Cartoons The Smartest Animaniacs References Explained  

Laura Allan
843 votes 269 voters 50.7k views 21 items

The humor in Animaniacs was top notch. In fact, many of the jokes and allusions littered throughout the show have gotten better with time. Or maybe it's just that those who grew up with the show only understand the intelligent, high brow humor nestled within the outlandish zaniness of the show now that they're adults. Besides sex jokes that went right over young heads, Animaniacs riffed on philosophy, literature, politics, celebrities, history, and more.

To forewarn you - you might not laugh out loud at every single reference on the list. Some of them are pretty dated, stretching back in time from peak '90s Bill Clinton to old Hollywood of the '30s and '40s. But even if these classic Animaniacs allusions don't have you slapping your knee and howling with laughter, it's impossible not to appreciate how clever they are.

Which of these references have best stood the test of time? Which were the most daring? And, most importantly, how many did you catch when the show was still on TV?
1 53 VOTES

The Blue Danube for Picasso's Blue Period

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Video: YouTube
Not all kids shows have the wherewithal to make allusions to Picasso, let alone connect a specific period of Picasso's career to a famous piece of classical music. Animaniacs did just that. Watch the clip, and take note of the music during Picasso's mention of his Blue Period. That's An der schönen blauen Donau, Op. 314, more commonly known by us English speakers as The Blue Danube. Very clever, Warners.
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2 60 VOTES

The Animators Were Obvious Fans of Mystery Science Theater

The Animators Were Obvious Fan... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Smartest Animaniacs References Explained
Photo:  BetaFox/Reddit
Take a look at this still from Animaniacs - you can see "MST3K" written in the wall above the window. That stands for Mystery Science Theater 3000, a Comedy Central show in which mad scientists force a janitor to watch B-movies. The janitor builds robots to keep himself company, and together, they give a running commentary on whatever they're watching. It was a Youtube reaction video 15 years before Youtube. The Animaniacs reference is especially fun because it's meta -- in the sequence in which MST3K appears, the Warners are watching a ridiculous old B-movie. 
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3 44 VOTES

Dot Does Casablanca

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Video: YouTube
If you don't know Casablanca, you won't get this segment from Episode 40. Even so, you might recognize a few of the more famous lines from the movie that have passed into popular lore. If you do know Casablanca, this parody is blatant and delicious. Also, if you haven't seen Casablanca, there's something wrong with you. See it now.  
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4 66 VOTES

The Unique Lines in Every Single Opening

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Video: YouTube
Seriously, the jokes crammed into the one line unique to each opening credit sequence were almost always obscure references. Lon Chaney? Citizen Kane? Check out this great compilation of opening sequences and see how many references you catch without turning to Google for help. 
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