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Western Animation / Technological Threat

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Technological Threat is a 1988 Oscar-nominated short by Bill Kroyer (FernGully: The Last Rainforest) and Brian Jennings.

It's about Tex Avery-esque wolves being replaced by CGI robot "dweebs" with one wolf fighting back against one of the robots.


Tropes:

  • 2D Visuals, 3D Effects: One of the earliest examples, and probably one of the first in which the conspicuousness is deliberate.
  • Bad Boss: The Bully Bulldog and his robotic replacement care more about efficiency in the workplace than the well-being of their workers.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: Albeit a different kind of "boss", the Bully Bulldog who replaces the workers with robots in the beginning is himself replaced by a robotic counterpart who serves as the Big Bad for the rest of the short.
  • Black Comedy: The first wolf worker is replaced because he had a heart attack and died on his desk.
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  • Bully Bulldog: The boss who replaces the workers with robots before being replaced himself is one.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Happens twice. The first five wolves get dropped through trapdoors in quick succession, but the last wolf is able to persist until the boss leaves. He then starts knocking his new coworkers down the same trapdoors. Again, the first four dweebs fall easily, while the last one fights back and nearly proves a match for the wolf.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Slack off work for one second and you get replaced by a robot.
  • Enemy Mine: As the last wolf and last dweeb fight, the robot boss returns and attempts to dispose of them both. So they put aside their differences just long enough to drop him down the hole, instead. But the truce is short-lived. The wolf takes advantage of the dweeb's distraction and shoves it down the hole as well.
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  • Inflating Body Gag: The last wolf deals with one of the dweebs by inflating it with a bike pump, until it smacks a lamp with its head and gets electrocuted.
  • Jaw Drop: The wolf workers when the first dweeb robot appears.
  • Job-Stealing Robot: The dweebs end up replacing all but one of the workers, including the boss who deployed them in the first place.
  • Plot-Sensitive Button: The boss just has a single Big Red Button marked with a skull-and-crossbones, yet it opens a different trapdoor every time he pushes it.
  • Portable Hole: When the last wolf and last dweeb realize they're standing on a trap door, they escape falling in by sliding the door across the floor, so it winds up underneath the boss instead.
  • Rapid-Fire Comedy: See Shout-Out.
  • Shout-Out: To Tex Avery (Jaw Drop included).
  • Speaking Simlish: The Bad Boss berates his workers at a few points, but all his dialogue is gibberish.
  • Stealth Pun: The wolf workers that are dropped beneath a Trap Door and replaced by the Job Stealing Robots are the literal underdogs in this situation.
  • Trap Door: There's one under each desk to dispose of those workers who can't cut it. The last worker uses it to dispose of the boss robot, as well as the last remaining dweeb.
  • Visual Pun: The dweebs have literal pencil necks.
  • X-Ray Sparks: As one of the dweebs gets electrocuted, there's a brief X-ray shot, which includes a human skull inside his head.


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