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Western Animation / The Wabbit Who Came to Supper

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"The Wabbit Who Came to Supper" is a 1942 Merrie Melodies cartoon, directed by Friz Freleng and starring Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd (in one of only four cartoons where Elmer is shown as a fat man).

The cartoon starts with Bugs on the run from Elmer Fudd and his hunting dogs, ending with him getting cornered near a tree. But by chance, a mailman arrives on a scooter and delivers a telegram to Elmer. He reads the letter and discovers that his Uncle Louie is leaving him a $3,000,000 dollar inheritance, but with one catch—if he harms any animals, especially rabbits, he won't get one cent. Ecstatic, Elmer lets Bugs go free, but Bugs has other plans...

"The Wabbit Who Came to Supper" provides examples of:

  • All for Nothing: Elmer spends the bulk of the cartoon at the mercy of Bugs, since leaving him or putting him in harm's way would mean losing his inheritance. But then he gets a second telegram, revealing that even though he gets the inheritance, the taxes eat through so much of it that he doesn't get any spending money at all—in fact, he owes them $1.98. With no reason left to hold back, he immediately begins chasing after Bugs again.
    Bugs: You don't get the dough, eh butterball?
    Elmer: No, but I'm gonna get you!
  • Bait-and-Switch: While trying to get a hold of the operator on Elmer's phone, Bugs asks him for a nickel. Elmer hands a nickel to Bugs... who pockets it immediately and continues to call for the operator the same way.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: When Bugs is begging Elmer to let him back inside, he mugs to the audience that his hammy pathos scene might get him the Academy Award.
  • Christmas Creep: Played for laughs, when the clock strikes midnight, and Bugs shouts "Happy New Year!" Elmer joins Bugs in singing "Auld Lang Syne", until he looks at the calendar which reads July and resumes chasing Bugs.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: Bugs pulls this on Elmer during the chase scene.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The telegrams Elmer gets arrive at both the most convenient or inconvenient times for him. The mailman who gives him the first one just happened to know exactly where he is in the forest while hunting.
  • Creepy Basement: When Elmer is chasing Bugs in the climax, Bugs briefly heads down to Elmer's basement—only to come running back up to warn Elmer "Don't go down there—its dark!" He would repeat this gag in Hair-Raising Hare.
  • The Ditz: As usual, Elmer easily falls for Bugs' charades, including faking an illness, believing it's New Years Day (in July) and briefly closing the door in modesty at the sight of a crossdressing Bugs. He quickly wises up on the latter two, though.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: This cartoon was made during a brief phase where Elmer was redesigned to be shorter and fat, something that was dropped after four shorts due to negative reception from audiences.
  • Explosive Breeder: After Elmer chases Bugs out of his house for good, a delivery man comes up to Elmer's door a moment later, wishing him "Easter greetings" (in July) and giving him an egg-shaped package. A bunch of little rabbits that look like miniature versions of Bugs come hopping out of the egg package, saying "Eh, what's up, doc"?
  • Faking the Dead: Bugs pulls this on Elmer when he kicks him outside, so he can trick him into caring for him indoors.
  • Jerkass: Elmer is presented as a rather dopey, greedy jerk in the cartoon. He only stops hunting Bugs and cares for him later because a great deal of money is involved, and when his Uncle Louie has passed away, he's very blasé about it, only paying attention to the money he thinks he's getting.
    • Bugs himself isn't much better, as he wastes no time in taking advantage of the condition in Uncle Louie's will, which forbids Elmer from hurting rabbits, to invade his home and leech off him.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: Played for Laughs: when Elmer is trying to talk Bugs into leaving, he slightly touches Bugs, which prompts Bugs to act like he's been hurt, and he threatens to call Uncle Louie after the fact.
  • Modesty Towel: When he comes out of the shower, Bugs is wearing a towel around his waist, despite normally not wearing anything at all.
    • There was growing speculation that when Bugs' towel dropped to his thighs that his genitals were exposed. Upon further viewing, it was the space between Bugs' legs with the tub behind him.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Elmer tricks Bugs into leaving his house at night, but Bugs fakes having an illness. Elmer, of course, is dumb enough to fall for Bugs's charade, and despairs that Bugs is seemingly dying (if just for the money he'll lose)
    Elmer: What have I done?! Three million dowwahs, aww shot to pieces! Don't die, wittle wabbit! [sobs] Please don't die...
  • New Year Has Come: At one point, Bugs Bunny makes Elmer think it's New Year's when his grandfather clock strikes 12. But while they sing "Auld Lang Syne," Elmer sees the calendar which clearly reads July.
  • Oh, Crap!: Bugs has this reaction when Elmer finds out he isn't getting the money, meaning he has nothing to hold back from harming Bugs now.
  • Public Domain Animation: The short's copyright expired years ago, so it has become a staple of bargain bin tapes and DVDs.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The cartoon is a spoof of the 1939 play and 1942 film The Man Who Came to Dinner.
    • As he showers and shaves, Bugs sings "Angel in Disguise", from the 1940 Warner Brothers film It All Came True (which, like The Man Who Came to Dinner, starred Ann Sheridan).
    • When Elmer tries to coax Bugs into leaving, gently patting him on the head, which Bugs claims is terribly hurting him, Bugs references a running gag from the radio show Fibber McGee and Molly when he threatens to call Uncle Louie: "Operator, give me Walnut three three fifty… Ohhh, that you, Myrt? How's every little thing?" (By coincidence, Arthur Q. Bryan, the voice of Elmer Fudd, also played "Doc Gamble" on the Fibber McGee show.)
  • Singing in the Shower: After making himself at home in Elmer's house, Bugs is in Elmer's shower singing "Angel in Disguise". When he strikes a sour note, he steps out wearing a Modesty Towel and tunes himself by playing the correct note on the piano (as shown on the page image), then steps back into the shower.
  • Stock Footage: The scene where the house rattles and Bugs speeds out of the makeup room is reused animation from "Elmer's Pet Rabbit".
  • Taxman Takes the Winnings: After all the taxes are applied to Elmer's inheritance, he ends up owing the government $1.98.
  • The Thing That Would Not Leave: Bugs crashes Elmer's house and refuses to leave, and since Elmer can't force him out without jeopardizing his fortune, he's forced to make Bugs his guest.
  • Too Many Babies: Elmer successfully chases Bugs out of his house in the end, but Bugs mails him back an "Easter Greeting" in return; a giant egg filled with dozens of baby rabbits, who proceed to spill out into his house!
  • Wholesome Crossdresser: Bugs conveniently finds a frilly looking makeup room in Elmer's house, and dresses himself up in a woman's brassiere as Elmer opens the door. Bugs screams in modesty and Elmer closes the door in shame—only to realize he's been duped and runs inside to thrash Bugs.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: If one looks at the second telegram Elmer got, it's revealed he would actually receive $902,932.04, even with all the taxes he mentions.