SUMMARY: The Coyote and Road Runner continue their chase.
WHY IT’S HERE: By the time Chuck Jones directed ‘Guided Muscle’, the seventh Road Runner cartoon, he had already perfected the formula. The previous two cartoons, ‘Stop, Look and Hasten’ and ‘Ready, Set, Zoom’ were both amongst the best cartoons in the entire Road Runner series, with the latter staking a convincing claim to being the best of the entire bunch. One might ask if Jones could justify continuing a series that threatened to get repetitive. Perhaps surprisingly, however, Jones’s stringent rule that the characters must always remain in their natural desert habitat ensured that the series stayed fresh. While Friz Freleng’s Sylvester and Tweety series quickly went stale thanks to the same routines being replayed in different settings, the constant location of the Road Runner cartoons pushed writer Michael Maltese to come up with more and more inventive jokes and Chuck Jones to direct them with more and more inventive flair. So ‘Guided Muscle’ keeps the series right at the top of its game with ample hilarious gags enhanced by glorious reaction shots from the Coyote, whose relationship with the audience was now established beyond doubt. As well as being stuffed with great gags, ‘Guided Muscle’ continues the run of more inventive opening and closing segments. There’s a brilliant opening set-up in which the Coyote prepares a tin can for consumption as if it were the finest delicacy known to man but fails to fight off the reality of the situation when he finally sits down to eat it. There’s also a delightful ending in which he finally reaches breaking point and effectively tenders his resignation!