“Toot-toot go down the hole!”
Paving the way for the beloved Animaniacs and one of my personal favorites, Pinky and the Brain, Tiny Toon Adventures turned a generation of youngsters onto Warner Bros’ unique brand of comedy. Targeted towards a generation that wanted to claim things as their own, while refusing to acknowledge the wisdom of people who came before them, Warner Animation catered to this need by modernizing Bugs Bunny and his peers. In creating doppelgangers of sort, we got four pint-sized versions of the Looney Tunes greats: Buster (Charles Adler, Jem and the Holograms) and Babs Bunny (Tress MacNeille, The Simpsons), Plucky Duck (Joe Alaskey, Rugrats), and Hamton J. Pig (Don Messick, Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!).
Tiny Toon Adventures: Volume 3 is first and foremost a complete misnomer. In a naming debacle I’m hard pressed to understand, this two-disc set is not merely a collection of cartoons from the whole series’ run tied together by the thread indicated in the subtitle “Crazy Crew Rescues.” Instead, it’s the entire Second Season and the first four episodes of the Third and Final season.
* “Pledge Day”
* “Going Places”
* “Elephant Issues”
* “Hog-Wild Hamton”
* “Playtime Toons”
* “Toon Physics”
* “Acme Cable TV”
* “Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian”
* “Henny Youngman Day”
* “Love Disconnection”
* “Kon Ducki”
* “Sepulveda Boulevard”
* “Take Elmyra Please”
* “New Class Day”
* “Fox Trot”
* “What Makes Toons Tick”
Tiny Toon Adventures is a great example of a show working on many levels. There are straight up sight gags, zingers, callbacks to earlier episodes, and (of course) the subtext. That last element is what enables adults to stay entertained. Yes, there are many pop culture references which date the show as a product of the ’90s, but there are many quick highbrow allusions which require diligent attention. It can be viewed as either a thinking man’s show or simply enjoyed at face value, and that’s what I love about it.
Tiny Toons is well structured and exceptionally paced, with mini-sodes conveying an overall story between commercial breaks. The brilliance of the series is found in the writing which takes familiar adult tropes and changes them just enough to be homages without losing the kids’ attention. One of this offering’s best examples is the Sunset Boulevard episode, “Sepulveda Boulevard.”
The gems of Tiny Toon Adventures: Volume 3 are the dialogue-free cartoons “Pledge Day,” “Playtime Toons,” and “New Class Day.” Being able to tell a story without dialogue is difficult enough, but telling a funny story without dialogue is a task very few creative people are willing to undertake. It’s something Tiny Toons does extremely well and I applaud their boldness.
What’s surprising is that Warner Bros. has refused to put any effort into remastering the series, especially considering its place in the pantheon of beloved animated shows. As noted in DVD Verdict reviews for previous Tiny Toons releases, the standard def 1.33:1 full screen transfers and Dolby 2.0 Stereo mixes are barely a tick above VHS quality. I’m all for creating a sense of nostalgia, but why not the quality of its content in line with today’s standards? Even more surprising is the complete lack of bonus features.
Setting aside the ’90s references, Tiny Toon Adventures has aged quite well. It’s a show parents and kids can watch together and an entire new generation of soon-to-be-adults will be able to watch with the same nostalgia that my generation embraces the ’80s.