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QUESTION: why do they need to make jessica rabbit a sex symbol i know its for roger rabbit to fondle over but how do they expect that to please human audiences

ANSWER: Dear Avi, there are several possible reasons why Jessica Rabbit was made a sex symbol in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit." The first reason is that it fits the comedy--the film is a parody of classic 1940s film noir detective stories, and Jessica is drawn to resemble the femme fatale character which usually is in such story.  As such, her look (especially her hair, makeup and costume) is a blend of famous femme fatales Rita Hayworth, Veronica Lake, and Lauren Bacall,  according to animation director Richard Williams.

Williams also notes a second reason for the look of Jessica Rabbit--because the film also pays homage to the classic screwball cartoons that played before the features in movie theatres of the 1940s (many of which were geared to grownups), she also is based on the cartoon vixen Red from the famous 1943 Tex Avery cartoon "Red Hot Riding Hood" (a cartoon also parodied by the Jim Carrey film "The Mask"). In particular, Jessica's nightclub performance copies a similar nightclub performance by Red. Because Jessica is not a rabbit, but a human woman married to a rabbit, it did cause a bit of talk and raised eyebrows at the time, but most audience members understood it to be part of the joke (especially since the character gives her famous line, "I'm not bad, I'm just drawn this way"). In addition, a similar human/animal connection did exist in the earlier cartoon--Red is ogled by and even fondled by the Wolf, who is trying desperately to get a date with her. In other words, it was a comic cartoon convention accepted by audiences at the time.

With its PG rating, Zemeckis's 1988 film is not meant just for children, but also for adults who would have grown up seeing all the different cartoon characters in the film, and who would be more likely to catch both the parody and the homage allusions. Those adults, especially the men, also could appreciate Jessica Rabbit's exaggerated physical charms (but even many women would find it humorous--I did). As both movie and advertising executives know, sex sells. It is the same reason Hollywood leading actresses are made to look as attractive as possible in most films. This reason is underscored by the fact Jessica's voice was provided by an uncredited actress Kathleen Turner, who played a sultry temptress role in the 1981 film "Body Heat," as well as a comic role as a romance author caught up in adventures in "Romancing the Stone.  Certainly male audiences in 1988 would not miss making the connection, as she has a distinctive voice.

Finally, this was a big budget cartoon with Stephen Spielberg's name behind it as Executive Producer, directed by Robert Zemickis, who was already a big name by the time this film was released (he had directed "Back to the Future" and "Romancing the Stone" before this film). Since this film was a big hit in 1988, I'm thinking audiences were quite pleased with the cleverness of the movie, as well as with its big technical achievements of blending human live action and old time cel animation in a new, unique way (this was a big deal--well before any believable computer animation or CGI effects). It is due to this achievement that the film won the Oscars that it did, along with numerous other awards.

But, comedy is often personal, and what appeals to one person, or a group of people, may not please another, especially someone seeing the film today, who might not be aware of the contextual background and thus not fully appreciate the achievement of these moviemakers, or the many allusions made within the film.

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QUESTION: ok and it was still funny but in the original movie which you can't see on the dvd where she falls out of the car in a chase and her nipple shows

Well, there is no question here so I'm not sure what type of response you are expecting. If you have a follow up question, please clarify and resend. However, if you are just making an observation, then I will make one back. I do not recall this particular scene in the film. However, it has been awhile since I've seen it. If this did happen in the original film shown in 1988, I'm guessing it was an in-joke by the animators. But I wasn't one of them, so I can't say for sure.  

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Barbara L. Baker


I am a professor of communication at a midwest university, who has expertise on subjects related to film. I can answer general questions on U.S. film comedy (especially satires of the 1960s and 1970s) and comic theory. I also could answer questions related to specific comic genres, such as comedian comedies, screwball comedies, "stupid" comedies, and so forth. The more specific you can make your question, the better (e.g. main plot details, main characters, possible character names, possible actors, how you viewed the show, etc.). I also need to have a release date (or range of dates, or at least the year you viewed the film). Please do not just provide a set of links to someplace else (e.g. imdb discussion threads). I am less able to answer questions about comedies from other countries, made-for-TV movies, and recent comic films and actors (although I would do my best to find out). I cannot answer questions about specific TV shows or series, "Our Gang" episodes, anime/magna or about film collectables. I generally cannot provide movie recommendations, since what I find funny others may not. Nor will I answer obvious homework (although I will point you to resources to help answer the question, if asked). I also can't help you find movie stars, or where to buy movie memorabilia, or tell you how to break into the business.


Course work in comedy films along with teaching about comedy films for several years; I've also conducted research into comedy films.

Ph.D. in Communication, emphasis in film and rhetoric

Awards and Honors
A dissertation award from a national organization plus various paper awards

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