Bonkers (TV series)
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||4 + Compilations|
|No. of episodes||61 + 4 Compilations (list of episodes)|
|Running time||30 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Walt Disney Television Animation[a]|
Walt Disney Television
|Distributor||Buena Vista Television|
|Original release||February 28, 1993 –|
February 23, 1994
|Preceded by||Raw Toonage|
Bonkers is an American animated television series and a spinoff of the earlier series Raw Toonage. It aired from February 28, 1993, to February 23, 1994, in first-run syndication (after a "preview airing" on The Disney Channel in early 1993). The syndicated run was available both separately, and as part of the programming block The Disney Afternoon. Reruns of the show continued in syndication until 1995 and were later shown on Toon Disney until late 2004. The show is currently available on Disney+.
The premise of the series was that Bonkers D. Bobcat, an anthropomorphic bobcat who was a popular cartoon star, had washed out of show business and became a cop. He was made the junior partner of Detective Lucky Piquel, a grim and ill-tempered human who hates toons. Throughout the series, the pair work together to solve crimes in the Hollywood, Los Angeles, California region. Bonkers repeatedly tried to win Piquel's praise, but usually just ended up ruining missions with his antics. But often those goofy antics would prove to save the day.
After multiple episodes of working with Bonkers, Piquel was given an FBI job in Washington, D.C., and with great glee was finally able to leave Bonkers, but finally realized that after all the time spent hating working with Bonkers he had grown to love him. He took along the police radio, the light, Toots and Fall-Apart Rabbit.. At the end of the "Lucky" episodes, Bonkers was given a new partner, the attractive Officer Miranda Wright. Although also human, she was far more patient and tolerant of his antics than was Piquel. With Miranda, Bonkers was more the brunt of the slapstick.
|First aired||Last aired|
|1||9||February 28, 1993||June 6, 1993|
|2||21||September 4, 1993||October 1, 1993|
|3||11||October 4, 1993||October 29, 1993|
|4||20||November 1, 1993||February 23, 1994|
|Compilations||September 30, 1993||November 24, 1993|
Bonkers D. Bobcat
Bonkers D. Bobcat (voiced by Jim Cummings) is an overly energetic and hyperactive cartoon anthropomorphic bobcat that works in the Toon Division of the Hollywood PD. Once a big name cartoon star for Wackytoons Studios, he was fired due to his show being bumped out of first place in the ratings. He was introduced to law enforcement when he unknowingly saved cartoon celebrity Donald Duck from a park mugger (mostly due to the help of officer Lucky Piquel) and was given full credit for the mugger's capture.
For his actions, he received the Citizen of Valor award by the Chief of Police, Leonard Kanifky. Bonkers, while soaking in the praise, told the chief about how his experiences starring in police cartoons helped in the capture of the mugger. Chief Kanifky mistook his fictional roles as real life, worldwide police accounts and, thinking that Bonkers would be a benefit to the police force, asked if the former cartoon star would like a job working for the Hollywood PD, which Bonkers accepted because of his recent unemployment from Wackytoons Studios. Bonkers then requested Lucky as his partner, and the two established the beginning of the Toon Division. When Bonkers first came home to Lucky's house, he was treated as a sort of adopted son to Lucky.
Although Bonkers means well, he usually messes up cases for his fellow officers due to his lack of experience in law enforcement and his wild, exaggerated, cartoony nature. He even tells Lucky at one point that he is not good at logical police thinking because he is a toon. Not only does Bonkers make a design change between the 'Lucky' and 'Miranda' episodes, his personality is slightly tweaked as well. Despite being a police officer, Bonkers is unarmed. However, he still carries a badge.
In the 'Miranda' episodes, he's portrayed as a rather clumsy, somewhat foolish character who ends up being the show's punching bag. In the Lucky episodes, he's less of a buffoon and more of an Inspector Clouseau-type, in control of himself (though still hyperactive), and carries an extensive knowledge about the toon and their behavior, which is an asset on cases dealing with rogue toons (Lucky would very rarely acknowledge this, although he knows it deep inside). The joke is his lack of law enforcement experience and procedure is still his "Achilles' heel."
- Fall Apart Rabbit (voiced by Frank Welker) is Bonkers' clumsy best friend and stunt-double back during Bonkers' Hollywood days, appearing only in the "Lucky Episodes." He literally falls apart at the drop of a hat and must wear bandages over various body parts to keep himself from dismantling. He is often remarkably stupid and goofy, even for a cartoon character.
- Fawn Deer (voiced by Nancy Cartwright) is Bonkers's main love interest and co-star when he was a cartoon star. Bonkers is willing to do just about anything to please and impress her. Fortunately for Bonkers, Fawn clearly reciprocates his obvious love for her, as she has proven it on numerous occasions by kissing him on the cheek, and sometimes on the lips. She appears mainly in the "Miranda Episodes."
The Piquels family
- Detective Lucky Shirley Piquel (voiced by Jim Cummings) is Bonkers' partner from the "Lucky Episodes". He is a slovenly, morbidly obese, street-wise mustachioed man. He is balding, but wears a toupée. Lucky is a serious, hard-boiled detective whose by-the-book nature is at odds with Bonkers' decidedly more maniacal approach to crime solving. Chief Kanifky usually mistakes his last name for Pickle. In the first several episodes in which he appeared, he defeated the villain by falling on them or otherwise crushing them beneath his massive girth. Although he often was able to get to the core of the cartoon universe by finally embracing it, with Bonkers' help. Will prove increasingly good and less comfortable against an annoying toon, in each case of the cartoons. He is the father of Marilyn and husband to Dilandra or who he normally calls "Dil" or "Dyl". It was revealed in Once in a Blue Toon that his middle name is Shirley, and that he has a 53-inch waistline. He drives a rather torn-down patrol car through the series.
- Marilyn Piquel (voiced by Sherry Lynn) is Lucky's child genius daughter. She is an aspiring artist as well as a script/story writer and has deep connection to toons such as Bonkers, with her favorite toon being TV star Skunky Skunk. She is more than capable of taking care of herself and aids her father in a number of his cases often being the words of wisdom or a source of knowledge to Lucky. Although looking like her mom Dilandra "Dil"/"Dyl" (aside from her big round glasses and freckled face), she also shares her father's hair color.
- Dilandra "Dyl" Piquel (voiced by April Winchell) is Lucky's understanding wife who supports her husband and at times encourages their daughter Marilyn.
The Wrights family
- Miranda Wright (voiced by Karla DeVito) is a police officer that works at the same police station that Lucky works at. She is Bonkers' partner from the "Miranda Episodes". Her name is a play on Miranda rights, an American system in which people under arrest get certain rights.
- Shirley Wright is a news reporter, Miranda's older sister, and apparently Timmy's mother.
- Timmy Wright is the spoiled nephew of Miranda Wright, who babysits. He may have sociopathic tendencies. Although seemingly cute and precious, he is sly and smart combined with a mischievous streak, who often delights in tormenting Bonkers with troublesome tricks or pranks such as a giant, spiky and tickly feather. He only shows his true colors around Bonkers as he knows no one (not even his aunt Miranda Wright) would believe anything negative about him, if it came from Bonkers.
Los Angeles Police Department officers
- Chief Leonard Kanifky (voiced by Earl Boen) is the absent-minded Chief of Police and is the boss of Lucky and Bonkers (before Bonkers is reassigned). He also appears in the Miranda episodes "Dog Day AfterToon" and "Cartoon Cornered." He has the tendency to ramble on and trail off, as if senile. He constantly mispronounces Lucky's last name "Pickle".
- Sergeant Francis Q. Grating (voiced by Ron Perlman) is the boss of Bonkers and Miranda. A running gag is that Grating is almost being driven insane by Bonkers. Like Lucky, he hates toons too. However, in "Cartoon Cornered," he befriended Bonkers' clock after their adventures in Wacky Toons Studio. In "Dog Day AfterToon" he shows some respect to Bonkers after he is saved from the bank hold-up, albeit reluctantly.
Recurring civilian characters
- The Mad Hatter and March Hare – From Disney's Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter (voiced by Corey Burton) and March Hare (voiced by Jesse Corti) make three appearances in the show. They apparently live in the Hollywood Sign, the "H" is the Door. The Doorknob makes a cameo too.
- Toots (voiced by Frank Welker) – Bonkers's pet horn. Appearing only in the "Lucky Episodes." Last appearance was in New Partners on the Block.
- Police Light (voiced by Charlie Adler) – The toon police light. Appearing only in the "Lucky Episodes." Last appearance was in New Partners on the Block.
- Broderick (voiced by Jim Cummings) – The toon radio. Appearing only in the "Lucky Episodes." Last appearance was in New Partners on the Block.
- Jitters A. Dog (voiced by Jeff Bennett) – A small, nervous dog who was Bonkers's sidekick in Raw Toonage; and the episodes with Miranda. His role in the series was of the straight man, constantly having serious bodily harm done to him through Bonkers' recklessness (and occasionally others). His catchphrase is, "I hate my life." Known as Bonkers's "best friend", though Jitters himself might disagree. He did have a quick cameo in Going Bonkers.
- Grumbles Grizzly (voiced by Rodger Bumpass) – A grizzly bear who was Bonkers's strict boss in Raw Toonage, appears occasionally in Bonkers.
- Harry the Handbag (voiced by Frank Welker) – A deeply troubled toon who captured and stored objects and people inside of himself in a misguided belief that it would end his loneliness.
- Tiny (voiced by Charlie Adler) – A huge but polite hamster stayed at Lucky's house to hide from a scary shadow, which turns out to be his old friend, Mr. Big.
- Pops Clock (voiced by Stuart Pankin) – The toon keeper of toon-time, which is what keeps toons under-control, but was mad when nobody appreciated him for all the work he did.
- Skunky Skunk (voiced by Rip Taylor) – A favorite toon TV star of Marilyn Piquel who was framed for manslaughter by an embittered Celebrity chef, who then tried to arrange a "fatal accident" for him.
- Professor Ludwig Von Drake (voiced by Corey Burton) – A scientist duck who occasionally appears as a scientific expert or creator of inventions that Bonkers uses in his cases.
- Roderick Lizzard (voiced by Jeff Bennett) – A yellow iguana and a temperamental actor with the manners of a British aristocrat. He also prefers to have his surname pronounced lee-ZAR rather than LIH-zurd.
- Bucky Buzzsaw (voiced by Pat Fraley) – A toon Beaver who stars in his own show at Wackytoon Studios. He appears in the Miranda Episodes.
- Slap, Sniffle and Plop
- Brer Bear – From Song of the South. He made his cameo appearance in "Casabonkers".
- Donald Duck (voiced by Tony Anselmo) – A famous Disney duck that Bonkers saved from being robbed in "Going Bonkers."
- Mickey Mouse (voiced by Wayne Allwine) –
- Goofy (voiced by Bill Farmer) – He made his cameo appearance from Goof Troop, together with Pete, Max and PJ.
- Horace Horsecollar
- Clarabelle Cow
- Darkwing Duck
- Lady and the Tramp – They made their cameo appearance in various episodes of the show, specifically the Miranda episodes, including "Casabonkers".
- Mrs. Francine Kanifky (voiced by Tress MacNeille) - The Wife of Chief Kanifky typically appears for a very short portion of the episodes in which she appears. In The Dimming and Poltertoon she is more integral to the overall story.
- The Collector (voiced by Michael Bell) – The villain from the pilot episode ("Going Bonkers") and therefore the first criminal Bonkers encounters. He is a toon that collects other toons in suspended animation. At the end of the episode, he is revealed to simply be a deranged, cartoon obsessed human nerd in disguise.
- Mr. Doodles (voiced by Jeff Bennett) – The Collector's evil henchman.
- Ma Parker (voiced by June Foray) – A toon tow truck who has tricked Lucky into thinking she's really sweet, but is found out by Bonkers is that she is really a criminal who is stealing parts of their police car to build a suit of armor for a monster truck rally. With her armor she is nearly invulnerable from the outside but Bonkers tricks her into opening her hood. Despite her efforts Ma is helpless as Bonkers tinkers with her engine until she is unable to move. He then proceeds to arrest the immobilized toon truck.
- The Rat (voiced by Brad Garrett) – A toon rat who was really a wannabe human star in disguise to replace Mickey Mouse.
- The Ape (voiced by Chuck McCann) – Mr. Malone's large toon pink gorilla accomplice.
- Chick and Stu (voiced by Chick Vennera and Tino Insana)
- Mammoth Mammoth – (voiced by Stuart Pankin) –
- Toon Bomb – (voiced by Jess Harnell) –
- Mr. Big (voiced by S. Scott Bullock) – A toon mouse who, despite the name, is very small. He is a friend to Tiny, who is a huge but polite hamster. He used a giant shadow to scare him.
- The Weather Toons – Five toons, including Sunny (the sun), Cloudy (a raincloud), Snowy (a drift of snow), Sparky (a lightning bolt), and Toony Tornado (hence the name, a tornado). They made their own disappearance so the weather channel will go to jail. They were disguised as a butler named Rhett.
- Louse A. Nominous (voiced by Brad Garrett) An unreformable toon criminal that Bonkers and Lucky were forced to reform. He eats anything in his path (usually furniture). He wrote a book about reforming toons. A usually running gag is when he eats something inedible, he laughs and says "Ain't I a louse?".
- Mikey Muffin (voiced by S. Scott Bullock) – The toon mascot of Butterman's Bakery, but is found out that he was blowing up the bakeries with "doughbombs" to try to get Butterman's secret recipe.
- Wacky Weasel (voiced by Rip Taylor) – The cunningest (and most feared as even the laid back Chief Leonard Kanifky was afraid of him) toon villain that ever existed who had a fixation for eggs of any kind, which originally led to his capture (he broke into a prison because he heard it was full of "bad eggs"). Upon breaking out of jail, he went on a rampage through the city, running rings round the entire police force, before finally being outsmarted by Bonkers.
- Scatter Squirrel (voiced by Tino Insana) – A crazed thief with a fixation for nuts of any kind, Lucky and Bonkers had to aid former Chief Leonard Kanifky in capturing him, in order for the mayor to give Kanifky's job back.
- Toon Pencil (voiced by S. Scott Bullock) – A toon graffiti artist who spread toon graffiti all over Hollywood, Marilyn had a major role in helping her father and Bonkers track him down by chasing the pencil into a surreal toon world where he (the pencil) normally would hide out.
- Zoom and Boom
- Warris and Donald– two toon comedians that are fading in color and kidnap other toons to steal their colors. They appear in the episode, "Color Me Piquel".
- Turbo, Banshee and Kapow
- TJ Finger (voiced by Dan Ferro) - A toon actor who kidnapped TV critic Charles Quibble, because Quibble's bad reviews caused TJ's show Cop Squad to get cancelled.
- Two-Bits (voiced by Gilbert Gottfried) – An executive for Grandpa Arnie's Ang Show, who uses a vacuum to steal the audience's change so that he can reunite with “Nicky”, a nickel he had lost when his father put it in a parking meter. Two-Bits stops stealing change after Bonkers gives him his last nickel, which turns out be Nicky.
- Fireball Frank (voiced by Brad Garrett) –
- Al Vermin (voiced by Robert Ridgely) – The toon cockroach who is Bonkers's nemesis from the Miranda era.
- Lilith DuPrave (voiced by Eileen Brennan) – Lilith DuPrave is the owner of a printing office where she not only publishes "Hollywood Chronicle" but prints counterfeit money as well. She is also responsible for smuggling weapons and kidnapping toons.
- Mr. Blackenblue (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) – A heavily armed, powerfully-built man that never removes his glasses. He is the bodyguard of Lilith DuPrave and doubles as a hitman.
- Wild Man Wyatt (voiced by Pat Fraley) – Sergeant Gratling's sworn enemy.
- Catia Legs Go-won-a-lot (voiced by Sherry Lynn) – A toon cat who is an actress, a singer, and a thief.
- Flaps the Elephant (voiced by Joe Alaskey) – A massive toon elephant with small ears.
- Seymour Sleazebottom and Limo Seymour (voiced by Corey Burton) – A crooked real estate agent, and his pink toon limo (Voiced by Charlie Adler). They appear in the episode, "Fallapart Land".
The series played 65 episodes, as part of The Disney Afternoon. They were not created in chronological order: The "Miranda" episodes were actually produced first, excluding the two-part series premiere, which featured Piquel and Bonkers meeting for the first time. This discrepancy becomes evident when observing the look of the main character in both sets of episodes. In the Raw Toonage shorts, Bonkers was orange with one brown spot, golf-club-like ears, and an undone tail. When the Lucky Piquel episodes (produced by Robert Taylor) were made, the character had a major overhaul: skinnier ears, two black spots on each his tufts, black Tigger-like stripes on his tail, and a different uniform. The Miranda Wright-era episodes (produced by Duane Capizzi, Robert Hathcock & Greg Weisman) use Bonkers's original look from Raw Toonage. The series also occasionally featured episodes of "cartoons" from Bonkers's pre-police actor days, all lifted from the Raw Toonage series. The two-part premiere can be seen to show the reason for the difference in appearance as he mostly appears with his Black Dot Lucky design, but when he goes into makeup, his sweater is put on, and when his head re-appears, his Spots have turned brown, then his ears are 'puffed' up. While this works for explaining the two designs in context, New partners does not show or explain why he then decided to use his 'make up' version for every day.
The Raw Toonage shorts were an after-thought of production. While Bonkers was in pre-production, the Raw Toonage team, headed by Larry Latham produced 12 "He's Bonkers" shorts. These shorts were, in the context of Bonkers, explained to be some of the shorts Bonkers made at Wackytoons Studios before he was fired. The animated short entitled Petal to the Metal was originally shown in theaters in 1992 before the feature movie 3 Ninjas, while the rest were shown on the program Raw Toonage. In syndication, the shorts were collected into four full episodes with fillers of new material in between.
Meanwhile, Duane Capizzi, making his producing debut, was brought into the fold and teamed with animation veteran Robert Hathcock and charged with making 65 episodes (a full season's worth in syndication). The episodes theoretically would feature Bonkers with Wright as his partner. These episodes came back from overseas animation studios looking less than spectacular, causing considerable concern at Disney. Ultimately, the original team was replaced, and a team headed by Robert Taylor came in. Only 19 of the original-order shows survived to air; they are what is known as the "Miranda Wright episodes" of Bonkers. Nine of these episodes were aired on The Disney Channel during the first half of 1993 as a preview for the series, before its syndicated premiere in the fall. The 19 Miranda Wright episodes are shown toward the end of the series in the official continuity. Greg Weisman (co-creator of Disney's Gargoyles) worked on the Miranda episodes, and Bonkers's relationship with Miranda inspired Goliath's relationship with Elisa Maza.
Taylor threw out the old premise of the show. He replaced it with the Lucky Piquel scenario, but his episodes were revised and established to occur before the original episodes. 42 episodes of the "Piquel Era" were made, including one (New Partners on the Block), which attempted to bridge the gap between the two somewhat contradictory storylines.
The series was long incorrectly rumored to have originally been intended as a Roger Rabbit spin-off series, that ended up being scrapped due to licensing issues from Amblin Entertainment, with Bonkers being created instead. However, in 2008, Greg Weisman, who was a writer on the series, denied this. While confirming that the title character was inspired by Roger, and the Toontown concept had also been influenced by the film, Weisman insists that Bonkers was always meant to be his own character.
The syndicated version of the series (which omits several of the original episodes that survived first-run) was last seen on Toon Disney until late 2004.
The series became available to stream on Disney+, upon its launch on November 12, 2019.
New Partners on the Block
New Partners on the Block was a transition episode that showed how Bonkers went from having Lucky Piquel as a partner to having Miranda Wright as his newest partner. The episode was much like the pilot episode/movie "Going Bonkers", using the CGI rain and bringing back the characters that were associated with Bonkers, those characters being Fawn Deer, Jitters A. Dog, and Grumbles Grizzly and, unlike the pilot, had more speaking and screen time.
At the end of the episode, Bonkers, along with Miranda and Lucky, captured the main villain, bomber Fireball Frank, thus making Bonkers and Miranda a team and giving Lucky a job as an FBI Agent in Washington, D.C. Piquel, his family Dyl (wife) and Marilyn (daughter), Fall-Apart Rabbit, Toots and Brodrick the toon radio all subsequently relocated to Washington, D.C., allowing them to be written out of the show.
This episode was removed from rotation in the United States after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing due to its bombing/terrorism plot, and was consequently never rerun on Toon Disney, even before Disney's stricter censorship policies following the September 11 attacks. (Another episode, "Fall Apart Bomb Squad," was also not shown on Toon Disney for similar reasons. However, both episodes have been rerun in Europe (especially in Italy).)
|VHS titles||Episodes||Release date|
|Going Bonkers||"Going Bonkers" (Parts 1 and 2)||1995|
|Basic Spraining||"Basic Spraining"
"Is Toon Fur Really Warm?"
|I Oughta Be in Toons||"I Oughta Be in Toons"
"Weather or Not"
Argentinian in Chilean releases
Three VHS cassettes and Betamax cassettes containing seven episodes were released on Argentinian in Chilean (from Video Chile: ADV Garantía Original Video).
|#||VHS title||Episodes||Release date|
|01||Bonkers: Going Bonkers'"||"Going Bonkers" (parts 1&2)
|March 18, 1994|
|02||Bonkers: I Oughta Be in Toons||"I Oughta Be in Toons"|
"Weather or Not"
|03||Bonkers: Basic Spraining||"Basic Spraining"|
"Is Toon Fur Really Warm?"
Cameos and notes
- Aladdin (1994–1995): In the episode "Snowman is an Island", The Genie was transformed into Bonkers.
- Animaniacs made a few not-so-subtle jabs at Bonkers, especially in the Slappy Squirrel segments, referring to it as being unfunny.
- Goosebumps referenced the show in "Piano Lessons Can Be Murder", the 13th book of the original series.
Bonkers inspired three video games. The first, released for the Super NES, Bonkers, was published by Capcom and released December 15, 1994. In the game, Bonkers is on his first case alone due to Lucky being hospitalized, and must retrieve the Toontown treasure of the Sorcerer's Hat (from Fantasia), the Mermaid's Voice (The Little Mermaid), and the Magic Lamp (Aladdin).
The second game, for the Sega Mega Drive/Genesis on October 1, 1994, was also titled Bonkers. In the game, Bonkers notices that an Employee of the Month award will be given to a cop who captures 4 criminals: Ma Tow Truck (from the episode "Calling All Cars"), The Rat (from the episode "I Oughta Be in Toons"), Mr. Big (from the episode "Hamster Houseguest"), and Harry the Handbag (from the episode "In the Bag"). Since Lucky is on vacation, Bonkers has to capture the crooks.
In other languages
- Italian: Bonkers gatto combinaguai
|List of broadcasts|
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- Perlmutter, David (2014). America Toons In: A History of Television Animation. McFarland. p. 275. ISBN 978-1-4766-1488-5. Retrieved 4 March 2020.
- Hicks, Chris. 1992-08-07. Movie Review: 3 Ninjas Archived August 6, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Desert News, via desertnews.com, retrieved on 2007-08-29.
- "ASK GREG ARCHIVES". Station Eight: A Gargoyles Fan Site. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
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