Tiny Toons Looniversity: Freshman Orientoontion
September 10, 2023 11:21 PM - Season 1, Episode 1 - Subscribe

It's the start of the new academic year at ACME Looniversity, and that means a new crew of freshmen starting out. For twins Buster and Babs, the change means having to live apart for the first time in their lives, and legacy admit Hampton would really like to go pre-med, but has to keep up his family's comedic legacy. Alt-girl Sweetie Pie seems to be settling in well, and Plucky...well, hopefully the dorm room is big enough for both the mallard and his ego.

So, for those who haven't heard, Tiny Toons Looniversity is a modernization/reboot of the classic 90s series Tiny Toon Adventures. Unlike the odd prep school/college hybrid of the original, the new series explicitly makes the Looniversity a proper college, with the core cast (Buster, Babs, Hampton, Sweetie Pie, and Plucky) living in dorms now, and hanging out at the on campus cafe/bar. (So much for "Elephant Issues".)

So, the core cast has been shaken up from the original, with Sweetie Pie (who had been more of a side character in the original series) getting promoted to a primary character, mainly to give Babs another female character to interact who doesn't have the problems that distaff Fudd Elmyra has. More importantly, in contrast to the "No relation." line of the original, this time Buster and Babs aren't just siblings, but twins - which changes their dynamic (and is going to make the Tiny Toons section of AO3 an interesting place for a while.) Changing Hampton's core issue from fastidiousness verging on OCD to the crippling weight of a family legacy with a heaping pile of mommy issues makes some degree of sense for a few reasons as well, but it is to be seen how it works out. Of all the core cast, Plucky is the one who has the fewest changes, as his conceit of being Buster's egotistical roommate/frenemy fits well with his past self.

The episode has several core plots - the first two laid out are Buster and Babs dealing with living apart for the first time in their lives, and Hampton dealing with his family legacy as well as his feelings on comedy, with Buster and Plucky's rivalry set up as a third plot with performance on their first gag assignment being used to settle who gets the top bunk. We also get an idea of the Looniversity's pecking order, with Granny as the sweet yet brash dean; classic Loony Tunes characters as faculty, and staff managed by other characters - Yosemite Sam is campus security (complete with a longhorn-accessorized golf cart), and Taz is the cafe barista/bartender..
posted by NoxAeternum (2 comments total)
Some thoughts on the episode after some time to ponder:

* Overall, the episode felt overly busy, in large part because it was doing too much overall in setting up the setting, the core ensemble, and have a few plots - resulting in too many moving parts. Hopefully later episodes will have room to breathe.
* Thinking about Sweetie Pie's promotion to core cast, it's worth noting a) how few female Tiny Toons there were, and b) how many were built on problematic gags. In the original series, there were five female characters that you could consider "core" characters - Babs, Sweetie Pie, Fifi, Elmyra, and Shirley the Loon. Fifi and Elmyra are built on gags that are just Not Acceptable today ("sexual harassment/assault is funny when it's female on male" for the former, animal abuse and cruelty for the latter) that using them in the core ensemble was likely a no-go. Shirley, on the other hand, while not built on a problematic gag, is more of a rather dated reference (that said, we are talking about a franchise that has a character who has outlived/transcended the reference he was built on, so YMMV.) As such we see Shirley as the Merrie Melodies RA, which is a good fit for the character - a position that leaves her involved, but not a part of the core ensemble and their escapades.
* Giving Hampton a background that in some ways codes as culturally Jewish-American is a bit of twisted black comedy that I'm not sure how I feel about.
posted by NoxAeternum at 8:11 AM on September 12, 2023

Not having heard of the original, i assumed it was just a spinoff of the recent revival of animaniacs. Either way, it's a fun show when you are in the mood for something manic.
posted by Marticus at 9:49 PM on September 13, 2023

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