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    The Road Runner (The Larriva Eleven)

    Road Runner
    This isn't the Road Runner you knew and loved.
    Take one look at that bird's face.
    Gender: Male
    Type: Sadistic Bird
    The Dark Side of Road Runner
    Species: Greater Roadrunner
    Portrayed by: Paul Julian
    Status: Alive
    Media of origin: Looney Tunes

    Road Runner, also known as Beep Beep, is a Looney Tunes character created by Chuck Jones and Michael Maltese.

    Road Runner debuted with his frequent adversary Wile E. Coyote in 1949's "Fast and Furry-ous". To date, 48 cartoons have been made featuring these characters, including the computer-animated shorts, most of which were directed by Chuck Jones. In each cartoon, Wile E. Coyote utilizes absurdly complex gizmos (often from ACME, a mail-order company and recurring gimmick in Looney Tunes) and elaborate plans to try to catch his prey, rather than his natural guile, but fails every time.

    In general, he, along with Wile E. Coyote, are one of the most beloved cartoon characters. But he, unfortunately, was flanderized in the infamous Larriva Eleven.

    Bad Qualities

    NOTE: This article will be focusing on the Larriva Eleven cartoons, and to a lesser extent, "Rushing Roulette" and "Sugar and Spies", since the original Road Runner is likable.

    1. To get Bugs Bunny out of his Rabbit Hole: The main problem with Road Runner in these cartoons is that he acts completely out-of-character in the Larriva Eleven cartoons compared to his other appearances in the Chuck Jones originals from the classic era and the revival era cartoons, and to a lesser extent, Friz Freleng's "The Wild Chase", and even the two Robert McKimson Road Runner cartoons "Rushing Roulette" and "Sugar and Spies". This is mainly due to how he frequently breaks the Road Runner cartoon's number one rule where the Road Runner is never allowed to harm the Coyote except by going "Beep, beep", which are all brought in as the result of his director Rudy Larriva failing to understand why Chuck Jones' Road Runner cartoons as a whole worked so well.
      • While the Road Runner was aware of the coyote’s attempts to hunt him down in the aforementioned and superior set of cartoons, he usually isn’t required to do much to stop his pursuer. Here, however, it feels like he's actively contributing to Wile E. Coyote’s humiliation, hence making him come off as a flat-out sadistic jerk which fits more in line with Gene Deitch's version of Jerry Mouse than Chuck Jones' original Road Runner.
      • Because of these reasons below, this consequently results in the dynamic between the Road Runner and the Coyote in these cartoons being badly butchered beyond belief, with the Road Runner coming off as the sadistic antagonist and the Coyote as the pitiful Butt-Monkey protagonist/anti-hero with the Coyote constantly getting tortured for little to no reasons thanks to the sadistic Road Runner, unlike the Chuck Jones originals from the classic era and the revival era cartoons, and to a lesser extent, Friz Freleng's "The Wild Chase", and even the two Robert McKimson Road Runner cartoons "Rushing Roulette" and "Sugar and Spies" where it is kind of opposite where the Coyote justifiably receives his comeuppances for attempting to catch and eat the practically innocent Road Runner via the Coyote's ineptitude and recklessness and/or the failure of the Acme products he uses. In other words, just like in the Gene Deitch-era of Tom and Jerry, this era reversed the roles of both the Coyote and the Road Runner as the aggressor and victim respectively (albeit in NOT a good way!).
      • Not to mention, the Road Runner constantly being responsible for the Coyote's downfalls in these cartoons also completely goes against his creator Chuck Jones' intention for the Coyote's downfalls being a satire of Jones' failures in using tools or doing repairs at home.
    2. Even though he's nowhere near as bad as Daffy in this era, he can be malicious and mean-spirited to Wile E. Coyote, as he has done lots of awful things to the Coyote that also break the laws of his cartoons, and they're more painful and hurtful than funny.
      • Driving multiple vehicles over him in numerous episodes.
      • Commanding the Coyote (who had accidentally hypnotized himself) into walking off a cliff in "Boulder Wham!" (though he was likable in that short).
      • Activates the bird trap which Wile E. gets stuck on in "Tired and Feathered".
      • Dropping a boulder on top of Wile E. in "Clippity Clobbered" 'after the latter had ALREADY fallen off a cliff.'
      • Firing him out of a cannon in "Chaser on the Rocks".
      • And finally, and most prominently, overly pumping a water hose that the Coyote was attempting to drink out of, causing him to lose control of it and be sent flailing about. Keep in mind that for this one scene, Wile E. wasn't even trying to get him in the slightest.
      • And finally, while nowhere near as rampant as in the Larriva Eleven, even his appearances in "Rushing Roulette" and "Sugar and Spies" aren't immune to this as well:
        • Sending Coyote off to the moon using a remote at the end of "Sugar and Spies", as well as mailing a bomb back to him in the same episode.
        • In "Rushing Roulette" he throws the Coyote off a mountain on a trolley. Also he sets Coyote ablaze on top of a mountain, somewhere where he CAN'T GET DOWN FROM in that same short.
          • Granted, the Road Runner did occasionally break this number 1 rule of "No harming the Coyote except by going "Beep, beep"" in Chuck Jones, but these moments were few and far between and cleverly used to wrap things up in said cartoons. The only exception was in the first episode, “Fast and Furry-ous” (though that can be excused since the rules and characters weren’t fleshed out). Barring that was the fact that, a majority of the time, the Road Runner usually didn’t go farther than taunt the Coyote's hungry advances. But to have the Road Runner actively harm the Coyote out of pure malice in these cartoons does make this out of character for him.
    3. His design, while still good, goes off-model quite a bit, making him, at times, look like an awkward hybrid of both Chuck Jones' Road Runner and Walter Lantz's 1960s redesign of Woody Woodpecker (who coincidentally is also a bird who shares a similar beak design as him). Due to the poor quality animation of his cartoons, his size changes inconsistently to be almost as big as or smaller than the Coyote between shots.
      • Just like in the original Chuck Jones cartoons (as well as the later Looney Tunes revivals), his design doesn’t seem to replicate the design of actual greater roadrunners unlike how Wile E. Coyote's design replicates an actual coyote (at least, for the most part).
    4. His gags have gone from fast-paced, hilarious, and entertaining to mostly flat, stale, unfunny, slow-paced, cruel, and sadistic in these cartoons.
    5. He frequently does a victory dance of hopping while laughing "Beep, beep" whenever Wile E. Coyote is defeated, which is extremely punchable and adds to his overly sadistic nature.
    6. He's also a technical Gary-Stu in most of the shorts here, apart from "The Solid Tin Coyote", as he never really gets caught by the Coyote and always outsmarts him. Yes, this could be implied for the shorts outside this period, but keep in mind there he was at least likable.
    7. Worse, he receives zero comeuppances for all the times he actively (and maliciously) harms the Coyote in each of these cartoons nor does he show any remorse for his cruel actions, hence making him a huge Karma Houdini.
      • Speaking of which, in the Chuck Jones originals the Road Runner even once showed remorse when he realized that he had gone too far with harming the Coyote with his beeping at the ending of "Zoom and Bored". But in the Larriva Eleven, he hardly ever does that.
    8. Because of these reasons above, though mostly the first two, this shows why the Road Runner was overall ruined as a character in this period of shorts.

    "Beep, Beep!" Qualities

    1. He is at least likable in both "Run, Run, Sweet Road Runner", "Boulder Wham!", "Just Plane Beep", "Hairied and Hurried", "Shot and Bothered", and "The Solid Tin Coyote" since he paid more attention to the Road Runner rules by not breaking the number one rule, and therefore don't have him flanderized as sadistic or cruel.
      • Also, "The Solid Tin Coyote" shows that he isn't completely infallible.
      • Despite also being flanderized in the two Robert McKimson-directed Road Runner cartoons "Rushing Roulette" and "Sugar and Spies", he is still somewhat tolerable in those two cartoons since he doesn't break the number one rule of not harming the Coyote except by beeping as often compared to most of his other appearances in the Larriva Eleven.
      • At least he's nowhere near as infamously flanderized and as much of a mean-spirited jerk as Daffy Duck during this era (and to some extent, Claude Cat during the 1952-1962 cartoons).
    2. His design, despite going off-model and inconsistently changing in sizes quite a bit, it's still decent.
      • His design in "Rushing Roulette" and "Sugar and Spies" is still great and looks far superior to Rudy Larriva's redesigns, as it remain mostly unchanged from Chuck Jones' original design.
    3. "Beep Beep!" is still a memorable line.
    4. He was a much better character outside these shorts and has redeemed himself since the 1979 revival era.
      • Robert McKimson, who directed both "Rushing Roulette" and "Sugar and Spies", despite not ruining The Road Runner as badly as Rudy Larriva, would eventually learn from his mistakes and therefore pay more attention to Chuck Jones' Road Runner rules when directing the animated mid-shorts segments of The Road Runner Show, therefore ending his Wile E Coyote and Road Runner legacy on a high note before his death on September 29, 1977.
    5. To be fair, he wouldn't have been as bad as he was if it weren't for the ineptitude of his director Rudy Larriva (and to some extent, Robert McKimson) who had a very rather poor grasp of Chuck Jones' Road Runner cartoons and the Road Runner character in general, which is not helped further by the lower budgets and the tighter deadlines the animation crew had to deal with at the time. However, it might be possible that Larriva was unaware of Chuck Jones' Road Runner rules, as he left Jones' unit in 1943, six years before the characters debuted.



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