A review/recap of Episode One
The first thing I do at six in the morning (when I usually get up), is check out my news feeds. There were the regular reports of murder, mayhem, and of course the general buffoonery of politicians. But then, lo, and behold, I learned the Animaniacs were given a new home on Netflix! All ninety-nine episodes have been picked up. Be still my heart.
If you don’t know who or what I’m referring to, go to this link, Animaniacs, and when you’ve finished catching up, come back to this article.
Now, there are two basic types of fans of these three Warner siblings. The first group are the children who enjoyed the zany humor and lessons offered from Tom Ruegger’s group of animators. The second being the parents who sat with them. That’s the group I fall in. The ‘rents.
I loved the show. The more subtle adult jokes went right over the heads of my two young sons, I was certain. Of course, in later years, I found that wasn’t necessarily the case. I was much younger then, and confident in my knowledge of what children might perceive.
Then, I watched the first episode of the first season, more than twenty years later. You live, you learn.
The opening song is a catchy little ditty. Throughout the seasons, the lyrics would be slightly altered to fit the current events. One line of lyrics from the opening goes “Wakko packs away the snacks/While Bill Clinton plays the sax.” If you’re unfamiliar with the reference, you can check out old episodes of a talk show called Arsenio Hall. No, Hillary did not appear with her husband.
The entire show comprised of short skits, original music, and silliness. Steven Spielberg had a thirty-five piece orchestra play an original score for every episode. The music is still with me to this day.
The first episode feature was titled “Zanitized” and it offered a flavor of what was to come. Dr. Otto Scratchansniff was explaining to Dot Warner the Rorschach test he wanted her to take. In the explanation, he told her she should tell him what she saw. This is a still of the scene during the exact point in the conversation.
What do you see, boys and girls?
No, I’m not going to tell you. Keep looking.
The overt sexuality throughout this series is obvious. The age group which might not fully understand is five and younger. The over-five set might ask about some of the references. Pretty sure today’s ten year old won’t miss a thing. Including what’s in the picture above.
One of the most surprising things (for me) was to learn Bernadette Peters voiced Rita. Never one of my favorite characters during the show, Rita has gained enormous respect since that time. I look forward to watching the episodes featuring her unique (HOW did I not know this?) voice.
The second skit for the episode was, The Monkey Song. This lively number had the cast rollicking through the Warner Bros lot, and gave the audience a brief glimpse into all of the other supporting characters to come. Goodfeathers was an underused trio, IMHO.
The final skit for the episode, Nighty-Night Toon, a nod to the old story Good Night Moon offered the soft voice of a man wishing all of the characters a pleasant good night. Slappy just wanted him to pipe down.
As an intro to an amazing piece of animation, Episode One gets 8 out of 10 stars.
I hope you get the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful piece of nostalgia Netflix has provided. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have 98 more shows to go.