Bonkers is an animated American television series that aired from September 4, 1993 to February 23, 1994, in first-run syndication (after a "preview airing" on Disney Channel). The syndicated run was available both separately and as part of The Disney Afternoon. The show was last seen in the US on Toon Disney, but was then taken off the schedule in late 2004.
- Main article: Bonkers episode list
The premise of the series was that Bonkers D. Bobcat (inspired by Roger Rabbit), an anthropomorphic bobcat who was a popular cartoon star (he appeared in ''Raw Toonage'' shorts in the fictional world of ''Bonkers'' as well) 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 stick-in-the-mud human cop who hates Toons. Throughout the series, the pair works 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.
After several years of working with Bonkers, Piquel was given an F.B.I. 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. At the end of the "Lucky" episodes, Bonkers was given a new partner, the attractive Sergeant 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.
Together with its predecessors DuckTales, Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers, TaleSpin, Darkwing Duck, Goof Troop and the successor Quack Pack, Bonkers is the last cartoon series dedicated to the popularity of Disney characters that mated with the new.
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) 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 Raw Toonage shorts were an after-thought of production. While the Bonkers series 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 being 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' 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 syndicated version of the series (which omits several of the original episodes that survived first-run) was last seen on Toon Disney, but after the addition of Jetix, it vanished completely off the network and has not been aired in the US since.
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 Marylin (daughter), Fall-Apart Rabbit, Toots and Broderick the Toon radio all subsequently relocated to Washington, D.C., allowing them to be written out of the show.
This episode was removed from the rotation in the United States after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing due to its bombing/terrorist plot and was consequently never rerun on Toon Disney, even before Disney's stricter censorship policies following 9/11. (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.) However, it has since been reinstated on Disney+.
- Bonkers D. Bobcat (voiced by Jim Cummings) – an overly energetic and hyperactive cartoon anthropomorphic bobcat that works in the Toon Division of the Hollywood P.D.
- Fall-Apart Rabbit (voiced by Frank Welker) – Bonkers' clumsy 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. His voice is based upon that of Dustin Hoffman's character in Rain Man.
- Detective Lucky Piquel (voiced by Jim Cummings) – Bonkers' partner from the "Lucky Episodes". He is a slovenly, morbidly obese, short-tempered, grim, 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. Though he often was able to get to the core of the cartoon universe by finally embracing it, with Bonkers' help. 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) – Lucky's child genius daughter. She is an aspiring artist as well as script/story writing and has a 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. She almost looks like Velma Dinkley.
- Dilandra Piquel (voiced by April Winchell) – Lucky's understanding wife who supports her husband and at times encourages their daughter Marilyn.
- Chief Leonard Kanifky (voiced by Earl Boen) – the absent-minded Chief of Police and is the boss of Lucky and Bonkers (after Bonkers is reassigned).
- Miranda Wright (voiced by Karla DeVito) – a police officer that works at the same police station that Lucky works at. She is Bonkers' partner from the "Miranda Episodes".
- Sergeant Francis Q. Grating (voiced by Ron Perlman) – the boss of Bonkers and Miranda. A running gag is that Grating is almost being driven insane by Bonkers. He also hates being called by his given name.
- Toots (voiced by Frank Welker) - Bonkers' pet horn. Appearing only in the "Lucky Episodes".
- Jitters A. Dog (voiced by Jeff Bennett) - A small, nervous dog who was Bonkers' 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' "best friend", though Jitters himself might disagree.
- Fawn Deer (voiced by Nancy Cartwright) - Bonkers' 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".
- Grumbles Grizzly (voiced by Rodger Bumpass) - A grizzly bear who was Bonkers' strict boss in Raw Toonage, appears occasionally in Bonkers. His speech pattern is similar to that of Porky Pig's.
- 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.
- Linda Quipps (voiced by Buck Angel) - A talking cat that made a brief appearance as Bonkers' sassy office-assistant. Kept drinking Bonkers' coffee. Linda Quipps is a Toon.
- Professor Ludwig Von Drake (voiced by Corey Burton) - A classic Disney genius duck who occasionally appears as a scientific expert or creator of inventions that Bonkers uses in his cases.
- Roderick Lizzard (voiced by Jeff Bennett) - This Toon iguana has the manners of a British aristocrat.
- Tuttle Turtle (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) - A Toon turtle that is the valet of Roderick Lizzard.
- Bucky Buzzsaw (voiced by Pat Fraley) - A Toon Beaver who stars in his own show at Wackytoon Studios. He appears in the "Miranda Episodes".
- Br'er Bear - He made his cameo appearance from Song of the South to the episode like Casabonkers.
- Timmy Wright - He's the spoiled nephew of Miranda Wright who she 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 itchy 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.
- The Mad Hatter, The March Hare, and The Doorknob - The Mad Hatter (voiced by Corey Burton), the March Hare (voiced by Jesse Corti), and the Doorknob from Disney's Alice in Wonderland commonly make appearances in Bonkers to add to the mayhem of the wacky show. They apparently live in the Hollywood Sign, the "H" is the Door.
- Police Officer Dennis (voiced by Jeff Bennett) appears first in the episode Luna-Toons while gagged with a white handkerchief over his mouth and floating off the ground meeting with Bonkers. In another episode Love Struck, Officer Dennis is seen by a lovely woman named Rita, who has been rescued by Bonkers and Miranda.
- Donald Duck (voiced by Tony Anselmo) - Appears at the start of the pilot episode.
- Mickey Mouse (voiced by Wayne Allwine) - The icon for Disney and Walt Disney's alter ego.
- Goofy (voiced by Bill Farmer) - He made his cameo appearance from Goof Troop.
- 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. Sort of the opposite of the villain Judge Doom in Who Framed Roger Rabbit, a villainous Toon disguised as a human.
- Mr. Doodles (voiced by Jeff Bennett) - The Collector's evil henchman.
- Ma Parker (voiced by late 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. His name is Babyface, as mentioned by Bonkers.
- Baabra (voiced by Louise Duart) - one of Bonkers' dream sheep who began stealing his dreams to make her own.
- 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. Sort of like Sheldon J. Plankton in SpongeBob SquarePants who tries several attempts to steal the krabby patty formula.
- 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.
- Scratter 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.
- Two-Bits (voiced by Gilbert Gottfried) - the executive for Grampa Arnie's Ant Show, who uses a vacuum to suck up pocket cash from the audience.
- Fireball Frank (voiced by Brad Garrett) -
- Al Vermin (voiced by Robert Ridgely) - The Toon cockroach who is Bonkers' arch-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 late Joe Alaskey) - A massive Toon elephant with small ears.
- Main article: Bonkers videography
Bonkers was released on three VHS tapes in 1995 by Walt Disney Home Video, each containing two episodes. To date, no DVD release has ever been made.
On November 12th, 2019, all 65 episodes of Bonkers were released on the Disney + streaming service.
Bonkers has inspired three video games. The first one, released for Super NES, Bonkers (ボンカーズ ハリウッド大作戦!, Bonkers: Hollywood Big Operations! in Japan) was released on October 1, 1994 in North America and on January 3, 1995 in Japan. In the game, Bonkers is on his first case alone, 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 Mega Drive/Genesis on December 15, 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. This game and "Bonkers: Wax Up!" were released under the "Sega Club" label, a line of Genesis and Game Gear titles for kids.
The third game, for the Game Gear and Master System (Brazil only) was titled Bonkers: Wax Up!. Like the previous titles, the game was released on 1994. In this game, Bonkers has to escape from Madame Who-Said's Wax Museum and rescue Lucky in time.
Compared with previous Disney Afternoon shows (that were mostly well received), Bonkers for the most part got mixed reviews. Many felt that the premise of the show was too similar to the movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit to a point where it could be seen as a rip-off of the film. Bonkers' voice (supplied by Jim Cummings) was also considered to be annoying and irritating by audiences.
The show's reception was also highlighted by the Warner Bros. show Animaniacs which began to air around the same time that Bonkers did, and in certain episodes it would make fun of Bonkers, considering it an unfunny show. Ironically, Animaniacs had Steven Spielberg, who was also an executive producer on Who Framed Roger Rabbit, as executive producer and showrunner.
Despite this, the series currently holds a 6.9 rating from 907 users on IMDb.com.
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