Elmer Fudd is still hunting rabbits, but these days he will apparently do it with a scythe. The Looney Tunes character made headlines and drew plenty of reaction online when people realized the new HBO Max show featuring the hapless hunter will feature his character without a hunting rifle.
“We’re not doing guns,” executive producer Peter Browngardt said in an interview with the New York Times. “But we can do cartoony violence – TNT, the Acme stuff.”
The new Looney Tunes show on HBO Max has drawn plenty of interest in the shiny new streaming service, even more than some of the more traditional prestige shows you’d associate with HBO. But it seems news of Fudd not having his gun in the series has taken a while to reach the masses. For anyone paying attention, though, a hunting rifle-less Fudd has been nothing new. In 2019, for example, Fudd and traditional nemesis Bugs Bunny appeared in a YouTube short called “Dynamite Dance,” seen above.
In it, Fudd doesn’t have a gun, instead taking a swing at Bugs with a scythe. You know, the thing the Grim Reaper is mostly known for. It’s a more metaphorical weapon than anything, but it still plays out like a traditional Looney Tunes chase segment.
That clip hit YouTube in June of 2019 and later became part of Looney Tunes Cartoons, which is now on HBO Max. In other words, people are just noticing a change that was made some time ago. But the news spreading online also drew plenty of reaction. There were a lot of jokes to be made about the situation, especially given that it’s a cartoon everyone is essentially pretending to be mad about.
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
gonna be so much more horrifying when Elmer Fudd kills Bugs Bunny with his bare hands
— BUM CHILLUPS, NPR CLASS PUNDIT (@edsbs) June 7, 2020
Conservatives are going to march in the streets because Elmer Fudd doesn’t have a gun anymore
— Bяyan (@MurderBryan) June 7, 2020
Not sure what's funnier: Warner Bros taking Elmer fudd's gun as some sort of weird empty gesture about gun violence or the people getting genuinely upset over it and saying that they're gonna unsubscribe pic.twitter.com/kqF2JLnhHJ
— Please Social Distance.🌠🌃🌌💙 (@nightandtime) June 7, 2020
As some pointed out a hunter is not the only thing the Fudd character has been known for over the years, either.
History Lesson! Elmer Fudd was first a camera man, messenger, and a pet owner before a hunter. He hunts but it’s not his defining trait. I mean he was even a confederate soldier before he hunted wabbits soooo 👀 pic.twitter.com/SRT6ZW2nvZ
— Marcus Aguinaga (@nonsensetreasur) June 7, 2020
But there’s also a very serious point to be made: these cartoons have evolved over the decades they’ve existed and have a shared history of some now offensive things that would absolutely not be acceptable in today’s society. Gently discontinuing use of a firearm in a children’s cartoon might be a trigger to make some people upset, but it’s far from the most offensive thing Looney Tunes has had to distance itself from in its long history.