Friday, October 4, 2013

Loonatics Unleashed – The Hunter (Snark)

Here we go. Of all the unwieldy things this show chose to adapt into its new format, the one at the core of this episode is probably the worst. And from the title I bet you already know what it is.

Seems the good people of Acmetropolis are still trying to make up their minds about where to put their worst criminals, as now we see the “Acmetropolis Intergalactic Prison Ship.” Massive (remember him?) breaks out of his cell, commandeers a ship, and flies to the nearest museum to start robbing it. Guy doesn’t waste any time, you gotta hand that to him. 

By the way, they didn’t get Michael Clarke Duncan to come back to voice Massive again. Instead he’s vocalized by another black man with three names, Kevin Michael Richardson, who voices Taz and Wile E.

Incidentally, both actors would go on to voice this guy.

Funny how that works out.

The Loonatics (sans Lexi and Roadrunner) are quickly on the scene, with Bugs thinking it’s strange. “I never knew Massive had a taste for art.” Daffy replies with “When you’re that big, you pretty much have a taste for anything,” which I think might be a joke. No matter how you slice it, though, that’s an idiotic thing for Bugs to say. Massive was interested in stealing anything valuable enough, and yes, we did see him steal a large objet d’art in his debut episode. The asset for which was recycled in this very episode, in fact.

As in his previous solo appearance, Massive’s combination of control over gravity and nigh-invulnerability soon has him mopping the floor with Taz, Daffy and Wile E., leaving Bugs to quip, “Well Mr. Big-and-Tall, looks like it’s just you and me!” He must be shaking in his boots, knowing full well you can’t hurt him at all either.

Oh, but the real draw’s a figure in a mech suit who decloaks on a nearby rooftop. If the coloration and oversized gun don’t suggest anything, the wearer’s voice will.

Yeah, this is the episode with Elmer Fudd.

Lord have mercy on us all.

Fudd sets his gun to “rabbit,” which might be a throwback to that one short where Wile E. invented a flying saucer that homes in to whatever animal its dial points to, but I don’t know. It ends up shooting a tranquilizer dart anyway, one that looks like a big plunger yet, and why is that suited specially for rabbits? He ends up hitting Daffy in the butt with it as the combatants zoom around, knocking him into Bugs and letting Massive get away with his loot.

Was he hunting Tweety before?

He’s unable to get off another shot at Bugs because he’s behind a statue and apparently hunters aren’t allowed to move to get a better shot.

Bugs and Daffy are on the prison ship next scene to look into Massive’s escape, apparently, but spare some time for a little boring banter with another old foe.

Thanks for the establishing caption. Again. Go ahead, scroll up.

Otto the Odd: “Well, well, well. If it isn’t the Loser-tics. What brings you to the slammer?”
Bugs: “Otto the Odd. Always nice to see an unfriendly face. Locked away, where it belongs.”
Otto the Odd: “<laughs> I missed you too. Maybe we can exchange e-mails. You can add me to your buddy list.”
Daffy: “More like add you to my ‘odd little bugs to stomp on’ list. Ha ha, that’s a good one.”

Painfully lame as always. Really though, if the company wanted this project to succeed, maybe they not only should’ve made up their minds what it was but hired halfway-decent writers. Weird they’d go to all the trouble to get Dee Bradley Baker back in the booth for a lame throwaway scene like that, too. Were they that hard up for runtime?

The prison uses electrified bars on its cells, leading to Daffy “comically” getting zapped on them. I have to ask, why are they still on if the cell’s empty? Not only that, but when the bars are completely torn apart and couldn’t keep my grandma confined.

Having achieved nothing except getting Daffy hurt, the Loonatics head home. Bugs watches the news and hears that renowned artist Scooter Bullock’s disappeared, along with several of his most famous paintings. “Can’t be a coincidence. An artist goes missing and then several of his paintings are snatched.” Well, not in a TV show it can’t, no.

Fudd’s around looking to nab Bugs again (Where his prey has the home court advantage, all kinds of high-tech defense systems and a bunch of superpowered backup. You and I know neither of the latter rates much, but the show wants us to believe it does). Daffy tries to get a snack, Taz tries to steal Daffy’s snack, and there’s so much noise it makes Fudd fall off the side of the building before he can take another shot at Bugs. You see what I mean about nothing having changed with the comic relief villains even with the genre switch? Oh, but wait, it gets better.

They turn on their Plot Convenience Monitoring System to see Massive robbing another museum, this being a “Western” one which Bugs helpfully explains belongs a singing space cowboy named Hoppalong Chiron and his robo-horse, Thunder. Yeah, he says that like the horse is a part-owner too.

Thanks for thinking we wouldn't notice, Oh Great Leader. And never mind how if you look hard you can see Taz and Roadrunner in the recycled launch footage before this part...

Bugs’s above plan seems even dumber since, upon checking in to see if the monitor crew’s got a lead on Massive, Taz hasn’t been paying attention at all and only stuffing his face, and belches into the mic in answer. “You don’t say,” Bugs wittily replies. Hey dumbass, you’re the one who handpicked him for the job. And it’s not as if the team member with the most inherent firepower might be someone it’d be a good idea to have around when you’re going face-to-face with a nigh-indestructible gravity-manipulator.

Carrot-chomping moron.

Fudd’s on hand, but while sneaking around invisibly he bumps into Daffy. I’m calling out these blunders of his because the show’s going to feed us probably the biggest bit of Take Our Word For It nonsense in its entire run. Just wait.

Massive steals the aforementioned robo-horse, which apparently was an exhibit and not part-owner after all. Bugs pulls a gun on him for some reason. You might think it thematically appropriate, a showdown in a Western-themed museum and all. But nothing happens around that and nothing’s said to that effect (Actually, the gun looks to be the one Wile E. came up with to neutralize Massive’s powers in his first appearance. The one they ended up not using on him. Good on him for bringing it, but with all the other stupid shit they point out in this episode, would a quick reminder what that gun’s for be asking too much?).

All that happens is Daffy teleports in front of Bugs and blocks the bolas Fudd had meant for Senor Long Ears. Fudd bumps a chandelier while distortedly jumping to a walkway to flee, and Massive gets away by blowing the roof off the building. Fudd flies away bragging nothing gets away from him, the greatest hunter in the universe!

Bugs asks Wile E. if he’s found anything that can give them a lead, and indeed he has. Somehow, don’t ask how because I’ll ignore you, he found a hair on Daffy that doesn’t belong to any of the Loonatics. And by using his comic book science, he’s able to find out it belongs to…Electro J. Fudd!

Pretty good trick since like his progenitor, he’s bald.

Daffy’s rightly unimpressed by Fudd, but Lexi shuts him up. The Fudds have been a line of “great hunters since the beginning of time.” And in case you need me to point it out, that’s the big steaming gob of nonsense I mentioned before.

This is about the one and only time they try to directly link this show, in-show, to the original property. With this junk about the Fudds being a dynasty of master hunters. Say it with me guys, ha ha, no. Elmer pulled off like two wins in all of Looney Tunes history (there was “Rabbit Rampage” and “Hare Brush,” and that’s it, I think. I could count “What’s Opera, Doc?” but he feels bad about it, so…I don’t know). Even in the version of history they show, its examples consist of a Fudd being distracted by some cute, harmless thing while something much bigger and meaner which according to Lexi killed him seconds after the picture was taken is right behind him, completely unnoticed. One of whom’s a caveman.

I almost feel like I’m watching Trigun again, where everyone has heard Vash the Stampede's basically the Devil incarnate with the power to leave entire cities smoldering in his wake. But when we meet him, he’s actually this gigantic loser who doesn’t want to hurt anyone (even if the stories about the destruction he’s capable of aren’t exaggerated).

But Lexi’s idiotic little slideshow isn’t supposed to be revealing the truth behind the legend, it’s supposed to be reinforcing Fudd’s boast after his latest failure that he’s the greatest hunter in the universe. What could I possibly say to that? What better proof could I possibly give of how epically stupid this show is?

I suppose there’s how when the alarm goes off at a cookie factory, Bugs whips out his Batmanesque Detective Skills™ once again and opines “I have a feeling when we find Massive, we’ll find Fudd.” What piercing insight, as there was nothing whatever to indicate he was there the last two times…oh wait, between Daffy suddenly being tranqed and Bugs noticing someone cloaked Predator-style fleeing the scene of Massive’s last robbery, yeah there definitely was.

The team arrives at the cookie factory and indeed Massive’s there, and uses his powers to bombard the Loonatics with the cookies. Taz is up to the challenge and starts gobbling them out of the air. It doesn’t even look like the other cookies are hitting him even if they could do any damage. In fact even though he’s standing right in the middle of them, he has to actually reach out and grab them to get them into his mouth.

A fight proper breaks out and Bugs actually is knocked on his butt by a big wad of cookies. Yes, really. Roadrunner spins Massive around really fast, and Daffy’s accidentally knocked onto a hook that carries him by Fudd and knocks him into a vat of cookie dough just before he tries to take another shot at Bugs.

Wile E. shoots Massive with that gun meant to nullify his powers, but instead it makes him explode; he was really a robot lookalike. Deep breaths, Star. Deep breaths. Wile E. spouts off that the robot’s CPU can probably give them some clues, and Bugs tells him to take the robot’s CPU and see if it can give them some clues. Which he clearly had no intention of doing before being told that.

The Loonatics do some digging and find out that the greatest artist, singing space cowboy and cookie chef in the world were all kidnapped around the same time. The writers still trying desperately to convince us to believe what they say, Lexi asks, “What’s the connection between a great hunter like Fudd, and a rampaging robot?”

Those Batmanesque Detective Skills™ go to work again as Bugs figures that with all these top creative types disappearing, Fudd might be collecting them, and the reason he’s been using a decoy of Massive is to lure out and capture the greatest crime fighter too. Daffy immediately says that’d have to be him, but Lexi says that’d have to be Bugs. Look, she probably doesn’t know this for sure yet, but Fudd would’ve nailed her nominee for greatest hero every time if Daffy hadn’t screwed him up without even trying. STOP TELLING ME HOW AWESOME THESE CHARACTERS ARE WHEN THEY’RE SO FORKING NOT.

In fact, let’s just take a look at some of Bugs’s greatest hits, why don’t we?

I’m all for making a hero flawed so he doesn’t become a boring all-powerful god, but if you’re going to call one character incompetent, and another hyper-competent, there needs to actually be a contrast.

But as to Fudd’s intentions, he’s decided that because Daffy’s inadvertently foiled every one of his attempts on Bugs, the water fowl must be the real greatest hero and changes targets.

They do in fact go with the laughable logic that Bugs is Fudd’s target and use him as bait in a trap. “Isn’t this pretty risky?” Lexi asks. Isn’t that something you knew when you agreed to put on the tights? I don’t know, since they never showed how the Loonatics became a team and never will. You’d hope it’d go without saying, though.

Daffy sulks elsewhere at this nonsense about who’s the best hero, and the other Loonatics prove so wrapped up in their delusion of Bugs’s awesomeness nobody’s around to help out when Fudd traps Daffy in a power net.

Pleasant dreams tonight, kids.

Fudd blasts off, taking Daffy to the orbital prison (and he’s okay without any kind of pressure suit)…

…and after entering a secret room introduces Daffy to his boss, Otto the Odd!

Why do the bars only raise high enough for Daffy, and make Fudd duck to get under them?

You lazy pieces of crap! You’re playing the secret mastermind card with this character again??? It worked so well they just had to use it again?!

Rage aside, it turns out Otto’s taken over the prison and has himself a private little sanctum full of priceless art treasures. More than that, it’s also where he’s put several people in stasis as part of the ultimate collection: people. The greatest artist, cookie chef, and singing space cowboy of all time, as previously mentioned, as well as the greatest clown. I’m a little surprised Otto doesn’t claim that honor for himself, but maybe that’s because he’d have to freeze himself and put himself in his collection.

The greatest artist of all time.

Maybe not, though, since he describes himself as the greatest showman of all time, which goes along so well with how he doesn’t appear to be showing any of this off. How convenient all of these people who are the greatest in their field ever are alive now, too, so Otto’s efforts don’t have to involve anything like grave robbing or cloning.

Anyway, Otto was indeed saving the space for greatest hero of all time, to which end he hired Fudd. Daffy does have a spot in Otto’s collection of people, but it’s as the greatest screw-up hero of all time. The greatest hero of all time spot’s reserved for Bugs, because yeah, sure he is.

Maybe it’s all in the way the news of the Loonatics’ battles with the forces of evil gets out, that people don’t know the real reason for their continued success is the villains’ incompetence eclipsing the Loonatics’ own (this season more than ever). But there’s no way I’m giving a show like this that kind of credit, and no way I’m acknowledging the Loonatics as any good at what they do. That only leaves me with assuming there’s a very small pool of candidates, or that when Otto says “of all time” he means “of our time.”

Otto reveals he’s actually adding them both to his collection since Fudd’s the greatest hunter! Even sticking to the show’s precepts, isn’t that a little doubtful by now? He only succeeded in capturing the greatest screw-up hero of all time, and has bad enough judgment in his prey to mistake Daffy for the just plain greatest hero. And throughout this scene, Otto’s been making fun of Fudd’s speech impediment by copying it himself. Make of that what you will.

Do I even want to know?

He’s not even waiting until Fudd’s used his unparalleled hunting skills and captured the one member of this menagerie who can put up a fight, either. Otto’s going to freeze him and add him to the collection right now, “right next to [Daffy], your greatest conquest.” Is Otto getting rid of Fudd because he’s not in fact that great? Wouldn’t he not belong in the collection, then? None of this makes any freaking sense.

They hide and Otto chases them around, and it might be possible for a chunky midget in a jester suit riding a unicycle to be scary, but this one isn’t. Otto gets Fudd with his freeze ray, but he and Daffy still manage to escape by abandoning Fudd’s mech-suit. Which apparently doesn’t have any weapons they could be using right about now.

Bugs shows up then and disarms Otto with his stupid eye lasers. And with his Batmanesque Detective Skills™, Bugs already figured out everything that’s going on, since Otto’s the “greatest collector of all time.” And when were we supposed to have found that out about the character? Unless that’s what he was supposed to be doing with turning random kids into mixed-up mutants--and how the hell could that count as what he’s doing now—never. There’s being a good deductive thinker who pieces things together from various clues, and then there’s just magically gifting the characters with knowledge of the true plot. This is even worse than “Cape Duck” where Bugs figured out the Slasher in jail was a phony from the color of his toothbrush.

It does him no good, as Otto only lost his handheld freeze ray, and had a much bigger floating freeze the whole time. Which he uses to freeze Bugs. But then Bugs suddenly cracks open, revealing he’s nothing but a…<writer quivers with barely suppressed rage> robot double.

Knew that guy's jokes were too lame for him to be real.

Hey, writers? I have a question! If that’s what Otto’s freeze ray does to mechanical contraptions, why didn’t that happen to Fudd’s mech-suit?

Bugs and the other Loonatics burst in through a crawl space that’s behind one of Otto’s paintings for some reason (the painting even flips closed again once they’re all through), Bugs quipping he’s sorry for being late but they couldn’t find a parking spot. No wonder Otto wants him, he’s the greatest comedian of all time too.

Wile E. puts a power net over Otto…who was anticipating this and he was really a robot double too. Before he can freeze the real Loonatics, he manages to completely forget he didn’t catch Fudd and Daffy, who knocks Otto into the path of his own freeze ray with a power egg.

The other Loonatics congratulate Daffy for saving the day, and it’s absolutely adorable how they almost seem to be acting as if this is out of the ordinary for him. Yes he’s an overbearing, egotistical jerk, but he still manages to achieve positive results more often than the show acts like.

Fudd’s arrested, Otto’s captives are freed, and Daffy’s zapped by the freeze ray as we fade to credits because that’s a quick and easy joke to close on.

Up your cottontail, Bugs.

You guessed already, but I hate this episode. I hate the whole show, obviously, but this one’s the very embodiment of the worst sin a writer can commit. Show me, don’t tell me. Along with that, it suffers more than most for the even greater genre confusion brought on by the second season. You know, how they still wanted it to work as a superhero show and new direction for the property, while trying to bring back the zany humor people equate with Looney Tunes, and never figuring out how to strike an effective balance.

Since this article spends so much time dwelling on the subject of who’s the best hero, maybe you’d like the chance to prove you’re the best.

You could hardly do any worse than these clownbags.

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