Dr. Scratchansniff emerges from Freud’s Psychoanalyst Shoppe (where psychiatrist couches are 50% off!) and discovers a ticket on his car for an expired parking meter. When he insists that he put money in the meter, the Warners come to his defense and insist on representing him in court. Scratchy decides to simply pay the fine instead and warns them not to come anywhere near him. The instant he leaves his office, the kids change into business suits, determined to help him anyway. A parody of the opening credits to L.A. Law follows, with Dot and Yakko harassing caricatures of Jimmy Smits and Susan Dey while Larry Drake uses Wakko as a copy machine.
This is the extent of the L.A. Law parody, as the rest of the cartoon takes place at the Burbank Traffic Court (“available for weddings, bar mitzvahs and bingo”)
Standing before the judge (voiced by actor John Ingle), Scratchansniff is just reaching for his checkbook when Yakko bursts from the judge’s pitcher of water and introduces his associates, Wakko and Dot. They represent the law firm of “Warner, Warner, Warner and Mime” (he’s their silent partner).Yakko insists that not only are they going to prove Scratchy’s innocence beyond a “shadow of a Dot”, but he’s also going to prove that justice isn’t blind…it’s actually cross-eyed. Being asked if he’s subpoenaed their witness shocks Yakko, who tells the judge that he should be ashamed of himself “for even thinking it!” Regardless, the Warners’ witness is called. It’s Miss Gerty Bilchmoytner, the meter maid that gave Scratchy the ticket, who rides into court in her little meter maid car.
Now it’s time for cross-examining to begin. Dot angrily accuses Bilchmoytner of being Nana Puntridge of Pala Alto, California, tossing her notes away and giving up when the meter maid denies it. Wakko takes forever to ask anything, and when he does it’s only to ask if Gerty has brought candy with her. Wakko, too, gives up and turns the questioning over to his brother.Yakko gets in Bilchmoytner’s face and begins badgering her, switching to a goat when the judge tells him to stop. Yakko attempts to lead his witness,
and when the judge protests, Yakko allows him to lead, and a tango suddenly breaks out. Paired together, the judge and the meter maid fall madly in love and the case is officially dismissed. Scratchansniff is off the hook and Yakko has proven that justice really isn’t blind…it’s in love!
While it may not be as offbeat or as outright funny as “Hello Nice Warners”, “La La Law” is just as entertaining and features the best animation TMS has so far turned out for this show. Once the opening L.A. Law parody starts, the cartoon features a non-stop, manic energy that doesn’t let up until the final iris out. The Warners are in top form here, bad puns fly fast and furious and the cartoon makes sure to mine every courtroom term it can for the same kind of silly potty humor seen in “No Pain, No Painting”. When Yakko begins cross-examining Bilchmoytner, she makes a reference to the Burbank penal code. At first Yakko is shocked, but then looks his witness over and gestures to the judge, saying, “You know, the two of you oughta get together.” Of course, Wakko tops that as only he can. As Bilchmoytner first enters the courtroom, Wakko approaches her with a bible and asks if she swears. When Gerty says yes, Wakko reprimands, “Well you shouldn’t, it’s not nice” in a line reading that Harnell completely knocks out of the ball park.
But if we are to make baseball euphemisms, then it’s really Yakko who is at the top of his game in this cartoon. Wearing his best dark blue business suit and with Paulsen savoring every line of dialogue, Yakko makes every scene he’s in count. In a hysterical throwaway bit, Yakko drops character to ask the meter “maid” if she does windows. Of course she doesn’t, so Yakko rushes over to her and scolds, “What kind of maid are you?!?” Scratchansniff gets a great line as the trial begins to turn into a circus. At first protesting the insanity of the situation, Scratchy eventually gives up and thinks to himself, “I wonder what prison is like…” Dot kind of drops into the background in this short. The more one watches the first few weeks of Animaniacs episodes the more it becomes clear that the writers are having a ball with Yakko and Wakko but are a little iffy on what to do with Dot. She would eventually evolve into a stronger character but (at least as far as I’m concerned) she never really developed the defined character traits to put her on equal footing with her brothers.
TMS completely blows away every cartoon they’ve done so far with their animation here. While you’ll often see a handful of different styles in a TMS cartoon depending on who was animating it, there is only one consistent look to “La La Law”, and not a single frame deviates from near perfection. There’s nothing too flashy in this cartoon of course, since almost all of it takes place in one small courtroom, but the character models, the body language, the expressions…just the overall aesthetic look to this short is literally as good as TMS ever got on this series. Case dismissed!
The in-cartoon L.A.Law parody title card. The month and year on the license plate was obviously when the episode first aired, a nice touch.
The best moment from the opening sequence parody. Yakko chases the Susan Dey caricature around the desk before finally splitting it in half, revving up and launching himself into her arms. Guess he’s never heard the term “sexual harassment”.
The final shot of the opening parody. Would you want these three defending you in court?
Yakko gets going even before he’s totally out of the water pitcher. Pointing angrily, the judge asks, “What is the meaning of this!?”. Grabbing his wrist, Yakko explains, “That’s a finger. You have five of them on each hand, unless you’re in the circus then it’s negotiable.”
Yakko introduces their silent partner. Scratchy has the look of a man who probably shouldn’t be making any long term plans.
Mime abuse isn’t always funny, but I like how Wakko sweeps up the mess after he’s flattened by an anvil. Note the tongue and eyeballs.
They must have dug deep into the model packs to fill the jury. We got Cooper DeVille from Tiny Toons, the dopey-looking contestant from “Win Big”, a Yosemite Sam knockoff whose prior appearance escapes me, and a caricature of Rob Paulsen. Note most anime/cartoon studio recycle there car-actors from other animation instead of having to all new one.
More recognizable background characters. Elmyra’s father and sister from the Tiny Toons episode “Take Elmyra Please” are on either side of that tough guy in the track suit. Wakko drags his cross examination out until the judge can’t take it any more and screams at him. The brief twirly eyes as Wakko lays on the ground are cute.
When Wakko finally gives up and turns the questioning over to his brother, Yakko responds sarcastically, “Oh, thank you, I have SO much to go on.”
I just like the design of this badger. The kicking animation on it’s legs sells it.
When the judge threatens to find them in contempt, the Warners take it as a friendly invite. Yakko: “Oh, I’ve never been to Contempt. Isn’t that in New Mexico?” Dot: “Can we all go?” Wakko: “Do they have bats there!? Do they suck blood!?” Again, Wakko takes it further than anyone else.
I’m waiting for the day SVU ends this way. Glean from