Screenshot: Animaniacs (Warner Bros.)

Quickly now, try to summarize the premise and intrinsic appeal of Animaniacs. And do so in a way that even a couple of television executives might understand. Not so easy, is it? And yet, somehow, this anarchic, free-wheeling series with humor aimed well above the heads of its target audience of children made it to the airwaves and stayed there for five years. But at some point in its mad existence, the show must have had to endure the indignities of a pitch meeting. Writer Abbey Fenbert tries to imagine what that meeting was like in a speculative piece for The Toast. The piece is structured as a brief playlet, with a scarily confident animator blowing the minds of two convention-bound executives with potential ideas for the show. Here’s the animator, for instance, describing the series’ protagonists, Yakko, Wakko, and Dot:

They’re not constrained by parents, physics, or a moral code, so a little of everything. They torment their Freudian psychoanalyst and mock Satan and undermine the authority of a Barney-esque pretender. Mayhem is their genius. They’re a lot like Amelia Bedelia in that way, if, as I do, you read Amelia Bedelia as a rebel saboteur of the patriarchy. Except the Warners don’t bury their libido in the layers of spice cakes.

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The animator gives the two executives plenty of reasons to worry, including the fact that the word “sex” comes up way more often than it should in the description of a show aimed at elementary school students. “Animaniacs will not make sense to them now,” the animator promises. “It will make the world make sense to them later.” The mafia, Sigmund Freud, communism, and Les Miserables are all evoked as well. And what is this thing called Chicken Boo that the animator keeps mentioning? The executives are flummoxed here, but the animator just keeps burying them in verbiage. In retrospect, it’s exactly what the Warners themselves would do, though they’d probably try to work some physical violence into the pitch meeting if possible.

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[via The Toast]