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Western Animation / The Tune

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The Tune is an Animated Musical by Bill Plympton and his first feature film.

Del works as a songwriter for Mega Music, under the obnoxious Mr. Mega, whose secretary, Didi, he's madly in love with. One afternoon, Del is given 47 minutes to come down to Mega's office and present him with a hit song or be fired. On his way, he drives into the strange land of Flooby Nooby, where things... get weird.


  • Del getting punched in the gut by The Mayor.
  • Animated Musical: To the point that the musical numbers vastly outweigh straight dialogue scenes.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Mr. Mega after hearing Del's song.
    "Not only will you never work on this planet or any other planet, but I'm taking you off of my Christmas card list."
  • Art-Style Dissonance: Done intentionally for comedy in the "Home" sequence: Didi pulls out old family photos where they're all in the same smiling poses, even when water skiing and running away from a charging rhino.
  • Award-Bait Song: "Be My Only Love," albeit unintentionally.
  • Black Comedy: The "Lovesick Hotel" scene is full of this. Where else can you hear an upbeadt soft-shoe jazz tune over people killing themselves?
  • Chekhov's Skill: When Del first visits Flooby Nooby, he has to learn to whistle from his heart to get a giant dog to a normal size. He uses the same skill in the climax to make Mega Music grow larger.
  • Cool Car: Del's regular, boring car transforms into various cool vehicles before shrinking away into nothingness.
  • Credits Gag: In the closing credits, Mr Mega briefly pops up at the soundtrack section.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Mr Mega.
    "Well, you finally showed up. Let's declare a national holiday."
  • Deranged Animation: Oh, how deranged the animation can get.
  • Despair Event Horizon: After Del realizes he's going to be late for his meeting with Mr. Mega, resulting in both him getting fired and Didi leaving him, he breaks down sobbing, which segues into the "Lovesick Hotel" scene.
  • Domestic-Only Cartoon: Drawn entirely by Bill Plympton.note 
  • Don't Think, Feel: How the Mayor tells Del to come up with his songs.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The film contains none of Bill Plympton's trademark political incorrectness, save for a suggestive number about noses and a split second of full-frontal nudity.
  • Elvis Impersonator: The dog who sings "Dig My Doo."
  • Everybody Calls Him "Barkeep": The Mayor
  • Excuse Plot: The film is really a vehicle for songwriter and Bill Plympton's friend Maureen McElheron. Several of the songs had been written over a decade prior, when the two were in a country band.
  • Extremely Short Time Span: The movie takes place over the 47 minutes Del has to get down to Mega Music and deliver his new song. Seeing as the movie is only barely an hour long, it technically takes place in real time!
  • Fake-Out Opening: The first shot is of Del's hand repeatedly coming down on the camera, accompanied by blackness and a Scare Chord, before we cut to a wide shot and realize that it was just an extreme close up of him playing "Love For You" on the piano.
  • Henpecked Husband: Mrs. Mega's cameo at the beginning implies that her husband is one. He does seems to genuinely love her, as evidenced by the way he gazes at her photo during "Be My Only Love."
  • Hypocritical Humor: Mr. Mega sings "Love is My Bottom Line" right after declaring all of Del's songs to be awful.
  • In the Style of: "Dig My Doo" is a pastiche of early Elvis Presley.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Surprisingly Mr. Mega. He is an obnoxious jerk throughout the whole film until the last minute where it is discovered that he wants to buy Del's song because it reminds him of how much he loves his wife.
  • Lighter and Softer: Easily one of Bill Plympton's most, if not the most, lighthearted films.
  • Location Song: "In Flooby Nooby! In Flooby Nooby!"
  • Lyrical Dissonance: "Lovesick Hotel" is a jaunty little soft-shoe jazz number about a hotel when you go to commit suicide.
  • Mind Screw: Plenty, but especially the "Perspective is a myth" bit.
  • Now, Buy the Merchandise: The original VHS release had a brief bit after the credits where Del plugged the soundtrack album.
  • Oh, Crap!: "Yipe!" Complete with road sign!
  • Pun: Used a few times in the tango number.
    Man: Why should you be careful going out when it rains cats and dogs? You might step in a poodle.
    (woman laughs hysterically)
  • Rotoscoping: Used during the "Tango Schmango" scene. Unlike most examples, the live-action footage was distorted as it was being traced to give it a more unique look.
  • Shout-Out: To Danny Antonucci's "Lupo The Butcher" during the "Lovesick Hotel" scene.
  • Suicide as Comedy: "Lovesick Hotel."
  • Sickening Sweethearts: Didi's introduction is nothing but Del making baby talk to her over the phone.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Bill Plympton 's film is surprisingly more on the optimistic end. Unlike his future films, this one is colorful and upbeat.
  • So Unfunny, It's Funny: The jokes during "Tango Schmango." The guy stops every once in a while to tell the lady a joke, which she always seems to find uproariously funny.
    ''My hair tonic is so good, I spilled some on my comb and now it's a brush."
  • Surprisingly Happy Ending: By the last three minutes of the film, Del has lost his job and he and Didi break up, in song no less! Thankfully, Mr. Mega heard their song and immediately decides that it's a hit, rehires Del and decided to produce his other songs as well.
  • Take That!: "Love Is My Bottom Line" is one to lying executives who claim to be "genuine" and hate their wealthy lifestyles but clearly don't.
  • That Reminds Me of a Song: Justified in that, in Flooby Nooby, songs "write themselves."
  • Unmoving Plaid: The Mayor's suit.
  • Understatement: While entering Flooby Nooby, Del's car keeps transforming into other vehicles. Del flatly observes: "This is strange."
  • The Unsmile: Mr. Mega grins when he hear's Del perform "Love For You" for the first time, but only because he had a sesame seed stuck in his gums.
  • Villain Song: Downplayed. Mr. Mega does get one, "Love Is My Bottom Line," but it's a jazzy, upbeat number full of Blatant Lies about how much he supposedly cares about people over money, and when it's over he goes back to being the same jerk he was before he started singing. Since it's all fake and doesn't really express his character, it feels less like a typical Villain Song and more like a goofy non-sequitur (as well as a Take That! against show-biz phonies).
  • Word Salad Lyrics: "Love For You."
  • Word, Schmord!: In the Lovesick Hotel segment, the old lady says "Hotel schmotel!"