One of the fondest memories I have of the Warner Brothers cartoons is the bit with the coyote and the sheep dog.
You see, the coyote and sheep dog are just doing their jobs. They punch their time cards, they wait for the morning whistle, and then do what they do for a living.
For the coyote, this means sneaking around the sheep dog and trying to get away with stealing a sheep. (Ostensibly, to eat it.)
For the sheep dog, this means preventing sheep from being taken away, and beating the snot out of the coyote.
But they are coworkers. The sheep dog may be in the middle of punching the coyote’s lights out, but when that lunch whistle blows, they both stop, walk over to the lunch tables, and make small talk.
“How’s the wife?”
“She’s good, thanks. Coffee?”
When lunch is over, they both assume their positions and the coyote gets beaten into a confused pulp. Then at the end of the day, they walk off together and wish each other a good night.
This skit, more than any other skit from Warner Brothers, crawled into my mind, carved a small niche, and has refused to come out. I’ll sometimes greet other coworkers with “Mornin’ Sam.” Usually, they’ll respond with “Mornin’ Ralph.” If they get it.
The skit is larger than just the sum of all the ways a coyote can fail at stealing a sheep. Perhaps not quite a gestalt, but more than an allegory.
There wasn’t any marketing involved. It was a skit, meant to entertain. On another level, it may be social commentary. I think the skit is brilliant. I have never seen its equal. I am hoping that this particular cartoon will make it onto the Looney Tunes collections that they are releasing to DVD.
Now, there is a “reimagining” of the Warner Brothers cartoon properties in the works. It is set in 2772, because 2010 is less than 5 years away, and I assume that the year 3000 would be too “xxtreme!!”
From the article:
â€œWe just said, â€˜Wow, what a great way to take the classic Looney Tunes franchise that has been huge with audiences for decades and bring it into the new millennium.â€â€™
It’s going to be called “Loonatics” and it’s going to be shown on Saturday mornings. I doubt that anyone other than marketing is leading the charge to bring them back, considering that one of the new leads is “Buzz Bunny,” Bugs’s descendant.
“Ehhhhhhhh. . . What’s up, j0?”
I hope I’m wrong. I’d like to see some wittiness, some charm, maybe some social commentary, but I’m not holding my breath.