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|Yakko, Wakko, and Dot|
Animaniacs logo, featuring Yakko, Wakko and Dot plus Pinky and the Brain
|Created by||Tom Ruegger|
|Yakko, Wakko, and Dot|
Animaniacs logo, featuring Yakko, Wakko and Dot plus Pinky and the Brain
|Created by||Tom Ruegger|
Yakko, Wakko and Dot Warner, also known as "The Warner Brothers (and the Warner Sister)" or "The Warner Siblings", or just simply "The Warners", are the three eponymous, hyperactive cartoon characters featured on the animated series Animaniacs. The trio of red-nosed Warner siblings were considered to be the stars of the ensemble of characters on the show. They all appear in the Animaniacs logo, and the show usually begins and ends with gags performed by them. The characters are funny animals of indeterminate species, being purposely drawn in the style of early black and white cartoons, though in scenes that are in black and white, their noses remain red. As with other Animaniacs characters, the Warner siblings were part of a loosely-defined cast of players and often made appearances in other characters' segments, often as a running gag, as well as hosting occasional appearances by other characters in their segments.
Originally, the Warners were intended to be ducks, but Tom Ruegger had come to the conclusion that "everybody had ducks" (see Daffy Duck, Disney's DuckTales and Darkwing Duck, not to mention Plucky Duck from Steven Spielberg Presents Tiny Toon Adventures and Count Duckula), so the Warners became a type of "generic animal creature". Although they looked somewhat like dogs and cats with floppy ears, a snout, and tails, the Warners' specific species was never explicitly declared. Ruegger had said that the Warners were cartoon characters (also known as Toons), and that their species was "Cartoonus characterus".
The image of the Warners is an homage to cartoon characters from the "rubber hose animation" styles of the early 1930s. Characters consisting of simple black drawings with white faces were very common in cartoons of the 1920s and 1930s, including Bosko and Honey, Felix the Cat, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, Bimbo, Flip the Frog, Foxy, Pooch the Pup, and the early version of Mickey Mouse, Pete, Minnie Mouse, Goofy, Horace Horsecollar, and Clarabelle Cow.
It is never explained what happened to the Warners' parents, though in the movie Wakko's Wish, set in a medieval version of the show, the children learn that their parents were the king and queen of Warnerstock. Also, in the short of 'Draculee, Draculaa', Yakko says that, since he and his siblings were drawn, their parents must be pencils.
To promote Animaniacs before the show's premiere, a giant balloon in the shape of Yakko was placed on top of the water tower on the Warner Bros. lot. Unfortunately, no one told Bob Daley, who ran the studio. When he pulled into work that morning, he thought someone had put a bad Mickey Mouse balloon on the tower and ordered it removed. The inflatable Yakko was in place for less than 12 hours, and then popped shortly after he came down. Writer Paul Rugg was able to snap a photo to prove it happened.
After the balloon incident, Daley worked to ensure no one else would mistake the Warners for Mickey. Daley decided that Yakko and Wakko were too smooth and rounded. So while he watched, he had Ruegger add side whiskers to the drawings, which he felt would prevent confusion - and potential legal action. Ruegger and Warner Bros. Animation president had to rush back to the animation studio with the changes, because the cartoon was already being drawn, with some segments in the can.
A running gag throughout the Animaniacs series is the question of what animals, if any, the Warners are meant to be modeled after. The series' other characters are cartoon representations of various animals such as mice, birds, monkeys, and squirrels, but the Warners are intentionally ambiguous. Various characters in the series question the Warners about this and refer to them as a variety of different animals, frequently "puppy children", owing to their ears and tails or sometimes Toons because of their 1930s appearance. When asked what they are, most often they state, "We're cute!" The Warners themselves often use this ambiguity as a source of humor; in one episode an entire musical number is devoted to guessing their species to which they declare "what we are dear Doctor—is cute!"
|This section describes a work or element of fiction in a primarily in-universe style. (July 2011)|
In the opening to the some episodes of the series, a faux newsreel, Newsreel of the Stars, is played with an abridged history of the Yakko, Wakko, and Dot Warner; in 1929, they were created by the Termite Terrace Animation Department and starred in several cartoons until their zaniness caused a falling out with the studio.
In the "65th anniversary" episode, which aired in 1994, their history is elaborated as a retrospect with interviews of witnesses to their rise and fall. The Warners were created after animation director Weed Memlo wanted some new characters to make the cartoons of the Looney Tunes character Buddy more interesting. (In reality, Buddy had not been created until 1933, and Warner Bros. did not begin distributing cartoons until 1930.) Animator Lon Borax stayed up all night trying to come up with new characters until, in a fit of madness and exhaustion, he created them. The Warners starred alongside Buddy in a new cartoon, which Memlo showed to Thaddeus Plotz, the head of the Warner Bros Animation Department. Plotz thought the cartoon was unusual and weird but compelling and greenlighted more. The Warners' slapstick soon began to overshadow Buddy, who was eventually fired. Plotz then gave the Warners their very own series of cartoons (which was Plotz's "second biggest mistake of his life"). The Warners' cartoons were all thoroughly bizarre, including an eight-hour cartoon in which they tried to pull fly paper off their backsides. But the Warners became huge stars despite it, mixing with Hollywood stars and starlets of the time. Dot was said to be close friends with Fanny Brice, while Yakko had a famous feud with Milton Berle.
The Warners drove the studio crazy with their antics, however. For example, Wakko kept eating up the scenery and backgrounds—literally "chewing the scenery". Thaddeus Plotz wanted to cancel the Warners, but they still had one more cartoon on their contract. Wakko got to direct the last cartoon that involved Wakko playing Yankee Doodle with his armpits (which was Plotz's "biggest mistake of my life"). Plotz was furious about that cartoon. The moment he saw it, he unilaterally canceled their contract, angering the Warners' agent Irving "Swifty" Laboo (actually Chicken Boo in costume).
With no more cartoons to make, the Warners were free to run around the studio lot as they pleased, causing even more chaos for the company. Eventually they were captured by studio security and locked away in the Warner Bros. Studios water tower in Burbank, California. The Warners' cartoons "which made absolutely no sense," were supposedly so insane and nonsensical that the studio executives also locked the films away in vaults, never to have them released. Later into the series run, a fictional celebrity and acquaintance of the Warners had revealed that the Warners were actually quite popular in the thirties, until, as he had said: "...they (the Warners) pantsed Jimmy Cagney," at which point, "something had to be done," so the Warners, who made even less sense than their cartoons, were locked away, also never to be released. The Warners were held in the water tower until, as said in the show, "this very day", meaning September 13, 1993, when the series premiered. Although the Warners supposedly hadn't escaped until "this very day," Yakko, Wakko and Dot were able to escape frequently and at will. Later episodes showed that they often escaped during various points in history, being let out for a day every few years while the water tower was being fumigated, and were occasionally loaned out to other animation studios, particularly during the 1960s (a reference to the fact that Warner Bros. did the same with all its characters when it shut down its animation studio in the 1960s, outsourcing production of Warner Bros. properties to DePatie-Freleng Enterprises and, for one television movie, Filmation).
When the Warners most recently escaped, they again began to cause chaos in the Warner Bros. Studio. In response to the Warners escape, Studio Executive Thaddeus Plotz asked the studio psychiatrist, Dr. Otto Scratchansniff, to "de-zanitize" the Warners, or make the Warners less zany, to stop the chaos in the studio. Plotz had also ordered the studio guard, Ralph, to capture the Warners whenever they escaped. Although the Warner siblings escape from the water tower as often as they can, they treat the water tower as their home, and always return to it when they are done wreaking mayhem.
In the 33rd issue of the Animaniacs comic book, there was a "long lost" fourth Warner named Sakko (who was obviously modeled after Rip Taylor); he has not been mentioned outside this comic, and his existence is considered non-canonical by fans.
While it has never been clearly official, certain hints have suggested that the Warners may also come from a royal family. For example Dot occasionally delivers her full name as "Princess Angelina Contesa Louisa Francesca Banana-Fanna Bo Besca the Third" and Yakko was King of Anvilania in the episode King Yakko. In this episode the oldest sibling stated that because he is the last remaining family member in the royal blood line it makes him the last rightful king. Finally in the movie Wakko's Wish, it was revealed that the Warners were the children of the late King and Queen of Warnerstock. They were then given the throne and were last seen wearing royal clothing.
The comedy that the trio performed can be described as an updated version of that of The Marx Brothers and early Bugs Bunny cartoons; each segment would usually involve them at odds with an authority-figure antagonist, defeating any attempts at control with a non-stop barrage of slapstick comedy and wit. However, one notable difference is that while Bugs usually acted as such in self-defense, it is characteristic for the Warners to wreak havoc for their own personal amusement. Their initial behavior is generally good-natured, sometimes affectionate, and often merely annoying. However, anyone who yells at them, tries to hurt them, or generally acts like a jerk will be labeled their "Special Friend," whereupon the Warners exercise even less restraint in the mayhem they inflict upon that person.
The Warners were not completely without reason, however: in an episode titled "The Sound of Warners," they wouldn't fight back against a Julie Andrews-esque nanny because she wasn't provoking them, only being excessively mothering and annoyingly saccharine—hence, establishing a sort of moral core for the Warners. Wanting her gone but seeing their hands were tied, they opted for help from Slappy Squirrel, a Screwy Squirrel-type character who freely inflicted severe injury on her adversaries, claimed in the episode by Yakko that she is, "Someone [Slappy] who has raised senseless violence to a fine art." This character trait was further emphasized in the full-length episode, "Taming of the Screwy". In this episode, after being asked (and begged and pleaded) by Dr. Scratchansniff to keep their lunacy under control for one evening during an important studio banquet, the three siblings did so and were very well behaved...until they were promptly asked to leave the banquet hall before they caused any trouble. Feeling snubbed and insulted, the Warners then sneaked back into the banquet hall and began causing mischief in their own fashion. In later episodes, Dr. Scratchansniff occasionally takes on a protective if weary role towards them. They, in turn, also think of him as a father figure and act as they do because they love him.
Each of the trio has a different personality and role in the group, including purpose in a skit and separate obsessions with different celebrities, etc. Yakko is the "smart one" and the leader. Dot is the self-proclaimed "cute one". Wakko is the "other" one or, "due to Middle Kid Syndrome" as Yakko puts it, the most insane one. They all like to kiss people, usually to annoy them. Overall, they are friendly, energetic and lovable. Together they have been known to sing songs, including the names (and a few facts) of all the presidents in order at that time period. All three Warners, have a tendency to pounce on attractive members of the opposite sex, women in the case of Yakko and Wakko and men in the case of Dot.
Yakko (voiced by Rob Paulsen) is the tallest, oldest at age fourteen, and most verbal, and serves as the ringleader of the three siblings. Yakko has the amazing ability to talk an unsuspecting (yet deserving) person's ear off (thus the first syllable of his name, "Yak"). He's a big-time smart alec and can come up with a comeback to just about anything. Highly reminiscent of Groucho Marx, he wears tan slacks with a black belt, in which he can store massive amounts of bologna and retrieve a number of improbable objects including a yak. In the movie these clothes were accompanied by a scarf, and the belt was a rope. He and Wakko have a tendency to pounce on attractive women (or just about anyone who is female), with variations of their catchphrase "Helloooooo, NURSE!" Yakko can sing the names of almost every country in the world that existed at the time, as well as every word in the English language (although he's only shown singing words beginning with the letters A, F [briefly], L and Z). He can even say Dot's full name without error as seen in "Cutie and the Beast". In "The Taming of the Screwy", Yakko demonstrates a proficiency in speaking (proper and actual) Japanese (and many other languages properly) as well. His idol is Michelle Pfeiffer. He is considered by many fans to be "the brains of the outfit", the wittiest and cleverest of the three Warner sibs. When he sees someone really acting goofy, he will invariably say "Dumber than advertised!" He also has the ability to rap as well as playing the piano, as seen in the "Great Wakkorotti" segments. As he is the oldest, much of the show's more adult-leaning gags and one-liners are supplied by Yakko; he will often recognize adult-oriented double entendres, blow a kiss to the audience, saying his other catchphrase, "Goodnight, everybody!" As he is the oldest, several times Yakko has shown a surprising amount of responsibility dealing with the welfare of his two younger siblings, particularly in the movie, where he was more of the parent-like sibling. In the episode "King Yakko" he is king of the fictional country of Anvilania. Yakko even has a habit of hesitating before coming up with a sentence, e.g. "Aaaaaaaaaahhhhh, a little help?", along with the habit for wiggling his eyebrows and winking, similar to that of Groucho Marx.
Yakko is intelligent and well-read. Out of the three Warners, Yakko is the leader, taking charge of most situations, and Wakko and Dot look up to him. Being the oldest, much of the adult humor comes from him (though whenever it comes from anyone else, Yakko quickly pipes in with "Good night, everybody!")
Yakko and his brother Wakko are infatuated with the beautiful Hello Nurse. Whenever they spot her or another attractive woman (or Minerva Mink), they react in an exaggerated manner (for example, howling like wolves) and shouting "Hell-O-o, Nurse!" This is usually followed by them lunging into her arms and giving her a large smooch. They also add some kind of title to "Helloooo Nurse!" in some episodes. Like in Cookies for Einstein when they see a Swiss girl selling chocolate, Wakko shouted "Hellooooo Swiss Nurse Miss!" (a play on the hot chocolate brand).
Among Yakko's abilities include a fluent understanding of the Japanese language and wielding two paddleballs at once. He is "the very model of a cartoon individual" according to the song of the same name in the cartoon "H.M.S. Yakko".
He is the 'guardian' of the trio, or the parental figure, as he seems to take charge in many situations, and acts generally in a father-manner towards his siblings. However to Wakko and Dot, he can be seen to argue with or tease them like an older brother (typically) does as shown in the song "I'm Mad". However, when the need arises, he is loyal and protective.
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 interrupts Dot's "I'm Cute" song, but notes that she is "Awfully cute" when angered. He deeply cares for Wakko and Dot, which is seen in Wakko's Wish, as well as some episodes in the series.
Yakko and the other Warner siblings were "born" in a Warner Bros. animation studio in the 1930s. Unfortunately, they and their cartoons were far too wacky and zany for their time. This, combined with their knack of causing trouble, caused them to be captured and locked up in the studio watertower along with the reels of their cartoons, where they stayed for many decades.
In 1993, the Warners managed to finally escape from the watertower and again began to wreak havoc. In an attempt to halt the chaos, Thaddeus Plotz, CEO of Warner Bros., assigned Dr. Scratchansniff to keep an eye on them, and to try to investigate and "cure" them of their zaniness.
There are many different stories on how they were created. In Draculee, Draculaa, they are on their way to Pennsylvania due to the fact that their parents were pencils, but in some episodes like King Yakko, they seemed to be related to royalty. Their royal heritage is also shown in Wakko's Wish.
Yakko is the vocal of the Warner trio. He has a comeback for any situation and can out pun even the best, as shown with Howie Turn (a parody of Howard Stern). He also known for more of the adult humor of the show and will shout "Goodnight Everybody!" whenever there is a double innuendo (or anything suggestive) said. He often addresses the audience directly, usually with a sarcastic comment.
Yakko, like his siblings, is an ambiguous dog-like cartoon character. He is the tallest of the three, and wears khaki pants up to his waist with a large belt. Like his siblings, he also has short black fur covering most of his body and white fur over his face, cheeks and eyebrows. His eyes are black and he has a small red nose, black ears, as well as a tail that sticks out through his pants. He was also seen with an addition of a green scarf in the movie. He also (along with his other siblings) can be seen with different attire in specific episodes (like Roll Over Beethoven) such as top hats, sashes, suits, etc.
It also seems as though he can store a variety of items within his pants (including a yak), much like Wakko does with his "Gag Bag". He doesn't seem to do this as much as Wakko.
Wakko (voiced by Jess Harnell), the middle child, wears a sky-blue turtleneck and a red baseball cap turned backwards with holes cut out for his ears. Although he is the only one of the siblings who wears a shirt, he makes up for it by not wearing pants. He's the middle child at age eleven (but in the song "Hello Nurse" he says he's "seven" to rhyme with "heaven"), and the weirdest and most absurd of the bunch, hence his name. He speaks with a Scouse accent that Harnell explicitly modeled after Ringo Starr (initially Harnell created a John Lennon-esque voice for Wakko until he saw that the character was short, so he just raised the pitch). He often carries a "Gag Bag", from which he can produce objects as needed, and also uses a large mallet when situations call for it. More often than not, his tongue is sticking out of his mouth (it will hang out at any given moment). He generally supplies the more crude humor, which Yakko and Dot will often react to. He is the most physical of the three, and thus tends to lean toward physical humor (hence the first syllable in his name being "Wak"). Wakko is very flexible (there are a few episodes where the others make use of him for ladders and measuring tape). Wakko appears to have a voracious appetite in the show, and will eat almost anything, including gum found under a seat and even rocks for shock value or perhaps simply to see how they taste. He also has a fear of clowns, although this fear is inconsistent as he was able to dress the anchorman in the uncensored version of "Broadcast Nuisance" and was actually excited to see the dictator in King Yakko [thinking he was a clown]. Still, this is debatable as he may have acted that way to annoy them and was aware they were not actual clowns. He's a big fan of Don Knotts from The Andy Griffith Show and, like his brother Yakko, he will also hit on any girl despite his young age. Like Yakko, he has a catchphrase: "Faboo!" meaning fabulous or great. Often his siblings use variations of "faboo", as in calling a male antagonist "Dadoo" to annoy them. According to the song "Hello Nurse" he is seven years old, and was not considered canonical by the writers (in literal terms, all the Warners are 83 as of 2012, since they were created in 1929). His cap is his trademark; when the Warners wear costumes, Wakko will usually keep his cap on, which holds Elvis Presley hiding in the cap's hammerspace. Occasionally, he'll take it off, which makes him look very similar to Yakko, as seen in various episodes and the movie "Wakko's Wish", of which he is the main protagonist. He follows in Yakko's footsteps by singing all the fifty US states and their capitals, in "Wakko's America". Wakko is usually the least talkative of the three unless he is the main character, and in some segments, he doesn't say anything at all. He also appears to be the most musical as well, being able to belch pieces of classical music (under the stage name "The Great Wakkorotti," with Maurice LaMarche providing the belches), play both the violin and the piano, and get behind a drum kit to deliver the occasional sting after a punchline. In the episode, "Chalkboard Bungle", Wakko can impersonate Ray Charles pretty well. His musical abilities, penchant for physical comedy, and usual quiet attitude seem to reference Harpo Marx. Like Harpo, many times Wakko does "the Gookie." His voice is similar to the later incarnation of Secret Squirrel (another character voiced by Harnell).
He often plays the physically aggressive of the Warner trio, often cracking people with his mallet. Wakko, at times, also drops anvils or heavy objects onto people. This is usually quite effective, except on Baloney, since he is so idiotically happy that he is immune to it. He also appears to be somewhat clever in some segments, like when he "had trouble" figuring out how much everything costs at a dollar store, even when the owner told him multiple times. It turned out to be a ploy to trick the dumb cashier into letting him get everything there for one dollar. He idolizes the late Don Knotts.
Wakko has black and white fur and has a red cap on backwards.He is the only one of the three who wears a shirt, which is blue. He is often seen with his tongue sticking out. In the show "The Party" Wakko wears black, blue, and yellow lined pants.
He is the same species as the other Warners and is a little taller than Dot. Wakko is arguably the most animalistic of the trio, as several segments have him behaving like a dog - walking on all fours, doing tricks for treats, etc. He is the only one of the three that wears a shirt and has a red hat, which he keeps on even when he dons another costume. He also does not wear pants on most occasions, often joking about this aspect.
Dot (voiced by Tress MacNeille), the youngest of the three, wears a pink skirt, has hair resembling that of Uran from Astro Boy, and a yellow flower tie in her ears. In Wakko's Wish, she gets a beauty mark that she calls a "cutie mark" ("Cindy Crawford, eat your heart out!" she remarked). However, this "cutie mark" only appeared in the movie. Whenever Yakko and Wakko introduce themselves by saying "We're the Warner Brothers!", she always follows with "And the Warner Sister!" Her full name is "Princess Angelina Contessa Louisa Francesca Banana Fanna Bo Besca the Third" (a reference to Pippi Longstocking's long real name, "Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim's Daughter Longstocking"), which is the reason why some fans call her "Princess Dot" for short, as revealed in Wakko's Wish. (Her last name is Warner, but is not added to her full name.) Extremely cute and thoroughly aware of it, she is very confident but a bit vain and selfish at times. She is arguably the cutest one; she even sings a whole song about how cute she is in the episode "I'm Cute". She is also the most overtly aggressive. As she says in the first episode, "Call me Dottie, and you die." However, she's been called Dottie a few times and the source remains unharmed, but this is not always true. In one episode, she throws a bomb at Yakko and Wakko for calling her that. She often makes note of Wakko's ridiculous and disgusting eating habits (even saying he went too far when he ate the moon in one episode), going "DIIIIIISGUSTING!" whenever he eats something unappetizing. She is easily miffed at her brothers' reactions around females; afterwards she often says, "Boys: go fig." She loves her brothers dearly, but their behavior (notably around women) often annoys her.
However, even though she views Yakko and Wakko's behavior around beautiful women repugnant, she has reacted similarly to attractive men, most notably Mel Gibson (She said she would "marry that man"). Dot also carries around a pet, contained within a tiny box that is revealed to be a horrifying monster much too large to have fit inside the box. In one episode, one of her pets ends up marrying a Xenomorph. In another episode her pet is Mr. Director (a caricature of Jerry Lewis). She also seems to have a sense of humor much like her brother Yakko. But, like Wakko and his hat, even when Dot is in a costume she usually has a little flower in her ears or hat (unless she is in her pajamas and/or going to sleep, then she wears curlers). Her voice is like that of Babs Bunny (also voiced by Tress MacNeille) and later Fang on Dave the Barbarian, but with a younger, sweeter tone to match with her apparent age as the youngest sibling at age nine. Also, as explained in the Animaniacs movie, it has been discovered that Dot was born from a beautiful flower in a garden on the first day of spring. However, when Yakko tells her this story at bedtime, it sounds fictional.
Besides making cameos in other segments of Animaniacs (usually as a running gag), The Warners have made appearances elsewhere than Animaniacs. The only appearance on Tiny Toon Adventures, was on "Tiny Toons Spring Break Special", being chased by Ralph. That was quite ironic since many Tiny Toons characters (mainly Buster and Babs Bunny, and Plucky Duck) made many cameos on Animaniacs. During the opening credits of the Halloween special Fifi La Fume is dressed up as Dot for her Halloween costume.
The Warners were seen twice on Freakazoid!. First in a parody of the Animaniacs opening sequence, in which they introduce a fake spin-off of Freakazoid called, "Freakazoid and Friends", and Wakko later appeared in the episode, "The Freakazoid" by being referenced, by a neighbor saying to Freakazoid, "What are you, wacko?"' then Wakko appearing and saying "No, I'm Wakko!", then singing the first few lines of "Wakko's America". They then later start arguing (along with The Brain from Pinky and the Brain) about whose show is Steven Spielberg's favorite show. They then ask him themselves, to which he answers, "Who are you people?".
In Pinky and the Brain (a spin-off of Animaniacs) The Warners were often mentioned but made a few cameos. They first appeared in one episode in which Pinky pilots and crashes into Mt. Rushmore. When the smoke clears replacing the president's heads, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot's heads can be seen instead. Also in another episode Brain comments (from a great height), that human beings are nothing more than little dots, to which Pinky replies, "Poit! One of those dots is waving at us." Dot is then seen on the ground waving at them. Dot is also seen admiring Pinky's artwork in a scene from "Pinkasso".