Follow TV Tropes


Website / BrainPOP

Go To
The main BrainPOP and BrainPOP Jr. cast.note 

Dear Tim and Moby,

Could you describe BrainPOP here?

From, troper

Great question, troper! Well, BrainPOP is an educational website that uses numerous web cartoon series to teach children (Grade school through high school) different concepts ranging from the Pythagorean theorem to Martin Luther King to The Beatles to the urinary system.

The most prominent, and likewise popular, of these series is the "Mysteries of Life" cartoons, which follow Tim and Moby as they answer fan-mail, explaining a different educational concept with each one. Tim is a teenage boy and the main character of the series. Moby is his orange robot.

Other recurring characters are Cassie and Rita, two of Tim's friends who appear in many "Mysteries of Life" videos, along with having a series of their own. There is also Bob, a lab rat who appears in several shorts.


There is a BrainPOP Jr. section, which is for younger children, and features many expies of the main site's characters. Instead of Tim, the main character of the series is a young girl named Annie. Instead of answering letters of a topic, she asks questions about the topic, and, obviously, she answers them herself! Oh, and Moby appears there too with a slightly different personality. Moby's alternate continuities can probably be chalked up to Rule of Funny.

Oh, yeah. And it costs money (the videos, at least; the minigames introduced in 2011 are free for everyone).


This website features examples of the following:

  • Adorkable: Tim can be this at times.
  • Art Evolution:
    • Tim & Moby looked rather ugly when they first appeared in 1997. In 1998, Tim looks much like an adult and Moby looks much better. Beginning in the "Asthma" video (from 1999), Moby got straighter lines.
    • Cassie originally had eyes with pupils unlike the other characters who have the black bead eyes and wore a tanktop. But she got a new design in 2017 and received similar eyes like the other characters, gain freckles and her top is now a regular t-shirt.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: Despite the series getting an art evolution, some characters that didn't updated would often look odd against some of the newer characters (compare Tim with Nat).
  • Babies Make Everything Better: "Pregnancy" shows a grown-up, married Tim and Rita with two children.
  • Black Bead Eyes: Any human and animal character.
  • Bland-Name Product: In the "Smoking" video, an e-cigarette named Kuul is mentioned, it being an obvious ripoff of Juul.
  • Blush Sticker: Tim in the "Stress" video... Although in that case it was due to, well, stress.
  • Butt-Monkey: Tim himself.
  • Continuity Nod: In the Fractions episode, many of the robots from other videos on the site, such as Little Jimmy and the Cycloids from the Capitalization video and the Hillbot from the Country Music video, show up at Moby's birthday party.
  • Distaff Counterpart:
    • Cassie and Rita would be this to Tim and Moby. Cassie is more like Moby, with Rita being more of the Tim.
    • Though when another character like Cassie or Nat is paired with Moby, they take Tim's place.
  • Double Take: At the beginning of one video, Tim has one when he sees a portrait of Moby wearing a suit, only to discover that Moby was actually imitating it.
  • Edutainment Show: One that is FUNNY!
  • Expressive Shirt: Tim's shirt, as it has a picture that is always related to the episode's subject.
  • Five-Episode Pilot: Two pilot shorts were produced in late-1997, before the website launched in 1999.
  • Four-Fingered Hands: Lampshaded at the end of the "Metric vs Imperial" movie. Tim explains that we use the decimal system because we have ten fingers and raises both hands up to show ten... only to realize that he's missing two.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Happens a lot, especially in earlier episodes.
  • Handcar Pursuit: Tim and Moby had a handcar in "Industrial Revolution". They later tried to get away from a upcoming train when they're inside a tunnel at the end, though it turns out the train is on another line.
  • Hypno Pendulum: Used in one of the older comics (the one about sleep), on Cassie.
  • Hypocrite: Tim in the "Plagiarism" video. It turns out Moby had written his entire speech on his blog beforehand.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: In the Fractions video, after eating a piece of Moby's cake:
    Tim: Three-quarters of a cup of...motor oil?
    Tim: I have to... go to the... bathroom.
    (Tim runs to the bathroom, then we hear spitting sounds)
  • Intelligible Unintelligible: The robots speak in beeps, but humans can understand them.
  • Iris Out: Done at the end of the episode about The Beatles, when Tim covers his ears after he, Moby and a Captain Ersatz robot band called The Robots were about to play a song, but all the robots start playing horribly once again. The camera iris stops to allow Tim to say "Oh forget it!" and then closes entirely.
    • Several of their other movies end like this.
  • Its Pronounced Tro PAY: According to Tim, it's pronounced "Tolk-een".
  • Jerkass: Moby can be this sometimes.
    • See the Digital Etiquette episode.
  • Mood Whiplash: In the midst of all of the quirky and amusing BrainPOP videos are ones that deal with subjects like death, mourning, and extinction. The mourning episode is the biggest Tear Jerker of all, as it ends with a long, silent tribute to Naomi Kadar, who was a very essential member of the BrainPOP crew.
  • Naked People Are Funny: In the puberty episode, we see Tim briefly in the shower saying "Whoa." This was while Tim was talking about boys' penises becoming bigger.
    • Up to Eleven when Tim and Moby become stranded on a island named "Nude Island".
  • Nonstandard Character Design: Cassie and Moby are one of the few characters to not have beady black eyes. Though this was changed with Cassie when she was redesigned.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Tim has a moment of confused shock when he walks in on Cassie and Rita reading a letter about the menstrual cycle. Then, he quickly decides to leave.
    • At the end of the "Atoms" video, Tim has moment of wide-eyed panic when Moby throws his football to him and then tackles him.
  • Once per Episode: In most episodes, Tim receives from Moby a letter asking about the episode's subject, and he reads it out loud. It was followed by him explaining information about the subject.
  • Pun:
    Tim: They're gone, huh? I didn't even know you had a vagus nerve!
    (Moby reveals a Las Vegas slot machine in his compartment)
    • In the "Word Problems" episode, Moby said he's going to watch "Kung Fu Cowboys", leaving Tim alone. Instead, he watches "Kong Fu Cowboys"!
    • "I think we should use our potential energy to make kinetic energy and run away!"
    • "Maybe that's the reason why robots aren't allowed at baseball games".
  • Shipper on Deck: See Babies Make Everything Better.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The beginning of the "Alan Turing" video includes a homage to Wheel of Fortune.
    • The bus driver in the "Back to School" video wears a Star Trek uniform.
    • In the "Capitalization," "Clauses," and "Multiplication" videos, Energon cubes from FranchiseTransformers are mentioned.
    • At the beginning of the "Robots" video, Moby is seen playing with R2-D2 and C-3PO figurines.
      • In the beginning of another episode, Tim is rehearsing his role as Admiral Motti in a school production of Star Wars.
    • Troll 2 is referenced by name in one video.
    • Moby says something about a flying spaghetti monster in the Dark Matter video.
    • Tim sings a song to the tune of "Eye of the Tiger" while going to feed his pet lizard.
    • In the letter for the "Diabetes" Video, the name of the person asking the question is RAICHU, and it comes from Celadon City, from Pokémon.
    • Moby sings Trollo in the "Clefs and Time Signatures" video.
    • At the beginning of the "Dance" movie, Tim hums the Underwater Theme.
    • In the episode about Alexander Hamilton, Moby is shown directing Hamilton.
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: Tim and Moby.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Moby in the Etymology video where Tim installed his speech function. This has Gone Horribly Right when he begs Tim to give him fifty dollars.
    Moby: "Hello, Tim. You are my best friend. Thank you for the gift of speech. Now give me fifty dollars!"
  • This Is Wrong on So Many Levels: Tim says this at the end of "Problem Solving Using Tables" (the first version).
  • Updated Re-release: Some of the toons are updated during time. Best examples are one involving the 9/11 attacks, where minor were made after Osama's death, and about rainbows, which is a major remake of the original.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: In the remake version of the "Dinosaur" episode, Moby uses an energy ball to transform a fossilized Eoraptor into a real one and the energy ball inadvertently causes chaos within the museum.
  • Vocal Evolution / Early Installment Weirdness: Tim sounded quite different in older videos, and he talked faster because back then dial-up was common.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: In the "Back to School" episode, Tim slides away many props from earlier episodes such as a breast pad from the "Period" episode, 3D glasses from the "Vision" episode, a mask from the "Skeleton" episode, a letter from the "Heart" episode, and the hat from the "Hair" episode. (The episode premiered in 1999).
  • Writing Lines: Tim does this at detention at the end of the "Daylight Saving Time" video.


Example of: