Read The Article That Inspired Coyote Vs. Acme

Ladies and gentlemen, it's common knowledge that Wile E. Coyote, Super Genius, has gotten the short end of the stick from the fictional Acme (a creation of animator Chuck Jones). Out in the unforgiving Southwest desert, there is no Target or Woolworth's, so the furry doggo has no choice but to send away for his own weapons of singular destruction. The company's mail-order products, from anvils to giant kites to nitroglycerin, are purported to help predators catch their prey by land, sea, and air, as well as biological warfare if the occasion calls for it, so why has the shifty Road Runner successfully eluded, nay humiliated, the weary canine for all these years?

With the news that John Cena has been cast in the upcoming Dave Green-directed movie "Coyote vs. Acme" featuring the looney 'toon, a famous 1990 humor article by Ian Frazier has emerged from the New Yorker — it served as the inspiration for screenwriter Samy Burch to pen the Warner Bros. feature. We know so far that the feature tells the story of a (human) attorney who takes on Coyote as a client in his suit against Acme over its defective products; he then finds out that his boss at his former law firm is representing Acme. Cena's role is as the former boss, indicating that we might get a family-friendly courtroom drama, like "Kramer vs. Kramer" with hair growth tonic and exploding cigars. The article alone is worth a read, as it plays cartoon absurdities straight and because it might provide clues as to what we can expect from the live-action/animated hybrid flick.

Planned obsolescence, or user incompetence?

Frazier's piece is more of a cheeky document in the straight-faced style of Mark Twain; it sets forth Case No. B19294 in the United States District Court of Tempe, Arizona (where Wile E. Coyote is clearly from, common knowledge dictates), with Judge Joan Kujava presiding over the proceedings. After decades of botched missions to capture and consume his prey the Road Runner, the plaintiff, Coyote, has filed suit against the retail manufacturer Acme Company for damages sustained in these failed attempts, and for "personal injuries, loss of business income, and mental suffering."

In a massive, public self-own, the suit cites some of Coyote's more infamous blunders among a whopping 85 separate incidents, including the Rocket Skates incident. Therein, the plaintiff asserts, poor regard for passenger safety resulted in a harrowing injury: "Mr. Coyote lost control of the Rocket Skates soon after strapping them on, and collided with a roadside billboard so violently as to leave a hole in the shape of his full silhouette." While a world chuckled at the slapstick shenanigans, Coyote persisted, because this isn't a game. Wile is out here to survive, and Acme has actively sabotaged that personal mandate with their faulty products. Listing a myriad of inadequate embarrassments from giant rubber bands to springy boots to Burmese tiger traps, Coyote's team makes a strong case for reaffirming their client's rights as both super genius consumer and vicious predator, but Cena's courtroom rival could have an ace up their sleeve in terms of ... the plaintiff's consistent, lifelong incompetence.  In fact, any lawyer worth their salt would posit that without Acme, the feckless Coyote might not have even come as close as he constantly has to earning his daily meal.

Hard to speculate at this point, but it's hard to imagine the Road Runner, who has made a career of escaping danger, doing anything but "Meep! Meep!"-ing his way out of the room without consequence.