Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / A Pest in the House

Go To

"A Pest in the House" is a 1947 Merrie Melodies animated short directed by Chuck Jones. In this cartoon, bellboy Daffy Duck is constantly waking up a large, short-tempered customer who wants peace and quiet, and he keeps taking his anger out on manager Elmer Fudd.

"A Pest in the House" provides examples of:

  • Alcohol Hic: At one point, a drunken guest was singing "How Dry I Am", to the irritation of the customer. While Daffy assured him that he would muzzle the "inebriated canary", he ends up having a drink with the drunkard and they both sing "How Dry I Am", disturbing the customer.
  • Armor Is Useless: At one point, Elmer tries wearing a knight helmet to protect himself from the customer. The customer simply flips the mouthpiece of the helmet open before punching him.
  • Aside Glance: Daffy, twice: once at the very beginning and again at the very end, each time making fun of the Customer and Elmer respectively in the same way.
    "Likeable chap, isn't he?" / "Noise little character, isn't he?"
  • Bait-and-Switch: At the end of the short, Elmer tries to avoid getting punched by the customer by promoting Daffy to manager and demoting himself to bellboy. He still gets punched.
  • Bowdlerization: The version that aired on The WB channel edited out the part where the man is kept awake by a drunk man in the next room singing "How Dry I Am" and Daffy tells the man that he'll "muzzle that inebriated canary" only to drink up with the drunk man and sing along in harmony.
  • The Chew Toy: Elmer constantly gets punished for Daffy's antics.
  • Don't Wake the Sleeper: A tired hotel guest asks manager Elmer Fudd for peace and quiet as he sleeps in his room, and threatens to punch Elmer in the nose otherwise. His slumber is constantly disturbed by the blundering of bellboy Daffy Duck, with the expected results.
  • Drunken Song: At one point, a drunken guest started singing "How Dry I Am", disturbing the customer. Daffy goes to "muzzle the inebriated canary", only to end up joining him in a drink and singing alongside him.
  • Exact Words: The customer threatens to pop Elmer in the nose if he's woken. When Daffy keeps him awake, he still does just that. And when he promotes Daffy as manager (giving the customer a good reason twice over), the customer punches Elmer.
  • Exhausted Eye Bags: The customer has enormous ones throughout the cartoon, as seen in the image.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: The customer makes clear that he has one from the get-go when he threatens to hurt Elmer if anything makes him wake up, and then follows up on this threat throughout the short even if it’s actually Daffy’s fault and he’s merely standing right there.
  • Hypocritical Humor: Daffy chewing Elmer out for making a noise (that he caused, by the way) that could have waken up the customer, while he's waking him up himself screaming at the hapless Elmer.
    Daffy: So, a fine kettle of fish! Here, I work myself down to the skin and bones tryin' to keep this guy asleep! And what do you do!? Blow whistles! Just when I got things so quiet, you can hear a pin drop, you bust in here and bust out with a whistle, and you snafu the whole works! How in all in the name that's reasonable do you expect a guy to get his slumber when a goof like you goes around makin' noises like a one-man Fourth of July celebration!? He needs PEACE, and QUIIIIIET! It's positively OUTRAGEOUS!
  • Idiot Houdini: As the Golden Collection DVD commentary notes, Daffy isn't intentionally malicious in this short and is actually trying to do his job, but is too self-centered, obsessive and insensitive to keep to the customer's demands for peace and quiet, resulting in the manager, Elmer, getting violently punished for it each and every time.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: The customer is a caricature of Arthur Q. Bryan (who also voices Elmer).
  • Irony: The first time Daffy set the customer off was when he was loudly hammering up a "Do Not Disturb" sign, of all things.
  • Leitmotif: "Pop Goes the Weasel" starts to play whenever the customer gets pissed off enough to hunt down Elmer.
  • Misplaced Retribution: The customer warns Elmer he'll punch him if he doesn't get any rest. Despite Daffy being the one to keep him up, the customer always punches Elmer for it, even when he tries to make Daffy the manager so he can take the hit.
  • Noodle Incident: In one scene, Daffy tries to tell the customer a hilarious joke. We don't hear much of it since it cuts to the customer punching Elmer again, but when Daffy finally gets to the punchline, he finds he can't remember it.
  • Number of the Beast: The customer's room number is 666. It was apparently chosen because the guest is "in Hades" with Daffy taking care of him according to commentary.
  • Oh, Crap!: Elmer's reaction when he sees Daffy strike the boiler in the basement, sending a shock wave up the pipe, which would wake the customer. As such, Elmer races back up to the room and suppresses the sound when it reaches the heater.
  • Reaching Between the Lines: At one point, instead of walking down to punch Elmer personally, the customer calls him up at the front desk and punches him through the phone.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When the customer threatens Elmer, his pupil turns blood red. His entire eyes turn red again when Daffy tricks him into leaving his own room, but it's subverted this time as he immediately heads to his bed instead.
  • Running Gag: Elmer getting punched by the customer whenever Daffy wakes him up, all to the tune of "Pop Goes the Weasel".
  • Suddenly Shouting: The weary customer quietly tells Elmer he's very tired in a soft-spoken voice... before shouting and making his ultimatum known with red eyes.
    Customer: Just one more thing...I'm a tired man. I gotta have my sleep...plenty of it... so see to it that I get lots of peace and quiet...(grabs Elmer) BECAUSE IF I'M DISTURBED AT ANYTIME, I'M GONNA BUST YOU RIGHT IN THE NOSE!
  • Tranquil Fury: The customer sports a weary passive look nearly every time he walks into reception and slugs Elmer hard.