Animaniacs: Jess Harnell, Tress MacNeille talk Season 3

Dot, Yakko, and Wakko Warner in Animaniacs -- "Episode 4" - E304 (Courtesy of Hulu).

Jess Harnell and Tress MacNeille sat down with Solzy at the Movies ahead of Animaniacs returning to Hulu for its third and final season.

Harnell (Wakko Warner) and MacNeille (Dot Warner) reprise their roles alongside Rob Paulsen (Yakko Warner, Pinky) and Maurice LaMarche (Brain). All episodes of Animaniacs will premiere February 17 on Hulu.

Watch the interview or read the transcript below:

The synopsis for the new season is as follows:

Yakko, Wakko, and Dot return with an all-new season of laughs, songs, pop culture parodies, and enough zany antics to fill a water tower (or at least 10 episodes!). Pinky and Brain’s never ending plans to take over the world journey them to the ends of new lands, deserts, and even the space time continuum. And while new friends, Starbox and Cindy continue their play date, the Warner siblings must battle their way out of a video game, learn the secrets of being a teen influencer, and escape a mad scientist’s island all while finding time to teach us about the threat of global warming!

Steven Spielberg returns as executive producer of the series, with Sam Register, President, Warner Bros. Animation and Cartoon Network Studios, Amblin Television Co-Presidents Darryl Frank and Justin Falvey also serving as executive producers. Wellesley Wild and Gabe Swarr serves as co-showrunners and executive producers. Animaniacs is produced by Amblin Television in association with Warner Bros. Animation.

Jess Harnell: Hi, Danielle.

Tress MacNeille: Hi, Danielle.

Hi, it’s so nice to meet the both of you although I feel like I’ve known you for as long as I can remember.

Tress MacNeille as Dot Warner: You have, you have.

Jess Harnell as Wakko Warner: We’ve been friends for years.

Tress MacNeille as Dot Warner: We’re family.

So how special is it to be coming back for a third and final season?

Tress MacNeille: Very—

Jess Harnell: Yeah, Tress. Go ahead.

Tress MacNeille: It’s very exciting. I love seeing myself on the screen. Danielle, did you see some screeners? Have you seen a couple episodes?

Yeah, they sent four episodes of the new season.

Tress MacNeille: Oh, you lucky, lucky, lucky devil. See, we haven’t seen any of them so we’re just going to have to rely on you to tell us how wonderful they are. (Laughs) But we’re really excited. I mean, we love new shows—

Jess Harnell: Yeah, sure.

Tress MacNeille: And because we completed them so long ago, our memory—it’s hard to remember exactly what we did so we’re totally excited to see it here.

Jess Harnell: I’m just excited to add some more bricks to the wall of the Animaniacs legacy. You know what I mean? There’s been so many great episodes over the years in the original iteration in this one that putting a few more bricks up there suits me fine.

What are you going to miss the most about voicing these characters?

Jess Harnell: Seeing Tress regularly.

Tress MacNeille: I was gonna say something churlish but, but I’m open to it.

Jess Harnell: You know what? We’re never gonna stop doing them, Danielle, because everywhere we go, when people find out that we’re involved in this project or if we do a personal appearance, they say, Would you do the voice? Would you do the voice? They didn’t go away—we never got too far away from them in the time between the first series and the second series. I know that for as long as I’m walking around, as soon as people realize that I’m not actually a member of Bon Jovi or Def Leppard, they’re gonna go wait a minute, Animaniacs—can you do the voice and they go, Oh, my G-d, it’s my childhood and it’s a beautiful thing. So it’s bittersweet to see this iteration of it coming to a close, you never know if there’ll be another iteration of it. But in the meantime, we’ll still be doing these voices as long as they make you—

Tress MacNeille: Alright. So we hardly have a chance to miss each other. Because there are so many episodes in the well, we’re really not going anywhere so—

Jess Harnell as Wakko Warner: You can’t get rid of us, folks.

Tress MacNeille as Dot Warner: You can’t do it.

Didn’t your neighbor—didn’t William Shatner think that you were from Kiss?

Jess Harnell: Oh, yeah, yeah. That’s a whole other story. He lives couple doors down for me. Well, we’ll get into that off-camera, Danielle. It’s a pretty good story.

Tress MacNeille: (Laughs) Yeah, he thought he was from Kiss.

Jess Harnell: Yeah, totally. It’s the hair. It’s always the hair.

Tress MacNeille: Yeah, it’s great.

If only I had more than five minutes.

Both: Ah.

Jess Harnell: Listen, we made it count though. Didn’t we?

Yeah. Now, has there ever been a time when you wanted to run loose on the Warner lot and get chased by security every day?

Jess Harnell: Every day, man.

Yes. I hear they have a great cafeteria there. I’m always a little upset when it doesn’t have the colorful thing on the water tower or they’re advertising something else on the water tower there on the lot. I think, Hey, who’s in our house? That’s just not right. Yeah. I would like to—I don’t know about you, Danielle, but I would really like to explore the inside of the water tower—

Jess Harnell: Wouldn’t that be fun?

Tress MacNeille: Because that place could be amazing. I think we had a railroad in there, didn’t we?

Jess Harnell: Yeah, we had—

Tress MacNeille: Remember that poster? There’s a whole—

Jess Harnell: Of course, it was limitless.

Tress MacNeille: It’s awesome.

Jess Harnell: It’s like the doorway to Narnia.

Tress MacNeille: Yes.

In all these years of voicing the characters, is there a favorite sketch or song?

Jess Harnell: There are too many to mention but I can tell you that in the coming season three, which starts on Friday the 17th on Hulu, there’s a song about Santa Claus—that’s one of my favorites that we’ve ever ever done and we’ve done a bunch so I love that one.

Tress MacNeille: And talking about the old episodes, of course. “I’m Mad” is always a real favorite and I love yelling at Yakko and I think we do a real good job on “I’m Mad.”

Jess Harnell: Yeah, hopefully. You’ll tell us. You guys will let us know.

Tress MacNeille as Dot Warner: And also, I’m cute.

Jess Harnell: Of course, you are. You’re still the cute one, no matter what. You can’t get away from it.

Tress MacNeille as Dot Warner: Yes, of course, that’s right.

Thank you so much. It was so nice to meet you.

Jess Harnell: You as well.

Tress MacNeille: You too, Danielle. Take care.

Jess Harnell as Wakko Warner: See you at the water tower!

Tress MacNeille: That’s right, we’ll see you there.

Hulu will launch the third and final season of Animaniacs on February 17, 2023.

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Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.