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Western Animation / Soup or Sonic

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"Soup or Sonic" is a 1980 Merrie Melodies cartoon directed by Chuck Jones, starring Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. It was aired on May 21, 1980 as a part of the television special, Bugs Bunny's Bustin' Out All Over.

Wile E. Coyote's plans of the day include pole-vaulting, several attempts with a rocket, a safe dangling from a pulley, a firecracker in a frisbee and explosive tennis balls.

This short also has the distinction of being the one and only cartoon where Wile E. eventually catches the Road Runner... although the Road Runner is normal sized and poor Wile E. is tiny!


"Soup or Sonic" provides examples of:

  • Big Creepy-Crawlies: The giant mosquito that ends up in the flypaper instead of the Road Runner.
  • Binomium ridiculus:
    ROAD RUNNER (Ultra-Sonicus Ad Infinitum)note 
    COYOTE (Nemesis Ridiculii)
  • Bittersweet Ending: Wile E. finally caught Roadrunner, but now the bird is huge, and the poor coyote has no idea what to do.
  • Confused Question Mark: One appears over the cloud the Coyote is in before he opens it up to peek at the bottom of a canyon. Before he falls, he bends the question mark into an exclamation mark and points to it immediately as he starts plummeting.
  • Deadly Disc: One gag has Wile E. sticking a small firecracker through an ACME Frisbee Disc which he then tries to toss at the bird. Unfortunately, the firecracker falls out of the disc before the Coyote can throw it.
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  • Delayed Reaction: Closing the frisbee gag, Wile E. jumps up in pain as he feels the fire on his tail... after walking off into the horizon.
  • Explosion Propulsion: The rocket's explosion pushes the Coyote into thin air after he and the rocket crash into a cliff wall.
  • Extra-Long Episode: The cartoon is longer than most Coyote/Road Runner cartoons, having a length of 9 minutes and 11 seconds.
  • Fatal Fireworks: Wile E. sticks a tiny one in a frisbee and tosses it... after said firecracker slides down to the Coyote's foot. It does explode, but the only damage it has done is setting Wile E.'s tail on fire.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Apparently, the ACME Frisbee Disc is manufactured by the Freleng Manufacturing Co.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Wile E. gets to have an unpleasant taste of gravity seven times.
  • Gross-Up Close-Up: This shot from the cartoon has by far the ugliest close-up of Wile E. Coyote ever seen.
  • Hope Spot: After the Frisbee gag, Wile E. is surprised that the firecracker has done no damage, so he walks away happy... not yet noticing that his tail is on fire.
  • Illogical Safe: Averted. Wile E.'s third failed attempt to kill the Road Runner ends with him falling off a cliff and getting flattened by the safe. As we fade to the aftermath of that failure, Wile E. walks in from offscreen, his body now squashed into a flat squarish shape.
  • Impact Silhouette: Courtesy of Wile E. riding his rocket into a cliff wall.
  • Instant Flight: Just Add Spinning!: As Wile E. falls towards the canyon floor after screwing up his pole-vault attempt, he tries in vain to climb to the top of the pole, but every time he does so, the pole rotates so that he's at the bottom of the pole again. Eventually, after repeating the cycle and speeding up in the process, he spins around like an out-of-control helicopter until the pole grinds against a cliff side all the way down to the part Wile E. is holding.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: A chase through a pipe that gets smaller at the end leaves the Coyote and Road Runner shrunken down to mouse size. When they go back the opposite way, the Road Runner is back to normal, but the Coyote... not so much.
  • Irony: A shrunken Wile E. catches the normal-sized Road Runner, but due to their vast size difference, there's nothing he can do. The episode closes on a "What Now?" Ending, not to mention Road Runners are omnivores and eat bugs.
  • Mythology Gag: As Wile E. waits for his prey to end up stuck on the ACME-Brand Giant Fly Paper, he reclines on a rock and pants delightedly in the same manner he did in 1957's "Scrambled Aches".
  • Now What?: The page image. The Coyote asks this question at the end of the cartoon (in the form of signs, no less) after he finally catches the Road Runner... while shrunken to a tiny size.
  • Reflective Eyes: The tiny Wile E. is seen reflected in the Road Runner's eyes as the bird turns down to beep at him.
  • Rocket Ride: Wile E. tries this four times, all of which fail and cause him to experience gravity:
    • First attempt: Only the fuel and nosecone launch, leaving Wile E. (and the hull he is sitting on) to fall to the canyon floor.
    • Second attempt: The rocket turns downwards and launches itself to the bottom, taking the Coyote with it.
    • Third attempt: The rocket launches off by itself, leaving behind its owner who then falls down again.
    • Fourth attempt: After a mishap involving lighting his tail by mistake, Wile E. jumps up in pain, slamming into a precipice and falling back onto the rocket, where the fire on his tail spreads to the fuse. As a result, the Coyote's rocket ride finally goes the way it should, but the failure? He rams through the cliff that his prey is standing on, and is tossed off the cliff by the explosion of his rocket.
  • Rump Roast: Wile E. gets his tail ablaze twice: first from the frisbee gag and second from his final attempt with the rocket.
  • Silly Walk: Wile E. does a Charlie Chaplin-esque one when he checks he's seemingly okay from the firecracker's explosion and twirls a stick around while doing his walk... and his tail is revealed to have been set on fire.
  • Slasher Smile: The giant mosquito gives one heck of a smile (showing its ugly yellow teeth) as it prepares to wrap Wile E. in the flypaper offscreen.
  • Solid Clouds: At the beginning of the cartoon, the Road Runner leaves one behind that Wile E. runs into and drifts off a cliff. He even opens up part of the cloud like a door!
  • Squashed Flat: Wile E.'s torso gets squashed into a squarish pancake at the end of the safe gag.
  • Sticky Situation: Wile E. lays out an enormous piece of flypaper on the road in hopes it will stop the Road Runner dead. What does he end up catching instead?
  • Talking with Signs:
    • As he falls to the canyon floor after his third attempt with the rocket, Wile E. brandishes a "Goodbye" sign and flips it so that it reads "Again".
    • After his fourth attempt with the rocket fails, the charred Coyote stays suspended in midair long enough to hold out a sign that reads "How did I ever get into this line of work?". Cue yet another fall to the canyon floor.
    • Before the explosive tennis balls blow up on him, Wile E. holds up two signs reading "For Sale One Used Tennis Racket" and "cheap!". Cue GIGANTIC EXPLOSION!
    • And last but not least, "Okay, wise guys, you always wanted me to catch him" and "Now what do I do?".
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: At the end, upon seeing that he himself is back to his regular size while Wile E. is still tiny, Roadrunner is nice enough to just stop and let his tiny opponent catch him.