Elmer Fudd is no longer hunting “wabbits” while tooled up with a double-barrelled shotgun.
The newly-rebooted Looney Tunes cartoons, showing on HBO Max in the US, have seen the firearms removed from both Fudd and incensed prospector Yosemite Sam.
And while some have leapt to the defence of the animated character's second amendment rights, at least one writer on the show is having absolutely none of it.
Taking to Twitter, Michael Ruocco, who's worked on shows like Bojack Horseman, let fly: “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. 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.
“Also, think about context about what's going on in the world, and how long ago our show started production. Late 2017, early 2018. 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'm not here to put words in other people's mouths or anything, but as someone who worked for 2 years with these characters, I personally did not care or miss Elmer's rifle. We got a lot more out of his personality and his lack of wit than any implement in his hands. Move on.”
Also, think about context about what's going on in the world, and how long ago our show started production. Late 2017, early 2018. 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.— Michael Ruocco (@AGuyWhoDraws) June 7, 2020
He went on:
Correction: I worked for nearly FIVE YEARS with these characters (3 on "Wabbit/New Looney Tunes", 2 on "Looney Tunes Cartoons"). Still, did not care or miss the guns. We got a lot more out of wordplay, dynamite and the character's own naivety/stupidity than we ever did with guns.— Michael Ruocco (@AGuyWhoDraws) June 7, 2020
The show's executive producer Peter Browngardt, who's worked on shows like Futurama, Adventure Time and Steven Universe, confirmed in an interview with The New York Times that guns were indeed out of the picture in the new Looney Tunes.
“We're not doing guns, but we can do cartoony violence — TNT, the Acme stuff,” he said. “All that was kind of grandfathered in.”
Another of the show's animators, Johnny Ryan, added: “We’re going through this wave of anti-bullying, everybody needs to be friends, everybody needs to get along.
“Looney Tunes is pretty much the antithesis of that. It’s two characters in conflict, sometimes getting pretty violent.”