New streaming service HBO Max debuted a new Looney Tunes animated series, but it does not feature any guns. The series consists of a number of short episodes (about 1 to 6 minutes each) and follows familiar characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam.
Of course, the classic storyline of Elmer Fudd hunting “wabbits” also makes a come back – but, instead of using a gun, Fudd uses a scythe. In an interview with The New York Times, the show’s executive producer Peter Browngardt confirmed this change was deliberate, saying, “We’re not doing guns, but we can do cartoony violence — TNT, the Acme stuff. All that was kind of grandfathered in.” So, Elmer’s not going to be carrying his rifle to hunt Bugs Bunny and Yosemite Sam isn’t going to have his six shooter pistols. HBO Max has not really explained why they are taking this stance, but given the concerns around gun violence – especially in the US – it’s not hard to take an educated guess.
Even so, this sits a little weird for us. We get that normalizing guns to children isn’t necessary a good thing, given gun violence and accidental shootings at home. However, is it really that removed from normalizing violence? Which kid hasn’t thought about dropping something big and heavy onto someone else as a prank or act of revenge?
Cartoonish violence, in our humble opinion, is still violence.
In fact, in the clip above, Elmer Fudd chases Bugs Bunny with a scythe for only the first 20 seconds. For the rest of the time in the 1:32 minute clip, Bugs Bunny is blowing up Elmer Fudd with dynamite, including by shoving it into his ears and mouth.
Of course, it could also be argued that doing something is better than doing nothing at all – which we definitely agree. However, when it comes to companies and organizations, we’re left to wonder whether this is really about “protecting the children” or more about covering one’s asses?
Let us know what you think in the comments.