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Meet the wacky cast of the Warner Bros. Steven Spielberg-produced cartoon Animaniacs and its spin-off Pinky and the Brain. They are categorized by which characters starred in which segments. The characters that show up in Pinky And The Brain, including Pinky and the Brain, who started as characters as part of a segment of Animaniacs, should get listed in the Pinky and the Brain Character Sheet.
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The Warner Brothers (and the Warner Sister)
Main and Major Supporting Characters
Yakko, Wakko, and Dot Warner
The Warner siblings who are the most prominent stars of the show, and as such, get the most screentime. According to the show's backstory, they were created to serve as comic relief to the very dull Looney Tunes character Buddy, but proved to be so troublesome that they were locked in the Warner Bros. Studio Water Tower. Yakko is the talkative, Groucho Marx-esque one who just wears pants, Wakko is the short one with a baseball cap and an extreme appetite, and Dot is the cute one. Voiced by Rob Paulsen, Jess Harnell, and Tress MacNeille, respectively.
Big Brother Instinct: When Wakko dies after eating too many Swedish meatballs, you better believe Yakko literally goes to Hell and back to rescue him. (Dot too, of course, but she's Wakko's little sister.)
Bubble Pipe: Yakko occasionally "puffs" on a soap-bubble pipe while parodying highbrow intellectuals.
Cultured Badass: Though more on the goofy and wacky side, Yakko is the most media and literature literate of the trio. He is also shown to be capable of speaking proper and actual Japanese, as opposed to the racist and stereotyped barely-Asian-sounding gibberish that is unfortunate norm in western cartoons.
Determinator: One interesting example is him singing all the words in the English language. He's obviously broken down when shown singing the "Z" words but refuses to quit and doesn't faint until being requested to sing all the numbers above zero.
The Face: While the trio definitely played off each other, Yakko appeared in the most skits, typically got the most lines, and got to sing the most songs.
British Accents: Wakko has a Liverpool accent that was modeled after Ringo Starr. Originally, Jess Harnell modeled the Liverpudlian accent after John Lennon, but he decided to go with Ringo instead because Wakko was shorter than the others. Either way, he liked it, the people auditioning him loved it, and it made it on the show.
The Quiet One: He is the least talkative out of all three of them, in some gags, he doesn't even talk.
Rimshot: One of Wakko's jurisdictions is to supply these as necessary.
Unexplained Accent: Wakko has a Liverpudlian brogue for absolutely no damn reason — at least not one ever explained on the show. Justified in that he's a cartoon character in-universe and therefore pretty much runs on Rule of Funny.
Younger Than They Look: He's only 7 according to the "Hello, Nurse!" song, but writers have dismissed this because he only said it in order to rhyme with "heaven". The Word of Godnote in this case, from Tom Ruegger is that the Warners' ages aren't specified beyond "not old enough to date". 14, 11, and 9 respectively.
Hypocritical Humor: A sexy woman walks by, causing Yakko and usually Wakko to shout "Hello, Nurse!", and Dot insults them for it and sometimes has to drag them away. A sexy man walks by, and she responds in exactly the same way her brothers did.
Insistent Terminology: Whenever someone refers to the Warner Brothers, expect her to pipe up with "and the Warner Sister!"
Potty Failure: Lampshaded: In the episode with Rasputin, at the end when the moral of the day is revealed to be "Brush your teeth," Dot says, "That makes me feel all warm and squishy. Either that or I need to wear diapers."
Badass: Since they're Expies of Bugs Bunny, they're definitely this. They have outsmarted Dracula and the Devil, can pull mallets from anywhere, change into anything they want, and in one episode, Wakko is shown to have freed the Germans behind the Berlin Wall.
Jeff Bennett:Animaniacs gives you pants and no pants conveniently in one show! Wakko: I have pants! See? Jeff: Liar liar, pants on fire!
Also lampshaded in the episode "Animaniacs Stew."
Dot: And what's so special about it (the episode)? Wakko: I'm not wearing any pants!
Hammerspace: Although Wakko uses his most often (see above).
Inkblot Cartoon Style: The Warners were created in the 1930s when this style of animation was very prominent.
Karmic Trickster/Screwy Squirrel: They waver between these two tropes. They will be cheerful and annoying towards anyone, but their antics are generally harmless (in fact, they can be pretty nice and polite kids)... unless someone's being a colossal jerk, who then becomes their "Special Friend" and the mallets come out. However a lot of what the Warners do could be needlessly cruel to the point of making them unsympathetic, such as stripping Otto in the "Schnitzelbank" song or leaving the woodchuck in the toilet in "Kid in the Lid"... until you remember that everyone's an actor; hardly any of what takes place is "real".
In one episode, they're being driven crazy by a parody of the nanny from The Sound of Music... but can't bring themselves to clobber her, because she's not doing anything wrong. They hire Slappy.
Mouthy Kid: The Warners (especially Yakko and Dot) aren't afraid to put adults in their place or spout out snarky comments about adults' behavior, but most of the adults that they treat with disdain are self-centeredjerkasses.
Smarter Than You Look: As bizarre and insane as all three of them act, they have an utterly brilliant grasp of geography, history and a host of other subjects. They can recite the nations of the world, all 50 US states and their capitals, and every President of the United States from memory with no difficulty, and can even throw in some random facts about each while they do it.
Friendly Enemy: Although most of his screentime with the Warners involves attempting to capture them while they physically injure him in their attempts to escape, oftentimes they're pretty cordial to each other when not at odds.
Running Gag: His chasing the Warners into the other characters' segments.
The Warner Bros. studio psychiatrist. He has the unfortunate duty of trying to tame the Warners, which always leads to him getting utterly frustrated (and in the case of his first sessions with them, tearing out his hair). However, he is the most tolerant of the Warners (when they aren't being TOO wacky), and they seem to consider him a father figure. Voiced by Rob Paulsen.
Hair Today Gone Tomorrow: He used to have fluffy Albert Einstein-esque hair before during his first session with the Warners, their antics frustrated him so much he ripped every inch of his hair off his head.
The Ace: She's not only the Trope NamingHello, Nurse!, but also The Ace. According to the song about her, her list of accomplishments includes winning the Tony, Nobel Prize, and Pulitzer, obtaining several Ph.Ds, playing Chopin without rehearsing, singing opera at the Met, starring as the lead role in King Lear, becoming the ambassador to China, and not smoking.
Characterization Marches On: In the beginning of the show, and indeed in some of the early spin-off comics, she didn't have much of a personality and was mainly just there to be sexy — and she had several moments then when she displayed definite traits of a Literal-MindedDumb Blonde. Eventually, however, she was developed a little more, to become Scratchansniff's extremely intelligent, Hypercompetent Sidekick, and her Dumb Blonde moments completely vanished. This is carried even further in the comics, where she dons a Leotard of Power that looks from the waist up a lot like her uniform dress as Hello Nurse, Agent of H.U.B.B.A.
Dumb Blonde: In the early episodes she could occasionally come across as one, but as her characterization stabilized it was firmly averted; she's as smart as her bosses, emphasized at the end of Wakko's Wish.
Throw the Dog a Bone: Though he was known for making bad business decisions and treating some of his employees like crap, Plotz was a step above the average corporate villain and occasionally would get a moment where he'd realize his own foolishness and regret it, thus prompting the Warners themselves to cut him a break and even give him some small reward.
Take That: They lampoon Lewis' over-the-top antics in his comedy films, and they also make a humorous reference to his unreleased drama film The Day the Clown Cried, about a clown that ends up in a Nazi concentration camp (a shining example of one of the jokes on this shown that children normally wouldn't get).
Ink-Suit Actor: Pip Pumphandle is based directly off his voice actor Ben Stein.
Stockholm Syndrome: After he leaves, the Warners find themselves missing him and want to hear another one of his stories.
The Cat Came Back: The Warners find him impossible to get rid of...until he actually leaves and they decide they miss him.
The Thing That Would Not Leave: When the Warners encounter him at a Hollywood party, he starts relating a long, rambling, essentially pointless story about how he once encountered Bob Barker eating a bologna and cheese ball sandwich, and he doesn't leave the Warners alone until he finishes (even practicing Offscreen Teleportation a la Droopy Dog), boring them to tears.
A monstrous creature who is always kept inside a small, white box. The creature's appearance is inconsistent and its color varied, but its most common forms are a large bull-like creature, a plant parodying The Little Shop of Horrors, and a hairy form with enormous teeth. In one case, Mr. Director was her pet.
Psycho for Hire: Other characters have occasionally recruited her to cause mayhem on a specific target. The Warners hired her to get rid of their Sound Of Music-inspired nanny, and God Himself tasked Slappy with guarding the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden so the serpent couldn't tempt Adam and Eve.
Beware the Nice Ones: Skippy is much more forgiving than Slappy, but if you push him far enough you'll learn that he's inherited his aunt's talents for slapstick revenge. Just ask Duke, the title character of Bully For Skippy...
Vocal Evolution: Nathan Ruegger's voice had to be pitched up in later episodes because he was getting too old for the part. It's particularly obvious in Wakko's Wish.
Walter Wolf, Sid the Squid, and Beanie the Brain-Dead Bison
Three of Slappy's old nemesises from her cartoons, who continually plot revenge on her, but still never succeed at doing her in. Walter was initially voiced by Frank Welker but for his remaining appearances he was voiced by Jess Harnell for unknown reasons, Sid was voiced by Jackie Burns and Beanie was voiced by Avery Schreiber.
Butt Monkey: They're Slappy's Rogues Gallery. They pretty much exist to take abuse. Not that they don't invite it upon themselves...
Evil Old Folks: They're all just as old, if not older, than Slappy. When they have an Evil Laugh, they finish by coughing.
Paper-Thin Disguise: As Slappy always says, "Now this is just sad". Half the time Skippy is the one to recognize them first, and he's used to seeing them undisguised and young in his aunt's old cartoons.
Run the Gauntlet: In most cartoons, they all attack Slappy one after another. Beanie always goes first, then Sid, and finally Walter. Naturally, Slappy doesn't have much trouble with them.
No Fourth Wall: He has a chorus singing about his attempts to cut down Slappy's tree. Sometimes the chorus starts making a fool of him, resulting in him shouting at them to shut up.
Main and Major Supporting Characters
Bobby is the leader of the main three pigeons. Depending on his mood, he can be the Only Sane Man who tries to keep Pesto in line or just sit back and laugh at Squit's misfortune. Pesto is the pigeon with a Hair-Trigger Temper, and is prone to taking offense at any comment given to him, even if it's in a good light, and beats up Squit for it. Squit is the rookie who joins the Goodfeathers in the first short and spends the rest of them surviving day to day life in the constant presence of the ever-violent Pesto. Bobby, Pesto and Squit are voiced by John Mariano, Chick Vennera and Maurice LaMarche, respectively.
Tropes that apply to Bobby:
Beware the Quiet Ones: He's the most stoic of the group and is probably the most level-headed, as well. That being said, Pesto is actually scared of him when he gets serious.
The Don of the Goodfeathers enterprise. Typically enters a scene, dispenses some vaguely wise-sounding gibberish, chuckles a little and leaves. Held in very high regard by the other birds. Voiced by Maurice LaMarche.
Foreshadowing: Blink and you'll miss it: In the "Up A Tree" segment, during Rita's first musical number, she goes into a very minor Disney Acid Sequence about the advantages of Chicago as they appear onscreen. One of them is the Sears Tower, which she stands on. Afterwards, she immediately jumps off, and if you look closely at the expression on her face, you can tell that she's clearly acrophobic. Guess what happens later.
Verbal Tic: He definitely, definitely has one. Definitely.
Tropes that apply to both:
Animal Talk: Mostly they aren't shown to be able to talk to humans. It depends on the story whether they understand what humans say to them or not, though as a rule Rita is more likely to at least get the general gist of it.
Local Reference: When Rita and Runt go to Poland in "Puttin on the Blitz", Rita sings that it doesn't look like Burbank, more like Van Nuys. (Both are cities in Los Angeles. You can guess which one has higher property values).
A send up of Lassie. Mindy Sadlier is a toddler who constantly wanders off into dangerous situations prompting her dog, Buttons, to keep her out of it at the expense of his safety. Voiced by Nancy Cartwright and Frank Welker respectively.
No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Buttons goes to enormous lengths, risking his own hide to keep Mindy from harm. Every episode ends with Buttons getting in trouble over some (generally minor) misbehavior he performed in the course of his duties. At least till the movie, where he finally got his due.
At least Mindy still loves him.
Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: In the future episode, after Mindy inadvertently gets clones, he packs up, holds out an "I QUIT!" sign and leaves.
Undying Loyalty: Despite all the suffering, Buttons will never let Mindy be hurt.
Vertigo Effect: Occasionally done with Buttons the moment Mindy escapes.
The Faceless: The mother's face isn't entirely seen in Wakko's Wish, but she's a brunette.
Hypocritical Humor: Mindy's mom leaves her alone for going to things like a better parenting conference, the Mother of the Year Grand Finals, or on Oprah, because the topic is "Overprotective Mothers".
All Men Are Perverts: Pretty much the entire basis of her shorts, which are very Red Hot Riding Hood-esque. Inverted whenever a male character is hunky enough for her to go absolutely gaga over, as those fellas seem to have an unusually high tolerance for her sex appeal.
Expy: Minerva is very similar to Betty Boop, with her lustful attitude and ability to charm almost any guy. Both characters even share similar development stories (the censors thought both characters were too lustful, and did a little meddling with them.)
Femme Fatale: Not evil, but she will use her charms to make men do what she wants.
Getting Crap Past the Radar: Sadly, the radar caught up with this series and, outside of some quick appearances, the Minerva Mink cartoons only lasted two episodes (there were more planned, but those are gone). She does make cameos every often, including the movie Wakko's Wish.
Not So Above It All: She may treat whomever is fawning over her with barely-restrained disdain, but as soon as an attractive guy walks by, she recreates, step-by-step each and every wild take aimed at her previously.
So Beautiful, It's a Curse: As revealed in the comics, Minerva has an extremely hard time doing ordinary things like grocery shopping and filing taxes, because every male of every species in the area is panting and hooting at her. She even sings about it in her first appearance.
A rich pair of hippos who speak with Spanish accents who moved out of Africa and into a penthouse. Followed around by a zoologist named Gena Embryo who tries to keep them out of danger since the two are on the endangered list, but usually ends up battered in the process. Voiced by Frank Welker and Tress MacNeille, respectively.
The zoologist who follows Flavio and Marita and tries to protect them because she considers the two to be on the endangered species list, but usually ends up battered in the process. She seems unaware that the hippos can look after themselves. Voiced by Tress MacNeille.
A childlike candle flame who shows up at important historical events like Jefferson's authoring of The Declaration of Independence and Longfellow's writing of Paul Revere's Ride. Voiced by Luke Ruegger.
Out-of-Genre Experience: Unlike the rest of the shorts in the series, the Flame's shorts aren't at all comedic. They're drawn very conservatively (as opposed to the wacky, bouncy style of the other segments) and are played completely straight.
A baby bluebird who hatches while the mother bluebird is away. He sees a F-117 Nighthawk fly by and mistakes it for his mother. Voiced by Cody Ruegger.
Buddy aka, Mystery Guy in Chair
One of the original stars of the Warner Bros. cartoon studio, Buddy was hastily created by animator Earl Duvall as an ersatz of Bosko, The Talk-Ink Kid, and from late 1933 to 1935, he served as the lead star of the Looney Tunes shorts. In real life, the character was reviled by the staff due to his complete and utter lack of personality, only magnified by the dull, plotless cartoons he starred in, and was immediately phased out once Porky Pig became the studio mascot. In-universe, he was upstaged by Yakko, Wakko and Dot, who were brought in to spice up his boring cartoons by bashing him in the head over and over again with a mallet. His sole appearance in the series is in "The Warners 65th Anniversary Special", where he comes back as a villain in an attempt to get revenge on the trio for destroying his career.
Cerebus Retcon: Buddy's history was altered to fit the Animaniacs' universe.The Warners' constant abuse of him on the set resulted in him getting fired from Warner Bros. and years of psychological trauma, resulting in his desire for revenge.
Flat Character: The original B&W Buddy. The special gives him a little more personality.
Foreshadowing: In one of his interviews, he looks around suspiciously while he does his signature laugh.
Stepford Smiler: Type C. Just look at that picture of him. Of course, he ditches it once it's revealed he's a bad guy.
Throw the Dog a Bone: As the Warners received their award, they give a big thanks to Buddy for their stardom and that he deserves the award as much as they do, and wish he was at the ceremony. Touched by their speech, he ran up on stage and thanks them for it. He hears the bomb ticking and gets blown up and smashed by a giant hammer. His old schtick with the Warners.