A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Animaniacs is a reboot of the popular same-named 1990s cartoon about the animated Warner Brothers and Warner sister: Wakko, Yakko, and Dot (voiced as before by Jess Harnell, Rob Paulsen, and Tress MacNeille). The show's bread and butter is fast-paced satire that targets elements of American politics and pop culture, so expect plenty of caricatures and exaggerated representations designed to poke fun and sometimes stereotype groups of people. The show also takes a lighthearted but indirect approach to issues like gender equality and gun control in the pursuit of laughs. You can also expect a fair amount of gross-out humor, poop references, and nose picking, as well as insults like "imbecile," "nerds," and "loser."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
ANIMANIACS reintroduces the Warner Brothers -- Yakko (voiced by Rob Paulsen) and Wakko (Jess Harnell) -- and the Warner sister -- Dot (Tress MacNeille) -- to audiences 22 years after the original series ended. Now back in their old Warner Bros. movie lot stomping grounds, the siblings pick up where they left off, getting into one absurd predicament after another and driving the local lot police crazy. Other segments follow the schemes of Acme Lab mice Pinky (Paulsen again) and the Brain (Maurice LaMarche), who attempt nightly to take over the world. Music, pop-culture parodies, political satire, and allegory dominate the stories in this reboot.
Is it any good?
Nostalgia rules in this reincarnation of beloved ‘90s characters, but overall this series falls short of the standard set by its predecessor. The original Animaniacs was a comedy revelation in its day, a cartoon that could entertain kids but really was geared toward adults who could appreciate the whip-smart humor and the satire it took to a new level. But 2020 is a different era with different sensitivities, and this version’s unrelenting political satire feels less funny in a politically fatigued culture.
On the other hand, Pinky and the Brain enjoy great success once again in these new episodes. Two decades later, these rodent best pals still cling to their hope of world domination despite never seeing one of their elaborate plans come to fruition. Other elements of nostalgia will appeal to those who remember the original series as well, and regardless of who the viewer is, the Animaniacs musical numbers always hit a high note.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the satire used in Animaniacs. Is it effective as a comedic tool? Does it seem biased in its choice of targets, or does it share the teasing equally? What stereotypes do you notice? Are they offensive or funny?
Who is this show’s target audience? Do you understand the humor? How does a person’s life experience affect how he or she approaches different subject matters from a comic standpoint? How do you maximize your screen time by finding shows appropriate for you?
How does this reboot compare to the original? Is it as funny? As clever? Does it lack any elements that contributed to the success of the first? Conversely, does it add anything that makes it better than its predecessor?
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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