That crazy son of a gun actually did it.
October 12, 2020 10:11 PM   Subscribe

Clean vectored outlines? Wide-screen format? These don't look like reruns! That's because Steven Spielberg Presents The Animaniacs on Hulu, coming this November. (twitter link to new 1m30s preview. it's everything I hoped it would hint that the new series would be... omg so so very much this)
posted by hippybear (50 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
 
Great to realise you've finally aged into the prime market pandering demo.
posted by Ferreous at 10:23 PM on October 12 [47 favorites]


Well, that or the people producing the shows have aged into the prime producing demo.
posted by wildblueyonder at 11:03 PM on October 12 [16 favorites]


They are also bringing back Pinky and the Brain? I loved that show.
posted by eye of newt at 1:10 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


This is great, though the relationship between Sam Neill and Laura Dern's character always struck me as uncomfortable. The forced head turning always came across as awkward at best. I don't mean this in retrospect or being an especially woke 10 year old, just that I've never really found it normal to grab someone's head to force them to look at something. So I never get to talk about this, I'll go ahead and throw it out there for no reason.

That said, weren't Animaniacs a big play on the studio structure and domination of entertainment? The 90s existed at the zenith of practical special effects, if anything Jurassic Park was the cultural pinnacle of that movement. Studios ran everything, theme parks were as big as they were going to get and the excitement of thinking that you could go on a studio lot to see a movie being made was the central plot of Animaniacs. Now they live on a digital subscription service that could be and probably is in a nondescript office park in California, owned itself by an ever changing conglomerate of private equity firms, investors and what's left of studios, whose content is not even comprised or financed by the current owners. Universal made Back to the Future, you could go to a Universal theme park and see Back to the Future, the idea that you could run into Michael J Fox wasn't even remote there are stories of people doing that on Univeral tours. This might have very well been the exception and even past its prime by the time Animaniacs arrived but I doubt you'd find many people at the time thinking the big studio days were over.

I guess now it is not good pulp movies like Jurassic Park, but high budget Marvel movies and then incredibly targeted b-level movies that feel as if an algorithm personalizes low-budget movies for me, "Zombie movies? Apocalyptic? Tiffany, the singer from I Think We're Alone Now?" Yeah Netflix has you covered and you hate the movie but you still watch it anyway.
posted by geoff. at 1:11 AM on October 13 [4 favorites]


I mean, it's a bit weird, but imagine spending your entire career digging up bones and interpreting what they mean, only to come face-to-face with mfing DINOSAURS, brought to life, and unexpectedly, and there was a herd of them in front of me. It's not every day you see the subject of your life's work brought to life. It would be like if the Millennium Falcon landed on the street in front of you in real life, and then Han Solo and Chewbacca, not the actors playing them, walked out. (It seems less important to note that the two of them have been colleagues for on multiple digs over many years.)

As far as being at prime pandering-age, the animated series, Star Trek: Lower Decks is amazing. Not for everybody, but the writers for that show are devout Star Trek fans, and it shows.

I can't wait for til Nov 20th!
posted by fragmede at 1:39 AM on October 13 [4 favorites]


This might have very well been the exception and even past its prime by the time Animaniacs arrived but I doubt you'd find many people at the time thinking the big studio days were over.

So what you're saying here is that Animaniacs is kindof like a relic from a different time when larger lumbering entities were the chief feature of the media ecosystem and so it's sortof odd to see it given life in the current environment and who knows what sort of chaos that might unleash?

Perhaps even that the producers were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn't stop to think if they should?
posted by wildblueyonder at 2:00 AM on October 13 [36 favorites]


The forced head turning always came across as awkward at best. I don't mean this in retrospect or being an especially woke 10 year old, just that I've never really found it normal to grab someone's head to force them to look at something.

No, I'm glad you said it, it bothered me too. I've never seen Jurassic Park and I only realized this was a parody of it right after the head-grabbing part. So as a viewer without that context, it struck me as weirdly violent and made me worry about misogyny in the new show, which definitely overshadowed the pleasure of the teaser.

I took a look at the original scene. The head-grabbing doesn't seem quite as violent there (the hand doesn't slam her head down), though the way it's shot, with the disembodied hand coming down from above, seems to foreshadow later attacks by dinosaurs (I assume? Do dinosaurs in the movie grab things with their claws?) The original didn't have him slamming her jaw up either. The slamming thing is about using the language of bouncy animated Looney Tunes-ish creatures on non-bouncy human characters, and it's jarring.

I don't mean this to rain on the parade! I'm really looking forward to more Animaniacs. I just hope this kind of weird casual (and usually misogynistic) violence will... go extinct soon.
posted by trig at 2:20 AM on October 13 [2 favorites]


I hope they leave in the jokes for adults, like this one about Prince.
posted by adept256 at 3:22 AM on October 13 [13 favorites]


You know what always bugged me about that Jurassic Park scene?

The fact that they are in the tropics—in summertime—and they aren't wringing wet with sweat. Everyone is perfectly crisply dressed and dry until it starts raining. THAT'S what has always bugged me about Jurassic Park.
posted by SoberHighland at 4:50 AM on October 13 [11 favorites]


All I know is my wife just switched us from Hulu to YouTubeTV, and now I'm not going to get to watch the new Animaniacs.
posted by briank at 5:36 AM on October 13


My body is ready.
posted by SansPoint at 6:23 AM on October 13


The fact that they are in the tropics—in summertime—and they aren't wringing wet with sweat.

I just assumed they were dressed in wrinkle-free linen.
posted by rocketman at 6:43 AM on October 13 [2 favorites]


The fact that they are in the tropics—in summertime—and they aren't wringing wet with sweat.

Myself, I thought the giant fucking dinosaurs were the unbelievable part.
posted by adept256 at 6:57 AM on October 13 [22 favorites]


1) Yay!!! Loves me those Animaniacs! Gimme more!
2) Boo, for the slickness and "clean vectored outlines." The hand-drawn-ish-ness was part of the charm and appeal. The slickness is, well, slick. And charmless.
posted by Thorzdad at 7:23 AM on October 13 [3 favorites]


Animaniacs was nothing if not meta. "Hello we're in a new medium of animation and we're here to wreak havoc here too" has potential.

The original was chock full of references that I didn't get when I was a kid. Glad to see they're starting on the right foot here by referencing a movie that is considered "old" to today's kids.
posted by explosion at 7:42 AM on October 13 [6 favorites]


I've loved Maurice LaMarche (Brain) for years particularly his Shatner impersonation and Brain.

But his story about meeting the Dalai Lama and coming to terms with his father's murder was very moving and unexpected. I believe he talks about it in his appearance on Kevin Pollack's Chat Show.
posted by beowulf573 at 8:11 AM on October 13 [2 favorites]


Nice to know that at least one good thing will happen in this trainwreck dumpster fire pandemic apocalypse of a year.
posted by panglos at 8:27 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


One of the fun things about the CW series Lucifer was the occasional scene shot on the Warner Brothers lot (when Luci and Chloe were investigating some sketchy actor or something). They always made sure to include the iconic WB water tower in one of the establishing shots, the same water tower that the Animaniacs camp out in.
posted by SPrintF at 8:31 AM on October 13 [4 favorites]


Pinky And The Brain Theme - Postmodern Jukebox (ft. Emily Goglia, Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche)
posted by Omon Ra at 8:32 AM on October 13 [5 favorites]


The original was chock full of references that I didn't get when I was a kid. Glad to see they're starting on the right foot here by referencing a movie that is considered "old" to today's kids.

The first episode of Animaniacs, if I'm not mistaken, referenced a Jerry Lewis comedy that, at the time, was about thirty years old. Jurassic Park is now about thirty years old. They always wore their unhipness and love of classic media on their sleeve, and I'm glad that tradition continues.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:35 AM on October 13 [5 favorites]


What an odd trailer. So nostalgic and serious. No playfulness at all - even the thrown pie feels like a sigh.
posted by doctornemo at 8:40 AM on October 13 [6 favorites]


Animaniacs was nothing if not meta. "Hello we're in a new medium of animation and we're here to wreak havoc here too" has potential.

Right? And if Hulu is depicted as the lawyer in this one.... Well, we all know what happened to the lawyer.

ok i love you bye bye!
posted by mochapickle at 8:44 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


The head turn around 1:14 is making me wonder whether this is animated in 2D or animated in 3D and rendered in a 2D style. Perhaps I'll ask some colleagues.
posted by clawsoon at 8:54 AM on October 13


Part of the charm of Animaniacs was that it was already anachronistic when it was first broadcast - harking back to shows that were decades old at the time. That same spirit is going to be hard to replicate.

The jump to widescreen doesn't really do cheap TV-style animation any favors. Wide screen means that medium shots (say of a few characters standing around) show a lot more of the background and makes the only-character-slash-object-moves-at-a-time-ness a lot more obvious. On 4:3 screens, the directors could get tighter in on the animated characters to disguise the gaps in animation.
posted by AndrewStephens at 8:59 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


The head turn around 1:14 is making me wonder whether this is animated in 2D or animated in 3D and rendered in a 2D style. Perhaps I'll ask some colleagues.

Nevermind, appears that it's all 2D.
posted by clawsoon at 9:00 AM on October 13


Well, we know that we can look forward to seeing Chicken Boo as the President in one of them. I mean... its a gimmie at this point.
posted by Nanukthedog at 9:08 AM on October 13 [8 favorites]


Great to realise you’ve finally aged into the prime market pandering demo.

The Jurassic Park reference is quite the tell.
posted by Going To Maine at 9:25 AM on October 13 [2 favorites]


Well, we know that we can look forward to seeing Chicken Boo as the President in one of them. I mean... its a gimmie at this point.

I would vote hard for Chicken Boo over either of the choices at hand.
posted by briank at 9:33 AM on October 13 [1 favorite]


As someone who loved Animaniacs as a kid and was Dot in a group halloween costume as a teen... I find Animaniacs sort of hard to watch as an adult. Yes, the sense that it was a throwback when it came out now comes off as simply overdone, which means that the work the concept was doing it can't do anymore. The jokes aren't as funny when that foundation is stale, they seem weak and nonsensical (in the bad way) instead. Maybe I've become too habituated to nostalgia? This is probably not the popular take, though.
posted by wellifyouinsist at 9:41 AM on October 13 [3 favorites]


I've never really found it normal to grab someone's head to force them to look at something.

It’s also not normal to witness a living brachiosaurus. That’s what makes the head turn funny. Both too stunned to speak or communicate in any normal human way. Of course, when I saw the movie as a kid on opening night, we all laughed at that.
posted by Chickenring at 10:11 AM on October 13 [5 favorites]


It’s also not normal to witness a living brachiosaurus. That’s what makes the head turn funny. Both too stunned to speak or communicate in any normal human way. Of course, when I saw the movie as a kid on opening night, we all laughed at that.

The line that always does it for me comes after, when Sam Neill's character, a renowned palentologist, just points vaguely and says "it's, it's a dinosaur." Not "it's a brachiosaur" or anything. Just "it's a dinosaur." It's the silliest line, and he totally sells it: his brain is so overwhelmed, he cannot communicate beyond that of a 3 year-old.
posted by nushustu at 10:33 AM on October 13 [6 favorites]


The head turn around 1:14 is making me wonder whether this is animated in 2D or animated in 3D and rendered in a 2D style. Perhaps I'll ask some colleagues.

Archer is done the latter way, so it’s possible.
posted by sideshow at 12:26 PM on October 13


Here's the Archer process, using Adobe Illustrator and After Effects to build character rigs and animate in 2D, but the backgrounds are touched-up 3D renders. South Park uses/used a similar process, with CorelDRAW and Maya. But I'd expect Animaniacs to follow a more traditional process like The Simpsons.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 1:37 PM on October 13


I find Animaniacs sort of hard to watch as an adult.

yeah. I couldn't quite figure out why the prospect of this reboot didn't even a little bit interest me (setting aside my broader nostalgia-capitalism fatigue) and then Linsday Ellis said it in a way that resonated with me in this Twitter thread:
while throwing it all in and going for getting cancelled once and for all -- ignoring the oversaturation of nostalgic media in an eternal cycle of remakes where nothing ever truly goes away, I think animaniacs, as a whole, is just not very good, nor is is suited for our time ... I see a quote by a nameless former colleague of mine float around a lot as evidence of his cringe approach to comedy, namely that all comedy is rooted in the misery of at least one party, and the trick is to always be "punching down."

Animaniacs embodies this ethos in a way that I don't find particularly clever -- almost all of the jokes are about how the kids are smarter than the adults in their lives. Almost all of the humor is rooted in the unhappiness of whoever is getting pwned this week ... And while that of course draws from its inspiration of the comedy of old Warner Brothers cartoons, it's also so quintessentially 90's in that this was a decade where the consequences of media were rarely challenged outside of Tipper Gore putting parental warning stickers on CDs

That sense of humor flew back then in the same way South Park would ten years later; it was a reflection of a smug sense of superiority, but I just don't think that's where most viewers are nowadays, except for the ones that want the same old shit from 30 years ago.

...

But let me just put it this way -- I think there's a reason the Animaniacs clips that have endured are the songs and clever plays on words, but not the skits themselves. Hopefully they'll play to that strength.
I don't feel so strongly negative about it, I think? but she's right that I don't remember much beyond the songs and some of the goofier jokes.
posted by Kybard at 2:25 PM on October 13 [1 favorite]


Well this is amazing timing. My 7yo is currently obsessed with both Animaniacs and Jurassic Park/World (via Lego sets/video games). So he's super excited that there will be new Animaniacs episodes and was happy to show off that he could name all the characters in the trailer.
posted by noneuclidean at 3:55 PM on October 13


Well, I got scooped on the Chicken Boo joke...so whooooo's looking for "She's grumpy, he's happy, they're generation gappy!
posted by hearthpig at 5:01 PM on October 13


The bugs bunny "clever rapscallion gets one up on The Man" style humor just feels kind of primitive now, in the same way early 2010's YouTube humor now feels cringe.

I like Lindsay Ellis but I honestly cannot begin to make sense of this quote. That Animaniacs was (consciously) sort of a throwback to earlier cartoons may not work well for it but that has more to do with “who needs a throwback to a throwback, anyway?” than it has to do with What Comedy is Now.

Honestly the thing that feels most permanently played out comedically is, well, extended loving media references being treated as inherently funny.
posted by atoxyl at 6:14 PM on October 13 [1 favorite]


Everybody on Twitter just spent a week straight laughing their asses off at the poetic justice of the President getting a novel virus. It’s not that “getting one up on The Man” is too mean to build comedy on these days. It’s just harder to escape the instinctive sense that getting one up on The Man, on a person-to-person scale, is more often than not short-lived and essentially futile.
posted by atoxyl at 6:21 PM on October 13 [4 favorites]


There must be some term for how powerful people like to use "I" for group efforts like some inverse "royal we" rather than giving credit where it's due.

That said, it's probably more a sign of my mental state than of Spielberg's character that "I reanimated them" is annoying me so much.
posted by johnofjack at 6:27 PM on October 13 [3 favorites]


There is a strong case to make that Spielburg was directly responsible for this existing, from what I've heard.

I think Lindsay Ellis probably has a point - I've observed before that Freakazoid, a later effort by Warner Animation, seemed to be instrumental in setting up the comedic tone of the internet going into the 2000s.

We shall see if this new show has fresher jokes; the fact that it's not the same showrunner bodes well.
posted by Merus at 6:45 PM on October 13 [1 favorite]


To go against the prevailing mood, Animaniacs has the potential to be better now than before, because many of the bits on the original show weren't that great.

Rita and Runt, Mindy and Buttons and the Hip Hippos weren't that funny really. Chicken Boo's concept was pretty good but the execution just okay. Goodfeathers was a little better, Slappy Squirrel a bit better than that, and the other bits were a mixed bag; Mime Time and Good Idea Bad Idea pretty good, I don't remember much about minor characters Minerva Mink and Katie Ka-Boom, but godawful was that smarmy candle flame that mythologized the U.S. founding fathers.

If they dumped all of that in favor of the Warners and Pinky and the Brain, it'd be a net win. And even in Pinky and the Brain, a lot of episodes were only so-so, although the best were really good.
posted by JHarris at 7:48 PM on October 13 [1 favorite]


So Mr. hippybear and I met in the early 90s. We were living 150 miles apart and we met over a LISTserv mailing list and it was great having him in my life, but we lived far apart and didn't make the drive all THAT often.

The thing is, I was working in an elementary school and he was working as a college professor, and we'd both get home in the early afternoons weekdays. Right about the time the KidsWB block with Animaniacs (and subsequent spin-off Warner Bros cartoons would also emerge).

So, he'd get home from work, and I'd get home from work, and we'd both log into IRC and turn on our televisions in our respective towns and... we'd watch Animaniacs together. And also Pinky & The Brain, and F!, and a bit of Histeria, but that didn't... really... work....

Anyway, I have this giant soft thing in my soul about Animaniacs. I own all the DVD sets, I watch them regularly (not the DVDs so much anymore, but it's nice to have a hard copy)...

i've been looking forward to this since it was first announced in 2018. I've mildly followed its development but also sort of forgot it was happening for a while. Now that it's impending, I'm very much quite excited. Honestly, during the entirely of Animaniac's entire 99 episode original run, I don't think we watched very many episodes first-run while in the same room.

I do look forward to doing that. Thinking about it gives me goosebumps.

This trailer shows me they have a grasp of the spirit of the original show. I'm sure this isn't actually part of the show. The rumors are the premiere episode is completely strong. Lots of missing characters from the original run, also probably some new characters.

I'm very much in for this. I hope it's better than most in this tread are predicting it will be.
posted by hippybear at 8:12 PM on October 13 [3 favorites]


Well, I got scooped on the Chicken Boo joke...so whooooo's looking for "She's grumpy, he's happy, they're generation gappy!

You remind me of a very young wildblueyonder.
posted by wildblueyonder at 9:01 PM on October 13 [1 favorite]


Turns out I have a colleague whose wife is working on Animaniacs at one of the service studios.

- They're roughing it all out traditionally, before animating it using 2D Toonboom Harmony rigs.
- Every studio is making their own character rigs (?!?), but the rigs have to exactly match the Warner Brothers designs.
- Each episode has its own director.
- Animation quota is quite low, and reshoots are high. They want the show to be animated very tightly to the very detailed storyboards.
posted by clawsoon at 5:58 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


Target demographic here, and I am very much looking forward to seeing this.

Animaniacs was the first cartoon I'd seen to that point that was smart, funny, referenced current events, and was most definitely *not* the cheap animated garbage that I'd been subjected to over the years.

Given that they have the original voice actors, Spielberg involved, and (judging by some of the above comments) seem to be hitting all the right notes with the production, I have high hopes for the revival.
posted by zbaco at 7:55 AM on October 14 [1 favorite]


Boy, Maurice LaMarche really does not sound like The Brain in that Postmodern Jukebox number. I wonder if he was hoarse that day, or if his voice has changed (as all do) from age.

Paulsen remains as Pinky as ever, though.
posted by tzikeh at 10:22 PM on October 14


My whole family is excited about this. My kids (who still live with us, thanks 2020) grew up with it, and we all watched since my other half and I grew up on WB cartoons and this was all in the same spirit.
posted by lhauser at 9:00 PM on October 15


On The Brain not sounding like The Brain, I don't hear the difference, but would still remind you that time affects us all. Alan Oppenheimer, the voice of Skeletor, has also had his voice drift a bit over time. You can't go back home again, but you can plant a flag in a comforting place and be kind to the neighbors.
posted by JHarris at 5:14 PM on October 16 [1 favorite]


And we now have a proper trailer.

"Never mansplainy" is a choice turn of phrase.
posted by NoxAeternum at 11:53 AM on October 21 [5 favorites]


Yes, I love love love the new trailer. The look and feel work for me, and feel like how I need them to. I'm very very quite excite about this.
posted by hippybear at 7:32 PM on October 21 [1 favorite]


« Older Hulk Show You How to Reach Level Gamma ...   |   Can your mind bend the yellow dots to do your will... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments