9 Things from ‘Animaniacs’ That Make Us Nostalgic for the 1990s
Despite having a reboot on Hulu that recently concluded, there’s something about Animaniacs that permanently feels like it’s stuck in the 1990s — and I mean that in the best possible way. With pop-culture references galore, the original series, which ran from 1993 to 1999, is bound to make a ‘90s kid like me nostalgic. Here are just nine examples of how Animaniacs can supply that warm, fuzzy feeling even better than a pair of JNCO jeans.
Bill Clinton Plays the Sax
Remember when the big news on Bill Clinton was “Hey look, he plays the saxophone!” as opposed to “Hey look, he’s on the Epstein list!”
Super Strong Warner Siblings
Here are Yakko, Wakko and Dot parodying Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers, though can you really call it a parody if it has better writing, acting and production value than the thing it’s spoofing?
A parody of Friends that features the Warner siblings moving in with the friends. It also features a very obscure reference to the 1995 film Outbreak, as Ross’ monkey, Marcel, was also in that film.
Baloney and Friends
Who didn’t love a good joke at the expense of Barney the dinosaur? On Animaniacs, the Barney stand-in was hilariously named “Baloney” and, of course, the saccharine ‘saurus was no match for the chaotic Warners.
‘AAHH! Rush Limbaugh’s on Your Sofa!’
Another thing to miss about the 1990s is jokes at the expense of hate-monger Rush Limbaugh. To that end, here the Warners are terrifying the audience by screaming “AAHH! Rush Limbaugh’s on your sofa!” Actually, now that I think about it, I prefer it when Rush Limbaugh is dead and entirely irrelevant like he is today.
The brilliant Randy Rogel song “Variety Speak” is a musical tutorial on showbiz talk, but it also functions as an animated time capsule for the mid-1990s, with references to Arnold Schwarzenegger, Siskel and Ebert, Beethoven the dog, Sylvester Stallone making a Rocky 6 (which he would do in 2006) and Macauley Culkin starring in an Oliver Stone movie, to name just a few.
The 1990 Martin Scorsese movie Goodfellas was still a hot movie three years later when Animaniacs debuted, so they made a series of sketches starring pigeons known as “The Goodfeathers.” Bobby was a parody on Robert De Niro’s Jimmy; Squit, the narrator, was a take on Ray Liotta’s Henry Hill; and the short-fused Pesto was a play on Joe Pesci’s Tommy. It’s one of the sketches that didn’t make it to the reboot, but they were probably the funniest characters on the show after the Warners and Pinky and the Brain.
Not THAT Michelangelo
Another joke you were more likely to find in the 1990s — a casual shout-out to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Fun fact: Rob Paulsen, who supplied the voice of Yakko on Animaniacs, played Raphael in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoon and voiced Donatello in the 2012 Nickelodeon reboot.
All Those Countries in ‘Yakko’s World’ That No Longer Exist
Outside of the opening theme of Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain, “Yakko’s World,” which saw Yakko name every country on Earth, is probably the most iconic piece of music to come out of the series. However, a number of countries have come and gone over the past 30 years, making the song delightfully dated. Farewell, Yugoslavia, I never really knew where you were anyway.