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Recap / HTF - Wheelin' and Dealin'

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"Look both ways before crossing the street!"
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Airdate: February 18, 2000

"Wheelin' and Dealin'" is the eighth episode of the first (internet) season of Happy Tree Friends.

A racing competition is being held, featuring Lumpy, Handy, and the twin raccoons Lifty and Shifty. The first two have their race cars ready, while the twins are arguing because their own car lacks wheels. This is resolved by having them dismantle the ones from Lumpy's car. Soon the race starts, with Handy and the raccoons making their running start while Lumpy, without any wheels, is left behind. The moose cluelessly restarts his engine, but this results in his car blowing up. As for those three, the race goes fine until they have to make a left turn. Lifty and Shifty realize that they need a steering wheel for this. Of course, they steal the one from Handy's car. The beaver is shocked and then frustrated before he ends up crashing into a parked ambulance, splitting him in half. The raccoons seem to be about to win until the wheels fly off, making the car fall to its side. The car keeps going with the remaining inertia, dragging the twins along the asphalt. The car stops short of the finish line and it appears that no one is winning, until the burned Lumpy passes by, making the crowd cheer.

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"Wheelin' and Dealin'" contains the following:

  • Animal Motifs: Lifty and Shifty's race car has stripes on its body like a raccoon's tail. It also has a raccoon tail-like accessory waving on the back.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Pretty much all Half the Man He Used to Be deaths applied to Handy, Lifty, and Shifty.
  • Debut Queue: Lifty and Shifty's debut appearance.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Lifty and Shifty's tendency to steal to gain advantage over others.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto: Lumpy's car promptly explodes when he tries starting its engine without realizing its lack of wheels.
  • Faceless Masses: The colorful crowd of animals watching the competition. Given the Fan Nickname Generic Tree Friends by fans.
  • Half the Man He Used to Be:
    • Handy is split in half when his race car runs through the parked ambulance, leaving his upper half splattered on the ambulance's back.
    • Advertisement:
    • Lifty and Shifty end up as this after having half their body scraped against the pavement.
  • Hope Spot: The twin raccoons thought they are going to win using the stolen parts, until the wheels suddenly fly off...
  • Irony: Handy dies by running into the back of an ambulance.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: Lifty and Shifty started off the race using wheels stolen from Lumpy's race car. When they are approaching the finish line, said wheels fly off and lead them to their deaths.
  • Man on Fire: Lumpy after the race starts.
  • Meaningful Name: "Wheeling and dealing" means to look for something and use it to an advantage, which suits Lifty and Shifty's Establishing Character Moment as described above.
  • Off-Model:
    • Lumpy's steering wheel color changes between the start of the episode and when the race starts.
    • There are many character model deviations as per typical early HTF episode, but special mention goes to Shifty missing his hat in one of the shots.
    • Handy's race car's rear wing is missing during his death scene. This is because his death was changed from the storyboard's concept, which depicts his head getting cut as well by said rear wing.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Handy's panicked reaction after the raccoons stole his steering wheel. Not that he can really use that anyway.
    • Lifty and Shifty's reaction after noticing the wheels flying off their race car.
  • Running Gag: Handy's signature scowl after his initial Oh, Crap!.
  • Shout-Out: The episode's title shares the same name with John Coltrane, Mal Waldron, and Frank Wess's jazz album from 1957.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: After Handy's Oh, Crap! reaction mentioned above, he shows his signature scowl before running headfirst into the parked ambulance.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Lumpy survives.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: The crowd does not seem to be horrified at the brutal deaths of Lifty and Shifty as well as the burning Lumpy. In fact, they treat them as if they are still living, letting out a disappointed "aww" when the twins fail to reach the finish line and cheering happily when the burning Lumpy finishes in first place.
  • Updated Re-release: One of the early episodes to be part of "Classics Remastered" releases, which rereleases early HTF episodes in HD.
  • Wacky Racing: Black Comedy version.
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