Monday, June 24, 2024
HomeEntertainmentIn ‘Stay Tooned,’ Eric Bauza — the first non-white voice of Bugs...

In ‘Stay Tooned,’ Eric Bauza — the first non-white voice of Bugs Bunny — looks at what cartoons of yore got wrong

Cartoons have always played a huge role not only in defining Eric Bauza’s career path, but also in helping to mould his understanding of the world around us.

The Filipino-Canadian, who has voiced legendary characters including Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck and Tweety, now takes the front seat as he interviews key people for the new CBC Gem series “Stay Tooned.”

The six-episode series, which premieres on CBC Gem on Friday, looks back at how cartoons have shaped society, and helps us understand the social and political worlds we live in.

“There’s just a lot that whether it was in our face or subliminally, it’s good to be aware of what you’re watching,” Bauza said in an interview. “And especially if we’re living in the age of nostalgia, and I’m a parent now — I’m a dad to my six-year-old — I gotta watch what he’s watching to make sure it’s OK. The purpose of the show is to kind of invoke these conversations.”

In each episode, Bauza has enlightening conversations with people in the animation and voice-over industry, including Domee Shi, Ben Schwartz, Lake Bell, Ken Jeong, Tara Strong, Russell Peters, Lamorne Morris, Cree Summer and James Adomian. In a 22-minute format, the series packs in three guests and problematic cartoon clips from back in the day. Bauza was surprised at how the Fathom Film Group production team and CBC were able to get so much in.

“Stay Tooned” is both an homage to the cartoons we loved and also a deeper look at what they got right and how they could have done better, said Bauza. When asked if he remembered the first time he noticed problematic representation in cartoons, he said it was something he saw when he was only 11.

“I used to love the Flintstones growing up as a kid and there was an episode where both Betty and Wilma are taking Judo lessons from, like, this little Asian character and it was just poorly represented. He had the coke bottle glasses and the buck teeth. It looked like Mickey Rooney from ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s.’

“The voice was a little bit more sensationalized and stereotyped and, coincidentally, it was Mel Blanc doing that voice, who was also the voice of Bugs Bunny. I wasn’t offended because I’m not Japanese, I’m Filipino, but to think that as a kid, I’m trying to look for characters that look like me and this is what they depict. I was like, ‘Well, that’s not true. That could go the same for any race; we don’t all look like that.’

“I think nowadays, we’re really striving to have authentic, not just voice actors portraying the characters, but the writers too,” he added. “If you want to tell a story about a specific person, the writer should be that specific person telling the story.

“We have to be very sensitive toward that because … it’s not just a person, but an entire culture. So we have to be respectful of that.”

Bauza is the sixth person to voice Bugs Bunny and the first person of colour. Previously, “Bugs Bunny was only voiced by old white men,” Bauza said, and he’s very thankful for the opportunity.

“I feel like if there were any wrongs that needed to be righted now, I could be part of that solution to show that we are moving forward and progress is being made. You know, I never really thought of it that way because as a voice actor, this is not important. What I look like is not important. It’s how I sound and how I act that’s important. I just hope I don’t get cancelled for not being a real rabbit. That’s all,” he joked.

Bauza wants “Stay Tooned,” which he feels is made for the adults in the room, to engage audiences and to start an open conversation.

“I think that it’s important to not sweep anything under the rug. I think it’s important to shine a light on it so everyone can see that it happened and that it’s wrong, and that we can move past it.”


Conversations are opinions of our readers and are subject to the Code of Conduct. The Star does not endorse these opinions.

Source link



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments