Animaniacs (1993-1998) is one of the great cartoon classics from the 90’s! For many, it will never lose its touch; even in the face of an upcoming reboot from Hulu. Let’s look at what brought us in to watch Animaniacs every week and brings us back again years later!
(7.) Celebrity “Cameos” –
What with the show being so often set on the Warner Bros. studio lot, we were bound to run into some celebrities here and there! It was always funny seeing satires of the then popular celebs as they made their way through the goings-on of those wacky Warners! I’ll always remember the William Shatner parody “Willie Slakmer” and that children’s sing-along the Warners have to endure and destroy him in. And honestly, I laugh out loud every time seeing the Jerry Lewis-style clown get taken down by Wakko.
(6.) “Good Idea, Bad Idea” –
The laughs and the lessons we picked up from the “Good Idea, Bad Idea” sections of the show! We’d watch the poor Mr. Skullhead go about his day learning the hard way what to do and, more importantly, to *not do*. For example: “Good Idea – doing your own yardwork! Bad Idea – doing your own dental work!” Sound advice.
(5.) The Goodfeathers –
Again, singling out a block of the show’s lineup; this often hilarious spoof of Goodfellas (1990) and mafia life set in pigeon goings-on as three aforementioned Goodfeathers — leader Bobby, lieutenant Pesto, and tagger-on Squit — go about their city looking for things to do worthy of birds of their feather. Often times, we see these “tough guys” get into sticky situations and get themselves pummeled before the day is done; but not before Squit manages to accidentally annoy Pesto, resulting in another fight.
(4.) The Adult Jokes –
Oh we caught them *now* as adults, but as kids these subtle-yet-naughty funnies likely flew right over our heads! Animaniacs had plenty of adult-style comedy and innuendo like so many excellent cartoons of the 90’s: whether it was the Warners washing Beethoven’s mouth for calling himself a pianist, or the infamous Prince cameo when Dot is asked about-… Well, you saw it before. But every so-often, Yakko would close the adult comedy with a kiss to the camera, saying “goodnight, everybody!”
(3.) Pinky & The Brain –
“Narf!” These two *alone* made for reason enough to watch the show! Sure the antics of the Warners was all well and good, but we all lived for the zany brainy escapades as those two Acme Lab mice — the dimwitted Pinky and his genius counterpart The Brain — set their next nightly plan into action while they tried to take over the world! Brain would devise the brilliant plans, they’d even at times nearly succeed, and then Pinky would inevitably cause a blunder that would set the two right back to square one… And we tuned in every time to see them get into more misadventures. “Are you pondering what I’m pondering?” I think so, Brain…
(2.) The Warners –
The almost top reason we watched the show: the crazy, insane, and always hilarious antics of the Warner brothers –Yakko and Wakko — and their sister Dot! We watched them hilariously (and literally) cheat Death at checkers to stay in the underworld together with their new “dadoo”; we chuckled as the kids found more funny ways of escaping and re-entering their water tower home; we split sides as they drove the poor formerly sane (but uptight) people utterly *bonkers*!
(1.) The Educational Value –
That’s right! Besides the cartoon comedy, Animaniacs produced something which we actually enjoyed then and still come back for even now all these years later on DVD or wherever we can get it: things to learn and in *fun* ways! If it wasn’t learning the nations of the world in “Yakko’s World”, we learned the states and capitols in “Wakko’s America”! Or perhaps learning about the US Presidents names in “The Presidents Song”? We remember all of this, and we always will!