Chuck Jones never divested himself of the Disney cuteness. Even while he was making some really funny cartoons with Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck, his penchant for “aw-gee” characters kept rising to the surface in other series and in one shots. The difference between his cute characters of the late ‘30s and those of the ‘50s is mainly in the drawing style; Jones’ artists got more sophisticated.
“Much Ado About Nutting” (1953) is a cartoon with a great premise, one that Jones and writer Mike Maltese used again and again. A little squirrel becomes greedy and that’s enough for karma to kick in. And that isn’t all that Jones uses again and again.
The squirrel is yet another of Jones’ overly cute types. He has the big eyes Jones used in all his cute characters around that time. The squirrel’s head even has the same construction as Pussyfoot, the too-cute kitten, in some shots. And, like Wile E. Coyote, the squirrel looks at the camera (perhaps not coincidentally, the cartoon is structured the same way as the Roadrunner cartoons with blackouts and a longer climax gag).
The squirrel flicks its tail (on ones), no doubt as Jones tries to make the character seem as squirrel-like as possible. At the beginning it’s, well, cute. But after awhile, it just gets too cute. There’s no gag involved, so once the character’s established, there’s no reason to keep doing it. Other than the fact Jones liked cute.
Lloyd Vaughan, Ken Harris and Ben Washam are the credited animators. Maurice Noble is here with some nice layouts painted by Phil DeGuard, such as his opening panorama of a city park.