Animaniacs’ Jess Harnell And Tress MacNeille Explain Why They’re Both ‘Proud’ Of The Franchise’s Legacy Ahead Of Hulu Revival’s Final Season
The Warner siblings have delighted fans for decades now.
Nearly 30 years ago, Animaniacs premiered on Fox Kids, and it introduced viewers of all ages to the Warner siblings as well as other fun characters like Pinky and the Brain. The Steven Spielberg-produced animated series became a smash hit, garnering high ratings and critical acclaim before it was cancelled after five seasons in 1998. Yakko, Wakko, Dot and co. would return in 2020 via Hulu’s equally lauded revival, which is now set to end with its third season. It’s only natural that the actors would be reflective as they prepare to say goodbye to their characters again. On that token, cast members Tress MacNeille and Jess Harnell took some time to explain why they’re “proud” of the franchise’s legacy.
Jess Harnell and Tress MacNeille have countless voice-acting credits to their names, but one could argue that they’re most famous for breathing wacky life into Wakko and Dot, respectively. Having played the characters for so long, they’ve become quite attached to their off-the-wall alter egos. I had the pleasure of speaking with the veteran performers ahead of Animaniacs Season 3’s premiere, and we covered a few topics. Of course, I couldn’t help but get their thoughts on the shared legacy of both shows. When answering, Harnell offered up a very sweet take:
Joy is probably one of the first words that comes to mind when most people think about this franchise. Both series practically ooze positivity (even though there's a small dose of playful cynicism baked into the proceedings.) As Jess Harnell pointed out, the show has brought plenty of enjoyment to viewers over these past few decades, and I can’t think of a better legacy than that. Tress MacNeille is also pleased with the reception she and her colleagues have received but really takes pride in what the TV property established from a production standpoint:
There are only a handful of animated series from the ‘90s that were able to match the production values at that time. As Tress MacNeille so astutely pointed out, the art was gorgeous, and the sound design was impressive. (The latter was on display in a big way during those catchy educational songs.) Much of this can probably be attributed to the creative touch of Steven Spielberg – who’s pretty skilled at crafting quality productions, as we all know.
The Hulu series follows that grand tradition, as it’s beautifully animated and well-scored. Of course, its writing is just as sharp as its predecessor’s, as it offers clever pop culture-infused commentary for the modern viewer. That includes a plethora of edgy jokes like Season 1’s polarzing Johnny Depp pun. These elements and others definitely make up the franchise’s illustrious legacy, and it’s certainly something to be proud of. I’m confident that audiences will continue to enjoy these installments for years to come and, if we’re lucky, this won’t be the last time that Tress MacNeillle, Jess Harnell and their co-stars portray their beloved characters.
The third and final season of Animaniacs debuts (opens in new tab) on Friday, February 17 as part of the 2023 TV schedule. If you need to catch up beforehand, grab a Hulu subscription so that you can binge the first two seasons.
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