Wile E. Coyote's Horrifying Secret: A Fan Theory
Ah, Wile E. Coyote. How many hours has he spent blowing himself up in an attempt to catch the Road Runner? What if we were to tell you the answer is none? Not a damn one. Wile E. Coyote may not even be aware there is a Road Runner in that desert, in fact. As Bugs Bunny can attest, Wile E. Coyote is a special, genius coyote. He talks, carries business cards, and runs a company.
Rumor has it Stephen Hawking carries these around too.
So why is it we never hear him speak a word while careening around the desert on roller skates while strapped to a rocket? Because we've never seen him in the desert at all. We are actually watching his army of slightly dunderheaded clones test out ACME products before they go to market.
Wile E. Coyote Is Exceptionally Verbose. His Clones? Not So Much
Wile E. Coyote, the card-carrying genius, talks in multiple episodes, almost all of which feature Bugs Bunny. He does more than talk; he expounds upon his genius. His vocabulary and general manner of speech prove him to be one of the most educated characters in the Looney Tunes universe, possibly even more so than Elmer Fudd, Ph.D. Given that we never hear him make so much as a squeak or yelp in any of the Road Runner cartoons, we can assume that there's more to the story than what we're seeing on the screen.
In the above video, it's obvious Wile E. couldn't keep his mouth shut if Shaquille O'Neal was trying to fist his throat. Clearly, if it were everyone's favorite Coyote ordering a gross of catapults in the middle of the Sonoran Desert, he could have talked the Road Runner to death by now. But this desert Coyote wouldn't say shit with a mouth full of it. In fact, it seems like he can't speak and has to resort to placards and desperately sad looks to express himself. So who, exactly, is it that has an ACME charge card and an Amazon Prime account in the middle of Arizona? Coyote clones.
According to the Merrie Melodies universe, there are hundreds of them in existence, and they all appear together in the episode "Ready, Set, Zoom!" There we see a Coyote attempting to catch the Road Runner by putting on a female Road Runner costume, but once he is dressed, hundreds of identical Coyotes pop up from behind various desert rocks, lick their lips, and run after him, because if there is one constant in the Looney Tunes universe it's that cross-dressing leads to uncontrolled boners and/or hunger.
Road Runner must have one of those take-a-number machines like at the deli.
Clearly there are a multitude of Coyote clones in this desert that we could be watching chase the Road Runner, not just Wile E. Coyote.
In "Guided Muscle," the Coyote walks off-camera and returns with a sign that says: "Wanted: One gullible Coyote. Apply to manager of this theater":
Obviously, there are other clones out there who would be looking to fill his position. Also, in "There They Go-Go-Go!" the Coyote clone is shown being buried under a pile of rocks while we hear "Taps" being played, indicating that this particular coyote has died and we should mourn his passing with a respectful chuckle before the next one blows up. This would be impossible if it were the same coyote every single time. In "Hook, Line, And Stinker," the clone Coyote is shown playing "Taps" on piano keys that have become hilariously lodged in his mouth, again indicating that this particular Coyote believes his death is imminent. The ability to understand their own mortality adds to the comedy for kids, probably.
And that's the key here. Every time you see a Coyote die in a Road Runner cartoon, he's actually dying and being replaced by a new clone, picking up where the old one left off.
The Coyote Clones Are Constantly Surprised By The Road Runner
"Balderdash," you say, setting down your gold pan and 1800s prospector hat. Constant near-death experiences are just part of being a Looney Tune. It's implied right in the "Looney" part. This proves nothing! If it really is a new Coyote every time, you'd think they would show some other signs, like being surprised by how fast the Road Runner is in almost every single episode.
In pretty much every single episode, the Coyote is shocked by the Road Runner's speed, sometimes so shocked that his jaw drops to the ground, or his eyeballs fall out, or his balls swell like cantaloupes (it's a rare episode but worth a watch). You'd think that after a couple of attempts to get the Road Runner to smack into a fake tunnel painted on the side of a rock wall, Wile E. would stop being surprised by how fast that bird can move. But because it's a different clone every time, it makes total sense that this would be new information in every episode.
And it's not like anything in his name would give you a clue or anything.
In addition to the shock and awe constantly displayed by the Coyote, we also see a significant number of Road Runner traps that are repeated more than once. You would think that after the first time he tries to stick the Road Runner to the pavement in "Going, Going, Gosh!" he would realize that isn't going to work, but he does it again in "Ready, Set, Zoom!" He tries to ride a rocket at least three times throughout the run of the show and fails spectacularly every time, but it never seems to deter him from trying it again.
Our Coyotes also create at least three fake tunnels, even though you'd think that after that first time a truck drives through the tunnel and hits him at about 75 mph he would take that one off the list. Since Wile E. Coyote is a self-declared genius, he obviously wouldn't be dumb enough to waste his time trying the same thing over and over again, leaving us no other explanation than a band of subgenius coyote clones with an unending supply of cardboard signs and permanent markers.
And no government watchlist of any kind, apparently.
Why Does Wile E. Coyote Need Clones? For Product Testing
Wile E. Coyote is clearly a man of means. He has the money for all of the collapsible doors and explosives (and presumably for burgers and such after failing to eat Bugs Bunny), but where does that money come from? The answer has been staring us in the face for years: He's financed by the business he owns, the business that requires him to prove his genius through feats of engineering previously unknown to Coyotes or even the maddest of cartoon scientists and/or Stooges. Wile E. Coyote is the owner of ACME.
Don't believe it? Well deal with it, because A Coyote Made Everything. And just like every other manufacturing company, ACME's products need to go through rigorous, even preposterous, rounds of R&D before they can hit the mass market. And that means they need to put every catapult, giant mouse trap, anvil, and pair of jet-propelled roller skates through their paces before they get a stamp of approval. And where better to do that than in an all but abandoned desert landscape where no one ever gets hurt but a bunch of expendable Coyotes?
To say nothing of their short-lived line of sex toys ...
Since so much military testing is already done in the desert, Wile E. Coyote would consider this a perfect location to try out all of these gadgets and gizmos before they're officially put up for sale. But he doesn't have time to design and build all of these things and test them out as well, so what is a Coyote to do? Clone himself, obviously. He needs to know exactly how every piece of inventory in his warehouse will function out in the field, but he doesn't want anyone else to be able to steal his inventions and profit from them, so making trustworthy and dimwitted clones in his lab is the only reasonable option. It also saves him the trouble of explaining to the authorities why there are so many Coyote corpses attached to/buried underneath/launched from ACME items littered about the desert. Given how much damage a Looney Tune can take it is perfectly reasonable to think that when the sheriff, who's probably Daffy Duck with a badge, wanders by and sees the carnage he won't blink an eye, because he has seen it a thousand times before, only to find a Coyote alive and well and wearing a ridiculous Batman costume the very next day.
Or Batman and Riddler's love child, either way.
The Clones Are Not 100 Percent Looney Tunes
But Looney Tunes get shot, blown up, and the like all the time and live to tell the tale. Why would these clones be any different? Because they aren't original Looney Tunes; they're subpar copies. If they were originals they could take a licking and keep on ticking, but much the way they don't have the same verbal capacity as the original Wile E. Coyote, they also don't have his staying power. If the original Wile E. is fueled by Viagra, these guys are on ExtenZe.
Right down to the face of regret from someone that actually bought a bottle.
We see Looney Tunes characters survive a whole host of situations, but usually when we do we physically see the aftermath of that damage. Daffy Duck gets shot in the face and it just sends his bill around to the back of his head. Sylvester climbs down a chimney and gets lit on fire by Tweety, but we see him burst out of the chimney and land in a bucket of water. Yosemite Sam gets blown up by explosives and shot in the face all the damn time with nothing but a singed mustache, a few holes in his hat, and a pretty serious case of PTSD.
But with the Coyotes, we often are not shown what happens after they've been the victim of their own ACME traps. When they get buried under rocks, shot across the desert on a wayward rocket, or run over by a truck the Road Runner appears to have magicked into existence, oftentimes we simply skip to the next scene. Nowhere is this more evident than when the Coyote falls off a cliff.
We read his "Yipe" sign and watch him plummet to the ground, but almost every time this happens they cut to the next scene, where another wacky scheme is taking place. Given that we are shown every bit of destruction in almost every Merrie Melodies cartoon, it stands to reason that we aren't shown the aftermath of the Coyote falling off the cliff because he doesn't survive it, and test audiences have shown that while children respond positively to non-fatal anvils to the head, they react poorly to Coyote intestines exploding like a fountain across sagebrush. When we watch him get smaller and smaller until he makes contact with the earth below, we're actually seeing the death of the Coyote, and the next scene is yet another clone trying to catch that Road Runner for himself.
But Wile E. Coyote Tells Us It's Him Chasing The Road Runner!
Sure, in Adventures Of The Road Runner Wile E. Coyote talks to two little kids watching at home about his adventures chasing the bird through the desert, but even that isn't very convincing. He needs to keep a lid on all of the death associated with the ACME products if he wants anyone to buy them, so he claims that he's the one testing everything in a futile attempt to catch his dinner. He would never risk his income by telling people about his clones. But, more than that, he's trying to impress these two children with his stories, much the way some men who have never been to war will still regale you with tales of their time in 'Nam or will work a quiet office job for 40 years and still tell you about their part-time job as a spy with the CIA, because they have no exciting stories of their own to tell.
A genius would never believe this crap.
Then he breaks out the chart of what he thinks Road Runner tastes like, some of which includes banana, sponge cake, bratwurst, and a double martini. It's just like that scene in The 40-Year-Old Virgin where Andy describes boobs as feeling like sandbags and then an old Indian man makes rusty trombone jokes. Clearly this is the crazed fever dream of a Coyote who has never so much as gotten close enough to lick the Road Runner, let alone caught and eaten one. Wile E. Coyote is definitely on a first-name basis with the Domino's delivery guy.
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Find out what would happen if we lived in the ACME world in If Everyday Tasks Were Done Using Wile E. Coyote Logic, and get more Wile E. Coyote in 6 Parodies That Succeeded Because Nobody Got The Joke.
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