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Western Animation / Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain

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"Gee Brain, what do you wanna do today?"
"The same thing we do every day, Pinky — endure Elmyra, then try to take over the world!"

♫ So Pinky and the Brain share a new domain.
It's what the network wants, why bother to complain? ♫

At some point after all their attempts at taking over the world have failed, Pinky and the Brain end up forced out of Acme Labs when it gets torn down. To make matters worse, a man named Wally Faust is pursuing the mice so that he can use them in his own world domination schemes. While trying to escape Faust, the rodents end up in a pet store, where they — and a turtle named Mr. Shellbutt — are purchased by Elmyra Duff. Now stuck living in Elmyra's house, Pinky and The Brain continue planning their world domination schemes — provided, of course, they survive living with their new owner.

This crossover — which marked Warner Bros. Animation's final collaborative effort with Steven Spielberg until Animaniacs (2020) — came about at the request of Spielberg himself. The writers didn't like this one bit; Peter Hastings not only wrote an episode of the original series predicting the series' downfall because of the executives' demands ("You'll Never Eat Food Pellets in This Town Again"), but later left Warner Bros. to create Disney's One Saturday Morning. To no one's surprise, the fans agreed with the writers. Only five full episodes of Pinky, Elmyra & The Brain aired before Warner Bros. pulled the plug, and the remaining segments were aired as part of the compilation program The Cat&Birdy Warneroonie PinkyBrainy Big Cartoonie Show for a grand total of 13 episodes.

While many Pinky and the Brain fans believed the show would never receive a DVD release, Warner Bros. eventually proved them wrong with an eventual DVD release for the series in January 2014.

The series has officially confirmed to be non-canon, further stated in the Animaniacs revival where the Brain had spent the past 22 years creating his plan of modern internet in a gradually-remodeling Acme Labs.

Pinky, Elmyra, and The Brain contains examples of the following tropes:

  • Actor Allusion: Nancy Cartwright plays a jerkish brute who loves to bully people, just like her starring role in The Simpsons.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Happens in "Fun, Time and Space" when Pinky tells a joke to Elmyra (Q: Why don't sharks eat clowns? A: Because they taste funny). Brain overhears the joke and at first expresses contempt towards it, but then grins and states that he understands that the joke is a play on words.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: Elmyra has a crush on a slob named Rudy Mookich (apparently forgetting about Montana Max), but Rudy has the hots for her cousin Patty Ann — who is really just Brain in his mechanical suit. Brain, needless to say, does not return Rudy's affections, but Elmyra seems to think "she" does.
  • Alpha Bitch: Vanity, who enjoys setting Elmyra up for humiliation, while pretending to be her friend. Unfortunately for her, Elmyra is too stupid to be embarrassed.
  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: In addition to the trope-naming Running Gag, the series also included a variation that would appear in addition to or instead of the usual exchange. Brain would ask if Pinky has "Any questions?", with Pinky responding by asking a completely irrelevant question. Then, at the end of the episode, Brain gives Pinky the answer to his question. For example:
    Brain: Any questions?
    Pinky: Just one. If Fred Flintstone knew the giant order of ribs was going to tip over his car, why did he order them every week?
    Brain: It was an end title.
    Pinky: What?
    Brain: Fred Flintstone doesn't order ribs every week. That was only animated once, then music and voice tracks were added. The footage runs at the end of the show in the same place every time. It's called an END TITLE.
  • Artistic License – Economics: In "My Fair Brainy", Brain's scheme to take over the world involved getting all of the money in the world for himself. However, if one person had all the money in the entire world, cash would become useless, and people would naturally resort to other forms of currency for exchanges.
  • Aside Glance: In the intro, no less. As Elmyra engages in her wacky antics, Brain does this to indicate that he "deeply resents this."
  • Berserk Button: Don't get caught cheating in front of Baloney. Don't let his ability to tolerate anvils fool you, you will not like the result.
  • Big Bad: Wally Faust is the closest the series has to a recurring antagonist and tries to capture Pinky and the Brain so they can aid the organization the Circle in conquering the world.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: The opening song features the line "It's what the network wants, why bother to complain?" At the end of the song, Brain says "I deeply resent this."
  • Calling Me a Logarithm: Elmyra has a tendency to mistake Brain's technical jargon for "naughty-waughty potty talk".
  • The Cameo: Mr. Director shows up in "How I Spent My Weekend" as "The King of Cheese." The credits don't say who voiced him, but it is clearly not Paul Rugg.
  • Canon Discontinuity: Tom Ruegger has confirmed that this spinoff is non-canon to the main Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain series. It finally got the official Retcon treatment for good come the 2020 revival of Animaniacs, with a Time Skip in the pilot episode making zero mention of anything in this series ever happening and Acme Labs still intact (having gotten a new sign in the years since 1998).
  • Catchphrase: Elmyra Duff frequently shouts "Chockit pie!"
  • Character Exaggeration: Elmyra was already dumb in Tiny Toon Adventures. This show takes her stupidity up to eleven. She will sometimes devolve into just saying "Chocolate Pie!" In her final appearance, "The Mask of Braino", she's running around wearing an underwear over her head constantly shouting "Underwear Head!" She's also become a sadist, as she seems to enjoy hurting Pinky and the Brain.
  • Christmas Episode: "Yule Be Sorry" takes place during Christmas and depicts Elmyra opening presents.
  • Continuity Nod: In "Teleport a Friend", Brain mentions that Pinky once fell in love with a sea lion, which references the original series episode "Operation: Sea Lion".
  • Credits Gag: Similar to the Credits Gag of the original series, the credits here have Elmyra attempting to define the words instead, and we end up with things like the word "onomatopoeia" being defined as, "Naughty potty word!"
  • The Ditz: Elmyra is a complete idiot in this show.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The theme song brings the audience up to speed on why Pinky and the Brain are under Elmyra's roof. In short, she adopted them because they were on the run from Wally Faust ever since Acme Labs was destroyed.
    • The theme song flat out informs viewers that Executive Meddling is the reason this show exists at all, as quoted above.
  • Express Lane Limit: In "The Mask of Braino", Brain tried to become a masked hero to get people to respect him. One of his attempted good deeds was preventing a man from using the express lane with one item above the limit. Nobody cared.
  • Expy:
    • Rudy Mookich is pretty much Nelson Muntz without the "Haw-haw!" In fact, they even share the same voice actor.
    • Bob Quack the Science Hack from "Better Living... Through CHEESE!" is an obvious parody of Bill Nye the Science Guy.
  • Flanderization: Elmyra was a dimwitted but loosely well meaning character who only maimed or killed her pets by accident. In this show, her negative traits are amped up to eleven.
  • Fractured Fairy Tale: "Narfily Ever After" spoofs Cinderella by having glass footwear being the norm while Cinderelmyra goes to the ball with leather shoes. The episode also references other fairy tales such as Jack and the Beanstalk.
  • Grumpy Old Man: One appears in "The Icky Mouse Club". He ruins the children's fun by putting up signs everywhere forbidding them to have any kind of fun, always giving the excuse that everything is fun until children ruin it for everyone. By the end of the episode, he gets arrested by a cop who is P.O.ed because he did the same thing to shut down a donut shop. The cop proceeds to encourage the children to have fun and to not listen to the old man because he has no real authority.
  • Insufferable Genius: The alien Shad Equippo in "Cute Little Alienhead", who is so arrogant about his intellect that he insistently refers to Brain as a "dummy boy".
  • Interspecies Romance: Pinky falls for a pig named Penny in "Teleport a Friend".
  • It's a Wonderful Plot: The above-mentioned Christmas Episode is about Brain dreaming that he still lives at Acme Labs and that he's never met Pinky, but somehow Elmyra has found her way to the lab.
  • Karma Houdini Warranty: Acme Labs' animal experimentation is put to an end from the start of this series, with one of Brain's experiments destroying it. This however leaves the duo needing a new home and resources.
  • Lab Pet: A variation, in that Pinky and The Brain have escaped from a lab and then become someone's pet.
  • Mocky Mouse: The episode "The Ravin" has Pinky and Brain attempt to return to Acme Labs, only to find that it has been replaced by a Dizzy Store, which features a mascot resembling Mickey Mouse as a bat.
  • Multi-Character Title: Adding Elmyra to the existing duo of Pinky and The Brain. (Well, at least she contributes more to the plot than Larry did.)
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed:
    • Wally Faust is an obvious parody of Christopher Walken.
    • "The Girl With Nothing Extra" features a parody of Hanson called Jansen.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: Parodied in "The Man From Washington," as everytime the Circle is mentioned an overly dramatic choir begins wailing in the background to gibberish, with every verse ending with the word Lactose.
    Choir: (sung) Tonsillitis, Gingivitis, Gluteus Maximus Lactose!!! (Screeching) LACTOSE!!!
  • Out of Focus: Pinky is a relative case compared to the original show. He's still a main character, but within the new dynamic, Elmyra often usurps him as the dimwit annoying Brain.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Taken to its extreme when Brain pretends to be Patty-Ann. He doesn't bother disguising his voice, and somehow no-one notices the Larynx Dissonance.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Elmyra's teacher in the first episode reprimands her for forgetting her textbooks, but agrees to hold her turtle while she returns home to collect them.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Rudy is pretty much this for Montana Max. Both of them are very rude and never return Elmyra's affections for them.
  • Retcon:
    • As if it wasn't enough that this series was basically an unneeded Retool to a show that was doing fine the way it was, practically everything else about Tiny Toon Adventures is never mentioned. The show's setting was Pinky and the Brain mixed with that of a scrapped Elmyra-based Tiny Toon Adventures Spin-Off.
    • In "The Man From Washington", Pinky and the Brain don't seem to recognize Wally Faust, but the opening clearly indicates that they do.
  • Self-Deprecation: The writers even take shots at the new direction in the theme song.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One episode opens with Mr. Pussy-Wussy chasing Pinky and Brain, who are shown respectively wearing a vest and a bow-tie, à la Pixie and Dixie from The Huckleberry Hound Show.
    Pinky: Egad! That cat hates us meeces to pieces! Doesn't he, Mr. Pixie?
    Brain: Stop calling me Mr. Pixie! This isn't funny, it's sick!
    • In "Gee, Your Hair Spells Terrific", Elmyra talks about spelling something with "lots of Qs". It's a reference to a mid-1990s Flame War on (and particularly, its associated IRC channels) over a Verbal Tic that got out of hand.
    • Also from the same episode, after being caught cheating, the mice are chased around a galley style kitchen by an angry "Baloney the Dinosaur", for being cheaters, in an almost shot for shot recreation of the Raptor Attack from producer Steven Spielberg's blockbuster Jurassic Park.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Perhaps because nobody really wanted work with this idea, it kind of showed through the scale. This show portrayed a much more cynical, cruel, and pessimistic take than the shows before it.
  • Soap Punishment: Elmyra does this to Brain every time she thinks he is swearing (when he is actually just indulging in Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness).
  • Special Guest:
    • Ben Stein guest stars in "At the Hop" as "Rockin' Johnny Hot".
    • Tim Curry plays an evil carnival barker in "Teleport a Friend".
  • Spelling Bee: "Gee, Your Hair Spells Terrific" has Elmyra end up in the spelling bee after Brain helped her with her spelling homework. Because Elmyra's a dunce, Brain tries to help her win by cheating, but things quickly go downhill from there.
  • Stupid Question Bait: This happens Once an Episode. The Brain explains the plan of the episode, then asks, "Any questions?" This prompts Pinky to ask a completely irrelevant question. It isn't until the end of the episode when the Brain answers the question. For example, when Pinky asked why Fred Flintstone keeps ordering giant ribs every week, the Brain explains the concept of end titles at the end of the episode.
  • Stylistic Suck:
  • Most of "How I Spent My Weekend" is drawn and narrated by Elmyra and therefore is depicted as child-like drawings set in motion.
  • "Elmyra's Music Video" was shot by her, and it's every bit amateurish as that would imply.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: Rudy Mookich and Mr. Pussy-Wussy replacing Montana Max and Furrball, who aren't even mentioned in this spin-off.
  • Take That!:
    • "Better Living Through Cheese" features a parody of Bill Nye the Science Guy called Bob Quack the Science Hack, who is portrayed as a complete idiot who, like Elmyra, mistakes Brain's large vocabulary for swearing.
    • One episode is entitled The Icky Mouse Club.
    • One of the shows depicted on Pinky and the Brain's television in "Pinky's Dream House" is entitled M.U.S.H.
    • "A Walk in the Park" is generally a dig at Disneyland, complete with the obligatory potshot at the ""it's a small world"" ride and the episode ending with Brain being so traumatized by his experience that he vows to never return to Duckyland, citing that not even world domination is worth going back.
    • In "The Ravin", Pinky and the Brain go back to Acme Labs only to find that it has been converted into a Dizzy Store, with the mascot being a bat version of Mickey Mouse. Pinky and the Brain describe the store as selling stuff that no one wants to buy.
    • "That's Edutainment!" contains jokes at the expense of the E/I rule, Disney's One Saturday Morning (Pinky's response to Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering? is "I think so, Brain, but Pepper Ann makes me sneeze," and he later performs as a parody of Manny the Uncanny called Pinky the Unstinky), and the decision to put Elmyra in the show.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Shad Equippo was an Insufferable Genius in his debut episode "Cute Little Alienhead", but when he finally escapes from Elmyra's clutches in "Mr. Doctor", he and Brain are on better terms.
  • Transplant: "Elmyra from Tiny Toon Adventures gets shoehorned into the Pinky and the Brain series" is possibly a sufficient summary of the series as a whole.
  • "Ugly American" Stereotype: Part of the Brain's plan for France in "How I Spent My Weekend". Roberto turns all the cheese into the one thing the French hate the most: stupid American tourists.
  • Unique Pilot Title Sequence: The first episode has an extra verse in the theme song where Elmyra gets a little solo about how she takes care of her pets. This verse is cut in every other episode.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Played with and ultimately subverted in "How I Spent My Weekend". Elmyra's story about Pinky and the Brain's plan sounds rather ludicrous due to Brain planning to take over France by using a giant robot named Roberto to turn all the cheese into annoying American tourists, but there are some parts that Elmyra admits are not accurate, such as Brain stating that he likes dancing in a tutu. By the end of the episode, after Elmyra gets a bad grade for making up the story, it turns out that Pinky and the Brain actually did try to conquer France with a giant robot and that Roberto really did fall for a female robot in France.
  • Uranus Is Showing: This tidbit from "My Fair Brainy":
    Brain: Let's see... Where to begin... Ah, yes, Uranus is gaseous.
    Elmyra: *Gasp* Naughty mousey big head, mustn't use naughty potty dirty words! (washes Brain's mouth with a bar of soap)
  • Vandalism Backfire: In "Squeeze Play", Elmyra stepped on Rudy's snake Tunk to force it to spit Pinky and the Brain out. Rudy tried to retaliate by stomping on something of hers but stomped on Brain's device of the week. After she told him it wasn't hers, Rudy simply gave up and left.
  • Wanting Is Better Than Having: Occurs in "The Girl With Nothing Extra" when Pinky and the Brain try to make Elmyra popular so that she can have friends and spend more time away from them. They end up regretting their plan when Elmyra's popularity only ends with her numerous new friends joining her in abusing the two mice.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Considering Acme Labs was torn down...yeah.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Discussed by Wally Faust in "The Man from Washington" when he explains to Pinky and the Brain that the Circle will eliminate them once they've served their purpose.

Brain: Enjoy yourself, Pinky. We must rest up for tomorrow.
Pinky: What are we going to do tomorrow, Brain?
Brain: The same thing we did today, Pinky — NOTHING! HA!
They're Pinky, Elmyra, and the Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain, Brain.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Steven Spielberg Presents Pinky Elmyra And The Brain



Seldom-seem antagonist Christopher Walk--err, Wally Faust is usually accompanied by ominous Latin chanting...or at least as ominous as one can get when you're saying things like "gingivitis", "gluteus maximus", and "lactose".

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / OminousLatinChanting

Media sources: