Yo Yogi! is a 1991 short-lived American animated show from NBC's Saturday Morning Cartoons line-up by the characters copyright owner Hanna-Barbera (this show was one of their last ones as an independent studio before being swallowed up by Warner Bros.). The show was made in an attempt to update the Yogi Bear franchise to the 90s and cash in on Saved By the Bell.
The show ended up being one of the most notorious Saturday Morning Cartoons failures for NBC due to low ratings and is often cited as one of the reasons why NBC decided to give up on broadcasting Saturday Morning Cartoons. It also even managed to kill off the Yogi Bear franchise (at least on TV) until the announcement of C.H. Greenblatt's Jellystone! in 2019, which debuted on HBO Max on July 29, 2021. The only other Yogi Bear-related media made since then are the specials and the 2010 film based on the franchise of the same name.
Jellystone Park in Wyoming is now being converted to a national mall and is guarded by Ranger Smith. Yogi Bear and Boo-Boo along with their other friends Huckleberry Hound, Cindy Bear, and Snagglepuss are now teenagers and are okay about wearing clothes and acting more like humans (though Boo-Boo still looking young is never explained). In pretty much each episode, the five friends get engaged in mysteries and try to stop criminals from stealing things in the mall.
Why It Sucks, Yo!
- The show's attempts at being trendy and radical is another example of a cheap and unneeded attempt at modernizing an old franchise. This also quickly becomes outdated and unfunny decades later after the show first premiered.
- Poor grasp of the source material.
- Despite the plots trying to do something different with each episode, they end up being the same (i.e something goes wrong at Jellystone Mall and it's up to Yogi and his friends to save the day).
- In every episode, Yogi at some point spins his hat telling the viewer to wear 3D glasses for a certain scene (the 3D glasses came out of now out-of-print cereals that sponsored the show). They seem pointless to include because they make the show look like a mere product placement cartoon.
- The show's plots are too similar to Hanna-Barbera's other franchise Scooby-Doo, most notably A Pup Named Scooby-Doo! since it featured younger versions of classic cartoon characters, but without that show's cleverness or charm or The Flintstones' (which is another Hanna-Barbera franchise) prequel, The Flintstone Kids.
- Many of the characters are badly butchered;
- Yogi is now portrayed as a lazy, more egotistical, and more destructive moron who has his mind on food and doesn’t stop talking about it unlike he did in the original cartoons. He would threaten anyone for being a classicist that is not "hip & radical".
- Boo Boo is now more useless and only serves as someone for Yogi to talk to.
- Cindy now acts like a stereotypical teenage girl and acts sassier.
- Officer Smith acts more like a huge jerk and keeps blaming Yogi and friends for stuff that they didn’t even do.
- Secret Squirrel acts much more like a nuisance and is a huge blabbermouth and keeps causing more harm than good.
- Yogi was so badly redesigned in this show, that William Hanna, the co-creator of the Yogi Bear franchise and co-founder of Hanna-Barbera, was offended by Yogi's redesign, saying: "They screwed it up by redesigning [Yogi]. They made him look like a whoremonger. If you have something that works, don't screw it up!"
- The show nearly killed the Yogi Bear franchise from getting a new show for several years until C.H. Greenblatt's upcoming Yogi Bear series Jellystone! was announced in 2019.
- As said before, this show contributed to the death of Saturday Morning Cartoons.
- The show has cameos by way too many obscure Hanna-Barbera characters that younger audiences aren’t familiar with such as Lippy the Lion and Hardy Har-Har, Loopy De Loop, Snooper, and Blabber, Granny Sweet, and others.
- While some of the characters are children, other HB characters are in the normal age, which leads to much confusion and continuity errors such as Hardy Har-Har being a child and Lippy the Lion being an adult.
- Some of the other characters, such as Klunk and Zilly (from Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines), never show up in the series as teenagers.
- The show recycles the same duo of bumbling burglars plot for about four episodes.
- A huge step-up over most of Hanna-Barbera's previous cartoon shows, the animation is very smooth and cartoony (aside from glaring ink and paint errors).
- The voice acting is okay.
- Decent theme song.
- The design for Jellystone Mall is impressive.
- Snagglepuss and Huckleberry Hound still act like their old selves and are the only likable characters on this show.
- The final episode, "The Big Snoop" was a decent finale.
- The animation was done in the Philippines (Fil-Cartoons, Inc.), Taiwan (Wang Film Productions), and Australia (Mr. Big Cartoons)
According to IMDb, the series received 5/10 and on iTunes it received 4.3/5.