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Western Animation: The Wrong Trousers

"It's the wrong trousers, Gromit! And they've gone wrong!"
Wallace

The Wrong Trousers is the second Wallace & Gromit short film, made by Nick Park and Aardman Animations and released in 1993.

The story begins on Gromit's birthday, and Wallace has a special present for him; "Techno-Trousers," robotic pants with the ability to walk by themselves. At the same time, Wallace decides to rent out a room in the house to deal with his growing debt. Their lodger is Feathers McGraw, a shady penguin who immediately takes a liking to the trousers and a disliking to Gromit. As Feathers becomes favored by Wallace, Gromit starts to feel like he's being replaced and makes plans to leave. But the morning after his departure, Wallace gets stuck in the Techno-Trousers, the controls of which have mysteriously disappeared, along with Feathers...

Widely considered the best Wallace & Gromit adventure. The short won the 1993 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. It established many of the story and character elements now commonly associated with the series, mainly Wallace's Rube Goldberg-esque inventions and Gromit's role as the Silent Snarker, not to mention that the animation got a lot better.

Tropes appearing in The Wrong Trousers include:

  • Animation Bump: The first short, A Grand Day Out, was mostly made by Nick Park himself, with Aardman Animations only coming in when the film was half complete. When compared to The Wrong Trousers (the first one with a lot of Aardman work), there is a world of difference in animation between the two.
  • Aside Glance: Gromit. All the time.
  • Ass in a Lion Skin: Feathers McGraw, who simply wears a red glove on his head during jobs to convince others he is a chicken.
  • 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...
  • Bindle Stick: Gromit carries one when he leaves home.
  • Bland-Name Product: Gromit takes shelter in a cardboard box labeled "Meatabix Dog Food."
  • Bottomless Magazines:
    • At the end of the short, Gromit chases McGraw on a model train - by rapid-fire laying of track from an inexhaustible box.
    • In the same scene, McGraw's revolver never seems to run out of bullets, although it's debatable because he fires a total of 7 roundsnote  before his gun is taken, which is possible if he had a fully-loaded 7-shooter instead of a 6-shooter.
  • Bungling Inventor: Wallace, natch.
  • Chase Scene
  • 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. He has both a room in the house and a kennel in the yard, and walks on two or four legs as the plot requires.
    • Feathers McGraw is apparently capable of showing up and renting rooms from humans, but the film still ends with him at the zoo.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The model train set... in a sense.
    • We see a "walk" for Gromit concluding with him sitting on a cart and being pulled by the Techno-Trousers via a leash attached to the collar he received earlier. Guess how Feathers McGraw is brought to the police after he's caught.
  • Continuity Nod: At the beginning, Gromit reads a newspaper which bears a headline, Moon Cheese Shares Soar, referring to their moon-cheese-related adventurings in "A Grand Day Out". Which raises the question of why they were cash-strapped enough to need to let the room out in the first place, but then the series has never been that big on continuity anyway, so who knows.
    • Wallace does mention early on that "those presents weren't cheap". It's possible that Wallace is still paying off the trousers.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Driven out of his room, then the house, and practically replaced by McGraw, Gromit opts to run away from home, first with stoic determination, but when he looks at a picture of him and his master, he leaves, visibly crying.
  • Everything's Better with Penguins: Very purposefully subverted with Feathers McGraw. You'll never look at this trope quite the same way again.
  • Feathered Fiend: Feathers McGraw
  • Foreshadowing: Literally, at the beginning, as the shadow of the Techno Trousers is seen on the wall as the title appears.
  • Genius Book Club: While eating breakfast, Gromit reads The Republic (by, according to the cover, Pluto).
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: After Feathers McGraw locks Wallace and Gromit in the closet, Gromit opens the crotch area of the trousers Wallace is wearing in order to control the trousers with the electrical wires. As he does this, Wallace remarks something along the lines of that "he should watch where he puts his paws".
  • Gift-Giving Gaffe: The Techno-Trousers fall into the category of "this present is really for myself" — everything Wallace says about how they'll make Gromit's life easier is really about how they'll make Wallace's life easier.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Feathers' misuse of the Techno-Trousers. Lampshaded by Wallace when he is stuck inside them (see quote at top).
  • Home Version Soundtrack Replacement: Most DVD releases replace "Happy Birthday to You" with "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" and "How Much is that Doggy In The Window" with generic muzak. Averted with the original FOX DVD from 1999, which features the original music.
    • In the original version, the creepy Open University fanfare can be heard when Gromit watches TV. In the re-release, it's simply something generic.
  • Humiliation Conga: After catching him, Wallace and Gromit have Feathers paraded into the police station, tied up and towed by the same Techno Trousers he used in the robbery. He then gets imprisoned in a zoo, on display to everyone passing through the entrance.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick: Gromit.
  • Laser Hallway: In the City Museum.
  • MacGuffin: The diamond.
  • Magic Pants: The legs have machinery inside of them, and yet Wallace's legs somehow fit inside them.
    • Wallace's offhand comment that they're "ex-NASA", along with the suction feet, subtly imply they were designed to be worn as some kind of EVA equipment.
  • Medium Awareness: At one point, Gromit is seen reading a newspaper whose headline is Dog Reads Paper!
  • Minimalist Cast: A cast of only three, of which only one (Wallace) has a speaking part.
  • Newspaper Thin Disguise
  • No Mouth: Gromit
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: The disguise Feathers always uses? The one that has everyone convinced he's a chicken? Yeah, it's nothing but a red rubber glove on his head. Particularly played for laughs when even the intelligent and perceptive Gromit does a Double Take when he takes it off. (Wallace has even less excuse, considering he was renting a room out to Feathers and interacting with him frequently — but then again, it's Wallace.)
  • Parody: Of heist movies.
  • Powered Armor: The Techno Trousers are at the very least half of one.
  • Riding into the Sunset: At the very end the trashed Techno Trousers come to life of their own accord and walk away into the sunset.
  • Shipped in Shackles: Feathers at the end.
  • Silent Partner: Gromit, who is also a...
  • Silent Snarker: ...and it's quite shocking how expressive he is considering he is always portrayed without a mouth, leaving his eyebrows to convey all of his emotions.
  • Stop Motion
  • Title Drop: "It's the wrong trousers, Gromit!"
  • To the Batpole!: Wallace apparently begins every day with his bed tilting up and dropping him into a trapdoor from his upstairs bedroom to a chair at the dining room table, with mechanical arms providing a costume change.
  • Traintop Battle: Granted. "Model Traintop Battle", but it counts.
  • Wraparound Background: During the model train chase. Justified in that the train is actually going around in circles around the edges of the same room. The creators even lampshaded this in the DVD audio commentary.

A Grand Day OutCreator/Aardman AnimationsA Close Shave
A Grand Day OutShort FilmA Close Shave
Fall of the House of CardsImageSource/Animated FilmsAss in a Lion Skin
A Grand Day OutAnimated FilmsA Close Shave

alternative title(s): The Wrong Trousers
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