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Western Animation: A Matter of Loaf and Death
A Matter of Loaf and Death is the fourth short film featuring Wallace & Gromit. It first aired on Christmas Day 2008.

Wallace and Gromit run a bakery, and Wallace falls in love though Gromit has his suspicions. Can you blame him?

This animated short subject provides examples of:

  • Accidental Hand Hold: When Wallace and Piella are feeding ducks, their hands meet in the bag of bread.
  • Bedsheet Ladder: Part of a Funny Background Event at the zoo.
  • Beleaguered Assistant: Gromit.
  • Big Ol' Unibrow: Gromit never speaks, so this is the only way you know what he's feeling. It's really incredible, the emotion you can wring out of an artfully-squashed bit of plasticine...
  • Bigger on the Inside: Somehow, a full bakery factory with machines, chutes and cogs manages to fit into the dimensions of a small two-story house — which still has room for a kitchen, dining room and bedrooms.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Piella Bakewell.
  • Black Screen of Death: Probably the most soul-wrenching part of the short. Piella mercilessly punches Fluffles, and we see it from the dog's perspective. The screen goes black and Fluffles yelps on impact.
  • Black Widow: Piella Bakewell.
  • Bomb Disposal: Gromit needs to dispose of a bomb. First he tries Relocating the Explosion, but everywhere he turns there's a Bus Full of Innocents. Eventually, he smothers the bomb in bread dough.
  • Brand X: The "Bake-O-Lite Balloon" was a genuine ad campaign for the Nimble loaf, which has since been incorporated into Hovis.
  • Break the Cutie: Fluffles comes pre-broken, evident from the trembling.
  • Bungling Inventor: Wallace.
  • Cartoon Bomb: Not only is it your classic cannonball-with-a-fuse, but it has "BOMB" written on it in large white letters. Cue Wallace: "Oh, Gromit! It's a bomb!"
  • Civilized Animal:
    • Gromit is usually depicted as walking upright, and is capable of creating and operating complex machinery. Generally he's shown to be significantly more shrewd and sensible than his master. However, despite all of this, everyone treats him the same as you treat any dog.
    • Fluffles is similarly capable, though she's generally shown on all fours for much of the film. Notably, her moments of bipedalism happen either out of the sight of her abusive master, or at the film's end when she finally stands up to her and remains bipedal for the rest of the film.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The baker murdered at the start can be seen on an ad for his bakery in A Close Shave.
    • When Piella crashes into the zoo, to the right of the gate is a poster saying "One Of Our Penguins Is Missing", complete with a picture of what looks like Feathers McGraw. To the left of the gate is a ladder propped against the inside of the wall — with a rope made of sheets hanging down the outside.
    • Wallace's dough-inflated-trousers looked a little like a pair he'd owned previously...
  • Cute Mute: Fluffles
  • Darker and Edgier: Piella has murdered 12 bakers, Fluffles is visibly terrified of her mistress (which implies abuse) and Piella herself dies at the end.
  • Death by Recognition: The opening scene is shot from the serial killer's point of view, and the confused target lets out a You! Exclamation before he gets cudgled on the head with a rolling pin.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Piella turns out to be a serial killer, then dies.
    • Averted with Gromit, however.
  • Disney Villain Death: The fate of the serial killer.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Literally in the case of Fluffles.
  • Dramatic Thunder: Piella's house.
  • Dunking The Bomb: Subverted, as in the Batman: The Movie moment that it's parodying. Gromit tries to throw a bomb into the water, only to see a group of cute little ducks. He ends up smothering it in bread dough instead.
  • Epiphany Therapy: Fluffles
  • Fan Disservice: We get to see Wallace's buttocks.
  • Forklift Fu: Fluffles at the end, directly parodying Aliens.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Wallace and Piella are feeding ducks. Their hands meet in the bag of bread and then it cuts to loaves of bread rising.
    • Wallace: I'm in bread myself!
      [Aside Glance from Gromit]
    • And at the end:
      Wallace: Both paws on the wheel, lad, concentrate!
    • "I've got a bomb in me pants!"
  • Hurricane of Puns: Mostly baking-related.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Gromit.
  • Impact Silhouette: Wallace
  • Intellectual Animal / Speech-Impaired Animal: Gromit and Fluffles, though they both make barely audible whining sounds at points.
  • Karmic Death: Piella.
  • Kick the Dog: A literal, yet surprisingly subtle example. Piella kicks Fluffles twice before her true nature is revealed, yet both times the action could be interpreted as her nudging the poodle to greet Wallace. Of course, Fluffles' downcast personality gives the game away to the audience, but not to Wallace.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: Locking Gromit in the balloon storeroom.
  • Metal Detector Checkpoint: Gromit installs one of these (based on a design in "Electronic Surveillance for Dogs") to catch out Piella's murderous intentions toward Wallace. The machine works but fails to convince Wallace.
  • Mood Whiplash
  • Never My Fault: Piella hates all bakers because she gained too much weight from eating baked goods and lost her job (Which required her to be light enough to fly a small hot air balloon) as a result.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile
  • No Mouth: Gromit
  • Oop North: Notably, this was the installment that definitively established Wallace and Gromit as being from Lancashire.
  • Palate Propping: While rescuing Piella from the crocodile pit at the zoo, Wallace props open a crocodile's mouth with a French baguette.
  • Parody: Of serial killer movies.
  • Prompting Nudge: One of the first signs that the Big Bad is evil is that their "nudge" to their dog was too hard.
  • Punny Name: Piella Bakewell
  • Removable Steering Wheel: Wallace and Gromit's van has a steering wheel that can be removed, and plugged into the passenger's dashboard and used.
  • Shout-Out: The bomb scene as a whole parodies a similar scene from Batman and the battle between Fluffles and Piella parodies the climatic duel in Aliens.
  • Silent Partner: Gromit, who is also...
  • Silent Snarker: ...and it's remarkable how expressive he is considering he is always portrayed without a mouth, leaving his eyebrows to convey all of his emotions.
  • Something Else Also Rises: When Wallace and Piella touch, we're treated to a shot of bread rising.
  • Stop Motion
  • Take That: Gromit is trying to dispose of a bomb. He goes to one window—there are cute little ducks in the pond underneath. He goes to another window—nuns collecting charity for kittens. He goes to a third—the Yorkshire border. He prepares to throw.
  • Take the Wheel: Wallace hands the wheel off to his dog while he makes a death-defying leap to save a bread heiress. And when Wallace says it, he means it literally. Apparently that particular incarnation of the ever changing Wallacemobile has a socket for the steering wheel on either side. Hopefully the pedals are replicated on both sides as well...
  • To the Batpole!: Our heroes suit up via a Heath Robinson-esque process, depicted in all its absurd detail.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Cheese, particularly Wensleydale, is Wallace's favorite, but he's also pretty enthusiastic about toast.
  • Vehicular Sabotage: Deliberately invoked. Piella gets together with Wallace after riding a bicycle out of control down a hill. When the duo bring the bike to a halt and rescue her, Gromit is instantly suspicious because the brakes are working fine.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Piella Bakewell apparently loses it after her plot to kill Wallace is foiled. She tries to fly away in the old Bake-O-Lite balloon, despite her growing too heavy to fly the balloon being the reason she was fired in the first place, and she babbles "They can't drop me, I'm the Bake-O-Lite Girl!" even as she descends into a pit of hungry crocodiles at the zoo, which is followed by the sound of Piella being eaten alive.
  • Where The Hell Is Springfield?: The name of the town is never given, but the Yorkshire border is prominently featured in one scene and a poster advertising a performance of Carmen indicates that it's in the vicinity of Wigan.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Piella Bakewell. Wallace recognizes her as the spokeswoman for Bake-O-Lite Bread, but she was fired as the "Bake-O-Lite Girl" when she became too heavy to fly the balloon they used in advertising.
  • Winged Soul Flies Off at Death: At the end, Wallace sees or imagines a thin Piella as she looked long ago do this.
  • Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Piella pulls a quite unnerving one on Gromit, biting her own arm.

A Close ShaveShort FilmWelcome to Hell
The Curse of the Were-RabbitCreator/Aardman AnimationsThe Unintelligible
A Close ShaveAnimated Films    
LogoramaAcademy Award For Best Animated Short FilmWilliam Joyce

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