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Western Animation / Hillbilly Hare

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"Step right up, you're doin' fine / I'll pull your beard, you pull mine..."
"Oh, Murgatroyd!"

"Hillbilly Hare" is a 1950 Merrie Melodies cartoon starring Bugs Bunny. Bugs is vacationing in the Ozarks of Arkansas when he runs into two stereotypical hillbillies, Curt and Punkinhead Martin, who get the idea that Bugs is one of the Coys, the family they're feuding with. After embarrassing and outwitting the hillbillies in typical Bugs Bunny fashion, Bugs tricks them into a long, elaborate square dance routine in which he gives them increasingly violent directions, until the brothers finally dance off a cliff.

Directed by Robert McKimson, "Hillbilly Hare" is actually his highest-rated classic Looney Tunes or Merrie Melodies cartoon on IMDb, with an average rating of 7.9/10.

"Hillbilly Hare" provides examples of:

  • Aerith and Bob: The two hillbillies are named Punkinhead and Curt. Curt could simply just be short for Curtis, but Punkinhead is an odd name, assuming it's not a nickname.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The Martins' rifles have barrels so long that it takes about twenty seconds for the bullet to come out when they fire, and they shake like crazy every part of the way. Bugs being able to make the bullets turn around while they are still in the barrel and blow away their users by pulling out the guns' handle and slapping them in the other end is pure cartoon physics, but he still decides to do it because waiting for the bullet to get out bores him.
  • Backwards-Firing Gun: Bugs does this by turning the barrel around after Punkinhead pulls the trigger.
  • Blind Obedience: The hillbillies unquestioningly follow Bugs' instructions, pulling each other's beards, wallowing in a muddy pig-pen, hitting each other with fence posts, promenading off a cliff...
  • Bowdlerization: The version shown on ABC's The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show back in the 1990s edited out a lot of comic violence:
    • The scene where Bugs mistakes Curt's gun for a camera and has his carrot shot full of holes.
    • The scene where Curt unties his rifle barrel and gets blasted in the face.
    • The scene where Bugs meets up with Punkinhead, and Bugs reverses the gun barrel so that Punkinhead is blown up.
    • The aftermath of the explosion in the dynamite shack sequence where Curt comes out with Bugs' lit lighter and says, "I think y'all are usin' too strong a fluid."
    • This part of the famous square-dance ending (and the matching comic violence):
      Grab a fence post, hold it tight
      Whomp yer partner wit' all yer might
      Hit 'im in the shin, hit 'im in the head
      Hit 'im again, the critter ain't dead
      Whomp 'im low and whomp 'im high
      Stick yer finger in his eye
      Pretty l'il rhythm, pretty l'il sound
      Bang yer head against the ground
  • The Chew Toy: The hillbillies, especially during the climactic square dance.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Bugs does this when Curt demands to know which family he's from.
    Curt: Be y'all a Martin, or be y'all a Coy, rabbit?
    Bugs: [fluttering his eyelids] Well, my friends say I'm very coy. [Giggles.]
    Curt: A Coy! Square off, ya shoat! Me and you's a-feudin', on account o' I'm a Martin!
  • Covered in Mud: This happens to the hillbillies when they follow Bugs' instructions to "wallow around in the old pig-pen."
  • Crocodile Tears: When Curt is about to fire his gun at Bugs, Bugs sarcastically cries that he will never see his family again.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Punkinhead has a pretty good comeback when Bugs asks who he might be.
    Punkinhead: I might be Teddy Roosyvelt. But I ain't.
  • Deep South: More the Appalachian/Ozarks/backwoods side than the plantation side.
  • Disguised in Drag: One of Bugs's go-to tactics, which he uses here to lure the hillbillies into the square dance.
  • Eye Poke: Bugs gets the brothers to do this to each other during the square dance routine.
    Whop him low and whop him high
    Stick your finger in his eye
    Pretty little rhythm, pretty little sound.
    Bang your heads against the ground
  • Feuding Families: The hillbillies, brothers from the Martin clan, believe Bugs is one of the Coys.
  • Fiery Redhead: Punkinhead.
  • The Ghost: The Coy family, which the Martin brothers believe Bugs is a member of, do not appear at any point in the short.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Bugs tricks Curt and Punkinhead into dancing off a cliff at the end of the cartoon.
  • Halfwitted Hillbilly: Neither of the brothers is too bright.
  • Match in a Bomb Shack: After chasing Bugs into a dynamite shack, the hillbillies find themselves stumbling in the dark. Bugs hands one of them a lighter, then gets his distance from the shack before it explodes.
    Curt: I think y'all are usin' too strong a fluid.
  • Messy Pig: The hillbillies find themselves dancing with a pair of muddy pigs.
  • Misplaced Retribution: Curt and Punkinhead Martin are both part of a Feuding Families situation, and when it comes to Bugs, they believe he is a member of the rival Coys (due to Bugs Comically Missing the Point) and are going to shoot first and ask questions later—or maybe never.
  • Oh, Crap!: Punkinhead, when Bugs causes his about-to-fire rifle to point at him.
  • Overly-Long Gag: The single longest gag in any Looney Tunes cartoon, the square dance takes up the whole second half.
  • Packed Hillbillies: Bugs lures the brothers into a hay baler ("Now don't you cuss and don't you swear, just come right out and form a square").
  • Palette Swap: The hillbilly brothers have the exact same character design, just with different colors.
  • Poor Communication Kills: Bugs' misunderstanding when Curt asks if he's a Martin or a Coy leads to the brothers going after him with their rifles.
  • Tempting Fate: At the beginning of the cartoon...
    Bugs: Vacation in the Ozarks. So quiet. So peaceful. So far from harm and danger. So...
    [the barrel of Curt's rifle jabs the back of his head]