Babs & Buster Bunny.


Original medium: Television animation
Produced by: Amblin Entertainment
First Appeared: 1990
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Just as Bugs Bunny was the biggest star Warner Bros. had during the classic years of theatrical animation — his counterparts, Babs & Buster Bunny, were …

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… the biggest stars in the TV show Tiny Toon Adventures, Steven Spielberg's early 1990s attempt to carry the spirit of those old cartoons into a new generation. Singly or (more often) together, they were featured in more of that show's 130 half-hour episodes than any other character. (Tho it was Plucky Duck who got singled out for a short-lived spin-off of his own.)

Babs and Buster are about 14 years old. Like the other Tiny Toons characters, they attend Acme Looniversity, where the instructors include Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, Pepe LePew and other old-time Warner stars. They're best friends but, despite the name, no relation — as they frequently remind viewers, speaking in unison. Bugs is their mentor and favorite teacher, just as they themselves are clearly and openly intended to play on his popularity and extend the Bunny franchise into a second set of marketable characters.

This is not to say they're an exact duplicate of Bugs, any more than the other Tiny Toons are exact duplicates of their mentors and favorite teachers, i.e., their counterparts among the classic Looney Tunes characters. They're like Bugs in their theatrical mannerisms, their general confidence in themselves, and, in terms of working well with other headline characters, in being "team players". They're unlike him in their naivete (they're kids, after all), the fact that they often go seeking adventure instead of usually having it thrust upon them, and their more pronounced awareness of the fact that there's an audience out there watching them. Also, tho Bugs is justly famous for his ability to play female roles when the situation calls for it, Babs and Buster can do male and female at the same time.

Babs (voiced by Tress MacNeille) is a natural mimic, loaded with energy, an instigator of action. Also, she hates being called by her full name, which is Barbara Anne Bunny. And by the way, Babs once went on a quest looking for a female role model among the old Looney Tunes characters, and had to go as far back as Honey, Bosko's girlfriend. Buster (first voiced by Charlie Adler, later by John Kassir) is a fast talker, a wry commentator on the action, and a gadfly to authority figures. Together, they're a well-honed comedy team, and a fit match for Montana Max, Elmyra, Hamton Pig or any of the other Tiny Toons characters they share billing with.

Like most other Tiny Toons, they haven't been promoted separately, so their history is pretty much that of the show itself. They started with the show's 1990 debut in syndication, and appeared with the rest on Nickelodeon in the mid-1990s and the Warner Bros. TV network later on. They were in the Tiny Toon Adventures feature, How I Spent My Vacation. They've never been in comic books in America, tho DC Comics packaged stories about them for the overseas market. And they still have many fans, who will be poised and waiting when, inevitably, they turn up on TV again.


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Text ©2002-06 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Warner Bros.