The references in that new "Animaniacs" theme-song are so wrong, it's hardly enjoyable (Was: "worst title sequence ever")

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Plato

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Nov 22, 2020, 4:04:10 AM11/22/20
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Well, today I watched the first episode of Animaniacs! And it was great!
The Monkey Song, De-Zanitized, even Nighty-Night Toon… ah, those were
the days, my friend. We thought they'd never end. But that I already did
that song. And, really, of course we knew it would end. But then it
unended itself! So today I also watched the the first episode of the new
Animaniacs! And it… wasn't half bad. But the *other* half was …also not
bad. In fact, I think it was fairly good. I was worried that it would be
a mess, and it wasn't. It will take a while to form a settled opinion,
but I didn't have to throw my TV off the roof, and there were some good
funny bits.

JURASSIC LARK
* Spoof of "Jurassic Park" including caricatures of Jeff Goldblum, Sam
Neill, and Laura Dern, as well as Spielberg. (Re-animated, ha.) John
William's music from the movie is played straight. Nice zoom-in to the
water-tower over L.A.


THEME SONG
* Zoom in to the WB logo (phew), as Warner Bros. has been doing for
almost a century now
* Same song, same animation, new (widescreen) backgrounds — most of
the Warners' poses and movement that corresponds to the original theme
was copied directly from the TMS animation. (E.g. their faces still get
squished in almost the same way by the A! logo after the second verse.)
There is perhaps a bit less stretch-and-squash. Some motions and
cartoony exaggerations were dropped (e.g. in the original opening, Yakko
moved his arm more after pointing at the yak).
* Backgrounds are more detailed, and with changes such as grey
cement-coloured ground at the studio instead of solid blue colours.
* The water-tower is orange with yellow letters instead of being
yellow with orangey letters.
* Dot isn't cute any more. *=o(
* Yakko is laughing at a different yak. Maybe they thought the
original yak wasn't shaggy enough or something.
* Wakko's dump-truck now has a silhouetted driver. (Wakko also looks
pretty Wangy for a moment, when he's pushing his head out of the ground.)
* Brain's magnet used to move.
* Where did everyone else go? Pronoun-what now? How diverse can three
inkblots of a unique species be? I hope this doesn't mean all the new
episodes are going to be very, very, very, very special.
* The Warners-around-the-world repeat the series about half-way
through (just over half, resulting in two Yakkos at the end).
* Flags: the U.K. and Canada,/Jamaica, U.S.A.,/Mexico, and then Iran!
Israel, Sweden,/and Norway, Brazil;/Then South Africa, also Japan!
There's Greece, China, France,/Followed by Netherlands,/Russia, then
the Philippines;
Australia and Peru [aka Canada in the fall]
howamIsupposedtofitthisinthemetre and it barely rhymes, c'mon, guys,
you're not off to a good start already!!! [The Canadian flag is pretty
well drawn, though.]
* "Mr. Lul Head" is [an allusion to] Mr. Skullhead.
* "Graphic Novel Guy" is a reference to the Simpsons' "Comic Book
Guy". (Um, these people have heard of the P.P.P.G.A.L.F., haven't they?)
* The troll[sic?]'s shirt shows old-style Warner heads with the old
"Animaniacs" lettering ("est. 1993", the year A! first aired).
* Also, he's in the basement … with a noticeable lack of merchandise.
* And what does that mean, "We did 'meta' first"? WB cartoons were
making fourth-wall-breaking self-referential jokes since the 1930s.
* We should see their new contracts: why, do they do tricks? The "2
new seasons" refers to the deal with Hulu. Does baking the length into
the theme song indicate how confident they're feeling of any further
orders? (And does signing a contract with Death indicate they sold their
souls for a chance to get back on not-even-TV??)
* They have a bologna-slicing machine.
* They pronounce it "An-eee-maney…" — I'm not sure why, that has to be
deliberate.
* Variable Versey: "Have no shame-y" — Dot is pouring a bowl of
"Animani-O's" (not Branimaniacs).
* Merchandise on sale: Dot is wearing a Dot-shirt, WB-shield-shades,
with a water-tower bag and a WB-shield bag holding Y/W/D plushies; on
the walls are water-tower tote-bags, and on the shelves are packaged
Y/W/D figures.
* The lettering in "Animaniacs" is more angular than the rounded
letters of the original.


CHARACTER-DESIGNS
* The Warners' models are mostly the same, still cute and
recognisable. The eyes are nice and elongated. Probably the biggest
change is that their noses are pointy on the bottom, instead of round.
[Maybe Hulu thought they were dogs or something??]
* Their tongues are a lighter pink instead of darker red colour they
usually used to be. They don't have TMS-style lines between their teeth.
* Their faces look slightly jaundiced, with a vaguely yellowish hue
instead of the plain white that they should be. (But then, cf.
http://www2.cruzio.com/~keeper/anibeg.html.)
* Dot's flower lost a petal. (I guess it saves on animation costs….)
But then Yakko has developed a cowlick (so I guess it cancels out…).
* They sometimes stretch their arms out really long in a weird-looking
way.
* Overall, the show has a bit of a different feeling to it, compared
to any of the old animation-studios, though it's still somewhat in the
same style. The usual shadows (e.g. along the side of Wakko's shirt,
say) are gone.
* Ralph's uniform is different (brown instead of blue); and Ralph is
different too — he looks more "Hanna-Barbera"-ish; esp. with those round
eyes! WB characters have traditionally had elongated eyes.
* The other characters have roundy eyes too. Frankly, they're all a
touch ugly — I was worried that the new show would adopt the recent
trend of ugly cartoon designs; fortunately it's not as bad as it could
have been. And at least the Warners are still cute. (See? Dot IS cute!
She can't help it!!!)


SUSPENDED ANIMATION
* Dot: "Twenty-two years later, and I'm still a knock-out!" — okkay,
funny, irreverent, carefully crafted… good opening line!
* It was fun listening to Rob and Jess imitate each other's voices
(cf. "Rabbit Fire", 1951).
* Twenty-two years: almost exactly that long since last episode of A!
aired on Nov. 14, 1998. ("Wakko's Wish" was released on Dec. 21, 1999.)
* Why are the Warners coming back to the water-tower? Isn't that where
they've been all century, locked inside, never to be released?
* Movie-stars: Batman, Gandalf [presumably, some wizard anyway], the
Terminator, Wonder Woman, Harry Potter.
* DYN: Bionic-man slow-motion powered jumping sound-effect when the
sibs leap onto the tower.
* Songs: Carry Me Back to old Virginny; Drink to me Only with thine
Eyes; and plenty of old A! sound-effects.
* Ralph is reading "Comic Foil Monthly" (it's "meta", get it?).
* Ralph is looking quite good after the passage of a quarter century!
Then again, he looked the same half a century before the old show, when
he caught the Warners for the first time after they ran amok throughout
the studio. Either he ages very well, or he's part of a long line of
studio-guards, and this is really Ralph Jr. (maybe that's why he looks
different).
* DYN: the poster for "Wrecked Ralph" when Ralph crashes through the
wall of the CEO's office — a reference to the Disney film "Wreck-It Ralph".
* "Wika-maniacs" shows the official old A! shield.
* DYN: the text for the Wika-Maniacs page says… nothing at all, it's
just blurry blocks.
* There is a portrait of (presumably) Thaddeus Plotz on the wall of
the CEO's office.
* Rhyming "collapsed" with "axe" in the "Catching Up" song is a
reference to the theme song. Well, or maybe they just couldn't come up
with any better rhymes.
* Bill Clinton plays the sax: now that's a reference to the theme song!
* Why did they have a "part two" instead of just a separate song
segment? I'm guessing all the episodes may turn out like this, instead
of the Rocky-and-Bullwinkle-esque variety show that was the old series.
* References in the "Reboot" song: a bunch of remade TV shows that…
uh, are named in the song. That doesn't really leave anything for me to
do. [Maybe the people in charge are *graduates* of the PPPGALF.] Okkay,
at least there's a cultural reference in the ghost of Bea Arthur playing
Tinkerbell to close out the song.
* Cheque: One Hundred Billion — that's quite a lot of money… they must
pay tons of income tax!
* Overall, this short, er, pair of shorts, was fairly self-referential
and tied to a specific time with all the "Warners return" stuff. That's
not too bad as long as they don't overdo it in future episodes.


PINKY and the BRAIN
* Acme Labs got a new logo! (Well, companies can't resist throwing out
a perfectly good logo-design every few decades….) The Lab itself is
slightly redesigned on the outside.
* The intro starts out based on the TMS-intro, but not a pose-for-pose
remake like the A! theme.
* "Their genes have been spliced" as in the Akom version of the old
intro song.
* The character designs remind me of the Rough Draft versions from the
P&^B show.
* Also returning to its roots, the theme song is sung by Y/W/D; and we
see a Warners' hand holding a magnifying glass while illustrating the
mice's dinkiness next to a ruler, as in the old Akom intro.
* The 3-D moving camera retraction out of the lab is nicely done,
thanks to computer-imagery.
* Of Mice and Memes: yet another reference to Steinbeck's "Of Mice and
Men", natch.
* Nice use of the old "Acme Labs" sign at the start set in 1999.
* Brain also has a pointy nose! although Pinky's bulbous schnoz seems
still just round. Pinky's eyes seem to bulge out a bit more than they
used to.
* Plus Ça Change Dept.: the popularity of stupid pet tricks
* AYPWIP: "I think so, Brain, but if I clone myself, how will I know
which one to shoot when I turn evil?"
* The computer-development montage is bit anachronistic: dot-matrix
printers, "Americanos On Dial-Up" (a parody of AOL, in an old grey Mac
window from the 90s), flip-phones, coloured I-Macs, culminating in the
ubiquitous pocket-computer-phones.
* Music: "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star"; "Rule Britannia" for
England; "Alouette" for France; "Song of the Volga Boatmen" for Russia;
"Santa Lucia" for Italy.
* Brain posts his silly video to "Insta-Gratification", a spoof of
"Insta-Gram", an Internet… site for… something with pictures, I guess. I
don't really keep up with these non-textual communication networks.
* Names in Brain's list: Randy, Pablo, Sally, John-Jacob,
Jingleheimer, Schmidt (as in the traditional children's song).
* Pinky's on-line picture is one of the standard old-fashioned images.
* Brain's calling out the names of the mountain ranges was a nice touch.
* Seth Meyers hosts a late-night talk-show (does anyone watch those
any more?), as do each of "the Jimmies", Kimmel and Fallon.
* There were a few caricatures amongst the people watching Brain's
video, but the only one I recognised was Meryl Streep.
* Overall this was pretty well done. I was half-expecting Brain to
have cryogenically frozen the mice, since living until 2020 makes them
awfully old for mice. Of course, their genes have been spliced… and the
freezing's been done before. Then again, the general plotline of "get
famous and hypnotise people" has been done before too. (Cf. "TV or not
TV", "Bubba Bo Bob Brain" ..."Pitter Patter of Little Feet".)


FILLER/WRAPAROUND
* None. Oh, well.


CREDITS
* They're still using Dom Casual for the typeface! It's all uppercase,
while the old show sometimes used "small caps" and lowercase. Unlike the
old A!, the headings are in italics.
* The actors get all their roles listed, not just the paid-or-play
roles, and now in alphabetical order.
* Music by the Bernsteins, who have previously worked on Animaniacs,
and it shows.
* Tom Ruegger is credited (for the theme song), along with Richard Stone.
* Unfortunately, there was no ending tag, or special credit for Bobbie
Page.


-David "toldja I'd still be here in twenty years" Green

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