Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Alcohol, Consequences, and Tiny Toons

Pop culture occasionally gets rather weird, as we the internet-savvy should already know. When it happened to have become weird during my childhood, however, I occasionally have trouble telling which of the following scenarios is accurate.

One: Said thing happened and really was weird.

Two: Said thing happened but time has warped my memory of it. Said thing may or may not have been weird.

Three: Said thing happened, but I didn’t understand it at the time because I didn’t understand much of anything as a kid. I mapped the actual event onto something I did understand. Said thing may or may not have been weird.

Four: Said thing happened, but in a dream, but I failed to make that distinction. Said thing was too weird to have ever occurred in real life.

Last week, I recalled something that hadn’t crossed my mind in nearly twenty years: an episode of Tiny Toons in which the show’s three main male characters share beer and then die in a drunk driving-caused vehicular accident. (Yes, the Cereal Box is apparently themed with Warner Bros.-produced cartoons today.) Doesn’t seem likely that such an episode could exist, does it? Unless it happened to be the last episode of Tiny Toons. Being at work and not being able to research the matter, I simply posted the following up as a Facebook status: Drew wonders if anyone else remembers an episode of Tiny Toons where they drive drunk and all die. Because I swear it happened. I received responses, including one from frequent Back of the Cereal Box commenter Jenn that affirmed that the episode did, in fact, exist, more or less how I remembered it.

Miscellaneous notes on this episode, titled
“One Beer”:

I find it infuriating that Buster is aware of the fact that he is participating in a public service announcement.

The message as far as the creators conceived it: Children shouldn’t experiment with alcohol.

The message as far as the viewers would have probably understood it: A single beer will turn you into a 1940s-style hobo who makes inappropriate remarks at women — or, at least, female rabbits, loons and skunks — and then make you steal a cop car and drive it off a cliff, crashing into a cemetery. By extension, my parents will probably kill me en route home from the next barbecue my family attends.

Briefly, the skeletons of all three are visible moments before they die.

Though the three do, in fact, die and ascend into heaven in little angel costumes, they reveal at the end of the episode that the short was only a performance. They take off the angel costumes and walk off the show’s “set.” While this explains how Tiny Toons could have died and not horrified young children watching the show, it cheapens the message of this particular PSA, in my mind.

Whereas Ducktales looked better than I would have expected, Tiny Toons looks way worse.

“One Beer” includes a burping musical number that seems to be part of a grand tradition in Warner Bros. cartoons of combining music and body functions. On Facebook, Delyar said she didn’t remember the Tiny Toons episode I described, but she did remember a Looney Tunes short in which a drunken note screws up a performance of “Blue Danube.” Apparently not reading her comment closely enough, I assumed she meant this short from Animaniacs, in which Wacko Warner, as “The Great Wakkorotti,” burps his way through “Blue Danube.”

Nope. Sanam pointed out instead the Chuck Jones short “High Note,” in which one of the actual notes from “Blue Danube” becomes drunk by hanging out in the sheet music to “Little Brown Jug” and ruins the performance. It’s well done. If you bother to watch any of the three clips in this post, watch this one.

As always, the most important thing here is that I did not dream it.

1 comment:

  1. 1) Thanks for the shout out, that mus be some kinda Drew's blog honor.
    2) I have been looking for that last clip for ages! I remember watching it as a little one back when TBS showed Loony Toons in the early hours. I'm very excited to see it again.