Do you have a favorite Looney Tunes character? Of course you do, you had a childhood, right? It’s Debate Day here on Trope and Dagger, and today we’re picking sides on the best Looney Tunes character! To read up on Andy’s completely misguided selection, go here: Incorrect Things. Also, our friend over at Cartoons for Breakfast wanted to weigh in, and he’s just as wrong as Andy is! Now, let me tell you why I’m so very right!
We’ve all felt despondent, have we not? We’ve all felt as though the world was stacked against us and that we couldn’t do anything right no matter how hard we try. We all know the pain of failure and the despair of defeat. But you know what separates the legends from the forgotten? Perseverance. The unwillingness to admit that you’re beaten, to continue to pursue that which you desire; it’s truly one of the most admirable traits that one can have. That is why Wile E. Coyote is, bar none, the best Looney Tunes character there is.
So, how is that much different than Elmer Fudd or Gossamer, both hunting their prey and never giving up, despite how many times they are thwarted? After all, he’s not the only character who continues to persevere after he’s failed multiple times. Well, for one thing, Wile E. Coyote isn’t doing this because it’s fun or because he’s mean, he’s doing this out of natural instinct. Even more than that, he’s doing it to survive. Life in the desert is harsh and he’s a predator. If he doesn’t hunt, then he will die, so hunting the Roadrunner isn’t just a hobby for him, it’s a necessity. We can sympathize with this poor, starving canine.
Then we have his creativity. No other Looney Tunes character comes up with clever schemes the way that Wile E. Coyote does. Sure, Bugs may get cute and put on a couple costumes to outwit his antagonists, but nobody schemes and plots and meticulously plans the way that Wile E. Coyote does. That coyote is a downright genius in the way he lays traps for that roadrunner. Granted, they don’t ever go the way that he plans, but it’s almost never actually his fault. The roadrunner is practically a god when it comes to survival, and ACME products are downright faulty 99.99% of the time! But it’s not like he has any choice in suppliers. He’s a coyote, without access to raw materials or any sort of workshop to make quality tools, and ACME definitely has a monopoly on giant magnets. It’s almost never his own fault that his ingenious plans fail. And it’s hard to argue that they aren’t ingenious. Rocket skates, slingshots, unfurling roads, WIELDING THE POWER OF ZEUS HIMSELF? I’d like to see any other character have the cajones to try that!
Additionally, there’s the fact that he almost never speaks. There are some brilliant sound effects in his cartoons and occasionally some writing on the screen, either in the form of labels or signs the characters hold up, but for the most part, the cartoons are void of any form of communication besides body language. You can watch the cartoons without any sound and receive almost the exact same experience and amount of entertainment. The slapstick animation that is in each of his cartoons is the finest physical animated comedy ever drawn. It’s visceral, always surprising, and 100% hilarious, all without a single spoken word. Even when a crash happens off-screen, there is still vibration that you can see to know that it’s happened. A silent Wile E. Coyote cartoon is just as funny as one with sound. It’s unique to Wile E. Coyote and his cartoons, and he is unrivaled in genuine laughs when you watch his shenanigans. Try enjoying a Marvin the Martian cartoon without any sound. YOU FRIGGIN’ CAN’T!!! Seriously, watch this without the sound, it works just as well:
Finally, how can you not root for this guy? He is the ultimate underdog, quite literally. When you watch his cartoons, you see how he should win. By all rights, he should feast upon road runner every single time, but he doesn’t. The universe is against this guy. The LAWS OF PHYSICS are against this guy. He is Sisyphus, constantly pushing the boulder up the hill. Except the boulder doesn’t just roll back down the hill. It rolls over Wile E. Coyote, carries him off a cliff, into a cannon, which shoots him into the ground the lands on his head. Then he is mocked by a bird. It’s just not fair.
But he will keep on trying, keep on scheming and plotting, keep on licking his lips in anticipation of a roadrunner feast, keep on launching himself into American Southwestern rock formations, and that is why Wile E. Coyote is the best Looney Tunes character out of them all.