Capitol Critters
GenreAnimated sitcom
Created byNat Mauldin
Steven Bochco
Michael Wagner
Directed byRobert Alvarez
StarringNeil Patrick Harris
Charlie Adler
Patti Deutsch
Jennifer Darling
Dorian Harewood
Bobcat Goldthwait
Frank Welker
Theme music composerBruce Broughton
ComposerDon Davis
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons1
No. of episodes13
Production
Executive producerNat Mauldin
Running time22 minutes
Production companiesSteven Bochco Productions
Hanna Barbera, Inc.
Wang Film Productions
20th Century Fox Television
Distributor20th Century Fox Television
Release
Original networkABC
Original releaseJanuary 28 (1992-01-28) –
March 14, 1992 (1992-03-14)

Capitol Critters is an American animated sitcom about the lives of mice, rats and roaches who reside in the basement and walls of the White House in Washington, D.C.[1] The series was produced by Steven Bochco Productions and Hanna-Barbera in association with 20th Century Fox Television for ABC, which aired seven out of the show's 13 episodes from January 28 to March 14, 1992.[2] 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 success of Fox's The Simpsons, alongside CBS's Fish Police and Family Dog.[3] The latter two, along with Capitol Critters, proved unsuccessful and were quickly cancelled.

Premise

A young mouse named Max is forced to flee his home on a farm in Nebraska after his family is killed by exterminators. He travels to Washington, D.C. to live with his hippie cousin Berkley, rebellious rat Jammett and Jammett's mother, Trixie.

The group has to deal with the White House's resident cats, which are caricatures of then-President George H. W. Bush and Vice President Dan Quayle. The episodes' themes reference current issues of the day, including gun control and drug abuse.

Cast

Additional voices

Episodes

No.TitleWritten byOriginal air dateProd.
code
1"Max Goes to Washington"Nat MauldinJanuary 28, 1992 (1992-01-28)ORO1
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"Nat MauldinJanuary 31, 1992 (1992-01-31)ORO3
Max gets trapped in the briefcase of a charismatic but crooked politician.
3"The Rat to Bear Arms"Nat MauldinFebruary 1, 1992 (1992-02-01)ORO4
Jammett finds a gun and plans to obliterate the presidential cats to avenge the death of a young rat named Felix; who was killed by one of the cats.
4"Hat & Mouse"Nat MauldinFebruary 8, 1992 (1992-02-08)ORO2
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"Nat MauldinFebruary 15, 1992 (1992-02-15)ORO5
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"Nat MauldinFebruary 29, 1992 (1992-02-29)ORO6
Jammett begins supplying Opie the squirrel with caffeine pills.
7"An Embarrassment of Roaches"Nat MauldinMarch 14, 1992 (1992-03-14)ORO7
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"Nat Mauldin1995 (1995)ORO8
Trixie mistakes one of Jammett's marbles as a grape and bites into it, causing a massive toothache. Meanwhile, Jammett 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"Nat Mauldin1995 (1995)ORO9
Max discovers a rat and a cockroach who've been living in a fallout shelter for 30 years.
10"The KiloWatts Riots"Rob Cohen1995 (1995)ORO12
When the power goes out below the White House, Jammett begins doling out extension cords in return for favors. Meanwhile, Muggle tries to devise an alternative power source.
11"The Bug House"Nat Mauldin1995 (1995)ORO11
Jammett's attempt at cheating during a baseball game lands him, Max and Moze in Roach Prison.
12"The Lady Doth Protest to Munch"Nat Mauldin1995 (1995)ORO10
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"Karl Fink & Roberto Benabib1995 (1995)ORO13
When the president's grandchildren visit the White House, Jammett falls in love with their pet hamster.

Reception

Capitol Critters was cancelled after less than two months.[4] In its short run, the series dealt with such topics as politics, racial segregation, drug addiction, and mortality.[5] 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."[5] 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. Also in 1992, Nintendo planned to adapt the TV series into a video game for the Super NES, but the game was cancelled for unknown reasons.

References

  1. ^ Perlmutter, David (2018). The Encyclopedia of American Animated Television Shows. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 108. ISBN 978-1538103739.
  2. ^ Erickson, Hal (2005). Television Cartoon Shows: An Illustrated Encyclopedia, 1949 Through 2003 (2nd ed.). McFarland & Co. pp. 175–177. ISBN 978-1476665993.
  3. ^ Daniel Cerone, 'Fish Police' on Endangered Species List, Los Angeles Times, February 28, 1992, accessed January 20, 2011.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b Lowry, Brian (1994). "Capitol Critters". Variety Television Reviews 1991-92. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-8240-3796-0.