Pinky and The Brain

    Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

    "Gee, Brain, what you wanna do tonight?"
    "The same thing we do every night, Pinky -- try to Take Over the World!"


    An Animated Series about a superintelligent, genetically-altered lab mouse who enlists his halfwit roommate (read: the other mouse in his cage) into his endless quest to take over the world. Each episode saw The Brain devise an elaborate, improbable scheme for world domination, only be foiled in the end due to some unforeseeable twist of fate (read: the other mouse in his cage), or occasionally his own blundering. On one or two occasions he actually succeeded in taking over the world, but with some kind of unacceptable side-effect that sent him back to the drawing board. By contrast, many episodes had his schemes barely even getting off the ground, and the story centered around his attempts just to get Step One going.

    Originally a recurring skit on Animaniacs, the characters proved hugely popular and were soon given their own show. It tried to be as keenly satirical as was possible within the format of an afternoon children's cartoon. However, this did tend to remove it uncomfortably far, at times, from the notion of world domination -- one can imagine the writers scratching their heads and trying to figure out how writing a Broadway musical could possibly help The Brain take over the planet. Due to Executive Meddling, the show was eventually turned into Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain - curiously premiering when several episodes of the original still had yet to air and thus briefly airing concurrently.

    Tropes used in Pinky and The Brain include:
    • Acme Products: Most notably the Acme Bagel Warmer and Gene Splicer, with which Pinky and The Brain were created. They live in the Acme Labs, too.
    • Acting Unnatural: In the Christmas Episode, the duo hide themselves in Santa's reindeer team, wearing antlers on their heads. The Brain tells Pinky to just act natural. Cue Pinky moving erratically, singing, laughing, and making his usual Verbal Tics.

    The Brain: Pinky! Not that natural!


    Happy Bob the Painter: And with the happy little brush, maybe paint a happy little cloud in the happy little sky. Maybe a happy little bluebird on a happy little branch and a happy little meteor, like the meteor that's about to decimate our happy little Earth.

    • Brick Joke: In "Das Mouse" Pinky says that they'll reach the hull of the Titanic before Brain can yell "POIT!", Brain replies drily that they'll reach Mars before he yells "poit". Much, much later in the episode Brain is found, after a depth charge attack, bobbing up and down in the water upside down by his oversized head. Pinky asks him if he's all right and he yells, "POOOIIIIIT!!".
      • In "But That's Not All Folks", the President of the United States tries to order "a Good Old Boy Pizza with extra pork rinds", but the telephone circuits are overloading because everyone in the world was calling in to order the Brain's "Miracle Product". In the end, after the usual "They're dinky, they're Pinky and the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain", the President can be heard asking, "Where's my pizza?"
    • Breaking the Bonds: The Brain manages this in the episode "Welcome to the Jungle."
    • British Royal Guard: Pinky and The Brain had to tip one over (cow tipping) to get into a club. The guard falls like a tree.
    • Cartoony Tail: The Brain has a tail like a real mouse, except it is kinked in a way that it looks like stair steps.
    • Catch Phrase: "Same thing we do every night", "Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?", "YES!", "Narf!/Poit!/Zort!/Troz!", others.
    • Chained to a Railway: Parodied in "Cinebrainia."
    • Christmas Episode: Theirs won an Emmy.
    • Chuck Norris: Elmyra goes to Chuck Norris Grammar School.
    • Cloudcuckoolander: Pinky.
      • In particular, he has a tendancy to bring up celebrities at random:

    Pinky: What's the plan, Brain?
    Brain: Uh...guess.
    Pinky: All right. Um, are we going to... Take Debbie Allen hostage, depriving all of humanity of enjoyable choreographed production numbers?
    Brain: Hmm. Nope. Guess again.
    Pinky: Are we going to... Oh. Create a riot by forcing people to listen to the touchy-feely Mandy Patinkin?
    Brain: No. Guess again.
    Pinky: Hmm. I got it. Use the talents of Paul Anka and Carrot Top to stage the comeback of the lovable TV genius Jamie "Klinger" Farr.
    Brain: Come now, Pinky, let's remain within the realm of possibility.

    • Continuity Nod: Every now and then somebody will recognize Brain and mention a scheme from a previous episode. In "The Pink Candidate," a Congressional investigation unearths Brain's plans for world domination, and every one is the plot from a previous episode; similarly, the episode "Brain Drained" began with a reference to the first episode after spinning off from Animaniacs.
    • Couch Gag:
      • Each episode's end credits includes a long word and its definition, so that you can speak with Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness just like Brain!
      • The credits for the retool, meanwhile, had Elmyra attempting to define the words instead, and we end up with things like the word "onomatopoeia" being defined as, "Naughty potty word!"
    • Crossovers: With Animaniacs and Freakazoid!.
    • Cutaway Gag: The Christmas Episode featured these in the form of the Brain as a mall Santa and himself and Pinky marketing themselves as popular toys. Pinky also mentions them travelling back in time to Bethlehem before the Brain moves the episode along.
    • Dastardly Whiplash: Spoofed in the episode "Cinebrainia."
    • Deadpan Snarker: Brain.
    • Deal with the Devil: In the Halloween episode.
    • Deranged Animation: The show becomes completely derailed for one episode in which a spaceman wants to eat people's brains. His sidekick spends the entire episode with a giant bite taken out of his skull, and every background is a masterpiece of surrealism. This troper watched it while trying to stay awake at 2 A.M. and actually believed he was hallucinating. Nope... it's just one episode of deranged, drugged-out insanity that makes no sense.
    • Dinky Drivers: in "Opportunity Knox," Brain controls the steering wheel of a van with pulleys while Pinky operates the pedals.
    • Disguised in Drag: Pinky does this frequently, the Brain less so. An example of this is "Whatever Happened to Baby Brain?", where the Brain disguises himself as a cute little girl, and Pinky acts as "her" mother.
    • Disney School of Acting and Mime
    • Distaff Counterpart: Billie looks like a female version of Pinky, is just as ditzy--and Brain has a crush on her. Make of that what you will.
    • Does This Remind You of Anything?: In "Brinky", The Brain attempts to clone himself, which almost works until Pinky's DNA (from a clipped toenail) accidentally gets combined with Brain's, thus essentially making them parents of the resulting clone (and Pinky calling himself the clone's "mommy"). Most of the dialogue during the cloning process is scripted like an actual birth: for example, when the door on the cloning machine won't close (which is the reason Pinky's DNA is even in there), The Brain tells Pinky to help him "push", complete with Pinky doing Lamaze breathing.
    • Dreadful Musician: Yoko Ono Expy Yoyo Nono in "All You Need Is Narf"
    • Drunk on Milk: Alluded to (in a non-Drowning My Sorrows way) in "Brain's Song":

    Brain: I see someone had too much Shasta on the plane.


    Pinky: Um...Brain...d-don't you think maybe you've had enough to drink?
    Brain: "Nag, nag, nag, just leave me be!"

    • Dumb Is Good
    • Earpiece Conversation: In "The Pink Candidate"
    • Educational Song: This is probably the most extreme example in a children's show.
    • Egopolis: Brain tried it a few times. He gets his own island country in a bid for US foreign aid, naming it Brainania. When he does end up in control of the Earth — by making a duplicate out of papier-mache and convincing everyone else to go there with free t-shirts — he renames the original Earth "Brainus", presumably following the pattern of either Venus or Uranus. The new planet, on the other hand, was Chia Earth.
    • Episode Title Card
    • Even Evil Has Standards: Although the Brain isn't evil, he definitely has standards as to what he will and will not consider when it comes to taking over the world. For example, he could have achieved world conquest through selling cigarettes to children, but the idea completely repulsed him.
    • Evil Albino: Brain. Well, maybe "evil" is a bit exagerrated.
    • Evil Brit: Snowball.
    • Evolutionary Levels: In "Leave It to Beavers"
    • Explain, Explain, Oh Crap: In the episode "Brinky," Pinky's genetic material accidentally gets introduced into Brain's cloning experiment, essentially resulting in their having a child together.

    Pinky: I'm a mommy, I'm a mommy!
    Brain: Pinky, that's absurd! You are nothing of the kind. Its chromosomal makeup just happens to include both of our genetic building blo... AAAAAAH! ...Oh my Lord, you are its mommy.

    • Expository Theme Tune: "They're Pinky and the Brain! Yes, Pinky and the Brain! One is a genius, the other's insane! To prove their mouse-y worth, they'll overthrow the earth! They're dinky, they're Pinky and the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain!"
    • Failure Is the Only Option: Essential, given since Status Quo Is God, given Brain's radical schemes.
      • Though they do pull it off, every so often, but usually a twist has them starting over again.
    • Fake Brit: Rob Paulsen as Pinky.
    • Fantastic Voyage Plot: In "Brainwashed"
    • Flowers for Algernon Syndrome: The episode where Pinky gets smart.
    • Foot Focus: What sets the plot in motion in "Brinky" is while Brain is trying to clone himself, Pinky is giving himself a pedicure. While doing this, he snips off one of his toenails so hard, it falls into the cloning chamber, thus making a clone fusing both of their DNA together.
    • Frank Welker: had a recurring role as Bill Clinton.
    • Freeze-Frame Bonus: "I have made you use the freezeframe button on your VCR."
    • Friendly Tickle Torture: In "Big In Japan", Pinky is seen playing with a "Tickle-Me Herbert" doll, a parody of the Tickle-Me-Elmo doll. Later in the episode, he uses this tactic to defeat a sumo wrestler.
    • Gagging on Your Words: At one point, Brain finds the need to ask Pinky how he (Brain) can be more like him (Pinky), and notes that "...the words are hot in my throat..."
    • Get It Over With: Episode "Snowball", Brain's utterly defeated. His intended last words: "Well, go on; end it now!" as he faces down a pack of alley cats.
    • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Has its own page.
    • Giant Food: "Brain Acres"
    • Giant Mecha: The Brain at one point built a mechanical suit, quite strong and durable. It became a semi-recurring prop once the series started. And then his arch-rival got in on the act. Giant Mecha battling for the fate of the world! Because they are mice, the "Giant Mecha" are equivalent in size to a six foot tall human.
    • Grand Finale: "Star Warners," a Whole-Plot Reference to the original Star Wars trilogy. Featuring guest appearances by most of the Animaniacs characters, as well as a cameo by Freakazoid, Mo-Ron/Bo-Ron and Fanboy. As a trivia note, this episode also aired the same day as the final episode of Animaniacs.
    • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress
    • Halloween Episode: Pinky sells his soul to The Devil to make Brain ruler of the world. Brain later goes to hell to get Pinky - not to get him back, though. Just so he can tell him where the food pellets are.
    • Hidden Heart of Gold: Brain, despite trying to keep it under his megalomaniacal exterior, is a good-hearted guy who cares a lot about Pinky and will put his safety over his ambitious goals. This is exemplified in the Halloween Special, when he makes rather flimsy excuses to why he went to Hades and rescue Pinky.
    • I Am One of Those, Too: In "My Feldmans, My Friends", the Brain attempts to persuade his neighbour that "Mr The Brain" was his high school nickname by inserting his picture into a high school yearbook. The high school he picks happens to be the one his neighbour attended, so Brain is left trying to convince his neighbour that they were, in fact, classmates.
    • I'm Alive!: In "Snowball", a suicidal Brain attempts to end all by leaving himself to be eaten by alley cats, but they reject him. He then has this reaction, complete with a triumphant laugh.
    • Insane Troll Logic: Many of Brain's plans are based on a very convoluted sequence of steps to achieve world domination. For example, to rule the world, he will build a second earth made out of papier-mache, bring it to life with a special invention, and then lure the humans off the original Earth using free t-shirts. All which generally work until the Fatal Flaw in the plan is realized, such as a giant asteroid that destroyed the original Earth in the above example.
    • Insufferable Genius: You need to ask?
    • Insult to Rocks: After saying Pinky had the approximate IQ of an empty soap dish. Brain says "I take it back. I don't want to insult the soap dish."
    • Interspecies Romance: Pinky and Pharfignewton(a horse), Romy (cloned mouse) and Pat (human) and Pinky and Winne(Sea lion).
    • Intoxication Ensues: In "Brainy Jack", Brain gets bitten by a rattlesnake and alternates between thinking he's Bob Hope and Henry Kissinger.
    • Iron Butt Monkey: Pinky and Brain regularly get smashed, beaten, exploded, run over, and so forth, as Brain's schemes fail. Of course, Pinky doesn't really mind when Brain bops him on the head, so perhaps he's okay with it. Brain, however, gets the worst of it. Naturally, they're still standing (if bruised) at the end of every episode, ready to do "the same thing we do every night".
    • It Runs on Nonsensoleum: Some of Brain's inventions. His plans for taking over the world are a bit of a variation on this trope, using nonsense sociology instead of nonsense science.
    • It's Been Done: The episode "Brain Drained" opens with Brain realising that his plans are beginning to repeat themselves in some form.
    • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Brain fits this to a T. It has been proven on numerous occasions that behind the megalomaniacal outer layer lies a complete softy who cares deeply about the ones he loves, especially Pinky. The Christmas Special has to be the best example of his sweeter side, and the episode "Two Mice and a Baby", his behavior teeters toward him being a Tsundere. See also the Anti-Hero entry above--sure, his megalomaniacal tendencies may incline him to step on a few million toes here and there, but ultimately what he really wants is to make everyone happy, in his own roundabout way.
    • Kavorka Man: For such an ugly little jerk, Brain doesn't have much trouble getting girls when he's *cough* disguised as a human. (Rule of Funny is probably at work here.)
    • Keep Circulating the Tapes: It's very, very unlikely that Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain would be released on DVD. Not that anyone would care.
    • Know When to Fold'Em: Brain often demonstrates that he does not.
    • Killer Hamster: Snowball.
    • Laughably Evil: To a large extent Brain himself, even though he's the Comically Serious. To quote him, "I am not devoid of humor".
    • Let's Have Another Baby: Played for Laughs in "Brinky".
    • Like an Old Married Couple: Here's just one example. (From the episode "Of Mouse and Man".)
    • Living Emotional Crutch: The titular duo are this to each other, willing to sacrifice their lives and dreams for the benefit of the other, and both of them being heartbroken whenever they're separated.
    • Love Dodecahedron: Even if you leave out certain fanon, it's a mess. Brain and Billie had a fling, then she dumped him and started dating Snowball, then she dumped him and started chasing Pinky, who's happy with Pharfignewton (who loves him back) and seems alarmed by Billie's advances. Meanwhile, Brain still hasn't gotten over Billie...
    • Mass Hypnosis: Brain tries to do this several times, including on the Christmas episode.
    • May the Farce Be with You
    • Memetic Mutation: In-universe example from "Brain's Song": "I am the o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-overlord."
    • Metaphorgotten: Shows up in "Brain Drained":

    Brain: Uncle Wiggley has gone to the carrot patch once too often, and now the cupboard is bare. Drat! I can't even construct a decent metaphor!


    Brain: Abe Lincoln was perhaps the most respected president of all time. Once we arrange his comeback, the mere sight of him will compel the populace to follow his lead.
    Pinky: But, Brain, Abe Lincoln, um... Didn't he, uh... Isn't he... You know.


    Pinky: Bang! Zoom!
    Brain: Stop saying that, Pinky, or I shall have to hurt you.

    • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
      • The Brain's voice and many of his mannerisms were inspired by Orson Welles. Also, in the episode "What Ever Happened to Baby Brain", which is set in the past, The Brain and Orson Welles meet. They have exactly the same voice, and happen to simultaneously declare "Things will be different when I take over the world!" before introducing themselves to each other. "Welles, Orson". "Brain, The."
    The similarity is further played with in "Yes, Always", which recreates, almost word for word, the infamous Frozen Peas audio clip with the Brain in the role of Orson Welles.

    "Yes Fredo, but why are you wearing that llama?"


    "All my thoughts are in Dutch."


    Pinky: "I see an angel coming for us out of the sky."
    Brain: "I see clams! Giant, shirtless clams!"


    "Yes Darlene, now go make Momma a sandwich."


    Brain: It is obvious that there are no original writers in Hollywood, Pinky.
    Pinky: Look, Brain. Warner Bros. Studios. Maybe we can find some writers there. Poit!
    Brain: Nah. We can't afford them, Pinky. We don't have enough bananas.

      • And in "Star Warners":

    Brain-2-Me-2: Are you pondering what I'm pondering, 3-Pinky-O?
    3-Pinky-O: Um, I think so, Brain-2, but a show about two talking lab mice? Heh, it'll never get on the air.

    • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Brain and Snowball.
    • Shoo Out the New Guy: Parodied with Larry.
    • Shout-Out: Numerous, including to THX-1138 in the opening credits and Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.
      • In "Ambulatory Abe," Pinky knows Washington, D.C. as "the home of Freakazoid!"
    • Shrunken Organ: In the Title Sequence, Pinky and the Brain walk behind an X-ray machine. Brain's skull has meshing gears, while Pinky's has a peanut. In the "...and Larry" version of the opening, Larry joins them during this part, and he is shown to have bones in his hair.
    • So Bad It's Good: An in-universe example. In "Battle Of The Planet", their attempt to rule the world via pirate satellite broadcasting is so terrible, it is labeled a comedy smash by their local newspaper.
    • Spell My Name with a "The"
    • Springtime for Hitler: Many examples. Notably, the episode "Pinky's Turn," in which Pinky comes up with an utterly random scheme to take over the world, and an episode where Brain decides to take the night off and ironically comes close to ruling the world without realizing it.
    • Stealth Pun: In the episode "Briany Jack," Brain is saved by a group of hippies, who he refers to as "The original cast of Godspell." He eventually decides that he will become their leader as part of the evening's plot, and proclaims their mission statement as the following:

    "Through love and peace, and worship of me, the world can be a better place!"


    CIA Director: The boys want that thing terminated.
    Jonesy: The boys? You mean the Pentagon?
    CIA Director: No, my two boys-- Josh and Aaron.
    Jack Maguire: Ha ha! So, the boys finally saw it my way.
    Jonesy: You mean the Pentagon?
    Jack Maguire: No. Josh and Aaron.

    • Suck E. Cheese's: A birthday party at "Chunky Cheesey".
    • Subbing for Santa: Brain steals Santa's sleigh in the Christmas episode to distribute his Noodle Noggin toy.
    • Surrounded by Idiots: Brain thinks this is the case.
    • Suspect Is Hatless: Pinky's description of Snowball was spectacularly vague... until he brought up his tattoo.
    • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Rudy Mookich and Mr. Pussy Wussy replacing Montana Max and Furrball in the Elmyra series.
    • Take Over the World: What they do every night. Or try to.
    • Take That:
      • "I think so, Brain, but Pepper Ann makes me sneeze."
      • "I think so, Don Cerebro, but why would Sophia Loren do a musical?" The Brain even admits Pinky's point.
      • The entire episode "Pinky and the Brain...and Larry" was one big take that against the Kids WB network execs, who kept demanding that the show add a third character to the show, despite Pinky and the Brain being pretty explicitly a comedy duo who would gain nothing from a third character. To illustrate this, they made an episode where a third mouse named Larry appears, and the other two act as if he has always been there (he's even added to the theme song.) Most of the episode's humor comes from the fact that Larry seems incredibly out of place and unnecessary to the plot, and that he keeps trying to insert himself into gags and situations where he adds nothing.
        • Later, Larry leaves to record with Art Garfunkel, and everything returns to normal... except for the addition of Zeppo.
      • Either the execs didn't get the joke, or they did and decided to take revenge on the writers, because a year later a third character (Elmyra) was forced on the show, leading to a unintentional version of the awkwardness seen in the Larry episode, and then cancellation. See Executive Meddling.
      • Another "Take That" was the episode "You'll Never Eat Food Pellets In This Town Again". The episode, spoofing management interference in the show, was also the swan song for chief writer Peter Hastings prior to his departure for Disney.
      • The episode "Broadway Malady" is absolutely stuffed with these, directed toward Andrew Lloyd Webber Albert Floyd Webster.
      • "All You Need is Narf" included a take that at Yoko Ono's singing.
      • From the episode where they fake a reunion show to get big ratings, from Gavin McCloud himself no less:

    Gavin: Vanilla Ice, ladies and gentlemen. Wasn't he something...once?




    Mr. Itch: "Isn't there any kind of torture you don't like?"
    Pinky (smoldering): *sniff* "The only real being away from my best friend, Brain."

    • Totally Radical: An interviewee's proposal on the Pinky and the Brain show in "Brain Drained" is that instead of taking over the world, the duo becomes "BrainDude and Pinkasaur" after accidentally meddling with a secret government experiment.

    BrainDude and Pinkasaur,
    BrainDude and Pinkasaur,
    They're mice, they fight,
    They're crime-fighting lab mice!


    Brain: We shall no longer call this planet Earth, Pinky.
    Pinky: When was it called "Earth Pinky"?



    Brain: Come, Pinky. We must return to the lab and prepare for tomorrow night.
    Pinky: Why, Brain? What are we going to do tomorrow night?
    Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky -- try to take over the world!
    They're dinky, they're Pinky and the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain.