The title is a variant of Bugs' catch-phrase "What's up Doc?" It also hints at one of the scenes in the picture.
At the Academy Awards presentation, color film footage of various Hollywood scenes (edited from A Star Is Born) lead up to the Big Question of the evening: Who will win "the" Oscar? The film shows the stereotypical red carpet arrivals of stars, as well as a human emcee starting to introduce the Oscar show.
With the shadow of a now-animated emcee continuing to introduce the Oscar, and Bugs assuring the viewer that "it's in da bag; I'm a cinch to win". Bugs is stunned when the award goes instead to James Cagney (who had actually won in the previous year's ceremony, for Warner's Yankee Doodle Dandy). Shock turns to anger as Bugs declares the results to be "sa-bo-TAH-gee" and demands a recount.
Bugs then tries to make his case by showing clips from "Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt", which includes a clip of Hiawatha attempting to "cook" the rabbit as proof of his allegedly superior acting (an inside joke, as the cartoon had actually been nominated for an Oscar and lost). He hurls a set of film cans off-screen and tells someone named "Smokey" to "roll 'em!" Bugs tells the audience that these are some of his "best scenes". Immediately a "stag reel" with a title card depicting a grinning stag starts to roll, and the startled Bugs quickly stops it and switches to the right film.
Finally, he pleads, "What do you say, folks? Do I get it? Or do I get it?" (echoing Fredric March's drunken appeal to the Academy Award banquet audience in A Star Is Born). The emcee asks the audience (in an effected nasal voice), "Shall we give it to him, folks?" and they yell, "Yeh, let's give it to him!" whereupon they shower Bugs with fruits and vegetables, enabling him to briefly do a Carmen Miranda impression, and an ersatz Oscar labeled "booby prize", which is actually a gold-plated rabbit statue. Bugs is so pleased at winning it, he remarks, "I'll even take youse to bed wit' me every night!" The statue suddenly comes alive, asks in a voice like that of radio character, Bert "The Mad Russian" Gordon, "Do you mean it?", smooches the startled bunny, and takes on an effeminate, hip-swiveling pose.
- Katharine Hepburn
- Edward G. Robinson
- Jerry Colonna
- Bing Crosby
- Charles Boyer
- Boris Karloff
- Carmen Miranda
- Bert Gordon - "Do ya mean it?"
The entire short was one of the twelve Bugs Bunny cartoons that were banned from airing on Cartoon Network's June Bugs marathon in 2001, since it included a clip from Friz Freleng's "Hiawatha's Rabbit Hunt", which features a Native American stereotype. The racially-insensitive content is actually light compared to shorts like "Bugs Bunny Nips the Nips" and "All This and Rabbit Stew". "What's Cookin', Doc?" has been shown on the Turner-owned networks TBS and TNT in the early 1990s and on Cartoon Network in The Bob Clampett Show, Bugs and Daffy, and The Looney Tunes Show compilation show.
- While the USA Turner 1995 dubbed print retains the original Merrie Melodies ending music cue, the EU Turner 1995 dubbed print replaces the original Merrie Melodies ending music cue with the 1938-41 Merrie Melodies ending music cue.
- This cartoon was used in the documentary Bugs Bunny: Superstar.
- This is the final cartoon to use the 1942-43 Red Color Rings.
- The person that Bugs refers to as "Smokey" is Henry Garner who was a cameraman and projectionist for the Leon Schlesinger studio.
- The newspaper which predicted the suicide of Adolf Hitler is the same one from "Tortoise Wins by a Hare" and in the Private Snafu short "Fighting Tools". Coincidentally, the real Adolf Hitler would commit suicide in April 1945.
- "What's Cookin' Doc?" at SuperCartoons.net