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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+.

Premise[]

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.

Production[]

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,[4] 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.

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