Follow TV Tropes


Western Animation / Cheatin

Go To
The story of a woman who seeks revenge on her husband by becoming his mistress.

By The New '10s, Bill Plympton was a living legend among animators, having made a nearly 40 year career as an independent film makers with legions of fans and heaps of critical praise for his unique and bizarre cartoons. However, he had grown frustrated with less sympathetic critics, who felt that he was only capable of producing Animated Shock Comedies that relied on over-the-top sex and violence and posessed little to no emotional substance. With his 10th feature film, he sought to prove them wrong.

Cheatin' tells the story of Ella, who falls madly in love with the handsome and muscular Jake after he saves her from a perilous bumper car incident. The two are soon married and begin a blissful life together. Shortly thereafter, Jake is approached by numerous women at his job as a gas station attendant, but he remains steadfastly loyal to his betrothed... that is, until one of the many would-be mistresses blackmails Ella and tricks Jake into believing she's unfaithful to him, sending him into a suicidal depression before he starts seeing multiple women behind Ella's back. Meanwhile, Ella begins to notice that she and Jake are beginning to drift apart and can't figure out why. When she discovers his sexcapades, she sends a hit man after him, before meeting a magician named El Merto with a machine that will temporarily transport her consciousness into the bodies of the many, many women with whom Jake is sleeping.


  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Jake shows Ella the (supposedly) incriminating photo of her, she bursts out laughing and points out that all the naked men are just mannequins. Overjoyed, Jake rips it up.
  • All Women Are Lustful: Every woman wants Jake for his body.
  • Ambiguous Time Period: Though judging by the cars, clotheslines and the fact that a full tank of gas costs $8, it's presumably the 1950s.
  • Art Shift
    • Ella's Imagine Spot after being saved by Jake shifts to mostly monochromatic, with only flourishes of pastel yellows and pinks.
    • Ella and Jake's dance in the kitchen shifts the color pallet from earthy and realistic to vibrant neons.
  • The Cameo: The dog from Plympton's "Dog" shorts shows up at the beginning to bark at Ella and get her tangled in his leash.
  • Cool Car: Several of the cars which come through Jake's gas station are this.
  • Darker and Edgier: Considerably lighter on the gags than most of Bill Plympton's other works, instead telling a sombre romantic drama. As mentioned above, this was in response to critics who thought he could only do over-the-top sex and violence.
  • Deranged Animation
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?
    • One of Ella's ImagineSpots, where she's Juliet to Jake's Romeo, has Jake offering her tulip, which she daintily sniffs before licking. We see what you did there, Bill.
    • Later, when Ella bakes a cake, she takes a dollop of frosting in her finger and sticks it in her mouth. Repeatedly.
    • The suggestive car maintenance during the montage of Jake's various mistresses.
  • Domestic-Only Cartoon: Bill Plympton did every single drawing himself. A staff of about 10 did all of the coloring and compositing.
  • Driven to Suicide: After thinking that Ella is cheating on him, Jake, in a fit of angry tears, tries to drive himself off a cliff. Later, when Jake's assassination doesn't go as planned, Ella grabs one of the hitman's guns and tries to shoot herself in the head.
  • Explosive Breeder: During the "Libiamo ne' lieti calici" scene, Ella, floating in mid-air shoots a string of babies out from under her dress, which Jake catches with a baseball mitt as they come.
  • Female Gaze / Shirtless Scene: Jake sure does like to take off his shirt a lot.
  • Happily Married: Jake and Ella, at first. And then again by the end.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Jake's would-be assassin ends up helping save Ella's life when he stabs Jake's mistress while Ella's consciousness is inside her.
  • Humans Are Bastards: Everybody except for our leads are either selfish, greedy, lustful, rude, jealous, uncaring, and/or sinful. Several woman want Jake for themselves and don't care who they have to hurt in order to have sex with him. Even our mains leads want to kill each other after they assume they are cheating on each other.
  • Imagine Spot: Ella has several, including one where a team of cupid surgeons save her tiny heart from dying, another where she imagines her and Jake as Adam and Eve, and one where they lip-sync and dance to "Libiamo ne' lieti calici."
  • Jerkass: The carnival barker who harasses Ella with his cane, then gets a whole crowd of men to make fun of her when she rejects his offer. He's later seen harassing another young woman the same way.
  • Meet Cute: Ella and Jake have one when he returns her hat that blew into his face on the bumper cars.
  • Mime and Music-Only Cartoon: There is no dialogue. Characters only occasionally "speak" in grunts or sigs.
  • Mythology Gag: While Ella is sitting in his parlor, El Merto puts on a record of the title song from "Your Face," Bill Plympton's first Academy Award-winning short.
  • Nice Guy: Jake. He really is a nice, gentle, loving and devoted husband to Ella.
  • Not What It Looks Like: One of the many women whom Jake rejects after getting married photographs Ella in a department store changing room, surrounded by stripped mannequins and looking as if she's taking part in an orgy. Jake is fooled.
  • The Oner: Following Ella and Jake's offscreen marriage is a long pan from their front yard through their house, following a long path of destruction (which include, for some reason, a jackhammer left running, a boot left in a frying pan, a live fish and a clown mask), as well as articles of clothing, all the way up to their bedroom where the two are noisily making love.
  • Really Gets Around: After mistakenly believing that his wife is cheating on him, Jake starts accepting the phone number of any woman who'll offer to sleep with him.
  • Shout-Out: One of the phone numbers Jake accepts is from a woman names Sandrine, which is also the name of Bill Plympton's wife.
  • Something Only They Would Say: After transferring her consciousness into for the first time into one of Jake's mistresses, Ella gently caresses the rim of his ear the same way she did when they slept together. This immediately reminds Jake of her and cries throughout their sex.
  • Standard Snippet: "Vesi La Giubba" plays (in-universe on a radio, humorously enough) when Jake sees what he believes is a photo of Ella cheating on him.
  • Stock Scream: The Wilhelm scream is heard as Jake hysterically drives through town.
  • Stripperiffic: El Merto's assistant.
  • Top-Heavy Guy: Jake.
  • Torpedo Tits: When the cop who had originally shut down El Merto's magic act holds him at gun point, he suddenly feels two things poking him in the back. He assumes it's two pistols, but it's actually the assistant's elongated cone-shaped breasts.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never see what becomes of the girl Jake was on a date with when he saved Ella.
  • Wham Shot: Ella cuddling Jake's shirt in bed... and another woman's phone number falls out of the pocket.
  • Woman Scorned: Ella's first reaction to discovering that Jake is cheating on her? Have him assassinated, of course.