However wild it was that the fast-talking, quasi-educational Animaniacs song “Yakko’s World” took a single perfect take to make it to your TV screen, it’s now going around the planet again.
A recent episode of Kids React! featuring Animaniacs voice actors Rob Paulsen (Yakko) and Jess Harnell (Wacko) reveals that Paulsen has recorded a new verse for Yakko to sing at breakneck speed. With the original going on the air 25 years ago, quite a few new countries have sprung up, and fortunately for Paulsen and original “Yakko’s World” writer Randy Rogel, most of them rhyme. How Paulsen managed to rattle off so many countries with nearly no effort in just one take was a mystery the first time:
Now fast-forward to 2:30 in the Kids React! video and watch him breeze through a geography lesson that would leave most of us unable to say anything coherent after singing it not just at that speed, but in Yakko’s voice.
Admit it. That just blew your mind.
The genius of Rogel, as Paulsen admits, is that he was able to arrange the tune in such a way that the all those countries managed to fit the beat of the music while uncannily rhyming. Even the Brain, with his oversized cranium and all, would get a migraine trying to figure that one out.
Paulsen and Harnell didn’t just play Yakko and Wakko in a show whose characters outnumbered its voice actors several times. You might also recognize Paulsen as the voice of Pinky — Narf! — and Harnell as Walter Wolf, among many other two-dimensional characters that hold a certain nostalgia for ‘90s kids who wonder what happened to their cartoons ever since everything went 3D CGI.
So how did kids actually react? Some broke out dancing with Wakko, Yakko, and Dot, some asked if it was a new show (understandable if you’ve never seen 2D animation before), a 10-year-old who must know the secrets of time travel swore he used to watch it, and one prodigy called it a “fourth-wall-breaking cartoon.” He should just go straight to film school.
Watch the video for more throwbacks and hilarious kid reactions to what many of us already know was the best after-school show ever.