Blending wit, slapstick and pop culture references, the variety show "Animaniacs" features a large cast of characters, whose predominant personalities are the Warner brothers, Yakko and Wakko, and their sister, Dot - three inseparable siblings - who have a great time creating havoc and mayhem in the lives of everyone they meet. The series, which originally ran from 1993-98, also features a number of comedic educational segments, often in musical form.
Why They're Zany To The Max
- Memorable soundtrack, especially the catchy theme song.
- Great voice acting, with veteran actors such as Rob Paulsen as Yakko and Pinky, Jess Harnell as Wakko and Walter Wolf, Tress MacNeille as Dot, and Maurice LaMarche as Brain being standouts.
- Very well written humor, with clever running gags such as the guard chasing the Warners always failing to capture them, so the Warners do it themselves.
- Hidden adult jokes that kids wouldn't find out about until adulthood. Whenever one of these jokes occurred, Yakko would shout out, "Good night, everybody!"
- Numerous pop culture references for the time that are fun to point out and aren't shoved down your throat, such as The Godfather, despite the characters of the Goodfeathers being a trio of Italian-American pigeons.
- Very good character designs, especially for Brain, Squit, Slappy, and the Warners themselves.
- Good and colorful animation and backgrounds since it was done by TMS, Wang, Akom and/or Startoons.
- It often makes fun of history in often hilarious ways, including the Medieval Times.
- It has parodied several celebrities, including Jerry Lewis, and the widely mocked Barney the Dinosaur, that even the Warners are afraid of.
- As stated in the plot, there are numerous segments, which offered a very wide range of likable characters, each of which has so many great things going for them, some of them include Pinky and the Brain, Minerva Mink, The Good Feathers, Rita and Runt, Buttons and Mindy, Slappy and Skippy Squirrel, and especially the Warner Trio.
- Memorable characters.
- Several catchy and great musical numbers, such as "Yakko's World", "The Anvil Song" and "Wakko's America".
- It's a great throwback to the Golden Age of Animation such as the works of Chuck Jones, Bob Clampett, Max and Dave Fleischer, and Tex Avery.
- Due to the success of the lab mouse duo, Warner Bros. decided to receive Pinky and the Brain their very own show, which was incredibly popular.
- All of the characters appears as guest stars in the Pinky and the Brain series finale Star Warners, as well some characters of Freakazoid! that appearing in cameo.
- In Freakazoid!, Wakko, Pinky, Brain and the Mime appear in some episodes.
- The character Freakazoid from the animated series of the same name appears in a cameo in the episode This Pun for Hire.
- Lots of funny gags, slapstick comedies and interesting episodes with various memorable characters like the Warner Trio, Pinky and the Brain, The Good Feathers and Slappy and Skippy Squirrel.
- There are various characters from Looney Tunes and Tiny Toon Adventures that appear as guest stars or cameos in the series.
- Some characters, such as Pinky and the Brain and The Good Feathers, are considered the most loved by fans.
- Funny misfortune gags focusing The Mime and Mr. Skullhead.
- Mainly in the first two seasons, Animaniacs is extremely funny.
- The revival can be just as good as the original, with clean animation, continuing things from where the original left off, and giving in some catchy songs.
- The 1993 series ended on a good note for only two things. The episode, "The Animaniacs Suite" and the movie, "Wakko's Wish".
- Overuse of innuendos and sex jokes (albeit cleverly hidden), despite it being a kids' show (especially the "fingerprints" joke).
- Some of the humor and pop culture references haven't quite aged well. This is especially apparent in the Kids' WB seasons, which notoriously overused 1990s pop culture references.
- There are also some toilet humor here and there, especially for the "Potty Emergency" scene.
- The Katie Ka-Boom cartoons are officially considered the highly-hated segment of the series, due to the dark nature, humorless, poor writing and extreme toilet humor.
- Mr. Plotz is a very unlikable character, mainly due to his mean-spirited nature to the Warners, but we're okay with that because he's a comedic punching bag.
- Some other characters can also be unlikable, such as Katie Ka-Boom (probably the worst character in the entire show).
- While most of the Warners' humiliation towards antagonists are usually justified, they some times attack other characters even at the slightest provocation or if they didn’t do anything to the Warners.
- While Flavio and Marita aren't exactly unlikable characters, many of there cartoons are rather bland.
- Even some fan favorites like Minerva Mink can be seen as unlikable, mainly because she's shallow, vain, greedy, and very hypocritical at best (although, they at least tried to give her SOME sympathy by being tired of all the men fawning over her when doing menial stuff, but still).
- While the animation was decent, only a few studios provided consistent animation.
- The worst of these animators has to be the Freelance Animators, as they constantly go off-model. One of the worst offenders was "Chalkboard Bungle", where the Warners' legs were missing in some scenes.
- AKOM has also done some pretty ugly animation most of the time due to how stiff the animation is. They were fired in the final season due to this.
- While Wang Film Production's animation for the show may be passable most of the time, the way they draw the Warners can be a little flatulent and awkward at times (mostly in the Kids' WB episodes, where their animation quality was starting to slip), and it looks like that they gave the Warners wrinkles and eyebrows.
- While TMS Entertainment usually provided solid animation, they made a few mistakes in episodes like "H.M.S. Yakko" and "Roll Over, Beethoven", which were far more off-model than their usual work.
- A lot like Chuck Jones' directed cartoons from Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies, some scenes just come to a halt and there are just characters making expressions.
- Although "Yakko's World" and "The President's Song" are complete classics of songs, they do have inaccuracies for respective points mentioned in two videos pointing out geographic and historical inaccuracies.
- Seasons 3 to 5 (while decent) experienced a small dip in quality (mostly in the Warner segments, where their premises noticeably got thinner). Though it's decline was nowhere as noticeable to the point the original show would hit seasonal rot/become genuinely bad due to how minor the decline is, unlike those other shows that suffered through seasonal rot.
- When it first aired on Nickelodeon from 2001 to 2004 it used the 1984 Nickelodeon shield logo and then it breaks before the theme song began with the voices of The Warners high pitched.
The popularity of Animaniacs along with Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers helped make Fox Kids a well-known name for kids in the era of 90s Saturday Morning programming, as the opening scene from the 2020 revival ended up being viral as some of them uploaded to YouTube as a remix and the first part and the last part of the theme "It's time for..." and "We're Animany, totally Insaney." ended up became an internet meme.
- Ikue Otani, the voice of Pikachu, has voiced Dot Warner in the Japanese dub of the series.
- There were some jokes that not only focused on pop culture, but also on shows that rivaled them like Bonkers for example.
- The "fingerprints" joke from "Hercule Yakko" was never actually intended to get into the episode, but rather thrown in as a censor decoy (a technique used to distract the censors from other inappropriate content). Tom Ruegger said "I mean, we've obviously put that in, and we just said, 'Oh, let the censor have a laugh and call us.' And I guess the censor was away that week, because that's still in there. It's amazing."