The Animaniacs are back in a Hulu reboot? How does it hold up? Just fine!
After having died over 20 years ago, the incredible Animaniacs have returned to Hulu. Yes, you can now see Pinky & the Brain (Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche, respectively), and the whole lot of Yakko, Wakko, and Dot (Paulsen, Jess Harnell, and Tress MacNeille) all reunite to bring levity to the crazy year of 2020. So grab some snacks for yourself and/or your socially-distanced family unit, and dig into the first season of the Animaniacs reboot!
A few interesting notes: Much like the 1993 series, the 2020 version has appearances by Steven Spielberg as a character (though he’s actually voiced by Andy Milder). If you’re scared out of your wits about the reboot being totally different, fear not. These are not entirely “The new Warners,” although they do tackle some newer topics, and often by singing about them.
Much as we remember Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory due to “Pure Imagination” or Scooby-Doo for its weird, hippie pop tunes, you’ll find songs here every bit as memorable as previous Animaniacs tunes like “Yakko’s World” (a song my nephew has memorized, by the way).
Animaniacs segments: Jurassic Lark/Suspended Animation (Part 1)
As you might have guessed, Jurassic Lark is a parody of Jurassic Park — a clever way of saying they’re revived from a previously extinct cartoon. It turns out they’re adequately zany as they breeze through the jokes, complete with baloney in their slacks. One of the funniest jokes here is that, while trying to avoid ruining their opening lines, they mostly drop the ball (except for Dot). The Jurassic Park thing easily transitions into “Suspended Animation (Part 1),” which is largely about Wakko Warner’s quest to eat a 22-year-old sandwich!
The segment also features Ralph the Security Guard (Frank Welker), a drone (those weren’t such a cultural phenomenon back in the ’90s), and a CEO named Nora Rita Norita (Stephanie Escajeda). Norita offers them a tablet, which is mistaken for a pill — a silly joke that only needs to work on that one level, and does. Then comes the jokes about the Star Trek reboot, and the Animaniacs‘ fresh, fun song “Reboot It.” As they make fun of all the recycling done by Hollywood for easy cash, they obviously have to bring it back to themselves, which they do quite nicely.
Pinky and the Brain
Pinky and the Brain blasts back into action, sort of, by tackling the issue of internet memes and the obsession with cute and stupid pets. Pinky simply loves it whereas Brain wants to use the internet to become the cutest animal and brainwash the masses into subservience. Although he first seems successful, Brain is ultimately upstaged by a pig. It’s a pretty weird moment, and somewhat dreamlike, leading one to wonder if the whole episode is intended as Brain’s fantasies run amok.
Final thoughts on the Animaniacs season premiere
I don’t want to gush too much about the Animaniacs reboot, but I think it’s solid more than squalid. You will inevitably find detractors saying, in so many words, “It doesn’t capture the original’s magic” and blah blah blah. Basically, you’ll enjoy it if you like the original but aren’t ultra-nitpicky about everything. If you’re looking for the absolute original, then go ahead and watch those episodes wherever you can find them.
What are your thoughts on Hulu’s Animaniacs reboot premiere? “Narf” at us in the comments!