Remy: We're here to speak out on behalf of oppressed rats everywhere.
Released as a bonus feature of the Blu-Ray/DVD release of Ratatouille,Your Friend the Rat is a quasi-educational entry of the Pixar Shorts hosted by Remy and Emile. In it, they discuss the history of rats co-existing with human society and try their best to persuade the audience as to why rats should have a better reputation among humans.
This short features Pixar's first foray into 2D animation, being the style used for the majority of the short, as well as their first use of Stop Motion animation during a brief scene. 2D animation would be also used in Day & Night a couple years later, but the studio would not utilize the medium again until the Sparkshorts series began nearly a decade later.
It is notable for being the longest individual Pixar short to date, clocking in at eleven minutes.
Your Friend the Rat provides examples of:
- Affectionate Parody: With its use of different animation styles, it can be seen as one of these to the 1950s Tomorrowland specials directed by Ward Kimball.
- All for Nothing: Remy and Emile's attempts at reaching and proving that rats aren't as bad as people think are stymied thanks to a rather biased disclaimer being included at the end, much to Remy's dismay.
- Anachronism Stew: The film points out that John Berkenhout coined the term "Norway rat", and then shows a Viking ship full of humans and rats. However, Berkenhout lived in the 18th century, long after the end of the Viking age.
- Art Shift: The short has 3D animation, 2D animation, clay animation, and even a scene done in the style of an 80s video game. It also has live action (the flea) and a section which is a pastiche of the earliest (silent) movies.
- Bonding Over Dislikes: Among other reasons to ally with rats, Remy cites the fact that they both hate fleas like the ones that caused the Black Plague (for which rats are often blamed).
- The Cameo:
- Company Cross References: P.T. Flea from A Bug's Life appears, trying to catch the audience's attention when a flea is credited with causing the Black Plague. Remy mentions it's not him, to which P.T. Flea becomes disappointed.
- Early-Bird Cameo: WALL•E shows up briefly in the song, driving a lunar rover.
- Educational Short: It both spoofs this and plays it straight; as tongue-in-cheek as the short is, it still manages to accurately teach a lot about the history of rats in a short span of time.
- Executive Meddling: Parodied in the ending, which has a prolonged legalistic crawl warning people that Pixar does not encourage people to have contact with rats, sounding more and more biased against the species by the second. Remy and Emile object to the inclusion of this producer-imposed warning and even push the crawling words aside as best they can.
- Male Gaze: Blink and you'll miss it, but when Remy and Emile are strutting down the street during the big musical number, the camera briefly pans past a passing woman's ample posterior.
- Medium Blending: Combines CG for the scenes with Remy and Emile, stylized traditional animation for most of the other scenes, live-action Stock Footage, and a brief Stop Motion shot.
- Properly Paranoid: Apparently, Remy had told Emile a few times that he didn't trust Pixar and had a feeling they'd add something to the end of the short. Even so, he's surprised that they actually went through with it.
- Randomly Reversed Letters: The chalkboard behind Remy and Emile features a backwards R at the beginning (when it reads "A History of Rats") and the end ("Plan B: Mars Song") of the film.
- Rattling Off Legal: Ha ha, geddit? After the song, the short ends with a lengthy, motor-mouthed legal disclaimer noting that the short does not represent the views of Disney or Pixar, that contact with rats can cause numerous infectious diseases, and that Disney and Pixar rescind all liability if you get sick because of "your silly insistence on rat interaction", much to the vocal dismay of Remy and Emile.
- Retraux: It's made to look like a 1950s educational short.
- Shout-Out: During the song, a rat is seen hanging out with The Beatles when Liverpool is mentioned.
- What Measure Is a Non-Cute?: The whole point of the short is a refutation of this trope.
- Wimp Fight: The part where the Norway rats came to America during the American Revolutionary War has one involved in a slap fight with a black rat. The Norway rat ends up winning.
- You Dirty Rat!: Already averted with Remy and Emile, and the entire short is one big aversion of this trope. The two rats explain that rats are not all bad, and, among other things, that it was the flea that got on the rat, not the rat itself, that caused The Black Death. The rat was as much a victim as humans were. In fact, the Norway rat, the kind of rat that Remy and Emile are, had supposedly helped to end the Black Death. And then this trope is both played with and double subverted at the very end, when a cautionary disclaimer, allegedly from the clip's producers, scrolls by to remind the audience that rats are vicious, unsanitary, pestilent vermin, and anyone who interacts with them does so at their own risk, as Remy and Emile can be heard vigorously protesting in the background.