We live in a strange era of reboots, re-launches, and revivals. It’s brought out a lot of mixed feelings and extreme reactions from fans of all stripes. Some people love it. Some people hate it. Some people are just completely indifferent.
Regardless of how you feel about it, there’s no escaping it. The rise of streaming media and the public’s endless appetite for new content makes it as inevitable as death, taxes, and Thanos. We’ve no one to blame for this trend but ourselves is what I’m saying.
It doesn’t always go well. In fact, there have been more misses than hits. Just as fans of “Star Trek,” “Star Wars,” and “Roseanne.” However, some franchises are just more conducive to reboots/revivals more than others. That brings me to the latest revival effort by Hulu for a zany show called “Animaniacs.”
Now, if you were a kid or pre-teen in the 90s, there’s a very good chance you grew up watching this show. It debuted during the apex of 90s era cartoons. Alongside classic Marvel cartoons like “X-Men” and “Spider-Man,” as well as heavy-hitters like “Power Rangers,” this show epitomized wacky, goofy cartoon antics to the utmost.
Personally, I have many fond memories of this show. It was one of my favorite shows to watch when I was a kid. It was even one of those rare cartoons I could still appreciate as I got older. Teenagers could watch this show and still laugh at the jokes, alongside young kids. Some jokes were surprisingly mature.
Just look up the infamous “Finger Prince” joke.
Of all the 90s shows in need of a rivial, “Animaniacs” is probably the best suited. It’s style of comedy and antics might actually work better today than it did in the 90s. When Hulu released a trailer for the upcoming revival, I became even more convinced.
We need this show.
The world needs a little zaniness.
It needs it like it needs an anvil to the head right now.
I’ve watched the trailer at least 100 times and it still puts a smile on my face. Here it is in case you still haven’t seen it.
I couldn’t be more excited about the return of this show. In celebration of the “Animaniacs” comeback, I’d like to share a quick personal story. It involves a real-life zany encounter between me and Rob Paulsen, the voice of Yakko Warner, Pinkie, and about half of every great cartoon character of the past 30 years.
Now, I need to preface this by saying this encounter is one of the high points of my adult life. I had a chance to meet Mr. Paulsen, as well as Jess Harnell and Tess MacNeille, who voiced Wakko and Dot respectively, at New York Comic Con.
Having made many trips to New York Comic Coon, which I’ve documented before, I can attest that getting in line to meet celebrities of this caliber can be harrowing. The voice actors for “Animaniacs” are among the top of the heap in terms of the voice acting hierarchy. Just getting in line to meet them required a significant effort.
That meant getting to the Jacob Javits Convention Center extra early and essentially making a beeline to the celebrity booths as soon as the doors opened. Even then, it still took a while to get to these three amazing human beings.
It was still worth the effort. However, my effort included a zany twist that just made it that much more special.
In an zany fluke of luck, I just happened to get in line in front of this girl who dressed up in this amazing costume of Dot. I wish I could find the picture of it, but I cannot overstate how amazingly adorable it was. I knew as soon as she stood behind me that I was not going to be the center of Mr. Paulsen’s attention.
I was proven correct.
Shortly before the booth opened, Mr. Paulsen himself came walking out to greet the crowd. Jess and Tess were with him. We all cheered, our inner 90s kids going crazy. Then, knowing this girl’s costume was special, I tried pointing her out to Mr. Paulsen as he walked by.
It didn’t take long for him to notice. As soon as he saw this girl’s costume, his face lit up in a way that would’ve made any cartoon character from any era proud. He immediately started talking like Yakko and greeted the girl.
Yes, by the way. He greeted her by saying “Hello Nurse!”
Keep in mind, I’m standing right next to her. Mr. Paulsen is within arm’s reach of me. I came hoping for an autograph and to express my gratitude, but seeing him react to that girl’s costume felt like something so much more. The love he had for the characters and the show really revealed itself.
You just don’t get that from most celebrities, be they athletes, celebrity chefs, or voice actors. Just being there, seeing Mr. Paulsen react to the love of the fans and these characters, was such an experience. I must have smiled for a good hour or so after that.
While that girl was definitely the star of the show, I still managed to get my picture and an autograph from Mr. Paulsen. I tried to put into words how much I appreciated his work. I’m not going to lie. My voice cracked somewhat while talking to him. I probably sounded like an idiot. He still never stopped smiling.
He, Jess, and Tess were just so wonderful on so many levels. They took the time to talk to fans. At one point, Mr. Paulsen even sung his famous countries of the world song with a fan who claimed he could sing it faster. Seeing and hearing that was a spectacle in and of itself. I wish I could put into words how amazing it was. I don’t think I can.
That’s one of the many cherished memories I have of New York Comic Con. Now that “Animaniacs” is coming back, I find myself recalling it regularly. It still brings a smile to my face.
To Mr. Paulsen, as well as Jess and Tess, I doubt he’ll ever read this. I’ll still say it. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Thank you for being so awesome that day.
Thank you for bring so many insaney, zany voices to this world.
Countless kids in the 90s and countless more kids today will be forever grateful for it.
2 responses to “Celebrating The Return Of “Animaniacs” (With A Zany Personal Story Of Meeting Rob Paulsen)”
My dear Jack. Thank YOU. You’ve made an old Hollywood Dog feel more gratitude than I have a right to. I have worked really hard for a very long time for the privilege of meeting fans (friends, really) like you but each encounter is precious, unique. As you alluded to, 2020’s dumped an incalculable number of impossibly sour lemons on the world; Animaniacs and Pinky and The Brain are in the gloriously serendipitous position of making a giant vat of sweet ACME lemonade to help bring at least some joy to a thirsty world. The opportunity presented itself. And Tress, Jess, Maurice, me, WB, Amblin and Hulu are prepared. That, my friend, is how luck happens. We are so very lucky to be here at this moment. We won’t let you down. Narf.
Wow! I honestly did not expect you to see this, Mr. Paulson. For that, I am eternally grateful. I still have your autograph from that day. I still have your picture. And I’ll never forget this wonderful encounter at New York Comic Con. To you, Jess, and Tess, thank you so much for bringing so much zany joy to our lives. It really means a lot to us, especially in a year like this. Troz!