Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Are the Animaniacs Looney Tunes?

In the early 1990's , Warner Bros. collaborated with Steven Spielberg to create a follow-up series to the succesful Tiny Toons Adventures cartoons. The result was Steven Spielberg Presents Animaniacs, a show with a lead cast derived from early silent cartoons, and a supporting crew showcased in various short cartoons. Some of these characters fell into obscure background roles, while others climbed through the ranks until they spun-off a show of their own.

The Animaniacs, and the majority of their supporting cast, were wildly popular characters, and the show soon found itself with wide viewer ship among all age groups, not just children. They even briefly found a home in a comic book published by DC which managed to justify its publication for five years, even outliving the show's development history.

Hello Nurse for JLU!
But one thing has always kind of left me curious. Were the Animaniacs created to be a continuation of the Looney Tunes? They were created to coexist with the Tiny Toons, but in a show unique to them. This would mean they'd coexist with the Looney Tunes as well, but never once have the Animaniacs even seen Daffy Duck.

Typically the Animaniacs are considered an entity independent of the Looney Tunes. Most people don't even think they exist in the same world. That's pretty fair, because unless you're an omega-level nerd, you'll never make the same connections I just have. However, it's a shame that the Animaniacs have been doomed to obscurity simply because they aren't considered Looney Tunes.

Forget the Animaniacs. Where the hell's Bosko been hiding?
It's something astounding to believe that Wanrer Bros. would allow this popular set of characters to disappear, with the exception of some unannounced DVD releases, when they had such a large audience. They can't even attribute the Animaniacs' vanishing act on poor viewership or merchandise sales, because it was the fault of Space Jam and other failed animation projects that forced the company to cut costs.

So why not salvage these characters? Why not pluck the Animaniacs, Minerva Mink, Hello Nurse, Mindy and Buttons, Slappy Squirrel, the Goodfeathers, etc., and if not to give them a more than deserved new cartoon, put them, in some reinvented form, in the Looney Tunes Show? Sure, it hasn't been quite the greatest show in the world, but if it can be used as a launch pad to reintroduce these characters to the television audience, why not do it?

I remember going to see Looney Tunes: Back in Action when I was younger, and not expecting, but hoping to see at least a cameo of the Animaniacs. Maybe they could have placed Yakko as a dealer in the background of Sam's casino. They managed to squeeze in an old style Scooby-Doo and Shaggy, but the Animaniacs (and the Tiny Toons for that matter) were again ignored.

See those smiling children up there? Those happy faces are the faces of modern cartoons... the good ones... And we, the viewers who pay to view everything on television, deserve to see somethign quality in our cartoons yet again.

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