Capitol Critters

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Capitol Critters
Format Animated series
Created by Nat Mauldin
Steven Bochco
Michael Wagner
Starring Neil Patrick Harris
Charlie Adler
Patti Deutsch
Jennifer Darling
Dorian Harewood
Bobcat Goldthwait
Frank Welker
Country of origin United States
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 13 (6 unaired)
Production
Running time 22 minutes
Production company(s) Steven Bochco Productions
Hanna-Barbera Cartoons
20th Century Fox Television
Distributor 20th Television
Broadcast
Original channel ABC
Original run January 31 – March 14, 1992 (1992-03-14)

Capitol Critters is an animated television series about the lives of mice, rats, and roaches who reside in the basement and walls of the White House in Washington, D.C. The series was produced by Steven Bochco Productions and Hanna-Barbera Productions in association with 20th Century Fox Television for ABC, which aired seven out of the show's 13 episodes from January 31, 1992 to March 14, 1992. Cartoon Network later aired all 13 episodes in 1995.

The series was part of a spate of attempts by major networks to develop prime time animated shows to compete with the surprise success of Fox's The Simpsons, alongside CBS's Fish Police and Family Dog.[1] All three proved unsuccessful and were quickly cancelled.

Plot[edit]

The series' first episode began on a Nebraska farm, which was also home to a family of mice, including a young mouse named Max. While Max was on a trip outside to gather some corn, exterminators arrived to eliminate the mice. Once Max noticed the exterminators from a distance, he quickly returned to the basement only to witness the death of his entire family. Before Max's mother was killed after a failed rescue attempt, she told him to leave for Washington D.C., where his cousin Berkeley could be found. Upon his arrival in the nation's capital Max encountered a rat named Jammett who resided along with Berkeley in the White House basement. After meeting Berkeley, Max met a former lab rat named Muggle and Jammett's mother Trixie, who allowed him to share her son's room.

A new set of cats called the Presidential Cats (named "President" and "Vice President") were just beginning to be a nuisance for the mice before Max's arrival. Also, the familiar sight of rat poison was a part of Max's life in his new home. When death appeared to be his fate, a cockroach named Moze came to his aid and brought him outside the White House basement. When Max returned to the basement, the sight of Muggle unconscious brought back terrible memories that caused him to run outside toward a presidential helicopter preparing to take off. Jammett managed to join Max on the helicopter before returning to the White House, giving the two plenty of time to know each other better.

Episodes[edit]

# Title Air Date
1 "Max Goes to Washington" 28 January 1992
After Max the mouse's family is murdered by pest control workers, he moves to Washington, D.C. to live with his cousin Berkley.
2 "Of Thee I Sting" 31 January 1992
Max gets trapped in the briefcase of a charismatic but crooked politician.
3 "The Rat to Bear Arms" 1 February 1992
Jammet finds a gun and plans to obliterate the Presidential Cats.
4 "Hat & Mouse" 8 February 1992
Moze shows up to return Max's hat, but Max's fellow rodents don't take kindly to a cockroach in their midst.
5 "A Little Romance" 15 February 1992
When a stowaway family of Japanese mice arrive at the White House, Max rescues their daughter from the presidential cat and falls in love with her.
6 "Opie's Choice" 29 February 1992
Jammet begins supplying Opie the Squirrel with caffeine pills.
7 "An Embarrassment of Roaches" 14 March 1992
Max encourages his friends to let an elderly cockroach couple move in next door, but soon the rodents are up to their ears in baby roaches.
8 "Into the Woods" 1995
Jammet tries to help an owl who's in danger of losing his home when a crew shows up to tear down the forest and erect a shopping mall.
9 "Gimme Shelter" 1995
Max discovers a rat and a cockroach who've been living in a fallout shelter for 30 years.
10 "The KiloWatts Riots" 1995
When the power goes out below the White House, Jammet begins doling out extension cords in return for favors. Meanwhile, Muggle tries to devise an alternative power source.
11 "The Bug House" 1995
Jammet's attempt at cheating during a baseball game lands him, Max. and Moze in Roach Prison.
12 "The Lady Doth Protest to Munch" 1995
When an important bill is vetoed, Berkley protests by going on a hunger strike. Of course temptation lies around every corner.
13 "If Lovin' You Is Wrong, I Don't Wanna Be Rat" 1995
When the President's grandchildren visit the White House, Jammet falls in love with their pet hamster.

Principal cast[edit]

Additional voices[edit]

Crew[edit]

Reception[edit]

Capitol Critters was cancelled after less than two months.[2] In its short run, the series dealt with such topics as politics, racial segregation, drug addiction, and mortality.[3] In his review of the series, Variety critic Brian Lowry wrote that "at its best, the show seems to ape the work of film director Ralph Bakshi by using an animated setting to explore adult themes", and that "the bland central character and cartoonish elements [...] will likely be off-putting to many adults, who won't find the political satire biting enough to merit their continued attention. Similarly, kids probably won't be as smitten with the cartoon aspects or look."[3] Despite the show's short run, Capitol Critters inspired Burger King Kids Club toys in 1992, which featured Jammet, Max, Muggle, and a Presidential Cat sitting on or emerging from miniature Washington D.C. monuments.

International airings[edit]

Capitol Critters was also shown in Germany as Mäuse an der Macht, and in Japan as Kyapitoru Mausu Daibouken (キャピトルマウス大冒険).

Super NES version[edit]

Also in 1992, Nintendo had planned to release a Super NES version of Capitol Critters, but it was never released.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Daniel Cerone, 'Fish Police' on Endangered Species List, Los Angeles Times, February 28, 1992, accessed January 20, 2011.
  2. ^ Stabile, Carol A.; Harrison, Mark, eds. (2003). "The second prime time animation boom". Prime Time Animation: Television Animation and American Culture. Routledge. p. 79. ISBN 0-415-28326-4. 
  3. ^ a b Lowry, Brian (1994). "Capitol Critters". Variety Television Reviews 1991-92. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-8240-3796-0. 

External links[edit]