Animaniacs is an American animated comedy television series created by Tom Ruegger. It is the second animated series produced by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment in association with Warner Bros. Animation, after Tiny Toon Adventures. The show first aired on the Fox Network as part of its Fox Kids block from 1993 to 1995 before moving to The WB in 1995 until the series ended in 1998 as part of its Kids’ WB afternoon programming block. It initially ran a total of 99 episodes and one film being Wakko’s Wish.
Animaniacs is a variety show, with short skits featuring a large cast of characters. While the show had no set format, the majority of episodes were composed of three short mini-episodes, each starring a different set of characters, and bridging segments. Hallmarks of the series included its music, character catchphrases, and humor directed at an adult audience.
Take a look below for our list of 10 of the greatest Animaniacs characters.
As his name suggests, Yakko is the most talkative of the trio. He’s witty and has a way with words, and uses this to his advantage, often annoying people to their wits end with his rambling or tricking them with his quick-thinking. He also speaks with an American Mid-Western accent.
He knows his limits and, while he will tease some people, he knows what to say and when to employ diplomatic charm to calm them down – or at least try to. This can be seen when he and his brother interrupts Dot’s “I’m Cute” song when he notes that she’s awfully cute when upset.
Yakko, along with Wakko, is obsessed with girls and catcalls them by shouting “Hellooo Nurse!”, sometimes followed by him and Wakko leaping into their arms and kissing them. He’s mostly shown to be in love with Hello Nurse and Michelle Pfeiffer.
Despite himself, along with his siblings, being zany, he sticks to a high moral code and never torments anyone unless they’re asking for it, or have provoked him or his siblings.
Wakko is most known for his black-hole belly, having the ability to eat a truck-load of food without breaking a sweat, as seen in the intro. Albeit in Meatballs or Consequences, he’s proven to have a breaking point. Wakko speaks with a British accent.
Wakko is mild mannered and polite, but very physical, more so than his other two siblings. When provoked he is known to either bring out a wooden mallet and bonking the person on the head, or dropping an anvil on them instead.
Despite his goofball behavior, Wakko is very thoughtful and sweet. For example, in Wakko’s Wish he traveled far away for over a year to work in order to pay for Dot’s operation, and when he loses the penny, he dedicates his wish to being able to afford it instead. He is also shown to be extremely clever, tricking a dollar-store salesman into giving him everything in the store for one dollar and being able to create complex projects out of boredom.(just kidding, he literally understands that everything costs one dollar) overall hes the least intelligent of the trio.
3. Slappy Squirrel
She is characterized as a grouchy, bitter, cranky, elderly anthropomorphic gray squirrel with a thick New York accent. She’s usually seen usually wearing a green hat decorated with a drooping yellow flower, purple eyeliner on her eyelids and carrying a pink purse and green umbrella that she occasionally uses to hit other characters. “Hurray For Slappy” reveals Slappy to be in her 80s, as Mary Heartless (a parody of Entertainment Tonight’s Mary Hart) refers to Slappy as “octogenarian”.
She lives in a hollow tree with her nephew Skippy, her polar opposite in terms of personality, who loves to hear her tell stories about her former days of stardom. In the episode “My Mother The Squirrel”, while Skippy represents a cuter style of cartoon characters, Slappy was and is a more chaotic and old-school character, enjoying violence for comedy’s sake and resentful of milquetoast, censor-influenced modern cartoons.
She was first seen in the show’s third episode, “Slappy Goes Walnuts”, originally aired on September 15, 1993, which also introduced an extract of a purely fictitious Looney Tunes cartoon featuring herself and suggesting that she was a retired Looney Tunes character who crossed over into Animaniacs. In several episodes, there are shots of fictitious Looney Tunes cartoons portraying a younger Slappy, under the pseudonym Slappy the Slap-Happy Squirrel, a reference to the MGM cartoon character Screwy Squirrel.
Dot is the little princess of the Warner trio. She is outgoing, highly intelligent, strong-willed, but she can also be quite rude, bossy, vain, and aggressive. She would talk smack or throw a fit when annoyed. She cares about how she looks and loves being cute and goes to great lengths to maintain that image.
In Wakko’s Wish, Dot is said to need an operation. While the audience is led to believe that the operation is to treat a life-threatening illness, it is later revealed that the surgical procedure in question was to implant a beauty mark on her cheek. Cuteness is her greatest strength and is sometimes used as her advantage, as revealed in numerous episodes.
She despises being called Dottie and threatens to kill or hurt anyone who dares to do it, though she appears to make an exception for her brothers or just doesn’t notice when they call her that.
Dot can‘t stand when her brothers flirt at other females. Hypocritically, she says “Hello, Nurse!” when she is attracted to any man in her view who she considers handsome. She’s in love with Mel Gibson and references this many times.
5. Rita and Runt
Rita and Runt is a segment that lasted only during the first season of the series. About the adventures of two strays, the feisty cat, Rita (voiced by Bernadette Peters) and the big goofy dog, Runt (voiced by Frank Welker).
Rita and Runt, the vagabond stray cat and dog duo have many big adventures. Despite having a desire to find a nice permanent new home, the two manage to live quite comfortably by offering each other a close unbreakable friendship in defending one another for protection and giving moral support.
6. The Brain
The Brain is an intelligent megalomaniac mouse that harbors a long-lasting desire to take over the world. He is often annoyed by his cage-mate Pinky’s silliness, but it doesn’t stop him from hatching up complicated schemes each night in order to achieve global domination. How ever he notes that since he was really smart that he could make the world a better place.
Though he is extremely intelligent, he often misses a fatal flaw or makes a small mistake that causes the plan to completely fail. Though he never admits fault and blames Pinky for his failed attempts at world domination, he genuinely cares for him. There are a few occasions that have been completely out of his control reasons why his plans don’t work.
The Brain was originally a wild mouse, but was captured at a very young age and brought to ACME, where he was placed in a cage with Pinky. The two of them grew up together, and Brain’s trauma caused him to strive for world domination.
The closest he ever came to world domination was in the Christmas special. He had managed to use Santa to deliver mind control dolls to every home in the world; however, as he was about to give the signal through the dolls the spirit of Christmas overtook him (after reading Pinky’s letter to Santa Claus) and he instead ordered the world to have a merry Christmas.
In Wakko’s Wish, he fulfills his desire to rule the world (or at least be in charge of a small part of it) by becoming the prime minister of ACME Falls. He states in the end that he plans to take over the world in the sequel. There was unfortunately no sequel to the film.
Pinky is often silly, dumb, insane, lovable, funny, open-minded, sweet, kind-hearted, polite, sensitive, gentle, child-like, joyful, patient, naive, friendly, loyal and cute. Despite the pain and insults he took from his fellow roommate, he was almost always happy and giddy. However, there were a few times that these factors of the character were changed. In the episode “That Smarts” it is revealed that when he becomes very smart, Pinky’s relationship with Brain loses all of its zest and it becomes boring.
However, to his credit Pinky does know all of the names to all of the world’s cheeses and can even name what country produces each type of cheese. Pinky also once almost convinced all of the rulers of their countries to hand-over their countries to Brain as part of his birthday gift (Pinky even managed to keep the secret from Brain, but it only made Brain wonder what Pinky was up to and led him to ruin his own birthday).
Surprisingly whenever Brain’s intellectual methods didn’t work (which was very rare), Pinky’s instincts kick in and usually do a good job of guidance. There’s even been a few cases where Pinky provided great useful knowledge about certain topics like comic books. In the episode titled The Pink Candidate, it showed that if Pinky were to become President of the Untied States than he would be a fair, loyal and honest leader.
This loyalty to Brain has also shown it’s self in many other cases. An example of Pinky’s loyalty to Brain would be found in the episode “Snowball” where Brain’s enemy Snowball tried to sway Pinky into believing that Brain was just using him. Pinky however, was unswayable and refused to believe Snowball.
8. Hello Nurse
Hello Nurse is the buxom studio nurse, over whom Yakko and Wakko continually fawn. Her voice actress is Tress MacNeille who also voices Dot.
Hello Nurse is considered by Yakko and Wakko to be hot, loyal and intelligent. Aside from her beauty, Hello Nurse is supposedly an outright genius; in the song about her it states several of her rather prestigious accomplishments (although parts of it may be untrue, since the Warners were hit by lightning after they stated they would be if they were lying).
She states in Wakko’s Wish that she has a “mean IQ of 192”. In later characterizations, she thinks that she is respected only for her looks and not her mind. However, in a song about her, both Wakko and Yakko seem to show that they greatly respect her for her mind, but also love her for her looks quite a lot to. She, like everybody else, sometimes finds the Warners annoying, but mostly recognizes them as genuinely sweet kids. In the comics, Hello Nurse was also a secret agent.
9. Dr. Scratchansniff
He is a regular character in the Warner Brothers’ sketches, usually as the victim of their antics. However some shorts feature Scratchansniff as a sort of surrogate father to the Warner siblings, doing activities such as making them food and taking them to the circus (as shown in the theatrical short I’m Mad).
Some times the Warner siblings will even call him “father” or “daddy” just to mess around and annoy him for the fun of it. He is highly allergic to poison oak. Scratchansniff is attracted to fat women as shown in ‘Drive-Insane’ and Anchors a-Warners.’
He has worked at Warner Bros. for fifty years, implying that he must be at least in his mid-70s, despite his relatively spry demeanor. His patients over the years have included Edward G. Robinson, Peter Lorre, Better Davis, Rex Harrison, the Invisible Man, Jack Nicholson, Cher, Clint Eastwood, and Michael Keaton. He occasionally uses a puppet, named Mr. Puppet Head, when treating children to help them talk about their feelings.
10. The Mime
A nameless mime that appears in Mime Time and Wakko’s Wish.
In each Mime Time short, the mime would demonstrate an action stated by announcer Tom Bodett, but then get harmed by some random event, such as an anvil falling on him.