Not Bad: A Closer Look at Jessica Rabbit

34 years after the film’s release, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? still maintains a hold on popular culture. One character in particular dominates: not Roger himself, but his glamorous spouse Jessica Rabbit. In this special blog post, we’ll examine the animated beauty’s enduring popularity — and how she’s more than meets the eye.

Drawn That Way

Let’s get it out of the way: Jessica Rabbit has an eye-catching design. She sports a glittering red dress that wraps around her hourglass figure, wide hips, and notable curves. A bang of her orange hair covers one eye, and her red lips are full. There are many ways to describe it, but this family-friendly blog will stick with “attractive.” That’s not simply personal opinion: almost every character in the film loses their mind over her appearance.  

Much about the nature of the toons’ existence has no explanation within the movie. That includes why they look the way they do. In creating a pseudo-femme fatale, the real-life animation team based Jessica’s look on various actresses from Hollywood’s Golden Age. They also took inspiration from animated characters, like the star of Tex Avery’s classic MGM cartoon Red Hot Riding Hood — also a nightclub performer. It’s also a great joke: unlike Minnie Mouse and Daisy Duck, Jessica Rabbit looks nothing like her male counterpart.

In the context of film noir, which the movie parodies, characters who look like her are often femme fatales, who betray husbands and mislead detectives. As Who Framed Roger Rabbit? proceeds, Jessica Rabbit becomes the top suspect for the murders of Toontown power players. She turns out to be good all along, getting caught up in incriminating scenes just to protect her husband’s life and career. Her most famous quote highlights the upended expectation: “I’m not bad. I’m just drawn that way.”

Believe It, Buster

Those who know Jessica Rabbit more by reputation than from the movie may dismiss her as eye candy. That’s her reputation within the movie, too, and she doesn’t take pleasure in it. At one point, a villain tries putting his paws where they don’t belong. He suffers for it, and it’s funny, but why do you think she feels the need to prepare a “booby trap?” At another point, she mentions a “heavy breather” asking for a gross souvenir. “You don’t know how hard it is,” she says, “being a woman looking the way I do.”

There really is more to Jessica Rabbit than just being pretty. As we said, she is morally upright, playing a major part in what ultimately becomes a fight to save all Toontown from Judge Doom. She is also a loyal partner. Though Jessica could win just about anyone’s heart, she gave hers to Roger simply because “He makes me laugh.” Being funny matters more than being conventionally good-looking. It makes us wish the pretty woman had been permitted just one “ugly laugh” in the film.

Jessica Rabbit is also clever and formidable in her own right. She provides Eddie Valiant with much of the info needed to solve the question that gave the movie its name. Disney recently decided to emphasize that side as part of an update to the Disneyland ride Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin. Her animatronic now sports a snappy trenchcoat and fedora. The nightclub singer is now a detective in her own right. However you feel about that, one thing’s clear: there’s more to Jessica Rabbit than what you see.

Roger and Jessica Rabbit Pins at Your WDW Store

Who Framed Roger Rabbit? as a whole and Jessica Rabbit in particular remain popular among Disney fans. Pin collectors can find some fun additions to their collection featuring this character and her husband right here at Your WDW Store.