It's a successor to one of the most famous Warner Bros. cartoons ever made, Duck Amuck, though this time the protagonist/victim is Bugs Bunny: Bugs comes out of his rabbit hole, sees who the animator is (although the audience doesn't, like in Duck Amuck), and refuses to participate any further. The animator erases Bugs' rabbit hole as he tries to dive back into it, causing Bugs to slam right into the ground. Over the course of the cartoon the animator continues to screw with Bugs in various surreal ways, like in Duck Amuck, as Bugs grows angrier and more frustrated.
One of the very few cartoons in the Looney Tunes canon where Bugs is the butt of the joke; in fact, the previous cartoon, "Hare Brush", had Elmer Fudd making a fool of Bugs. On the whole, 1955 was a very strange year for Bugs.
"Rabbit Rampage" provides examples of:
- Adaptation Species Change: In-Universe. Bugs is redrawn as a horse.Bugs: Look doc, my contract clearly states that I am always to be drawn as a rabbit!
- Angrish: Bugs is reduced to this, muttering family friendly swears - until the animator removes his head.Bugs: You goldanged consarned rapscallion blankety-blank-blank-blank-you-tryin-ta-do?!?
- Bait-and-Switch: As the short is a sequel to Duck Amuck, one would assume Daffy is the animator screwing with Bugs in revenge. It's actually Elmer.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: After the animator removes Bugs' ears.Bugs: [pointing at his head] ...Ears.
[the animator draws large human ears on Bugs]
Bugs: Not human ears, my friend. Rabbit ears, long ones.
[the animator draws Bugs with ears trailing off to the horizon]
Bugs: Don't be so danged literal!
- Break the Haughty: Most of the animator's antics target Bugs' Pride as much as just prank him like Daffy's case, and Bugs is well aware from the start this is their intent, protesting that he's making him "look bad". He reacts in outrage when the animator adds "impostors" of him, or risks his good reputation by framing him with strike picket signs.
- The Cameo: Yep, that's Elmer Fudd at the end as the animator, taking pleasure in finally getting the better of Bugs.
- Cloning Blues: Bugs is outraged when two other Bugs are drawn in. "OH, NO YOU DON'T! OUT, YOU IMPOSTOR!"
- The Dog Bites Back: The animator, of course.Elmer Fudd: [laughs] Well, anyway... I finally got even with that screwy wabbit!
- The End: Bugs tells the artist "Well, okay. But there's still one way out, and you can't stop me!" He proceeds to pull down a "The End" card from the top of the screen. Unlike in Duck Amuck, this is actually the end of the short.
- Foreshadowing: Early on, Bugs is shown to have an animosity with the cartoonist for unspecified reasons. This is before the audience finds out the animator is Elmer Fudd.
- Genre Savvy: In stark contrast to Daffy, Bugs knows from the start that a cartoon animated by Elmer Fudd will only mean torture for him, and attempts in vain to either reason with him or escape.
- The Hunter Becomes the Hunted: Bugs Bunny, the original animator for Duck Amuck, is paid out with his own coin by Elmer.
- I Don't Like You and You Don't Like Me: Invoked by Bugs when he sees who the animator is. Of course, since it's Elmer Fudd, and this time he's in complete control of things, this makes plenty of sense.
- Internal Deconstruction: Not only of the first Duck Amuck but also Jones seemingly taking a light hearted jab at his own more suave take on Bugs. Throughout the short, Bugs values his dignity before anything, flat out refusing to be in a cartoon where he's not a Born Winner, only to be goaded into it when the director makes jabs at his ego and image. Where Daffy threw unrestrained tantrums in Duck Amuck, Bugs attempts desperately to keep his composure as the animator prods his buttons.
- Karma Houdini Warranty: Bugs winds up in the exact same position Daffy was in in Duck Amuck. Rather fittingly, the animator is Elmer Fudd, who Bugs similarly got away with heckling unprovoked in early cartoons.
- Know When to Fold 'Em: In contrast to Daffy in Duck Amuck, Bugs, while still undeniably on the losing side, ultimately manages to bow out of the cartoon with a little dignity intact when, after exhausting all other options, he pulls down a "The End" card. Compare that with Daffy, who pushes the "The End" card away after it appears.
- Laser-Guided Karma: For screwing around with Daffy in Duck Amuck, it's Bugs' turn to get screwed over with in this cartoon... thanks to Elmer.
- Literal Metaphor: When Bugs refuses to work, the animator paints a big yellow stripe down his back.
- Literal-Minded: Combined with Exact Words, many of the animator's tricks are based around this. When he replaces Bugs' tail with a horse's tail and Bugs says it belongs on a horse, the animator turns him into a horse. When he tells the animator he needs ears, he gets human ears, to which Bugs says "Rabbit ears! Long ones!", to which the animator draws mile long ears. Bugs even calls him out on all these pranks.Bugs: Don't be so danged literal!
- Medium Awareness: Bugs knows he's in a cartoon, but this time he isn't happy about it.
- No Fourth Wall: Goes one step further by having Bugs notice that Elmer is the animator, as opposed to Duck Amuck where Daffy never noticed that Bugs was the animator.
- Not in My Contract: Enforced repeatedly by Bugs to try and get the animator in line. Unfortunately the animator is good at Loophole Abuse.
- Off-Model: Invoked after the animator redraws Bugs as a... bizarre rabbit.Bugs: Continue to draw me like this, and we'll both be out of work!
- Earlier, the animator redraws Bugs' head to be half its normal size. Bugs doesn't notice until he tries to eat a carrot and remarks at how big it looks, then realizes he has a high squeaky voice.
- Redemption Rejection:Bugs: Look, uh, why don't we be friends? Maybe we could both benefit - eh, do something revolutionary.
(the artist paints two copies of Bugs, putting himself back on Bugs' bad side)
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Attempted repeatedly by Bugs, though he only succeeds in the end by pulling out a "The End" card.
- Spiritual Successor: To Duck Amuck, but with Bugs as the victim instead of Daffy.
- Take This Job and Shove It: Eventually Bugs, who's been trying to get out of the cartoon since he saw who the animator was, succeeds in doing so by pulling down a "The End" title card.
- A Taste of Defeat: While Daffy was used to playing Butt-Monkey by the point of Duck Amuck, Rabbit Rampage is among only a small number of shorts in which Bugs gets victimized in the cartoon.
- A Taste of Their Own Medicine: Bugs is now the victim to the sadistic animator's pen.
- Team Rocket Wins: One of only three shorts where Elmer gets the last laugh on Bugs.
- Tempting Fate: Lampshaded by Bugs.Bugs: So, I'm me again, eh? What a novel idea. You sure you wouldn't want to turn me into a grasshopper or somethin'?
Bugs: [mortified] NO, NO! I TAKE IT BACK!
- Tranquil Fury: Bugs attempts to remain composed and snarks and passive-aggressively sneers at the animator in contrast to Daffy's hissy fits in Duck Amuck. There are times, however, where even he struggles to keep a level head.
- Twist Ending: Who's screwing with Bugs? It could've been revenge from Daffy, but it turns out to be Elmer Fudd.
- Unusual Euphemism: Bugs exclaims "Holy codfish!" when he notices how big the animator made his feet.
- Waving Signs Around: When Bugs talks about how he's been loyal to the studio, the animator draws a picket sign in his hand.