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Western Animation / Operation: Rabbit

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"I'm sorry, mac, the lady of the house ain't home. And besides, we mailed you people a check last week."

"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).

Wile E. introduces himself to Bugs, proclaiming himself to be a super 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 pull the window shade down.
  • 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.
  • Attack Reflector: For his second plan, Wile E. puts a long drainpipe into Bugs' hole, attaches the other end to a cannon, and fires. Moments later, a drainpipe sticks out of the hole and shoots the cannonball into Wile E.'s cave, where it explodes on target.
  • 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.]
  • Book Ends: 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 "Genius" to "Super-Genius" to "Mud."
  • Cooked to Death: Wile E.'s first plan is to cook Bugs inside his own burrow by installing a pressure cooker over the entrance. Bugs, however, comes out by the back door, tricks Wile E. into looking inside, and closes the cooker on top of him. Instead of letting him get cooked, however, Bugs grabs a club and conks him in the head.
  • Cooking the Live Meal: With Bugs being uncooperative toward Wile E. Coyote's plan of eating him, Wile E. installs a pressure cooker on the entrance of his burrow, intent on cooking him inside his own home. Fortunately, Bugs' burrow has a back door.
  • 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 his other inventions 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?"
    • This could possibly be a reference to his debut appearance in Fast and Furry-ous, in which the Road Runner also resisted Wile E.'s attempt to eat him during the beginning of the episode.
  • Evil Laugh: Wile E. chuckles evilly as he's filling the carrots with nitroglycerine.
  • 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.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Wile E. installs a pressure cooker on the entrance of Bugs' burrow and starts making rabbit stew, not realizing that the main ingredient has not only slipped out the back door but is standing right behind him, asking what's cooking.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Wile E. He's soft-spoken, knocks at a door before introducing himself, and even presents Bugs with his card—but he still wants to eat him.
  • Feed It a Bomb: For his final plan, Wile E. fills some carrots with nitroglycerin to blow Bugs up. Before he can implement this plan, however, Bugs moves the shack he's working in onto the railroad track.
  • Fembot: Wile E. makes a robot lady bunny with a built-in bomb to kill Bugs. Unfortunately for him, Bugs has 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.
    Wile E.: Ah, my darling, how beautiful you are... How devastating! How lucky! Little did you dream that one day you would marry a genius.
    [The camera moves out of Wile E.'s cave to show Bugs looking out of a hole and that the wires on the robot are attached to Bugs' Plunger Detonator.]
    Bugs: Fight fire with fire, I always say. [He presses the plunger. The camera moves back to show Wile E., his entire body covered with ashes, holding the hand of the remains of the robot.]
    Wile E.: [singing dazedly] Here comes the bride... all dressed in... [He hears the timer on HIS robot decoy rabbit go off.] Oh, no! [Wile E. tries to get the rabbit decoy out of his cave, only for it to blow up in his arms.]
  • 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.
  • Literal Cliffhanger: When the train hits the explosive shack, Wile E. is left hanging from a leafless tree branch that's growing out of the side of a cliff.
  • 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*:
    • 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."
      Bugs: And remember, "Mud" spelled backwards is "Dum."
  • 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 Bugs asks Wile E. what he is doing.
  • Running Gag: This was the cartoon that started the future trend of Wile E. Coyote being run over by a train in some way or another—in this instance, Bugs Bunny moves the explosive shed Wile E. is hiding in to the railroad tracks, resulting in the train blowing up the shed.
  • 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.


Video Example(s):


Explosive Shack on the Tracks

While Wile E. is preparing his final plan to catch Bugs using carrots filled with nitroglycerin, the rabbit in question moves his explosives shack into the middle of the railroad tracks. The coyote is so busy bragging to himself about being a "super genius" that he doesn't realize what's happening until he looks out the window and sees a train coming right at him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (14 votes)

Example of:

Main / RailroadTracksOfDoom

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