May 31, 2017

Animaniacs: Heterosexist to the Max

In a 1992 episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, Buster and Babs help some outdated black-and-white cartoon characters from the 1930s, who become so popular that Tiny Toons is cancelled to make room for their new show.

Precognitive or not, Tiny Toons was cancelled that spring to make room for Animaniacs (1993-1998).

The frame story: three black-and-white characters, Yacko, Wacko, and Dot, were too zany for 1930s audiences, so they were locked in the water tower at Warner Brothers Studios.

 Fifty years later, they escaped to unleash their zaniness on the world.

Wait -- children were locked in a water-tower prison?

The discomfort continued with the show itself.

First, Tiny Toons had ample gay subtexts, but Wacko and Yacko were preteen horndogs, aggressively heterosexual, sexually aware, and probably sexually active.  When a woman with big breasts comes on state, they all but have orgasms on the spot.  They leap into the arms of the big-breasted nurse so often that their leering "Hello, nurse!" became a catchphrase.

Dot disapproves of the activity, but when a handsome man approaches, she throws herself at him in a fit of heterosexual mania.

Their cartoons were horrible, but the subsidiary features were even worse.

1. Slappy Squirrel, an aging, raunchy cartoon character from the 1930s, and her grandson.
2. The Goodfeathers, gangster pigeons
3. Rita and Runt, a showtune-singing cat and stupid dog.
4. Some others that I don't remember.

The only feature with redeeming value was Pinky and the Brain, about two lab rats who plotted to take over the world. They at least had a gay subtext.  But in 1993 they were spun off into their own show, leaving Animaniacs to promote childhood heteronormativity for another five years.

See also: Pinky and the Brain


  1. I think that Animaniacs had a bit where two guys get married and one of stars officiates.

  2. Pinky and the Brain later became Elmyra's pets. Interesting case: The fans AND the writers hated Elmyra. The producers loved her though. At least they had the dignity to put it in the theme song: "It's what the network wants, so why bother to complain?"

    1. Elmira was supposed to be the modern counterpart to Elmer Fudd, but they couldn't have her trying to shoot and kill animals, so she would "hug them to death" instead. I agree that she was very annoying, and too juvenile to fit in with the other characters, who were around junior high age.


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