My youth was measured out in Saturday morning TV shows. It was a time before cable television and 24-hour channels that show nothing but food, sports, fashion, gardening, and cartoons. Delayed gratification was the norm not the exception. Things happened when they happened, and there was a good chance you had no idea of the time-table for any event. If you wanted to see your favorite cartoon, you had to wait until Saturday morning. And that’s not all bad. It meant you had other things to do until that time. And wait I did for the greatest cartoons of all time: the Warner Brothers productions of Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies directed by Chuck Jones and Friz Freleng of the the 1950’s and 60’s. After Randy Bernard presented the new schedule on Speed with the ensuing spewage of opinions in response, after Pete Pistone at MRN suggested that IndyCar do everyone a favor and die, and after the Sports Business Journal dredged the old rumor of a takeover bid, I just had to get my mind right by watching some old cartoons. I was sure Bugs Bunny, Wile E. Coyote, Daffy Duck, and Foghorn Leghorn could take my mind off the never-ending drama of IndyCar. I was wrong. As I watched, the cartoon characters morphed into the players in the incessant internecine battle that is IndyCar. So here they are folks, your Looney Tunes IndyCar comparisons. And has the name Looney Tunes ever been more apropos than it is here? To put you in the mood, here’s the song and dance introduction to the Bugs Bunny Show. You’re welcome.
Yosemite Sam – Old Yosemite Sam is always after Bugs Bunny and just can’t seem to get out of his own way. His plans always backfire on him. Yosemite Sam is IndyCar. He makes a lot of noise but always ends up shooting himself in the foot. That’s IndyCar right now. Sam just knows he’s the smartest, best-looking, and most desirable person on the planet, but no one else will believe him. Bugs eludes him, just like the ratings and respect elude IndyCar. Just like IndyCar with the “fastest and most versatile drivers in the world,” nobody seems to pay attention when Sam says he’s “the roughinest, toughinest, rootinest, tootinest, bobtailed wildcat north, south, east or west of the Pecos!” The big difference here is Sam is just bragging. IndyCar can back it up.
Foghorn Leghorn – Good old Foghorn with his homespun insults and country philosophy always makes me smile. As the big daddy rooster in the barnyard, he sets the rules and enforces them. He punishes the Barnyard Dawg with impunity and offers guidance to Henery Hawk and Miss Prissy’s son Egghead, Jr, not always with the intended consequences. The connection is obvious. Foghorn Leghorn is Beaux Barfield laying down the law to the Indy paddock. Some of you may remember his Twitter profile before he changed it reading “If it has wheels I’ll ride it, drive it, fix it, or f— it up.” Now THAT’S barnyard. Foghorn is always complaining that people don’t listen to him or do what he says. That’s just like Beaux talking at a drivers’ meeting. Don’t believe me? Just watch this clip and imagine Beaux telling it like it is about his drivers.
Bugs Bunny – Bugs is the coolest character there is; he’s unflappable. Who’s the coolest character in IndyCar? That would be James Hinchcliff. Nothing bothers him. He is media savvy and willing to cut up in public. All he needs is a carrot in a cigarette case and to open every interview with “What’s up, doc?” Just like Bugs, Hinch is one smooth customer.
Porky Pig – Chip Ganassi. Need I explain it?
Daffy Duck – Daffy is full of hare-brained schemes. He sees a situation and immediately makes it worse. He tries and tries to be relevant, but just can’t quite pull it off. Daffy is Robin Miller. With that said, Robin Miller is one of the very few journalists who covers IndyCar full-time. But just like Daffy, you never quite know what you are going to get. Recently, Robin opined about the cult of negativity surrounding IndyCar. Here’s a very quick, never-before-seen video of RM taking the negative people surrounding IndyCar to task. Daffy Duck, indeed.
The Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote – Poor Wile E. Coyote. He never eats. His gaunt figure literally haunts these cartoons. No matter what Acme anvils, Triple Strength Fortified Leg Muscle Vitamins, or Tornado Seeds he throws at the Road Runner, he just can’t win. But give old Wile E. credit. He keeps trying. Isn’t it obvious? Wile E. Coyote is Tony George. He wants to put an end to Randy Bernard, but just can’t quite get it done. The Acme Rocket Roller Skates just zoom him right off the cliff. And Randy Bernard is just as obviously the Road Runner. Every trick in Tony George’s book just can’t quite do him in. He’s dodged all the boulders and earthquake pills – in the form of rumors, secret meetings, and innuendo – that Wile E. Tony can throw at him. As long as he as he has feet under him, Road Runner Randy will just twinkle his toes, stick out his tongue, and say “Beep beep.” The only difference is we know how the cartoon turns out every time. I just hope our Indy Road Runner always survives the schemes of his cartoonish nemesis.
I’m sure I’m missing a few connections. I always do. Please feel to point them out to me. Until next time, I leave you with this.