Animaniacs (ahem, Steven Spielberg presents Animaniacs, I mean) is one of the seminal 90's shows - except, incredibly, it actually holds up exceedingly well. Part of that is because the animation quality is top-notch (go compare Animaniacs to the trash of the 80s, namely G.I. Joe and Transformers), the voice acting is incredible, and the writing is the perfect mix of smart and silly.
Also, there are a lot of topical 90's references that don't hold up very well, but those are mostly pretty easy to ignore.
And, as if you didn't have enough TV to watch between your DVR and all of your streaming options, Animaniacs is finally on Netflix (well, American Netflix at least, sorry Canucks). This is good news - it's just as great today as it was in the 90s. And to prove it, here are 5 of the best (and most strangely educational) songs from the Animaniacs library.
1. Yakko's World
Sure - it's not perfect (a few countries that exist today were then still part of the Soviet Union, for one), but overall, it's probably the catchiest and most educational of any song you could show to a kid and expect them to enjoy it.
And here's something that will REALLY blow your mind - Yakko's voice actor Rob Paulsen performing Yakko's World IN REAL LIFE:
2. Wakko's 50 State Capitols
And because we're in the habit of showing live performance covers of Animaniacs songs, here's YouTuber foundring updating the song to include the capitols of foreign countries!
3. Yakko's Universe
The thing that makes Yakko's Universe special is that it goes beyond the simple fact-naming of some of the previous songs - it has a philosophical bent to it, meant to explain to kids precisely how small and meaningless humanity (and Earth) is on the grand scale of things.
And OF COURSE Rob Paulsen has performed it live, thank you for asking:
4. The Presidents
Obviously, it doesn't cover George W. Bush and Barack Obama, but Animaniacs' informative and funny bits of trivia of each president is a lot more entertaining than any history class.
5. When You're Traveling
And finally, Yakko Warner on the relative nature of time - probably the only simple way to explain Albert Einstein to kids.
Bonus! Yakko Sings Every Word in the English Language
Animaniacs also became distinctly aware of their trend of making fact-packed, tongue-twisting songs for Rob Paulsen 'n crew to sing, so in a wonderful piece of meta-commentary, gave us Yakko trying to sing every word in the dictionary.
Go watch this show now. Please.