If there’s one thing animators and TV writers know, it’s that young children love snappy, Hollywood insider references to things that happened when their parents were still in high school. And let’s be honest: no one did it better than the Animaniacs! Here are nine classic Animaniacs references that will make millennials feel even older for knowing them!
#1 — Andy Warhol
What is the true value of art? As a nine year old in 1998, you probably never pondered the question before. But for the rest of your childhood you would be pondering that pop art silkscreen print of the “Goodfeathers” from season 3 episode 15.
#2 — The Graduate
Slappy the Squirrel’s attempts to seduce a gopher Dustin Hoffman resulted in millions of film school students going “ohhhh” twelve years after it aired.
#3 — The Dick Van Dyke Show
Who could forget that classic episode where Rob pretends to be someone else so he can flirt with his own wife over the telephone? Not nineties kids, because they never knew about it in the first place. But they’ll always remember wondering why everything was in black and white when Pinky and The Brain parodied it in their episode: “The Two Faces Of Pinky.”
#4 — Barbarella
When a heavily caricatured Animaniacs version of Jane Fonda walked into the table read for Barbarella 2 and immediately started hawking workout tapes to the producers, nineties girls everywhere experienced the thrill of learning you don’t need to get the joke to understand that sexism is alive and well.
#5 — M*A*S*H
Hellooooooo field nurse! Nothing says childhood like being introduced to the concept of PTSD by a pun about potatoes and the feeling that you’re missing something.
#6 — The Assassination of JFK
In the episode entitled “Reuben Missile Crisis”, Dr. Scratchnsniff’s attempt to open a sandwich shop is thwarted by the Warner siblings who soak his bread delivery with water pistols. When Dot misses, Yakko takes aim from a second location. In true Animaniacs fourth wall-breaking form, he then turns to the camera and remarks: “I wonder how many reports they’ll commission about this,” prompting multiple theories among the show’s young audience that there may have been more to the episode than the official canon would have us believe.
#7 —Ed McMahon
All children of the nineties will remember the iconic “hiyooo!” of That Weird, One-Off Turtle Character.
#8 — Vietnam War Protests
Learning that your country is not the bastion of freedom and righteousness you were taught it was can sting. But if you grew up in the nineties, you always knew the United States government was not to be trusted thanks to the four minute Animaniacs musical segment “Cheese Of Destruction”, in which a flower child Wakko Warner stages a sit-in at a dairy farm run by Lyndon B. Johnson. You may not have known exactly what kind of war crimes were being referenced, but when you learned about them later in life you were not surprised.
#9 — Getting So Fucking High
The Summer of Love just wouldn’t have been the same without a brainload of LSD. And Saturday morning cartoons wouldn’t be the same without a nation of puzzled eight-year-olds trying to figure out what Dot meant when she told everyone at the Golden Globes afterparty not to eat the brown canapés.