'Animaniacs' Reboot Must Address A Few Things

Animaniacs was incredibly well-written, with songs and bits that gave kids a bunch of laughs and gave adults a few that they couldn't explain to those kids. And in 2018, just when we needed it most, Hulu ordered a two-season reboot of the show, due to start airing in the fall of 2020. The timing really could not be better -- if there were one show that could help us all out with the effects of quarantines and cabin fever, it's a show about three crazy siblings who keep getting locked back up in a water tower because they're creating chaos outside.

The best news of all of this is that essentially the entire voice cast, and Steven Spielberg apparently, is back on board too. Behold, the joy:

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But first things first, we're gonna need an updated theme song.

Yeah, lyrics about, for example, Bill Clinton playing the sax, and the pop-culture episodic changes to the end of the song, are so '90s that we're kind of surprised that Dot isn't wearing a flannel and Doc Martens.

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The show was also really good at teaching kids about things they'd learn in school. For example, kids all over the USA, at some point, will need to know the 50 states and their capitals. That's not changing anytime soon, and Wakko's song about them will never not be funny. But when Yakko does the Nations of the World, well, let's just say it was definitely written in the 90s.

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You'll notice there's a pretty distinct lack of former Soviet Bloc countries in there, and lyrics like "Germany now in one piece" and "both Yemens" might make some Gen X-ers wince. The further total misnaming of countries like Cambodia (as Kampuchea) might be rough. It's a song that's very much a product of its time, and a reboot might find it prudent to include, say, Ukraine.

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There's also the matter of us having had three new presidents since their presidents song, plus the cringeworthy end to Clinton's terms.

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There are fun little quips about every president in there, but a whole lot of our defining memories about them aren't great or kid-friendly. Clinton had the Lewinsky scandal. Bush's presidency was defined by mismanaged tragedy after mismanaged tragedy. Obama was historic and all, but dealt with a bunch of garbage in the media. And Trump is, well, Trump.

It's not just the educational stuff that might need an update, either. They had recurring gags about a Barney the Dinosaur ripoff named Baloney that could not be killed by a falling anvil. Peep the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harding's Bodyguard jokes.

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Barney's been off the air for 10 years and is now a tantric sex doctor. The Warner siblings might need a new nemesis that's more within the cultural frame of reference of the new audience. The joke of how the smart-as-a-whip Warners siblings were the anti-Barney was spot-on, but who would that even be today? Blue from Blue's Clues? No, everyone loves Blue. There's just not the same cultural equivalent in children's television today. Is there? I don't have kids.

In the end, Animaniacs was/is a highly adaptable show and really shouldn't have a problem working in 2020, just, you know, maybe add a new song about washing your hands.

Top Image: Warner Animation

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