Another reboot goes up in flames. Season three of Hulu’s Animaniacs was released two days ago, and we’ve got the review. This is the final season of the daring reboot. The first season of the show was actually quite impressive. While all of us may be getting sick of reboots, the series that runs on “meta-humor” was a perfect candidate for a reboot, which the first season captured quite well. The second season, while entertaining, did take an unfortunate turn with the Warner’s storylines pailing in comparison to Pinky and the Brain. As for Animaniacs season three, it is just an all-over-the-place disappointment that makes us wonder if it’s time to leave the past behind.
‘Animaniacs’ Season 3: The Highlights
In kicking off this Animaniacs review, it should be noted that there are some high points in the show. Season two ended on a cliffhanger where Ralph, the dimwitted security guard, ends up becoming CEO of Warner Bros. In the premiere, former strong-willed CEO Nora quits and takes Ralph’s old job. Yakko, Wakko, and Dot’s attempts to escape Nora contain some pretty funny references to films like The Shawshank Redemption, The Dark Knight, and… well, pretty much every heist movie ever.
There’s also a funny Warners sketch where they encounter a Gen-Z influencer who is working way too hard and who they take out for a day of fun so she can enjoy being a kid. The sketch ends up being a pretty good commentary on how the fun-looking life of an influencer is a business with an ugly side. There’s also an impressive sketch making fun of overly-dramatic YA shows like Riverdale, a catchy musical number about global warming, and a decent parody of The Island of Dr. Moreau.
Pinky and the Brain have a few good sketches. One two-part episode parodies Groundhog Day and features the mismatched pair of lab mice stuck in a time loop where Brain manages to repeatedly take over the world only to repeat the same day. There’s also another one where Pinky discovers that Brain has created a portal to an alternate reality. Unfortunately, though, that’s about as good as Animaniacs season three gets, and that does not merit a good review.
‘Animaniacs’ Season 3: Totally Insaney (and Not in a Good Way)
Most of the sketches this season can’t even manage to hold your attention. There’s a weird sketch in which a day at the studio is detailed in the style of a nature documentary, and it gets boring fast. There’s also an unfunny sketch in which Dr. Scratchansniff is stuck carpooling with the Warners, which is basically stealing the plot of a sketch from the original Animaniacs. The worst sketch of all features the Warners getting sucked into a video game similar to Super Smash Bros, which starts off funny but goes downhill fast.
While there are some good Pinky and the Brain segments, most of them really fall flat. It could be that we’re all getting a little sick of Meghan and Harry, but having Brain playing poker with a British prince while Pinky is finding solidarity with his “outsider” Australian wife is just annoying. We also witness the mice go to a desert music festival which is about as unfunny as it gets. Worst of all is the most lackluster parody of How the Grinch Stole Christmas you will ever see.
Another big issue is that several episodes feature two-part sketches for the Warners and for Pinky and the Brain. Basically, part one is shown, is interrupted by a different sketch, and then we go back to part two. This is a little too much for one season, and the interruption of unrelated stories in between parts gets annoying after a while.
But the worst part of Animaniacs season three, which has been an ongoing problem with this reboot, is the sketches that have nothing to do with the zany siblings or the lab mice. The only new sketch with enough potential to be revisited in this reboot is Starbox & Cindy, which features a tiny alien bent on world domination being taken and kept as a pet by a toddler who is essentially a one-dimensional version of Elmyra from Tiny Toon Adventures. We get to see much more of them this season, and while the sketches aren’t bad, they still pale to the secondary characters from the original show. That’s the case with every new sketch in the reboot, especially a creepily unfunny sketch that features a family falling victim to a homicidal version of Lassie. There’s a lawnmower commercial that’s kind of funny, but it’s not worth streaming an entire episode over.
There are even moments in this season where we get brief cameos from original Animaniacs characters such as the Goodfeathers, Mr. Skullhead, and Slappy the Squirrel. But even these moments feel like the writers are saying, “There they are! Is this what you all wanted?” Yes. Yes, it was. Because while these cameos are thrown in at random, they are still reminders of much better characters from a much better show
‘Animaniacs’ Season 3 Review – A Bad Omen for Reboots
The feeling one gets when watching Animaniacs season three is that the writers either knew or feared that cancellation was coming and tried to throw everything at us but the kitchen sink to keep hope alive. This result jumbled sketches, some of which even had cliffhangers. They may not have known for sure that the end was near, but based on how this season plays out, the signs were at least on the horizon. The Titans and Doom Patrol teams sensed their shows were at their endpoint and wrote their final seasons to satisfy fans. This show’s team should have done the same thing.
But what makes this review of Animaniacs season three so sad to write is that it almost seems like if this show’s reboot can’t impress, what reboot can? Again, Animaniacs runs on meta-humor, which gave this reboot potential in that it could make fun of itself and the industry a little. However, in the last two seasons, it completely lost that focus.
A question comes into play: is it time to leave these shows in the past? This reboot of Animaniacs completely forgot what it is in an attempt to appeal to a different audience. All the way through, this reboot has felt less like the show from our childhoods and more like Ren & Stimpy. Yes, the original show could get crude, but it went over our heads and still felt like a kid-friendly show. This reboot was trying to win over that show’s viewers, who are now adults. The idea makes sense on paper, but it results in a show that just isn’t the same. If this reboot can’t make it, which one can?
To be fair to the creative team, we will end this review by recommending you watch the very last episode of Animaniacs season three. It’s actually quite entertaining, and the writers seem to be roasting themselves a little. Deep down, they knew this final season would be a dud.