Katie begins her awesome transformation.


Medium: TV animation
Produced by: Amblin Entertainment and Warner Bros.
First Appeared: 1993
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Katie Ka-Boom starred in one of several rotating segments on the Animaniacs half-hour show. It wasn't a major one, like those of …

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Slappy Squirrel, Pinky & the Brain or even the less prominent Buttons & Mindy — in fact she was even less frequently seen than Chicken Boo, the giant chicken whose entire schtick was that he wanted people to think he was human. But she's the favorite Animaniacs character of many adult fans with teenage children.

Katie was a typical teenager just like Archie, except female and possessed of one attribute neither Archie nor any of his friends had — realistic teenage hormones that did more than merely bring about Archie-style exaggerated attraction to the opposite gender.

She was first seen in in the episode that aired November 5, 1993. It was a crossover with another minor segment, in which she was dating the student council president, captain of the wrestling team and likely valedictorian — a guy called "C.B." When Katie's mom and dad pointed out that C.B. (which obviously stood for "Chicken Boo") was a giant chicken, she flew into a rage, her white-hot, glowing eyes presaging a physical transformation into a huge, menacing monster, which sent the rest of the family diving for cover in combat helmets with the viewer getting an impression they'd been through this many times before

She reverted to her cute, bouncy little self when she realized it was true, then turned her rage on C.B. for not telling her sooner. The three-minute segment ended with an explosion, leaving the house in ruins.

That set the tone for the entire series — relatively minor incident setting off totally out-of-proportion response, transformation to a horrifying creature, destruction all around, sudden evaporation of anger accompanied by transformation back. Typical quote: "I am not over-reacting! I'm a teenager!" Such a one-note character could never be a major star, but to anyone with teens in the house, Katie struck a familiar enough chord to get big laughs. It was not uncommon for parents to hum her theme song when their own kids flew off the handle.

Katie's voice was done by Laura Mooney, also heard in 1990s animated productions of Winnie the Pooh and Little Nemo in Slumberland. Her mom was Mary Gross, who played a couple of characters in Hey Arnold! and Rugrats. Her dad was Rob Paulsen, who was also Yakko Warner and a number of characters in Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers.

Katie continued her occasional appearances as long as the Animaniacs series ran. Her last one aired on April 25, 1998, after which she, like the rest of the Animaniacs, was seen only in reruns. Along the way, she turned up a few times in the Animaniacs comic book, published by DC Comics.

Katie never was and probably never will be a big star. But teenagers like her are so familiar, generation after generation, that it's likely those who saw her as youngsters will still hear her theme song running through their heads when their own kids start acting like her.


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Text ©2003-09 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Warner Bros. and Amblin