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Western Animation / Not Without My Handbag

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"Not Without My Handbag" is a 1993 short created by Aardman Animations directed by Boris Kossmehl and co-written by Kossmehl and Andrea Friedriech. A woman misses a payment on her washing machine and is sent to hell, but comes Back from the Dead to retrieve her handbag.

Tropes in the short include:

  • Back from the Dead: Auntie comes to the earth as a walking skeleton in order to retrieve her handbag.
  • Big Eater: Satan eats a mouse and raids the fridge before being caught by the girl. She eventually defeats him by feeding him every cake from a local store until he pops.
  • Comically Missing the Point: When Satan (in the form of the handbag) locks the niece in the washing machine, Auntie says "My goodness! That’s not my handbag! And it’s a rather cheap imitation!"
  • Dem Bones: When she comes Back from the Dead, Auntie is just a skeleton.
  • Demonic Possession: The devil possesses the handbag in order to try to get Auntie back to hell.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Make a late payment on your washing machine? Time for you to die immediately and go to hell! The Soak-and-Spin customer service guide was even Satan himself.
  • Easy Road to Hell: All you have to do to get to hell is miss a single payment on a washing machine for less than a week.
  • Free-Range Children: After Auntie dies, the niece seems to have no legal guardian at all, but this isn’t presented as a problem.
  • French Jerk: Satan has a French accent while the other characters are English.
  • Hell: Presented as having a long spiral pathway that apparently takes months to fall down. Also the call center for the Soak-and-Spin washing machine.
  • I Will Show You X!: When Auntie calls Satan a cheap imitation of her handbag, he says "I'll give you a cheap imitation."
  • Just in Time: Parodied. In the under a minute that the devil had to pull Auntie back to hell, the girl had time to run to town, buy out an entire bakery, and bring the treats back on a dolly.
  • Kent Brockman News: The girl watches a newscaster talking nonchalantly about the increase of "premature death and possible loss of soul" among Soak-and-Spin customers.
  • The Last Straw: The Satan handbag eats everything from the bakery and grows to an enormous size before the girl offers him one last chocolate éclair. He tries to refuse, but ends up eating it anyway. The monstrosity explodes, sending Satan back to hell and the inanimate handbag back to Auntie.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Auntie seems to treat being dead as a minor inconvenience at worst.
  • MacGuffin: The handbag, which Auntie comes Back from the Dead to retrieve and Satan possesses.
  • Nephewism: The girl lives with her aunt until the aunt dies, and then seems to be living completely alone.
  • No Name Given: Neither the girl nor her aunt have names, with the aunt being known only as Auntie and the girl being known as only "my dear."
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: The devil has a full-blown French accent at the beginning, it weakens near the middle, and is barely noticeable at the end.
  • Read the Fine Print: The eternal damnation clause was only present in the fine print of the Soak-and-Spin contract.
  • Satan: Appears as a French Soak-and-Spin customer service rep, who can give people heart-attacks, draw portals to hell in the floor of houses with chalk, and possess inanimate objects, but also has a fatal weakness to food.
  • Skewed Priorities: For Auntie. Dying is no big deal. Dying and going to hell could be worse. Dying and going to hell without her handbag? She will not stand for it.
  • Understatement: Auntie is good at these.
    • When she comes Back from the Dead:
      Niece: But Auntie, you’ve been dead and buried for six months!
      Auntie: Well, I have been feeling a bit off-color lately.
    • In the end:
      Auntie: Walking the earth as a living corpse is probably in rather questionable taste.
  • Space Whale Aesop: Read the fine print before you buy something that requires signing a contract; otherwise, you might get dragged to Hell.
  • Unreadable Disclaimer: The eternal damnation clause which required Auntie to read with a magnifying glass. She even lampshades it by muttering the contract to herself and when she gets to that part saying "fine print totally unreadable."
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: All of the characters remain rather calm at the idea of going to hell for making a late payment on a washing machine. The only time in the short someone reacts appropriately is when the niece screams upon her aunt coming Back from the Dead, and even then, she calms down immediately afterward, even calling her aunt "a zombie from hell" without a hint of confusion or horror.
  • Would Hurt a Child: When the girl catches Satan he pulls a pistol out of his mouth and points it at her.