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Literature / The Dumb Bunnies

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From the mind of Dav Pilkey, the man who would later bring us Captain Underpants, comes The Dumb Bunnies, a children's book series about a family of astoundingly moronic, pink-furred rabbits who wear nothing but underwear.

In every book, Papa Bunny, Mama Bunny, and Baby Bunny would engage in some kind of everyday activity, like going to the beach or celebrating the holidays together. But because of their stupidity and eccentricity, they would always do things in the opposite manner (like sleeping under the bed or wearing winter clothes in the summer) or misunderstand how something functioned (like literally watching a football on a TV or mistaking a revolving door for a carnival ride). And yet despite all the silliness they got themselves into, they always came out with the same goofy smiles and cheery dispositions as before.

The series consists of:

  1. The Dumb Bunnies (1994)
  2. The Dumb Bunnies' Easter (1995)
  3. Make Way for Dumb Bunnies (1996)
  4. The Dumb Bunnies Go to the Zoo (1997)

The books were given an Animated Adaptation in 1998 that was produced by Canada's Nelvana and Australia's Yoram Gross animation studios. It ran for 2 seasons of 26 episodes and aired on CBS in the United States, STV in the UK, and YTV in Canada. Episodes can now be seen at Nelvana's Keep It Weird channel on Youtube.

Interestingly, the Animated Adaptation would not be the last tryst between Canadian animation and Dav Pilkey's work. His Dragon books were made into a stop-motion cartoon in 2004 by Quebec's Cité-Amérique, while Dreamworks' Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie had its animation outsourced to Montreal.

Compare The Stupids, for another series of books with a very similar premise.

The books and the show contain examples of:

  • Adaptation Expansion: In the animated series, episodes based on the books tend to include extra scenes and jokes to extend the plot.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: The title family are pink rabbits.
  • American Gothic Couple: After picking their garden, Mama and Papa Bunny pose like American Gothic (while Baby Bunny picks his nose).
  • Animated Adaptation: Like many kids' books, it got one from Canada, specifically Nelvana, who are the veritable kings of this trope in the Canadian animation industry.
  • Beach Episode: Make Way for Dumb Bunnies has the family go to the beach on a rainy day for the first half of the story.
  • Canon Foreigner: The animated series has a few new characters, namely the Dumb Bunnies' more "normal" neighbors, the Uppities; the local con artist, Sly Fox; and Papa Bunny's boss, Professor Bunsen.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: The whole family has a rather... quirky brand of stupidity.
  • The Ditz: The Dumb Bunnies are called the Dumb Bunnies for a reason.
  • Easter Bunny: He rides in a red minivan pulled by eight flying Pilgrims to drop a bunch of eggs down the chimney.
  • Easter Special: The Dumb Bunnies' Easter. For the family, the holiday includes such traditions as spray-painting fried eggs and putting up the Easter Tree (upside-down, of course).
  • The Fool: The family gets themselves into all kinds of predicaments and gets out of them through nothing except their sheer idiocy and upbeat attitudes.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: The first book is simply just a parody of Goldilocks with the Bunnies filling the role of the bears.
  • Hilarity in Zoos: The Dumb Bunnies Go to the Zoo naturally involves this, with the Bunnies mistaking a bird for an elephant and a butterfly for a lion, which leads to them freeing all the animals (including the actual lion) when the "lion" escapes its cage (read: flies away) and then adopting a pair of giant apes they mistake for a box of free kittens.
  • Kindhearted Simpleton: As stupid as they are, the Dumb Bunnies are shown to be a loving family and extremely friendly people.
  • Lemony Narrator: The TV show features one commenting on the Dumb Bunnies' shenanigans.
  • Literal-Minded: Many examples throughout the books:
    • The family's idea of making a waterbed is just hosing their own bed.
    • For Baby Bunny, blowing up an inflatable raft means making it explode.
    • Baby Bunny gets to help Papa Bunny pick an Easter tree because he's good at picking his nose.
  • Partially-Concealed-Label Gag: The Bunnies unintentionally steal someone's car at a car wash, since the car was covering up the "WASH" in "FREE CAR WASH".
  • Phrase Catcher: Baby Bunny's is "That's my boy!", which Papa Bunny always says whenever his son does something he finds admirable.
  • Recycled In Space: Dav Pilkey openly admitted that the characters are just The Stupids, but as rabbits.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Spoofs "R" Us: One background has a store called Toys "Am" We.
  • Too Dumb to Fool: More often than not, the Dumb Bunnies get out of situations by being too stupid to be overcome. This is especially prominent in their interactions with Sly Fox in the TV show, whose attempts to scam them are constantly foiled by the fact they're simply too stupid to be conned.
  • Too Dumb to Live: One of the worst offenders being the parents allowing Baby Bunny to drive the car. Right off of a cliff. Papa Bunny even admits that having Baby Bunny drive would get them all killed, yet lets it happen anyway.