"Animaniacs (2020)" Season One Talkback Thread (Spoilers)

Fone Bone

Matt Zimmer
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Here we go:

Animaniacs "Episode 2"

Warners Unbound:

Honestly? That was super gross. *1/2.

How To Brain Your Dragon:

Benedict the Dragon is a triple threat! I love his character design.

I love that Pinky knows what a sword is when the Brain doesn't.

I also love that Pinky guesses Brain is pondering "Nothing". Probably a more accurate guess than usual.

I busted a gut at Pinky yelling "Leroy Jenkins!"

This skit was always the best bit on the old show. Nothing has changed. ****1/2.

Suffragette City:

I find it interesting the political stands the show is currently taking. I expect it might be controversial simply because the old show was a little more "balanced". But like I GET why the show has picked the side to make fun of it did. Yeah, it's low-hanging fruit, but it's begging to be picked.

I like all the cartoon cameos from Warner Bros, Amblin, and Hanna-Barbera. Will WB Animation ever live Loonatics Unleashed down? I think the studio wants to forget that show as badly as George Lucas tried to bury The Star Wars Holiday Special. But Animaniacs and Teen Titans Go! simply refuse to let them.

This is going to annoy people. But it will annoy people who deserve to be annoyed. ***1/2.

Episode Overall: ***1/2.

Animaniacs "Episode 3"

Gold Meddlers:

I think the TV PG rating has given the show an unhealthy obsession with drawing nipples. Honestly, it's kinda creepy.

I like Wakko giving Yakko shade for claiming sole credit for the Nations of the World song. Honestly, that bit was the ONLY thing featuring a Warner character I ever really loved, so I can see how annoying that it's Yakko solely who gets remembered for arguably the best moment of the show. It's the best thing the show ever did and only Yakko was there for it. Were I Wakko and Dot, I'd be peeved as well.

Dot asking if they went too far and Yakko saying the guy had it coming was reasonable. I'd feel a lot better about much of Bugs Bunny's overt sadism if he ever questioned it.

You know, I'm betting they could have gotten Bill Nye to voice himself with no problem. That's the precise type of thing he'd be game for.

Solid. ***1/2.

Pinko And The Brain:

We can say "Hell" now. So there.

"In politics a lie is just a fact that hasn't been repeated enough". That's a little too accurate to be funny.

Pretty good. ***1/2.

Math-terpiece Theater: Apples:

I like the different animation style but that was outright dumb.

Although perhaps not as dumb as Rita and Runt or the Hip Hippos. Perspective, folks. **1/2.

Episode Overall: ***1/2.

Animaniacs "Episode 4"

Bun Control:

Just for the record, you guys saying this show's animation is way worse than the original? You're full of it. Totally. That was epic.

The anime designs are possibly a tribute to Loonatics. But if not, that's still what I got from it. It's the exact same mess. Of course this actually animates well, so it's NOT really the same at all.

I loved Yakko brushing his teeth with a bunny.

Dwayne is a pretty loathsome character, even by this show's standards.

They pointed out at the end of the episode that this was an allegory for gun control. I have to say, I don't see it. I don't think it effectively addressed that issue at ALL outside of the pun episode title. I literally did not make that connection until Dot turns meta at the end. So, as much as I love the anime bits, as satire goes, it wasn't great.

But I REALLY liked them anime bits. ****.

Ex Mousina:

Like a man in orthopedic footwear, Brain stands corrected.

This suggests something brilliant that has been true since the 90's. Brain's actual plans to take over the world are outright stupid. Some of them make a bit of sense (the ones about amassing political power are fine) but for the most part he comes up with crazy ideas that are super dumb. The fact that they tend to almost work is immaterial. They are ludicrous.

I liked his sick burn to Pinky about irritants though.

Pinky's philosophical question about eating himself was great. But would it stump Harry Mudd's robot wife Sylvia?

To be honest, the main plot didn't work at all. But it had great individual jokes. So my impression was favorable. ***1/2.

Bloopf:

As far as short cartoon ad spoofs go, that was funny. ****1/2.

Episode Overall: ****.

Animaniacs "Episode 5"

Good Warner Hunting:

Chicken Boo was awful, but the Hip Hippos were much worse. Chicken Boo's joke was unfunny, but at least a joke existed. I never for the life of me understood a single reason the Hip Hippos existed.

It feels to me like this reboot has saved itself a lot of nonsense.

I am glad they retconned the entire rest of the cast being dead though. That was a little too dark. Although I don't miss any of them besides Slappy, and she only worked in small doses.

I like how the Warners are deciding who to torment by picking random names out of a hat.

So THAT'S where everybody's been. ***1/2.

No Brainer:

That resolution of what the phone call was was absolutely priceless. Genius. *****.

Ralph Cam:

I am not sure if fans of the old show will truly understand or appreciate how special this specific cartoon is. Why do I say that? Because this never could have worked on the original series. For two major reasons.

The first reason is why it would never have been attempted. But Fox Kids or Kids WB would never greenlight an entire 3 minute cartoon with zero sound. Whatever the old show was, it was still a network show, and that meant that any experimental bits of animation had to be tempered with what network executives believed kids would sit through until the commercials. I personally think kids will dig this, but I am 100% certain no kids network in the 90's would ever greenlight a cartoon with no sound for that period of time.

The second reason it wouldn't have worked has to do with the fact that even if they had attempted it, it would have landed with a thud. Frankly, this is not something fans of 90's animation want to hear, but animation today is universally better than it was in the early 90's. Including this show. Which makes sense because animation techniques improve over the decades, and being able to board amazing sequences can be done on a cheap budget now. Another thing nobody wants to hear, but when it comes to action sequences, Teen Titans Go!, a cheap Flash animated series, has better boarded and directed fights than Batman: The Animated Series ever did. Granted, they are more stylized, but put BTAS against that show’s actual boarding and directing, and BTAS is downright quaint. Same here. Nobody in the 1990's would have the correct directing experience to do an entire cartoon from a standing-still single-camera perspective. They would be inclined to cheat several times and do close-ups, and cuts. They'd never make it. 3 minutes is an eternity in an animated scene from the 1990's. And the realistic touches of the fast forwards are not something I think a cartoon in the 1990's could do as believably or convincingly. The fast forward effects here look like real fast forward effects. If they did this in the 1990's they would look like cartoon fast forward effects.

Before you turn up your nose entirely at this reboot, keep in mind that 20 years of animation progress means that we are invariably gonna see stuff on this show we never could have gotten before. Enjoy it. And that's the specific reason I enjoyed this cartoon and thought it was terrific. *****.

Episode Overall: ****1/2.

Animaniacs "Episode 6"

The Cutening:

That was bad and gross. But I understand why it was made. The world IS unbearable. I’m just not sure the Animaniacs reboot is helping any. *.

Close Encounters Of The Worst Kind:

I love Gabriella’s voice. It’s sunny.

The “I Wanna Dance” song is super catchy.

“Shut the front door!” Hello TV-PG rating!

Funny. ****.

Equal Time:

I think the political era of Animaniacs is over. Or at least it should be. Because the Republican Party in its current form is far scarier, crazier, and stupider than the third party examples the episode uses. A lot of people have complained that Trump has ruined political satire, and that is largely true. It is especially true for a kids show on a TV-PG rating that doesn’t want to offend the parents of half the kids in audience. I suppose it’s theoretically possible to create a fictional Presidential candidate more vulgar and gross than Trump. But you can’t do it with your hands tied with a PG rating.

Clinton back in the 1990’s was SO easy to make fun of, and I loved all of the cheap jokes at his expense. Because they were funny. Current politics is far too racist and dangerous for me to find any humor in it. And if there is, it’s gallows humor that’s not appropriate for kids. As far as fictional satire goes, I don’t know what the answer is. As far as Animaniacs goes, is my advice is simply to cool it. They aren’t making anyone laugh or happy about whatever side they choose.

All that said, the animation and character expressions in the short were dynamite. I DO think the animation on the reboot is far better than the original series. And yes, it’s cheaper too. But it looks amazing.

Wake me in January. As of now, I’m still grumpy. **1/2.

Episode Overall: **1/2.

Animaniacs "Episode 7"

Warner She Wrote:

That was a bit tired. **1/2.

France France Revolution:

Dark ending. Although it should have been.

The worst part about being Rich is that your only other nickname is Dick. That is a classic Animaniacs joke. I did not love the original series, but even I can recognize that for what it was.

Not bad. ***.

Gift Rapper:

Pinky and the Brain were in the episode after all.

Zeno Robinson did a great job as the voice of Jay-Pac. I like how after Yakko defeated him in the rap battle, he dapped him and said “Respect”. First time I’ve ever seen anybody lose to the Warners graciously.

But can I be honest? I think his rap was far better than Yakko’s. The Elmyra slam was sublime, and once you bring her up, the franchise has no street cred or counterargument left. THAT was the actual mic drop moment.

The cartoon was all right. ***1/2.

Episode Overall: ***.

Animaniacs "Episode 8"

Who Donut:

That was excellent. I’m frankly shocked.

I love the donut lady saying she was only accepting the playing card because her boss is her super supportive dad and she just wants to make him mad. Say what you will about this reboot, but that is a joke the original series wouldn’t have had any idea of how to make. Observational humor was in its infancy back then. Comedy has definitely evolved since the 1990’s in every TV show and movie since then, and this show is taking full advantage of that.

I like that unlike her father, the WB studio exec scares the Warners a little. We’ve only seen them interact twice so far, but the Warners came out for the worse both times which tells me their dynamic is entirely different. I think that’s interesting.

That was great. *****.

Mousechurian Candidate:

Brain put a little too much Hillary Clinton in Julia. I knew I liked her.

The animation on the facial expressions for Julia was absolutely amazing. I think the animation on this show is far better and more fluid than the original.

I’ll tell you where the political satire failed. They were making fun of the free hats. Except those red hats aren’t actually free. Trump somehow gets his fans to pay him to wear his advertising. It’s a little ludicrous until you realize that Nike and Adidas have actually been doing the exact same scam for years too.

The ending made me unhappy, but I’ll reserve judgment for if and when Julia returns. The rest of the episode was strong. ****.

Starbox And Cindy:

Oooh! New segment!

First impressions are very positive. I especially like that it’s done in a new animation style. What do I think of the concept and the story?

It’s what would happen if Buttons and Mindy weren’t awful. A lot of people are unhappy that almost all of the tertiary characters are gone in the reboot, but all the tertiary characters besides Pinky and the Brain were uniformly sucky. It can be argued that Slappy Squirrel had her charms, but I always found those segments excruciatingly mean as well. And everything else was totally terrible. And I will never think otherwise.

Everything about Buttons and Mindy sucked. And it wasn’t destined to be a terrible concept. It just did everything wrong. This is the same concept done right. Instead of an admirable character like Buttons being repeatedly punished for trying to do the right thing, a terrible character is punished every time he tries to escape his loving child captor and destroy the world. The fact that the child loves him is a fascinating development. And unlike Mindy’s obnoxious voice, they hired a real, unprofessional child to voice Cindy, and it makes her more realistic and compelling. You can argue those things don’t belong in Animaniacs. I personally believe sucky and unfunny segments belong less. Your mileage may vary.

I don’t think the segment is especially amazing. But it doesn’t suck and could work in the long run. Which is more than I can say for the Goodfeathers or Rita and Runt. ***1/2.

Episode Overall: ****1/2.

Animaniacs "Episode 9"

Here Comes Treble:

I LOVE In The Hall Of The Mountain King. I loved playing it on the piano as a kid because it always got far more dire and complicated as it went along.

Opinion: It is a far more dire and exciting song than The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. That is where I stand.

I very much like the conductor’s facial and body expressions in this short. The animation was great for them.

Solid. ****.

That’s Not The Issue:

The Warners vs. Faux News. Somehow I doubt Fox Kids woulda greenlit this. ****1/2.

Future Brain:

Irresistible concept. But I’m wondering why our Brain refuses to listen to Future Brain’s warnings. He must really value Pinky’s friendship, and obviously more than taking over the world. But it’s interesting and a bit sad to wonder how and why that changes. I wish the ending retconned Future Brain out of existence. Now I’m wondering what exactly went wrong.

This had one of the best “I think so, Brains” ever. In fact it might simply be the best period. Is Pinky pondering what Future Brain is pondering? I think so, Future Brain. But if you’re from the future shouldn’t you know that I’m not? That was an incredibly and unexpectedly smart and insightful joke. A bit sadly poignant too.

Very interesting episode. ***1/2.

The Incredible Gnome In People’s Mouths:

Quick question: Why are we allowed this bizarre and hilarious premise just the once (so far) and we had to suffering Chicken Boo and the Hip Hippos multiple times?

The premise is genius and insane, and if the cartoon doesn’t quite live up to it in practice, it’s still zany enough to make me laugh. I never laughed at Katie Kaboom. Why is this the thing that’s got me cracking up?

I’ll tell you something I appreciate about the new segments this year. They seem to be trial runs. I honestly believe the 65 first season episode order on the old show probably damaged it nearly beyond repair. Having to do all of the episodes at once meant there was no room for trial and error, and to gauge what segments the audience responded to. Chicken Boo and the Hip Hippos got so much play because the producers weren’t aware exactly how much the cartoons would suck, and how much the audience would hate them. This is them trying out a new segment once per season, and seeing what reaction it gets to decide whether or not it should be made a regular thing. That’s how I think the other cartoons should have worked back in the 1990’s. Although if they done that, it’s possible all they would have been left with would be the Warners, Pinky And The Brain, and Slappy. And once Pinky and the Brain were spun-off, the old show already lost half its appeal. I don’t know how feasible it would have been to use a trial and error process as long as these were the writers that came up with Rita and Runt and the Goodfeathers. Either way, this is the right way to do it. And I want to see this Gnome in other people’s mouths in the future.*

*I’ll take sentences I never expected to type today for $300, Alex. *****.

Episode Overall: ****1/2.

Animaniacs "Episode 10"

Anima-Nyet:

Oh my God! Animaniacs restarted the Cold War!

Who knew these types of Russian jokes would ever feel relevant again? Thembria was always the most embarrassingly dated part of TaleSpin. I’m wondering if that otherwise timeless show will seem unexpectedly fresh now. Wouldn’t shock me.

Here is how you know the episode was made before the 2020 election: It tries to sell the idea that America, like Russia, is full of decent people, and is just ruled by a jackass they didn’t want or they now regret. The 2020 results tell me that simply isn’t true, as much as I wished it were before it happened. That’s the biggest reason I’m currently so unhappy. I can’t ever make that specific type of well-meaning political joke again in my writing again. It outright sucks and depresses me beyond belief.

Randy Rogel? That name takes me back. I checked the credits. He actually DID voice himself and helped write the song.

One of the few biting political satires the reboot has done, simply because they feel safer taking shots at Putin while only insulting Trump around the margins. You could call that cowardly if you want. I just hate the fact that we are so polarized that the only way Animaniacs feels it can stop pulling its punches is by spoofing another country. Another reason I am currently unhappy. ****.

Babysitter’s Flub:

Mixed feelings. After hiring a real kid for Cindy in an earlier episode, having an adult voice the babies here is even more noticeable than if they hadn’t done that.

I laughed and like the idea that Brain paused for a second and second-guessed rescuing Pinky upon the threat of his spirit being broken. Would that actually be so bad? Or would that make things easier in the long run? It’s fascinating he quickly rejected the idea, but I love that he was smart enough to at least consider it.

The “Quantainium” / “Love” bit was funny.

The animation on the babies was cute though. I also thought Brain’s boring lullaby had clever lyrics.

I liked some of it, but the adults voicing the babies sounded wrong. ***.

The Warners Press Conference:

I have to say that was a pretty perfect bit of comedy. The timing was impeccable and the jokes terrific. My favorites were Yakko hitting Wakko over the head with a mallet upon the stuffy journalist accusing the episode of being too cerebral, Dot catching the reporting abusing her press credit card at the hotel, and the reporter asking the studio exec who captured them if the reporters present would be allowed to sell each other out for better treatment. That joke is genius because I very much suspect that that is the very first question most well-known current journalists would ask the second they are put in that scenario. Which suggests they should probably be better safeguards for American freedom than they currently are.

I loved it. *****.

Episode Overall: ****.

Animaniacs "Episode 11"

Phantomaniacs:

Is it possible to successfully do a Halloween episode if you are a streaming show and you dump all the episodes at once? Maybe. Like the spooky main title. ****.

Fear And Laughter In Burbank:

I think the expressions on the Clown were animated by some truly gifted and talented boarders and directors. I want the show to get the proper credit for that. It was amazing.

I think the beginning sort of demonstrated my biggest beef with the first IT movie. The Miniseries wasn’t perfect, but it did right what the book did, and made Pennywise’s first appearance confusing, but friendly enough to be believable that he’d be able to trick a small child. In the recent movie Pennywise is so scary when we first see him that there is no way that kid would stick his hand in the sewer for any reason. There is no way a real kid could be talked into that with an evil clown looking and talking the way movie Pennywise does. They don’t exactly criticize that part of the movie in the episode. But by God, they mirror it.

I like Yakko asking if Dot thinks he funny, and she says he’s one of her funniest brothers. Definitely in her top two. And Wakko’s like “Same”. What’s funny is that even though Yakko isn’t technically stupid, the notion placates him anyways.

I love the animation on this show so much. ****1/2.

Bride Of Pinky:

Again the expression on Drusilla and the male monster were amazing (her opening scream was quite frightening) but I found the ending depressing, gross, and since the entire thing is non-canon, unnecessary.

Eleven is a fancy word for oneteen. I’ll have to remember that.

Dave needs to stop trying to make pitchsporks happen. Good joke.

It was all right (more gorgeous character animation) but it didn’t end well. ***.

Things That Go Bump In The Night:

Unlike the other new segments this year, this didn’t feel like a trial run, but more of a one-and-done skit. I very much liked the vocal performances, and found their manner of speaking quite believable and realistic. The animation on the eyes was serviceable, but considering the premise, serviceable was all that was actually needed. ****.

Episode Overall: ***1/2.

Animaniacs "Episode 12"

A Zit!:

I object, your honor! Admittedly, the song is great. But they totally ripped off Doug from Family Guy! Here is a free tip, Animaniacs, for if you DON’T want to draw attention to Doug the antagonistic talking pimple: Cast anybody else as the zit besides Freaking Kevin Michael Richardson himself! I don’t know about any other Richardson fans, but like MLK on The Boondocks, I always found Doug one of his most memorable roles ever, especially because like MLK it was totally one-and-done.

Wellesley Wild is in charge of this show. Did he actually think we wouldn’t notice? I thought Al Jean was the hypocrite of the year after the Halloween Simpsons where Homer becomes Death. At that point The Simpsons’ only real acknowledgement of Family Guy were multiple mean jokes alleging that it was nothing but a rip-off of The Simpsons. Then Jean stupidly proceeded to rip-off the most famous thing that show had done at that point in time. I can almost excuse Jean for his ignorance because he’s an egotist and a loudmouth, and I’m betting there were leery producers on staff who didn’t want to pick a fight with him, and point out Family Guy did that exact same thing to that jerk while it was such a sore spot with him. But for this, Wellesley Wild is an actual Family Guy alum. It’s just not cool. At all.

The only reason I’m not failing this entire cartoon was because the song was catchy. The noive! ***.

1001 Narfs:

So I’ve been babbling about amazing the show is at animating character expressions. After seeing this, I was underselling the animators’ talents. I think part of the reason the expressions I raved about earlier animated so well is because there was a great deal of detail, which is not usual in facial expressions in animation. You’d figure after Ren and Stimpy it would have been, but it never caught on. Besides, Ren and Stimpy used those detailed faces for extreme expressions only. The show impressed me with the nuance it was doing with these detailed character-oriented faces.

I realizing after seeing how amazing the Queen in this episode is, that the animators are far better at this than just about anybody I’ve ever seen. The thing about the detailed expressions is that the drawing itself does a lot of the work. But the Queen here has no lines on her face, her design is basic and uncomplicated, and yet I can still tell exactly what she is thinking. I think the last simple character design I’ve seen animate that well was Ariel from The Little Mermaid. And I think that IS the only example that is at this level. I could be wrong. I have not seen every animated thing ever. But I was floored at how flawless and effortless the animation on the Queen was. The fact that her face is lacking detail makes its expressiveness beyond impressive.

Poor Edwin. He will never make the theme song.

Another Family Guy connection: John Viener plays the Cave of Wonders Password System. It’s the kind of role he always nails, so he was perfect casting.

The animation on this show is stunning. *****.

Manny Manspreader:

That mostly devolved into tiresome nonsense by the end, but there were a couple of things worth mentioning.

Whenever I see somebody Manspread, I always say, “C’mon, man, they’re not THAT big.” Never fails to get a laugh. Even if the dude possesses no shame. And most Manspreaders don’t.

Don’t Mansplain Manspreading to Dot. I don’t even remember what I’m angry about.

For the record, in the season where The Simpsons and Family Guy have both recast all their black characters voiced by white actors to stop whitewashing roles of color, John Viener as The Rock feels especially tone-deaf. But that also describes every single role of color Family Guy has ever given him. But it’s a little more embarrassing than usual. Interestingly, had this season come out a year later, he never would have been cast in the first place. But it’s a bit painful as is.

It had some funny bits, but totally fell apart by the end. ***.

Episode Overall: ****.

Animaniacs "Episode 13"

Hindenburg Cola:

I actually like the idea of a Scratchensniff who isn’t a pushover and wins sometimes. We’ll see if they follow through next season.

I like that Protein Guy escaped Hell because nobody tried to stop him from leaving.

The devils deducted a point from the 666 score for being too meta.

I like the Protein Guy telling the rollercoaster operator he could put this in his college essay.

I think the kids in the audience will be too young to get the Rocky V reference. Although I think I may be too young to get the Rocky V reference as well.

Warners, the characters: “You suck Zack Snyder!” Warners, the studio: “Sure you may have almost destroyed the DC movie franchise permanently, but we’ll let you do whatever you want from now on anyways! What’s the worst that could happen?”

Dot as Hello Doctor feels FAR more empowering than Hello Nurse. I can see why they dropped that dud of a character and sexist joke.

Pretty good. ****.

Roadent Trip:

Brilliant. After all this time WHY Brain wants to take over the world should have come up. I understand part of the joke of the old show is that it didn’t make sense that he did. But the new show asked instead “What if it did? What if he had an actual reason?” As far as reasons go, it isn’t especially great. But I appreciate getting it because it’s interesting, adds character, layers, and nuance, and we didn’t actually need it. But it makes things better in my mind at least.

I love Brain being angered that it WAS a literal picnic for Pinky in his lab experiment, and that indignity is soon surpassed by the idea that Pinky had a tablet in the car the entire time.

Two Spielberg references at once here: E.T. and Duel.

Anything else I need to review about the cartoon? Did I remember to make the joke that any Road Trip without Amy Smart topless in it is not one worth taking? Okay then. Now we’re good. *****.

FLOTUS, FLOTUS, What Do You Know About Us?:

This was the thing most touted in press releases about the upcoming relaunch. So naturally they saved it for last.

I like the on-screen mea culpa that they forgot Bess Truman. That cannot have been a fun thing to realize in the editing room. Kudos to them for both honesty and thoroughness.

I like how Dot is on a clock throughout the cartoon.

Finally, I want to talk a little bit about Nations Of The World, and how this cartoon is done in that spirit. I’m going to say something the producers of the old show won’t like at all. But as far teaching kids geography, Nations Of The World is NOT educational. It’s catchy, and mind-bending, and awesome, but the information passes by too quickly for a kid to retain it. In some shots you can’t even see what country Yakko is pointing to with the pointer. So let me just say that I always took those “educational content” labels the show was allowed by broadcasters with a huge grain of salt.

The first ladies aren’t in order here, and for some no information is given (and in Melania Trump’s case that is a blessing and a gracious gift) so I don’t know how educational this is either. But it was fun, if not as amazing and memorable as Nations Of The World. ****1/2.

Final thoughts on the season:

I’m not going to bother arguing with people that this version is better than the old show in most respects. It didn’t have a high point like Nations Of The World, but that’s the only segment on the old show this never surpassed in quality at points. I’m not going to change your mind by me claiming that and you won’t change mine. What cannot be argued is that I responded far more positively to this show at age 45 in 2020 than I did the old show at age 18 in 1993. And I wasn’t a particularly cynical or demanding young man. I just had little patience for all of the non-Warner and Pinky and the Brain stuff, and that wound up most of the show. There will be purists angry those “Classic” characters didn’t really appear this season. I believe the show is better off for it and would have ALWAYS been better off without them.

The music is not as good as the old show, but I will go out on a limb and say the animation is far better. There is also more observational humor, which is the kind of humor I more respond to. I think the original Pinky and the Brain did a little of that, but because it was an early effort for animation doing that, it felt very heavy-handed at times, and often landed with a thud. I feel like the observational humor here is organic rather than painful, and seamlessly fits into the show’s sensibility now. I am a fan of this show in a way I wasn’t the original.

That is my final verdict. Come and get me.

Episode Overall: ****1/2.
 

dothesmartthing

Where's that bird?
Joined
Feb 11, 2009
Messages
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Indiana
I watched a few episodes of 2020's Animaniacs and so far I find it quite entertaining. I was really impressed at the main casts' voices. I know they sound a little bit deeper compared to the original, but still, very distinctive with a lot of energy. That might very well make up for the absence of Slappy and Skippy and the Goodfeathers.
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2017
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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.

I noticed that as well, that Brain had never been as cruel as he has in this episode. And mind you, that's from a mouse that wants to take over the world. P.S. It wasn't just mind control, the Brain has used that multiple times, but this time our endeared rodent used a form of shock to comply obedience. However, I do wonder if some of the writers are going to go in a female empowerment direction for Julia when she returns (men made her evil). She now has a reason to put the Brain in his place. I am curious to see what kind of direction Julia will have when she returns.

But still.

Didn't think Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain was that bad. Really. I enjoyed the series.

Despite the flaws in the series, I am grateful that I could watch the series this weekend, it took my mind off things.


-jthree
 

cheril59

Active Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2015
Messages
259
Episode Overall: ****.

Animaniacs "Episode 13"

Hindenburg Cola:

I actually like the idea of a Scratchensniff who isn’t a pushover and wins sometimes. We’ll see if they follow through next season.

I like that Protein Guy escaped Hell because nobody tried to stop him from leaving.

The devils deducted a point from the 666 score for being too meta.

I like the Protein Guy telling the rollercoaster operator he could put this in his college essay.

I think the kids in the audience will be too young to get the Rocky V reference. Although I think I may be too young to get the Rocky V reference as well.

Warners, the characters: “You suck Zack Snyder!” Warners, the studio: “Sure you may have almost destroyed the DC movie franchise permanently, but we’ll let you do whatever you want from now on anyways! What’s the worst that could happen?”

Dot as Hello Doctor feels FAR more empowering than Hello Nurse. I can see why they dropped that dud of a character and sexist joke.

Pretty good. ****.

Roadent Trip:

Brilliant. After all this time WHY Brain wants to take over the world should have come up. I understand part of the joke of the old show is that it didn’t make sense that he did. But the new show asked instead “What if it did? What if he had an actual reason?” As far as reasons go, it isn’t especially great. But I appreciate getting it because it’s interesting, adds character, layers, and nuance, and we didn’t actually need it. But it makes things better in my mind at least.

I love Brain being angered that it WAS a literal picnic for Pinky in his lab experiment, and that indignity is soon surpassed by the idea that Pinky had a tablet in the car the entire time.

Two Spielberg references at once here: E.T. and Duel.

Anything else I need to review about the cartoon? Did I remember to make the joke that any Road Trip without Amy Smart topless in it is not one worth taking? Okay then. Now we’re good. *****.

FLOTUS, FLOTUS, What Do You Know About Us?:

This was the thing most touted in press releases about the upcoming relaunch. So naturally they saved it for last.

I like the on-screen mea culpa that they forgot Bess Truman. That cannot have been a fun thing to realize in the editing room. Kudos to them for both honesty and thoroughness.

I like how Dot is on a clock throughout the cartoon.

Finally, I want to talk a little bit about Nations Of The World, and how this cartoon is done in that spirit. I’m going to say something the producers of the old show won’t like at all. But as far teaching kids geography, Nations Of The World is NOT educational. It’s catchy, and mind-bending, and awesome, but the information passes by too quickly for a kid to retain it. In some shots you can’t even see what country Yakko is pointing to with the pointer. So let me just say that I always took those “educational content” labels the show was allowed by broadcasters with a huge grain of salt.

The first ladies aren’t in order here, and for some no information is given (and in Melania Trump’s case that is a blessing and a gracious gift) so I don’t know how educational this is either. But it was fun, if not as amazing and memorable as Nations Of The World. ****1/2.

Yeah. Why didn't Dot name all the First Ladies chronologically like she and her brothers did all the presidents? Things are going places at random, I tells ya!
 

Classic Speedy

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Episode 7: A step backwards again, unfortunately. I did like the setting of "Warner She Wrote" though, and I noted at least one great moment:
Dot: This seems like we've done this before...
Yakko: That's how we make television in 2020. (does a goofy tap dance)

Episode 8: Aaaaand back to good. Man this first season is a rollercoaster. "WhoDonut" had probably the most laughs of any short so far. Such as...
-Yakko muting Wakko, then changing the language to Spanish
-Ralph: "I'm on the paleo diet. I only eat things shaped like dinosaurs." Ha!
-(as Wakko's sleeping) "Let me turn on the subtitles." Subtitles: ZZZZZ
-Brain saying he's going to be Julia's svengali, then seconds later forgetting the name of the character Svengali
-Pinky: "I've tried online dating, but I keep getting catfished." (phone shows picture of an actual fish)
-(after Julia crashes through the walls) Pinky: "Woo-hoo! Big finish!"

Other observations:
-An odd Family Guy-style cutaway with the Warners having dinner with bats. Clearly the Wellesley Wild influence is showing a bit more here.
-Speaking of Family Guy, the gag towards the end of "WhoDonut" where Yakko and Dot talk in unison was amusing but IMO funnier when Family Guy did it. "Ruth Bader Ginsburg! Ooooooh."
-The Warners following the ant reminded me of Space Ghost: Coast to Coast.
-This episode as a whole has the most impressive animation in the show so far. Some of the shock spasms in "Mousechurian Candidate" were amazing.
-"Starbox and Cindy" wasn't the funniest short but at least it was something other than Warners or P&TB (hint hint for future seasons...). I was reminded of the Kablam short "The Brothers Tiki", about two aliens is stranded on Earth. The similarities end there though.
 

disneyphilip

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Messages
72
Here we go:

Animaniacs "Episode 2"

Warners Unbound:

Honestly? That was super gross. *1/2.

How To Brain Your Dragon:

Benedict the Dragon is a triple threat! I love his character design.

I love that Pinky knows what a sword is when the Brain doesn't.

I also love that Pinky guesses Brain is pondering "Nothing". Probably a more accurate guess than usual.

I busted a gut at Pinky yelling "Leroy Jenkins!"

This skit was always the best bit on the old show. Nothing has changed. ****1/2.

Suffragette City:

I find it interesting the political stands the show is currently taking. I expect it might be controversial simply because the old show was a little more "balanced". But like I GET why the show has picked the side to make fun of it did. Yeah, it's low-hanging fruit, but it's begging to be picked.

I like all the cartoon cameos from Warner Bros, Amblin, and Hanna-Barbera. Will WB Animation ever live Loonatics Unleashed down? I think the studio wants to forget that show as badly as George Lucas tried to bury The Star Wars Holiday Special. But Animaniacs and Teen Titans Go! simply refuse to let them.

This is going to annoy people. But it will annoy people who deserve to be annoyed. ***1/2.

Episode Overall: ***1/2.

Animaniacs "Episode 3"

Gold Meddlers:

I think the TV PG rating has given the show an unhealthy obsession with drawing nipples. Honestly, it's kinda creepy.

I like Wakko giving Yakko shade for claiming sole credit for the Nations of the World song. Honestly, that bit was the ONLY thing featuring a Warner character I ever really loved, so I can see how annoying that it's Yakko solely who gets remembered for arguably the best moment of the show. It's the best thing the show ever did and only Yakko was there for it. Were I Wakko and Dot, I'd be peeved as well.

Dot asking if they went too far and Yakko saying the guy had it coming was reasonable. I'd feel a lot better about much of Bugs Bunny's overt sadism if he ever questioned it.

You know, I'm betting they could have gotten Bill Nye to voice himself with no problem. That's the precise type of thing he'd be game for.

Solid. ***1/2.

Pinko And The Brain:

We can say "Hell" now. So there.

"In politics a lie is just a fact that hasn't been repeated enough". That's a little too accurate to be funny.

Pretty good. ***1/2.

Math-terpiece Theater: Apples:

I like the different animation style but that was outright dumb.

Although perhaps not as dumb as Rita and Runt or the Hip Hippos. Perspective, folks. **1/2.

Episode Overall: ***1/2.

Animaniacs "Episode 4"

Bun Control:

Just for the record, you guys saying this show's animation is way worse than the original? You're full of it. Totally. That was epic.

The anime designs are possibly a tribute to Loonatics. But if not, that's still what I got from it. It's the exact same mess. Of course this actually animates well, so it's NOT really the same at all.

I loved Yakko brushing his teeth with a bunny.

Dwayne is a pretty loathsome character, even by this show's standards.

They pointed out at the end of the episode that this was an allegory for gun control. I have to say, I don't see it. I don't think it effectively addressed that issue at ALL outside of the pun episode title. I literally did not make that connection until Dot turns meta at the end. So, as much as I love the anime bits, as satire goes, it wasn't great.

But I REALLY liked them anime bits. ****.

Ex Mousina:

Like a man in orthopedic footwear, Brain stands corrected.

This suggests something brilliant that has been true since the 90's. Brain's actual plans to take over the world are outright stupid. Some of them make a bit of sense (the ones about amassing political power are fine) but for the most part he comes up with crazy ideas that are super dumb. The fact that they tend to almost work is immaterial. They are ludicrous.

I liked his sick burn to Pinky about irritants though.

Pinky's philosophical question about eating himself was great. But would it stump Harry Mudd's robot wife Sylvia?

To be honest, the main plot didn't work at all. But it had great individual jokes. So my impression was favorable. ***1/2.

Bloopf:

As far as short cartoon ad spoofs go, that was funny. ****1/2.

Episode Overall: ****.

Animaniacs "Episode 5"

Good Warner Hunting:

Chicken Boo was awful, but the Hip Hippos were much worse. Chicken Boo's joke was unfunny, but at least a joke existed. I never for the life of me understood a single reason the Hip Hippos existed.

It feels to me like this reboot has saved itself a lot of nonsense.

I am glad they retconned the entire rest of the cast being dead though. That was a little too dark. Although I don't miss any of them besides Slappy, and she only worked in small doses.

I like how the Warners are deciding who to torment by picking random names out of a hat.

So THAT'S where everybody's been. ***1/2.

No Brainer:

That resolution of what the phone call was was absolutely priceless. Genius. *****.

Ralph Cam:

I am not sure if fans of the old show will truly understand or appreciate how special this specific cartoon is. Why do I say that? Because this never could have worked on the original series. For two major reasons.

The first reason is why it would never have been attempted. But Fox Kids or Kids WB would never greenlight an entire 3 minute cartoon with zero sound. Whatever the old show was, it was still a network show, and that meant that any experimental bits of animation had to be tempered with what network executives believed kids would sit through until the commercials. I personally think kids will dig this, but I am 100% certain no kids network in the 90's would ever greenlight a cartoon with no sound for that period of time.

The second reason it wouldn't have worked has to do with the fact that even if they had attempted it, it would have landed with a thud. Frankly, this is not something fans of 90's animation want to hear, but animation today is universally better than it was in the early 90's. Including this show. Which makes sense because animation techniques improve over the decades, and being able to board amazing sequences can be done on a cheap budget now. Another thing nobody wants to hear, but when it comes to action sequences, Teen Titans Go!, a cheap Flash animated series, has better boarded and directed fights than Batman: The Animated Series ever did. Granted, they are more stylized, but put BTAS against that show’s actual boarding and directing, and BTAS is downright quaint. Same here. Nobody in the 1990's would have the correct directing experience to do an entire cartoon from a standing-still single-camera perspective. They would be inclined to cheat several times and do close-ups, and cuts. They'd never make it. 3 minutes is an eternity in an animated scene from the 1990's. And the realistic touches of the fast forwards are not something I think a cartoon in the 1990's could do as believably or convincingly. The fast forward effects here look like real fast forward effects. If they did this in the 1990's they would look like cartoon fast forward effects.

Before you turn up your nose entirely at this reboot, keep in mind that 20 years of animation progress means that we are invariably gonna see stuff on this show we never could have gotten before. Enjoy it. And that's the specific reason I enjoyed this cartoon and thought it was terrific. *****.

Episode Overall: ****1/2.

Animaniacs "Episode 6"

The Cutening:

That was bad and gross. But I understand why it was made. The world IS unbearable. I’m just not sure the Animaniacs reboot is helping any. *.

Close Encounters Of The Worst Kind:

I love Gabriella’s voice. It’s sunny.

The “I Wanna Dance” song is super catchy.

“Shut the front door!” Hello TV-PG rating!

Funny. ****.

Equal Time:

I think the political era of Animaniacs is over. Or at least it should be. Because the Republican Party in its current form is far scarier, crazier, and stupider than the third party examples the episode uses. A lot of people have complained that Trump has ruined political satire, and that is largely true. It is especially true for a kids show on a TV-PG rating that doesn’t want to offend the parents of half the kids in audience. I suppose it’s theoretically possible to create a fictional Presidential candidate more vulgar and gross than Trump. But you can’t do it with your hands tied with a PG rating.

Clinton back in the 1990’s was SO easy to make fun of, and I loved all of the cheap jokes at his expense. Because they were funny. Current politics is far too racist and dangerous for me to find any humor in it. And if there is, it’s gallows humor that’s not appropriate for kids. As far as fictional satire goes, I don’t know what the answer is. As far as Animaniacs goes, is my advice is simply to cool it. They aren’t making anyone laugh or happy about whatever side they choose.

All that said, the animation and character expressions in the short were dynamite. I DO think the animation on the reboot is far better than the original series. And yes, it’s cheaper too. But it looks amazing.

Wake me in January. As of now, I’m still grumpy. **1/2.

Episode Overall: **1/2.

Animaniacs "Episode 7"

Warner She Wrote:

That was a bit tired. **1/2.

France France Revolution:

Dark ending. Although it should have been.

The worst part about being Rich is that your only other nickname is Dick. That is a classic Animaniacs joke. I did not love the original series, but even I can recognize that for what it was.

Not bad. ***.

Gift Rapper:

Pinky and the Brain were in the episode after all.

Zeno Robinson did a great job as the voice of Jay-Pac. I like how after Yakko defeated him in the rap battle, he dapped him and said “Respect”. First time I’ve ever seen anybody lose to the Warners graciously.

But can I be honest? I think his rap was far better than Yakko’s. The Elmyra slam was sublime, and once you bring her up, the franchise has no street cred or counterargument left. THAT was the actual mic drop moment.

The cartoon was all right. ***1/2.

Episode Overall: ***.

Animaniacs "Episode 8"

Who Donut:

That was excellent. I’m frankly shocked.

I love the donut lady saying she was only accepting the playing card because her boss is her super supportive dad and she just wants to make him mad. Say what you will about this reboot, but that is a joke the original series wouldn’t have had any idea of how to make. Observational humor was in its infancy back then. Comedy has definitely evolved since the 1990’s in every TV show and movie since then, and this show is taking full advantage of that.

I like that unlike her father, the WB studio exec scares the Warners a little. We’ve only seen them interact twice so far, but the Warners came out for the worse both times which tells me their dynamic is entirely different. I think that’s interesting.

That was great. *****.

Mousechurian Candidate:

Brain put a little too much Hillary Clinton in Julia. I knew I liked her.

The animation on the facial expressions for Julia was absolutely amazing. I think the animation on this show is far better and more fluid than the original.

I’ll tell you where the political satire failed. They were making fun of the free hats. Except those red hats aren’t actually free. Trump somehow gets his fans to pay him to wear his advertising. It’s a little ludicrous until you realize that Nike and Adidas have actually been doing the exact same scam for years too.

The ending made me unhappy, but I’ll reserve judgment for if and when Julia returns. The rest of the episode was strong. ****.

Starbox And Cindy:

Oooh! New segment!

First impressions are very positive. I especially like that it’s done in a new animation style. What do I think of the concept and the story?

It’s what would happen if Buttons and Mindy weren’t awful. A lot of people are unhappy that almost all of the tertiary characters are gone in the reboot, but all the tertiary characters besides Pinky and the Brain were uniformly sucky. It can be argued that Slappy Squirrel had her charms, but I always found those segments excruciatingly mean as well. And everything else was totally terrible. And I will never think otherwise.

Everything about Buttons and Mindy sucked. And it wasn’t destined to be a terrible concept. It just did everything wrong. This is the same concept done right. Instead of an admirable character like Buttons being repeatedly punished for trying to do the right thing, a terrible character is punished every time he tries to escape his loving child captor and destroy the world. The fact that the child loves him is a fascinating development. And unlike Mindy’s obnoxious voice, they hired a real, unprofessional child to voice Cindy, and it makes her more realistic and compelling. You can argue those things don’t belong in Animaniacs. I personally believe sucky and unfunny segments belong less. Your mileage may vary.

I don’t think the segment is especially amazing. But it doesn’t suck and could work in the long run. Which is more than I can say for the Goodfeathers or Rita and Runt. ***1/2.

Episode Overall: ****1/2.

Animaniacs "Episode 9"

Here Comes Treble:

I LOVE In The Hall Of The Mountain King. I loved playing it on the piano as a kid because it always got far more dire and complicated as it went along.

Opinion: It is a far more dire and exciting song than The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. That is where I stand.

I very much like the conductor’s facial and body expressions in this short. The animation was great for them.

Solid. ****.

That’s Not The Issue:

The Warners vs. Faux News. Somehow I doubt Fox Kids woulda greenlit this. ****1/2.

Future Brain:

Irresistible concept. But I’m wondering why our Brain refuses to listen to Future Brain’s warnings. He must really value Pinky’s friendship, and obviously more than taking over the world. But it’s interesting and a bit sad to wonder how and why that changes. I wish the ending retconned Future Brain out of existence. Now I’m wondering what exactly went wrong.

This had one of the best “I think so, Brains” ever. In fact it might simply be the best period. Is Pinky pondering what Future Brain is pondering? I think so, Future Brain. But if you’re from the future shouldn’t you know that I’m not? That was an incredibly and unexpectedly smart and insightful joke. A bit sadly poignant too.

Very interesting episode. ***1/2.

The Incredible Gnome In People’s Mouths:

Quick question: Why are we allowed this bizarre and hilarious premise just the once (so far) and we had to suffering Chicken Boo and the Hip Hippos multiple times?

The premise is genius and insane, and if the cartoon doesn’t quite live up to it in practice, it’s still zany enough to make me laugh. I never laughed at Katie Kaboom. Why is this the thing that’s got me cracking up?

I’ll tell you something I appreciate about the new segments this year. They seem to be trial runs. I honestly believe the 65 first season episode order on the old show probably damaged it nearly beyond repair. Having to do all of the episodes at once meant there was no room for trial and error, and to gauge what segments the audience responded to. Chicken Boo and the Hip Hippos got so much play because the producers weren’t aware exactly how much the cartoons would suck, and how much the audience would hate them. This is them trying out a new segment once per season, and seeing what reaction it gets to decide whether or not it should be made a regular thing. That’s how I think the other cartoons should have worked back in the 1990’s. Although if they done that, it’s possible all they would have been left with would be the Warners, Pinky And The Brain, and Slappy. And once Pinky and the Brain were spun-off, the old show already lost half its appeal. I don’t know how feasible it would have been to use a trial and error process as long as these were the writers that came up with Rita and Runt and the Goodfeathers. Either way, this is the right way to do it. And I want to see this Gnome in other people’s mouths in the future.*

*I’ll take sentences I never expected to type today for $300, Alex. *****.

Episode Overall: ****1/2.

Animaniacs "Episode 10"

Anima-Nyet:

Oh my God! Animaniacs restarted the Cold War!

Who knew these types of Russian jokes would ever feel relevant again? Thembria was always the most embarrassingly dated part of TaleSpin. I’m wondering if that otherwise timeless show will seem unexpectedly fresh now. Wouldn’t shock me.

Here is how you know the episode was made before the 2020 election: It tries to sell the idea that America, like Russia, is full of decent people, and is just ruled by a jackass they didn’t want or they now regret. The 2020 results tell me that simply isn’t true, as much as I wished it were before it happened. That’s the biggest reason I’m currently so unhappy. I can’t ever make that specific type of well-meaning political joke again in my writing again. It outright sucks and depresses me beyond belief.

Randy Rogel? That name takes me back. I checked the credits. He actually DID voice himself and helped write the song.

One of the few biting political satires the reboot has done, simply because they feel safer taking shots at Putin while only insulting Trump around the margins. You could call that cowardly if you want. I just hate the fact that we are so polarized that the only way Animaniacs feels it can stop pulling its punches is by spoofing another country. Another reason I am currently unhappy. ****.

Babysitter’s Flub:

Mixed feelings. After hiring a real kid for Cindy in an earlier episode, having an adult voice the babies here is even more noticeable than if they hadn’t done that.

I laughed and like the idea that Brain paused for a second and second-guessed rescuing Pinky upon the threat of his spirit being broken. Would that actually be so bad? Or would that make things easier in the long run? It’s fascinating he quickly rejected the idea, but I love that he was smart enough to at least consider it.

The “Quantainium” / “Love” bit was funny.

The animation on the babies was cute though. I also thought Brain’s boring lullaby had clever lyrics.

I liked some of it, but the adults voicing the babies sounded wrong. ***.

The Warners Press Conference:

I have to say that was a pretty perfect bit of comedy. The timing was impeccable and the jokes terrific. My favorites were Yakko hitting Wakko over the head with a mallet upon the stuffy journalist accusing the episode of being too cerebral, Dot catching the reporting abusing her press credit card at the hotel, and the reporter asking the studio exec who captured them if the reporters present would be allowed to sell each other out for better treatment. That joke is genius because I very much suspect that that is the very first question most well-known current journalists would ask the second they are put in that scenario. Which suggests they should probably be better safeguards for American freedom than they currently are.

I loved it. *****.

Episode Overall: ****.

Animaniacs "Episode 11"

Phantomaniacs:

Is it possible to successfully do a Halloween episode if you are a streaming show and you dump all the episodes at once? Maybe. Like the spooky main title. ****.

Fear And Laughter In Burbank:

I think the expressions on the Clown were animated by some truly gifted and talented boarders and directors. I want the show to get the proper credit for that. It was amazing.

I think the beginning sort of demonstrated my biggest beef with the first IT movie. The Miniseries wasn’t perfect, but it did right what the book did, and made Pennywise’s first appearance confusing, but friendly enough to be believable that he’d be able to trick a small child. In the recent movie Pennywise is so scary when we first see him that there is no way that kid would stick his hand in the sewer for any reason. There is no way a real kid could be talked into that with an evil clown looking and talking the way movie Pennywise does. They don’t exactly criticize that part of the movie in the episode. But by God, they mirror it.

I like Yakko asking if Dot thinks he funny, and she says he’s one of her funniest brothers. Definitely in her top two. And Wakko’s like “Same”. What’s funny is that even though Yakko isn’t technically stupid, the notion placates him anyways.

I love the animation on this show so much. ****1/2.

Bride Of Pinky:

Again the expression on Drusilla and the male monster were amazing (her opening scream was quite frightening) but I found the ending depressing, gross, and since the entire thing is non-canon, unnecessary.

Eleven is a fancy word for oneteen. I’ll have to remember that.

Dave needs to stop trying to make pitchsporks happen. Good joke.

It was all right (more gorgeous character animation) but it didn’t end well. ***.

Things That Go Bump In The Night:

Unlike the other new segments this year, this didn’t feel like a trial run, but more of a one-and-done skit. I very much liked the vocal performances, and found their manner of speaking quite believable and realistic. The animation on the eyes was serviceable, but considering the premise, serviceable was all that was actually needed. ****.

Episode Overall: ***1/2.

Animaniacs "Episode 12"

A Zit!:

I object, your honor! Admittedly, the song is great. But they totally ripped off Doug from Family Guy! Here is a free tip, Animaniacs, for if you DON’T want to draw attention to Doug the antagonistic talking pimple: Cast anybody else as the zit besides Freaking Kevin Michael Richardson himself! I don’t know about any other Richardson fans, but like MLK on The Boondocks, I always found Doug one of his most memorable roles ever, especially because like MLK it was totally one-and-done.

Wellesley Wild is in charge of this show. Did he actually think we wouldn’t notice? I thought Al Jean was the hypocrite of the year after the Halloween Simpsons where Homer becomes Death. At that point The Simpsons’ only real acknowledgement of Family Guy were multiple mean jokes alleging that it was nothing but a rip-off of The Simpsons. Then Jean stupidly proceeded to rip-off the most famous thing that show had done at that point in time. I can almost excuse Jean for his ignorance because he’s an egotist and a loudmouth, and I’m betting there were leery producers on staff who didn’t want to pick a fight with him, and point out Family Guy did that exact same thing to that jerk while it was such a sore spot with him. But for this, Wellesley Wild is an actual Family Guy alum. It’s just not cool. At all.

The only reason I’m not failing this entire cartoon was because the song was catchy. The noive! ***.

1001 Narfs:

So I’ve been babbling about amazing the show is at animating character expressions. After seeing this, I was underselling the animators’ talents. I think part of the reason the expressions I raved about earlier animated so well is because there was a great deal of detail, which is not usual in facial expressions in animation. You’d figure after Ren and Stimpy it would have been, but it never caught on. Besides, Ren and Stimpy used those detailed faces for extreme expressions only. The show impressed me with the nuance it was doing with these detailed character-oriented faces.

I realizing after seeing how amazing the Queen in this episode is, that the animators are far better at this than just about anybody I’ve ever seen. The thing about the detailed expressions is that the drawing itself does a lot of the work. But the Queen here has no lines on her face, her design is basic and uncomplicated, and yet I can still tell exactly what she is thinking. I think the last simple character design I’ve seen animate that well was Ariel from The Little Mermaid. And I think that IS the only example that is at this level. I could be wrong. I have not seen every animated thing ever. But I was floored at how flawless and effortless the animation on the Queen was. The fact that her face is lacking detail makes its expressiveness beyond impressive.

Poor Edwin. He will never make the theme song.

Another Family Guy connection: John Viener plays the Cave of Wonders Password System. It’s the kind of role he always nails, so he was perfect casting.

The animation on this show is stunning. *****.

Manny Manspreader:

That mostly devolved into tiresome nonsense by the end, but there were a couple of things worth mentioning.

Whenever I see somebody Manspread, I always say, “C’mon, man, they’re not THAT big.” Never fails to get a laugh. Even if the dude possesses no shame. And most Manspreaders don’t.

Don’t Mansplain Manspreading to Dot. I don’t even remember what I’m angry about.

For the record, in the season where The Simpsons and Family Guy have both recast all their black characters voiced by white actors to stop whitewashing roles of color, John Viener as The Rock feels especially tone-deaf. But that also describes every single role of color Family Guy has ever given him. But it’s a little more embarrassing than usual. Interestingly, had this season come out a year later, he never would have been cast in the first place. But it’s a bit painful as is.

It had some funny bits, but totally fell apart by the end. ***.

Episode Overall: ****.

Animaniacs "Episode 13"

Hindenburg Cola:

I actually like the idea of a Scratchensniff who isn’t a pushover and wins sometimes. We’ll see if they follow through next season.

I like that Protein Guy escaped Hell because nobody tried to stop him from leaving.

The devils deducted a point from the 666 score for being too meta.

I like the Protein Guy telling the rollercoaster operator he could put this in his college essay.

I think the kids in the audience will be too young to get the Rocky V reference. Although I think I may be too young to get the Rocky V reference as well.

Warners, the characters: “You suck Zack Snyder!” Warners, the studio: “Sure you may have almost destroyed the DC movie franchise permanently, but we’ll let you do whatever you want from now on anyways! What’s the worst that could happen?”

Dot as Hello Doctor feels FAR more empowering than Hello Nurse. I can see why they dropped that dud of a character and sexist joke.

Pretty good. ****.

Roadent Trip:

Brilliant. After all this time WHY Brain wants to take over the world should have come up. I understand part of the joke of the old show is that it didn’t make sense that he did. But the new show asked instead “What if it did? What if he had an actual reason?” As far as reasons go, it isn’t especially great. But I appreciate getting it because it’s interesting, adds character, layers, and nuance, and we didn’t actually need it. But it makes things better in my mind at least.

I love Brain being angered that it WAS a literal picnic for Pinky in his lab experiment, and that indignity is soon surpassed by the idea that Pinky had a tablet in the car the entire time.

Two Spielberg references at once here: E.T. and Duel.

Anything else I need to review about the cartoon? Did I remember to make the joke that any Road Trip without Amy Smart topless in it is not one worth taking? Okay then. Now we’re good. *****.

FLOTUS, FLOTUS, What Do You Know About Us?:

This was the thing most touted in press releases about the upcoming relaunch. So naturally they saved it for last.

I like the on-screen mea culpa that they forgot Bess Truman. That cannot have been a fun thing to realize in the editing room. Kudos to them for both honesty and thoroughness.

I like how Dot is on a clock throughout the cartoon.

Finally, I want to talk a little bit about Nations Of The World, and how this cartoon is done in that spirit. I’m going to say something the producers of the old show won’t like at all. But as far teaching kids geography, Nations Of The World is NOT educational. It’s catchy, and mind-bending, and awesome, but the information passes by too quickly for a kid to retain it. In some shots you can’t even see what country Yakko is pointing to with the pointer. So let me just say that I always took those “educational content” labels the show was allowed by broadcasters with a huge grain of salt.

The first ladies aren’t in order here, and for some no information is given (and in Melania Trump’s case that is a blessing and a gracious gift) so I don’t know how educational this is either. But it was fun, if not as amazing and memorable as Nations Of The World. ****1/2.

Final thoughts on the season:

I’m not going to bother arguing with people that this version is better than the old show in most respects. It didn’t have a high point like Nations Of The World, but that’s the only segment on the old show this never surpassed in quality at points. I’m not going to change your mind by me claiming that and you won’t change mine. What cannot be argued is that I responded far more positively to this show at age 45 in 2020 than I did the old show at age 18 in 1993. And I wasn’t a particularly cynical or demanding young man. I just had little patience for all of the non-Warner and Pinky and the Brain stuff, and that wound up most of the show. There will be purists angry those “Classic” characters didn’t really appear this season. I believe the show is better off for it and would have ALWAYS been better off without them.

The music is not as good as the old show, but I will go out on a limb and say the animation is far better. There is also more observational humor, which is the kind of humor I more respond to. I think the original Pinky and the Brain did a little of that, but because it was an early effort for animation doing that, it felt very heavy-handed at times, and often landed with a thud. I feel like the observational humor here is organic rather than painful, and seamlessly fits into the show’s sensibility now. I am a fan of this show in a way I wasn’t the original.

That is my final verdict. Come and get me.

Episode Overall: ****1/2.

Hello Nurse is neither a dud of a character nor a sexist joke! She’s incredibly intelligent! Go back and listen to Wakko’s “Hello Nurse” Song from the OG series and you’ll see why she really is just as empowering and deserves to come back!

And stop hating the other OG characters! They can always retool them and make them better in the reboot! Let them all come back and give them a chance to potentially become better characters than they we’re in the OG show.
 

Pooky

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Jul 14, 2010
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377
Location
UK
Agree with Philip. Ruegger said if he was making this season, he would have made Hello Nurse the new CEO. That's a great solution and something I want to see now.

Weird, I didn't know that but suggested this very thing could have been done on reddit and was told it would have been "cringe" and, horror of horrors, "unrealistic".

But even if that wouldn't have worked I do think just getting rid of "problematic" characters instead of doing something creative with them does show a lack of imagination . Of course there are some characters who at their core are too offensive to work in the 21st century, but I don't think Hello Nurse is one of them.
 

powerjake

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Aug 4, 2019
Messages
399
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Mexico
As I've said before, I do not care for the Animaniacs reboot on Hulu, TV Tropes is hating on this cartoon on the YMMV page for it, They hate that it has a wacky nonsense joke and they called it a " Big-Lipped Alligator Moment".

Animaniacs had a history of being very wacky and it does not need to explain the jokes, nothing in the show needs to be explained for crazy cartoony humor.

TV Tropes is known for no fun allowed, nitpicking elitist members that overanalyze cartoons that like to hate on them for petty reasons, not wanting to enjoy the show for what it is.
 

Peter Paltridge

Out To Lunch
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EPISODE 10:

I wonder if this will get the episode (or even the series) banned from Russia. As some people pointed out, Gumball did this one first and better, but (1) it was China, not Russia, and (2) it had an extra layer because there actually WAS a Gumball ripoff being produced in China. Animaniacs can't top that.

The thing about political humor these days is that half your audience will think you're going too far and the other half will think you aren't going far enough, and between them, none will laugh. The reviews bear this out. Speaking as as creative, audiences suck right now, which is depressing. We need audiences with an actual sense of humor, who don't take everything personally!

I don't watch enough press conferences to get the press conference skit. I couldn't even tell what KIND of conference it was supposed to be making fun of. Dud.

EPISODE 12:

Loved 1001 Narfs, loved the improvised stories, LOVED Jameela Jamil as Sultana, would watch again. A+
I also appreciated that Dot's zit skit didn't overstay its welcome.

I have the opposite opinion of Fone on a lot of these. I thought the resolution to Manny Manspreader was the best part because it was so unexpected and over-the-top. There was probably a simpler way to get his legs to close than THAT, but that's the joke. These are the Warners I love, the ones that bend reality to solve their problems.
 

Classic Speedy

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Episode 9 thoughts:
-Enjoyed one joke in the P&TB sketch: The Netflix Algorhythm is one of the nominees. Only a matter of time...
-"The Incredible Gnome In People's Mouths": Another new character! He's pretty obnoxious, but I guess that's the point. I give it points just for the absurdity of the premise, though. And there was some nice bouncy animation in here.

Episode 10 thoughts:
-I'll admit, I enjoyed the Millionaire joke where all the answers were Putin. Yeah it was an easy joke but I can't deny, it made me laugh.
-Also liked the subversion of Brain's catchphrase being subservience to Putin. Clever.
-The joke that "E.T." stands for "Elect Trump." A bit too on the nose, but it is truth in television.
-A political joke I liked a bit more was the ending: That they're able to easily get a flight out of Russia because there's a plane with daily flights to D.C. Ooooooh.
-P&TB sketch reminded me of Toy Story 3 with the daycare center. I did like Pinky's "I think so, Brain": "How are we gonna train bees to make mustard?"
-The scroll in the press conference sketch was too slow. I'm not saying I wanted it to whiz by (though admittedly that would make for great replay value) but the scrolls on actual 24-hour news channels go faster than this. [/nitpick]

Peter Paltridge said:
I don't watch enough press conferences to get the press conference skit. I couldn't even tell what KIND of conference it was supposed to be making fun of.
The ending joke alludes that it's supposed to be making fun of the Trump administration's press conferences (I won't say any more than that since political discussion is banned), but it didn't really come through in execution.

powerjake said:
TV Tropes is known for no fun allowed, nitpicking elitist members that overanalyze cartoons that like to hate on them for petty reasons, not wanting to enjoy the show for what it is.
This is completely incorrect. If it was, the Funny pages wouldn't be allowed. TV Tropes is not a hive mind; more than one user can edit the YMMV pages, you know.
 

Classic Speedy

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Episode 11:
-I liked the Halloween-themed intro but it was mostly the same aside from the darker visuals, the fangs, and some modified music. I would've liked to see more unique gags.

Episode 12:
-"A Zit!" was a fun musical number but bits of it felt like a retread of the Family Guy episode where a zit on Chris's face gets a personality.
-"Manny Manspreader" was the highlight here. Seemed like a commentary on political division, but more subtle than a lot of the political stuff this season. Enjoyed the line "I don't need you to mansplain manspreading."

Episode 13:
-"Hindenburg Cola": It was great to see Dr. Scratchansniff again, and even better was the twist ending. Also, I dare say this is the closest the show's gotten to imitating TMS (besides the intro, of course). Some of Scratchansniff's bounciness really evoked their work on the original series.
-"Roadent Trip": Wasn't there already a backstory about Brain in the original P&TB series? I could've swore there was. Other than that, I did like the segment- Brain's plan was pretty ingenious, and I enjoyed the Duel reference.
-Is it just me, or did the orchestra suddenly drop off in the P&TB segment and the first lady song? It sounded more synthesized. The weird thing is "Hindenburg Cola" sounded like usual.
 
Last edited:

ATSFGuy

Member
Joined
Jan 1, 2019
Messages
87
Location
Mission Viejo, California
Episode 11:
-I liked the Halloween-themed intro but it was mostly the same aside from the darker visuals, the fangs, and some modified music. I would've liked to see more unique gags.

Episode 12:
-"A Zit!" was a fun musical number but bits of it felt like a retread of the Family Guy episode where a zit on Chris's face gets a personality.
-"Manny Manspreader" was the highlight here. Seemed like a commentary on political division, but more subtle than a lot of the political stuff this season. Enjoyed the line "I don't need you to mansplain manspreading."

Episode 13:
-"Hindenburg Cola": It was great to see Dr. Scratchansniff again, and even better was the twist ending. Also, I dare say this is the closest the show's gotten to imitating TMS (besides the intro, of course). Some of Scratchansniff's bounciness really evoked their work on the original series.
-"Roadent Trip": Wasn't there already a backstory about Brain in the original P&TB series? I could've swore there was. Other than that, I did like the segment- Brain's plan was pretty ingenious, and I enjoyed the Duel reference.
-Is it just me, or did the orchestra suddenly drop off in the P&TB segment and the first lady song? It sounded more synthesized. The weird thing is "Hindenburg Cola" sounded like usual.
I think the reboot’s ok, there’s some new jokes in there.
I’m giving it a 9/10.
 

wiley207

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Joined
Jan 20, 2009
Messages
1,500
Location
USA
Heh, I enjoyed the "A Zit" song! The way Kevin Michael Richardson voiced Dot's zit reminded me of Chris Griffin's talking pimple Doug, whom he also voiced.
Heh, "1,001 Narfs" reminded me even more of "Scooby-Doo in Arabian Nights," as if Steven Bernstein reusing some of his compositions from that and the same sound effects wasn't enough! And the security questions/captcha bit was so funny!
 

2-D chirox

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Jan 23, 2016
Messages
228
Overall I'm not impressed. This series suffers from so many issues seen in 2010s animation that it's hard to pin point all of them. To sum up I would say that the main issue is the fact that the staff who write this are clearly way too disconnected from the influences on the original animaniacs to allow for a faithful reboot. Simply put they leaned way too heavily into the pop cultural references and forgot the visual aspect of the humour. Something I always like to do with reboots is to watch the original and rebooted version in tandem with each other. When doing this with animaniacs the differences become starkly clear. Whereas the original series had plenty of visual based gags to keep the audience entertained, this had very little in the way of that. Not only were there few visual gags but the animation felt (dare I say it) worse than the 90s version. Sure it's got all the high definition colouring and what have you but it felt stiffer in comparison to the original. The original had stretching limbs and objects colliding into each other, and all the non-sensicle cartoon physics. This on the other hand seemed to downplay that element drastically. I blame this primarily on the fact that the writers are family guy writers. Their humour is more dialogue based humour. That or gross out. Speaking of which. Way more gross out humour. Way more grotesque visual design in general. So much slime and spit. I fail to understand the appeal of this.

But then there comes one of its most agregious elements. The way they fundamentally changed the warners themselves. In the original there was a very common set up. The warners were out of control children who's main purpose in life seemed to be that of irritating everyone around them. Usually other characters played the role of the straight man to the Warners' antics. Here, that's not the case anymore. The Warners aren't very zany. They're actually pretty straight edge characters overall often mocking other characters and playing the straight man to their antics. This marks this show as not just different but fundamentally opposed to what the original was. Where the silliness was one of its selling point, the new version is your typical snarky 2010s cartoon character. What has replaced the original trio is just bland by today's standards. In fact I've noticed that the sketches are a lot more... individual now. In the old series it was much more focused on the Warners as a group and how they played off of each other and/or the world around them. In the new series it is a lot more focused around the warners as individuals which I generally don't enjoy. On their own the Warners really aren't that interesting. I mean animaniacs is a sketch comedy show at its core and the characters aren't fully fledged three dimensional personalities as a result. And for a comedy sketch show that works fine. There won't be a consistent storyline and the characters will end the same as they were in the beginning. When you focus on them individually there just isn't enough to create interesting skits or stories.

Animaniacs suffers from a lot of the same issues that the PPG reboot of 2016 suffered from. Instead of being faithful to the original it decided to chase all of the trends of the modern era. Trends that won't last and thus means it cannot maintain support in the long run because of how much it just blends in with the crowd. It is now just another victim of the reboot craze.
 

SweetShop209

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Joined
Jan 5, 2014
Messages
10,229
Technically, the only notable person from Family Guy to work on the show is showrunner Wellsley Wild. Story editor Greg White worked on shows like Wander Over Yonder, The Adventures Of Puss In Boots, and Unikitty. As for the rest of the writing staff, they've mainly worked on political sketch comedies and adult sitcoms.
 

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