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Western Animation / Life with Feathers

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Life with Feathers is a 1945 Looney Tunes cartoon, directed by Friz Freleng.

It is notable as the debut of Sylvester the cat—and, unlike many other Warner Brothers cartoon characters who went through significant Art Evolution and/or Early Installment Weirdness, Sylvester was born with his look, voice (supplied by Mel Blanc, of course), and personality fully-formed, right down to his "Sufferin' succotash!" catchphrase.

In this one a lovebird is thrown out of his cage by his angry, violent wife. Despondent over this and feeling that there is no reason for a lovebird to live without love, the lovebird decides to kill himself. He resolves to get a cat to eat him, and picks Sylvester, who is scrounging for food in an alley. Sylvester initially leaps at the chance for an easy lunch, until he hesitates, thinking that it's too easy. He decides that the lovebird must be poisoned, and refuses to eat him. Comic hijinks ensue as the lovebird, who is determined to die, keeps chasing Sylvester around and insisting that the cat eat him.

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So, a fair bit Darker and Edgier than other Looney Tunes cartoons.


Tropes:

  • Added Alliterative Appeal: "Sufferin' succotash! Squab!"
  • Canis Latinicus: The lovebird calls himself a Parakeetus romanticus. (For the record, lovebirds belong to the genus Agapornis.)
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male: As usual with this trope, it's portrayed as comical when the angry wife is hurling crockery at her husband.
  • Driven to Suicide: The love bird elects to kill himself after his wife dumps him.
  • The Faceless: The face of Sylvester's owner is not seen during her brief appearance.
  • Fate Worse than Death: The bird cajoles Sylvester with a radio cooking show until he's nothing but skin and bones. When Sylvester gives in:
    Sylvester: (resignedly) All right. I'll do it. I'd rather die than starve to death!
  • Get Out!: Sylvester screams this to the lovebird when he tricked him into eating him again.
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  • Henpecked Husband: Running for his life as his wife flings teapots at him.
  • Here We Go Again!: The bird gets a telegram and says that everything's better now because his wife is leaving him. Sylvester has changed his mind and very much wants to eat the bird, but the bird escapes - only to learn that his wife changed her mind about leaving him, which makes him suicidal again.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: The lovebird is based on Wallace Wimple from Fibber McGee and Molly.
  • Orifice Invasion: The bird repeatedly leaps into Sylvester's mouth.
  • Shout-Out: Sylvester says, "Scram, swallow! Go back to Capistrano!" A reference to the song "When the Swallows Come Back to Capistrano".
  • Stock Animal Diet: Cats eat birds, of course.
  • Suicide as Comedy: It's a bird trying to kill himself, played for laughs.
  • Talking with Signs: At one point when the bird leaps down Sylvester's gullet, he holds up a sign saying "Don't tell me—I know."
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