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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. 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 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 success of Fox's The Simpsons, alongside CBS's Fish Police and Family Dog.[1] The latter two, along with Capitol Critters, proved unsuccessful and were quickly cancelled.

Capitol Critters
Capitol Critters.jpg
GenreAnimated sitcom
Created byNat Mauldin
Steven Bochco
Michael Wagner
StarringNeil Patrick Harris
Charlie Adler
Patti Deutsch
Jennifer Darling
Dorian Harewood
Bobcat Goldthwait
Frank Welker
Composer(s)Don Davis
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of episodes13 (6 unaired in original timeslot)
Production
Executive producer(s)Nat Mauldin
Producer(s)Davis Doi (supervising)
Running time22 minutes
Production company(s)Steven Bochco Productions
Hanna-Barbera Productions
Wang Film Productions
20th Century Fox Television
Distributor20th Television
Release
Original networkABC
Original releaseJanuary 31 –
March 14, 1992 (1992-03-14)

PlotEdit

A young mouse named Max is forced to flee his home at a human farm in Nebraska after he watches his family be killed by exterminators. He travels to Washington, D.C. to live with his cousin, a hippie female mouse named Berkley, a rebellious rat named Jammet and Jammet's mother, Trixie. The group contends with various problems such as the White House's new resident cats (referred to as the Presidential cat and Vice-Presidential cat, caricatures of then-President George H.W. Bush and then-Vice President Dan Quayle), cockroaches, drugs, guns, etc.

EpisodesEdit

Title Original air date
1"Max Goes to Washington"January 28, 1992 (1992-01-28)
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"January 31, 1992 (1992-01-31)
Max gets trapped in the briefcase of a charismatic but crooked politician.
3"The Rat to Bear Arms"February 1, 1992 (1992-02-01)
Jammet 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"February 8, 1992 (1992-02-08)
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"February 15, 1992 (1992-02-15)
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"February 29, 1992 (1992-02-29)
Jammet begins supplying Opie the squirrel with caffeine pills.
7"An Embarrassment of Roaches"March 14, 1992 (1992-03-14)
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 (1995)
Trixie mistakes one of Jammet's marbles as a grape and bites into it, causing a massive toothache. Meanwhile, 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 (1995)
Max discovers a rat and a cockroach who've been living in a fallout shelter for 30 years.
10"The KiloWatts Riots"1995 (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 (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 (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 (1995)
When the president's grandchildren visit the White House, Jammet falls in love with their pet hamster.

Principal castEdit

CrewEdit

ReceptionEdit

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. 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.

International airingsEdit

Capitol Critters was also shown in Germany on ProSieben and later o ANIXE, K-Toon, Das Vierte, Kabel eins and Junior as Mäuse an der Macht, in Japan as Amerikan Mausu Daibouken (アメリカンマウス大冒険), in Poland on TVP2 as "Max and Rat Pack" (Maks i szczurza ferajna), in Brazil as "Turma do Max" and in France on Canaille Peluche as Des souris à la Maison-Blanche. The series has also aired in several other countries including Network Ten and FOX8 in Australia, Nickelodeon in the United Kingdom, MediaCorp Channel 5 in Singapore, TV1 in Malaysia, Radio Philippines Network in the Philippines, ZBC in Zimbabwe, RTB in Brunei, StarPlus in India, TVB Pearl in Hong Kong and Silverbird TV in Nigeria.

ReferencesEdit

  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 linksEdit