When it comes to Yakko, Wacko, and Dot Warner, the trio is meant to come off as timeless. They’re sentient retcons, created in the early 1990s, but also canonically existing since the 1930s. Much like Bugs Bunny (and unlike Buster Bunny), it doesn’t matter what decade they’re doing their hijinks in.
That’s why it’s so welcome that Animaniacs is making a comeback in November on Hulu. With the same voice actors behind the characters decades later and the Steven Spielberg seal of approval, all signs point to this being a worthwhile revival.
And while that Animaniacs theme song is so damn iconic – including the Freakazoid parody – it MAAAAAAY just need an update. I mean, for one, there’s the line about Bill Clinton playing the sax. It’s been three Presidents since then! If we’re lucky, we’ll be on our way to four by the time the new shows air in November! Jokes about Bill Clinton’s musical hobbies aren’t exactly cutting edge in 2020.
There’s also the way the theme song goes over the massive cast of characters. Recently, I had the opportunity of speaking with voice actor Rob Paulsen (Yakko, Pinky, Dr. Scratchansniff). As I jokingly asked him to spoil stuff that wasn’t going to be happening on the new iteration of Animaniacs, he dropped what I consider something of a bombshell.
I can tell you this, that so far, there don’t appear to be as many of the secondary characters as there were in the original show. The original show is a variety/magazine type show, which is where Pinky and the Brain obviously got their foothold and turned out to be their own franchise. So right now, we don’t have Rita and Runt, Mindy and Buttons, Katie Ka-Boom, all those other secondary characters. But there are new ones and other ones.
Welp. Wouldn’t make sense to mention Rita, Runt, Mindy, and Buttons in that intro song then, right?
Rob did verify that Animaniacs will have a new intro and it’s going to be pretty nuts.
As soon as you hear the first downbeat, you’ll go, “Oh my God. I’m 11. I’m 15,” whatever you were. And then it morphs into this appropriate acknowledgement of the zeitgeist, that is to say, the lyrics already tell you right off the bat that we’re in a different time. The lyrics… and it will take people a few times to listen to because we blow through them pretty quick. I’m not going to give it away because I want you to be surprised, but the lyrics in the opening title scene, they let you know that they’re self-aware. They get that the time we’re in is now, and the Animaniacs understand that.
So right away, it, in my view, dispels any fears of them not being hip or getting it. Right away. It’s just, “Okay. Here’s where we are. We know this was a while ago, but here’s… this is the time it is now, and off we go.”
Not surprising that they’ll be singing about the ways time has changed. In this preview full of animatics (animatiacs?), Wacko cracks a very cut-to-the-bone joke about Hootie and the Blowfish.
Well, that makes me feel about as old as Slappy.
Animaniacs will be returning on November 20 courtesy of Hulu.