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  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: A nonlethal version. Even if you thought Roger was annoying, it's really hard to not feel sorry for him after he's told Jessica was caught playing patty-cake with Acme and looks over their pictures in his wallet with a heartbroken expression.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
    • Jessica's "You have no idea what it's like being a woman looking the way I do" line: Was she talking about men ogling her... or people not taking her seriously because she's a toon? Or maybe both? For that matter, could she also be referring to her implied outsider status, since looking too human-like makes her stand out among most Toons, but being a Toon means she'll never fully fit in among humans? And then there's her Femme Fatale appearance, which ensures everyone (except Roger) always thinks the worst of her? She even has to defend herself against this, saying at one point: "I'm not bad; I'm just drawn that way!"
      • Following that, Eddie's response to her plight is "You don't know how hard it is being a man...looking at a woman looking the way you do". Is it because he's torn between his brazen lust for Jessica despite his mistrust towards toons and his commitment to Dolores or is it more broader, in that human men want to engage in romantic or even sexual affairs with toons like her (and we're not talking about literal pattycake here), but human-toon relationships of that nature might be something of a "social taboo"?
      • The answer of who's the lucky one in the Rabbits' marriage varies depending on who you ask: You ask a human, Roger's the lucky one because somehow this stuttering punchline on legs hooked up with one of the sexiest women around, toon or otherwise. But if you ask a toon, Jessica's the lucky one because she managed to marry one of the biggest comedic stars in Hollywood despite being a toon who isn't funny.
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    • When Doom is about to dip Roger at the Terminal Bar, Eddie has Dolores pour a double bourbon for Roger thinking his chaotic reaction to alcohol might shake him loose. Eddie offers the drink as a "last request" and Doom just unwittingly accepts. Was Doom simply not aware of Roger's low tolerance to whiskey or did he, perhaps, underestimate it? Were Contractual Genre Blindness and/or Bond Villain Stupidity in play given his true nature as a toon?
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    • When The Reveal of Judge Doom being a Toon comes up, Eddie screams the subject of the reveal in shock, then immediately backpedals and claims he's not surprised. Did he simply piece things together in the few seconds between those statements, or was he too embarrassed to have not made the connection before and is just trying to save face?
    • When handcuffed to Eddie, was Roger able to free himself at any given time and intentionally remained cuffed until he could make a joke, or was he really incapable of getting free until the Rule of Funny called for it?
    • Were the weasels in on the fact, that Judge Doom was actually a Toon all along and helped to keep up the facade or were they unaware of this with Judge Doom approaching them as a human to work under and potentially survive the genocide they planned for Toon Town?
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  • Animation Age Ghetto: Defied. This Film Noir "tale of greed, sex, and murder" is very much not for kids (and to further set this so, was released under the Touchstone Pictures banner). This film may have been designed to dismantle the Animation Age Ghetto. Indeed, just a few years later we'd get a few darker cartoons than in previous decades.
  • Award Snub:
    • Bob Hoskins spends much of the movie talking to cartoons while pulling off a comedic while troubled character with a flawless New York accent. Keep in mind acting with cartoons is significant because he had to act against air and voice actors NOT in his eyeline to film scenes with cartoons. He was nominated for a Golden Globe and a Saturn Award, but he did not garner an Oscar nomination.
    • The film itself was omitted from Best Picture and Best Director nominations (even though Robert Zemeckis was able to earn recognition from the Directors' Guild of America), likely stemming from a bias against its cartoon elements. The film ended up tying Best Picture winner Rain Man for most wins at the 1989 Academy Awards, with fournote , which can either be seen as a way of lessening the Award Snub or exacerbating it.
  • Awesome Art: Seriously, LOOK AT THE THING!!! Richard Williams's team did an incredible job.
  • Awesome Music: No surprise, as we have Alan Silvestri to thank, but this is possibly one of his best scores ever. His version of Smile, Darn Ya, Smile!, to name just one, makes you do just what the song instructs you to do.
  • Base-Breaking Character: Roger Rabbit. Some find him to be funny and adorable, while others seem to find him annoying like Jar Jar Binks.
  • Best Known for the Fanservice: Even people who've never seen the film will known Jessica Rabbit, possibly the sexiest character in all of western animation.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • Quite a lot of toons come and go after one scene with minor to no effect on the plot and are never mentioned again. Most notably, the Ducks' piano duel.
    • And the deleted scene that's sometimes added back in, depending on where you're watching the movie. That was just weird. But it does explain why Eddie comes out of his bathroom shirtless originally. (A toilet flush was added later in post.)
  • Captain Obvious Reveal:
    • With his menacing, ruthless demeanor; his cruel, abusive behavior; the dreadful, eerie score that accompanies him and the fact that you see him straight-up KILL a Toon during his introductory scene, who would've thought Judge Doom would be the Big Bad?
    • Zig Zagged. Judge Doom being a Toon is indeed a surprise, but some foreshadowing waters down the shock. The fact Eddie wasn't all that surprised should tell you this. However, The Reveal that he is the same Toon who killed Eddie's brother is effectively shocking and disturbing.
  • Catharsis Factor: After seeing Judge Doom kill an innocent toon shoe, threatening to do the same to Roger Rabbit, threatening to destroy all of Toon Town, and The Reveal that he was the same Toon that murdered Eddie's brother, it's very satisfying to see him get killed by his own concoction. Doubly so as the scene cleverly mimics the demise of the Wicked Witch of the West.
  • Complete Monster: Judge Doom is the sadistic and merciless high judge of Toontown, and a staunch anti-toon bigot. Since toons can't be killed in any way, Doom invented a solution called the Dip and is introduced demonstrating its effects by melting an innocent toon shoe. When Roger Rabbit is accused of murder, Doom starts a ruthless hunt, reveling in the thought of melting him in the Dip—regardless if he's guilty or not—and fully willing to harm or kill anyone who stands in his way, either by himself or by letting his brutal weasel henchmen do it. Doom himself was the mind behind the murder, along with RK Maroon's who tried to report him. His ultimate goal is to commit a massive toon genocide by spraying Dip over Toontown in order to build a freeway and owning all the profits. The worst part, however, is that Doom is a toon himself and the one responsible for the hate of private investigator Eddie Valiant towards the toons since he's the one who killed his brother long ago by smashing him with a piano. During the final battle, Doom attempts to kill Eddie, along with Roger and his wife Jessica, by cutting him in half with a buzzsaw, grinning evilly all the time. Despite the lighthearted nature of the movie, Doom is a shockingly dark and frightening villain.
  • Creepy Awesome: Judge Doom is surely sinister, scary and a totally evil monster but even after his toon reveal you can't deny the fact that he's terrifingly awesome. Christopher Lloyd's performance probably helps a lot.
  • Dancing Bear: The movie was sold on the spectacle of animated and live action characters seamlessly integrated across a cameo-laden full-length feature film. As it turns out, this worked great, the writing and acting were strong enough to carry it off, and the movie was and is considered to be pretty good.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • A big part of the popularity of the Toon Patrol is that their coolness in being the bad boy causes them to be viewed as attractive in fangirl eyes.
    • Averted with Judge Doom, whose only reactions is trauma and terror despite being a cool villain likely due to his true Toon nature.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: The entire Toon Patrol has a surprisingly large fanbase. Admittedly, most of them are Furry Fans, but for villainous characters who not only never get named on-screen, but also don't even survive the movie, Smart Ass and his squad sure have a lot of fans.
    • Despite appearing briefly in Marron's office twice, notably in the scene where Maroon is killed, Pistol Packin Possum is popular with fans, especially with those who believe him to be the real identity of Judge Doom.
    • Baby Herman is incredibly popular for the inherently hilarious concept of a cute cartoon baby who's actually a Dirty Old Man in reality. He's also notably the only character who's pretty much the same as in the original novel.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: The light-hearted film makes a surprising amount of sense as an allegory for racism, with toons standing in for black people (as argued by for instance Cracked). It's set in 1940s Los Angeles with toons being treated as second-class citizens mostly living in their own segregated part of town, whose occupations consist of entertaining white folks, Eddie Valiant as a Tragic Bigot against toons but somewhat confused by his attraction to Jessica (due to attitudes against miscegenation), Jessica herself is "normal" enough to be found attractive by humans but is something of an outsider in both worlds, Judge Doom is an Uncle Tom character, and the whole Evil Plan of the Boomerang Bigot villain is basically a gentrification scheme.
  • Fanon:
    • On Tumblr at least, many view Jessica Rabbit as asexual.
    • Many believe Judge Doom's true identity as a Toon is Pistol Packin Possum. Hints of this is that Doom used an identical gun to the poster of Pistol Packin Possum as shown with their poster case matching the selection of the gun. Additionally, the Possum has red iris eyes similarly to Judge Doom's nightmarish red eyes. The reason that Doom was targeting specifically for Roger is heavily implied to be Revenge for taking away the spotlight away from him, reasons being The Hays Code given his prominent gun usage and implied violent content of his cartoons; being cast out for the much more family friendly Roger.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • The Dip is made of chemicals (turpentine, acetone and benzene) which are widely used as cleaners to dissolve dried oil paints and India inks of the type used on animation cels of the period. They were what were used to clean animation cels for later reuse.
    • Those familiar with Arthurian mythology will spot the connection behind Eddie grabbing the Singing Sword: That particular blade was the weapon of choice of Sir Valiant.
    • Most of the random Toon cameos (especially in Toontown) become that much more rewarding if you've seen obscure 1930's and 1940's cartoons (like Disney's Silly Symphonies or Warner Bros' Merrie Melodies.)
    • Benny's jab at the Brooklyn Dodgers becomes this when you realize that just over a decade after the events of the film, the real Brooklyn Dodgers did eventually move to Los Angeles where the film takes place.
  • He Really Can Act:
    • As mentioned under Award Snub, it's easy to forget that Bob Hoskins spends 95% of the movie talking to invisible characters. All of the special effects in the movie wouldn't have worked if not for his dedicated performance.
    • Christopher Lloyd as the purely evil Judge Doom. It's quite shocking and amazing at the same time seeing him pass from a goofy and good hearted character like Doc Emmett Brown to a sadistic and heartless villain with no comedic moments at all.
    • Charles Fleischer's performance as Roger Rabbit is also an example, particularly during the character's more sincere moments, such has his emotional breakdown over Jessica's alleged affair with Marvin Acme.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
  • Ho Yay: Between Roger Rabbit and Eddie. They kiss, twice.
    • Les Yay: Jessica/Betty and Dolores/Jessica. A few women shown in the background watching Jessica sing at the Ink and Paint Club.
  • Humor Dissonance: Even if Roger had the best intentions, some people can't help siding with Eddie over Roger trying to make people laugh, especially since he was supposed to be keeping a low profile and causing inconvenience for himself and Eddie.
  • Hype Backlash: The general opinion is that it's a great film that kickstarted a new era of animation being recognized as art as well as entertainment, but there are professionals and fans who blame Spielberg for changing a cottage industry into a corporate giant (albeit still one with a small reference pool) that doesn't allow for new talent and only cares about making money and selling tickets.
  • It Was His Sled:
    • Judge Doom is the Toon that killed Eddie's brother.
    • The fact that Roger's wife isn't another cartoon rabbit but a sexy cartoon woman is supposed to be a surprise, but virtually nobody sees Jessica's first appearance unspoiled.
  • Jerkass Woobie: Eddie Valiant. Yeah, he's alcoholic, grumpy and rude. But seeing his tragic backstory where his brother has been killed by a toon — a fact who turned him into a depressive lonely man in contrast to the great Toontown detective he used to be — that shouldn't be a surprise.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Jessica is extremely popular with Crossover Ships.
  • LGBT Fanbase: Jessica Rabbit has one. Surprisingly, a large portion of it isn't due to women who are attracted to her. It's actually asexuals who headcanon her as ace. It started with a Tumblr post theorizing that, despite her sexualized image, she was an asexual Celibate Hero.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • Jessica's line "I'm not bad. I'm just drawn that way."
    • "Remember me, Eddie? When I killed your brother, I talked JUST... LIKE... THISSS!!"
    • The scene in the speakeasy where Eddie and Roger keep bumping into the hanging lamp lead to the expression "bump the lamp" amongst animators when they want to push their animation a little further.
  • Misaimed Marketing: This board game where you throw toons into dip.
  • Moral Event Horizon: The death of the cartoon shoe that just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time clearly shows how far over the horizon Judge Doom and his minions already are. The planned genocide of the entirety of Toon Town- a town consisting of their own entire race cemented their actions not as brutal law enforcements, but as evil for the sake of evil as well as wealth. Doubly so for Doom who went as far as pretending not to be human while killing Toons under the false excuse of Fantastic Racism.
    • Doom himself crossed years earlier when he revealed himself as the Toon that he killed Eddie's brother with no remorse.
  • Narm Charm: Jessica's Oh, Crap! line, "Oh. My. God! It's DIIIIIIIIIP!" can come across as Narm to some. However, seeing someone as unflappable as Jessica flip out over the Dip just shows how dangerous the stuff is to toon-kind.
  • Nausea Fuel: Lena Hyena.
  • Older Than They Think:
    • Although the song "Smile, Darn Ya, Smile!" is often associated with this movie, it predates the movie by several decades, as it debuted in the eponymous 1931 Merrie Melodies short.
    • "Why Don't You Do Right?" isn't a retraux song. It's an actual jazz song from the 1930s. It has been sung by many contemporary singers, such as Julia London and Peggy Lee, but it's since been Covered Up by the film.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • The toon bullets who help Eddie in his search for Roger before entering Toontown.
    • Lena Hyena, the Jessica Rabbit "doppelgänger", has only 35 seconds of total screen time.
    • The two ducks, Donald and Daffy.
    • Droopy as the elevator attendant is also particularly memorable.
    • If Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny parachuting together on-screen didn't cause a fangasm among cartoon fans, then what can?
  • Popular with Furries: Roger and the Toon Patrol are popular amongst furries.
  • The Problem with Licensed Games:
    • The Game Boy version is decent enough (interestingly, Roger solves his own case with the help of his ever-present magnifying glass), but the NES game is infamous for two reasons: the "phone number" Eddie uncovers to call Jessica Rabbit which, when dialed, is supposed to provide players with a clue, is currently a 1-900 number for a sex hotline (we couldn't make that up if we tried). And two, it was developed by Rare, making it an Old Shame to boot due to their pre-Nintendo days being associated with three, LJN Toys, who was and still is notorious for publishing games that enforced this trope; The Angry Video Game Nerd looked at the game twice and discovered the phone number and a bonus with it detailed below on his second try.
      Soltenga: The original intent of the number has long since been discontinued in lieu of a sex chat hotline, but that's arguably a more preferable idea to playing this game.
    • The home computer version for the Amiga and Atari ST is arguably even worse than the NES game. Half of the game is made up of driving stages that somehow manage to make their notoriously bad NES counterparts seem decent by comparison, with the remainder consisting of a table-setting minigame that moves too fast to be any fun, and a fight with the weasels and Judge Doom that is again less fun than the already annoying NES fight. On top of all that, the ST port suffers from washed-out graphics and a horrendous frame rate.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • It took people who originally watched this film as kids some years and a little bit of growing up to recognize that the menacing terrifying Judge Doom was played by the same man who gave us the lovely, friendly and hilarious Doc Brown in Back to the Future.
    • Jim Cummings is a voice acting legend today, so it's a little jarring to see that in a love letter to classic cartoons, he only has a bit part as one of the Dum-Dum Rounds in Eddie's toon revolver. Back then, he was a bit of a nobody.
  • Signature Scene: Many.
    • Roger kissing Eddie.
    • "Eddie Valiant, you're under arrest, plplplplplplplplpl!".
    • Jessica Rabbit's intro and song sequence. Overlaps with Best Known for the Fanservice.
    • Doom's reveal as a toon is a terrifying and memorable scene.
    • The scene featuring Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny, likely because it is probably the only time those two animation icons will share a scene together.
      • Likewise, Donald Duck and Daffy Duck playing piano together is often seen as one of these due to it being their only official crossover.
      • The reason Mickey and Bugs are always together is because in getting agreements for the characters to be on screen, Disney and Warner Brothers demanded they both receive equal screen time.
  • Special Effects Failure: Given the reliance on effects, a few slip-ups were inevitable:
    • If you look carefully in some shots, it becomes apparent that Eddie's toon revolver is really a plastic prop that's rotoscoped in order to look animated.
    • When Valiant finds Roger in his bed, the edge stays pressed down like Roger is leaning on it when he isn't, then suddenly pops back up several seconds later.
    • When Roger sobs over the photos of his wife with Acme in Maroon's office, you can clearly see the wires pulling the phones on the desk when Roger sits down to cry.
    • When Roger chases after Raul, begging to do the "refrigerator-on-the-head" scene one more time, Raul's coat sleeve floats to Roger's hand a tiny bit too early, leading to some viewers joking that Roger has The Force.
    • In some scenes where Valiant searches after Jessica Rabbit in Toontown, sharp-eyed viewers might notice the blue-screen effects makes him slightly transparent, causing the background to be visible behind him.
    • The street marking Eddie tears up to get rid of Lena accidentally goes with the camera movement instead of staying in it's place. Barely noticeable though.
    • The Weasels' use of real firearms (anachronistic Colt Trooper .357 revolvers and a Thompson M1928 .45 SMG) was achieved by having puppeteers manipulate the prop weapons with wires from overhead, then animating the Weasels in later. When the Weasels force their way into Eddie's apartment, one of the puppeteer's swivels is momentarily visible on the backstrap of Smart Ass's Colt Trooper (which would make it extremely uncomfortable to fire).
    • There are several shots where the opacity of the toon's shadows don't match with the actors or props they're interacting with. The scene where the weasels break into Eddie's office, in particular, has an instance where Smart Ass's shadow is barely visible, while his gun's is almost completely black. Also when Eddie and Jessica are riding with Benny out of Toontown, the shadow under Jessica's bosom lags while the rest of her moves forward.
    • When Eddie is thrown out of the Ink and Paint Club, it's clearly an image of Bob Hoskins being enlarged rather than him actually moving toward the camera.
    • Roger briefly has a lower frame rate after his first time drinking whiskey. This may have been deliberate to show just how much it took out of him.
  • Squick: Eddie being kissed by Lena Hyena. With saliva no less. Originally she was supposed to stick her tongue into Eddie's ear and then it would come out the other ear. Luckily this was cut.
  • Take That!: The general implication that you would have to be as insane as a cartoon character to think that the Los Angeles freeway system was a good idea.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The first few minutes when Eddie drives through Toontown are unbelievably saccharine coupled with sappy song. Fortunately it doesn't take long for the sequence to shift into looney antics.
  • That One Boss: Judge Doom. You'd be hard-pressed to find a bigger Damage-Sponge Boss on the NES. Eddie's bombs and exploding cigars do decent chunks of damage to him, but you can only carry nine each of those, and then you're stuck slugging away at him with a notoriously unreliable punch mechanic; even when they're fully powered, Doom can soak up several more of your punches than Eddie can of his. Once he's finally down in his first phase, it becomes a matter of getting to the Dip gun and then remembering to hold down the B button to fire it, instead of tapping like you would any other item.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: After spending the first two acts of the movie as an important interesting supporting character, Dolores just disappeared in the final two arcs and completely lost plot relevance until the very end.
  • Uncanny Valley:
    • An intentional case, Judge Doom's real eyes. By all accounts, it worked.
    • Even before the big reveal, Doom's appearance and mannerisms are... off. The makeup job applied to Lloyd made his skin appear to not be quite real somehow, and the stiffness of his movements and the stiltedness of his expressions were all designed to call attention to the fact that there was something just not right about the character. There's also the fact that his cape is always fluttering slightly even when there is no wind. Christopher Lloyd, knowing his character's reveal, came up with the idea of never blinking on camera; as a result any time you see his eyes, they always have this unnatural stare.
    • As great as the animation is, it's being almost entirely on ones can make it appear a little too fluid and a little hard on the eyes after a while. Justified in that it has to match up to the live footage, which is also 24 fps.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: No, seriously, we mean it, LOOK! AT! THIS! THING!:
    • All the animation was done the old-fashioned way: hand-drawn on paper, 98% on ones, then painted on real cels, and then sent off to ILM to be optically composited, along with separately-animated shadows and highlights, into the live-action footage!
    • All of the effects are practical: every single prop or piece of scenery being manipulated by a toon, from Roger running through a window to make a Roger-shaped hole to the piano playing to something as innocuous as a toon lifting a drink to their mouth, required either highly-skilled puppeteers or a machine invented solely for that movement to be placed on-set as a stand-in for the non-existant toon!
      • And with the exception of the blue-screened Toon Town, not one computer was used!note 
  • Values Resonance: Eddie's dismissal of freeways as "lame-brained" and "could only have been cooked up by a Toon" has a lot more bite as awareness of the environmental impact of cars has risen with the years, but by The New '10s it's acknowledged that the past century of automobile manufacture and use has produced an entire market that's inherently inefficient, thoroughly corrupt, and both environmentally and physically hazardous. The auto companies' dismantling of public transportation can easily be interpreted as Holocaust-level sociopathic greed and stupidity.
  • "Weird Al" Effect: Jessica's rendition of "Why Don't You Do Right" was actually much slower and sultrier than the song was traditionally performed before as a standard, per her character, but, probably because she's Jessica Rabbit, this is the take on the song that people recognize and consistently make covers of today (e.g. the China Moses cover on the album Jazz Loves Disney).
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Where do we even start? In general, the whole film feels like an attempt to tear down the Animation Age Ghetto, what with the Double Entendres out the wazoo. Also has the most frightening reveal in an animated film yet. The general assumption is that the movie would've gotten a PG-13 rating had it been released today, and indeed it does get a TV-14 rating whenever it airs on ABC Family/Freeform. That didn't stop the movie from being popular with families, or for Disney to produce Roger Rabbit-related merchandising under the parent brand (the movie was released under the Touchstone Pictures label).
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Despite some Parent Service here and there, the movie is still widely regarded as a lighthearted "kids/family film" mostly on account of it featuring animated characters. However, the movie was made for everyone so that both kids and adults could get something out it. Really driving this point home is a scene where R.K. Maroon is vividly shot in the back by a lurking third party during an intense interrogation from Mr. Valiant.
  • The Woobie:
    • Poor Roger; the guy gets yanked around by everybody for the whole movie, and although he's a bit wacky, after the movie actually takes us to Toontown he comes off as rather mild-mannered and sweet by comparison.
    • That poor little toon shoe.

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