What the World is Watching

Animaniacs

Netflix

“Fake”
Season 2, Episode 4
11/12/1994

Despite watching this episode when it was still available on Netflix, today it was announced that Hulu will not only be adding Animaniacs (and, more importantly, Tiny Toon Adventures) to their catalog of shows, but that they’ve given a two-season order to revive the show. Now here’s Animaniacs crapping on pro wrestling and its fans.

Animaniacs was a cartoon show filled with mini sketches involving a variety of cartoon characters. The most famous of those characters were The Warner Brothers, Yakko and Wakko, and Warner Sister Dot. They were basically the Cupheads of the 90’s. You know, throwbacks to old 1930’s cartoons where you weren’t exactly sure what kind of anthropomorphic animal the character was supposed to be. They pulled pranks and ran amok and were eventually put in the care of psychiatrist Dr. Otto Scratchansniff. Although you can imagine how well he was able to handle that responsibility.

In this short, they all attend a wrestling show seeing as Dr. Scratchansniff is a huge fan. The event is none other than Quarrelmania, which isn’t bad as far as WrestleMania rip-offs go. There’s definitely been worse appropriations. Although I’m not sure how many kids would’ve known what quarrel meant. Then again, apparently Animaniacs was filled with adult references that went over our collective tiny heads.

In the middle of the ring making the introductions is what seems to be an announcer/referee, because in some cases TV shows were too lazy to bother distinguishing these roles as two separate things. He welcomes us to the “Quarrelmania Pro Wrestling Championship of the World!” Which begs so many questions as to what this means. Because on the one hand, Quarrelamania Pro Wrestling Championship is the title of the event, it seems, but when you tag on “of the world,” you’re kind of implying that it’s a championship title. Kind of like when most fighters in combat sports and/or sports entertainment are introduced as “heavyweight champion of the world.” Imagine Vince McMahon welcoming us to “WrestleMania WWF Championship of the World.” Then again, maybe I’m reading too much into this four-minute sketch from a children’s cartoon. Which is why I’m going to refrain from commentating on the fact that the ring only has two sets of ropes, instead of three, the way all wrestling rings do unless they happen to break mid-match.

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If you want to know how big a wrestling fan Dr. Scratchansniff is, all you have to do is look at his “I heart Wrestling” t-shirt. Which is probably available at Pro Wrestling Tees. As he looks to his right for reassurance of the same level of excitement he’s experiencing, Dr. Scratchansniff notices that the Warner Brothers, and Warner Sister Dot, are wearing those Groucho Marx glasses as disguises. He asks them to take them off, to which the eldest Warner, Yakko, refuses to as they don’t want anyone to see them at a wrestling match because it’s embarrassing. And before I can get upset at the damn Warner siblings for looking down on wrestling, I’m reminded that this first aired in 1994. One of the worst years for professional wrestling, both in WWE and WCW.

The announcer/referee announces the wrestlers for tonight’s main event. First up is the challenger, Ironhead McKay, who does his best to live up to his nickname by hitting himself over the head with 1,000 pounds in weights. Which I wish we would’ve seen more of in actual pro wrestling. And by that, I mean wrestlers proving or living up to their nicknames before every match. Jake “The Snake” Roberts carried a snake with him, why couldn’t Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart carry an anvil and casually toss it down the aisle to remind us of how he got that nickname in the first place? Ironhead’s clearly the heel, as everyone boos, including Scratchansniff, who shouts the most old man of insults, “Get out of the ring, you bum!”

Netflix

Ironhead’s opponent is introduced as the Belgian Behemoth, Lardo. He also happens to be the World Champion. Scratchansniff cheers accordingly, but can’t understand why the Warners are refusing to participate in any of this. They explain that they had agreed to come with Scratchansniff, but they didn’t say they’d enjoy it. And like that, I’m transported back to about 35% of my live wrestling experiences in which I had to find someone to drag along to a show with me. And my disdain for these smart ass Warner kids grows even more to the point where I don’t think it can get any higher and then Wakko offers up that wrestling is “fake.” As if that’s reason enough to not enjoy something. Everything on TV is fake. You’re fake, Wakko Warner. You’re not even a cartoon species of anything. What are you supposed to be? A dog?

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Scratchansniff gasps of the idea of all this being fake, which indicates that this might be the first time the notion has been brought up to him. Regardless, Scratchansniff proclaims that Wakko knows nothing about pro wrestling, which is true. But then the bell rings and we’re treated to Lardo and McKay going at it full Dean Ambrose. Punches and kicks never connect and body slams are performed much the same way someone might lay a baby down for a nap, reinforcing everything that Wakko said about it being fake. But, more importantly, showing that wrestling fans are too stupid to even tell it’s fake. Everyone else can see it, except for the dumb asses cheering it on.

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Scratchansniff, like any true die hard, keeps defending pro wrestling and loudly proclaims “It’s… not… fake!” Of course, the fake part being the most audible thing heard in the entire arena as the roar of the crowd dies down. Lardo comes down to ringside and decides to show Scratchansniff how fake it really is. We don’t get to see much of it, just the Warners reacting to the sounds of the doctor getting the crap beaten out of him. Lardo finishes up by giving Scratchansniff a swift kick in the ass, sending him flying back to his seat, face first. You really can’t blame Lardo for protecting the biz, and in that kind of chaotic environment it’s hard to realize who’s saying what and in what kind of context, or who’s doing what, like that poor fan who got backhanded by CM Punk for being in the wrong place.

After seeing an emotionally and physically traumatized Dr. Scratchansniff draped over his seat, Yakko proclaims, “I guess it’s not fake after all.” And the Warner siblings flash their trademark mischievous smiles. So, in the end, I guess pro wrestling won, but wrestling fans still kept taking L’s. As is our lot in life when defending this crazy thing called pro wrestling.

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