This article is about the character. For the segment, see Minerva Mink (segment).
- "It's not pretty being me..."
- — Minerva's catchphrase
Minerva Mink (originally called Marilyn Mink , after cinema bombshell Marilyn Monroe) is a character in the TV series, Animaniacs. She was created by Warner Bros. animation producers Paul Dini and Sherri Stoner. Her initial designs were handled by character artist Barry Caldwell, while her final design was done by Dan Haskett. Being one of the more infamous Animaniacs characters, she has received only two solo cartoons of her own: Meet Minerva and Moon Over Minerva. Despite this, she received more stories in the Animaniacs comic book series.
Minerva is an anthropomorphic mink. She, much like Hello Nurse, is designed to be "attractive" (she also gets similar reactions from male characters as Hello Nurse). Her initial design had her naked, very much like Slappy Squirrel’s younger design in the episode “Buttermilk”. WBTA's management felt this "al fresco design" was inappropriate for family entertainment, with final designs and name change occurring prior to the first Minerva episode airing. Minerva has white fur with long blonde hair, an enormous soft blonde tail as well as a pretty face, pink nose and sweet big black eyes with blue eye shadow. Being a "fashionable" girl, she is rarely seen wearing the same outfit twice, though most production art shows her wearing a red jumpsuit. Her signature outfit is a red jumpsuit. In addition, appearance borrows from many famous sex symbols, most notably Veronica Lake, whose sheepdog haircut is similar to Minerva's style.
Her scale often changes with the plot. In her first appearance she was shown to be the size of a normal mink (this is in relation to her size compared to Newt, who was shown earlier in that episode only coming up to his master's knee). However, she was most often shown the same size as human beings, only about a head shorter than Hello Nurse.
Minerva was created with an initial thought of reversing the gender on the Tex Avery Wolf, who would go into extreme wild takes when he saw a particularly hot female. However, her final concept was for her to drive every male, no matter their species, into wild take-filled Tex Avery-styled conniptions at her beauty. When she spots an attractive male, she goes into multiple lustful spasms of her own like the ones the males give her.
Minerva starred in the least number of shorts of all the ensemble cast, allegedly on account that the content of her shorts was so overtly sexual that it was decided that it would be inappropriate for the intended predominantly children's audience. For example, on one occasion, Minerva was seen as a shapely, nude silhouette while bathing in a lake. Additionally, many of the zany wild-takes on part of the male cast members were filled with innuendo. Her second and last solo short, "Moon Over Minerva", was slightly edited for content before broadcast. Some shots of her cleavage were considered to be too much for a children's cartoon, and as a result, were air-brushed out.
Personality-wise and despite her "beauty" and "attractiveness", Minerva can best be described as a gold-digger, so to speak, being extremely vain and greedy. If the people who swooned over her got to know her a little more they would find a rather cruel, snobby, smug, selfish, uncaring and overall unpleasant mink. She is typically seen using men to do whatever she wanted, showing no interest in them whatsoever. The portrayal of Minerva’s toxicity in her cartoons imply she herself is worse than those who swoon over her.
Minerva is also seemingly only into one’s physical appearance above all-else, as she kept rejecting Wilford Wolf in his "nerdy" appearance despite his kindness to her and desire to establish an actual connection with her (it should be noted Wilford made more of an effort to bond with her beyond her looks unlike most of her other admirers). In addition, she threatened to end a friendship with her best friend Trudy just because Trudy arranged for Minerva to give her cousin a tour of the woods.
As an example of poetic justice, "Meet Minerva" and "Moon Over Minerva" show her receiving a taste of her own medicine. In "Moon Over Minerva", as she fawns over Wilford only for his werewolf form which vanishes after a short amount of time. Then in "Meet Minerva" she fawns after a man with similar exacting standards who didn't seem to find her attractive at all. Her personality, being fashion conscious, obsessed with beauty and money, resembles a valley girl - a stereotype typically mocked in the works of her voice actress, Julie Brown.
Although Minerva is snobby, smug and sees no interest in those who seek her attention, she sometimes acts kind around others. This is best shown when, toward the end of her debut short, she gives Newt a hug and kiss of genuine affection rather than manipulation, being actually surprised when he reacts in an attracted manner even when that wasn't her intent this time. She is shown to have a more friendly dynamic with Newt in the comics following this, as well.
Besides her two solo cartoons, Minerva has made a lot of cameo appearances in other segments and songs.
- Main Title (nonspeaking)
- Episode 25: Hercule Yakko
- Episode 64: No Face Like Home (On magazine cover)
- Episode 77: This Pun for Hire
- Episode 80: Gunga Dot
- Episode 84: The Return of the Great Wakkorotti and The Big Wrap Party Tonight
- Episode 85: Mighty Wakko at the Bat
- Episode 92: Dot - The Macadamia Nut
- Episode 95: Hooray for North Hollywood (Part 1) (Cameo)
- Episode 99: The Scoring Session and The Animaniacs Suite
- Wakko's Wish
- Episode 65: Star Warners
- Episode 5: Good Warner Hunting
While Minerva mostly appeared as a recurring character in the TV series, she was featured far more prominently in the comic book series.
Minerva starred in the following issues:
- Paul Dini (producer/story editor on many of WBA's DC Comics projects and story editor/writer on Tiny Toon Adventures) was responsible for the initial conception of the character.
- Not counting her solo cartoons or the theme song, Minerva's first appearance was in "Hercule Yakko".
- In both of her cartoons, she sings a song that is universally considered her theme song: "It's Not Pretty Being Me".
- She is the only featured character to have only 2 solo cartoons.
- In the Pinky and the Brain finale Star Warners, it appears Marvin the Martian isn’t affected by her looks. He is able to keep up a coherent conversation with Minerva without succumbing to her seduction.
- Minerva is very popular online despite her scant appearances, even being well-known amongst non-Animaniacs fans,
- In the Animaniacs edition of Monopoly, a screenshot of Minerva from "Moon Over Minerva" is shown on the space where Kentucky Avenue would be on a traditional Monopoly board.
Quote From Tom Ruegger
- Tom Ruegger August 24, 2011 at 11:42 PM
"In a nutshell, Minerva was considered to be a little too sexy for our target audience. Our executive producer (Steven) and the President of Warner Bros. Animation (Jean MacCurdy) thought that Minerva was perhaps a bit too voluptuous and her storyline a bit too one-note in that she was very sexy and seemed to arouse the sexual interest of any and all males in her vicinity, no matter what their species. Since the show had a large kid audience, it was decided to tone down Minerva's romantic aggressiveness as well as her curviness. To that end, we wound up needing to remove cleavage lines from the McClenahan/Startoons Minerva episodes. Paul Dini came up with the initial concept for Minerva, and it was based on reversing the gender on the Tex Avery Wolf, who would go into extreme wild takes when he saw a particularly hot babe. Minerva was a female version of that sort of over-reacting, hot-to-trot character. Barry Caldwell helped design the lovely Minerva and he was extremely adept at getting great performances out of the girl characters in the Tiny Toons and Animaniacs casts."
"It was a different time, back then. While our cartoons were targeted at kids, we did intentionally make them so (we hoped) they'd appeal to a large audience of almost any age. Today, animated shows are not made that way. The current shows being made for Nick and Disney and CN are carefully and clearly targeted at very specific kid age groups. Back in the 90's, Animaniacs, on Fox and the WB, attracted a more diverse age demographic."
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