Animaniacs might be back, but it’s not the ‘90s all over again. As the reboot’s showrunner, Wellesley Wild, tells us in the video above, when they started rethinking the show for 2020, “Immediately Hello Nurse was Goodbye Nurse.” Wild says the show also updated the characters a bit more, with Dot relying more on her wit and intelligence than she had in the past, flexing, as Wild says, “her feminist muscles a little bit more.” Still, he says, the reboot pushes as far as it’s able, “up to the line of standards and practices” and what “legal would allow us to do.”
Speaking of pushing boundaries, producer Gabe Swarr says in the same clip that he’s particularly proud of the rethought animation the show went with for the reboot. While the traditional style still controls most of the Animaniacs’ world, fans will also get glimpses at some very over the top kawaii visions, as well as what the Warner Bros. (and sister) would look like re-imagined for the anime world.
As far as the show’s acting, that remains pretty much the same. Jess Harnell, who voices Wakko, says in the second clip above that while it’s been 20-odd years since the show went off the air, he’s stayed in practice through frequent interactions with fans and frequent work on other projects, including his rock band. Rob Paulsen, who plays Yakko and Pinky, said the cast is all “better than we were” 20 years ago, mainly because they’ve worked on so many other projects.
Paulsen did say, though, that age is a factor in one aspect of doing the voices: He said the producers would occasionally have to explain to the actors what they were lampooning, mostly because “they’d pick some obscure reference that was obscure to us, but not obscure to 15 million people, but we’re not so in tune with what’s on YouTube all the time.” Hey, time waits for no man—not even an animated one.