Wallace and Gromit
This series of four short animated films and a full-length movie -- all done using old-fashioned stop-motion animation -- is about a kindhearted but clueless Lancashire-accented inventor, his long-suffering sentient dog, and his love for cheese. Produced by Nick Park for Aardman Studios, the series has won fans and accolades on both sides of the Atlantic, including numerous Oscars, and is a rare example of British suburban life visible in media exported to America.
The films are, in order:
- A Grand Day Out (short - 1989). Wherein Wallace and Gromit realise that they're out of cheese and the shops are closed. The solution? Build a rocket in the basement and take a trip to the moon... which, as everyone knows, is made of cheese. While there, they have an encounter with a coin-operated robot who's desperate to go skiing.
- The Wrong Trousers (short - 1993). Wherein Wallace takes in a boarder, a silently menacing penguin named Feathers McGraw, who has sinister plans for both his landlord and Gromit's new birthday present: a pair of "techno-trousers" for automatic walkies. Chaos, naturally, ensues. ("It's the wrong trousers, Gromit, and they've gone wrong!")
- A Close Shave (short - 1995). Wherein Wallace's crush Wendolene turns out to have ties to the local wool shortage, leading to Gromit being imprisoned for sheep-rustling, forcing Wallace to stage a daring jailbreak with the help of a woolly jumper-wearing lamb named Shaun. The three must face the real Big Bad in a final showdown for all the yarn. Shaun later got his own Spin-Off called Shaun the Sheep.
- Cracking Contraptions (short-shorts - 2002). A series of 5-minute films showcasing Wallace's latest wacky inventions.
- The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (feature-length - 2005). Wherein the combination of a vegetable-growing contest and Wallace's latest invention accidentally unleashes a giant rampaging parody of ancient Hammer Horror cliches on their unsuspecting village... oh, also a giant half-man, half-bunny. This received a Licensed Game adaptation and is noted as being, possibly, the only horror film in existence to feature a vegetarian monster.
- A Matter of Loaf and Death (short - 2008). Wherein the two run a bakery, and Wallace falls in love though Gromit has his suspicions. Can you blame him? Aired on Christmas Day 2008, it was the top-rated programme of the day (ahead of Doctor Who's "The Next Doctor").
In 2003, Frontier Developments released a video game known as Wallace & Gromit in Project Zoo, which saw the return of Feathers McGraw as the villain in an original storyline; it was So Okay It's Average in most respects. In the spring/summer of 2009, Telltale Games released a series of four episodic Wallace & Gromit adventure games, collectively Wallace & Gromit's Grand Adventures, for the PC and Xbox Live Arcade. The games are notable for successfully replicating the look and feel of the shorts, to the point of having fingerprints and other clay modeling details visible on the characters.
The Grand Adventures episodes are, in order:
- Fright of the Bumblebees, in which Wallace's attempts to get into the honey business result in giant bees terrorizing the town.
- The Last Resort, in which a rainy day prompts Wallace to construct a basement beach resort that becomes the site of a closed-circle
- Muzzled!, in which traveling philanthropist Monty Muzzle holds a fundraising fair to rebuild the local dog shelter... but Wallace and Gromit discover his intentions aren't exactly charitable.
- The Bogey Man, in which Wallace tries to dodge a marriage proposal by joining the Prickly Thicket country club, and ends up in a game with much higher stakes than he bargained for.
In 2010, BBC One commissioned a television program, Wallace and Gromit's World of Inventions, an educational program about famous or revolutionary inventions, hosted by the two. It begin airing in November with the episode Nature Knows Best.
- Absent-Minded Professor - Wallace. Oh, so much.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The antagonist of A Close Shave, Preston, was once a good robot dog that according to Wendolene suddenly became evil.
- Art Evolution: The models in A Grand Day Out were very different in design to the models we know now - just look at Wallace in particular.
- Animation Bump: The first short, A Grand Day Out, was mostly made by Nick Park himself, with Aardman Animations only coming in when the film was half complete. When compared to The Wrong Trousers (the first one with a lot of Aardman work), there is a world of difference in animation between the two.
- Aside Glance: Gromit. All the time.
- Background Halo: Lady Tottington gets one, along with a set of background wings, when she advocates trapping the were-rabbit humanely. Lord Victor Quartermaine, who wants to just shoot it, gets a pair of background horns.
- Batman Can Breathe in Space: As evidenced by A Grand Day Out. Granted, they are stop-motion characters in an animated film on a moon made of cheese, so…
- Beleaguered Assistant: Gromit, who takes it in his stride.
- Big Ol' Unibrow: Gromit never speaks (because he is a dog), so this is the ONLY way you know what he's feeling. It's really incredible, the emotion you can wring out of an artfully-squashed bit of plasticine…
Wallace: "We've tested this on Gromit. Haven't we, lad?"
- Bigger on the Inside: The house in Loaf and Death. Somehow, a full bakery factory with machines, chutes and cogs manages to fit into the dimensions of a small two-story house - which still has room for a kitchen, dining room and bedrooms.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Piella Bakewell in Loaf and Death.
- Bittersweet Ending: A Close Shave, in which Wallace saves Wendolene, but true love is thwarted as he discovers she is allergic to cheese. Even Wensleydale.
- Black Widow: Piella Bakewell.
- Blessed Are the Cheesemakers: Wallace's cheese obsession. The producers have great fun referencing the most bizarre and obscure cheese names possible.
- This namedropping, in fact, saved Wensleydale cheese, which was right on the cusp of disappearing before Wallace and Gromit created a new demand for it.
- Brand X / Bland-Name Product: Everything from Smug Fridges and Duck Matches to Sud-U-Like Soap and Ay-Up! Magazine.
- Played with inasmuch as Wallace and Gromit are working as window-cleaners when they meet Wendolene; "Windolene" is a cleaning product sold for cleaning glass.
- The "Bake-O-Lite Balloon" was a genuine ad campaign for the Nimble loaf, which has since been incorporated into Hovis.
- Break the Cutie: Fluffles comes pre-broken, evident from the trembling.
- Britain Is Only London: Neatly averted.
- British Accents: Wallace has a distinctive Oop North accent.
- British Brevity: Americans who are aware of the franchise might be surprised to know that in twenty years, there have been only six installments, and only one of those six is feature-length.
- Bungling Inventor: Wallace, natch.
- In one of the comics, we encounter another three named Derek, Derrick and Eric. They invent a wind-up mobile phone, an automatic winder that you have to wind up, and a key to wind up the automatic winder. Mind you, in another one of the comics Wallace invents an indestructible shoe that eventually nearly destroys the Earth because he couldn't find his slippers.
- The "Cheese Lover's Yearbook" features, as well as the creations of the original shorts: the Recyc-O-Matic, which worked fine until he gave it arms and it ran amok in the town centre eating everything in its path; the Automatic Dairy Maker, which was scrapped after it turned out the "Creamy Wallaby" cheese it produced caused some people to come out in a grassy rash; and the Push-Button Gardener, which raked up all the leaves and dumped them on the living room carpet.
- Butt Monkey: The local grocer, Mr. Paneer, in Grand Adventures. No matter what kind of crazy plot Wallace and Gromit are caught up in, it always ends up inconveniencing him somehow. He lampshades this in the final episode.
- Poor Gromit falls into this all too often... (usually thanks to Wallace's stupidity).
- Though to balance it out Wallace himself often gets it pretty bad too.
- Poor Gromit falls into this all too often... (usually thanks to Wallace's stupidity).
- Cartoon Bomb: In Loaf and Death. Not only is it your classic cannonball-with-a-fuse, but it has "BOMB" written on it in large white letters. Cue Wallace: "Oh, Gromit! It's a bomb!"
- Cartoon Cheese: Averted in A Grand Day Out, as moon cheese doesn't look anything like typical "orange-y swiss" cartoon cheese. More like cheddar. Wallace names several terrestrial cheeses in an unsuccessful attempt to determine what moon cheese tastes like, and finally concludes, "It's like no cheese I've ever tasted."
- Catch Phrase: "CheeeeEEEEeeeeeeeese!" (with Wallace's trademark excited hands).
- Also, once things inevitably fall apart, Wallace's "GROMIT! HELP! DO SOMETHING!," or the less emphatic "Gromit! Do something, lad!" There's no ceiling on how many times Wallace will say this in a single episode.
- Chekhov's Gun: In any of the times we see one of the many To the Batpole segments in the opening, it will usually play a crucial role in the climax.
- Civilized Animal: Gromit is usually depicted as walking upright, and is capable of creating and operating complex machinery. Generally he's shown to be significantly more shrewd and sensible than his master. However, despite all of this, everyone treats him the same as you treat any dog. He has both a room in the house and a kennel in the yard, and walks on two or four legs as the plot requires. He's also been shown to eat from a dog dish or at a human table on different occasions.
- Fluffles in Loaf and Death is similarly capable, though she's generally shown on all fours for much of the film. Notably, her moments of bipedalism happen either out of the sight of her abusive master, or at the film's end when she finally stands up to her and remains bipedal for the rest of the film.
- Feathers McGraw is apparently capable of showing up and renting rooms from humans, but the film still ends with him at the zoo.
- Continuity Nod: Frequent and gleeful, starting with a running gag in which the headlines on the paper Wallace is reading or a news bulletin on TV in a short reference events of an earlier short.
- Wallace's dough-inflated-trousers looked a little like a pair he'd owned previously…
- A lot of the phrases Hutch in "Were-Wallace" mode spouts in Were-Rabbit are quotes from previous entries.
- The baker murdered at the start of Loaf and Death can be seen on an ad for his bakery in A Close Shave.
- When Gromit is put in prison in A Close Shave, there's graffiti on the wall reading "Feathers Woz 'Ere".
- When Piella crashes into the zoo at the start of Loaf and Death, to the right of the gate is a poster saying "One Of Our Penguins Is Missing", complete with a picture of what looks like Feathers McGraw. To the left of the gate is a ladder propped against the inside of the wall -- with a rope made of sheets hanging down the outside.
- At least one item from a previous short is hidden in every episode of the Telltale Games episodes.
- At the beginning of The Wrong Trousers, Gromit reads a newspaper which bears a headline, Moon Cheese Shares Soar.
- When Wallace leaves Gromit alone in the van in Were-Rabbit, he's parked outside a hairdressers called A Close Shave.
- There is a "have you seen this chicken?" poster with Feathers McGraw in the Were-Rabbit licensed game.
- Conveyor Belt O' Doom: The climax of A Close Shave.
- Cute Mute: Fluffles
- Darker and Edgier: Each of the main shorts compared to the one before it, but especially Loaf and Death. Piella has murdered 12 bakers, Fluffles is visibly terrified of her mistress (which implies abuse) and Piella herself dies at the end.
- Deadpan Snarker: While Gromit is usually a Silent Snarker, the duo's mutual diary - published as the Cheese Lover's Yearbook - has little typewritten notes expressing Gromit's reaction to whatever is happening. After the entries for "A Close Shave":
Wallace: Relieved to have come out of this in one piece.
- Defanged Horrors: Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
- Did Not Get the Girl: Wallace on three occasions.
- The Dog Bites Back: Literally in the case of Fluffles.
- Dramatic Thunder: Piella's house. Also, the "a bullet" scene from Were-Rabbit.
Wallace: Where?…Aah! (Ducks)
- Early Installment Weirdness: The first short was much more surreal than all of the others.
- Efficient Displacement: Wallace in Loaf and Death, Gromit in one of the Cracking Contraptions shorts, and the Were-Rabbit in Curse of the Were-Rabbit.
- Epiphany Therapy: Fluffles in Loaf and Death.
- Fan Disservice: We get to see Wallace's buttocks in "A Matter of Loaf and Death".
- Finger-Twitching Revival: Or, robotic-foot-twitching.
- Freeze-Frame Bonus: This is a stop-motion animated series, after all.
- Fun with Acronyms: The comic "Anoraknophobia" has SPARROW - an operation to Steal, Pilfer And Recklessly Requisition Other People's Work. Wallace gets somewhat sidetracked by there being only one P in "Sparrow".
- Genius Ditz / Mad Scientist: Wallace's inventions range from malfunctioning Rube Goldberg-esque devices to clever and groundbreaking gadgets -- which also have a tendency to malfunction. Notably, he seems more competent in the feature film than in most of the shorts.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: So, so many Double Entendres in Were-Rabbit… In the majority of the adventures, really. One particularly nice example is the scene in Loaf and Death when Wallace and Piella are feeding ducks. Their hands meet in the bag of bread and then it cuts to loaves of bread rising.
Wallace: I'm in bread myself!
- Towards the end of Were-Rabbit Wallace is left clothes-less after transforming back to human, so he grabs a handy cheese box to hold front of his private bits. The box has a "May contain nuts" label on it.
- Lady Tottingham inviting Wallace to see her secret garden is probably the most risque.
- Girl of the Week: All of Wallace's love interests.
- Gold Digger
- Gone Horribly Wrong: About 1/3 of Wallace's inventions, due to accidents (e.g. The Rabbit Rehabilitator), or misuse (e.g. the Power Trousers).
- Gone Horribly Right: Another 1/3 of Wallace's inventions. (e.g. the time Wallace wanted to pump up some honeybees with Muscle-Gro to make them super-efficient honey-producers, and wound up making giant bees that rampaged all over town)
- Hammerspace: As befitting the trope, the Telltale Wallace & Gromit games feature this, truly reaching a ridiculous point when Wallace uproots incredibly large flowers and somehow stuffs them into his pockets.
- Hikikomori - Mr. Gabberly, although he is willing to shout at people quite a bit. His hobby thus far seems to be raising birds.
- Homemade Inventions: The series trademark, and the propellant for most of the plots. Cracking Contraptions is exclusively about these.
- Human Ladder: Well, sort of. It's a Sheep Ladder, in A Close Shave.
- Hurricane of Puns: Ooh yeah. Besides the canine-themed titles of the books Gromit reads constantly, in Loaf and Death there's a a play on bakery words every so often. The climax of Were-Rabbit is also very groan-heavy.
- Not to mention all of the cheese-themed classic titles behind which Wallace's secret cheese dish is hidden.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick: Gromit.
- Identical Grandson: The Prickly Thicket Country Club has portraits of people involved in the founding of the club centuries before: Rory MacBiscuit, the Duchess Flitt, Witlace and Gimlet. They look remarkably similar to Duncan MacBiscuit, Felicity Flitt, Wallace, and Gromit, respectively.
- Intellectual Animal / Speech-Impaired Animal: Gromit and Fluffles, though they both make barely audible whining sounds at points.
- The Jeeves: Gromit acts as Wallace's valet, ready to do his master's bidding at the touch of a button: "Slippers, Breakfast, Newspaper, Walkies." Like every good Jeeves, though, his real job is to keep his Cloudcuckoolander boss out of harm's way.
- Also Jeeves-like are his highly expressive eyebrows.
- Kick the Dog: A literal, yet surprisingly subtle example. Piella kicks Fluffles twice before her true nature is revealed, yet both times the action could be interpreted as her nudging the poodle to greet Wallace. Of course, Fluffles downcast personality gives the game away to the audience, but not to Wallace.
- Lampshade Hanging: from Loaf and Death
"Ow! Wallace, he bit me!" Gromit has no mouth.
- Dog bite marks are also completely different from human bite marks, but Wallace is so enamored, he probably would have seen whatever Piella wanted at that point.
- Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: Locking Gromit in the balloon storeroom.
- Man in a Kilt: Duncan McBiscuit.
- Meaningful Name: Wallace can be diminutised as "Wally", a slang term for a naïve or foolish person. A grommet is a rubber ring used to seal the edge of a hole, to stop it chafing the insulation of wires passed through the hole.
- Minimalist Cast: In all of the films except for Were-Rabbit, only characters relevant to the plot make an appearance. This meant that A Grand Day Out and Wrong Trousers had a cast of only three, of which only one (Wallace) has a speaking part.
- Mini-Mecha: With oven mitts.
- Mood Whiplash: Loaf and Death is made of this.
- New Neighbors As the Plot Demands: In The Curse of the Were-Rabbit and the Telltale games.
- Newspaper-Thin Disguise: Several of them.
- No Mouth: Gromit
- Only Sane Dog: Gromit. Lampshaded in the church scene in Were-Rabbit
Lord Victor Quartermaine: How on earth would those tiny-minded buffoons ever catch such a big rabbit?
- Oop North: Specifically, Oop in Lancashire (though Wallace's accent is actually Yorkshire). Kept vague until Loaf and Death, when Gromit tries to dispose of a bomb by throwing it across the Yorkshire border.
- A deleted scene from Curse of the Were-Rabbit shows him dumping all the rabbits Wallace was catching over the border into Yorkshire.
- Multiple characters affectionately address Gromit as "Chuck". In context it's something like "dear" and is a local colloquialism.
- The Other Darrin: Ben Whitehead has been increasingly acting as the voice of Wallace in recent years, most notably in the Grand Adventures series, along with a number of TV adverts featuring the duo. Fortunately Whitehead's voicing is so near to Peter Sallis that most people don't even notice the difference.
- Packed Hero: In A Close Shave, the villain intends to do this to the heroes, complete with Conveyor Belt O' Doom into a machine which produced canned dog food. In the end it is the villain who gets crushed up and delivered into the cans. Not as gruesome as it sounds, since the villain is really a robot.
- The Parody. A major feature of all the films except for the first. Although A Grand Day Out was funny and surreal, it was with the spoofing of old heist movies in The Wrong Trousers that the series found its true direction.
- Powered Armor: The Techno Trousers are at the very least half of one.
- Punny Name: Everybody bar the two mains, and trying to list them all would take most of the entry as even one-offs get names like this.
- The Red Stapler: The last of the creameries manufacturing the centuries-old Wensleydale cheese were teetering on the edge of closure in the early '90s, until they received a chance mention in A Grand Day Out. Noticing the increased interest, the creamery persuaded Aardman Animation to endorse a Wallace and Gromit-branded cheese, which worked to rebuild Wensleydale into a thriving product worldwide.
- The Stinking Bishop cheese is featured in a plot-critical moment in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Sales of this niche culinary product rose by 500% after the film was released.
- The Renaissance Age of Animation: The series premiered it's first entry in 1989 during the initial boom of animation.
- Retro Rocket: The rocket they build in A Grand Day Out.
- Ridiculously Cute Critter: No wonders why Lady Tottington doesn't want to harm the rabbits [dead link]...
- Riding Into the Sunset
- Rube Goldberg Device: Wallace's method of invention has been described by Nick Park as the equivalent of cracking a nut with a sledgehammer.
- Serious Business: The veg competition in Were-Rabbit.
- Wallace's business ventures always take otherwise mundane concepts such as window washing or baking to a ludicrous extreme to accommodate the previously mentioned Rube Goldberg Device methods he feels are necessary to do the job.
- Shout-Out: Most of Aardman's work use this with amazing frequency. Wrong Trousers contains an extended spoof of heist movies, just as Were-Rabbit parodies a number of horror tropes. Individual shout outs are so numerous as to take up a ridiculous entry length, but viewers paying close attention are well rewarded.
- Silent Partner: Gromit, who is also…
- Silent Snarker: …and it's quite shocking how expressive he is considering he is always portrayed without a mouth, leaving his eyebrows to convey all of his emotions.
- Something Else Also Rises: In "A Matter of Loaf and Death", when Wallace and Piella touch, we're treated to a shot of bread rising.
- Something That Begins With Boring: "Cheese Lover's Yearbook" has them going on a caravan holiday...where it naturally rains pretty much the whole time. Entries included "Played I Spy with Gromit all day" and "There are 756 flowers on the wallpaper in the caravan".
- Spin-Off: Shaun the Sheep got his own TV series.
- Station Ident: To mark the showing of Loaf and Death, BBC 1 ran a number of specially-filmed 'Wallace and Gromit' idents during Christmas 2008.
- This was done way back in 1995, with several Christmas-themed idents for BBC 2.
- Super Multi-Purpose Room: Basically every room in Wallace's house has built-in intricate mechanisms and contraptions to help Wallace and Gromit wake up, get dressed, effortlessly get seated for breakfast, get the breakfast prepared, get into their car, and and and ... See To the Batpole
- Technology Porn: Wallace's inventions- elaborate, ridiculous, and oh so fun to watch.
- Take That: Gromit is trying to dispose of a bomb at the end of Loaf and Death. He goes to one window--there are cute little ducks in the pond underneath. He goes to another window--nuns collecting charity for kittens. He goes to a third--the Yorkshire border. He prepares to throw.
- Take the Wheel: In A Matter of Loaf and Death, Wallace hands the wheel off to his dog while he makes a death-defying leap to save a bread heiress.
- Title Drop:
- In The Wrong Trousers, Wallace himself yells the title once he realizes he's wearing them.
- In A Close Shave when Gromit programs the machine to give Preston a "Close Shave".
- Too Dumb to Live: Wallace has been close to death far too often, mostly due to his absent-mindedness, and not paying attention to Gromit's warnings.
- To the Batpole: A Close Shave, the feature film Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and A Matter of Loaf and Death all feature our heroes suiting up via a Heath Robinson-esque process, depicted in all its absurd detail. A Close Shave had Wallace going through a similar scene; Gromit then simply walks through a door from the kitchen, rolling his eyes. An earlier example is established in The Wrong Trousers: Wallace apparently begins every day with his bed tilting up and dropping him into a trapdoor from his upstairs bedroom to a chair at the dining room table, with mechanical arms providing a costume change. Both of these examples are intended as direct references to Gerry Anderson and Thunderbirds.
- There is also aTracey Island gag involving a rotating fishpond.
- Trademark Favorite Food: Cheese, particularly Wensleydale, is Wallace's favorite, but he's also pretty enthusiastic about toast.
- Violent Glaswegian: Duncan McBiscuit from Grand Adventures.
- The Voiceless: All of the non-human characters, except for when the rabbits howl at the moon, and cry when Wallace is believed dead in Curse of the Were-Rabbit. Gromit himself makes a few audible yelps and growls in The Wrong Trousers"
- Hutch in Were-Rabbit is another exception.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The name of the town is never given, though freeze-framing reveals Wallace's post is addressed to Wigan. A poster in Loaf And Death also shows a performance of Carmen taking place at the "Wigan Palais". And the van in Wererabbit has a Wigan A-Z.
- Who's on First?: The hare you'll find is much bigger.
- Why Do You Keep Changing Jobs?: Wallace has currently worked on-screen as a window cleaner, an exterminator, a baker and a television presenter.
- In the Grand Adventures games, a beekeeper, runner of an indoor holiday resort, ice-cream vendor and detective.
- Wounded Gazelle Gambit: Piella pulls a quite unnerving one on Gromit, biting her own arm.
- "R for rain featured regularly"