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An extremely popular 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 duo as the smart but obsessive coyote does everything within his power (and uses everything within the ACME catalog) to capture the Road Runner for dinner. Despite the penchant for formula and sporadic entries in the original theatrical lineup, the shorts have remained extremely popular to this day, lasting for 40 shorts in the classic era, with new shorts being created recently for theaters!
They have recently made a comeback via CGI in The Looney Tunes Show.
- Fast and Furry-ous
- Beep, Beep
- Going! Going! Gosh!
- Zipping Along
- Stop! Look! And Hasten!
- Ready, Set, Zoom!
- Guided Muscle
- Gee Whiz-z-z-z-z-z-z
- There They Go-Go-Go!
- Scrambled Aches
- Zoom and Bored
- Whoa, Be-Gone!
- Hook, Line and Stinker
- Hip Hip Hurry!
- Hot-Rod and Reel!
- Wild About Hurry
- Fastest With The Mostest
- Hopalong Casualty
- Zip 'N Snort
- Beep Prepared
- Adventures of the Road-Runner: A TV pilot intended for a proposed series of Road-Runner cartoons.
- Zoom at the Top
- To Beep or Not to Beep
- War and Pieces
- Zip Zip Hooray!: Recycles footage from the Adventures of Road Runner TV pilot.
- Road Runner a Go-Go: Also recycles footage from the Adventures of Road Runner pilot.
- The Wild Chase: (Friz Freleng, Hawley Pratt)
- Rushing Roulette: (Robert McKimson)
- Run, Run, Sweet Road Runner: 1st of the "Larriva Eleven".
- Tired and Feathered
- Boulder Wham!
- Just Plane Beep
- Hairied and Hurried
- Highway Runnery
- Chaser on the Rocks
- Shot and Bothered
- Out and Out Rout
- The Solid Tin Coyote
- Clippety Clobbered: Last of the "Larriva Eleven".
- Sugar and Spies (McKimson): Last of the original theatrical Road Runners.
- Freeze Frame
- Soup or Sonic
- Chariots of Fur
- Little Go Beep
- The Whizzard of Ow
- Looney Tunes: Back in Action: Makes a cameo.
- Coyote Falls
- Fur of Flying
- Rabid Rider
- Untitled upcoming film
These cartoons provide examples of:
- Accordion Coyote
- Acme Products
- Affectionate Parody: The first short was originally made as a parody of "cat chases mouse" cartoons (and nature documentaries; the pseudo-Latin names are a direct callback to those), but audiences took it at face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: And friggin' HOW!
- Anvil on Head: A Looney Tunes staple, reproduced faithfully multiple times.
- Arch Enemy: Wile E. and the Road Runner.
- 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 Physics: But it's so side-splittingly funny in all cases that it doesn't matter.
- Ash Face
- Beam Me Up, Scotty: We all know it's "BEEP BEEP!" Yet for some strange reason, it still sounds like "MEEP MEEP!"
- Bomb Whistle: Everything that falls, including bolders, anvils, and Wile E. himself, makes this sound.
- 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 butt.
- Iron Butt Monkey: Even for a Warner Brothers cartoon, it's amazing what the Coyote goes through.
- 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).
- Though The Whizzard of Ow showed the actual scientific names, Geococcyx Californianus (greater roadrunner) and Canis Latrans (coyote).
- Catch Phrase: Beep Beep!
- 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 come from.
- The Dark Age of Animation
- 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.
- Rule Number 3: "The Coyote could stop any time — IF he were not a fanatic."
- 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 phyics.
- Pretty much everything Coyote does ends in this. Hilarity Ensues.
- Did Not Do the Research: In-Universe, Wile E. sometimes forgets to read the directions on what he buys from Acme, such as when he gave earthquake pills to the Road Runner (with the pills clearly labeled as not working on road runners).
- 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.
- Flat Character: The Road Runner himself is nondescript in personality, with the shorts choosing to give focus to Wile E Coyote instead.
- The Golden Age of Animation
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: The Trope Codifier in the public mind, since about half the gags involved Wile falling off a cliff.
- Rule Number 8: "Whenever possible, make gravity the Coyote's greatest enemy."
- 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.
- 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.
- Humongous Mecha: The eponymous giant robot from "The Solid Tin Coyote".
- Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain Protagonist: Coyote, natch.
- 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.
- Looney Tunes in the Forties: The very first short was made in the forties.
- Looney Tunes in the Fifties: Fifteen of the shorts were produced during this time.
- Looney Tunes in the Sixties: Where the bulk of the series output was made.
- Looney Tunes in the Seventies and Onward: The newer theatrical shorts.
- The Millennium Age of Animation
- Oh Crap: Wile E. has this expression a lot (especially when gravitational cognizance kicks in). Perhaps the only time the Roadrunner has shown it is when he sees the giant mechanical coyote that Wile E. has built.
- 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.
- 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 Catch Phrase in "The Whizzard of Ow".
- Recycled in Space: It's a cat and mouse cartoon IN THE DESERT!
- The Renaissance Age of Animation
- Road Runner vs. Coyote: Trope Namer.
- Rube Goldberg Device: Used in the climax of "Hook, Line and Stinker".
- Shadow of Impending Doom: Anything that Wile E. launches will produce one of these. Right over him. Even if he tries to dodge.
- 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.
- 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."
- Super Speed: The Road Runner.
- Talking with Signs
- Team Rocket Wins: Yes, the Coyote catches the Road Runner at one point...but he's too small at that point to even eat the bird. He even lampshades it by asking the audience what he should do now.
- Technicolor Eyes: In the shorts by Matthew O'Callaghan, Wile E.'s are Red Eyes, Take Warning, and the Road Runner's are turquoise.
- Those Wily Coyotes
- Three Dimensional Episode: "Coyote Falls", "Fur of Flying", and "Rabid Rider".
- 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.
- 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 coyote 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.
- 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.
- 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.