Animaniacs Reboot: Hit or Miss?
Animaniacs Reboot Season 1 Review
If you could one show on TV to represent the 90s, what would it be? There were lots of greats: Bel-Air, Rugrats, Rocko, Beavis and Butthead, to name a few. However, the show that epitomized (and mocked) 90s culture had to be Animaniacs. Five years, eight Daytime Emmys, a Peabody Award, and dozens of songs; it was amazing!
The irony here is that I never got to enjoy Animaniacs in its first run. Consequence of being born mid-decade, I guess. I ended up becoming a fan of it when it came on Netflix many years later, but I never got to enjoy the show in the same way so many millennials could. Then Hulu announced they were rebooting the show in 2020, and I got on the Animaniacs band-wagon. Now, having watched the majority of the first season on Hulu, what’s my verdict on the Warner’s comeback?
Uhhh, it’s alright, but it doesn’t reach the same heights that it does in the 90s.
Cons to Animaniacs Reboot
To get them out of the way, let’s talk about the cons to this reboot, so as to make the pros look better in comparison
The World’s Crazier Than in 1998
Firstly, the biggest con to the Animaniacs returning after twenty-two years is the world they come back to. As we all know, the last few years have been, in a nutshell, crazy. Donald Trump became President, COVID-19’s running rampant, and Disney won’t stop making live action adaptations of their 90s films. When faced with the chaos of the 21st century, the Warners find themselves inadvertedly cast into a role they never thought they’d play: the sane people.
I’m not joking. In one episode where they try and learn who ate Yakko’s fancy donuts, they confront the CEO of Warner Bros (who’s now a woman) and ask if she did it. She just laughs like a madwoman and rants about not wanting to waste her chance of “reaching the singularity.” Its so disturbing even the Warners get freaked out and bail. That’s how far we’ve come, people! Society may be even crazier than the Animaniacs!
Anothero this is the now downsized cast. Back in the 90s, the show had plenty of other characters to work off of: the Goodfeathers, Slappy Squirrel, Rita and Runt, and more. The reboot boils it down to the Warners and Pinky and the Brain, which quickly leads them to get burned out. The Warners themselves lampshade this midway through the season by admitting they’re low on ideas. Silver lining: the writers give an explanation as to what happened to the rest of the cast that is pretty funny.
Too Much Political Humor, Not Enough Entertainment
So, apparently the reboot’s showrunner is someone by the name of Wellesley Wild, a former producer for Family Guy. From the looks of it, he chose to inject some of the humor of that show into the Animaniacs reboot. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, since Family Guy has had some great episodes over the years. But Family Guy’s style of humor doesn’t lend well to the zaniness of the Warner Siblings.
For example, one segment, “Bun Control” has the Warners dealing with this fanatical bunny farmer who wants everyone to have as many buns as possible. It’s a thinly-veiled jab at the gun-control debate, but beyond the need to create a pun, it doesn’t really make sense.
Pros of the Animaniacs Reboot
So, the reboot doesn’t reach the heights that the show did during its original run. However, it does have a few redeeming qualities to it.
All the Original Actors Return and Give Their All
The most obvious pro is the fact that all of the original cast chose to return to their roles. And from what I’ve seen from the actor’s Twitter accounts, they gave it their all when reprising their roles. I can imagine Rob Paulsen, Tress MacNeille, and Jess Harnell sitting in the recording booths and having the time of their lives as they play the Warners once more. Say what you will, but you can tell that this reboot isn’t being done just for the money. They’re doing it because they want to and they enjoy it. As far as I care, doing something because you want to is the best reason to do it in the first place.
They Know They’re selling out.
At the end of the reboot’s first episode, the Warners give a PSA about how reboots are a consequence of a lack of creativity in the entertainment business. They then immediately and shamelessly show off the money they got from the reboot while the narrator calls them sell-outs.
I couldn’t help but laugh my butt off at that joke. Because, as Wakko puts it, they’re well aware that they’re selling out and contributing to the problem. But what makes it acceptable and hilarious is that they’re well aware of their hypocrisy . It’s that kind of self-awareness that I enjoy seeing.
They May Bring Back the Rest of the Old Cast
Right now, the Animaniacs reboot has a contract for two seasons on Hulu. If it does well, which I think it will, then Hulu will likely give it more seasons. Which is good, because I heard about this on Twitter.
You hear that, people? If you want to help get the show grow to reach its past glory, then support it as much as you can.
A Decent Addition to the Reboots of Recent Years.
All in all, I think that the reboot of Animaniacs is pretty decent. It doesn’t hit the same highs that original did, and it relies a bit too much on contemporary humor. But there’s no denying that it’s got heart to it and is willing to grow and learn. If fans are lucky, this may be the start of a second successful run for a new generation. It worked for DuckTales! after all, so it could work for Animaniacs.
But seriously, I want them to add more of the original cast back in. I miss Slappy Squirrel!
I Give the First Season of the Animaniacs Reboot a 3.5/5
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