An artist for Looney Tunes Cartoons questions if viewers "seriously care" whether Elmer Fudd wields his shotgun in the new animated series after Peter Browngardt, the show's executive producer and showrunner, said the shorts releasing on HBO Max will not include guns as part of its depictions of cartoony violence. The befuddled hunter emerged as a trending topic on Twitter over Browngardt's comments in The New York Times, where Browngardt said the Looney Tunes arsenal would no longer include guns despite being styled after classic cartoon shorts where typically gun-toting characters like Fudd and Yosemite Sam often fired their weapons on Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.
"Do you guys SERIOUSLY care whether or not Elmer Fudd has a gun in our shorts? You know how many gags we can do with guns? Fairly few," Michael Ruocco, an animator on New Looney Tunes and Looney Tunes Cartoons, tweeted Sunday. "And the best were already done by the old guys. It's limiting. It was never about the gun, it was about Elmer's flawed, challenged masculinity."
In a followup tweet, Ruocco said the decision to disarm Fudd was a reaction to real-world gun violence, including the 2017 Las Vegas shooting — the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
"Also, think about context about what's going on in the world, and how long ago our show started production. Late 2017, early 2018," Ruocco tweeted. "Right on the heels of a record number of mass shootings, particularly the horrific one in Las Vegas. NOBODY wanted to touch guns working in media."
"I personally did not care [about] or miss Elmer's rifle," Ruocco added in a subsequent tweet. "We got a lot more out of his personality and his lack of wit than any implement in his hands. Move on." In a final tweet, Ruocco added the animators "got a lot more out of wordplay, dynamite and the character's own naivety/stupidity than we ever did with guns."
TNT and other dangerous products manufactured by the ACME corporation continue to have a presence in Looney Tunes Cartoons, which does not shy away from cartoony violence.
In the "Vincent Van Fudd" short, Fudd reacts with horror and regret when he believes he's impaled Bugs with a palette knife after the wascally wabbit interrupts his attempt to become a great artist. Pretending to die from a wound made of red paint, an over-dramatic Bugs convinces Fudd to tug on a rope. When Fudd obliges the rabbit's "last request," he's flattened by a falling anvil.
Other shorts depict Fudd pursuing Bugs with other weaponry, including an axe and a scythe.
Some have praised Warner Bros., who produces the series, for taking a stance on gun violence. Others called the removal of Fudd and Yosemite Sam's guns "ridiculous," with one person saying dropping Fudd's gun is "like taking spinach away from Popeye."
I’m all for positive programming... But how do you depict #ElmerFudd and #YosemiteSam without guns? It’s make believe. They are cartons. We are going backwards people.— Dina Parise (@DPariseRacing) June 7, 2020
It’s getting ridiculous.... 🙄https://t.co/NCFh8x4m4F
The looney tunes remake with Elmer Fudd not having a gun is ridiculous. The whole premise of the cartoon was him hunting for BB and Daffy with a gun. What is he going to have a camera to take pics with. Chuck Jones must be turning over in his grave along with Mel Blanc. pic.twitter.com/Tvx9h76A2u— david r. (@mudcaulks) June 7, 2020
so Elmer Fudd having a gun is promoting violence and chaos, but him having a scythe like the fucking grip reaper, booby traps, and literal sticks of dynamite is perfectly fine. at this point why dont you have Elmer and Bugs Bunny work out their issues with one another in therapy? pic.twitter.com/6x5pUXIDlh— rockie (@xenarama) June 7, 2020
Elmer Fudd is going to go hunting with a Scythe!? I don't know. That seems worse. https://t.co/WpTJBe4yiT— Wanderingpaws (@Wanderingpawz) June 6, 2020
Taking a gun away from Elmer Fudd is like taking spinach away from Popeye. https://t.co/4UyIYSZVEC— Joseph A. Wulfsohn (@JosephWulfsohn) June 7, 2020
I CAN'T BELIEVE THE NEW LOONEY TUNES CARTOONS *cough* which are actually great, go check them out *cough* WON'T LET ELMER FUDD USE A GUN.
ELMER'S ONLY CHARACTER TRAIT IS A GUN. THAT'S IT. THE ORIGINAL CREATORS WOULD NEVER MAKE A CARTOON WHERE HE DIDN'T USE A GUN AT ALL-June 7, 2020
anyway, anyone who is mad about them taking away Elmer Fudd's hunting rifle probably has not watched any Looney Tunes media in the past 10 years where he rarely has it and also once was implied to have regular sex with a grilled cheese sandwich. pic.twitter.com/w3PdBbomrA— Hey FizzyJay (@hey_fizzy_jay) June 7, 2020
Sam and Elmer Fudd are nothing without their trademark weapons. This is bullshit. pic.twitter.com/fx75NvUhp9— Monoklown3Q2 (@Circushellspawn) June 6, 2020
Warner Bros: "Elmer Fudd won't have firearms in our reboot"
Gun violence: pic.twitter.com/SFzejTm80S— Gateway (@Ninety9us) June 7, 2020
I'm protesting because Elmer Fudd is indirectly responsible for my rabbit being shot by a woefully ineffective shotgun. pic.twitter.com/YV8NFkasOA— El Copeo (@Kaciao5) June 7, 2020
This come about 80 years too late for the thousands of victims of Elmer Fudd-inspired mass murderershttps://t.co/mEeNFdu55Y— David Burge (@iowahawkblog) June 7, 2020
I can't believe this needs to be said, but Yosemite Sam and Elmer Fudd were never responsible gun owners anyway. pic.twitter.com/4dgJ83WVgu— Dr. Jacqueline Antonovich (@jackiantonovich) June 7, 2020
The New Looney Tunes Cartoons will not feature guns in any fashion, including for Elmer Fudd and Yosemite Sam per the creators.
While this may be upsetting for some, I will say it hasn't diminished the quality of the new shorts at all. They're very good and I recommend them. pic.twitter.com/9f3ZaOKb6V— TRAFON (@RiseFallNick) June 7, 2020
Looney Tunes Cartoons is now streaming on HBO Max.