All is strange and vague: The welcome return of ‘Animaniacs’


Three familiar faces and three familiar voices erupt from the television set and into my brain – a familiar but long lost signal from the past. “It’s time for Ani-MA-NIIIII-acs!” declare Wakko, Yakko and Dot for the first time in 22 years.

Excited but also uneasy, I wondered, “Is it time for ‘Animaniacs’?”

“Animaniacs” was a defining piece of ’90s culture for me, a short-lived animated TV show that drew its energy from Looney Toons. Focused on the species-non-specific mammalian Warner Brothers, Wakko and Yakko, and their sister Dot – as well as two mutated lab mice, Pinky and the Brain – the show took the variety of vaudeville and infused it with a frenetic pace that reflected a culturally recombinant era – or at least what felt like a culturally recombinant era at the time. By wrapping up in 1998, “Animaniacs,” it turns out, was only standing at the gate of the fast-paced informational world to come.

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