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Saturday, November 20, 2010

The Pathology of the Looney Tunes

With a name like the "Looney Tunes", they obviously weren't letting in anybody who didn't carry with them some underlying psychosis.  After exhaustive research turned up no definitive record of what specific disorders made each one of them Looney, I set out to diagnose them myself.

I should say in advance that this blog is not intended to be used to diagnose or treat any cartoon character.  If you know a cartoon character that you suspect might have a mental disorder, please encourage them to seek professional help from a cartoon psychologist.  Cartoon Psychologists are easily recognizable from their German accents and male patterned baldness, but caution them to check for a pocket protector.  If he's wearing one he might actually be a mad scientist.


Symptoms: Confusion; Irritability; Agression; Long Term Memory Loss; Language Breakdown; Oldness.

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Diagnosis: While there are few signs of the onset of her dementia in her early work, this disorder became strikingly obvious later in her life when she began suffering from delusions that she was alternately a crime fighter, a kung-fu master and some sort of shamanic spirit-dancer that could talk to birds.

Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder:

Symptoms: Easily Distracted; Difficulty Maintaining a Single Task; Lack of Focus; Fidgeting; Being Constantly in Motion.

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Diagnosis: The Road Runner’s early prognosis leaned toward methamphetamine dependence but further observations revealed a pattern of behavior consistent with a predominantly hyperactive-impulse type ADHD.  He stands still only long enough to eat and has difficulty maintaining focus on the X he’s supposed to stand on long enough for any Rube Goldberg invention to reach fruition.

Amphetamine Dependence:

Symptoms: Grinding of the Teeth; Tooth Decay; Red Eyes; Hyperactivity; Mood Swings; Rapid Speech; Degenerating Rapidly on Every Level; Using A lot of Methamphetamines.

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Diagnosis: I don’t really feel that this diagnosis is in any need of justification.  Just look at the dude.  I mean, he’s functional but one of these days he’s going to crash and his whole world will come down.

Antisocial Personality Disorder:

Symptoms: Lack of Remorse; Cruelty to Animals; Tendency to Violate the Boundaries of Others; Restlessness; Abusive Relationships; Disregard for Safety; Being All Hannibal Lecter-ish.

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Diagnosis: Marvin’s anti-social tendencies went undiagnosed for an extended period due to his propensity for space travel.  By the time he reached earth he degenerated to a pure sociopath, willing to use the greatest technology the universe has ever known to torment harmless rabbits.

Anorexia Nervosa:

Symptoms: Rapid and Sustained Loss of Weight; Scarring of the Knuckles; Preoccupation with Preparing Food but Not Eating It; Depression; Solitude; Being Really Skinny.

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Diagnosis: Even at a glance this guy looks Anorexic.  While eating disorders far more often strike women it is quite common for them to manifest in men and coyotes[citation needed].  Notice that while Wile seems obsessed with getting the Road Runner he never seems concerned with finding a more ready source of food.  For a person that is perpetually starving, he always seems to have a ready supply of vegetables to cut up for the stew in which he intends to cook the Road Runner.

Avoidant Personality Disorder:

Symptoms: Extreme Sensitivity to Criticism; Social Isolation; Feelings of Inadequacy; Mistrust of Others; Highly Self-Conscious; Sitting Around in the Basement at 2 in the Morning Writing About the Psychology of Fictional Characters.

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Diagnosis: Despite talents that would be impressive for a human, Michigan J. Frog’s early career is remembered for his stubborn refusal to be anything except a damn frog when his owner would try to show him off.  Michigan’s tale is one that shows the utility of psychological treatment.  His later career with the WB Network is potent evidence that he eventually learned to compensate for his innate weakness.  The same cannot be said, of course, for the WB network.

Borderline Personality Disorder:

Symptoms: Prolonged States of Avarice; Anxiety; Mood Swings; Feelings of Victimization; Self-Harming; Deep Depression.

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Diagnosis: Bugs Bunny is a maze of pathology and trying to identify the general in his army of psychoses is almost pointless.  If there is a predominant affliction it is probably his BPD, which is almost certainly unrelated to his gender-confusion issues.  He seems obsessed with revenge at even the slightest provocation and never hesitates to stick his finger in the barrel of a gun.


Symptoms: Dehydration; Inflammation of the Esophagus; Constipation; Weight Fluctuations; Sticking of Finger in Throat.

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Diagnosis: There is really very little intuition needed to reach this conclusion.  In his career as a Looney Tune he was caught on film no fewer than five times eating Tweety Bird and later regurgitating him.  He was also rumored to leave an inordinate amount of hair balls on the set.

Cannabis Dependence:

Symptoms: Red Eyes; Lack of a Job; Rastafarian T-Shirt; No Real Knowledge of Rastafarianism; Slow or Slurred Speech; Thinking The Last Air Bender Wasn’t That Bad.

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Diagnosis: Even in fast motion this guy sounds stoned.


Symptoms: Hyperactivity; Cognitive Defecits; Hallucinations; Delusions; General Disorder of Activity; Ravenous, Unbounded Craziness.

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Diagnosis: In real psychology there is no diagnosis of “just plain nuts”, but if there was I would have substituted.  He is clearly progressed so deep in to his schizophrenia that he has lost cognitive use of language, which is normally much less noticeable in marsupials.

Dependant Personality Disorder:

Symptoms: Feelings of Inadequacy; Helplessness; Inability to Cope With Solitude; Self-Effacing; Subordinate; Clingy.

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Diagnosis: At first I mistook Tweety’s extreme near sightedness for signs of hallucinations.  He seems untrusting of his own eyes and can never tell for certain if he’s really seeing the Puddy-Tat or not.  Tweety’s level of psychological health is significantly higher than most of his cast mates, though he does often manufacture self-destructive situations whenever Granny leaves his sight for more than a few minutes.

Histrionic Personality Disorder:

Symptoms: Exhibitionism; Exaggerated Displays of Emotion; Extreme Sensitivity to Criticism; Prone to Making Rash Decisions; Superficial; Dying Her Hair Weird Colors While Still Insisting That She Doesn't Care if People Notice Her.

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Diagnosis: Miss Prissy is a self-loathing widow who suffers from deep emotional distress related to the death and/or infidelity of whatever rooster fathered Egghead Jr.  She is constantly obsessed with her appearance and never seems capable of winning her own approval.  At least some of the blame should be given to whichever parent chose the name “Miss Prissy” for her.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

Symptoms: Obsession With Feelings of Inadequacy; Extreme Self-Centeredness; Arrogance; Repeated Attempts to Establish Social Dominance; Being a Jerk.

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Diagnosis: While I am in no position to say whether it rises to the level of a psychological disorder per se, there can be no question that Foghorn is an arrogant prick.  He exhibits a misogynistic attitude toward Miss Prissy and insists that he is capable of teaching anything academic to Egghead Jr. despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary. 

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder:

Symptoms: Obsession with Repetitive and Often Pointless Tasks; Anxiety; Extreme Attention to Detail; Really Clean Hands.

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Diagnosis: Porky’s social life was likely marked by a great deal of ridicule stemming from his speech impediment.  While he would eventually make it his signature strength, he suffered from a long history of obsessive behavior, especially with regards to cleanliness.  Many have speculated that this is common in successful pigs who are trying to combat the stereotype that swine are filthy.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder:

Symptoms: Temper Tantrums; Bullying; Vandalism; Extreme Distrust and Anger Toward Authority Figures; Really Digging the Sex Pistols.

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Diagnosis: While it may seem that I’m digging into the bottom of the barrel when it comes to both Looney Tunes characters and psychological disorders, no review of the psychoses of the Looney Tunes would be complete without some mention of the little Chicken Hawk that was obsessed with murdering and eating Foghorn Leghorn.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:

Symptoms: Inability to Cope With Small Disturbances; Changes in Sleep Cycles; Mood Swings; Violent Acting Out; Anger and Rage; Knowing "Things" About "Stuff".

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Diagnosis: While there are no clear records of Elmer’s military service, logic suggests that he saw active duty in WWI.  His violent mood swings and obsession with killing whatever animal he is legally allowed to kill at the moment could be rooted in a number of underlying disorders, though the most likely culprit seems to be what was known as “Shell Shock” in his day.  There’s nothing funny about it.  He was a veteran and deserves our respect.  He’s coping.  So lay off of him about the funny way he pwonounces stuff.


Symptoms: Hypersexual Behavior; Obsession with Sex; Being a Guy.

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Diagnosis: It’s hard to believe our elders reflections on the innocence of their age when we see cartoons that seem to satirize forcible attempts at date rape.  I’m just throwing it out there.


Symptoms: Delusions; Hallucinations; Disorganized Thinking and Speech; Impaired Social Cognition; Isolation; Paranoia; Being Generally Insane.

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Diagnosis: With a name like Daffy he never really stood a chance.  His extraordinary pathology is epic in scale and can hardly be pigeon holed by even the most grandiose of psychological nomenclature.  He epitomizes crazy in a way that Randy Quaid could only dream of.

Social Anxiety Disorder:

Symptoms: Extreme Social Unease; Constant Feelings of Humiliation; Panic Attacks; Poor Social Cognition; Anxiety; Knowing All the Lines in Star Wars, Even the Ones in Jabba’s Language.

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Diagnosis: Just look at this poor guy.  He was raised in a small, free range farm so everybody but him likely knew the horrible truth about his conception.  While no mention is ever made in the cartoon as to who fathered Egghead Jr. (other than the suggestion that his name may have been Egghead), it is clear that Egghead Jr. grew up without a constant paternal figure.  The stress and isolation was likely exacerbated by his extreme intelligence and those freaking glasses.

Tourette’s Syndrome:

Symptoms: Movement Disorders; Nervous Ticks; Spontaneous Utterance of Objectionable Words; Getting Away With Stuff Other Kids Can’t.

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Diagnosis: Who the hell gave this guy a gun?

Aaron Davies

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