I took some advice from a 5th grader at my church: watch Animaniacs. You’ll love it. I oughta listen to fifth graders more often. Here’s my thoughts on The Warner Brothers (and the Warner sister, obvi)
What I Got Hooked On
This show is not like the others. Period. Animaniacs is so unique it’s in a whole other class from most children’s shows. The nineties was experiencing an animation renaissance, reflected so well in Animaniacs.
I got hooked on the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it humor, the witty gags, the occasional innuendos (goodnight everybody), and the break-neck speed. Honestly in the very first episode, Dr. Scratchinsniff says, “Enough with za silly jokes!” To which a smarmy Yakko replies, “This isn’t a joke, this is a visual gag.”
Yakko Backwards is Okkay
In case you didn’t notice, my favorite Warner is none other than the great, smooth, smarmy talker himself. I didn’t know what to think when I heard the first chorus of, “Hellloooo nurse!” But after the “Yakko’s World” song (my actual jam) and a few smarmy jokes I was totally sold. This fast-talking toon has a comeback, one-liner, or witty response for ever scenario. He’s also responsible for most of the adult-ish jokes that unfortunately do not fly over my head. His constant flirting with Hello Nurse (Yes, that is unfortunately her canon name) and other ladies is something to laugh at, but you gotta love the confidence
Best Segments I’ve Seen
The Monkey Song
“Don’t know what to say the monkey’s won’t do!” I swear you’ll have this calypso jam stuck in your head till you die. It’s true. Doctor Scratchinsniff sings a calypso number about how the “monkeys” drive him nuts. As they torment him mercilessly, they chime in with the refrain. Easily one of the better numbers.
Oh dang, the most amazing song ever. Ironically, this fast-paced jaunt through all the nations of the world misses forty nations (including ones that existed at the time of its creation) to the tune of “The Mexican Hat Dance”. It gets faster and faster, and I love it! Rob Paulsen (the voice of Yakko) can still perform it from memory, and has added the missing countries in his own updated version.
This short is nuts. Yakko has somehow been appointed king of Anvilania (with the national anthem poking fun at Perry Como) just as a dictator declares war on the kingdom. What follows is a hilarious jaunt through how Yakko runs his kingdom, spending most of the episode being smarmy and hitting on Prime Minister Hello Nurse.
THIS. Miss Flamiel is hired to educate the Warner siblings. Features some of the sassiest lines ever (Are we clear? No we’re opaque! *snaps fingers* Now we’re clear), and a serious bit of innuendo as well (the conjugate one). This episode is packed with sass.
Yes, this contains the infamous “finger Prince” joke (I don’t think so), but that’s not why I selected it. Hercule Yakko is hands-down the best “mystery solving” episode of any cartoon. It never takes itself too seriously, for one, and the maniac pace doesn’t stop. Also features the first appearance of Minerva Mink, as Yakko has discovered.
Seems like a childish choice? You’re 100% right amigo, because the episode contains not only some of the best facial expressions of all time, but also the most relatable predicament of all time: finding a place to pee. Poor Wakko learns the hard way that finding a decent bathroom can be an actual struggle, especially if you don’t have any money on you.
I unfortunately am in a bit of a time crunch. Animaniacs has been on Netflix since forever, and they’re removing it October 1st. At the time of writing, that leaves me less than a week to get through 45 more episodes (yikes). So enjoy them while you can!