by Ryan Arthur
The second (and quite possibly the best, I'd argue) of Chuck Jones' "Hunting Trilogy," (following Rabbit Fire and Duck! Rabbit, Duck! involving Bugs, Daffy and Elmer hinges on - of all things - "pronoun trouble." And it works.Long before I knew the genius of the boys of Termite Terrace, long before I became a movie geek, I was a cartoon nut. I loved cartoons, and still do (of the 100+ channels with my DirecTV package, Cartoon Network and Boomerang still get the most tube-time). And when I was younger, I'd sit through anything animated at least once, because I was mesmerized by it all. But my pride and joy (both then and now) was always the Looney Tunes, and I appreciated the Mike Maltese-written/Chuck Jones-helmed cartoons the most.
"Now's your chance, 'Hawkeye!' Shoot him! Shoot him!"
Rabbit Seasoning isn't the best Chuck Jones cartoon ever made, but it's certainly up there. It's duck season, and Daffy, right bastard that he is, is luring Elmer into the woods under the pretense that it is, in fact, and despite all evidence to the contrary, rabbit (or "wabbit," if you prefer) season. He'll lead the witless hunter right to Bugs' rabbit hole, Elmer's need to hunt will be sated, Daffy's nemesis will be gone and Daffy will live to hide another day. He's a survivor. The problem, of course, is that he's trying to match wits with Bugs Bunny, and for Daffy, that never ends well.
The art of Rabbit Seasoning is superb, but the dialogue and direction here really crackle. Interplay between Bugs and Daffy is always a good thing, and here (as it should be) it's very snappy, which is a credit to both Maltese as a writer and Blanc as a performer, who for all intents and purposes, was arguing with himself. That's talent, and Blanc had it in spades. The run of "shoot him now! Shoot him now!” through the previously mentioned "pronoun trouble" is a classic bit of dialogue and still cracks me up to this day every time I hear it, and Jones' direction picks up at about the two minute mark and then it's pretty much a sprint to the finish. It's definitely one of the faster paced Looney Tunes shorts out there, especially in the final half. When Daffy peeks out from the rabbit hole only to get blasted and answers Bugs' "Is he still there?" with a half-baked "Still lurking about!" I just lose it and giggle through the rest of the short. Good comedy.Some Looney Tunes fans may prefer either of the other two shorts in the 'Hunting Trilogy', but I'd stand by Rabbit Seasoning as the apex of the three, and the Jones/Maltese combo was pretty much hitting on all cylinders as well. For my money, it's one of the best cartoons ever.
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originally posted: 11/02/05 05:41:31