Do you remember Wile E. Coyote? If you don't, please read the bracketed portion. Otherwise, skip ahead.
[For those who missed The Bugs Bunny & Tweety Show, its four decades of predecessors on television and obviously the first run of the Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies shorts in the theaters, Wile E. Coyote was a cartoon coyote juxtaposed to his intended prey, a cartoon road runner named the Road Runner. It was a "cat and mouse" cartoon playing out in expansive desert landscapes, the epitome of American cinema's 'cut to the chase' disguised in a philosophical rehash of the story of Tantalus and the play between insatiable hunger and unobtainable satiation.
The Road Runner is impossibly fast; Coyote is impossibly hungry. Coyote resorts to elaborate traps and schemes to capture his prey, and they all, inevitably, explode (sometimes literally) in his face.]
When I watched Wile E. Coyote, even as a child, I was always struck by how much he ordered from the Acme catalog without ordering food (or ordering something with the intention of trading it for food). He was supposedly starving. In one of my favorite Maltese/Jones shorts, "There They Go-Go-Go!" Coyote is introduced forming mud into the shape of a chicken and baking it. Later in the cartoon, he orders a rocket.
You could argue Acme didn't sell food, except they did. Birdseed is food. You could argue that there was no one for miles and miles to trade with, but the guy could order rockets, jet packs and various vehicles, not to mention the fact that every time he painted a tunnel or laid down a piece of railroad track, he could hail a truck or train.
My only conclusion is that it was the principle of the thing. "It's principalities in dis," as Big Worm would say.
And after the first half of this season, I'm starting to see Randy Carlyle as a tragic Wile E. Coyote figure. His team failing to show up for entire periods is the delayed explosion in the Coyote's well-placed grenade. The players making elementary mistakes in his gameplan is the "does not work on road runners" fine print on his Earthquake Pills. And Ryan Getzlaf going through a performance slump for all 25 of the minutes he gets from his coach is akin to the laws of physics betraying the Coyote every time a heavy rock is in play.
You want to blame physics, fine print, poorly manufactured explosives, but really, none of us do. We don't feel sorry for Wile E. Coyote. Maybe it's because we see predators as devious, maybe it's because we see the Road Runner as mischievous but endearing. Personally, I have no sympathy for someone going about things all wrong. That road is meant to be harder, if not impossible.
I'm not saying Carlyle is going about things all wrong, but he's the one ordering from the Acme catalog and setting the mise en place on the ice. If one more anvil falls on his head, you have to wonder.