You Should Watch Old Looney Tunes, the Best Thing on HBO Max


HBO Max is here. And while the name is still a little confusing, and figuring out how to get it can be a little tricky, you can’t deny that it has a ton of great stuff in the library. It’s got everything normal HBO offers, plus all the Studio Ghibli movies and tons of classic films. HBO Max even has all eight Harry Potter movies, although it had been widely reported that they wouldn’t be on the service due to licensing issues. So: with hundreds of options, what should you watch first?

Might we suggest some good, old-fashioned Looney Tunes?

Bugs Bunny and the gang are a big part of HBO Max. One of the few original series the service launched with is a new Looney Tunes show, and the gang get their own icon on the sidebar alongside the likes of other big categories like DC and Turner Classic Movies. The new Looney Tunes show is supposedly pretty good—but the originals just can’t be beat.

Let me ask: when’s the last time you watched a Looney Tunes cartoon? Maybe you’ve seen Bugs and Daffy Duck playing basketball with Michael Jordan or getting all kinds of fashionable. That’s not the same as actually revisiting these classics.

Because, for the most part, they hold up incredibly well. The hand-drawn animation looks beautiful a half-century later, and Mel Blanc’s legendary vocal work as pretty much every character sounds as incredible (and funny) as ever. And the best Looney Tunes are funny and timeless. Sure, there’s the occasional reference that maybe your grandfather would have chuckled at that goes entirely over your head, but most Looney Tunes succeed with physical and character comedy, boosted by a fun visual style and an ace sense of timing that they basically invented. Faced with HBO Max’s imposing library of content (not to mention all the other, real stressors in these exhausting times), it’s hard to find something more appealing.

If you’re looking for a spot to dive in, try this: pick a character. Check out some Marvin the Martian shorts, or revisit some of Porky Pig’s greatest hits. Or perhaps just start with the stone-cold classics: “Duck Amuck,” featuring Daffy Duck’s Sisyphean battle against the animator of the very cartoon he’s in, or “Rabbit Fire,” the first of three classic segments pitting Daffy and Bugs against Elmer Fudd (and each other). “What’s Opera, Doc?” is literally high art.

And if that’s not enough to convince you? The shorts run about seven minutes a piece. Quibi, eat your heart out.

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