Bugs Bunny turns 75 today, and the Flavorwire staff is celebrating our favorite underdog (or under-lagomorph) escape artist with a carrot fetish and a heavy outer-borough NYC accent. It’s hardly surprising that a wily and clever cartoon character who uses his wits to get one over on bigger, more powerful figures would inspire a website-full of journalist and cultural critics, right? But we’re not alone. America, and the world, loves that wascally wabbit.
To celebrate, here are ten of our absolute favorite episodes.
In which our hero takes on an entire team of louts. Notable for Bugs’ ability to play every position and provide colorful commentary all at once.
This features the “Varmint” Bugs squaring up against the antagonist who was my personal favorite in childhood: the gun-totin’ Yosemite Sam.
“The Bashful Buzzard”
One of the weirder and better episodes, featuring a buzzard who simply doesn’t have the killer instinct, even though his family needs to kill a rabbit for dinner.
Problematic at times for its treatment of island life, but worth it to see Bugs outwit two extremely hungry castaways who want nothing more than a meal of rabbit.
Speaking of people hungry for delicious rabbit, in this classic Humphrey Bogart wants a rabbit for dinner at a white-napkin establishment and food-service worker Elmer Fudd tries to catch one. This sketch is best known for its “pickup pie!” gag and a cameo from “Baby” (aka Lauren Bacall) at the end.
“What’s Opera, Doc?”
Featuring the immortal aria “Kill the Wabbit,” this episode is often screened with a live orchestra accompaniment.
Bugs and Yosemite Sam try to force each other off a high-diving board. Hijinx ensue.
The “rabbit season!” “duck season!” trilogy that began with this episode is a fan favorite, bringing Elmer Fudd, Bugs Bunny, and Daffy Duck together in enmity.
This is a meta Bugs Bunny episode that appears to be all about Daffy Duck until the final seconds. Flavorwire’s literary editor Jonathon Sturgeon says of this episode: “It taught me Brechtian alienation effects and the basics of aesthetic composition and construction.”
“Tortoise Beats Hare”
A rare early example of the bunny being beat at his own game. We won’t give away the ending, but it’s fabulous.