‘Animaniacs’ Reboot in the Works in Latest Appeal to 90s Nostalgia

Good luck getting the theme song out of your head now.
By  · Published on June 1st, 2017

Good luck getting the theme song out of your head now.

Last Tuesday, Indiewire reported that Warner Bros. Animation and Amblin Entertainment are in the early stages of developing a reboot of the popular ’90s cartoon Animaniacs, which aired from 1993 through 1998. The cartoon was styled like a sketch comedy and usually featured 2-3 skits per half hour episode. The cast of approximately a billion characters (rough estimate) featured several standouts, including the Warner siblings, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot, and Pinky and the Brain, two mice bent on world domination who went on to receive their own spin-off which ran for four seasons. The details thus far about the potential reboot are extremely limited, but Steven Spielberg, the executive producer of the original series who was also heavily involved in writing, is expected to be involved. However, there has been no word about whether or not creator Tom Ruegger will also be returning.

Animaniacs might not have been Schoolhouse Rock!, but the show did feature some grade-saving educational tunes nonetheless, perhaps most notably “Wakko’s America,” which listed all fifty states and their capitals to the tune of “Turkey in the Straw.” Though the show was geared towards a child audience, it ultimately amassed a sizable adult fanbase, aided by frequent humor and references geared towards adult audiences, such as the recurring “Goodfeathers” skits which featured a trio of Goodfellas-inspired Italian-American pigeons and a Godfather-parodying “Fairy Godpigeon.”

In fact, one of the causes of Animaniacs‘ downfall after moving to the WB (remember when that was still a thing?) as part of their children’s lineup was not so much that the show wasn’t bringing in enough viewers as much as it wasn’t bringing in their target demographic of young children, which made advertisers especially unhappy. News of this reboot comes a year after all 99 episodes of the original Animaniacs series were posted on Netflix, leading to a renewed interest in the show from both old and new fans alike; it will be interesting to see if this reboot will have a target audience of a new generation of youngsters or if it will be seeking to appeal to its original audience of 90s kids, especially considering how the show’s original run ended up with a sizable adult fanbase.

Image result for bill clinton saxophone animaniacsThough there are many of us who live in denial and continue to think of the 1990s as ten years ago, it seems we have reached a distance where 1990s nostalgia has become a lucrative business, as indicated by successes of the likes of Full House sequel series Fuller House on Netflix and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast remake. That said, the current box office disaster that is Baywatch goes to show that simply appealing to 1990s cultural staples isn’t enough to draw in 2017 audiences.

Of course, nothing is set in stone—this potential Animaniacs reboot does not even have a home network yet—but if it does end up happening one can’t help but wonder how the beloved Emmy Award-winning theme song will be updated. After all, Bill Clinton playing saxophone isn’t quite a relevant as it used to be.


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Ciara Wardlow is a human being who writes about movies and other things. Sometimes she tries to be funny on Twitter.