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Website / BrainPOP

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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:

  • A Day in the Limelight: Cassie and Rita replace Tim and Moby in the Menstrual Cycle and Underwater World videos. Not only that, but later videos, updated or not, have Tim replaced with either of them or Nat.
  • 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.
    • Since the 2010s, the character designs on either historical figures or background characters both look and animate more smoothly compared to the earlier toons.
  • Art-Style Dissonance: Despite the series getting an art evolution, some characters that didn't get 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.
  • Been There, Shaped History: At the end of the "Articles of Confederation" movie, Moby rings the Liberty Bell after time traveling to the drafting of the Constitution in 1789, giving it its famous crack.
  • Birthday Episode:
    • The "Concept Mapping" movie has Moby celebrating his birthday, but he can't blow out the candle since he doesn't have lungs. This motivates Tim to make a concept map about fire.
    • The "Relative Dating" movie takes place on Cassie's 16th birthday, and she and Moby discuss how scientists determined how old Earth is. It's then revealed that Moby baked a layer cake of Cassie's life, just like the Earth's strata, but with her baby teeth as the "fossils".
  • 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.
  • Cheerful Child: Annie of BrainPop Jr. is this.
  • Collector of the Strange: Apparently Tim keeps a lot of rubber ducks in his bathroom, and he used them to make his team's raft in the "Engineering Design Process" movie. Cassie likewise has a large Kitty Ranger collection, so she didn't judge him.
  • 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!
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Tim's mom affectionately calls him "Timmy", much to his chagrin.
  • 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.
  • 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)
  • Idea Bulb: Played with. Whenever someone from a time before light bulbs were invented has a bright idea, a gas lamp appears above their head.
  • 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.
  • Loophole Abuse: In the "Engineering Design Process" movie, Rita's team gets 2nd Place in the rafting competition. Each team had to build rafts using household objects, but the winning team used a raft from the store. The winner then claims that he found the raft in his house, technically making it a household object, but Moby quickly snatches the rulebook away from him.
  • Midas Touch: At the beginning of the "Mansa Musa" movie, Moby curses Tim with the Golden Touch in the latter's sleep, causing him to turn whatever he touches into gold the next morning... including Moby himself. Moby doesn't seem to be affected, since he still winks at the camera at the end of the movie.
  • 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 an island named "Nude Island".
  • No Waterproofing in the Future: Averted, since robots are shown to be swimming with no problems in the "Water Safety" movie.
  • 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.
  • Official Couple: See Babies Make Everything Better.
  • 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 a moment of wide-eyed panic when Moby throws his football to him and then tackles him.
    • Tim and Moby in the "Industrial Revolution" episode when they hear the train's whistle and get out of the tunnel as fast as they can.
  • 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's 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".
    • In the "Debt" movie, Moby attempts to sign a contract from a literal loan shark, who's an anthropomorphic shark that owns a stand for handing out predatory loans.
  • Robo Romance: In the "Grace Hopper" movie, Moby dates Aphasia, Tim's virtual assistant that functions like Alexa, much to Tim's chagrin since he needed it to order more pimple cream.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The beginning of the "Alan Turing" video includes a homage to Wheel of Fortune, where Tim hosts "Disc of Dollars", with Moby and two other robots as the contestants.
    • The bus driver in the "Back to School" video wears a Star Trek uniform.
    • In the "Capitalization," "Clauses," and "Multiplication" videos, Energon cubes from Transformers 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 turtle, Tibby.
    • 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.
    • The intro to the Harvey Milk video is a parody of cheesy '80s sitcom intros, specifically the Full House, which makes sense, considering that the video takes place in San Francisco.
    • In the "Henry Hudson" movie, Hudson's crew passes by a Santa statue holding up a sign that says "winter is coming".
  • Straight Man and Wise Guy: Tim and Moby.
  • Suddenly Speaking: 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!"
  • Talking Lightbulb: Moby's lights on his chest blinks whenever he beeps.
  • 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 changes 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:
    • Tim sounded quite different in older videos, and he talked faster because back then dial-up was common.
    • In newer videos of Brain Pop Jr., Annie's voice is a lot higher-pitched than it was in older videos.
  • Wallet Moths: "Dividing Decimals" has Moby opening his wallet to see if he had any money to pay for the gas station food, but the only thing that came out is flies.
  • 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.
  • Your Head Asplode: When Moby tries comprehending how many computations the Alan Turing's Enigma machine made, his head explodes, but he regrows it.


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