Warner Brothers characters has eliminated the cheery hints about same-sex desire and practice that informed so many of the classic cartoons, and even the 1990s series, Tiny Toon Adventures.

1 Although housemates, Bugs and Daffy both have girlfriends, the ditzy Lola (right) and the no-nonsense Tina (left).
2. Although frequently subjected to ridicule, Daffy's femininity (working as a cosmetician, carrying a handbag) is portrayed as evidence of stupidity, not gayness.

When Daffy wins a "romantic dinner for two," he invites Bugs, who declines: "What you are describing is a date, and I don't want to go on a date with you."  Daffy states that he will ask Porky, but Bugs in exasperation cries "Ask a girl!"  He is too stupid to realize that only heterosexual relationships exist.

3. Porky Pig is looking for a friend, so he approaches Speedy Gonzalez.  "You got to get a girlfriend!" the mouse advises:

It's Saturday Night, and I've got a full place.
But you're ruining the vibe with your lonely pink face!
Sitting alone in a group fit for six...
Doing Sudoku won't get you chicks!

Same-sex relations are by definition meaningless.  Men without women are by definition lonely and pathetic.

4. So far so heterosexist.  But I was curious to see how the program would handle Mac and Tosh, the prissy, over-polite gophers who were gay-vague even back in the 1940s theatrical shorts (as were the original Alphonse and Gaston in the comics).

They run an antique shop.
They're interested in theater and the arts.
They redecorate Speedy's apartment.
One calls the police when the other goes missing for twenty minutes: they have never been separated for that long before.
No one suggests that they get girlfriends.

Sounds like they're being portrayed as a gay couple.  And all of the other characters know it.

The Looney Tunes wiki, however, suggests that they might be brothers, lest kids figure out another reason for their bond.  One poster on the blog pointed out that the two are metrosexual, and a respondent thought he meant gay and had a fit: "Dude!  This is a children's wiki!"

Once again we hear: children must believe that everybody in the world is heterosexual. Gay kids must believe that they are utterly alone in the world.

What horrible tragedy do people think will befall kids who discover that gay people exist?

Usually the Cartoon Network gets it right.