What I learned from Animaniacs

Animaniacs is coming back next year, did you know that? I’m so freaking excited, I might just explode! Yes, I am one of those Millennials that cling to the cartoons of their childhood. And you know what? I’m totally okay with that.

Animaniacs taught me so many life lessons that are as applicable to my life as a thirty-two-year-old woman as they were when I was a skinny kid watching the show.

So let’s spin the wheel of morality and talk about the eight lessons Animaniacs taught me.

Don’t be afraid to be who you are

Do you remember Dot’s Poetry Corner? The show would sometimes open with a visit. Dot would get up on stage, tell a satirical poem, and then everyone would clap. I want to have the courage of Dot, to get up on stage and read something I’ve written. It’s so much more direct than what I do. Sure, I post my work twice a week and publish books. That doesn’t mean that I can handle reading it in front of other people. Hell, I don’t even like watching other people read something I wrote.

Dot does not give a damn. She jumps right up there and starts reading. She and her brothers have no stage fright, no fear of anything, and no concept of personal boundaries. While I don’t really want to jump into a stranger’s arms, I would love to not feel like everyone is judging me. I see you, lady standing behind me at the farmers market. Yes, I am buying all these cheese stuffed olives. What do you have to say to me about it?

Famous people should not be intimidating

The number of people who the Animaniacs got to meet is amazing. We saw Julius Ceaser, Abraham Lincoln, Madonna. And they just didn’t treat them any differently than anyone else. They usually hit on them and made their lives miserable. But there was sure no sense of awe.

To compare this, I got giggly and nervous when I met the actors from The Scare House.

Rita and RuntGood music is amazing

I can trace my love of music directly to Animaniacs. Let me explain why, by introducing you to a woman named Bernadette Peters. She’s a Tony award-winning Broadway singer. She also happens to play Rita, from the Rita and Runt skits. They were always my favorite. I would say Les Miseranimals was my all time favorite Animaniacs skits.

This early introduction to not only music but quality music made a difference in my life that I still feel today. It’s given me an expectation of excellence that pretty much guaranteed that I was always going to value good musical artists. It probably also led to my love of musicals. So we can blame this for my Hamilton obsession. Sorry about that.

Education doesn’t have to be boring

Public school seems designed to kill any fun learning can have. I swear the only reason my generation learned anything was Bill Nye and Animaniacs. (I have the highest respect for teachers, they’re just constrained by stupid syllabuses that they don’t get to write and shackled by shitty budgets. School boards suck, teachers are superheroes. Don’t ever forget it.)

But I learned so much History from Animaniacs! I learned about Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel, Einstein figuring out E=MC2. I learned the states capitals and the countries of the world. And I had fun doing it! Why can’t we have a few songs about doing your taxes and setting up a realistic budget?

Women are horny, too

Yako and Wacko Warner were right little skirt chasers. You’d never see a character on a modern cartoon yell “Helloooo Nurse!” jump into a curvy woman’s arms, and kiss her on the cheek.

Here’s the thing, though, Dot was just as bad. She would hoot, cover an attractive male in kisses, and even made some rather raunchy jokes about fingerprints. (Finger Prince)

How often do we see that? How many times are girls taught, “Hey, sometimes you’re going to have a horny reaction to an attractive guy. And that doesn’t mean you’re wrong, bad or a slut. It just means you’re a non-asexual, straight person.”

No, we don’t teach girls that. We teach boys that and teach girls to be little ladies. Ladies, we all know, don’t want to have sex. Yay, double standards!

People in authority should be mocked, it’s good for them

Right in the opening credits, the Animaniacs made fun of Bill Clinton playing his saxophone. It’s hilarious. No one’s safe, no one. They even had the Holy Family in one Christmas episode. Though, they were nicer to Mary and Joseph than they were to Einstein.

We need to remember that mocking politicians is a long, time-honored American tradition that should never, ever be allowed to die. This goes for politicians we like and the ones we hate. We should teach all kids to mock so that they feel comfortable questioning. We should always question those who rule over us.

Hanging onto old grudges is a terrible idea.

Spoiler alert! Not really, everyone saw this coming. There was one episode that was sort of a Lifetime Achievement Awards Ceremony for the Warners. In it, we meet their old co-star, who wants to drop an anvil on them and kill them. But it turns out that they love him, and are so excited to see him again! They charmingly invite him on stage, saying he has to share this award with them because they never could have gotten where they were without him. He accepts their invitation, only to stand under the anvil himself, becoming its actual victim.

Don’t hold onto grudges, it just gets you an anvil in the head.

Being an asshole will always get you punished

This was a lesson that Slappy Squirrel taught us over and over. She takes on old villains Animaniacs 2from her cartoons, people who disturb her sleep, hippies who play music near her tree (Who is on stage! That’s what I’m asking ya’!) and anyone who threatens her nephew, Skippy. She is not cruel, or mean-spirited. She simply makes sure that people who are evil to her get what’s coming to them.

I hope I’ve given you some great reminders about a show that was canceled before its time. I can’t wait to see the new show.

Since I shared my favorite skit with you, I’d love to hear yours! Let us know in the comments what Animaniacs skit is still with you today.

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