Originally Posted by Chris Lang on April 1, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Hello and welcome to WIJDW (Why It Just Doesn’t Work). Here I analyze scenes from various movies and other entertainments and discuss why they are illogical, nonsensical, and/or just … don’t work.
Today, I’ll discuss the 1988 classic film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. What’s not to like about this film? It’s where hard-drinking detective Eddie Valiant has to reluctantly team up with a cartoon (or Toon) rabbit to clear the rabbit’s name after said rabbit is framed for murder. Over the course of the investigation, he finds himself being chased by Toon gangster weasels, facing a whole bunch of crazy Toons in the crazy world of Toontown, and even being pranked by (of all people) Bugs Bunny and Mickey Mouse. And of course it ends with a spectacular showdown with the real mastermind behind the murderous plot.
The film is filled with lots of fun, memorable moments. There’s Roger Rabbit’s sense of comedic timing (the handcuff bit is a particular favorite), Daffy Duck and Donald Duck’s ‘dueling pianos’, the whole Toontown sequence, various cameos and allusions to classic cartoon characters, and of course the sexiest cartoon character ever, Jessica Rabbit. There’s also the terrifying reveal of Judge Doom’s true identity.
Does all this come together to form a seamless whole? Not quite. There’s still one little questionable scene. It’s where Eddie Valiant decides to look for the murder victim’s will at the Ink and Paint Club where Jessica Rabbit works.
Searching Jessica’s dressing room, he is intercepted by the gorilla bouncer and taken to see Judge Doom. Judge Doom orders the aforementioned gangster weasels to take Eddie to downtown Toontown, where they punish him for his snooping around.
So they drag Eddie into a car, and go into the tunnel leading to Toontown, but we the audience don’t follow them there. We just see the tunnel, and then the Weasels emerge from it a while later to release Eddie. Eddie’s head is concealed in a sack as the Weasels dump him on the road near the tunnel and depart.
So the weasels have put Eddie through some horrible ordeal to send him a message. But what have they done to him off-screen? When Eddie removes the sack, we discover that his human head has been partially covered by a strange Toon pig head. Eddie screams “I’ve been Toonerooned!” and rushes off, trying in vain to remove the pig head.
What does Eddie do? He goes home, and then showers using turpentine, which, you’ll recall, is one of the ingredients for Judge Doom’s Toon-destroying Dip. (“Turpentine, acetyne, benzine … he calls it the Dip.”). We don’t see the pig-head actually break apart, but we do see its terrified eyes and pink Toon flesh get washed down the drain. And that’s it, and the whole incident is never mentioned again.
There’s just so much about this sequence that doesn’t make sense. What is being ‘Toonerooned?’. In context, I take it to mean it’s some nasty prank that Toons do to humans that involves covering human heads with Toon parts. But why do the weasels do this to Eddie? Do they REALLY think he’ll just quit interfering in their business (and more importantly, their boss’s business) just because they covered his head with a pig head?
Furthermore, HOW do they do this? We don’t actually see just where they take Eddie, and what they do. All we see is the tunnel and the sky above it, with a Toon moon setting and a Toon sun rising to mark the passage of time, and then Eddie is dumped outside the tunnel as in the scene described above. We only see the results.
So, do they go to some place where Toons are created in the first place, pulling some strings because they work for Judge Doom (who, as the movie tells us, became Judge around Toontown because he threw money around and bought the election)? We don’t know. None of this is explained. All we CAN tell is that this happens often enough that Eddie Valiant has a word to describe it.
Oh, and since the pig head blinks and such as if it’s alive, it seems that Eddie casually resorts to murdering a Toon with makeshift Dip just to avoid public embarrasment. And THIS is the guy who ends up being the savior of Toontown at the end of the film. Our hero, everyone!
But of course, as I said above, this whole sequence is never mentioned again. It comes out of nowhere, has little or no bearing on the plot (in this case none), it’s way over the top in terms of ridiculousness even in the context of the movie, and afterward no one speaks of it again. Making it, of course… A BIG LIPPED ALLIGATOR….
Now I know what you’re thinking. “Chris, I’ve seen Who Framed Roger Rabbit over three dozen times, and I don’t remember that sequence at all!”
Of course you don’t remember it. It’s a deleted scene that’s rarely seen. I don’t even know if there are any DVD releases that include it. I’ve only actually seen it on Youtube, but I remember reading about the pig-head scene many, many years ago. However, many of you may not have heard of it until now. I decided to use this as the basis for a WIJDW column because it’s being posted towards the end of …
April Fool’s Day.
All in all, it’s for the best that the scene was cut. In addition to all the reasons I gave above as to why it just doesn’t work, it slows the pace of the movie and adds nothing to it. I think the movie works a LOT better without it. Especially since without it, we don’t get to see even a brief glimpse of Toontown until Eddie has to go there later on. The film works a lot better when our first view of Toontown is Eddie driving through the tunnel reluctantly, and then being greeted with the birds and the other Toons singing ‘Smile, Darn Ya, Smile’.
So let’s give thanks to Robert Zemeckis, who in this case showed more sense than a lot of other movie directors, and decided to cut a scene that just didn’t work.
Agree? Disagree? Have any other thoughts on the subject? Feel free to leave your comments below.