"It's the wrong trousers, Gromit! And they've gone wrong!"
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...The short has received critical acclaim and 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. Aside from The Movie, it's probably the most well-known Wallace & Gromit story.
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.
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 one hits the light cord, one narrowly misses Gromit, one hits Gromit's 'helmet', one knocks out the flap on the front door, two more strike Gromit's helmet, and the final one hits a railway switch before his gun is taken, which is possible if he had a fully-loaded 7-shooter instead of a 6-shooter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.