If you don’t remember Animaniacs, I’m sorry. Was it tough growing up in a tool shed with no windows?
I’m hesitant to say that this Steven Spielberg driven show was ahead of its time but… it wasn’t. Something as brilliant and popular as Animaniacs only could have existed in the 90’s and the truth is that the quality of writing on cartoons since hasn’t been to the same level of comedy. Week in and week out Animaniacs introduced characters completely new to the WB canon without dipping into its considerable vault of IP like The Looney Toons and you never found yourself thinking, “man I wish Bugs Bunny were here.”
The show followed Wakko, Yakko and Dot, the Warner Brothers and the Warner Sister (three “forgotten” characters from the golden age of film) as they ran amuck around the WB Lot. You hear a lot of about cartoons that can be enjoyed by adults or cartoons that adults can appreciate but the brilliance of this show was that it was written for adults.
Sure, it had plenty of slapstick and whacky moments for kids but what child would understand callbacks and references to Jerry Lewis? As someone who loves Old Hollywood stories I can’t get enough of the in-jokes the writers put into this show. For Christ’s sake, they even have The Brain, which is an impersonation of Orson Welles, recreating Orson Welles’ Frozen Peas outtakes!
Which brings me to the cavalcade of characters this show could hang its hat on. There was Slappy The Squirrel, Pinky & The Brain, The Goodfeathers, Rita and Runt, Buttons and Mindy and they were all solid! This show must have been a dream come true for any voice actor or writer because the options that you could explore in any one of these stories is immense. I could probably do an entire article on Pinky & The Brain but truth be told I loved this show so wholly that only bringing one of its segments back, regardless of how brilliant it was, is a crime against humanity.
I’ve got multiple volumes of Animaniacs but even watching an episode here and there doesn’t do the series justice. If you enjoy film, comedy, cartoons, or the 90’s then buy a couple volumes on DVD and enjoy.
And because I’d be remise to skip these.
What was your favorite Animaniacs moment?