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File:Bonkers84.jpg

In 1990s Los Angeles, Bonkers D. Bobcat is Wackytoons Studios' biggest cartoon star -- until a rival show beats his in the ratings race, at which point the studio decides to take a new direction and cancels Bonkers' show. Through sheer dumb luck, Bonkers unwittingly comes to the rescue of Classic Disney Shorts star Donald Duck and, at the same time, helps veteran human cop Lucky Piquel arrest a mugger. This heroic act lands Bonkers a new job on Hollywood's Police Department, where he works with the reluctant Piquel in the newly-formed Toon Division. About 40 episodes later, Piquel is offered a new job working for the FBI, and Bonkers gets a new human partner -- Sergeant Miranda Wright.

Backstory aside, the TV series chronicling Bonkers' exploits as a cop was created by Disney as a result of them wanting to make a TV series spun off from the successful film Who Framed Roger Rabbit?. The character of Bonkers is an Expy of Roger Rabbit that was created to avoid the licensing restrictions that would have come with the use of Roger. Although the episodes with Miranda Wright as his partner (produced by Duane Capizzi and Robert Hathcock) come later chronologically, they were actually produced first; however, Disney was reportedly not pleased with how they came out and put a new production team (headed by Robert Taylor) in charge. The Taylor-directed episodes introduce Lucky Piquel as Bonkers' partner, further drawing attention to the series' roots in Roger Rabbit in that Lucky is an Expy of Eddie Valiant. The last of the Taylor episodes, "New Partners on the Block", bridges the gap between those episodes and the 19 Capizzi-directed episodes that made it into the show's run. (Unfortunately, that particular episode has been removed from Toon Disney's rerun rotation post-9/11 due to the episode's villain being a terrorist.)

To complement the series, twelve short cartoons starring Bonkers were made to show what his cartoons were supposedly like before he was fired. These shorts were shown on the Saturday Morning Cartoon series Raw Toonage (with one exception, "Petal to the Metal", which was shown before the film Three Ninjas in theaters), and they were also rerun in four special compilation episodes during the series' run.

Bonkers gets a healthy dose of vitriolic hatred from the Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers fandom -- Bonkers was the show that bumped Rescue Rangers off the Disney Afternoon lineup, and the fandom has never forgiven the show (or Disney) for it. Rival studio Warner Bros wasn't too thrilled with the show either; they wanted to use the title "Bonkers" for their own cartoon comedy series, which they eventually named Animaniacs. (The Animaniacs writers rarely passed up a chance to take potshots at Bonkers.)


Tropes:

 Jitters: "I hate my life..."

  Kanifky: Ladies and gentlemen... (in disgusted tone) and yes, members of the press...

  • My Name Is Not Durwood: The chief always addressed Lucky by the incorrect surname of "Pickle".
    • This happens a lot, sometimes by mistake, such as in the case of the absentminded Chief Kanifky, and sometimes to push his buttons, as in the Mickey impostor ("Got any Piquels, Pickle?").
    • Kanifky also appeared in one Miranda Wright-era episode where he kept getting Bonkers' name wrong.
  • Mythology Gag: One Disney Adventures comic story has Bonkers and Lucky meet Nimrod the Rabbit, keeper of the Toonstone. His appearance suggests that he is actually a modernized version of Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
  • Nerd in Evil's Helmet: The Laminator.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Or, in this case, Ninja Kitties named after classical musicians... and Ringo.
  • No One Could Survive That: Lucky Piquel, being caught in an explosion.
  • Off-Model: Couple of times. In one episode, when Bonkers took Lucky's shoe off, his foot was way too small, and his ankle unrealistically thin.
  • Odd Friendship: Lucky and Fall Apart, but only in one episode: Fall-Apart Land.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Played with; the Mickey Mouse imposter doesn't fool Bonkers, but Lucky thinks it is Mickey. Whenever Lucky dresses up as a toon in order to protect them or go under cover. Works every time.
    • Nobody except Lucky believes that the Mickey imposter is real. Chief Kanifky even harshly reprimands Lucky for it.
    • Subverted, when an old lady instantly sees through Lucky's lederhosen disguise, because only an undercover cop would wear such a riciculous outfit.
  • Parental Bonus: Some of Lucky's sarcastic lines will make sense to only older, world-weary viewers.

 Lucky: Me, work at the FBI? I always knew J. Edgar had his eye on me!

FBI Agent: We at the FBI do not joke about Mister Hoover.

  • Pretty in Mink: Lucky's wife has a fur wrap she wore to see her favorite singer.
  • Pulling Themselves Together: Fall-Apart Rabbit's shtick.
  • Punny Name: Miranda Wright. Also Dyl Piquel.
  • Put on a Bus: Kind of. As the Lucky episodes drew to a close, Lucky, Dyl, Marilyn, Fall Apart Rabbit and Toots left town to make way for Miranda, plus Kanifky "reassigned" Bonkers to Sergeant Grating with Miranda.
  • Rhetorical Request Blunder: In the pilot, after saving Donald from the mugger, Lucky (sarcastically) mentions how he and Bonkers "ought to be PARTNERS". Chief Kanifky then hires Bonkers onto the force, and Bonkers actually requests to be Lucky's partner.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Bonkers and both of his partners.
  • Rule of Funny: Bonkers explains to Lucky that this is a large part of how Toon physics work.[2]
  • Seldom-Seen Species: Yeah, not too many bobcats out there.
  • Shout-Out: To several Disney movies.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Miranda actually believes in Bonkers' abilities to be a good cop, unlike her sister Shirley who thinks he's a menace and should retire.
  • Someone's Touching My Butt: Lucky's "Don't ever touch a police officer there!"
  • Southern Belle: Dyl acts like one.
  • Status Quo Is God: Lucky getting demoted or fired from the Toon Division will always be reversed by the end of the episode, mostly because his superior has swiss cheese memory and forgets Piquel was fired in the first place.
  • Stout Strength: Lucky.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Averted, Miranda was Lucky's opposite in pretty much every way.
  • Take That, Critics!: "The Final Review" features an animation critic who is portrayed as a snob who doesn't like much of anything. Some have theorized that the character, Charles Quibble, could be a parody of animation critic/historian Charles Solomon.
  • Talking to Himself: Jim Cummings voiced both Bonkers and his partner Lucky Piquel.
  • The Renaissance Age of Animation
  • This Is My Side: Lucky draws a line through his and Bonkers' office in the first episode.
  • Through a Face Full of Fur: In "Cartoon Cornered", Bonkers turns fully pale and freezes in his tracks while he and Miranda are pursuing Sgt. Grating, who enters Stage 13. Bonkers, knowing that there's something bad behind those doors to that stage, is too petrified to go on any farther.
  • Title Montage: The (technically second) opening[3] features clips from the series. Strangely, it features clips from both the Miranda Wright and Lucky Piquel episodes. One would think there would be a different montage for both sets of episodes.
  • Toon Physics: Entire episodes revolve around this.
    • Case in point - toon bridges. The whole "running through thin air" is a toon bridge, and they stop working the moment the toon acknowledges there's nothing there. Leading to something of a Crowning Moment of Awesome for Lucky (who is notoriously, for a Disney cartoon, bigoted against toons), who chases a suspect across a toon bridge muttering to himself all the way that it's real. It works for him. The moment the villain of the week says "that's impossible" both he and Bonkers (if I remember correctly) fall to the ground (Lucky is standing on a real building).
      • I wouldn't say it's fair to call him "bigoted" (he seems to like them in a general sense) so much as he routinely finds them grating. There was one occasion when they were chasing a suspect through Toon Town when they come to the intersection of Squash and Stretch Streets; he's actually sort of amused by the contortions Bonkers pulls off under their influence. Slightly less so when it turns out to have a similar (but fortunately less extreme) effect on humans.
  • Toon Transformation: When Lucky contracts the "toon flu" from Bonkers he keeps transforming between toon and human, as he's already animated this results in him turning tiny, with a clown nose wearing a lime green outfit, classic toon White Gloves, and the lighter colors that the show uses for toons. Given Lucky's usual exasperation with toons he's less than pleased, especially when he's led to believe it could become permanent.
  • Turn in Your Badge: Happened to both Bonkers and Lucky at least once each.
  • Five Two Episode Pilot: "Going Bonkers"/"Gone Bonkers"
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Lucky Piquel is overweight (said in the Christmas episode to be fatter than Santa) and balding (but wears a toupée). His wife however is pretty attractive.
  • Vapor Wear: In "Out Of Sight, Out Of Toon", Lucky gets the toon flu. When he visits Ludwig Von Drake, He is seen wearing what looks like a large t-shirt, that goes down to his knees. During the scene, he shrinks into a tiny toon. During his transformation, for one frame, it is apparent that he isn't wearing any underwear.
  • Wicked Weasel: One-shot villain Wacky Weasel, who has a pretty sweet mullet and was voiced by Rip Taylor.
  • Wild Take: Bonkers springing in mid-air in a horizontal position, his limbs and tail separating from his body, as well as his eyes from his face, when he realizes he's holding a lit bomb in one episode. This scene is featured and included among others from various episodes during the theme song and in the intro.
  • With My Hands Tied: When Lucky is captured and tied, he is able to write a message for help on a can and kick it out of an open window. He was also able to move around a lot when his legs were tied together.
  • Wrongly Accused: On several occasions.

Notes

  1. And by extention, Tama Productions and Animal Ya
  2. Similar to how Roger Rabbit explanied to Eddie Valiant how he could "only" take his hand out of the handcuff "when it was funny".
  3. During it's original preview airing on the Disney Channel, the show had a different opening.
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