Buddy (Looney Tunes)

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Buddy (Looney Tunes)
Buddy's first appearance.png

Buddy from Looney Tunes.png
Another image of Buddy from Looney Tunes.png

"A creature of limitless blandness" - Bob Clampett
Gender: Male
Type: Lifeless Protagonist who is a Pointless Rip-Off of Bosko
Species: Human
Portrayed by: Jack Carr
Jim Cummings (Animaniacs)
Status: Alive
Media of Origin: Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies


"Back in 1933, Hugh Harman and Rudy Ising broke up with Leon Schlesinger and walked away with their characters like Bosko, leaving Leon completely cartoonless.
In a desperate act to stay in the business, he brought in several animators from other studios to make him a new cartoon star, and the best they can do is come up with is,
A GUY."
ElectricDragon505


Buddy is an animated cartoon character in the Looney Tunes series by Leon Schlesinger Productions. He was the second star of the series, after Bosko. He is usually accompanied in his films by his flapper girlfriend, Cookie, and his dog, Towser. He would go on to star in 23 cartoons from 1933 to 1935 before he was retired to make way for Beans, who became the third Looney Tunes star before being displaced by his co-star Porky Pig, who proved far more popular. He is voiced by animator Jack Carr; however, he was voiced by Jim Cummings in Animaniacs.

History

His origins were surrounded by the chaos that followed after animators Hugh Harman and Rudolf Ising quit their deal with producer Leon Schlesinger in 1933. Harman and Ising went to work for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, taking Bosko with them, as they retained the rights to the character. Without his animators and star character, Schlesinger was desperate to build his own cartoon studio and maintain his contract with Warner Bros. He lured in several animators from other studios, among them Tom Palmer. Schlesinger told his new employees to create a star character for the studio, and Tom Palmer created Buddy in 1933.

Why He's A Creature of Limitless Blandness

  1. To get down the first problem with him, he is easily the most primitive of the Looney Tunes characters, even more so than Foxy and most of the Seven-Arts characters, where he is a male human who has little to no personality outside of being happy-go-lucky.
    • Granted, throughout the early-to-mid-1930s, there are multiple cartoon characters created from different studios whom are characterized as being happy-go-lucky, such as Disney's Mickey Mouse and Goofy, Fleischer Studios' Betty Boop and even Looney Tunes' own Bosko and Porky Pig, because it was the trend during the Great Depression to create such happy-go-lucky characters to cheer up moviegoing audiences of the time, but at least they got more of a personality aside from being just happy-go-lucky unlike Buddy, which is what made them popular in the first place, especially during their time where standards for cartoons characters were fairly lower than in later years. In other words, Buddy is lame and primitive even by early-1930s standards, hence why he is so universally hated.
  2. He faces almost no conflicts towards anything in the original show and is extremely forgettable due to his stale and bland personality. And he is still written to be a generic protagonist whose actions aren't worth mentioning, he even gets predictably fortunate endings in almost every single episode, making his conflicts and/or clumsiness (if ever) completely unsatisfying and boring.
  3. Some of the conflicts he'd get himself into are often very typical by 1930s standards. From foolish blunders like in "Buddy and Towser" (1934), where he told his dog to guard the chickens yet he tied the dog to his doghouse (why?!), to some random villain kidnapping his love interest, Cookie, and Buddy would go save her.
  4. He served to replace Bosko in episodes that are total rehashes of Bosko's shorts in previous Looney Tunes shorts, so much to the point that he is a whitewashed knock-off of Bosko. As the result, he and his supporting characters are basically inferior versions of the characters in Bosko's cartoons, with his girlfriend Cookie and his dog Towser serving as inferior versions of Honey and Bruno from the Bosko cartoons.
    • Didn't help that his final redesign almost closely resembles those of Bosko's, minus his head and hands.
    • He is also obvious rip-off of Mickey Mouse, except with none of the charm, memorability, and likability to make him a lovable or endearing character, thus making him completely unoriginal. It doesn't help the fact that how he was created as a replacement for Bosko which Warner Bros. lost the rights to Harman-Ising in 1933 directly parallels to those of how Mickey Mouse was created as a replacement for Oswald the Lucky Rabbit which Walt Disney lost the rights to Charles Mintz in 1928.
  5. Because of how stale his cartoons and his character are, he is a purely lifeless character who's not worth getting invested in him since he and his cartoons feel like preschooler versions of the Merrie Melodies shorts, unlike their previous shorts.
    • Adding salt to the wound is that despite how boring and lifeless as a character he is, he is overused in the black-and-white Looney Tunes cartoons from his debut in 1933 until when Porky Pig debuted in 1935, to the point where it gets old.
  6. His overly sweet cartoons and his infamously bland personality were so bad, that there were audiences, critics, and even historians who find Buddy to be the absolute worst cartoon character ever made by Warner Bros themselves.
  7. While he has mostly passable designs, his designs were at their worst in episodes like "Buddy's Day Out", for example, where he looked way younger than Cookie, making the viewer feel uncomfortable since Buddy seems like a creep and Cookie seem like a pedophile by the first impression.
  8. In the episode, "Buddy the Dentist", he tried pulling his dog's teeth out with a plier, and the way he does it while seeming happy to do it while smiling with glee at his dog responding in misery is just horrible to watch.
  9. His voice actor Jack Carr did a very mediocre job at voicing him. Making his voice the equivalent of white noise.
    • His Tarzan yell in "Buddy of the Apes" is incredibly annoying and barely even sounds like an actual Tarzan yell in the slightest.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. As said before, he has some passable character designs.
  2. His bland personality was used as a punchline in Animaniacs, where he became a happy-go-lucky yet accident-prone and mentally strange boy who seems to be a little too masochistic about the titular trio whacking him with a hammer.
  3. His theme is good.

Reception

In recent decades, Buddy has received negative reviews from many critics and audiences and is often considered the worst character in the Looney Tunes franchise.

In That's All, Folks! The Art of Warner Bros. Animation, Bob Clampett describes Buddy as "a creature of limitless blandness," and calls Buddy's Day Out "a nondescript adventure spree."

Steve Schneider says that "probably the best of the run is his farewell film, Buddy the Gee Man", but "about the most that can be said for Buddy is that he is distinctly forgettable."[1]

Videos

Trivia

  • Buddy's shorts were all but forgotten until the era of television began in the 1950s. Program directors, searching for something cheap to fill time, rediscovered the "lost" cartoons from the 1930s. Despite the blandness of his films, Buddy's cartoons were shown on television as part of the Sunset Productions syndicated package.
  • Buddy's first new appearance after his original series ended came in the 1993 animated series Animaniacs, where he appeared in the episode "The Warners' 65th Anniversary Special", broadcast 27 May 1994. Parodying the Buddy character's actual troubled production history by his original creator Tom Palmer and his retirement in the 1930s, in this episode, it was revealed (in the series' fictional history) that the Warner siblings (Yakko, Wakko, and Dot) were created to spice up Buddy's dull cartoons, usually by smashing Buddy on the head with mallets. After Buddy was dropped by the studio in favor of the Warners, Buddy retired to become a nut farmer in Ojai, California, but hated the Warners for ruining his career, and attempted to blow them up at the Anniversary Special to seek revenge. He failed when the Warners thanked Buddy, and he came out of hiding, did a speech at Wakko's suggestion, and forgot all about the bomb he did beneath a podium. Jim Cummings provided Buddy's voice here.
    • At the time when this Animaniacs episode came out, the character Buddy completely faded into obscurity as the result of his unpopularity, to the point that people thought Animaniacs made him up. Unfortunately, they didn't.
  • He made a cameo in Space Jam on one of the several portraits depicting 1930s-era Looney Tunes characters. His portrait is most visible on the left of the door as Daffy Duck is entering the meeting hall after just taking a bath.

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