"Operation: Rabbit" is a 1952 Looney Tunes short (directed by Chuck Jones) starring Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote. It is the first of five shorts that feature the pair. It is also the first cartoon to see Wile E. co-star with another Looney Tunes character other than the Road Runner, as well as the first time he actually has a voice actor rather than speaking through signs.(Interestingly, this is actually Wile E.'s second appearance. The first was Fast and Furry-ous with the Road Runner). The short is one of The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes.
Wile E. introduces himself to Bugs, proclaiming himself to be a genius, and states his intent of catching and eating the rabbit, claiming that his attempts to escape and dissuade him will not succeed. Undeterred, Bugs dismisses the coyote and his threats, prompting Wile E. to do things "the hard way." However, as the self-proclaimed genius finds out, Bugs is not only as difficult to catch as the Road Runner, but is also able to turn the tides.
Operation Rabbit provides examples of:
- Absurdly Ineffective Barricade: The final attempt by Wile E. to catch Bugs is by filling several carrots with nitroglycerine, and Bugs has placed the explosives shack he's using in the path of an oncoming train. By the time Wile E. finally looks out the shack's window and notices what is gonna happen to him, all he can think of is to close the window's blinds.
- Aside Glance: After trapping Wile E. in the burrow with his own pressure cooker, Bugs gives a knowing look towards the audience when grabbing a club and heading underground.
- Ass in a Lion Skin: Bugs puts on a rooster mask to fool Wile E.'s guided rabbit hunter.
- Beat Them at Their Own Game: When Wile E. creates an explosive lady robot rabbit, Bugs counters with an explosive lady robot coyote.Bugs: Fight fire with fire, I always say. [Detonates the robot.]
- Bookends: The cartoon begins with Wile E. using a portable door to introduce himself to Bugs as a genius. At the end of the cartoon, he uses his door again to introduce himself to Bugs as "Mud."
- Break the Haughty: By the time Bugs is through with Wile E., he's changed from calling himself "Super-Genius" to "Mud."Bugs: And remember, "Mud" spelled backwards is "Dum."
- Cranial Eruption: Wile E. gets one after his first failed attempt. He is next seen with a "lump massager" on it.
- Cut Lex Luthor a Check: The "lump massager" device Wile E. uses in one scene, as well as other gizmos, are all his own home-made inventions (the massager even has a "patent pending" sign on it). You would think that he could have patented that and used the money to buy himself a nice (and most importantly, safe) dinner someplace, but if anything, it's more of a sign that he is a "fanatic" (as he was defined by Chuck Jones himself).
- Ditzy Genius: Wile E. arguably is a genius, but as Cut Lex Luthor a Check implies, his intellect is pretty much limited to engineering smarts. He vastly overestimates his skill at planning and strategy, and never stops to consider how his "brilliant" plans could fail or be countered.
- The Easy Way or the Hard Way: After Bugs refuses to give himself up, Wile E. says, "Why do they always want to do it the hard way?"
- Explosive Stupidity: Double Subverted. Bugs pretends to give himself up and asks Wile E. to sign his last will and testament with a dynamite stick for a pen. Wile E. sees right through the ruse and douses the fuse, but is so busy bragging about how smart he is that he fails to notice the lit fuse on the other end until it's too late.
- Faux Affably Evil: Wile E. He's soft-spoken, knocks at a door before introducing himself, and even presents Bugs with his cardbut he still wants to eat him.
- Fembot: Wile E. makes a robot lady bunny with a built-in bomb to kill Bugs. Unfortunately for him, Bugs had the same idea and sent a robot female coyote (dressed in red even). As Wile E. romances her, Bugs detonates the robot. And to top it off, the first robot is still at Wile E.'s, about to explode. Wile E. tries to throw it out the window, but it explodes in his hands.
- Homing Projectile: Wile E. makes a Flying Saucer that can track down any prey listed on a dial, which he sets to "Rabbit." Bugs tricks it by dressing as a rooster, then writing "Coyote" on the dial and setting it there. The saucer heads back to Wile E. and blows up his lair.
- Insufferable Genius: Wile E. takes great pride in his plans to catch Bugs. Unfortunately for him, he's still not smart enough to outgambit Bugs.
- Latex Perfection: Bugs Bunny's rubber chicken mask completely covers his head and neck, and when he's only sticking his head out of the rabbit hole you can't even tell it's not really a rooster.
- Little "No": Fresh off the robot coyote blowing up in his face, Wile E. does this upon seeing the robot bunny is about to go off.
- The Lonely Door: Wile E. has a portable door so that he can knock at it in front of Bugs' burrow and introduce himself properly.
- Magnum Opus: In-Universe. Wile E. considering his tracking Flying Saucer to be his "masterpiece."
- My Card: Wile E. hands Bugs his card, which lists his profession as "Genius."
- Non Sequitur, *Thud*:
Bugs: And remember, "Mud" spelled backwards is "Dum."
- When the coyote fembot that Wile. E was holding blew up while he was in the process of proposing to it, he's left holding hands with its remains while woozily singing "Here Comes The Bride."
- Wile E. returns to Bugs' burrow one last time and, before fainting from exhaustion, introduces himself with "Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mud."
- Oh, Crap!: Wile E. has several moments. Most of them are attached to the realization that he's about to get blown up in some fashion.
- "Oh, Crap!" Fakeout: When Wile E. mentions that he's going to eat him, Bugs pretends to be scared for a moment before resuming acting unimpressed.
- Operation: [Blank]: The titular plan to catch Bugs. The plan's number increases with each unsuccessful attempt.
- Railroad Tracks of Doom: While Wile E. is working on his last plan inside an explosives shed, Bugs moves the shed into the path of a train. Wile E. doesn't find out what happened until the train is upon him.
- Right Behind Me: When Wile E. is trying to turn Bugs' burrow into a pressure cooker, he is unaware of Bugs slipping out through the back entrance and walking up behind him, even unknowingly having a conversation with him when he asked what Wile E. was doing.
- Shut Up, Hannibal!: After Wile E.'s You Have No Chance to Survive speech, all Bugs has to say is...Bugs: I'm sorry, mac, the lady of the house ain't home. And besides, we mailed you people a check last week. [Closes door.]
- Smug Snake: Wile E.note thinks that Bugs is no match for his "super-genius." Oh, how wrong he is.
- Standard Snippet: After tricking Wile E., Bugs begins singing to himself, "I'm lookin' over a three-leaf clover dat I overlooked bethree..."
- Suddenly Speaking: Instead of being silent as in the Road Runner shorts, Wile E. speaks in this and three other cartoons where he goes after Bugs.
- You Have No Chance to Survive: After Wile E. introduces himself to Bugs, he proclaims that Bugs is utterly doomed because he's a superior predator (and most importantly, a genius), so he's gonna give him a little while to say his prayers and put his affairs in order.Wile E.: I am not selling anything, nor am I working my way through college. So let's get down to cases. You are a rabbit and I am going to eat you for supper. Now, don't try to get away. I am more muscular, more cunning, faster, and larger than you are, and I'm a genius, while you could hardly pass the entrance examinations to kindergarten. So I'll give you the customary two minutes to say your prayers.