Rules of Cartoons

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From "The Futurama Fan-O-Rama", Vol. 1, No. 42: July 12, 2000. Reprinted by permission of the author.

You've noticed (hopefully) that I try and at least make a reference to
Futurama in most of my columns, even if the subject of the article has nothing to do with the show. So, here's the reference:

Futurama is a cartoon.

There. Now, you probably know that Futurama isn't the only cartoon ever made. There was, a long time ago, such names as Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, etc. Ask your parents about them. Also, if your parents did a great many drugs in the 60's, they might think they were in a couple themselves. Ask your parents about this, too. It's fun! And if you get Cartoon Network, you might even see these cartoons, assuming you stay up past midnight. Prime time apparently belongs to the Power Puff Girls. (Behind
the scenes: They use horse steroids and could pop like giant zits at
any moment. Wear protective clothing when asking for their autograph.) And if you already watch these cartoons, let me just say: You dateless wonder. Let me also say that you may think anything can happen in these cartoons. You idiot. These guys have rules to follow like everyone else.

I stayed up until Mom hog-tied me to the bed to get the material here. Proving I have no life. Here's what I found:

Rule 1. In cartoons made prior to 1975, there shall be rules. This goes without saying.
Rule 2: Winning
  • Bugs always wins. The Harlem Globetrotters never return calls
    involving challenges. There is no exception to this, save one. 'What's Opera, Doc?', in which he loses to Elmer Fudd. This is why the cartoon is playing in the Smithsonian. Because Bugs lost.
  • If Bugs is not in the cartoon, the mouse usually wins.
  • The dog is next. If there are two dogs competing against one another, they are of equal ability and Vegas is taking bets.
  • The cat always loses. If there are two cats, the tiebreaker is size. Smaller cat wins.
  • The Road Runner always beats the coyote. When Wile E. ate the Road Runner, no one would air the episode. One channel did, but never
    admitted it.

  • Rule 3: This humor column bites thus far. I admit it. I need a week to get my act together, and I am not about to take a week off, so this is what you're getting.
    Rule 4: America is infested with baby kangaroos from Australia. Check any unopened crates in your house. Even if they're in the basement and your psychotic parents tell you never to go down there, because the kangaroos always come in crates. If there's one in your crate, whack it. Australia wants to cause World War 3 this way. When the kangaroos have weakened us, the troops will come into your hometown to finish you off, and before you know it, the...

    The humor columnist is ranting. Please ignore anything he says from
    this paragraph. He doesn't mean anything by it; he just can't help it. Thank you.

    ...godless Australians will bring Donald Trump back from the dead to rule their Kangaroo Air Force consisting of a very enraged flea, and...

    Thanks. I REALLY needed that. Moving on...
    Rule 5: You can tell approximately when a cartoon was made by subtle clues within it. Little Davy of Portland, Maine is going to point these signs out for us. Davy?

    Davy: Well, if a war bond sign appears, it was probably made during
    World War 2. And if airplanes appear with insignia, it was probably
    during World War 2, too. And if a victory garden appears, it as made in World War 2.


    Davy: And if Hitler appears, it was during World War 2.

    Little Davy, everyone.

    Davy: And if the really really big V shows up...
    Rule 6: Skunks have free run of France. Whenever one shows up in a French place such as Louisiana, everyone in this place must run away screaming 'Skunk!'. And if one gets trapped by the skunk, get a very sanitary casket ready.

    Davy: And if a swastika...

    Rule 7: The casket is unnecessary, because nothing can kill a cartoon. Falling 38 stories onto jagged rocks, anvil to the head, getting shot many millions of times in the head, you name it, it doesn't kill a cartoon. If one were to leap out of your TV, God help us all.
    Rule 8: Speaking of guns, never take time loading it, because you have bought a magic gun, which can shoot as many bullets as you want. Even if it's clearly labeled '6-shooter'. If your Magic Gun should ever run out, merely throw it away and use your finger...HEY! Not that way!
    Rule 9: Musical notes are alive. These fool musicians don't realize the danger they're putting us all in. Just you wait: One of these days, the notes will band together and make themselves into Super Note, a beast that will lodge itself into society's brains and sing Yoko Ono songs until we make Super Note Supreme Ruler of Earth and we can't stop it...


    Sorry, won't happen again.
    Rule 10: Canada has obviously never seen an American cartoon, because what they believe to be a cartoon is in reality crap. I call it 'Canacrap'. (That sounds like something you hope never to find in a grocery store.) I've seen this menace. One example of Canacrap is what is almost- literally- 15 minutes of random animated scribbles. They have made musical note cartoons, too. Although I don't see JOKES. I see notes beginning construction on Super Note. This is stuff they play a little after midnight on weekends on Cartoon Network.

    Davy: And if a...

    Rule 11: In half-hour cartoons such as the Jetsons and Flintsones and Scooby-Doo and so forth, if one person makes a joke, no matter how bad, everyone must laugh at it. Here's a clip from a recent Sailor Moon:

    Sailor Moon: Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the other


    (one Sailor is silent. Two burly guards take her out back and shoot
    her. Everyone laughs louder, because this Sailor owed them money.)
    Rule 12: All animals can talk. They were victims of radiation many years ago. Their girl/boyfriends never call anymore.
    Rule 13: The words 'The End' are printed on everything. it's federal law. You can't walk around in an uninhabited section of Poland without smacking into 'The End'. And if a person is caught without 'The End' legibly printed on his or her buttocks (I am not going to ask how this is done), they are beaten severely by the same guards who did all that stuff to that poor Sailor.

    Davy: And if a...

    Okay, boys and girls, to wrap up tonight's column, I'm going to
    demonstrate how these don't pertain to real life. We will begin with
    Rule 13. Look back in this column. We'll just paint that on your ass,
    now we'll have to tear a hole in the back so Little Davy can parade
    around like that.

    (5 minutes later)

    Officer: Okay, Dave, your bail's here.

    Now we'll try Rule 6, about skunks having free run. We'll just toss you into this pile of stink bombs, light them off, and send you out.

    (5 minutes later)

    Officer: Dave, this is Strike 2. You know the 3 strikes rule.

    Course he does, Officer. Let's try Rule 8, involving the gun.

    (5 minutes later)

    SWAT team: Strike 3, Dave. The chair has your name on it.

    And I guess Rule 7 doesn't hold, either. Good night, everybody.


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