DVD Review: Tiny Toons Vol. 3: Crazy Crew Rescues

Posted 7 years ago by Television

Tiny Toons

We’re tiny, we’re tooney, we’re all a little looney…

And with that, every person born between 1975 and 1985 will have that song stuck in their head for the rest of the day (or week).
You’re welcome.

As much as many of us hate to admit it, the much-beloved kiddie cartoons of the 1980s were little more than toy line tie-ins.  But that all changed with 1990’s Tiny Toon Adventures, produced by Steven Spielberg for Warner Bros.  The show was a throwback to the golden age of animation, featuring anthropomorphized characters modeled after the original Looney Tunes stars, but in a child-sized package (See Muppet Babies: An Adorable, Deplorable Legacy).  And like Daffy, Bugs, Porky, and Elmer Fudd, Babs and Buster Bunny, Plucky Duck, and Hamton combined slapstick with witty jokes to great effect.  Unlike most 80s cartoons, which resided in their own little bubble, Tiny Toons referenced real-life pop culture, like Citizen KaneStar Wars, Batman and Robin, and even The Twilight Zone, which helped make it a very hip, modern, and of-the-moment show.  More importantly, the jokes often sailed over the heads of youngsters – like the aforementioned Citizen Kane episode –  but hit their parents squarely in the funnybone.  It was this aspect of the show that helped solidify the still rather unrecognized importance of Tiny Toons in the modern animation canon, as it paved the way for more “adult” cartoons aimed at kids; like a G-rated, but not any less funny version of the PG-rated The Simpsons.  Without Tiny Toons we probably wouldn’t have had Ren & Stimpy, Batman: The Animated Series, Spongebob Squarepants, or any other modern cartoons that have just as many adult fans as they do the under-12 set.

Much like Warner Bros/Spielberg’s follow-up (and some say superior) Animaniacs, the release schedule for Tiny Toons DVDs has been sporadic at best.  Volume 1 of Season 1 was released way back in 2008, Volume 2 came in 2009, and then nothing until 2012, when the 1992 direct-to-video How I Spent My Vacation saw a DVD pressing.  Now, in 2013, we get Tiny Toons Volume 3: Crazy Crew Rescues, which is essentially the first 13 episodes of Season 2, with 4 episodes from Season 3 tacked on to round out this 2-DVD set.  Either way you’re getting a ton of cartoons for your hard-earned dollar.  And when they’re as consistently funny as Tiny Toons, that is definitely a good thing.


I honestly cannot remember the last time I watched Tiny Toons, but I had forgotten how daring and dark it was.  For example, the episode Slaughter House Jive takes place inside a meat factory, and it doesn’t pull any punches in telling kids how cheeseburgers are made.  There’s another episode where we cut to a TV and the announcer says something along the lines of, “Coming up next, the new hit show, Plucky’s Turkish Prison!”.  Another episode features Buster telling a really lame joke that is embodied by a clown on crutches.  Well, the joke dies, and next thing you know they’re burying the disabled clown.  In the first episode, Babs is doing a bunch of imitations from pop culture, including a bit of Homie the Clown, a yellow-breast-coned Madonna, and she changes the words to 2 Live Crew’s Me So Horny to, “Oh, me so bunny. Me hop a long time.”  Needless to say my wife was not happy when our 5-year old started singing “Oh, me so bunny” while dancing around the house.  Did I mention One Beer, an episode that features Buster, Hamton, and Plucky getting hammered after they find a bottle of beer in the fridge?  The bit ends as the car they’re drunk-driving goes over a cliff and they die.  According to Wikipedia, that episode was never rebroadcast in America, and I’m not surprised.  But you’ll find it in this collection, if for no other reason but to prove to your friends it existed.

That’s not to say that TT was all animal slaughter, underage drinking, and prison rape jokes.  Mixed in with these racy references were laugh-out-loud episodes like The Potty Years, which brought us the classic “Water go down the hoooollle” line from a toilet-obsessed baby Plucky.  We also get one of my favorite segments, The Kite, which is a nearly dialog-free display of a sweet love affair between a moth and a renegade kite.  And, as a comic book fan, it was great fun to watch the Just-Us League of Supertoons – Batduck, Superbun, and Wonder Babs, among others – take on the evil Wex Wuthor.

The collection of episodes is presented as-is, in it’s original 4:3 broadcast format, with no special features.  But that’s ok.  Tiny Toons was entertaining enough that it can stand on it’s own as a snapshot in time of a very interesting transitional period between the kiddie fare of Thundercats and My Little Pony to a more mature era of cartoons for kids and adults.

It’s weird to watch Tiny Toons with my 5-year-old, because at one time I was the kid that didn’t get all the jokes, but enjoyed the show anyway.   Now that I do understand the references, I can see why my dad didn’t mind watching Tiny Toons with me whenever it came on.  Oddly, there will come a time when I’ll have to explain the Homie the Clown joke to my daughter, as that’s a long-lost pop icon, much like my dad had to explain to me who Bing Crosby and Cary Grant were in some of the old, original Looney Tunes shorts.  But even if she doesn’t understand the references (and probably never really will), the fact that she’s still laughing is a testament to how great Tiny Toons was.

Tiny Toons Volume 3: Crazy Crew Rescues is now available from Amazon and other fine retailers.