"Is it aiming for the first incarnation’s audience, namely people my age? Is it trying to appeal to middle-grade kids? Does it even know?" asks Tim Stevens. "To be fair, Animaniacs has always been a backward-looking show. In the mid-90s, it was repeatedly referencing film noir and gangster films released before my parents were born. So when the show utilizes a reference that was current 20 years ago, it isn’t that different. Or perhaps it shouldn’t be. But by pulling from pop culture that its first incarnation unfolded alongside, it feels less like the show is drawing on evergreen references and more like it is rehashing its own heyday. When diving into the current zeitgeist, as in a Pinky and the Brain feature that involves YouTube prominently, it feels similarly adrift. The references make sense, but the jokes feel a little aged. They’re more like the kind of cracks a Millennial would make about a Gen Zer’s viewing habits than something a Gen Z kid would observe about themselves. For a show that once seemed like it very much understood its audience, the distance is noticeable."
TOPICS: Animaniacs, Hulu