"Some people call me cocky and brash, but actually I am just self-assured. I'm nonchalant, im≠perturbable, contemplative. I play it cool, but I can get hot under the collar. And above all I'm a very 'aware' character. I'm well aware that I am appearing in an animated car≠toon....And sometimes I chomp on my carrot for the same reason that a stand-up comic chomps on his cigar. It saves me from rushing from the last joke to the next one too fast. And I sometimes don't act, I react. And I always treat the contest with my pursuers as 'fun and games.' When momentarily I appear to be cornered or in dire danger and I scream, don't be consoined [sic] Ė it's actually a big put-on. Let's face it Doc. I've read the script and I al≠ready know how it turns out."
Bugs Bunny is the modern American Trickster and the most famous star of the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons. This character as Funny Animal is found in many cultures' mythologies, including Reynard the Fox, Anansi the spider, American Indian spirit Coyote, and Bugs' great-grandfather, Br'er Rabbit. Bugs is specifically a Karmic Trickster: harmless when left alone, but gleefully ready to dish out poetic justice whenever he perceives the need. There is an element of education in his revenge.Like many of his peers, Bugs' origins are unclear, lost in the mists of time and memory. Before him, the Marx Brothers were the premier American tricksters, and traces of their influence can be found in many of his best known mannerisms. (In fact, many people aren't aware that Bugs' saying, "Of course you realize, dis means war!" originated in films such as Duck Soup and A Night at the Opera.)More directly, shy, timid prey unexpectedly turning on the pursuer was a common theme at the Warner Bros. animation studios in the early days - Daffy Duck made his debut in the same way. Director Ben 'Bugs' Hardaway introduced the notion of this character as a "scwewy wabbit" in "Porky's Hare Hunt" (1938), and the same small white hare appears in various later shorts, notably Chuck Jones' "Elmers Candid Camera" (1940). His name, first seen on-screen in the credits for 1941's "Elmer's Pet Rabbit", derives either from Hardaway's — model sheets were said to have been tagged with "Bugs' Bunny" — or the contemporary Brooklyn slang "bugs", meaning "crazy". Or both. Tex Avery, Friz Freleng, as well as Robert Givens, however, adamantly insist that Hardaway's Bugs was a completely separate character from the Bugs we know and love, that the name and species is all he shares in common with the real Bugs.However it's generally accepted that Tex Avery produced the prototype of the smart, suave, on-the-ball wabbit we know and love today, in "A Wild Hare" (1940). Chuck Jones later made him more sympathetic by giving Bugs that iconic attitude of live-and-let-live, right up until he's pushed just thatone steptoo far, and then, it's war — "at which point [he] retaliates in every way he can imagine, and he is a very imaginative rabbit."The job of any trickster, but especially the American type, is to think the thoughts and do the things that they say can't be thought or done. He's most likely to be found disturbing the complacency of his culture, or deflating the pompousness of its symbols. Since Bugs is also a comedy hero, he has the added advantage of Plot Armor that could stop an armor-piercing round.His influence on modern American culture, like that of all the Looney Tunes characters, has been far-reaching to the point of ubiquity. For obvious reasons, though, Bugs is the especial favourite, especially in the theatrical years, getting more shorts than any of his co-stars, with a impressive 168 titles under his belt*
Not counting cameos and the four "proto-Bugs" cartoons
. Naturally, he has spawned several imitators over the years, notably direct descendant Buster Bunny of Tiny Toon Adventures and Yakko, Wakko and Dot of Animaniacs — although these last three skew more heavily toward the Screwy Squirrel.Bugs is currently making appearances in The Looney Tunes Show, having given up his nomadic roots and rabbit holes in favor of a average suburb, shared with co-star Daffy Duck.Naturally, Bugs has starred in many a hit short subject, with six of his cartoons being put on The 50 Greatest Cartoons (with Whats Opera Doc at the No. 1 spot!) and 10 of his shorts serving as runner-ups on the list. He also holds a whopping 34 spots on The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes list (not counting shorts he cameoed in).
Porky's Hare Hunt (LT, Hardaway): First appearance of the Bugs Bunny prototype. Here, he is a tiny, pudgy white rabbit with a Goofy-esque rural accent, who, in Ben Hardaway's words, was "Daffy Duck in a rabbit suit." Naturally, this prototype is far, far removed from the Bugs we know and love, being a mindless heckler, but with a touch of Groucho Marx thrown into the mixing pot, so this character at the least provided a foundation for the character of the Bugs we know. This prototype is also very similar to the earliest incarnations of Woody Woodpecker, who Ben Hardaway also helped write for.
Prest-O Change-O (MM, Jones): Second sighting of the prototype, who has taken up residence in the house of the magician Sham-Fu, and heckles the poor pups who he encounters for no discernible motive. He has become slightly taller and slimmer at this point. Bugs' trademark ability to have objects come out of nowhere is presented here for the first time, although in the context of him being a magician's rabbit. The prototype is silent here, save for his Annoying Laugh.
Hare-Um Scare-um (MM, Hardaway/Dalton): Where Bugs is officially named as Bugs' Bunny—note the possessive term (applied to the model sheet prepared by Charles Thorson). He is still manic, but has now grown in size and sprouted apricot fur, looking closer to the Bugs we know. His Hammer Space ability is revisited, now presented in a non-magical context. He also hams it up with some sarcastic mock-pathos, which would be echoed in A Wild Hare and The Wabbit Who Came To Supper. This short is also infamous for having a lost ending that was cut out of most original prints, but has been found and included in Looney Tunes Platinum Collection Vol. 2.
Elmers Candid Camera (MM, Jones): Debut of Elmer Fudd. Bugs is almost fully realized as a character by this point, with his original Screwy Squirrel traits played down in favor of being more reserved and in control than before, but his character is still very underplayed. With that said, he still has some of his unmotivated heckler self left in him, pestering poor Elmer (who was just taking pictures) to the point where he has a nervous breakdown. Chuck Jones was not happy with this short, saying the rabbit was "Bugs with his umbilical cord in his hand looking for a place to plug it in." and that it should only be watched "If you are dying to die of innui."
A Wild Hare (MM, Avery) - Starring Elmer. Official debut of the fully realized Bugs Bunny. This short is a semi-remake of "Elmer's Candid Camera", but improves in what Tex Avery felt was flawed about "Camera"—such as only making Bugs a defensive character who reacts to a threat and plays off of villainous Elmer's stupidity. Oscar nominee. One of The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes.
Patient Porky (LT, Clampett): The prototype pops up for a gag in the first couple minutes, looking very close to Bugs' final design, but still having the manicness of the proto-Bugs.
Elmer's Pet Rabbit (MM, Jones): Chuck Jones' first short with Bugs, and the first one to actually give his name. In this short he has an extremely foul temper and a nasty personality, both of which were hurriedly dropped afterwards.
Tortoise Beats Hare (MM, Avery): The first of the three "Bugs Vs. Cecil" shorts. Chuck Jones, in his opinion, considered it a failure, feeling that Tex had swapped Bugs' in-control, defensive personality in favor of making him the loser ala Elmer Fudd while giving Cecil Turtle Bugs' personality (but with all fairness, it did show us a whole different side of Bugs than before).
Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt (MM, Freleng): Friz Freleng's first effort with Bugs. Here, he is presented as rather passive, at least in contrast with the previous shorts. Oscar nominee.
The Heckling Hare (MM, Avery): The cartoon that caused Avery to leave Leon's cartoon studio to make cartoons for MGM. With that said, Avery finally managed to nail Bugs' defensive personality again, capturing what made him such a hit in "A Wild Hare".
All This and Rabbit Stew (MM, Avery, uncredited): One of the "Censored Eleven"
Wabbit Twouble (MM, Cwampett) - Starring the Fat Elmer. Bob Clampett's first Bugs Bunny. It is rumored that this cartoon was started by Tex Avery but finished by Clampett, backed up by the fact that Tex and Bob planned it together early on. Here, Bugs goes right back to being a Villain Protagonist, pestering poor Elmer (solely because he set up camp in Bugs' territory). But wheras the earlier Bugs were fairly aggressive in their pestering, Clampett presents Bugs as going about it in a more playful, confident way, as if a nod to that Bugs knows exactly what he's doing, so in a sense, he's certainly not too Out of Character here. One of The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes.
The Wabbit Who Came to Supper (MM, Freleng) - Starring the Fat Elmer. Again, Bugs is more defensive here than usual, but his in-control persona still kicks up, manipulating Elmer into caring for him.
The Wacky Wabbit (MM, Clampett) - Starring the Fat Elmer. Again, Bugs is a Villain Protagonist, but is still very playful.
Hold the Lion, Please (MM, Jones): A very bizarre take on the Bugs Bunny shorts, with Bugs having his vague personality, but little of what made him so popular in previous shorts, a clear testament to that Jones still didn't have a full grasp of his character.
What's Cookin' Doc? (MM, Clampett). Bugsy is presented as a very showboaty ham in this short. Clampett alledgedly make this short to make fun of Friz Freleng, possibly for his previous effort "Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt", being snubbed for an Oscar. Features large usage of Stock Footage from "Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt", although it's in the context of the story and not a mere corner cutting move.
Bugs Bunny and the Three Bears (MM, Jones): The debut of Jones' Three Bears characters. Runner-up on The 50 Greatest Cartoons.
Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips (MM, Freleng): An infamous Wartime Cartoon featuring Bugs encountering an Asian Platoon on a deserted isle. Not screened on TV.
Hare Ribbin' (MM, Clampett): Clampett once again presents Bugs as a defensive character here. The short is notable for having an infamous alternate ending, in which Bugs himself guns down the dog that was chasing him! This "Directors Cut" can be found on the fifth Looney Tunes Golden Collection. This short also features Stock Footage from "The Heckling Hare" and "A Wild Hare".
Hare Force (MM, Freleng)
Buckaroo Bugs (LT, Clampett): The only Bugs cartoon where he is explicitly presented as a straight villain role.
Stage Door Cartoon (MM, Freleng) - Starring Elmer.
Odor-Able Kitty (LT, Jones): Bugs himself does not appear, but the cat disguises himself in a Bugs Bunny outfit.
Herr Meets Hare (MM, Freleng): A Wartime Cartoon. Notable for having a gag that would be recycled for Whats Opera Doc. Also notable for being the first time Bugs is seen tunneling underground as a mode of transportation(and the first time he makes that Wrong Turn At Albuquerque).
The Unruly Hare (MM, Tashlin) - Starring Elmer. First of two Bugs shorts directed by Frank Tashlin.
Hare Trigger (MM, Freleng) - Debut of Yosemite Sam.
Frigid Hare (MM, Jones) - First of two shorts to star Playboy Penguin.
Which Is Witch (LT, Freleng) - No longer screened on TV.
Rabbit Hood (MM, Jones)
The Lion's Busy (MM, Freleng) - Cameo; a Beaky Buzzard cartoon.
Hurdy-Gurdy Hare (MM, McKimson)
Mutiny on the Bunny (LT, Freleng) - Starring Sam.
Homeless Hare (MM, Jones)
Big House Bunny (LT, Freleng) - Starring Sam.
What's Up Doc? (LT, McKimson) - Starring Elmer. With caricatures of Eddie Cantor, Jack Benny, Al Jolson and Bing Crosby.
8 Ball Bunny (LT, Jones) - Second and last appearance of Playboy Penguin, and features a caricature of Humphrey Bogart. One of the rare times where Bugs becomes something of a Butt Monkey. One of The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes.
Compressed Hare (MM, Jones; co-dir.: Noble) - Starring Wile E.
Prince Violent (LT, Freleng; co-dir.: Pratt) - Later renamed Prince Varmint for television broadcasts. Starring Sam.
Wet Hare (LT, McKimson)
Bill of Hare (MM, McKimson) - Starring Taz.
Shishkabugs (LT, Freleng) - Starring Sam.
Devil's Feud Cake (MM, Freleng) - Starring Sam. With clips from "Hare Lift," "Roman Legion Hare" and "Sahara Hare."
The Million Hare (LT, McKimson) - Starring Daffy.
Hare-Breadth Hurry (LT, Jones; co-dir.: Noble) - Starring Wile E.; actually a Road Runner cartoon, but Bugs fills in after RR "sprained a giblet making a sharp curve."
The Unmentionables (MM, Freleng) - Starring Rocky and Mugsy.
Mad as a Mars Hare (MM, Jones; co-dir.: Noble) - Starring Marvin.
Transylvania 6-5000 (MM, Jones; co-dir.: Noble)
Dumb Patrol (LT, Chiniquy) - Starring Porky and Sam.
Dr. Devil and Mr. Hare (MM, McKimson) - Starring Taz.
The Iceman Ducketh (LT, Monroe) - Starring Daffy.
False Hare (LT, McKimson) - Last of the original theatrical Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Box Office Bunny (1990, Van Citters) - Starring Elmer and Daffy.
(blooper) Bunny! (1991, Lennon/Ford) - Starring Daffy, Elmer, and Sam. Never released until 1997.
Invasion of the Bunny Snatchers (1992, Lennon/Ford) - Starring Daffy, Elmer, and Sam.
Carrotblanca (1995, McCarthy) - Parody of Casablanca.
From Hare to Eternity (1996, Jones) - Starring Sam.
Hare and Loathing in Las Vegas (2003, Kopp/Shin) - Starring Sam.
Television specials with original material
Bugs and Daffy's Carnival of the Animals (Jones, 1976) - A combination live-action/animation 23-minute special, featuring interpretations of Ogden Nash poems set to the music of Camille Saint-SaŽns. Bugs's first appearance in original material since 1964.
Bugs Bunny's Looney Christmas Tales (1979)
Bugs Bunny's Christmas Carol (Freleng) - Starring Sam and Porky.
The Fright Before Christmas (Freleng) - Starring Clyde and Taz.
Bugs Bunny's Bustin' Out All Over (1980)
Portrait of the Artist as a Young Bunny (Jones/Monroe) - Starring Elmer.
Spaced Out Bunny (Jones/Monroe) - Starring Marvin and Hugo. Last short with Mel Blanc voicing Bugs.
He plays the opposite end of the role perfectly to the envious Daffy Duck however.
Aluminum Christmas Trees: Bugs' catchphrases and speech tics are actually based around the hip slang of the time (1940's) — but modern audiences assume they're unique to him.
Angrish: Bugs just can't seem to put the hatred he feels for Cecil into words in Tortoise Beats the Hare.
Bugs:"You-! You-! Blankedy Blank Blank Turtle!"
Ambiguously Jewish: The Brooklyn accent, among other things, but also subtle things, like having grown up playing Pisha-Paysha when challenged to a game of blackjack (by Blacque Jacques Shellacque in Bonanza Bunny).
Arch-Enemy: Of all the characters Bugs goes up against, Elmer Fudd is probably the most frequent. Of course, Elmer is hopelessly outclassed...
On the other hand, he's perhaps the most frequent to actually defeat Bugs (a total of three times, only Daffy has done so the same amount of times, and none of which were via the original theatrical shorts).
A common myth; though the rivalry is iconic, there were actually comparatively few Bugs vs. Elmer shorts. Because Elmer is, as mentioned, hopelessly outclassed, it was a delicate dance to make sure Bugs didn't cross the line from merry prankster to outright bully (one they didn't always pull off so well). One of the reasons Yosemite Sam was created was to give Bugs an adversary who was smart enough (or, failing that, belligerent enough) that Bugs still looked like the good guy at the end of the cartoon.
He was however still one of Bugs' most frequent enemies, only Yosemite Sam really challenges his total bouts against the rabbit, not to mention they consist of what many consider some of the most iconic Bugs shorts to date.
Part of the reason Elmer gets this treatment is because he's the opponent that got a cartoon where he cleanly outdid Bugs - granted, he did so via role reversal (Elmer went crazy and believed himself to be Bugs; psychiatrists then kidnapped Bugs and convinced him that he was Elmer), but Elmer still came out on top.
Cecil Turtle is not only 3-0 against Bugs, he beat Bugs at his own game. (Technically Bugs won the last one, but it was clearly a moral victory for Cecil.)
Art Evolution: Very literal evolution — in the earliest shorts, Bugs looks like a rabbit that walks upright, compared to his modern appearance where he's essentially a human with bunny ears.
Ash Face: Of course, occasions where he himself is a victim of this are quite rare. His antagonists on the other hand never fare as well.
Attention Whore: Definitely has moments of this, especially in "What's Cookin', Doc?"
Attractive Bent Gender: One of Bugs' favorite ways to escape Elmer Fudd. The ears or tail usually give him away, though.
Badass Adorable: Could you calmly ask "Eeeeh, whatz up, doc?" with a shotgun up your nose?
Beastly Bloodsports: "Bully for Bugs" has him facing off against a strong, fast and smart bull in a rather unconventional bullfight.
Beware the Nice Ones: Most of the time, he's very cheerful and friendly, but if pushed far enough (usually by people who keep bullying, cheating or threatening him or others), he's more than happy to retaliate.
Bizarre and Improbable Golf Game: "My Bunny Lies Over the Sea", in which Bugs competes with a Scotsman in a game of golf. Needless to say, the rabbit fudges the rules a bit, like digging a trench to lead the ball into the hole, for instance.
Bowdlerise: Like all the Warners' animated output — indeed, that of all the major American studios during and just post-WWII — some of Bugs' shorts are not very politically correct. At the height of the Pacific campaign during the war, he starred in a blatant bit of propaganda called "Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips." He also appeared in Black Face on more than one occasion, including a short parody of Al Jolson's The Jazz Singer.
Baby Face Finster. Not a baby, just a midget bank robber in disguise.
Breakout Character: Much like Donald Duck before him, Bugs' popularity ended up eclipsing his predecessors, Porky and Daffy. The difference however is that Bugs eventually became the face of the company.
Bullet Dancing: Subverted in "Bugs Bunny Rides Again," where Bugs breaks into a full-bore softshoe routine when Yosemite Sam tries this trope on him. Then Bugs yells "Take it, Sam!" and Sam does — straight into an open mine shaft.
Butt Monkey: While Bugs is usually the cunning protagonist, writers took care to balance this with the odd fall-guy role so as not to lose audience sympathy. In keeping with the character's cockiness, though, when Bugs was a loser he was often a very sore one.
Cavalier Consumption: Bugs often does this, as a possible holdover from his days as a Screwy Squirrel. When asking "Eh... What's up, Doc?", he's often feigning caring, and is even asking and talking while chewing.
Cement Shoes: Mobsters Mugsy and Rocky try this on Bugs in "The Unmentionables".
Chained to a Railway: Including one notable instance in which Elmer Fudd is tied to the tracks, and the "Super Chief" (namechecking a famous passenger train of the time) runs right over him — a long line of little bunnies following Bugs, who's wearing a feathered headdress.
Not to mention a whole bunch of TV specials and feature films.
Close-Call Haircut: Played with, along with every other gun cliche known to man, in most of the Yosemite Sam shorts. Bugs once used a trick shot on Sam that not only parted Sam's hair, but split his hat as well.
Closet Shuffle: Bugs does this in "Racketeer Rabbit." Virtually duplicated in "Bugs And Thugs" with Rocky and Muggsy, once as a prank and once for real.
Cloud Cuckoo Lander: While Bugs was almost always more intelligent than his foes, he was far from lucid in most of his early appearances. This was tamed as his character evolved, though still makes the odd showing here and there.
Colossus Climb: Especially true of Chuck Jones' Bugs, who has taken on bulls ("Bully for Bugs") and professional wrestlers ("Bunny Hugged")
Depending On The Animator: In the late forties it was easy to tell who had directed which Bugs cartoon just by looking at Bugs's design. Friz Freleng used the design which we all know and love today, Chuck Jones had a slightly different version with larger eyes, larger cheeks and more pointy teeth, and Robert McKimson (plus, for his sole Bugs Bunny outing, Arthur Davis) had a majorly different version with more slanted eyes, long teeth, and a huge mouth that flapped around like a windsock whenever he talked. At the end of the decade, the differences became a lot less pronounced.
Some artists would even play this up for comedic effect. Picking out Rod Scribner and Robert Mc Kimson's animation of Bugs in a Bob Clampett cartoon is considered almost the entry level for identifying Golden Age artists' styles.
Early Installment Weirdness: The early shorts are very strange to watch if you're familiar with the Bugs from the late 40's and onward—one must understand that in his infant years, the directors stumbled across Bugs entirely by accident in A Wild Hare, and didn't quite "get" what made Bugs such a hit at first. and this is supported by the early batch of post-Wild Hare shorts like "Elmer's Pet Rabbit", "Tortoise Beats Hare" and "Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt". It wasn't until "The Heckling Hare" and "All This and Rabbit Stew" when they started to get a clue as to what Bugs was about, and even then Chuck Jones still took a while to fully understand Bugs' character.
This is because Bugs, like many other Golden Age cartoon characters, wasn't created fully conceived but instead evolved through numerous cartoons. His early prototype was based on the then popular Screwy Squirrel-type wacky character, which Daffy also began life as (and still has his moments) before settling into his more known sarcastic and self-centered persona. It was Bugs' glib attitude in A Wild Hare that set him apart from other cartoons in the era.
Meet Your Early Installment Weirdness: One later drawing of Bugs by Chuck Jones (which can be found in one of his biographies) has Bugs reacting in horror at the sight of a picture of "Bugs' Bunny", his alleged prototype, from "Hare-Um Scare-Um".
Final Words; Averted so deliciously, as Bugs would utter the "Oooh, I'm dying! Everything's getting dark ... " speech to make Elmer Fudd or someone think he's been shot, poisoned, etc. ... just before "miraculously recovering" to give his foe a swift kick in the ass!
Enforced in a parody that aired on Family Guy. Only this time, Elmer Fudd just stood by stoically while Bugs did his "ooh, I'm dying" act, until the bunny really did die!
Yosemite Sam was actually created to combat this. After a few cartoons, it rapidly became apparent that Bugs Bunny could think circles around Elmer Fudd so thoroughly that, even when Elmer was clearly the antagonist, Bugs still looked like the bully. So they created Sam to give Bugs an opponent who was smart enough (or at least belligerent enough) to give Bugs a challenge and keep him from Flanderizing into a villain. After a while, even Sam had become ineffective, and so both Marvin The Martian and the Tazmanian Devil were introduced to bring in a fresh new threat (proving slightly more effective).
Ironically, Daffy ended up being the perfect foil for Bugs in this regard, as he was far, far more egocentric and sometimes an outright ass compared to Bugs. The two are currently roomates in an Odd Couple type situation on The Looney Tunes Show, and though more or less 'friends' now, these two still have ego clashes due to Daffy still being more of a dick than Bugs has ever been. It's part of why fans love seeing them onscreen together. They just work in this regard. The fact that Daffy actually became flanderized to points unheard of long before this didn't hurt, as it helped keep it from happening to Bugs.
The Fool: Even when he isn't using pure wit to defeat an adversary, he seems to have lady luck (and the villains' bumbling) on his side. Lampshaded in "Hare and Loathing Las Vegas"; he has his own pair of lucky rabbit's feet.
Friendly Enemy: Whenever they aren't after his blood in some manner, Bugs tends to be rather easy going and sometimes out and out charitable to his foes. Granted the fact they are often Animated Actors plays a lot into this.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: In "Lumber Jack-Rabbit", Bugs Bunny sings the first four verses of "Jimmy Crack Corn", which is about a slave being happy that his master got killed by an out-of-control horse that got bitten by a "blue-tail fly". How the episode development team got all four of these verses past the censors in a cartoon even for children is beyond us.
In "What's Cookin' Doc?", Bugs decides to show a clip of one of his past performances to show he deserves the Academy Award - except the first clip they show is a "stag reel" (what they called porn back then), and he has to shut it off. All they show is a picture of a stag with exotic music playing in the background, but still.
Go Karting with Bowser : Taken to extremes. Bugs often had a very forgiving demeanor to the many individuals that tried to con, maim or even kill him so often.
Why take things personally when it's all part of the show?
Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: A Looney Tunes staple that was lampshaded in "High-Diving Hare", wherein Yosemite Sam ties him up, quick-marches him up onto a high-diving platform and out to the end of the board, then saws off the board in order to force Bugs to go through with his diving act... only for the diving platform to suddenly collapse and bring Sam down with it, while the diving board itself hangs in midair. "I know this defies the law of gravity... but I never studied law!"
Also done in "A Star is Born", when Daffy saws off the limb of a fake tree trunk. Bugs was sitting on said limb. Unfortunately for Daffy, the only part being held by invisible strings is said limb. The tree instantly falls over.
Let's not forget The Heckling Hare, which has Bugs and his antagonist Willoughby the dog falling off a cliff for a very long time. Averted at the end when they skid to a stop before hitting the ground.
In Falling Hare, the bomber that Bugs and the gremlin are in goes into a steep dive, during which the wings tear off, but it stops in midair right before hitting the ground:
AKA a fuel ration card, used during World War II; 'A' was the lowest rank.
This is revisited in Hare Lift: when the huge plane goes into a dive (after Bugs pulls out the control column and throws it out the window) and Yosemite Sam bails out with the only parachute available (not forgetting to shout at the rabbit, "So long, sucker!", leaving Bugs on the plane, the rabbit pulls a lever on the plane. The plane screeches to a halt in midair.
Bugs: Lucky for me this thing had "air brakes"!
In A Star is Bored, Bugs puts a jet into a steep dive as part of a movie stunt, but halts it mere feet above the ground. He then swaps positions with his stunt double (Daffy in a rabbit suit) who crashes into a heap when the cameras roll again.
Referenced in Looney Tunes: Back in Action, where this works until the female protagonist points out that this shouldn't work, upon which gravity kicks back in again and they land in a crumpled heap.
His and Hers: In Hare-Way to the Stars, Bugs has a pair of towels labeled "His" and "Hares".
Human Mail: Bugs once mailed himself to Washington, DC.
Incessant Music Madness: "Long-Haired Hare" begins with Bugs playing various instruments (a banjo, a harp and a tuba) and singing while an opera singer is trying to rehearse, leading the opera singer to smash Bugs' instruments and beat him up.
In a few of his earlier shorts, he played the Jerkass trope straighter than elsewhere.
Karma Houdini: In Buckaroo Bugs, Bugs is the villain of the piece, a western outlaw named "The Masked Marauder", who steals carrots and humiliates the wimp of a cowboy sent to bring him in. While Bugs was the antagonist once or twice, he never again "got away with it" like he does here. (See next entry)
Cecil Turtle in Rabbit Transit. He cheated and still won. More accurately, he cheated until the home stretch, when he stopped using his rocket-powered shell. He let Bugs go by, who was running over the speed limit since he was aware Cecil was rocket-propelled. After he "won", he was promptly arrested. Both of these examples are particularly strange, as they were made during a time when the Hays Code banned Karma Houdinis in the film industry.
Karmic Trickster: The writers actually had a set of rules they always followed when writing Bugs Bunny cartoons to make sure Bugs didn't become an out-and-out bully. For starters, Bugs himself never started fights; he could retaliate all he wanted, but he never antagonized. On occasions when he did dole out punishments his victim didn't deserve, things would start going wrong for him. Best example would be "Rebel Rabbit" where Bugs is incensed that the bounty on rabbits is mere pennies, and sets out to prove that Rabbits aren't harmless by wrecking the country in funny ways. (Sawing off the state of Florida, filling in the Grand Canyon, literally tying up the railroads) In the end, he's hunted down by the armed forces and put in Alcatraz Prison, where he concludes that maybe he "went a little too far".
The Cecil Turtle shorts were usually takes on the old fable of the tortoise and the hare. In fact, usually what sets Bugs off is the fable itself; incensed at this slander, he sets out to harass the first chelonian he can find.
Large Ham Title: In the Bugs Bunny shorts (though not in Roadrunner), Wile E. Coyote introduces himself as; "Wile E. Coyote, super genius!"
Life Imitates Art: Sort of. After Bugs appeared as a U.S. Marine in "Super-Rabbit", the real Marines made him one. He was officially inducted into the force as a private, complete with dogtags. The character was regularly promoted until Bugs was officially "discharged" at the end of World War II as a Master Sergeant.
Magic Poker Equation: Most humorously in "Barbary Coast Bunny" where Bugs walks into a crooked casino where all the games are rigged, and still cleans the place out.
Also in "Bonanza Bunny," where he plays 21 with Blacque Jacques Shellaque and holds on only one card. Blacque Jacques draws two tens of Spades for a 20, but Bugs' single card is a '21' of Hearts.
Bugs does something similar to this in "Hare and Loathing in Las Vegas", where when playing blackjack against Yosemite Sam, Sam as dealer gets a twenty with two cards and Bugs reveals that he has 21 aces. In fact the whole short seems to be based on this trope.
Medium Shift Gag: The punchline of "Rabbit Hood" is that Robin Hood has been MIA for most of the film, and when he finally appears, it's live-action footage of Errol Flynn from The Adventures of Robin Hood. A dumbfounded Bugs comments, "That's silly, it couldn't be him!"
Not So Invincible After All: The writers had a field day with these. While usually making it through each short with hardly a hair out of place, every now and then Bugs' luck would run out and he would be made the Butt Monkey to another, usually underestimated foe.
Packed Hero: Used multiple times; see the trope page for details.
Paper-Thin Disguise: His enemies will only realize it's him when they see his tail or ears, having not noticed Bugs' fur or little bunny nose.
Parody Magic Spell: Used in "Transylvania 6-5000". Bugs starts reading a book about magic words that contain the words "Abracadabra" and "Hocus Pocus." Unbeknownst to him (at first, anyway), "Abracadabra" turns the vampire into a bat, and "Hocus Pocus" turns him back into a person. He starts singing the words in a song, transforming the vampire back and forth (Hilarity Ensues)... then starts mixing them up in the song, "Abraca-Pocus" and "Hocus-cadabra", making half the vampire transform, i.e. a human body with a bat's head, then a bat's body and human head. Then he throws out, "Newport News!" which changes the vampire into an ugly witch, and finally, "Walla Walla Washington!" which turns him into a two-headed vulture.
Polka Dot Paint: In "Easter Yeggs", Bugs paints Elmer's head blue with yellow polka dots in two strokes.
Pop Cultural Osmosis: Some people would be surprised to know that Bugs and Elmer only shared 35 pictures out of Bugs' 168 shorts.
Projectile Toast: Bugs himself lampshaded this in "To Hare is Human" (when Wile E. Coyote attempted to replace the carrots in his toaster with grenades): "One of these days, I'm gonna hafta have that spring fixed."
Rascally Rabbit: Bugs is a constantly using his trickster tactics to outwit and harass everyone. In the early days he was something of a Screwy Squirrel and would just prank others for his own amusement. Over the years he became more of a Karmic Trickster and only went after those who struck first.
Sore Loser: The lesser-seen aspect of his personality; during the rare moments where Bugs is on the losing side of things, he does not take it well. See the trilogy of his shorts with Cecil Turtle, and Rabbit Rampage.
Tim Taylor Technology: Wile E.'s massive computer in "To Hare Is Human" has all the answers for catching a rabbit, but none of them work. Except for the last when the boulder end of a booby trap is descending upon him:
Villain Protagonist: Bugs was generally a defensive character, but there have been several episodes where he became this. Examples of this include "Elmer's Candid Camera" (where the prototype/"Happy Hare" picks on Elmer unprovoked), "Elmer's Pet Rabbit" (where he heckles Elmer for no justifiable reason), "Wabbit Twouble" (again, picking on Elmer unprovoked), "The Wacky Wabbit" (picking on an unprovoked Elmer again), "Hare Ribbin'" (where he picks on a dog who just happened to encounter him, unlike his encounter with a similar dog in "The Heckling Hare", and even assists the dog in suicide*
It's even worse in the directors cut included on Looney Tunes Golden Collection Vol. 5, where Bugs himself shoots the dog
), "Buckaroo Bugs" (where he's a flat out thief and bully) and "Rebel Rabbit" (where he wreaks havoc on the US solely because the bounty for rabbits was so low, doing atrocities like tying up a railroad and sawing California off the mainland, and by the end of the short gets so out of control that the military is called in to bring him down).