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Accelerati incredibilus vs. Carnivorous vulgaris
July 16, 2007 8:02 PM   Subscribe

43 Road Runner cartoons on YouTube. (And one more.)
posted by Silune (55 comments total) 24 users marked this as a favorite

 
Boy, there sure are a lot of videos on www.youtube.com.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:15 PM on July 16, 2007


Wow. Thank you. When I moved to the states from Russia as a brat, these made my day, every day.
posted by griphus at 8:25 PM on July 16, 2007


Glad to see the new cartoon as the "one more" didn't screw with the classic Roadrunner/Coyote formula that Chuck Jones came up with.

When someone decided a few years back to bring back the Pink Panther cartoons, they changed it from 6 minute shorts to full 22 minute shorts, and worst of all, made him talk. Or worse, the Tom & Jerry cartoons from the 80s when they were "friends".
posted by inthe80s at 8:30 PM on July 16, 2007


LONG LIVE ROAD RUNER!
posted by dhammond at 8:39 PM on July 16, 2007


I've always considered Road Runner- and Pepe Le Pew to be the weakest - in terms of storyline in the Merry Melodies stable.

I do however love the artwork in road Runner.
posted by mattoxic at 8:47 PM on July 16, 2007


I heard Wylie moved to Frisco.
posted by Tube at 8:48 PM on July 16, 2007


I do however love the artwork in road Runner.

The huge range of Acme Products are always interesting as well.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:49 PM on July 16, 2007


As a child, I desperately wanted to see an episode end with that cocky fucking Roadrunner roasting on a spit, while the Coyote tittered and basted.
posted by ColdChef at 8:51 PM on July 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm waiting for the live action/CGI movie to come out. Surely it won't be long now.
posted by Sailormom at 8:58 PM on July 16, 2007


mattoxic writes "I've always considered Road Runner- and Pepe Le Pew to be the weakest - in terms of storyline in the Merry Melodies stable."

No comment on Le Pew, but I've always felt Road Runner's simplicity was its strength. Kind of like a formal poem.
posted by brundlefly at 9:01 PM on July 16, 2007


mee-meep ZIP TANG!
posted by interrobang at 9:04 PM on July 16, 2007


If you meet Roadrunner on the road, Kill Him!

I always wondered where the Roadrunner was running to. The next plate of free bird seed, I guess.
posted by stavrogin at 9:09 PM on July 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


My favorite bit in any Road Runner cartoon was that one moment where Coyote, just before his fingers lose purchase on the canyon's edge, turns his enormous, bloodshot puppy-dog eyes on the viewer. I knew this moment was coming, the eyes say. I even prepared a sign. And he whips it out from behind his back. It says, "Bye." Down he goes.

If anyone ever creates a "failure tv" channel, I hope they feature an hour-long block of programming consisting entirely of Coyote falling.
posted by phooky at 9:22 PM on July 16, 2007


ColdChef - I, too, wanted to see the smug long-legged and eternally happy bird succumb to his (her?) overweaning sense of smug overconfidence.

Then again, when my friend play the "Which character of The Simpsons/Star Trek/Star Wars" are your friends" game, I always end up being Sideshow Bob, Lore, or (pre-sequals) Darth Vader.
posted by porpoise at 9:25 PM on July 16, 2007


ColdChef and porpoise, this is just what the doctor ordered.

Your scene -- variations notwithstanding -- is in here. It made me a happy teenager when I saw it.
posted by ChrisR at 9:44 PM on July 16, 2007


Huh? There are 43 Road Runner cartoons? I always assumed it was just the same one, spliced into different orders...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:52 PM on July 16, 2007


I'd do a ChrisR: AWESOME but zip.ca doesn't have it in their stocks, nor does amazon.ca, nor virgin megastores (and amazon.com only has the vhs - and all of those are from private 3rd party sellers) so, thanks for the tease...

Ahhh! But, theere's youtube and video.google.com...
posted by porpoise at 9:54 PM on July 16, 2007


What a weird coincidence! I am on vacation in Arizona with my family and today we drove through the Painted Desert and the landscape had us reminiscing about our favorite Road Runner/Coyote moments. Someone could make a fortune selling Acme brand products out here.
posted by Biblio at 10:06 PM on July 16, 2007


I'm in love with Massachusetts....oops, sorry ;-)
posted by brujita at 10:08 PM on July 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Coyote catches the bird twice -- in this one and in this one.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 10:24 PM on July 16, 2007


"I desperately wanted to see an episode end with that cocky fucking Roadrunner roasting on a spit...."

Well, you'll have to settle for the sticker.
posted by metasonix at 10:37 PM on July 16, 2007


OK, the new cartoon was pretty awesome, but this Harry Potter mania has gotten out of hand.
posted by GuyZero at 11:01 PM on July 16, 2007


Coyote also wins in this series of ceramic sculptures by artist Rosemarie Fiore (previously 1, 2)
posted by gottabefunky at 11:14 PM on July 16, 2007


Whizzard of Ow was superlative. Yay, for keeping the vision!
posted by five fresh fish at 11:40 PM on July 16, 2007


No comment on Le Pew, but I've always felt Road Runner's simplicity was its strength.

simplicity? I think that The Road Runner cartoons are chock full of pretty heavy philosophical underpinnings. Ok, not really, but we get to overthink things here, no?

Most apparent is The Coyote's unwavering pursuit of his goal, despite repeated failure, bodily harm, and constant humiliation. He stays true to his nature as a coyote and a predator, when obviously his entire reality speaks to the futility of this existence.

Also fascinating is that the coyote's constant failure seems to be due to his belief in, and adherence to, the laws of physics. What he never seems to grasp is that the desert he lives in has it's own physical laws, which actually seem to be simpler and far more intuitive than the "real" physics he relies on. An added twist is the simple realization that if he were to embrace the "unreal" physics of his environment, catching the road runner would be a snap. He would surely be able to function as some sort of invulnerable, gravity defying, super-coyote.

Surely his reliance on intellect (after all his business card does read Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius) in the face of a natural world that will not be defeated by his wits or reliance on advanced tecnology (Acme Products seem to be highly advanced yet completey useless) teaches us something about life in the early 21st century? In #42 he finally manages to catch his elusive prey, only to find it gigantically out of proportion, surreal and menacing. He is completely mystified as to how to proceed, despite spending his entire lif in pursuit of this goal. If this is not a blatant critique on the pursuit of romantic love in the modern world, I'll eat an Acme exploding tennis ball.

Faux academic analysis aside, Road Runner has always been near the top of my list of favorite things due to it's ability to be as funny to me now as it was when I was 8. Not many of my childhood favorites made the leap. Also the use of typography is consistently excellent, so my design-nerd sensibilities are covered. Last but not least, has any other cartoon inspired such a badass automobile?
posted by billyfleetwood at 12:32 AM on July 17, 2007 [5 favorites]


Put me into the "I wanted to see the coyote eat the roadrunner" camp, I also wanted to see Sylvester eat that damn Tweety bird.

But, from an early age, I always wondered why, since he can order so many things from Acme, he didn't just order a nice steak dinner?
posted by sotonohito at 3:57 AM on July 17, 2007


why, since he can order so many things from Acme, he didn't just order a nice steak dinner?

sotonohito: see billyfleetwood's inspired analysis just above.
posted by Turtles all the way down at 4:43 AM on July 17, 2007


Coming soon to ask.metafilter.com

"For several years I've been trying to catch a roadrunner bird. I've tried several types of devices, mechanisms and techniques, but have had no luck. What am I doing wrong?"
psted by wilecoyote at 1.30pm on July 17


Answers include:

"Have you tried using a brand other than ACME?"

"Have you tried using a simple net? I caught some birds on my farm back when I was a kid that way."

"I recently read about how the government is using birth control pills in bird feed. This won't get rid of your current problem but it will make sure it won't happen in future".

Sadly, at that point, the discussion was hijacked by vegetarians who want to point out that eating roadrunners is wrong, largely because they believe that to be the case. Then the athiests got involved and the thread was completely wasted, despite the fact nobody even mentioned God. They just enjoy a good punch-up.
posted by humblepigeon at 5:33 AM on July 17, 2007


"Have you tried catching a bird that runs less quickly, such as a chicken? It seems to me that roadrunners are beyond your skill range."

"I buy all my birds from the frozen food department of my supermarket. There really is no need to catch fresh roadrunners nowadays."
posted by humblepigeon at 5:34 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think it was linked to in a previous post, but the Acme Catalog is online. Looks like there is a print version now also.
posted by marxchivist at 6:02 AM on July 17, 2007


WileECoyote, have you considered outsourcing? Pay someone else to hunt down the roadrunners for you, and reap the benefits.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:02 AM on July 17, 2007


HOMER: (laughing) Hey, it really is you! How'd you get to be so good?

BELLAMY: Oh, just experience I suppose. I started out as Roadrunner. (Roadrunner voice) Meep!

HOMER: You mean "meep-meep"?

BELLAMY: No, they only paid me to say it once, then they doubled it up on the soundtrack. Cheap bastards.
posted by TheDonF at 7:04 AM on July 17, 2007


Ian Frazier's Coyote vs. Acme, Plaintiff's Opening Statement.
Mr. Coyote states that on eighty-five separate occasions, he has purchased of the Acme Company (hereinafter, 'Defendant'), through that company's mail order department, certain products which did cause him bodily injury due to defects in manufacture or improper cautionary labeling."
Bugs Bunny and Wile E. Coyote in Operation Rabbit (the first time he talked and the first time he's called "Wile E. Coyote").
posted by kirkaracha at 7:05 AM on July 17, 2007


As a child, I desperately wanted to see an episode end with that cocky fucking Roadrunner roasting on a spit, while the Coyote tittered and basted.

Amen. I used to love watching cartoons, especially Daffy Duck, but I'd cringe when Roadrunner came on.

What really irked me was that gag in which the coyote painted a tunnel, the roadrunner ran through it, and then the coyote tried to run though it and slammed into the rock. This deeply offended my six-year-old sense of story logic. And it seemed out of keeping with the basic idea that the coyote gets foiled by overthinking (ACME products) or by the roadrunner's simple, but effective reflexes.
posted by grumblebee at 7:12 AM on July 17, 2007


"I also wanted to see Sylvester eat that damn Tweety bird."

OMG YES.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:25 AM on July 17, 2007


You'll never need to worry about starving when you're an academic.
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:04 AM on July 17, 2007


OT I once had to solve a physics problem involving a hungry bear of weight x trying to reach a honey jar hanging from a branch that could only support a certain amount of weight, less than x. In the required diagram, I labeled the bear "Ursus Famishus" and the honey jar "Victus Ridiculus." The only correction the prof made was to my spelling of "huny" on the jar.
posted by bovious at 8:48 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


I've always thought that Wyle E. Coyote was a comment on Existentialism and the Cold War. (at least I hoped it was :D )
posted by cowbellemoo at 10:15 AM on July 17, 2007


Like others above, I loved the cartoons because of the aesthetics, the minimalist desert landscapes and the two protagonists caught in an endless play. Sometimes it was boring but it was always beautiful.

I also saw something similar to what billyfleetwood saw. The Coyote was modernity, mechanization and over-thinking. The Roadrunner was a (mostly innocent) native, a creature of Nature who understands and accepts Magic (this being an explanation for grumblebee's tunnel objection) The Coyote could have gone through the tunnel too if he stopped "believing" in physics for a moment and accepted the natural world. Likewise, he only fell off cliffs because of his belief in the "Law of Gravity." This also explains why he could walk freely off a cliff, walking on air, until that fateful moment when he realized where he was - only then did the fall begin.

The Roadrunner was an Ariel to the Coyote's Caliban. A creature of the elements. As Ariel says in the Tempest:

You fools: I and my fellows
Are ministers of Fate. The elements,
Of whom your swords are tempered, may as well
Wound the loud winds, or with bemocked-at stabs
Kill the still-closing waters, as diminish
One dowle that’s in my plume. My fellow ministers
Are like invulnerable.

posted by vacapinta at 11:38 AM on July 17, 2007 [1 favorite]


Any clues as to which of these cartoons are the Chuck Jones ones (i.e. the good ones) and which are the later cheepo
bastardizations?

Some time ago, long enough that I've forgotten everything else about it, I read an essay where someone argued that it was telling of one's personality whether he rooted for the Road Runner or the Coyote. Does anyone else remember that?
posted by JHarris at 3:19 PM on July 17, 2007


Oh, and from Chuck Jones' book Chuck Amuck about his days at Warner Bros., the answer to why the Coyote doesn't order a steak dinner or settle for less elusive fare is that he is a fanatic.

He laid out the rules that the Road Runner cartoons follow, which include the Road Runner sticking to the roads, that the Coyote could stop at any time except that he is a fanatic and feels he must chase the Road Runner for reasons of pride as much as sustenance, and that his undoing is entirely his fault: the Road Runner must never do anything to harm him, it must always be the Coyote's plans backfiring.

Some of the later cartoons discard some of the more important rules (especially the one about the Road Runner taking no active role against the Coyote), which is a reason they don't hold up as well.
posted by JHarris at 3:23 PM on July 17, 2007


Chuck Jones directed numbers 1-26, as well as numbers 42 and 43.
posted by Silune at 4:35 PM on July 17, 2007


grumblebee: "What really irked me was that gag in which the coyote painted a tunnel, the roadrunner ran through it, and then the coyote tried to run though it and slammed into the rock. This deeply offended my six-year-old sense of story logic."

Agreed. To even a six year old's psyche, the Road Runner was obviously cheating at that point, and no longer the innocent and naive protagonist. I'd imagine at least unconsciously, that's the tipping point for many, causing us to start rooting for the coyote.

Another one I distinctly remember now after being reminded by reviewing these cartoons... when I was a kid I remember watching Meep react to a Slow Sign that Coyote put up. Meep running past it didn't bother me so much as his immediate return WITH A SIGN that said "Road Runners can't read." Well if that were true, then Meep's sign woulda been gibberish. He wouldn't have been able to formulate a sign at all, or even understand enough to make such a retort. I remember I was just at the age when I first saw this of having mastered english well enough to read that, and had been kinda patting myself on the back about it. I don't think I was even in kindegarten yet. My sisters had been tutoring me. And I'm sitting there watching this flippant bird not only disregard the sign but come back and revel in the coyote's inability to capture him. It just seemed entirely unfair to me. And we'd eaten chicken the night before so I'd no reason whatsoever to show any kinda respect for this insipid, flippant, incorrigible show-off of a bird...

Naturally I did what any four year old would do when presented with the uncaring injustices of the universe. I cried. I cried passionately and inconsolably until Daffy Duck appeared in pantaloons and slammed his bill against his face with a staff. "HO! HA HA! GUARD! TURN! PARRY! DODGE! SPIN! HA! THRUST!" *WHACK* ...I love Daffy.

[font color=red style=drip size=wholedangscreen] Meep must die. [/font]
posted by ZachsMind at 5:45 PM on July 17, 2007


My grade school's mascot was the Roadrunner.
posted by SisterHavana at 8:27 PM on July 17, 2007


God bless Sir.
posted by oxford blue at 9:48 PM on July 17, 2007


My high school's mascot was the Roadrunner. It always seemed a little lame to me.

Coyote:Roadrunner::Elmer:Bugs::Foghorn:Chickenhawk::Sylvester:Tweety

In all cases, one character takes a shitkicking. It's always unfair.

Now eat your beans.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:06 PM on July 17, 2007


Meep running past it didn't bother me so much as his immediate return WITH A SIGN that said "Road Runners can't read."

I've been bothered by story-logic lapses, like this one, all my life, even when I was really young. It's so funny how far-apart people are on this issue. My guess, ZachsMind, is that you've been told over and over to "suspend your disbelief." But how, exactly, does one do that?

People think I purposefully try to find problems in stories, but I'm actually 100% opposed to that. In fact, I hate those sites that post errors in movies. If there's an error that I haven't noticed, I'd rather NOT notice it. If I don't notice it, I'll enjoy the story more. But when I DO notice it, I can't stop myself from noticing it.

I've also been continually told, "It's a CHILDREN'S show for Christs sake!" As if story-logic only applies to serious works of adult drama. Which may be true for some people, but I've never differentiated. Violations of story-logic don't bother me because "I want people to follow my rules, dammit!" They bother me because they bother me. Because I'm trying to follow the rules of a fictional world and there's a cheat -- and it feels rotten to be cheated.

Recently, I railed against a commercial (It's a COMMERCIAL for Christ's sake!) in which a guy wins one of those peel-the-label-away lotteries and gets so excited that he spills his coke all over the family at the next table. They don't do what they'd really do, which would be to get shocked and maybe mad. Instead, they smile and get all happy for the guy that won. It did a number on my brain.

As-far-as I can tell, the issue is that some of us get super-involved in story worlds (I know I do) while others enjoy them, but remain a little removed. (I'm not mocking these people -- it's just a difference.) If there's a gap between you and the story world, you won't be as bothered by story problems. In fact, you might even find them fun.

But mention the word story to me, and I'm instantly there, wearing my pajamas, staring at you wide-eyed, waiting to find out what happens next.
posted by grumblebee at 9:14 AM on July 18, 2007


As-far-as I can tell, the issue is that some of us get super-involved in story worlds (I know I do) while others enjoy them, but remain a little removed. (I'm not mocking these people -- it's just a difference.)

I get involved in stories too and I posted in a comment above why the roadrunner logic made sense, according to the story I was seeing. So its a matter of interpretation here not of depth of involvement.

My six-year old story logic was different than yours. I pondered all sorts of details including where the Coyote got the money to order all these Acme products. But If you're going to ponder that, you might as well ponder how a Coyote can read and write. Within the context of the story it is all irrelevant.

Then again I enjoy stories from mythology, such as tales from the Mahabharata and there is no logic there whatsoever - things will suddenly become other things, metaphors will become reality and so forth. If you try to construct a self-consistent logic around it, you will go insane. The tale of the Coyote and the Roadrunner is more of a cartoon mythology.

Also the lottery commercial wouldn't bug me either. It makes as much sense as when, in a musical, everyone in the restaurant suddenly gets up and starts dancing.
posted by vacapinta at 9:56 AM on July 18, 2007


vacapinta, I wasn't doubting your devotion to stories. Nor did I mean to imply that anyone who didn't share my interpretation must necessarily be dispassionate about fictional worlds. I DO think there are (at least) two sorts of people who enjoy stories, and one of these two types tends to get more wrapped up in story-logic than the other. These two types tend to misunderstand each other, but I don't believe either is superior to the other.

I don't think the musical/commercial analogy works.

Musicals can -- if well made -- create a world in which the rules are different from our world. Just as in a fantasy world, people might be able to breath under water, in a musical, people might communicate partly through song.

I doubt I'd be able to handle an show that was, seemingly, a non-musical until 3/4ths of the way through. If, at that point, the main character suddenly burst into song (complete with an orchestra accompanying him), I would cry foul (unless this was part of a trend of general craziness -- it doesn't bother me when this happens in "Monty Python and the Holy Grail," because that whole world is a wacky, nonsense world).

But if it's established, close to the beginning of the work, that songs are included in the "physics" of this story-universe, I'll be able to run with it.

Similarly, most mythic worlds that I've encountered are internally consistent. They DO have logic you can explore. Fantasy logic. Good fantasy logic isn't the same as bad logic or no logic at all.

I think writers can change almost any real-world, physical rules and get away with it. The only rules they break with peril are psychological rules. That's why in the most outlandish stories, robots, animals, aliens and mythological creatures tend to have human-like psychology. Maybe there's a way to write a story in which normal, psychological rules don't apply. It certainly would be an interesting experiment. But I've never seen it work.

THAT'S my problem with the commercial. I don't care if people sing or beep or talk normally, but I can't take bad psychology. Those people don't look shocked at first and then get happy for the guy. They are instantly happy. They have no moment of shock at all, even as they're getting doused with coke. I don't believe it. They NEED to be shocked. They can sing or speak their shock, but then need to feel it.

Really, there are only three rules (that you, as an author, need to follow in order to please people like me).

1. Violate normal psychology at your peril.
2. If you set up a rule, make sure you stick to it.
3. Late in the game, you can't introduce rules that are out-of-spirit with the rest of your story.

Re: the last rule, it's fine , halfway through a "Harry Potter" novel, to introduce a magic box that lets people who look in it see the future. This is a new rule, but it's in the spirit of the world of the book. It's not fine to introduce this box halfway through "The Godfather."
posted by grumblebee at 10:23 AM on July 18, 2007


I also saw something similar to what billyfleetwood saw. The Coyote was modernity, mechanization and over-thinking. The Roadrunner was a (mostly innocent) native, a creature of Nature who understands and accepts Magic (this being an explanation for grumblebee's tunnel objection)

I will say, though, that I can't imagine ever making this interpretation -- especially when I was five. When you talk about your interpretation, do you mean your gut reaction when you were first watching it (that's what I'm talking about) or do you mean a conclusion you reached after giving the cartoon some serious thought?

I love thinking about art and coming up with interpretations, but for me to want to do this, the work has to first survive the gut-level thing.

I haven't watched Roadrunner cartoons in years, so I may be wrong, but my memory is that the tunnel thing was a violation because it was unlike the other ways the Roadrunner thwarted the Coyote.

Other events might have involved "bent" physics, but they generally took the form of the Coyote over-complicating things. One felt that if he just took the simple approach, like the Roadrunner, he would win. That's a bit different from a magic tunnel that works for the Roadrunner but not for the Coyote.

I can see how you could bang that last one, via a post-hoc interpretation, into the same category. The Roadrunner is "simpler" than the Coyote because he believes in magic. But on a surface level, there's a tunnel that exists for the Roadrunner but not for the Coyote. Doesn't compute!

If there's outright magic in this world, then the Coyote doesn't stand a chance. He could actually catch and eat the Roadrunner, but then the chewed up parts could fly from his mouth and reform into a living bird. That's not satisfying. The Coyote's tragedy is that he overthinks everything. It's not that he's up against a magical foe.
posted by grumblebee at 10:33 AM on July 18, 2007


The Coyote's tragedy is that he overthinks everything. It's not that he's up against a magical foe.

We can agree to disagree. If you watch the first of the linked episodes above, there is a scene near the beginning where the roadrunner wraps his head around the screen and then holds up a sign that says "roadrunners are very flexible."

The tunnel problem is an extension of how every other contraption fails to work against the roadrunner. The Coyote sets a trap. The Roadrunner runs right over it without the Trap springing. Aha, the trap must be broken. So, the Coyote walks over and tries it for himself. Unsurprisingly he gets the trap to work, to comic effect.

The most fundamental piece of logic in this whole thing is that the Roadrunner is un-catchable even if laws of physics need to be violated. Everything else, all else, springs from that fundamental truth. No trap or snare or plan that the Coyote can come up with will catch, will ever ever catch the Roadrunner.

Thats the fundamental axiom. The core of Coyote-Roadrunner logic.

If you've been paying attention to the cartoons, the Roadrunner will not only go through imaginary tunnels, he will transport himself instantly, stretch his neck around the Universe. In one episode he doesn't fall off a cliff and explains in a sign that the Law of Gravity doesn't apply to him because he "never studied Law." If thats not magical, I dont know what is.
posted by vacapinta at 12:14 PM on July 18, 2007


That makes sense, vacapinta. I must have been misremembering the cartoons. I didn't remember them containing so man magical elements.

I don't find that theme -- the Roadrunner is impossible to catch -- all that compelling. For me, it robs the world of conflict and just makes it futile. (The next Superman movie will be about a villain that Superman has ZERO chance of defeating. You'll get to watch
Superman try, but you'll know all the time that he has no chance of winning.)

I do think we all feel futility at times, so it's a valid artistic theme. I've people pull it off (e.g. "Waiting for Godot"). But it's difficult to do well.

I prefer the idea that the Coyote fails because he overthinks. There can be as small part of me hoping that ONE DAY he'll simplify and be able to catch the Roadrunner. And that will keep me watching.

But that's just a matter of taste.
posted by grumblebee at 12:38 PM on July 18, 2007


In To Beep or Not to Beep [notes; wiki], Wile E. Coyote tries to use a catapult to catch the Road-Runner.

He stands behind the catapult, and the catapult drops the rock onto him when he pulls the cord. He stands in front of the catapult, and the catapult throws the rock onto him when he pulls the cord. He stands behind the catapult again, but further back this time, and when he pulls the cord the catapult pivots around the rock and crushes him (the rock stays suspended in midair, still attached to the catapult). He stands to the side of the catapult, and the catapult flips the rock perpendicular to the expected flight pattern and onto him. He takes shelter underneath the catapult, and the catapult and rock collapse onto him when he pulls the cord. He positions himself in a manhole, and nothing happens when he pulls the cord. In his attempt to analyze the catapult's malfunction, he pokes and shakes the catapult, pushes the rock, and stomps on the catapult's arm, to no effect. Only when he moves onto the rock and pushes it (exerting no apparent additional force compared to his earlier attempts) does the catapult launch the rock, with him on it.

Mr. Coyote's actions are rational, even scientific. He never repeats the same mistake, and he continually repositions himself in locations that are unlikely to be affected by the previous mishap. It's only at the end of the episode that the catapult was manufactured, not by the expected Acme Corporation, but by the Road-Runner Manufacturing Company.

The Road Runner cheats, at least sometimes.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:36 PM on July 18, 2007


GrumbleBee: "My guess, ZachsMind, is that you've been told over and over to "suspend your disbelief." But how, exactly, does one do that?"

Children's disbeliefs are suspended by default. At least that used to be the case. I think they're born more savvy now. Us older models, we'd accept anything as a given like we just fell off a turnip truck. Santa Claus. Easter Bunny. Tooth Fairy. Reaganomics. Show a kid that road runners can read, they'll work with that. NO problem.

Show a kid that the helpless little road runner shows a sign to the coyote cuz Meep knows Wile can read, and that the sign says, "Meep can't read" and we smell a rat.

"It's a CHILDREN'S show for Christs sake!"

And a child can question what's presented to him. It's what kids do, sometimes with every exhalation of breath: ask why. That's their job. That's how they learn.

It's not that this threw me out of the belief structure of Looney Tunes Land. I was totally on board with that. My disbelief was suspended. At four, you assume all the characters presented to you on television are your friends. At least I did back in 1972.

What this meant to me was the road runner wasn't the good guy. Meep was essentially making fun of Wiley AND me AND anyone else who could read. Meep was LYING.

Needless to say, my sense of good and bad, black and white, right and wrong, mildly influenced by Saturday morning cartoons. The jury's still out on whether or not that's a good thing. My sense of good and bad was also at least mildly influenced by Sunday School, and the jury's out on that score too.

Looney Tunes liked playing with presumptions that in every day life we so take for granted. This is perhaps one reason why they still hold fascination with us even today.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:39 PM on July 19, 2007


Us older models, we'd accept anything as a given like we just fell off a turnip truck. Santa Claus. Easter Bunny. Tooth Fairy.

That's a little different. I believed all that stuff, too. Tell me the tooth fairy exchanged nickels for teeth, no problem. But then if a friend of mine got a dime, I'd be questioning it for weeks. I was TOLD he gave nickels. (Come to think of it, looking at my posting history here, I haven't changed much.)
posted by grumblebee at 7:57 AM on July 20, 2007


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