|“It’s called Histeria!
The world premiere-ia,
We dare ya to watch Histeria!”
Determined not to let a little thing like the FCC stand in the way of its fun, the Kids’ WB unveiled Histeria! in the fall of 1998. The show fulfilled the FCC rules for educational programming, but presented its “edutainment” with the same wacky spirit of the WB’s other cartoons. This was no surprise, since the show came from the same team responsible for Animaniacs.
Histeria! took its viewers on a “magical history tour,” guided by the long-bearded Father Time. Assisting the wisecracking tour guide were Big Fat Baby (exactly what he sounds like) and The World’s Oldest Woman (ditto). Baby was the bumbling comic relief, providing the requisite vomit and flatulence jokes, while The World’s Oldest Woman called on her years of experience to deliver interesting historical tidbits to the kids at home.
No historical event was too large or too small for Histeria!’s spoofing touch. Episodes covered inventors, Vikings, tyrants, explorers, presidents, the Renaissance, World War II, the dawn of time, the Russian Revolution, and many, many more. Historical figures made guest appearances, including George Washington, Nostradamus, and Alexander the Not-So-Great.
The show’s format was as eclectic as its subject matter, including sketches, talk shows, and musical numbers. The latter came primarily from the Kid Chorus-Froggo, Loud Kiddington, Charity Bazaar, and Aka Pella. The talk shows included Aka Pella’s “What the Dilly-Yo?,” apathetic surfer dude Toast’s “Ask Me If I Care,” and “Miss Information & Co.,” in which perky tour guide Miss Information mixed up her historical facts. The rest of the cast included obsessive fan Pepper Mills, network censor Lydia Karaoke, shy genius Mr. Smarty Pants, Lucky Bob, Cho-Cho, and dog Fetch.
Histeria! wasn’t always consistent with the historical record (it’s a safe bet Abraham Lincoln didn’t do Seinfeld routines), but that was partly the idea. Anybody can make history correctly; Histeria! made it fun (and it did keep the facts straight, in case you’re listening, FCC).