“Animaniacs” may be coming back, but it’s been nearly 20 years since it’s been on the air – so some changes and updates will have to be made. The cartoon included vignettes featuring a range of characters, some more popular or successful than others, and it’s unclear who might return.
The Goodfeathers? That reference is so dated! The Nurse? So sexist! Mindy and Buttons? She’s so annoying! Ditto for Katie Kaboom.
The “Animaniacs” reboot won’t happen right away. Although Amblin Television and Warner Bros. Animation are eyeing a remake with Steven Spielberg’s involvement, it’s still in the early stages of development, and animation takes time to produce.
It doesn’t hurt to speculate who might be back, however. Now that the original series is streaming on Netflix, it’s easy to watch the series now with an eye for an update. Check out some of the essential characters (plus a few others thrown in for fun) the show needs to bring back for the revamp:
Death is timeless, as are the references to Ingmar Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal.” This is the ultimate antagonist, and we’d be curious to see how the Warners outwit him… maybe by playing Candy Crush?
10-11. Rita and Runt
While the singing cat and her dog pal weren’t featured much, mainly because Bernadette Peters wasn’t available that often, bringing this duo into the 21st Century could have promise. There simply weren’t many interesting female characters on the show besides Dot, and having a comedy duo with one as the singer could open the door to some interesting recording artists or Broadway stars. Musicals are hot on TV again, right?
9. Chicken Boo
The epitome of absurdist humor, the premise was simple: A giant chicken who wanted to be a human would masquerade as a person with the flimsiest of disguises. While most people were fooled, one naysayer always pointed out that Chicken Boo was, well, “A giant chicken, I tell ya!” The jig would be up as soon as the disguise fell off, and Chicken Boo would be run out of town to try his masquerade elsewhere. Beyond the utter ridiculousness of the premise, a Chicken Boo sketch always meant some really choice puns, such as the names “Boo-Ryshnikov” or “Davy Omelet.” What’s not to love?
7 -8. Slappy and Skippy Squirrel
Granted, Slappy Squirrel was a really annoying and grumpy character, but she and her chipper nephew Skippy could be the key to bridging Gens X and Y, who originally watched “Animaniacs,” and Gen Z. Slappy had been an old-school comedian, so that will have to be updated a little bit, but the generation divide should appeal to the curmudgeons in many of us, as long as it’s done with love and not condescension, such as with “The Great Indoors.” Besides, the occasional vaudeville reference could play well.
6. Dr. Otto Scratchansniff
The dynamic between the studio psychiatrist and the Warners is the heart of the show, with Dr. ScratchNSniff initially getting stressed out by their nonsensical antics. He eventually becomes a bit more avuncular though, and the new series could involve him more in their adventures in a guidance capacity.
4-5. Pinky and the Brain
The beauty of the megalomaniacal lab rat Brain, who looks and sounds like Orson Welles, is that he and his dim sidekick Pinky (Zoit! Narf!) are already primed for political commentary and have done so before. There’s no denying that politics has become more of a circus since the show’s original run. Brain’s schemes to take over the world won’t seem all that far-fetched anymore, and it would be entertaining to see him operate in a modern context.
1-3. Yakko, Wakko and Dot
We’ve really missed these guys, whatever they are, and we can’t foresee any real updates needed for them (although the Warner Bros. water tower currently has Supergirl on it). We just want more of the same: their catchy and instructional songs, Yakko’s pranks, Wakko sounding like Ringo Starr, and Dot upending perceptions of her cuteness.
Which other characters would you like to see return?