Friday, 19 June 2015

The Animaniacs: "Now that's comedy"

So for those who saw the Square Enix coverage on Wednesday, there was a line there that didn't make a lot of sense then. So it turns out my plan may have backfired, and before Pinkie could do any harm, we sedated her to try and get her back to normal. And seeing as we have it out, may as well take a look at something that is sure to make her smile in a way that doesn't put The Joker to shame.

I think its time we go to the "American animation renaissance" of the 90's, where animation once again bloomed, and characters old and new found homes once again. It was a simpler time, where characters only had to be themselves, comical, serious, where all that mattered is the world and their interactions.
So for now, come in, pull up a chair, dance, mingle. Say hi to Christopher Walken, because.

One thing I should make clear, the Animaniacs isn't like any other show I've done here. Instead of episodes being apart of a bigger story, they are a series of shorts focusing on the individual groups of characters. One short could focus on the Warner Brothers (and the Warner Sister), who also do get the larger portion of the screen time, but the next could focus on Slappy Squirrel, Pinkie and the Brain, The Goodfeathers, Rita and Runt, Buttons and Mindy, Minerva Mink, Flavio and Marita Mr Skullhead, The Mime, Chicken Boo and even their supporting characters like Dr. Otto Scratchansniff (Pronounced Scratch-an-sniff). Like the Loony Toons, who are the best comparison to Animaniacs, the series relies on Cartoon logic. One episode you could be in the modern day, the next you could be in the renaissance painting the Sistine Chapel watching Michelangelo somehow throw himself out of the building. Then you could be in space running past Marin the Martian, Darth Vader and Jane Jettson. Then you could be in Sweden driving the Grim Reaper insane. The characters also tend to be in other shows, with the obvious one being the Warners being in a lot of the other shorts as cameos, but the characters staring in Warner shorts. A good example of this being a detective episode on a cruise that has the Warners, Pinkie and the Brain, Minerva, Flavio and Marita. There's no point in talking about the overarching story because, there isn't one, and I'm not going to talk about all the plots of all the shorts in around 100 episodes.

Going on with cartoon logic, if you go into these shorts thinking they'll make sense, then you've got another thing coming. It follows all the classic cartoon rules. Bags and boxes that can fit anything regardless of size, don't look down, otherwise you'll fall, being able to take a lot of pain and be able to shake it off. Why do these exist? Because the cartoons are meant to be comical, and regardless of what people may say, one of the best sources of comedy comes from pain, its why slapstick exists. The other main reason why the shorts are funny is because of their style of humor, its very literal and fast paced. Here's a few examples.

  • Miles: Be gone, pests, and give me the bird.
    Yakko: We'd love to, really, but the Fox censors won't allow it.
  • Brain: Pinky, are you pondering what I'm pondering?
    Pinky: I think so Brain, but if Jimmy cracks corn and nobody cares, why does he keep doing it?
  • Yakko: Wait a minute. You expect us poor, innocent children to climb up dangerous scaffolding and paint naked people all over a church?
    WakkoYakkoDot: We'll do it.
    Yakko: But we're not doing it for art. We're not doing it for the sake of money. No! We're doing it because we love painting naked people.
  • Stewardess: Welcome to Air Pacific, the Jolly Airline. Our deluxe 757 is equipped with a number of safety features to use in case of an emergency, such as our fuel tanks explode, and we crash like a fiery ball into the sea. You'll find life jackets under your seats. In the event of a water landing, they will keep you afloat, unless you are seized by a giant squid, and dragged screaming beneath the waves. Thank you for choosing Air Pacific. You have well over a forty percent chance of landing safely. Enjoy your flight. 

    (You see I could make a joke about this, but its to obvious and people will think I'm insulting them. What I will say is that remember, this was made in the 90's, not last year)
  • Dot: Roses are red, violets are blue / That's what they say, but it just isn't true / Roses are red, and apples are, too / But violets are violet, violets aren't blue / An orange is orange, but Greenland's not green / A pinky's not pink, so what does it mean? / To call something blue when it's not, we defile it / But what the heck, it's hard to rhyme violet. 
  • Miss Flamiel: Yakko, can you conjugate?
    Yakko: Who? Me? I've never even kissed a girl!
    Miss Flamiel: No, it's very simple. I'll conjugate with you.
    Yakko: Good night, everybody!
  • Slappy: Skippy. You shoulda been asleep hours ago.
    Skippy: I know, Aunt Slappy, but I can't sleep. I keep hearing Santa's sleigh.
    Slappy: Ehhhh, that's just the LAPD choppers.
  • Miss Flamiel: Dot, what can you tell me about the scientists of the 1800's?
    Dot: They're all dead.
    Miss Flamiel: No, no, no.
    Dot: Ok, they're all living?
    Miss Flamiel: No, no, no!
    Yakko: Well, now we're getting into philosophy.

Trust me these work better in context if they don't here.
Did I mention there's a lot of pop culture references, that somehow don't date it.
There are only two main complaints I have with Animaniacs, one of them being my own fault. The first one is, while there is something for almost anyone to like, it also means that some of the characters seem rather flat with not a lot to go on. For me, these two are Flavio and Marita along with Buttons and Mindy because both of them seem to rely on a single joke, and while the joke is funny at first, repetition tends to kill humor. You could also use that to compare others like Pinkie and the Brain, but for me, their characters help cover up this problem, because while the formula is the same, the characters respond differently. My other major problem is my own fault. When I review TV shows, I tend to marathon them, and Animaniacs isn't a show to marathon.

I swear the only thing in between these is a jump cut

Up next is the E3 summary video, with the next review being Kid Icarus Uprising. If you excuse me, I'm going to see how she's going so for now:

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