Warner Bros' Histeria! was one of several shows created in part as a result of the FCC deciding in 1996 to start enforcing the 1990 Children's Television Act that required a certain percentage of "informative" and "educational" programs. It premiered on Kids' WB! in September 1998. But having come from the creators of Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs, this show, which centered on comedic sketches loosely based on historical events and topics, was actually pretty much the best show to come out of the CTA. Unfortunately, probably because it came out at around the same time as the Pokémon anime, barely anyone realized this when it was originally airing, and thus didn't bother to watch it much.One season (52 of the planned 65) of episodes were produced before the show was cancelled over budget concerns (i.e. being $10 million over it), then were repeated numerous times for the next three seasons before being taken off the network in 2001. Unlike its predecessors, Histeria! did not reappear in syndication on Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon. The show would've disappeared altogether if not for the fact that, in 2006, it reappeared as part of the initial lineup of Time Warner's In2TV channel until they were inexplicably removed in January 2009.
In the song "The Sound Of Stalin" a long list of Stalin's achievements are summarized. Then there is the line "Building a wall down the streets of Berlin". Stalin had nothing to do with the Berlin Wall. He died in 1953, and the wall was built in 1961.
Ax-Crazy: Lizzie Borden is portrayed this way. In one episode, she refers to herself as the "O.J. [Simpson] of 1892" (because she was acquitted of murder, even though it's heavily implied that she did it).
Beach Episode: "The Dawn of Time" ends with the cast hanging out at the beach.
Biting-the-Hand Humor: As expected from a WB comedy cartoon, and not just with Lydia Karaoke's harsh treatment whenever she complains about the show content. One episode ended with the entire cast singing about how if they don't get enough viewers, Kids' WB will cut their pay out of spite.
Cut Short: Unlike with its Spielberg-produced predecessors, Histeria! had no Grand Finale other than the cast and crew singing "Auld Lang Syne" while pictures of them appear over the end credits of the last episode produced/aired ("Big Fat Baby Theater").
Depending on the Artist and Off Model: Happens quite a bit with the kids, especially Froggo. The artists couldn't decide whether he was supposed to be chubby or thin or somewhere in between.
Friendly Tickle Torture: George Washington briefly does this to Martha Washington at the end of the first sketch in "The American Revolution".
Getting Crap Past the Radar: All in all, not so much "getting past" the radar, as running over the radar dish with a bulldozer. Lydia Karaoke was created to often step in to tell the characters that what they're doing is inappropriate for TV. Because she's an Acceptable Target, she either gets ignored or injured.
Gender Flip: A promo where they flipped every word they could find from male to female and vice versa.
Long List: In an homage to the Cheese Shop sketch, a segment about the Boston Tea Party has an Englishman appear at the aforementioned "party" and ask for many, many different kinds of tea, only to be informed that they're "fresh out".
No Celebrities Were Harmed: Lots of historical figures are portrayed acting like celebrities; for instance, Julius Caesar and his murderers are Frank Sinatra and the other members of the Rat Pack.
Also overlaps with Name's the Same for some meta gags where the celebrity and historical figure share a name; Karl Marx was played like Groucho Marx and Lewis and Clark were Jerry Lewis and Clark Kent.
ReCut: There are two versions of the "Megalomaniacs!" episode that exist: one has a sketch in which the Histeria! kids think General Custer's Last Stand is a custard shop, another with the game show "Convert or Die," in which victims accused of heresy get to choose between converting to The Catholic Church or getting tortured to death during The Spanish Inquisition. The version that aired on television initially was the one with the "Convert or Die" sketch, but after complaints from The Catholic League rolled in, the reruns instead aired the "General Custard's Last Stand" version. When the short-lived video website In2TV aired the entire series of Histeria!, the "Megalomaniacs!" episode with the "Convert or Die" sketch was released.
The fact that, much like Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs, this show once again pisses off the censors with as much radar-dodging crap as possible (some of which is pointed out by Lydia Karaoke). Added bonus for the fact that the censor character here is often treated like a Butt Monkey (read: ignored, injured, and overall defied).
Some of their sketches have the air of being on a sketch comedy show for adults (i.e., Saturday Night Live, Fridays, Monty Python, or MADtv), but is made all the more shocking by being in a sketch show for kids. Some examples include: "My Buddy Stalin" (a doll based on Joseph Stalin), "General Sherman's Campsite" (Pee-Wee's Playhouse set during the Civil War with General William Temeusch Sherman as Paul Reubens' hyper Man Child character Pee-Wee Herman), and the banned sketch "Convert or Die" (a game show set during The Spanish Inquisition where contestants have to choose between converting to The Catholic Church or being tortured for being a heretic).
Rule of Funny: While it did include more references to history than most edutainment cartoons in general, the writers didn't concern themselves too much with the fact they were billing the show as "informative" and "educational" programming... in, well, any situation where they thought accuracy would get in the way of humor.
Averted in the episode involving the Underground Railroad, which took it very seriously, despite the running gag of the kids thinking the Underground Railroad is a real railroad, and the episode that focused on the Civil Rights movement actually treated the subject matter with respect.
Pepper constantly mistaking historical celebrities for pop cultural ones, never realizing her mistake until she's gotten their autograph. For instance, mistaking Vladimir Lenin for John Lennon.
Loud watching something and alternating between "See it, see it..." and "DON'T SEE IT!! DON'T SEE IT!!" depending on whether he sees it.
The last time the Big Fat Baby had his diaper changed. Whenever someone asked, a character would respond by asking, "Remember when [insert historical event here]?" The inquirer would respond affirmatively, the character would respond with "Before that."
In sketches where Loud and Fetch are running a business, Loud says that if he can't make a deal, Fetch will eat something disgusting, which said dog will get upset about.
A song introducing a sketch about Alexander the Great is sung to the tune of the Animaniacs theme, and the sketch about Florence Nightingale as a Hospital Hottie ends with the boys shouting "Hello, Nurse!!" Also, the World's Oldest Woman's jingle is sung to the tune of Slappy Squirrel's theme.
The Pinky and the Brain theme music can be heard when Chit Chatterson mentions brain removal in a sketch about mummification.
As well as part of the background music for the introduction to Nikola Tesla's later life.
Clark Kent's appearance as William Clark, of course. Additionally, Superman made two other cameos as himself (one of which had his "S" emblem written as "F", which some have speculated is a nod to Freakazoid!!).
Fetch bears a bit of resemblance to Hunter from Road Rovers. This could just be a result the Kids' WB! "house style" though. Notably, though, the last episode contains a brief gag in which Fetch dashes onstage joined by dogs who appear to be of the same breeds as Blitz, Exile, and Shag.
Word of God did say Fetch's resemblance to Hunter was intentional!
The Revolutionary War episode had a segment where the action was "called" by parodies of the lead FOX NFL duo at the time of Pat Summerall and John Madden.
The sketch about the Boston Tea Party ends up being a homage to Monty Python's Cheese Shop sketch, replacing types of cheeses with types of tea (and even having John Cleese do a voice cameo)
One alternate opening credit is done exactly in the style of Saturday Night Live (in a mix of the 1978-1979 opening credits where the cast members are shown airbrushed and the 1988-1989 opening where the show's name is in a circular logo [which was used up until season 20])
A skit involving the Spice Islands involves, naturally enough, a Spice Girls parody. World's Oldest Woman is peeved that she's apparently "Old Spice".
Shown Their Work: The series has its moments, it's an amusing show that is all about bringing a subject that is typically perceived as stuffy and irrelevant to younger people. In particular the series does a good job on the Second World War, giving a basic (it is a kid's show after all) outline of the lead-up to Nazi Germany and doesn't particularly gloss over the less-mentioned parts of the war (i.e. alliance with the most assuredly non-democratic Soviet Union and the postwar Europe debacle) that often escape mention in other sources.
Take That: A cat burps up Mickey Mouse's shorts in "Really Really Oldies but Goodies", and "Histeria Around the World (Part 2)" opens with Loud, Charity, Aka, and Toast parodying the Teletubbies (much to their chagrin).
Theme Song: Many, plus themes for segments featuring regulars like Loud or Pepper. The two main themes were a 30 second version and its extended version. Occasionally, a parody of another show's theme song was used, such as The Addams Family, The Simpsons, or Saturday Night Live, as mentioned above.
Vague Age: The kids' ages are never given, but it is mentioned in one episode that they attend William Howard Taft Big Around the Middle School. However, Froggo is actually said to be ten in "The U.S. Civil War - Part 2".
Weirdness Search and Rescue: Miss Information would guide people through historic events and describe them, usually getting some details hilariously wrong and needing to be corrected.
"Well Done, Son" Guy: Shown in one episode as Alexander the Great's relationship with his father Philip of Macedon, as Philip infuriates Alexander by always telling him that his feats are "pretty good but not great". Actually likely Truth in Television of the relationship between the two - there have long been rumors Alexander had something to do with his father's assassination.
Who's on First?: This pops up during Father Time's attempt to quiz Lucky Bob and Susanna about the Zhou Dynasty.
Also done in the Lewis and Clark sketch when Lewis asks Clark which way to turn on the river.