Babs and Buster Bunny are cartoon characters from the Warner Bros. animated television series Tiny Toon Adventures. They are the stars of the show— they both appear in the Tiny Toons logo, and the show usually begins and ends with their gags. Buster is voiced by Charlie Adler for most of the shows run and then by John Kassir for a few episodes in the third season. Babs is voiced by Tress MacNeille. Buster is a young, blue and white male rabbit with a red, long-sleeved shirt and white gloves. Babs is a young, pink and white female rabbit with a yellow blouse and purple skirt, and purple (sometimes blue) bowed ribbons near the tips of her ears; she occasionally wears white gloves. They attend Acme Looniversity and live in Acme Acres.
Babs and Buster are based on Bugs Bunny, who seems to be a mentor and favorite teacher to them both, although in the episode "Fields Of Honey", Babs searches for a female mentor, someone to be her true one and only mentor (she believes Bugs to be more of Buster's mentor as they seem to have more in common and are both male). She finds one in the forgotten character Honey from the old Bosko and Honey cartoons. However, both Buster and Babs take after different aspects of Bugs. Babs seems to be based on the more frenetic and random Bugs who did many sporadic costume changes and voices, while Buster is closer to the more unruffled and cool Bugs. Babs also seems to be partly based on Bugs's old sweetheart Honey Bunny.
They are both like Bugs Bunny in their theatrical mannerisms, their general self-confidence, and in their ability to work well with other headline characters. They are unlike him in their naïveté, due to their young age. Also, they tend to seek adventure, rather than wait for it to be thrust upon them; they are more inclined to help others (usually those close to them); and they seem to be aware that an audience is watching.
Their names reflect an old naming convention in cartoons. As frequently mentioned during their introduction, they have "no relation" to each other nor to Bugs Bunny. Nevertheless, their interaction resembles a brother-sister act in many ways. Babs and Buster are both about 14 years old (Babs gives this as her age in "The Looney Beginning"). Like the other Tiny Toons characters, they attend Acme Looniversity where the instructors include Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Porky Pig, as well as many other classic Warner Bros. cartoon stars. Their best friends are Plucky Duck, Hamton J. Pig, Shirley the Loon, Dizzy Devil, Fifi La Fume, Calamity Coyote, Little Beeper, Fowlmouth, Gogo Dodo, and Furrball. Their rivals are Montana Max, Elmyra Duff, Perfecto Prep alumni and Arnold the Pit Bull.
Buster and Babs have two end tags:
- 1. Buster: "Say good night, Babs."
- Babs: "Good night, Babs!"
- 2. Both: "ALOHA!" (in reference to Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian)
During introductions, the duo will claim "no relation", and Babs will often interject in Buster's speeches, usually in a less than flattering way, in order to annoy him.
Barbara Ann "Babs" Bunny (voiced by Tress MacNeille) is the lavender pink female rabbit. She is a clown who will do nearly anything for a laugh. She is good at improvisational comedy, and is a comedic impressionist in the vein of Robin Williams. Babs has impersonated or parodied many different actors and fictional characters, including Joan Rivers, Jessica Rabbit, Mae West, Elmer Fudd, Pete Puma, Groucho Marx, Wonder Woman and Madonna. In "Born To Be Riled", her friends become annoyed with her accurate but unflattering impersonations of them and they retaliate by impersonating her in turn. Like Buster, Babs is usually willing to go out of her way for her friends, such as when she sabotages a troupe of swan ballet dancers who are trying to thwart Shirley's debut. She often does quick costume changes, usually achieved by spinning quickly in a circle. Babs also can speak in a deep, sultry voice, often used to seduce Buster. She distinctly hates being called "Barbara Ann", preferring just "Babs". Her nickname probably originated from her initials B.A.B. with an "s" added on as a means of simplifying her name or the name probably was a fill-in of her nickname.
Her mother (also voiced by Tress MacNeille), was heard but only shown from the waist down (similar to the appearance of Nanny in the animated series Muppet Babies and the characters of Mum and Dad from Cow and Chicken). She has a father (also seen only from the waist down), who appeared in one episode as a monstrously large fellow who intimidated Buster when he dated Babs. However, in another episode ('Love Disconnection') where he drops Babs and her friends off at a party, Babs' father is portrayed differently as a goofy and clueless man who appears way out of touch with his daughter. Although Babs has been seen with dozens of brothers and sisters, only one has ever been named: Mortimer.
In "Fields of Honey", Babs searched for a female mentor, as nearly all prominent classic Looney Tunes characters are male. She eventually found one: Honey, a forgotten character from the old Bosko cartoons. However it should be noted that in the 1996 movie Space Jam, Bugs Bunny got a female counterpart, Lola Bunny. The relation between Bugs and Lola is very similar to Buster and Babs, so even though Babs Bunny was created long before Lola, Lola Bunny can be considered Babs' adult counterpart.
Her official outfit includes a yellow blouse and a purple skirt, with matching bows on the tips of her rabbit ears, and her body is pink and white. Unlike Bugs and Buster, she doesn't wear white gloves most of the time, but for some of her disguises, such as in parts of "The Vanderbunnys", "SuperBabs", "Strange Tales of Weird Science", "The Acme Acres Zone" and a few others, she does wear white gloves. Like Buster, Babs has large white oval marking on her front, usually seen when she is not wearing her usual outfit; she also has a small pink and white fluffy tail.
Her catchphrase is "I just can't help myself!" which is endemic to her frequent inability to exercise self-control, ultimately leading to trouble for herself, Buster, and/or anybody else around her.
Buster Bunny (voiced by Charlie Adler and later John Kassir) is the leader of the Tiny Toons gang, a street-smart, blue and white male rabbit who has to deal with the challenges of a tough school curriculum, the machinations of rich kid and local bully Montana Max, and the advances of crazed and ditzy animal lover Elmyra Duff. Like Babs, he will do anything for a laugh, though he is marginally more sane and calm than his female counterpart.
Buster's parents, like many of the main characters on the show, have never been seen on screen. It is known that Buster does live with his mother however, because in Tiny Toons commercials, she has been referenced and has even been spoken to on the phone, mostly as a way to tell Buster that she was on her way home when he was having a party.
Buster has an extreme fondness for Bugs to the point of often imitating his mentor, such as using Bugs' "slap dance" technique from Bully For Bugs (though with considerably less success). Although cool and collected for the most part, there are instances where other characters will get the better of Buster, or some unfortunate mishap will befall him, unlike his mentor Bugs, who for the most part was always on top of his game.
It is shown in "Buster and Babs Go Hawaiian" that Buster doesn't like riding on airplanes because he gets motion sickness. There he tried to persuade the script writers to make a rewrite regarding his dislike of air travel. Because they refused, he had no choice but to accept it.
Buster's outfit is just a red shirt and white gloves, looking similar to Reader Rabbit's outfit. He wears no pants, which brings up the question implied in "The Looney Beginning" when he asks his creator for some clothes "for the censors". His body is light blue and white.
Like their adult counterpart, Buster (and at times along with Babs) begin any attempts at mischief with, "Of course you realize, this means war." However, in order to make the line his own, Buster then adds, "Buster (and Babs) style!"
Buster's solo end tag alone (spoken without Babs) is: "And that's a wrap!"
Buster was the last and hardest voice role to cast. Buster's original voice actor was Charlie Adler, of whom Tom Ruegger said, "Sometimes he went too gravelly and over the top, but brought a great deal of energy to the role". Steven Spielberg and other producers did not want Adler, but Ruegger and voice caster/director Andrea Romano fought for him. When Adler landed in the role he said in an interview, "This is the first time in 30 series I have been in, that I'm having the best time of my life working". During Season 3, when they started production on Animaniacs, Adler was disappointed that he didn't get a recurring character in the new show, while minor Tiny Toons actors like Rob Paulsen and Frank Welker from Tiny Toons were given main roles. He and his agent sent angry letters to Ruegger and other producers, claiming that his treatment had been "shabby" and that he was going to leave the show.
When Adler dropped out, the studio still had a handful of episodes to record, so they re-cast the role of Buster with John Kassir. Kassir's voice was slightly different than Adler's: Adler's voice had been more gravelly and rough, whereas Kassir's was smoother. Kassir finished the last 10% of Adler's lines from "The Horror of Slumber Party Mountain". He performed Buster's voice in "The Return of Batduck" and "It's A Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special" in 1992; in 1994 and 1995 he reprised the role for "Night Ghoulery", and "Tiny Toons Spring Break Special". For the promos on Kids WB, Buster was played by various other voice actors, such as Billy West.
Babs has been shown many times to have a crush on Buster; sometimes Buster will nervously retreat from her advances, sometimes he returns her affection, and sometimes he even goes out of his way to impress her. Aside from taking her to the prom in one episode, towards the end of the series, in the episode "Thirteensomething" he shows that he harbors deep feelings for her, which he only realizes after she has left Acme; he rescues her and welcomes a kiss from her at the end of the episode. In the episode "Love Disconnection" when Buster (as the host) interviews Babs about her ideal boyfriend, he slyly remarks to the viewer "as if we don't already know" (indicating that he knows Babs is attracted to him).
Early in the series, Buster is shown to be easily attracted to Babs when she does her sultry routine (such as her Jessica Rabbit impression in "The Looney Beginning") or just decides to fix herself up to look nicer (her dress and what not for the prom in "Prom-Ise Her Anything"). In the last episode, "It's a Wonderful Tiny Toon Christmas Special", Babs states that Buster is indeed her boyfriend while she's singing with Cher; Buster discovers that Babs' life would be trite and miserable without him, and towards the end of the episode, he willingly accepts a kiss and recognizes the value they have to each other. Presumably after this, he will no longer retreat from her in any way at all. On another occasion their Perfecto Prep rivals, Roderick and Rhubella Rat (also voiced by Adler and MacNeille), refer to Buster and Babs as "Mr. No Money Bunny... and his No Money Bunny Honey", indicating that others perceive Buster and Babs as a couple. In "The Looney Beginning" and elsewhere, he calls her Babsy, showing that he holds a soft romantic spot for her.
- Buster Bunny is mentioned in a first chapter of a Junie B. Jones book Junie B., First Grader: Dumb Bunny, along with Bugs Bunny from Looney Tunes, the Bionic Bunny from Arthur, Thumper from Bambi, the Trix rabbit, the Velveteen Rabbit, and Peter Rabbit.
- In early development, Buster would have had the catchphrase "Hello Nurse!", as sort of a follow up to his idol Bugs' famous catchphrase. This idea was dropped as they could not think of a good reason for him to say it; it later evolved into a character name on Animaniacs, as well as a cry of attraction from its main characters.
- Buster appeared in a Korean commercial alongside Mario, Yoshi, Bowser, Goku and other licensed characters advertising for new games for the Hyundai Super Comboy that had been released during that time.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 T. Mike Childs, The Rocklopedia Fakebandica (Macmillan, 2004), 225.
- ↑ Andy Meisler, "Steven Spielberg Promises: 'Th-Th-That's Not All, Folks'," The New York Times (July 8, 1990).
- ↑ These lines pay homage to the classic sign-off of The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show as well as to Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.
- Tiny Toon Adventures at the Internet Movie Database
- Tiny Toon Adventures at the Big Cartoon DataBase
- Don Markstein's Toonopedia