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Western Animation / Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner
aka: Road Runner

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"Right now, I'd like to show you one of my favorite cartoons. It's a sad, depressing story about a pathetic Coyote who spends every waking moment of his life in the futile pursuit of a sadistic roadrunner, who mocks him and laughs at him as he's repeatedly crushed and maimed! I hope you ENJOY IT!"

An iconic series of Looney Tunes short subjects made by Chuck Jones during The Golden Age of Animation.

The Wile E. Coyote and Road Runner shorts are centered on the titular desert-dwelling duo, as the smart but destructively obsessive coyote does everything within his power (and uses everything within the ACME product catalog) to capture the elusive Road Runner for dinner. Jones explicitly modelled the Coyote's seemingly inexplicable persistence on philosopher George Santayana's definition of a fanatic: someone who "redoubles his efforts when he has forgotten his aim." And it doesn't help one bit that the Roadrunner is apparently aware of this and more than happy to exploit it to his own, cheerfully sadistic ends.

Despite their surreally minimalist production design—very unlike the traditional Looney Tunes style—and penchant for formula gags, the shorts have remained hugely popular to this day. 40 shorts were produced in the classic era, and newer ones are still occasionally being created for theatres.


They have made a comeback via CGI in The Looney Tunes Show.

Fast and Furry-ous (1949), their debut, is a runner-up in The 50 Greatest Cartoons and also listed as one of The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes. Guided Muscle is also listed as one of The 100 Greatest Looney Tunes.

Coyote and Road Runner cartoons on TV Tropes:


These cartoons provide examples of:

  • Accordion Man: This is often Wile E.'s fate after a long fall.
  • Acme Products: Of course, it's a mystery how Wile E. can pay for all the stuff he orders from them, and a bigger mystery why he continues to do so, seeing as nine times out of ten, their products are the reason he fails. (One Cartoon Network ad hints that he's the QA tester for the company, but another one has him sue the company over all the malfunctioning equipment, gaining a prime-time slot as a settlement.)
  • Affectionate Parody: The first short was made as a parody of "cat chases mouse" cartoons (and nature documentaries; the pseudo-Latin names are a direct callback to those), but audiences took it at face value and thought it was just something new. The rest is history.
  • Amusing Injuries: Coyote suffers a multitude in every short.
  • Anti-Villain: Wile E. Coyote is one basically just because he wants a meal. Too bad he's so bad at it.
  • Anvil on Head: A Looney Tunes staple, reproduced faithfully multiple times.
  • Arch-Enemy: Wile E. and the Road Runner have been going at it for more than 60 years!
  • Art Evolution: The designs of the two characters did change a bit over the years, but this trope was more evident in the background designs. The first three cartoons had scenic, but fairly bland-looking backgrounds, which gave way to more abstract designs starting with Maurice Noble's arrival. They gradually got more and more unusual, eventually leading to some flat-out weird scenery in "Gee Whiz-z-z-z-z-z-z" before settling down into a more consistent style from 1957 onwards.
  • Artistic License – Biology: Coyotes are nearly twice as fast as roadrunners and actually prey on them in reality. The roadrunner's best line of defense is camouflage and stealth, as he wouldn't be able to outrun Wile E. on open ground.
    • Then again, he always chooses to run upright rather than on all fours, which leads to increased wind resistance - of course, this could be due to him being more vertically-centered than horizontally, like an actual coyote.
  • Ash Face: Wile E. sometimes gets these when his contraptions blow up in his face.
  • Author Appeal: Jones' take on Wile E. was heavily influenced by Mark Twain's Roughing It, in which the coyote of the desert is described in great, pitiful detail.
  • Beep Me Up, Scotty: We all know it's "BEEP BEEP!" Yet for some strange reason, it still sounds like "MEEP MEEP!"
  • Bear Trap: One of the many maligned ACME products.
  • Bomb Whistle: Everything that falls, including boulders, anvils, and Wile E. himself, makes this sound.
  • Boomerang Comeback: Wile E. gets hit in the back of his head by his own boomerang (naturally) in "The Fast and the Furry-ous".
  • Born in the Theatre: At the end of one short, Wile E. pulled a standing sign onto the set. "Wanted: One gullible coyote. Apply to manager of this theatre."
  • Born Lucky: NOTHING goes wrong for Road Runner. Sometimes the laws of physics are bent by him, such as going right through a brick wall with a fake road painted on it without getting hurt.
    • The most extreme example of this is in Stop! Look! and Hasten! when Wile E. stops Road Runner on a bridge with birdseed and tries cutting a hole out from underneath him. The entire bridge and the rock formations the bridge is attached to collapse, leaving Road Runner standing on a floating wooden disc.
  • Brick Joke: In some cartoons, an ACME contraption would fail early on and be ignored, until the Coyote comes back across it and does something foolish to trigger it.
  • Butt-Monkey: Wile E. himself; in fact he never gets to be anything but (not even in his appearances with Bugs Bunny).
    • Iron Butt Monkey: Even for a Warner Brothers cartoon, it's amazing what the Coyote goes through - and then gets up and goes right back in.
  • Camera Tricks: In one of the Coyote's few speaking appearances in the Road Runner shorts, he mentions these when talking about how he keeps a "record of [his] 'activities'".
  • Canis Latinicus: Both parties receive a new genus/species name in this style before each short ("To Beep or Not to Beep" being the exception). In one short ("Soup or Sonic"), even the Roadrunner's beeps get a scientific name: "beepus-beepus".
    • Though "The Whizzard of Ow" showed the actual scientific names, Geococcyx californianus (greater roadrunner) and Canis latrans (coyote).
    • "Stop! Look! and Hasten!" also features a cameo by a Burmese Tiger (Surprisibus! Surprisibus!)
  • Cartoon Physics: But it's so side-splittingly funny in all cases that it doesn't matter.
  • Catchphrase: Beep Beep!
  • Characterization Marches On: The Roadrunner originally was depicted as somewhat a Karmic Trickster in 'Fast And Furry Ous (1949) being clearly aware of Coyote's hunting the whole time, a trait that would be mostly dropped in later Chuck Jones shorts since the Coyote gets Hoist By His Own Petards anyways. The Road Runner's characterisation would slip back in and out with efforts from other directors however.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Coyote buys a superhero costume and tries to fly off a cliff. He doesn't.
    • Another costume does work for flight, but it's specifically designed with rigid "wings" that fold out from under the arms. It's not much of a spoiler to note that Wile E. still ends up managing to plummet to the ground.
    • And a third set of wings gets destroyed in an explosion, resulting in no flight but in another date with gravity.
  • Colossus Climb: Averted. In the cartoon Soup or Sonic, Wile E. finally catches the Road Runner. The episode's running gag involving size changing pipes leaves the Road Runner gigantic, but unfortunately for the Coyote he has become tiny, very tiny. He doesn't bother trying to scale the huge bird (even he can appreciate he's massively outgunned) and instead asks the audience what is he supposed to do now.
  • Comically Lop Sided Rivalry: The entire rivalry between the Coyote and Road Runner, which always ends in the bird's favor.
  • Conspicuous Trenchcoat: When Wile E. gets hold off a Spy Kit in "Sugar and Spies", he starts wearing a black trenchcoat and hat. In the middle of the desert.
  • Crossover: Two, on a technicality. "Hare-breadth Hurry" has Bugs Bunny filling in for a sidelined Road Runner, while "The Wild Chase" has a cannonball race between the Road Runner and Speedy Gonzales, with the Coyote and Sylvester in pursuit.
    • Wile E. also crossed into a few Bugs Bunny cartoons as well. These are where the "Wile E. Coyote, Super-Genius" persona comes from.
  • The Dark Age of Animation: A lot of shorts were produced in this era and the quality of the animation decreased in the 60's along with a heavily recycled musical sting throughout several shorts.
  • Delayed Reaction: Wile usually realizes very late that he's walking on thin air. Once he does he falls down.
  • Depending on the Writer:
    • While Wile E. is consistently unable to catch Road Runner, exactly how fast he is depends heavily on the short. In some, he is only barely slower than him, to the point he ends up frustratingly running a few feet behind his prey without actually reaching it, but in others, he is much less athletic and gets gassed out with relatively small efforts.
    • The Road Runner is variably either a wild creature going simply about its life and avoiding getting caught, or a more standard cartoon trickster who deliberately sabotages the Coyote's plans and heckles his failures.
    • Which is odd, given most of the classic "Road Runner" shorts were written by Michael Maltese. However, there were jam sessions where all of the studios writers would come together to pitch gags and ideas for various shorts. This could explain the discrepancy.
  • Determinator: The Coyote, of course.
    • Rule Number 3: "The Coyote could stop any time — IF he were not a fanatic."
      • Halfway through the cartoon, one realizes that the Coyote doesn't want to eat the Road Runner at that point—he just wants his contraptions to work properly.
  • Disaster Dominoes: The usual finale of the cartoons' formula brings back various devices or tactics, generally introduced by the coyote himself, in order to inflict even bigger Amusing Injuries.
  • Ditzy Genius: Wile E. Coyote, especially on the occasions when he goes after Bugs Bunny.
  • Eat the Camera: "To Beep or Not to Beep."
  • Ejection Seat: When Wile E. Coyote builds a Weaponized Car to catch the Roadrunner in "Sugar and Spies", it includes an ejection seat. You can probably guess how useful this proves to him.
  • Epic Fail: Cutting the branch hanging off a cliffside that the Roadrunner's on — and the cliff collapses. 'Nuff said.
    • Anything involving catapults will end in misfires that break physics.
    • Pretty much everything Coyote does ends in this. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Everyone Has Standards: But of course! In one cartoon, Wile E. takes a massive tumble, falling down several cliffs, sucked through pipes, over waterfalls, and is hit by a truck, before finally coming to a stop at the top of a cliff, breathing hard and clutching his chest. The coyote is crying by this point. The Road Runner runs up behind him and has a chance to scare him off the cliff like he usually does, but at this point he's apparently as sympathetic as the viewers, holds a sign up that says "I just don't have the heart", and runs off again.
  • Evil Virtues: Wile E. Coyote has a Determination that puts Sisyphus to shame. Nothing can make him give up on catching that roadrunner.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The book "How to Build a Burmese Tiger Trap" instructs you on how to construct a very effective trap.. if you are trying to catch a Burmese Tiger.
  • Extreme Omnivore: Stop! Look! And Hasten! opens with a famished Wile E. resorting to eating a fly, a bug, and an empty tin can... the latter of which he quickly discards once the Road Runner passes by and sets off his Meat-O-Vision.
  • Failure Is the Only Option: How did he not starve to death? Oh yeah, he's functionally immortal. Averted at the end of one or two episodes, though. Flipped in the arcade game where you play the Roadrunner, and being eaten is the only way to end the game.
    • Some later shorts show a possible method of survival, opening with the Coyote trying to eat a rock or a cactus, failing, then going in pursuit of the Roadrunner. One episode even opened with the Coyote successfully eating an insect (on screen: "Coyote (Eatibus anythingus)"). The Roadrunner is probably the only thing around with any real meat on it, so he's willing to go to extraordinary lengths to get just one filling meal.
  • Fictional Document: Wile E. sometimes consults these while constructing his traps, such as the book "How to Build a Burmese Tiger Trap" in Stop! Look! And Hasten! And it works just as announced.
  • Flat Character: While the coyote himself could literally be this on some occasions, the Road Runner was the actual offender of this trope. He pretty much never served any purpose outside of being Wile E's (supposed) victim. These were Wile E.'s cartoons, despite the Road Runner's advertised equal importance.
    • Arguably this is no longer the case in The Looney Tunes Show, where The Road Runner is portrayed as finding Wile E. Coyote's efforts playfully amusing; he gets as close to the Coyote as possible, including posing for photos with him, and in the short "Heavy Metal" he repeatedly runs back through the same tunnel to encourage the Coyote to chase him again.
    • But, as the quote above shows, the Road Runner of the original shorts can easily be viewed as sadistic, making fun of the Coyote's suffering, kind of like Tweety for Sylvester.
    • Road Runner trolls Wile E. with Wile E.'s first attempt at using an ACME product in the very first short (the Genuine Boomerangs bit). To say Road Runner is this trope is abjectly refusing to peel back the layers right in front of you.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Wile E. Coyote.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: In one short, Wile E.'s scientific name was given as "Hardheadipus oedipus"note  Meanwhile, the Road Runner's scientific name was given as "Batoutahelius".note 
  • Gone Horribly Right:
    • The Coyote disguised himself as a female roadrunner to attract the Road Runner. The disguise actually did a good job ... at deceiving other coyotes, a horde of which chase him to eat. Unsurprisingly, these coyotes never appeared again.
    • Typically, whenever one of the Acme Products does work as advertised, their success manages to work against Wile E. For example, a Dehydrated Boulder, upon hydration, becomes so large that it squashes him, the Burmese tiger trap catches an actual Burmese tiger, or he finds out that the Earthquake Pills bottle label's fine print states that the pills aren’t effective on road runners... right after he swallows the whole bottle thinking they don't work.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: The Trope Codifier in the public mind, since about half the gags involved Wile E. falling off a cliff as the result of his latest failure. Wile E. is also the current Trope Image.
    • Rule Number 8: "Whenever possible, make gravity the Coyote's greatest enemy."
  • Hammered into the Ground: Happens to Wile E. more than once, even as a result of his own inventions backfiring.
  • Harmless Villain: The Coyote.
  • Hero Antagonist: The Road Runner can be considered the hero of this short, being hunted after by a hungry predator. However his character is kept deliberately flat and Out of Focus in each short so that the audience's sympathy is instead with Wile E Coyote.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Seriously, the Trope could practically be called "Wile E. Coyote Syndrome" it happens to him so often.
    • Rule #2 No outside force can harm the coyote. Only his own ineptitude or the failure of ACME products.
  • Hollywood Magnetism: Wile E. Coyote got bitten by this once. In his attempt to catch Bugs Bunny with an iron carrot, his super-magnet ended up attracting all sorts of metal junk instead, including the Eiffel Tower, an ocean liner and finally a ballistic missile, which blew him to kingdom come.
    • He also got the Road Runner to eat some iron pellets disguised as birdseed, then tried to capture him with a giant magnet. The magnet attracted a giant barrel of TNT instead.
  • Homing Boulders: No matter how carefully the Coyote tries to avoid them, you have an Epic Fail.
  • Hope Spot: Villainous example with "The Solid Tin Coyote", which the Road Runner shows visible fear towards and is captured by Coyote's Humongous Mecha. It doesn't work out.
  • Human Cannonball: Wile E. has attempted to fire himself out of a cannon multiple times in his neverending quest to catch the Road Runner. What he has achieved is multiple new ways to injure himself.
  • Humiliation Conga: Frequently happens to Wile E. Coyote.
  • Humongous Mecha: The eponymous giant robot from "The Solid Tin Coyote".
  • Impact Silhouette: Often left by Wile E. after one of his plans fails. The Roadrunner also leaves one on occasion, like the time he went through a sheet of metal... which was in front of Wile E. at the time.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: As Wile E. explains to two viewers in one episode, this is why he "devotes his valuable time chasing this ridiculous road runner", claiming that "the Roadrunner is to the taste buds of a coyote, what caviar, champagne, filet mignon and chocolate fudge are to the taste buds of a man." He then pulls out a chart explaining that every part of the Roadrunner comes "In a dazzling array of flavors." From banana to sponge cake to candied yam to pistachio.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain Protagonist: Rule Number 10: The audience's sympathy must remain with the Coyote.
  • Informed Attribute: The Roadrunner's speed, obviously played for laughs. In real life, a Coyote can run almost twice as fast as a Roadrunner (38 mph vs. 20 mph), and in a straight line, Wile E. would have little difficulty catching his prey.
  • Informed Species: Neither Wile E. nor the Roadrunner resemble their species. In fact, the Roadrunner seems to resemble Woody Woodpecker and Panchito Pistoles as well as the Aracuan bird from The Three Caballeros.
  • Inflating Body Gag: In "Fastest with the Mostest", Wile E. Coyote tries to blow into a balloon for his latest plan, only for the air to shoot back and inflate him. He desperately grabs the nearest object—a bomb—to stop himself from drifting away, but just winds up carrying the bomb as he floats up. Then he deflates and finds himself high in the air, still holding a bomb. Whoops.
  • Invincible Hero Antagonist: Unlike most other recurring Looney Tunes heroes, who usually had at least the odd moment of defeat, the Road Runner never "lost", or was even remotely hurt or humiliated throughout any cartoon. Though he was hampered on more than one occasion.
  • Just Eat Him: Wile E. orders his aforementioned mecha to do this after capturing the Road Runner, which is strange considering that Wile E. himself should be the one trying to eat him.note 
  • Large Ham: Wile E. Coyote, especially when he goes after Bugs Bunny, where he introduces himself as, "Wile E. Coyote, SUUUUUPEEERRR GEEEENIUS!!"
  • Later Installment Weirdness: The cartoons are generally considered the oddball of Chuck Jones's work. Soon after Warner Brothers closed their animation studio, they subcontracted new cartoons including Road Runner titles, mostly directed by Rudy Larriva, which were sluggish, ill-timed, unfunny hack jobs only vaguely resembling the originals. Most revival cartoons not directed by Jones, while varying in actual quality, have a similar irregularity to them.
    • The shorts standard "rules" and formula were broken more regularly as well. Certain shorts had a running plot rather than interchangeable blackout gags, the Road Runner was sometimes more proactive and expressive, and some of Wile's traps became more surreal.
  • Leitmotif: Try listening to Dance of the Comedians without going "Beep Beep!".
  • Limited Animation: The Rudy Larriva shorts, and to a lesser extent, the two Robert McKimson shorts.
  • Looney Tunes in the '40s: The very first short was made in the forties.
  • Looney Tunes in the '50s: Fifteen of the shorts were produced during this time.
  • Looney Tunes in the '60s: When the bulk of the series output was made.
  • Looney Tunes in the '70s (and Onward): A series of shorts made for The Electric Company (1971), and the newer theatrical shorts.
  • Made of Iron: If there's a way to get busted up, it's probably happened to Coyote, but he's always back the next scene, good as new.
  • Matchlight Danger Revelation: In "Beep, Beep", Wile E. loses his way underground, lights a match and learns he's in a tunnel crammed full of high explosives.
  • The Millennium Age of Animation
  • Misplaced Wildlife: As noted, in Stop! Look! and Hasten! Wile E.'s Burmese Tiger Trap proves to be a little too effective.
  • Mock Meal: One cartoon opens with Wile E. making a roast chicken out of clay. When he finds it too hard to eat, he makes a garbage can out of clay in which to throw it away.
  • Motive Decay: Early on, it seems that Wile E. wants to eat the Road Runner. Typical predator/prey relationship. But, some of the things Wile E. plans (poisoning, exploding, etc.) would make the Road Runner inedible had they worked. At some point, his motivation seems to go from eating the Road Runner to just wanting him dead.
    • Chuck Jones would often quote George Santayana's definition of a fanatic - "someone who doubles his efforts while forgetting his aim" - in describing Wile E. and intentionally made most of the humor come from the fact that even though gravity is clearly against him at times, he never gets the message and gives up/chases some other animal.
    • The Cheers gang debate the motives of Wile E. It's pointed out that Wile E. doesn't want to eat just any roadrunner — he wants to eat that roadrunner.
  • Mr. Exposition: Wile E. becomes this in one cartoon where two kids watching the cartoon on television wonder why he wants to eat the Road Runner. He explains in detail - with visual aids - just why road runners are considered such a delicacy to coyotes.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: In "The Solid Tin Coyote" Wile manages to create an elaborate Giant Mecha that is formidable enough to actually garner the Road Runner's fear. It even catches him multiple times, though always loses him due to a malfunction or command error.
  • Now What?: At the end of 1980's "Soup or Sonic", the Coyote finally catches the Road Runner. Just one problem: it's at the end of a pipe gag that ended with Road Runner regular size, and Wile E. ultra tiny. The moment is actually the Trope Image.
    Wile E. Coyote (his sign): Okay, wise guys, you always wanted me to catch him — now what do I do?
  • Oh, Crap!: Wile E. has this expression a lot (especially when gravitational cognizance kicks in).
  • OOC Is Serious Business: In "The Solid Tin Coyote", Road Runner shows fear for the first and only time ever when the Coyote chases him down with a Humongous Mecha, and actually catches him.
  • Packed Hero: Wile E. ends up in a parcel that was meant for the Road Runner. Courtesy of an Acme parcel-making machine, naturally.
  • Painted Tunnel, Real Train: Road Runner loves this trope.
  • Pedestrian Crushes Car: In one cartoon, Wile E. is hit so hard by a truck that he leaves a hole through it.
  • Perpetual Smiler: The Road Runner—the only time he ever changes from this is when he sees the eponymous giant robot from "The Solid Tin Coyote".
    • He also changes it into a thoughtful frown as he seemingly forgets his Catchphrase in "The Whizzard of Ow".
  • Pin-Pulling Teeth: When Wile E. tries this in "Beep Beep", the grenade stays in his teeth.
  • Pun-Based Title: Most of the shorts have a pun in their title.
  • Racing the Train: In the cartoon "Zipping Along," the establishing scene features the bird zipping along a train, although he leaves the road and never attempts to beat the train to the crossing.
    • The Road Runner's observation of safety is reprised in a later Operation:Lifesaver commercial aimed at children. In it, the Road Runner, despite his ability to put some extra speed in his already fast run, is aware of safety rules concerning railroad crossings and stops to allow a train to pass. Of course, Wile E. Coyote arrogantly doesn't, and he (once again) is crushed beneath another oncoming train.
  • Read the Fine Print: In "Hopalong Casualty," Wile E. attempts to trap the Road Runner by getting him to eat some Acme Earthquake Pills disguised as birdseed. They don't work, and it isn't until Wile E. contemptuously swallows the entire bottle of pills that he reads the fine print on the pill bottle and discovers that they're "not effective on Road Runners." Cue Oh, Crap!.
  • Recycled In Space: It's a cat and mouse cartoon IN THE DESERT! AND THE VILLAIN IS WHO EARNS OUR SYMPATHY!
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation: Many of the shorts were produced in this era with a lot of well-painted cartoon desert and mesa backdrops.
  • Revenge Before Reason: After a certain point, it becomes clear that Wile E. is really motivated more by this trope than by his ostensible motivations of desire for food. Many of his traps would kill the Road Runner in ways that would render the corpse totally inedible, but Wile E. has come to care more about finally defeating the Road Runner than feeding himself or not getting maimed. By Chuck Jones' own admission, Wile is a fanatic; ie. one who redoubles his effort when he has forgotten his aim.
  • Road Runner vs. Coyote: Trope Namer, and that trope is the plot of these cartoons in a nutshell.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: Used in the climax of "Hook, Line and Stinker".
  • The Runt at the End: When Wile disguised himself as a female roadrunner to attract his prey but instead attracted other coyotes, the last coyote was a runt.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: In some Looney Tunes comic books from the 80's where both characters talk, the Road Runner does this.
  • Saved by the Platform Below: Happens in one cartoon, in which Wile E. falls off a cliff and lands on a ledge just below. He's at first relieved, until the ledge gives way.
  • Seesaw Catapult: Happens several times, with the teeter-totter being made of stone. The Coyote would either use the teeter-totter rock as part of his scheme or end up falling on it as a result of a scheme. He would be flung into the air when a large rock fell on the other end of the teeter-totter rock.
  • Self-Damaging Attack Backfire: This is how Wile E. Coyote gets his comeuppance nine times out of ten. His traps for the Roadrunner always end up getting him instead, even if it goes against the laws of physics. The Roadrunner rarely does anything to counter the attack; it mostly doesn't have to.
  • Shadow of Impending Doom: Anything that Wile E. launches will produce one of these. Right over him. No matter where he is.
  • Shown Their Work: In some shorts, the freeze frames that show Wile E. and the Road Runner's scientific names show their actual scientific names.
    "Road Runner (Geococcyx californianus)"
    "Coyote (Canis latrans)"
    • If a real coyote tops out at 38 mph versus 20 mph for the Greater Roadrunner, the chase scenes shown at the start of most episodes are a sign of this. Of course, Hilarity Ensues with the little burst of speed the Road Runner puts on for his getaway (one exception being "Sugar and Spies," when the Coyote was knocked down by a thrown briefcase). In "Fastest with the Mostest," it goes Up to Eleven.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: In most of the Coyote's confrontations with Bugs.
    "I am Wile E. Coyote, super-genius."
    • Operation Rabbit uses it as a Brick Joke.
      Wile E.: (seriously dazed) Allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mud. (passes out)
      Bugs: And remember, mud spelled backwards is dum.
  • Stopped Reading Too Soon: One ploy that Wile uses on the Road Runner is to leave a pile of bird seed laced with Acme Earthquake Pills. The target ingests the entire bait, then departs unaffected. The coyote disgustedly eats the remaining pills, about half the bottle. A moment later, his eye catches the fine print at the bottom of the label: "Caution: Not effective on road runners." Cue the coyote's leg quivering ominously.
  • Strictly Formula: Popular as the shorts are, they're best watched in small doses, as they tend to feel really, really samey if you watch all of them back to back.
  • Suddenly Voiced: At those rare occasions Wile E. does talk, he speaks in a very refined voice, as well as revealing the fact that he's an Insufferable Genius. However, he always speaks when he's up against Bugs (except for one short which doesn't really count, as Bugs is taking over for the Roadrunner in that one).
    • Wile guested once on Family Guy where Peter Griffin was the customer service rep for ACME. Wile complains about the the product backfires such as slamming him into a mountain. When Peter says he can't refund money because the products were used, Wile complains that he's been a loyal customer for years so Peter offers Wile store credit.
    • There's a few instances in the Road Runner cartoons where the Coyote will let out a yell or "OUCH!" For example in "To Beep or Not to Beep" when a cactus lands on him.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: And how! Lampshaded by Bugs Bunny in Hare-Breadth Hurry:
    "Y'know, it's amazin' the trouble this joker goes to to get a square meal."
  • Surprise Jump: The Road Runner frequently does this to the Coyote. Subverted at the end of "Zoom and Bored" where the Coyote had just endured a harrowing journey involving a harpoon gun and had landed safely on solid ground. The Road Runner runs up behind him as usual... but then "says" he doesn't have the heart this time, and leaves.
  • Super Speed: The Road Runner moves impossibly fast. One crossover between the Looney Tunes and DC Comics showed that he could outrun The Flash.
  • Talking with Signs: How both characters (mostly) communicate. One classic example occurs in "Stop! Look! and Hasten!" when Wile realizes he's about to get clobbered by a speeding train: STOP IN THE NAME OF HUMANITY
  • Team Rocket Wins: Yes, the Coyote catches the Road Runner at one point... but the gag makes it impossible for him to actually eat the bird. He even lampshades it by asking the audience what he should do now.
    • He also catches Road Runner in "The Solid Tin Coyote", Doesn't work out
    • And again in the CGI short "Shut Your Trap". Doesn't work out.
    • And AGAIN in the CGI short "Heartbreak Bridge", where The Road Runner willingly and happily jumps into the Coyote's arms, but this unbalances the bridge they are both standing on, and to save himself the Coyote has to throw the Road Runner to the other side. The rest of the short is the Coyote attempting to keep the bridge balanced while the Road Runner tries to tip it up. Doesn't work out.
    • In one "Acme Hour" commercial in Cartoon Network, the Coyote catches the Roadrunner using a Generic Brand product instead of ACME (It's non-canon, though).
    • In another Cartoon Network bumper, Dexter of all characters took a crack at catching the Road Runner using a self-made rocket, and won.
    • Most of the Road Runner shorts made by parody comedians have the Coyote finally catching the Road Runner. A Seth MacFarlane short called "Die Sweet Roadrunner, Die", has the coyote finally catching and eating the bird. But with his purpose in life lost he gets horribly bored and depressed and attempts suicide (hysterically enough, he does so with an ACME product). Then he does find a purpose in life and becomes a Born-Again Christian.
    • In his later years, Chuck Jones created a piece of artwork depicting the Road Runner in the Coyote's clutches. Note the glasses the Coyote is wearing.
  • Technicolor Eyes: In the shorts by Matthew O'Callaghan, Wile E.'s are red, and the Road Runner's are turquoise.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Wile E. often did this voicelessly or via a little sign. If a gigantic boulder was going to crush him, he usually opened a tiny parasol in response.
  • Those Wily Coyotes: He's never wily enough, though.
  • Three-Dimensional Episode: "Coyote Falls", "Fur of Flying", and "Rabid Rider".
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: The ending of "There They Go-Go-Go!" has the Coyote falling off another cliff and with pleading eyes, holds up a sign that reads "How about ending this cartoon before I hit?"; to which an Iris Out begins and he holds another sign that reads "Thank You" and then it cuts to the That's All, Folks! screen.
    • In "Zoom and Bored" the Roadrunner repeatedly sneaks up behind the Coyote with his usual Beep-Beep and made him jump off cliffs in the beginning of the short. Later after Coyote gets sent flying via rope tied harpoon and sent skidding off the ground, flying in and out of a thin pipe, through a speeding truck, being hit by a train and finally landing safely on a cliff's edge sobbing and gasping in relief. The Roadrunner then sneaks up behind him, but this time holds a sign to the audience that reads "I just don't have the heart" before zooming away and leaving him be.
  • Throw the Pin: Wile E. does this in "Beep Beep", leaving him with a grenade in his teeth.
  • The Voiceless: Both of them. Wile E. does speak during four of his five appearances with Bugs Bunny, and again when explaining to two young boys why he wants to eat the road runner.
    • And in one cartoon, as he's walking off screen, mangled out of shape, he gives us a deadpan "ouch."
    • If you were to count the Road Runner's "BEEP BEEP" as a voice, he would fall under The Unintelligible.
  • Truth in Television: In Just Plane Beep when Wile E. shoots the propeller of his biplane off trying to hit the road runner. That was a real problem in WWI before the interrupter gear was invented, and one solution (as was also shown) was to put armor plating on the propeller.
  • Twitchy Eye: Wile E. gets one ever so often.
  • Villain Exclusivity Clause: Goes without saying, but the Coyote is the antagonist in every short.
  • Villain Protagonist: Wile E. Coyote is trying to eat the Road Runner, and is therefore ostensibly the bad guy. But he's just so adorably persistent in how he goes about it that you can't help but root for him.
    • Chuck Jones in fact had it as written lore that all sympathy must be with the Coyote.
  • Villainous Underdog: The cartoons are built around this concept, with the smart, but horribly unlucky coyote being thoroughly overmatched by the super fast, equally smart, and and ungodly fortunate Road Runner. Physics itself was always on the Road Runner's side, meaning Wile E's schemes were doomed from the start.
  • Villain Team-Up: Well, if Sylvester counts as a villain, then the aforementioned Crossover counts.
  • Watch Out for That Tree!: The end of the infamous Earthquake Pills bit. Wile E. has somehow survived the chaos of being a full-body tremor and all the destruction it caused fully intact. He checks himself, gives himself a nod and a "no big deal" hand signal of approval, closes his eyes and walks away... right off a nearby cliff.
  • Weaponized Car: Wile E. builds one in "Sugar and Spies". It includes machine guns, a cannon and an ejector seat.
  • Wicked Cultured: In the cartoons where he speaks, Wile E. Coyote comes across as this.
  • Wins by Doing Absolutely Nothing: Aside from ocassionally sneaking up from behind and startling him with a loud "Beep beep!", the Roadrunner does nothing to Wile E. He just runs off or stands back and lets Wile E. get Hoist by His Own Petard.
  • Written Sound Effect: "Chariots of Fur" (Chuck Jones's last Road Runner short) uses these quite a bit, but only once does it do something creative with them — when the Coyote disguises himself as a cactus and tries to garb the Road Runner, but the Road Runner avoids him, the Coyote accidentally wraps his arms around himself in the process, and the smoke trail the Road Runner left behind turns into a "!!YEE-OOWW!!"
  • Wrong Parachute Gag: Wile E. tries to be Crazy-Prepared by wearing a parachute in case he falls off a cliff. He opens it and out comes... canning samples.

Beep beep! (ZOOM)

Alternative Title(s): Road Runner, Wile E Coyote


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