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Rabbit Fire

Bugs using reverse psychology on Daffy

Reverse Psychology is a common antagonistic act seen in Looney Tunes. It often involves "reversed arguments," and occasionally even "pronoun trouble."

Looney Tunes

  • "Duck Soup to Nuts" - In perhaps the first cartoon to ever use this gag, Daffy tricks Porky into believing that he is an eagle rather than a pig when Porky refuses to believe that Daffy is a fish.
  • "Bugs Bunny Rides Again" - Bugs and Yosemite Sam have a chase which leads nowhere, they agree to play cards, with the loser leaving town. Bugs and Sam play gin rummy, with Bugs hinting at which card Sam should play.
  • "The Fair Haired Hare" - Yosemite Sam prepares two glasses of carrot juice, trying to serve a Mickey Finn-style carrot juice laced with poison. After Bugs spins the table several times to switch the glasses around, Yosemite Sam orders Bugs to drink up, and Bugs insists that Sam drinks his carrot juice first so Sam can drink the poison.
  • "Napoleon Bunny-Part" - Bugs does a variation of this to Napoleon when the latter is using a map and figures to decide where to place infantry and artillery.
  • "Baseball Bugs" - Bugs tricks the player (dressed as the umpire) into saying "safe" instead of "out".
  • "Mexican Joyride" - Daffy tricks the bull that Daffy isn't hiding in the third sombrero, and when both Daffy and the bull make a bet, it turns out that a second Daffy indeed is hiding under the third sombrero, which causes the bull to lose the bet and breaks down crying because that he has lost all of his money in betting.
  • "Haredevil Hare" - K-9 tricks Bugs into taking the dynamite stick.
  • "Rabbit Fire", "Rabbit Seasoning", "Duck! Rabbit, Duck!" - The plot of the three cartoons centers around Bugs using reverse psychology to get Elmer to shoot Daffy. These gags are even repeated in Invasion of the Bunny Snatchers (albeit without Elmer involved) and in the movie Looney Tunes: Back in Action.
  • "Bugs Bunny's Birthday Ball" - Referenced where the sides of the cabinet include a sign reading "Pinball (Rabbit) Season Open".
  • This gag appears in a Nike commercial related to Space Jam in which Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan pull one over on Marvin the Martian.

Tiny Toon Adventures

  • "Born to be Riled" - Babs does this to fool Plucky while the former is impersonating the latter.
  • "Gang Busters" - This exchange between Buster and Plucky occurs when the former beats the latter at a game of Pong.


  • "Cookies for Einstein" - Yakko did this to Albert Einstein of all people, who won't buy any of the Warner kids' cookies.

Baby Looney Tunes

  • In "School Daze", Daffy and Bugs are arguing over who gets to sit in back of the bus while pretending to play school. Bugs wins, of course.

Loonatics Unleashed

  • Ace first does it in the premiere episode "Loonatics on Ice" to trick Gunnar the Conqueror into saying he won't conquer their planet.
  • He does it again in "It Came from Outer Space" when he tricks Melvin the Martian into holding on to an explosive he intended to use on Ace.

New Looney Tunes

  • In "Home a Clone", Bugs and his clone argue about who's first on the video game.


  • Bugs Bunny does this on The Nerd is his review of Crazy Castle.
  • In the Monster Island Buddies episode, "Daddy Issues", Gabra starts imitating Godzilla.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic episode, "Putting Your Hoof Down", Pinkie Pie tries to buy tomatoes by teasing a seller pony.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Eddie uses this trick on Roger in order to get him to take a shot of bourbon.
  • In Mummies Alive!, Bath and Armon have an argument over who/what was more important in saving the day.
  • A discussion between Tigger and Piglet on The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh went through one of these reversals on whether a story was taking place at dawn or midnight.
  • In "Lighthouse Keeping", a pelican keeps blowing out the candle in a lighthouse's light, and Donald Duck promptly re-lights it. After a few rounds of this, the pelican takes the lighter from Donald and re-lights the candle, causing Don to blow out the candle.
  • In the Hey Arnold episode "Married", Helga wants to marry Arnold.
  • In the Johnny Bravo Christmas Special, Suzy pulls this trick on Johnny, and tells him, "I just Bugs-Bunnied you!"
  • In the Tom and Jerry episode "The Yankee Doodle Mouse", Tom and Jerry were both frantically shoving the firecracker to each other before Jerry grabs the firecracker from Tom. Then they start stealing the explosive from each other, with Tom ending up with it.
  • In the El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera episode "The Good, the Bad, and the Tigre", White Pantera and Puma Loco blame each other.
  • In the American Dad! episode Jack's Back, Hayley takes a job at Roger's bar to get her internship credit, but he refuses to sign her form, using his love of costumes and role-playing to scare her off. Hayley fights fire with fire, resulting in a sequence of rapid costume changes between Eastern European gangsters, a genius Amish boy, and a time-traveling half bull/half human. Eventually Roger dresses as Hayley and tries to undo the whole thing by proclaiming it "just a figment of my drug-addled imagination"; Hayley responds by dressing as Roger and saying she still won't sign the form, which prompts Roger to forge his own signature on the paper.
  • In Timon and Pumbaa episode "Amusement Bark", the titular characters arrive at a water-themed amusement park and argue over what to do first.
  • In the comic strip Foxtrot, Jason and Peter arguing in a movie rental store.
  • In Corner Gas, Hank complains that this trick is unrealistic and wouldn't work in real life, which starts an argument with Brent during which, of course, Hank falls for it.
  • In an episode of My Wife and Kids, Jaye uses this trick to get Michael to agree to let their daughter go to her prom. Realizing what happened a second later, Michael responds "Wait a minute, you Bugs Bunnied me!"
  • One episode of NUMB3RS uses a simpler version of this trope, skipping right to the switch without arguing. One of the characters even proceeds to compare it to Looney Tunes.
  • In Ben 10: Omniverse, while fighting Khyber, Rath remarks that it's "Khyber the Huntsman season", while Khyber retorts that it's "Appoplexian season." The back-and-forth continues even while they're fighting.
  • In a Halloween episode of Perfect Strangers, Larry challenges Balki into watching horror movies in the dark. Balki refuses. Larry chides him for being afraid of the dark and turns off the light switch.
  • Sonny and Chad engage in a bit of this with him stating he doesn't care, and she stating that he does.
  • In This Hour Has 22 Minutes, it occurs in the Sportsbag sketches.
  • Attempted once by Jimmy to Kim in Yes, Dear. Subverted because Kim called him out on it, rendering it ineffective.
  • During one of Christopher Hitchens's appearances on The Daily Show, he got sidetracked in the middle of a conversation about the Iraq War and asked what he'd been talking about beforehand.
  • In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Will uses this trick to make Carlton agree he owes him less money, even saying "Have it your way, Daffy!"
  • In one episode of Full House, Joey and Michelle argue over a baseball pitch.
  • A similar incident occurs in Home and Away when Shane and Damian offer to assemble a water bed for Alf. Shane offers to do it for fifty bucks, Alf offers twenty-five and demonstrates a unique approach to haggling.
  • That '70s Show doesn't use the trick, but Eric and Hyde jokingly argue "Rabbit Season! Duck Season!" to each other after Red points out that deer hunting season had just begun.
  • In the Sam & Cat episode "#BabysittingWar", Sam does this to Cat when they fight over Nona's empty bed.
  • One of Martin Short's recurring characters on Saturday Night Live, Nathan Thurm's defining traits were ultra-defensiveness, paranoia, and denial.
  • Used and referenced in Camp Nowhere.
  • Toyed with in Lethal Weapon.
  • In the Laurel and Hardy film Sons of the Desert (1933), Ollie is arguing with his wife over whether he's going to spend the weekend attending a fraternity convention with Stanley, or take her camping in the mountains. During the course of the argument, something like this pops up, though it's uncertain whether this is a deliberate trick on Ollie's part or something he inadvertently stumbles upon in his flustered state. It doesn't work, at any rate.
  • In Ali G Indahouse, Ali is arguing with the East Staines Massiv whether West side or East side is best.
  • In The Mummy (1999), as Evey tries to barter for Rick O'Connell's life with the chief warden using shares of (at that point still not discovered) the treasures of Hamunaptra as an incentive, caught in the heat of the moment, the chief warden ends up asking less than what Evey was offering.
  • One of The Twelve Tasks of Asterix involves being able to resist the hypnotic gaze of Iris the magician. Eventually Iris becomes so confused he resorts to Repeat After Me.
  • In the 'silent' Ronnie Barker comedy, Futtock's End, the house staff are dancing to a record player, yet every time they hear the butler enter behind them they quickly revert to silently polishing the silver. Until the butler comes in twice in quick succession, whereupon they are tricked into dancing when the butler is present, and polishing the silver when he leaves.
  • The Marx Brothers use this sort of switcheroo in Horse Feathers: Chico's guarding the door of a speakeasy to which Groucho needs entrance. Groucho uses a variant to discover that The Password Is Always "Swordfish", then he guards the door of the speakeasy while Chico has to guess the password.
  • A DVD extra for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has Spider-Ham, stuck in the traditional shackled-to-a-table-with-a-slowly-approaching-laser position, getting into this kind of argument with the villain who stuck him there. In an impressive feat of Toon Physics, when the switcheroo takes place in the argument, Ham and the villain physically switch places, leaving the villain stuck in his own deathtrap.
  • Done in Deadpool 2, when Deadpool and Weasel are auditioning Domino for recruitment to his newly-formed X-Force.
  • In the Gumball episode "The Girlfriend", Gumball wants Darwin to refuse to be Jamie's boyfriend.

See Also

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