Animaniacs (2020) Season 1 Talkback Thread (Spoilers!)

Peter Paltridge

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Episode 5:
Eeeesh, this was hard to watch. A lot of people seem to love it, but for a good chunk it's implied a lot of the third-string characters are missing because THEY WERE KILLED. Don't pull a Chrono Cross, guys! Give us a little hope! And who knew Chicken Boo had such an evil streak?

They're revealed to be alive at the end, but.....wow. Did NOT need to see Skippy's frozen expression of panic or Rita's decapitated lifeless glassy eyes. Note that Colin (the Randy Beaman kid) isn't among them, likely because they did not want to imply a little boy had been mounted and stuffed. For this same reason, you never see Mindy on the wall.

This reminded me a lot of the Animaniacs comic book, where there were some truly threatening and scary villains, unlike the show where the scariest it got was Buddy. And like this new show, the comic spent most of its time on the Warners and the mice, and that fact was eventually lampshaded.
Then Pinky and the Brain were spun off into their own book and they had to use Slappy to fill the space, which was...a LOT like the old show.

If you're gonna throw out a nerdy fact, get it right. Charlton Woodchuck's appearance in Episode 74 was called "The Kid In The Lid," not "My Father The Tuna." "Tuna" was the fictional show being preempted in Episode 65 (which did star Chalton, or would have).
 

Classic Speedy

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Thoughts on episode 2:
-Best jokes for me: In the first segment, Ralph explaining the joke: "It's funny 'cause they're wet and they don't wanna be!" (fellow shipmates pat his head); in the P&TB segment: "LEEEEEROY JENKINS!" Yeah it's a dated reference but it works in the context of the scene.

-I guess I was wrong when I thought there wouldn't be as many political references as there are. Both episodes so far have had Trump caricatures/references. Of the two, the one in episode 1 was a bit more clever. The one in "Warners Unbound" basically rehashed the same yuuuuge shtick that really hasn't been relevant since The Apprentice. I will admit I laughed when the cyclops first appeared because it was unexpected, but the rest of the scene was typical "drive character crazy until they surrender" material.

-The animation tends to fluctuate all over the place. In some scenes, it's clear the animators were cutting loose and there are some dynamic poses and fluid animation. But then in the very next shot, it's barely above early 2000's era Flash in its simple movements.

-This has probably been mentioned already, but why no watertower couch gags? Those were one of the highlights of the original series.
 
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Perla Magica

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I've watched only four episodes (2, 4, 6 and 10) and I can say the revival is quite good. Still got the zany we all know from the original show.

The way the episode "Anima-Nyet" portrayed Russia as snowy and poor country was very caricatured to be honest, and the song about being yourself not copying the originals is well done. The press conference about this episode was good too.

All I can say is: that anime battle sequence in "Bun Control" and the entirety of "Suffragette City" were the best things out of the revival so far.
 

Pooky

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I've seen the first five episodes; of those the episodes either side were best. Overall I think it's pretty good, but not quite a bullseye.

It was a bit of a mistake to have historically set Warners and Pinky & the Brain shorts back to back in Episode 2 IMO.

The only out and out clunker for me so far was the bunnies episode. I don't know how exactly the metaphor was supposed to work, but it didn't. Say what you will about the "skeleton remote" episode of O.K. KO but it was a clear allegory that made sense and worked. I'm guessing the episode was the result of a compromise between the writers and the producers and\or Hulu.

I enjoyed the reveals in the fifth episode.
 

zoombie

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The one question I have, and the episodes differ one way or another, who is older? Dot or Wacko? I always Dot was the older one, I am not sure.

So the 22 year time jump for Punky and The Brain, does that mean, the living with Elmyra series is not canon. Was it all a horrible dream?
 

zoombie

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Up to episode 8

I think we all got to talk about that Pinky and The Brain episode. Wow maybe the worst written episode of Pinky and the Brain ever. Maybe worse than the Elmyra's episodes, maybe. Half way Brain just crosses the line and becomes a villain. Whoever wrote this episode, just doesn't get it. Brain always has to have some sort of sympathy to him. You suppose to root for him, how can you root for him once he mind controls someone. And those experiments at the beginning and her reaction of gaining all the intelligence was not comfortable to watch either.

Whoever wrote this episode, has confused Brain with Snowball. I expect this behavior from Snowball, but not the Brain.

And while I am excited Brain has a rival now. Still there could have been a better way.
 

TnAdct1

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The one question I have, and the episodes differ one way or another, who is older? Dot or Wacko? I always Dot was the older one, I am not sure.
I believe Wakko's the older one, as the episode Survey Ladies has a joke in which Yakko's refers to his odd behavior (when compared to him and Dot) as "Middle Child Syndrome".
 

Peter Paltridge

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The one question I have, and the episodes differ one way or another, who is older? Dot or Wacko? I always Dot was the older one, I am not sure.

So the 22 year time jump for Punky and The Brain, does that mean, the living with Elmyra series is not canon. Was it all a horrible dream?
Official word is that Pinky, Elmyra and The Brain is not canon, and that was said before the reboot people took over.

EPISODE 7

It was nice to see Hercule Yakko again, but more than anything this episode should have signaled to the staff that they screwed up getting rid of so many characters. The puppy-children had no one to investigate in this cartoon and had to settle for each other. Felt empty. And the fact that it was followed by two more Warners shorts with no break just enforced that feeling.

Someone mentioned this in the other topic, but there's a strange over-reliance on gross-out gags in this version. Between the close-ups of hideous paintings, snot, saliva, eye crust and the weird stylized expressions on the humans, it feels more like they're trying to be Ren and Stimpy than Animaniacs (the poodle woman made me wonder if Dave Feiss is on staff).
 

JoeMabbon

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Me: So what did you think of the reboot?
Mom: I really liked Pinky and the Brain, it felt alot like the old show which is what I was hoping for.
Me: Yeah, I felt the same way. Did you have a favorite?
Mom: No, they were all really good. I like the robot son and the one that was riffing on Terminator.
Me: Do you mind if I just use this as a post on a website?
Mom: Why?
Me: I think we agree more or less.
Mom: If you want.

I was going to ask her about Animaniacs, but she never really cared for them (or any of the other sketches) and I wouldn't be surprised if she just skipped them. I thought it was okay. Envelope-pushing, edgy humor is oversaturated and I got a "Simpsons did it vibe" from alot of it. A whole episode metaphor about gun control? Harvey Birdman did it better and wittier with guitars. Making fun of a self-important cable news host? Colbert spent the latter half of the 00s doing that. An episode about an authoritarian country making a shoddy knockoff of your show. Yeah, Gumball already got there.

Stray Thoughts:
  • The Gnome sketch felt like a Seth Green/MacFarlane cutaway gag.
  • I also liked the McCarthyism episode. Seeing Brain in a human robot suit is always a treat.
 

Classic Speedy

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Episode 3 was the first dud. Very few stand-out jokes. "Gold Meddlers" made the mistake of having two of the Warners provide commentary on the sporting events, instead of being involved in the action themselves, and their commentary just wasn't that funny. Neither were the sight gags.

"Pinko and the Brain"... let's just say it's no "Meet John Brain".

"Math-terpiece Theater: Apples" was visually unique, but it was a long way for a feghoot.
 

wiley207

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Wow, one of the new "Pinky and the Brain" episodes, "Close Encounters of the Worst Kind", actually reused a bit of score from "Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights!" I know Steve Bernstein scored both, and they are both WB-owned properties, but that makes the "Animaniacs" resemblance in "Arabian Nights" come full-circle! Even the sound effects in the "Animaniacs" revival often tend to be similar, with the unusual mix of classic WB sounds and a selection of Hanna-Barbera sound effects (a LOT more than "Arabian Nights," including the H-B sounds the original "Animaniacs" typically used) mixed with the usual 1990s stock Hollywood Edge and Sound Ideas effects. I've even heard them use "Castle Thunder," like in the new "Pinky and the Brain" intro, and usually that's something they only save for occasional Scooby-Doo stuff! (Like "Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?")
Of course, the animation in this "Animaniacs" revival is still miles better than in "Arabian Nights"; even though that was animated by Wang Film Productions, the animation budget was obviously lower and had plenty of sloppy and off-model moments, and the fact Wang used that dated computer system they got from H-B didn't help much, either.
 

Classic Speedy

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Luckily, episode 4 was an improvement, but still not quite there.

Thoughts on "Bun Control":
-Enjoyed Yakko's musical number being interrupted. Unexpected because, knowing this show, they could've easily done a full song for real.
-"Now you're just fearmongering." "That's the fourth worst monger, right after war, rumor, and fish."
-She hasn't been on much yet, but the dynamic between Nora Rita Norita and the Warners is much different than between Plotz and the Warners- the latter worked because he had a hard time controlling them, while Nora just hustles them out as quickly as possible. She doesn't leave time for any comedy to develop.
-"It's time to go to-" Dot/Yakko: WAAARRR- Wakko: LUUUUNCH!
-From a visual standpoint, I enjoyed the anime parody by Studio Yotta. They really nailed the Studio Trigger look in particular. I wouldn't be surprised if Anime Dot gets a lot of fan art. Just wasn't that funny.
-"This entire sketch is a metaphor for shoes!" Ha!

"Ex-Mousina":
-Haven't mentioned yet but I dig the revised opening. The zoom out of the lab looked especially nice, though there's something to be said for actually re-drawing the background for each frame in the original.
-Pinky: "If I ate myself, would I become twice as big, or would I disappear?" Loved how this seemingly silly line factored into the climax.
-Enjoyed Robo-Brain's anti-humor stand-up act.
-Not a fan of the "Bonding" musical number. Felt too cloying for this show. Though it had a decent pay-off joke: "You were flat for most of the song."

"Bloopf":
-(after the blipvert of home movies clips) "Hope you liked them. Half of them were ads." Ha!
 

Pooky

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Up to Episode 9. Opinion increasingly positive. In recent years I'd started to think I'd overrated Animaniacs as a kid, so it's nice to be reminded that I do actually like these characters.

The P&TB in Episode 8 seems to have been very divisive. I liked it; the allusion to Millie Bush was a classic 90s WB style reference. And a tantalising hint at (presumably?) a new Snowball-style nemesis for Brain. I do think the animation in P&TB seems a bit "off" in a way it doesn't in the Warner segments. I noticed it particularly in the 50s episode; it reminded me a little of those Looney Tunes webtoons from the mid-00s.

Most consistently entertaining episode for me was probably Episode 7, and the Agetha Christie parody has been the highlight.

I have a nagging feeling I won't remember much of it in the near future, but we'll see.
 

TnAdct1

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Someone mentioned this in the other topic, but there's a strange over-reliance on gross-out gags in this version.
Noticed that when watching The Cutening last night. The way it's handled in that episode (outside of Dot's "kawaiiness beam") feels more like the type of thing you'd expect in shows intended for older viewers (i.e. just there to be gross) than in Animaniacs (which had some clever uses for it).
 

Pooky

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I really enjoyed the Halloween episode. But it's also baffling to me that we have a Halloween episode in a show which was released in one go just a couple of weeks after Halloween. Seems like a real missed opportunity not to have streamed this as a preview on or before Halloween, at least.
 

Peter Paltridge

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EPISODES 8 AND 9

"Future Brain" is the best P&B cartoon I've seen in this batch yet, and it put at ease my final worry -- that these new guys wouldn't understand Brain keeps Pinky around because Pinky is his best friend. There are people who don't get this at all -- that bootleg short the Nostalgia Critic made is a good example -- but no, this crew fully understands the layers of Pinky and Brain's relationship. Phew.

That being said...."Mousechurian Candidate" has perhaps the most cruel thing Brain has ever done, and it does look like he'll be paying for it. In the early cartoons Brain had more of a vicious streak, but they toned that down a bit once he got his own spinoff. He's supposed to be more of an antihero, but he became an outright villain in this short. Someone mentioned this role could've been given to Billie, but having Brain put a mind-control chip in Billie would be even worse.

I hope no one goes "Brain has a rival? But what about Snowball?" Snowball was turned back into a regular hamster in one of the last episodes of the P&B show. It'd be an error if he DID show up.

They're finally trying some new shorts. Cindy's voice is a recording of an actual child, which is a good idea...unscripted kids can be HILARIOUS (see the Dexter's Lab short narrated by a kid). They could've found a funnier kid though. This one just kind of rambled.
 

Classic Speedy

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Episode 5 thoughts:
-"Good Warner Hunting": Chicken Boo is supposedly the least favorite character in the original Animaniacs? Nah, that would be Katie Kaboom.
-"No Brainer": Eh, this feels like it would've been more biting five or six years ago, when the NSA scandal was still fresh.
-"Ralph Cam": Aka "we give Steven & Julie Bernstein and the voice actors and sound crew a break". Conceptually innovative, just... not that funny.

Episode 6 thoughts:
-"The Cutening" was a nice change of pace, and it makes sense that Dot would want to cute-ify the world, especially right now when it's anything but. Good deconstruction on how much it would suck to be like that ALL the time, though.
-"Close Encounters of the Worst Kind": I knew where the short was going the first time the alien wanted to do Earth stuff. I did LOL at Pinky's line though: "Shut the ffff...ront door!"
-"Equal Time"... sigh, another politics-based short. I really hope for season 2, they cut down on this stuff. We just got out of one of the most grueling elections in recent memory- Animaniacs should be a respite from all this. (Before anyone says it, the original show had political jokes, yes, but not multiple shorts a season about the topic.)

While I've been amused by some of the material so far, one thing I've been missing is the Marx Bros.-style wordplay. Outside of a few exceptions, it really isn't present in this new series, which is disappointing. Maybe the current writers don't think kids will latch onto that kind of humor? But then, isn't this show being made for adults who grew up with the original series, so shouldn't it be included along with the other types of humor? Hmm.
 

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You know at this point I'm just going to say the Wonder Park series is probably shelved and would never see the light of day.

The movie was greenlit at a time when Paramount and Nick had different management and by the time the movie was released and bombed the previous execs weren't there anymore.
The Animaniacs reboot came and still no new Yakko's World. How would you change the lyrics?
'Toy Story' was released 25 years ago today. Now, compare the animation of that to 'Toy Story 4'. Mind blowing.
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