Wednesday, August 16, 2006

"If I Were a Better Person, I'd Ignore Her and Go On With My Life. But I'm Not."

Animaniacs, volume 2 and Pinky and the Brain, volume 2 are coming out on December 5, to provide more '90s nostalgia and give heartburn to animation purists.

The "Pinky and the Brain" volume will be the weakest of the three volumes it'll take to get the whole series out: most of the show's best episodes were at the very beginning or the very end of its 65-episode run. Specifically, they put out a great first season of 13 episodes, then produced another batch of episodes that was very uneven (they were produced at the time when the network was pressuring the show to change, and when producer Peter Hastings was about to leave the studio; the strain showed in a lot of the writing), then came back strong with some very funny episodes, especially the ones written or story-edited by Gordon Bressack. However, there will be some classics in volume 2, especially the famous "Pinky and the Brain and Larry" where the show satirized network demands for the addition of a third character. I also like the last cartoon Tom Minton wrote for the show, "Mice Don't Dance," set at the 1939 World's Fair and with a prominent role for Grover Whalen (voiced by John Astin, yet).

As for the "Animaniacs" volume, it has some prime stuff: a Minerva Mink cartoon, the best early Pinky and the Brain cartoon ("Bubba Bo Bob Brain," where Brain becomes a country singer), the episode where all the recurring characters are re-teamed in a bizarre parody of crossover stories, and one of the cartoons that even people who don't like Animaniacs tend to like -- once the Ben Stein character comes in, anyway -- "Chairman of the Bored."

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