"Mostly, the new Animaniacs seems to be attempting to succeed using the old formula," says Joshua Rivera. "Trouble is, there have been other shows doing excellent showbiz satire in the Animaniacs’ absence, like BoJack Horseman, which managed to skewer Hollywood and the new media ecosystem that now covers it. Rick and Morty is a genre-hopping adventure that lampoons genre tropes while also having plenty to say about the entertainment landscape. And Family Guy has created a whole genre of television where the whole point is in self-aware asides to the audience. (It’s worth noting that the showrunner of the Animaniacs reboot is a Family Guy alum.) Animaniacs, meanwhile, spends a whole Pinky and the Brain segment lambasting Seth Meyers and cute animal memes. It’s an odd segment that makes fun of a version of Seth Meyers with no basis in reality — Meyers being the late-night host most openly interested in giving airtime to unusual topics and more incisive political commentary. Applying the same joke to a more frivolous host, like Jimmy Fallon, would not be much funnier, but at least it would kind of make sense. The problems with the show partially lie in the changes in the industry around it. The original Animaniacs existed in an era where the monoculture reigned; the presumed audiences watched the same shows and movies, which kids picked up on. (A recent GQ profile of George Clooney has the star stressing how different that industry was at a time when a TV show could have 40 million viewers watching.) Parodying celebrities was dependable fun at a time where no one had the easy access of perusing a celebrity’s Instagram account, and it was even funnier to see a 'children’s' cartoon doing those parodies. Things are different now than they were when Yakko, Wakko, and Dot were first making a mess of the Warner lot. The reboot seems stuck just pointing that out."
TOPICS: Animaniacs, Hulu