After escaping from the water tower on the Warner Bros. studio lot, siblings Yakko, Wakko, and Dot Warner are on the loose. The threesome is a lost and forgotten creation, hidden from the world by the Warner Bros. animation department, which feared that it may have created a monster. Indeed it has. Now that the three out-of-control Warners are out and about, we can revel in their incessant madness.
While the name “Animaniacs” may imply some good, old-fashioned animated fun for everyone, it can certainly be a little misleading. Frequently, the series does not resemble the cartoons your father, or more accurately, your grandfather grew up with. Imagine if “The Three Stooges” were animated, featured dozens of pop-culture references every minute, and managed to be both educational and a bit sentimental in the process as well, and you have the “Animaniacs.” A tad a la “The Simpsons,” the show has a broad reach and is certainly not designed for the youngest audiences. After all, what kids show would have an episode take place during World War II at the time of the Nazi occupation? Article continues below
I mentioned educational because infamous “Animaniacs” bits like Yakko singing the “Planets Song” or the show’s homage to classic, old-school animation are not only clever parodies, but also enlightening and informative sketches, if only for a few moments. And if the pop-culture references and the classroom lectures are too much, remember that I initially compared Yakko, Wakko, and Dot to the three stooges and none of them break away from that routine for too long. Certainly, the kid audiences have not been entirely forgotten.
The show was also known for featuring dozens of supporting characters, like the dynamic pairing of dim-witted mouse Pinky and his brilliant, but hapless partner Brain, who could never quite accomplish his one and only lifelong dream of taking over the world. The simple, but effective humor generated by the pairing helped the short eventually become its very own series. Then there are the far less successful characters like Chicken Boo, a completely mute chicken with the most obtuse facial expression that reacted to everything around it the only way it could – by not reacting at all. By the third time you are watching this bit, you are ready to throw something at the television screen.
Overall, the television series is quite entertaining and easily surpasses most programming currently on air in the early afternoons. Its major flaw is that it has far too much slapstick to be taken seriously by adults and far too much adult humor to be appropriate, suitable, or even amusing to the average kid.DVD REVIEW: Volume 2Movie Review:
Dolby Digital 5.1Video:
1.33:1 - Full FrameReview:
The second volume features the next 25 episodes (numbers 26 to 50) of the half-hour program, split among 5 DVD discs in an attractive and well-designed slipcase. Both the audio and the video on the discs are quite good considering the age of the source material, but, needless to say, they are also imperfect. The special features are very limited, but what is here is quite solid. Besides a few trailers that are available on the last disc, there is essentially only one feature – a half hour-long group discussion on the writing in the series. The show’s many writers make their contribution to the featurette by providing some thoughts and truly great insights into the series. It is a nice, in-depth, albeit brief bonus. For most fans, however, a long-overdue release of “Animaniacs” on DVD is more than enough.