"What have I done? I kiwwed da wabbit..."
Who says that a cast of Funny Animals
who rely on slapstick humor and violence can't tear you up
? Well, as it turns out, they sometimes can.
Golden Age Shorts:
- The Shanty Where Santy Claus Lives, set in the Great Depression (which was ongoing at the time of its production), opens with a young boy poor and out in the cold, looking through windows of others with higher wealth, then going back to his very small shack of a house (with no parents) to cry.
- Feed the Kitty, a Warner Brothers animated short, has been known to reduce audiences to tears. Oddly, it was intended to be funny, considering the character another character believes has been killed is in fact perfectly safe. That sequence was so famous (and effective in conveying real human emotion) that it was recreated shot for shot in Monsters, Inc., only with Sulley and Boo in place of Marc Anthony and Pussyfoot.
- Bugs Bunny's Disney Death in What's Opera, Doc?, maybe the only time in the series when Amusing Injuries is subverted. Turns out it was a play format, because Bugs Bunny says this before the end:
Bugs: What did you expect from an opera? A happy ending?
- There was one about a mutt falling in love with a sleek metal dog statue ("Ding Dog Daddy"). He had no idea that 'Daisy' wasn't real, and was completely gaga over her. At the cartoon's climax, however, her owners sell her to be melted down for scrap metal and reforged. The mutt takes off to save her, but ultimately fails and ends up left with the bomb her metal was used in. Completely wrecked, he cries "Daisy, what did they do to ya?" and gives her one last kiss — causing the bomb to explode. This being a Looney Tune (or, in this case, a Merrie Melodie), he survives and is even happily bouncing around at the end, thinking "She's still got it!".
- Sylvester's breakdown in Birds Anonymous. Mel Blanc even said it was his favorite cartoon to voice for, especially when it came to Sylvester.
Sylvester: (sobbing) I can't stand it! I gotta have a bird! I'm weak! I'm weak, but I don't care! I can't help it! After all, I am a pussycat!
- He has a similar breakdown in The Last Hungry Cat (even down to using Stock Footage from the aforementioned cartoon), although the reason is different in that one: He's worried about going to jail when thinking he's eaten Tweety.
- From Broom-Stick Bunny, there's the famous climax scene of Bugs pulling a Puppy-Dog Eyes on Witch Hazel just before he was about to get slaughtered. You can't help but feel sorry for him... and it even manages to be one In-Universe, as it causes Witch Hazel to drop the axe, retreat to her table and burst into tears.
Witch Hazel: (crying)
You remind me of Paul. Bugs:
Paul? Witch Hazel: My pet tarantula.
- She's so pitiful that Bugs can't help himself but offer her a cup of tea to soothe her woes. Which spins the mood around to Funny when he accidentally gives her the beautifying potion she had cooked up earlier.
- A subtle one, but the short Moby Duck has Speedy spend the whole short trying to play nice with an exceptionally nasty Daffy when they are stranded on a desert island. When the latter refuses to share his new found supplies of canned food, Speedy plays keep away with a can opener until he negotiates. Daffy stubbornly refuses and goes through all sorts of hell to open the food himself, to the point Speedy just feels too sorry for him and gives it to him anyway, to which Daffy snatches the can opener and tells him to hit the road. Laser-Guided Karma comes through in the end, but that brief dejected look on Speedy reminds us why he so rarely loses.
- Porky's Romance has the titular character coldly rejected by a mean spirited Petunia Pig. He slinks away in tears before contemplating suicide (and failing).
- The final minute of Zoom and Bored took the coyote abuse too far. It gets so bad that he's actually sobbing by the end, to the point where the Road Runner doesn't even find it funny.
- The part in The Old Grey Hare where Bugs pretends to die. Him saying farewell to a sobbing Elmer while digging a grave can hit a little hard, knowing that both their voice actors and all the original artists who brought the characters to life are now gone. Thankfully, the mood switches back to funny at the end of the short when it's revealed that Bugs tricked Elmer into being buried.
- While a much more tongue in cheek case, there's something surprisingly pitiable about Elmer's crying fits (particularly his remorseful ones where he thinks he's finally killed Bugs). Friz Freleng stated this to be among the aspects of Elmer's character that he thought made him too sympathetic.
- Martian Through Georgia: The alien briefly considers suicide after having such a difficult time on Earth. The narrator actually encourages it!
- Nelly's Folly: Nelly's unceremonious loss of fame and public regard by her failure to adjust to her new life in the city. Finally back home in the jungle, her friends can only cry as they see her so unhappy.
- Everytime Henry Bear after getting through injures and accidents, mostly because of Junior, finally breaks down and cries desperately asking himself "what did I ever do to deserve such a family?" While it's played for comedic purpose, it's clear he's a deeply frustrated Butt-Monkey who never get what he wishes. This might explain why he's so short tempered.
- The Cruel Twist Ending of One More Time, Foxy and Roxy's third and final short before Walt Disney deemed them too close to Mickey and Minnie and put his foot down. Foxy has lured three of the robbers into the jail, but the fourth shoots him down.
- A subtle one in Hamateur Night. The ending is mostly a Funny Moment, when a winner is chosen by the audience, they boo the performers selected until Egghead is reached. Most of the losing contestants just have comical angry reactions, except the performing dog who pretty much just makes the same look a real puppy does when yelled at.
- 90 Day Wondering, one of the shorts made for the military, has a poignant tone to it. Ralph comes home from the Army and his family is excited to see him, but when he tries to re-enter civilian life, it's tougher than he realizes: All his old friends are gone, and his old girlfriends are either already married with kids or unreachable. Note
Ralph: (on a park bench at night) What's wrong, anyway? Everybody... everything seems different. I wonder what my old G.I. buddies are doing.
- The Heckling Hare is otherwise a light-hearted and zany Bugs outing, but in the second half of the cartoon there's a scene where Willoughby grabs at Bugs through a tree hole; Bugs puts a tomato in his hand so that when he squeezes the tomato, it looks like blood, so Willoughby thinks he brutally killed Bugs. He even holds a funeral for the poor rabbit, laying flowers at his hole. His guilt is played completely straight. Thankfully veers back into comedy when Bugs appears and says "For me, doc? Oh, you darling!"
- Hare Ribbin has a similar "gag" where a Russian dog bites into a sandwich that contains Bugs, and cries about it. Plus, no matter which ending you get, it's a Downer Ending for the dog, as he gets shot in both versions. (in the original cut, he shoots himself with a gun supplied by Bugs, whereas in the "director's cut" version, Bugs shoots the dog himself and runs off)
- Good lord, "Stooge For a Mouse" is just hard to watch. The premise is that a mouse wants food so he sets to get his opposition, Sylvester and a dog, out of the way. Fair enough... until his methods are revealed to be slowly and surely ruining the friendship of Sylvester and the dog. We then have to watch as the dog berates his friend for the mouse's antics. What makes it worst is that every time Sylvester tries to explain himself, the dog just berates and later abuses him for things Sylvester didn't do. While all of this is meant to be funny and the ending is somewhat worth it thanks to the dog and the mouse getting what they deserve, it still is a hard short to watch due to how much of it is spent listening to the dog berate Sylvester for doing nothing.
- Charlie's tearful plead to Porky in "Often an Orphan" about wanting to live in the country, as he frantically describes his traumatic experience in the city. Unlike the previous times he tried to play to Porky's sympathies, his sorrow is played genuinely straight:
Charlie Dog: All my life I've dreamed of the day I could go and live in the country. I'm not strong. I need lots of fresh air, and milk, and cream... (coughs) a-a-and fresh leafy veggie-tables! (sobs)
Porky: B-b-b-but I—
Charlie Dog: Good, clean, wholesome farm living! (sobs)
Porky: B-b-b-but I—
Charlie Dog: And now... now that I got a chance to regain my health, you wanna send me back to the city. The city! I can see it all now. It's high towers! Cold, cruel, ominous! Closing down on ya! From every side till ya can't breathe! Closer! Closer! (begins to choke) Ya can't breathe...! The traffic! Ya can't think! BEEP BEEP! BEEP BEEP! LOOK OUT FOR THAT TRUCK! HONK HONK! LOOK OUT FOR THAT TAXI! BOINNNG! BREEP-BREEP! AROOOOGAH! HONK HONK! BEEP BEEP! Ah...! Hark. What's that? Look! It's the towers! THEY'RE FALLING! (screams, then collapses onto ground)
- It also makes one forget that Charlie is like any other dog and just wants a home. Taking out the comedic gags, it really makes him one of the most sympathetic Woobie characters, especially the scene above.