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The cast of Animaniacs on why the show is perfect for 2020 - Exclusive

They're back! Those whacky Animaniacs Yakko, Wakko, and Dot — along with Pinky and the Brain — are returning to the small screen. 

Yes, Hulu is resurrecting the beloved 1990s animated series, with all-new episodes featuring the original voice cast being made available on the streamer on Friday, November 20.

The initial series, which ended in 1998 after five seasons and was executive produced by Steven Spielberg, followed the Animaniacs as they wreaked zany havoc on the Warner Bros. studio lot while Pinky and the Brain plotted to take over the world in their own segments. Silly, irreverent, and very meta before that was a common antic, Animaniacs was a hit with kids and adults alike.

The new incarnation of the series, once again overseen by Spielberg, picks up where the characters left off — but now, they're well-aware of the time that has passed and the modern world around them.

Looper exclusively spoke to several of the voice actors who bring the Animaniacs to life, including Jess Harnell, who voices Wakko; Rob Paulsen, who voices Yakko and Pinky; and Maurice LaMarche, who voices the Brain. They shared their thoughts on why now was the right time to resurrect the series.

Animaniacs strikes the right chord at the right time

In a year that has seen the COVID-19 global pandemic bring the world to its knees and a contentious U.S. presidential election that unseated controversial commander in chief Donald Trump, the answer to the question "Why now?" is simple for the stars of the Animaniacs reboot. 

"We need to laugh," said LaMarche, "We just need to laugh so badly in this world right now." Paulsen added, "The timing is impeccable. The year 2020 has delivered a really stinky pile of nasty lemons to us, but we are able to make a huge vat of lemonade to unleash on a really humor-starved world."

As for why Animaniacs' appeal is so enduring almost 30 years later, Paulsen gives credit to Spielberg and his team.

"They knew precisely what they were doing," he said. "The edict from the top was, 'Do not condescend to the audience.' Because they knew if they did it right, the show would be relevant 25 years later, like Looney Tunes, The Flintstones, Rocky and Bullwinkle ... and they got it right."

But that's not the only reason. There's also the fact that both children and adults could equally enjoy the show and its humor.

"It worked on both levels," said Harnell. "It was funny for the little kids because there were a lot of colorful things and characters jumping around with no pants — which kids love — but it also had humor that adults could soak up, so it aged well. So what we're really looking forward to with the reboot is parents who loved it back then watching it with their kids who've never seen it."

No matter who enjoys the show this time around, whether it's elementary-school-aged kids looking for a laugh on Saturday mornings or adults of a certain age looking to relive the '90s, Harnell thinks the Animaniacs reboot could not have come at a more perfect time.

"It couldn't be more fortuitous. If we could have thrown a dart and chosen a year to put this thing back out, it would have been at this time," he said. "The planets and stars aligned, and while we're not going to change the world, we'll hopefully make it smile a little."

Hulu debuts all 13 episodes of season 1 of the new Animaniacs on Friday, November 20. The series has already been renewed for a second season, scheduled to premiere in 2021.

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