Good Morning: A nostalgic return of the Animaniacs

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
Michael Hutchins

Over the weekend, I took a nostalgic trip back to the 90s, or at least attempted to, over the weekend as I was able to watch the reboot on a favorite show from my childhood. On Friday, Hulu premiered the reboot of Animaniacs, 22 years after it went off the air.

The show was always a favorite for me and many others that grew up in that odd time known as the 90s. It was a unique show in that its humor was the type that could appeal both to kids and the parents who happened to be in the room.

Does the humor translate 22 years later? Your results may vary.

For those unfamiliar with the show, Animaniacs follows the antics of the fictional Warner Bros. and their Warner sister, Dot, as they get into adventures on a movie lot. At its core, the show plays off close to a variety show, with shorts  based on a variety of other characters.

So far, the reboot has focused almost exclusively on the Warners, Pinky and the Brain, a pair of lab mice who want to take over the world. The fates of all the other characters are brought up, in a rather unsettling moment.

One of the keys to the success of the original's humor was that it was simultaneously of the moment while also timeless. Many of the jokes are still funny looking back 20 years later.

The new season seems caught on being in the now of the 21st century, which is odd considering some of the jokes were written two years ago.

In short: in the 90s, the show was targeting me, with enough jokes for my parents to enjoy. More than 20 years later, it is still targeting me, but with enough jokes for the younger crowd to enjoy.

The changes comes as early as the opening intro which now includes joke lyrics about being "gender balanced, pronoun-neutral and ethnically diverse."

In a way, much of the subtlety is lost when you have jokes directly about the 2016 election and President Donald Trump. This is coming from a show that included Bill Clinton playing the saxophone in its opening.

When the show avoids this, its humor is as solid as ever. Even the subtler references to modern  culture work. One short about the prevalence of stupid cat videos on the internet had me  reliving those memories from twenty years ago.

So what we are left with  is a mixture of obsession with the current day, with wisps of what made the show brilliant so many years ago.