- "Silly puppy!"
- — Mindy
Buttons is a loyal and protective German Shepherd dog and a protagonist of the original Animaniacs television series, as one of the two leads in the "Buttons and Mindy" segments. He is a very faithful guard dog to the toddler Mindy, though he often gets into terrible trouble while trying to protect her, and sometimes even gets blamed for her mishaps. Due to this, he is often very anxious. While he is one of the few nonverbal protagonists, his noises are provided by Frank Welker.
Buttons is an adult male German Shepherd dog with brown-and-cream fur, with the cream taking up his nose, underbelly, undertail and paws. He also has darker brown patches on his back and tail, as well as dark brown ears. His eyes are black, and he has a large black nose and two brown pads on his paws. He typically wears a black collar with a silver, diamond-shaped liscence.
Buttons is, for all intents and purposes, a normal dog, though he shows a degree of sentience and quite a lot of anxiety. He is often very nervous, though not without reason; his charge, Mindy, gets herself into as much trouble as one could imagine.
Buttons takes his job as Mindy's guard dog very seriously, and very responsibly continues to follow her and protect her. He has a great amount of endurance and determination, as he pursues her despite the slapstick pain it causes him and despite how often he is blamed for her mishaps. Buttons deeply loves Mindy, and though she is completely oblivious to the pain and stress she causes him, she loves him back, often calling him "silly puppy," getting excited to see him, and ending several of their sketches by hugging him tightly. He is also very patient with her, sometimes letting her play dress-up with him. There are also instances that Buttons will put himself in more danger simply to cheer up Mindy, such as opening a crypt filled with zombies to find her frog or running into an exploding spaceship to retrieve her ball. However, he does have his limits, as when Mindy duplicates herself in the latter episode, he immediately quits his job and flees.
Most of the "Buttons and Mindy" sketches involve Buttons suffering to some degree, usually through quite a lot of slapstick, often being crushed, cut up, or having his tail or nose stuck in a door. He has several different cries of pain that are used, some of which are simple dog yelps and whimpers, though others sound like a woman's scream, a chicken caw or a monkey's cry. Unfortunately, once Mindy is safe, he is rarely rewarded for his actions, as her parents, who missed her adventure, will find him seemingly doing something naughty and scold him for it; this will result in him not getting treats, and usually he will end up cowering and shaking. However, many sketches also end with Mindy running to him and hugging him, assuring him that she loves him, and he will be content in the knowledge that she is safe and happy.
While Buttons is personified to some degree, he does often act like a realistic dog, such as angrily barking at other dogs or digging in the roses; if Mindy's Mother is to be believed (she is an unreliable witness, to be fair), he has previously bothered the mailman and Toto and dug around in the garbage. He is, however, a highly intelligent dog, having been shown figuring out how to operate machinery and scale buildings in order to reach Mindy. Occasionally he also stands on two legs or uses his front paws as hands, though this is rare and he is typically quadrupedal.
Buttons lives with Mindy's family, which includes her and her unnamed mother and father. They appear to be a well-off family, living in a large house with a maid. Buttons also has his own doghouse in the backyard, from which he can watch Mindy when she is leashed to the tree outside. He tends to be her supervisor as her parents leave her unattended, which unfortunately often makes him her protector as she escapes her leash and begins to chase something she finds interesting; he will then run after her and do his best to keep her from harm, which is a difficult feat considering the zany situations she often gets herself into. Buttons will then fall victim to a lot of slapstick violence, often being cut up, smashed, stuck in doors, etc; however, he will soon recover and begin chasing Mindy again. More often than not, he and Mindy will end up back in the yard (often regardless of Buttons's actions), and he will get in trouble for something innocuous, such as being covered in tar or getting wet, which will result in him not getting treats for the day. However, at the same time, Mindy will hug him and assure him that she loves him, and he will be contented with that.
His cartoons tend to follow this formula, though on occasion they do not return home; once he and Mindy simply ran off, while another time Mindy's parents came to fetch them, though they again blamed Buttons for her actions. The segments also often happen in different points across time and space, such as in France or in a space colony.
A few times, Buttons and Mindy have appeared outside of their own segments. In "Lookit the Fuzzy Heads," the Warners intentionally set Mindy off on a chase after a wind-up toy in order to distract Elmyra Duff; when Buttons begins to follow, they reassure him that it is "taken care of," and he happily watches while Elmyra suffers the pain he usually does. He appears with the rest of the cast in "The Big Wrap Party Tonight," receiving "mutton" at the tower party before watching Sylvester chase Tweety, and in "Mighty Wakko at the Bat," in which they all play baseball.
It is unknown exactly how the events of Wakko's Wish fit into the continuity of the series; it is presumed to be a film that the Animaniacs cast worked on, as Spielberg is referenced in the script, and the film itself if referenced in the later reboot. However, it could also be considered an alternate universe, or some other unexplained event.
Buttons notices his lack of food as Mindy builds a snowman, and her mother soon arrives and asks Mindy to take a pie to her grandmother at the retirement village, telling Buttons he can eat after he chaperones her there and back. However, as soon as she goes inside to bake cookies for the seven dwarfs, Mindy turns around and gives the pie to Buttons. He excitedly eats it, before realizing that Mindy has scampered into the trees to chase Slappy and Skippy Squirrel; when he attempts to follow, she reminds him that dogs can't climb trees and he falls.
Buttons follows Mindy through the forest and then across a breaking bridge, where he saves her from falling and then is stepped on by the Hip Hippos. He then ends up falling into Dr. Scratchansniff's elixir cart, where he meets Rita and Runt. After they begin to be shot at by Baron von Plotz and Ralph, the three of them discover a mixture of the elixir that explodes, and excitedly throw it at their attackers, which causes a crash. Following the crash, Buttons watches in confusion as Runt refers to Rita as a dog, and then is relieved when Slappy brings Mindy back over to him.
They are then captured along with the residents of Acme Falls by King Salazar and kept imprisoned until Wakko is able to reach the Wishing Star and wish for two ha'pennies to restimulate the economy; they leave with the rest of the Acme Falls residents. The two of them return home several days late, and after her mother expresses relief at her safety, Mindy finally refers to her as "mom," which overjoys her. In gratitude, Buttons is given several stakes as a reward, which in turn delights him. He and Mindy then appear back in Acme Falls for the finale.
In the episode "Good Warner Hunting," Buttons and Mindy are imprisoned with the rest of the cast by a vengeful Chicken Boo after he is left out of the reboot; Yakko notes his disappearance. After Boo's defeat by the Warner siblings, he and the rest of the cast are freed, and he and Mindy join them in angrily chasing the chicken out of town.
|Wakko's Wish (1999)||Appears|
- Original English: Frank Welker
- Buttons and Mindy's segment was originally going to be cut from the show during development; however, one of Steven Spielberg's daughters saw a drawing of them and loved them, which got them back into the show.
- Buttons shares a voice actor, Frank Welker, with several other Animaniacs protagonists, such as Ralph T. Guard and Runt.
Animaniacs Wiki has a collection of images related to Buttons
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