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The Animaniacs Writers Couldn’t Predict the 2020 Pandemic

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The Animaniacs Writers Couldn't Predict the 2020 Pandemic 2

The Animaniacs is coming back as an original animated series for Hulu. The cast and crew gathered at a panel for New York Comic-Con to discuss the return, and how the show’s timely humor got a bit messed up by the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic.At the digital New York Comic-Con, the Animaniacs revival team held a panel to discuss the upcoming revival for Hulu. The panel included executive producer Wellesley Wild, co-executive producer Gabe Swarr, Yakko and Pinky voice actor Rob Paulsen, Dot voice actor Tress Macneille, Wakko voice actor Jess Harnell, and The Brain voice actor Maurice LaMarche.

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The Animaniacs revival was announced in 2018, which was when production officially started for the series. The long lead time means that production on The Animaniacs wasn’t immediately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, but some of the writing may have quickly become dated.

“The first thing the writers and I did was we got a list of events and notable happenings coming in 2020 and we wrote to them. And now of course — we wrote a whole segment about the Olympics and lots of things that won’t happen now,” laughed Wild.

“So, we got extra *umphed* by the coronavirus,” Wild added.

However, Wild says that on the whole, the humor of the Animaniacs revival will be similar to fans of the original, with layered jokes that are funny on the surface, but extra funny for some older viewers who will understand the added context.Aside from the humor, Gabe Swarr says Animaniacs will be visually diverse also. “I was really attracted to the variety show aspect of it. Like putting different ideas in and jam-packing it full,” said Swarr. “Wellesley and I really like a lot of shows that are visually diverse. So we tried to bring that into the show. It feels like the original show was all drawn the same way and our show really breaks that. We try to go, visually, different places.”

Swarr credits the current animation landscape and how kids nowadays are exposed to a variety of different animation styles. “Kids nowadays they see all kinds of styles and they’re exposed to all kinds of things. In the 90s, yes there was stuff but not nearly as much stuff as now. So we felt this was the one thing we could bring to the show,” said Swarr.

The Animaniacs will premiere on Hulu on November 20, 2020. A second season has been announced for 2021. And for more from New York Comic Con 2020, check out our roundup of the biggest news and trailers.

Matt T.M. Kim is a reporter for IGN.

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