Although I wasn't particularly impressed by "The Looney Tunes Show," Cartoon Network scores with a much lower-key offering: "The Amazing World of Gumball," the first series greenlit by Cartoon Network Development Studio Europe, which premieres May 9.
Featuring ill-behaved kids and overwrought parents, the show has an amusing look -- with animated characters against photo-realistic backdrops, a technique used less effectively in Fox's short-lived "Sit Down, Shut Up" -- but mostly a really clever spin on domestic chaos.
Created by Ben Bocquelet, even the program description puts a smile on your face:
There's Dad, a 6'4" pink rabbit who stays at home while Mom works in the rainbow factory. And their kids are pretty standard too: there's Gumball, a blue cat with a giant head, Anais, a 4-year-old genius bunny and Darwin, a pet goldfish who became part of the family when he sprouted legs.
In the two 11-minute episodes previewed, the older kids are asked to babysit the little one, with disastrous results; and a late DVD yields a series of increasingly escalating crises.
Asked what they're supposed to do, one of the kids asks more than once, "Face up to the consequences of our actions and tell mom?"
"Don't be silly," his sibling responds.
Actually, please continue being silly. Because "Gumball" qualifies as first-rate silliness.