Friday, June 20, 2008

They're An-i-man-ee, totally insane-y, ANIMANIACS!

The cartoon equivalent of a sketch comedy show, Animaniacs stands out at a unique piece of "children's" television. But I have a hard time believing that it was ever intended for kids. The humor was intelligent, sarcastic and often not-so-vaguely sexual. The Warner kids interpreted Shakespeare - and implied that Hamlet and Yorick were, ahem, close. They rinsed Beethoven's mouth out when he claimed to be a pianist (Don't get the joke? Try saying it out loud in a German accent). One of the characters was known simply as "Hello Nurse," a popular catcall from the days of vaudeville. Face facts, everybody - this show was naughty.

Recurring character, Minerva Mink. Down, furries.

Besides, many of the sketches would probably confuse the average child. Goodfeathers (two words: pigeon mafia) was obviously a send-up of Goodfellas, and how many eight year olds are familiar with Martin Scorsese films? Chicken Boo was a triumph of surrealist humor (a six-foot tall chicken slaps on a fake mustache and becomes a Civil War general ... and no one notices). Producer Steven Spielberg (that's right, the Steven Spielberg) is quoted as saying Animaniacs utilized "humor of social commentary and irreverence ... inspired by the Marx Brothers."

Well put, Mr. Spielberg.

I suppose Animaniacs is redeemed by its educational segments. If you're cramming for a geography exam, check out Yakko's World and Wakko's America. And who could forget the lessons we learned from The Wheel Of Morality?

My favorite moral:
People in glass houses should dress with the lights out.

1 comment:

Maggie Cats said...

Oh, Animaniacs. I have your t-shirt, soundtrack, and VHS videos.

"You forgot Uranus."

Good night, everybody!