Page 1 of 3
It hasn't aged particularly well, but there's no doubt these final Animaniacs episodes are a hoot....
Warner / 528 Minutes / 1995-1998 / Unrated / Street Date: February 5, 2013
On this Animaniacs: Vol. 4 compilation, one marvels at how continually zippy and entertaining the toons are (I don’t know why that comes as such a surprise) and at how shockingly dated everything feels. This is not to say that Animaniacs ever was a particularly specific postmodern television entity, but in the five or six years since the release of the series’ last DVD edition, it has become apparent that Animaniacs is definitely a child of the 1990s.
I mean, the show all-outnails its Friends satire, but, again, this is a target of lampooning that has been off the air - and mostly out of cultural discussion at large - for many years now. This leaves the adventures of Yakko, Wakko, and Dot in a kind of limbo, an in-between state that preserves its earnest and often exceptionally rewarding animated verve but dissipates its effect as a be-here-now endeavor. In short, even some of the parents watching these episodes with their kids might have to strain a bit to catch some of its references.
So let’s just call Animaniacs: Vol. 4 a bit tardy to the scene. The show itself is adorably compelling and spritely - boy, these episodes chug along quickly! - so even if they feel a little out of sync contextually, it’s easy to fall victim to their charms every now and then. Maybe if Warner readies a Complete Collection with a handful of bonuses documenting the show’s life and times, we’ll have a better vantage point from which to gauge the particular importance of Animaniacs to TV at large. Until then, though, we have editions like this one to enjoy - just be prepared to attempt to explain to your kids who Joe Eszterhas is.