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If you're looking for the Pinky and the Brain segments from both Animaniacs shows, see Pinky and the Brain (segment)

For other uses of the term Pinky and the Brain; click here

"Gee Brain, what do you want to do tonight?"
"The same thing we do every night Pinky, try to take over the world!
"
Pinky and the Brain, at the beginning of the show's intro

Steven Spielberg Presents: Pinky and the Brain (simply known as Pinky and the Brain) is an American animated television series produced by Warner Bros. Animation and Amblin Entertainment. It is a spin-off of Animaniacs, and focuses on Pinky and The Brain from that show's segments of the same name. Like the segments, the show focuses on the two laboratory mice from Acme Labs that desire world domination and concoct different schemes to do so, but end up failing in every episode.

After the Pinky and the Brain segments became particularly popular on Animaniacs, the mice proved to be notable enough to star in their own spin-off series. The show originally debuted on Kids' WB! and ran from September 9, 1995 to November 14, 1998. It also aired on the standard WB Network's primetime block on Sunday nights during its first season (and occasionally after that for holiday specials).

The show lasted 4 seasons with 65 episodes, and had a comic series published by DC Comics. The show would later be followed by a controversial short-lived retooling titled Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain; which featured Elmyra Duff from Tiny Toon Adventures as a main character alongside the mice. This network-mandated retool ran from 1998 to 1999 with only 13 episodes (most of which aired under The Big Cartoonie Show).

The finales of both Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain aired together on November 14, 1998 in a special hour-long broadcast: The Ultimate Animaniacs Super Special.

The mice would later return in the 2020 Animaniacs reboot, where their segments are structurally closer to this series and the original Animaniacs.

Synopsis[]

Acme Labs

Pinky and the Brain's home of Acme Labs

The names of great conquerors are few and fearsome. Attila the Hun. Genghis Khan. That guy whose fists you attacked with your face in the fifth grade. And now two more: Pinky and The Brain are the names. World domination is the aim.

The two genetically modified Acme Labs mice began 'toon life in supporting segments of Animaniacs. But humble origins could not keep these wannabe rulers from landing their own show. Today, TV. Tomorrow, the world! With a persistence even Wile E. Coyote (Genius) would admire, methodical Brain (Maurice LaMarche) and no-brainer sidekick Pinky (Rob Paulsen) execute one flawed, gadget-driven scheme after another. [1]

History[]

Development[]

Pinky-and-the-brain-credits-background

The ending credits utilized this background painting, which was based off of Brain's blueprints from the Animaniacs cartoon "Jockey For Position."

Following the popularity of Pinky and the Brain on Animaniacs, a stand-alone version had been conceptualized and released on The WB. It's rumored that the half-hour narrative "Spellbound" acted out as a test-pilot of sorts.

The series launched in September 1995 on both the regular WB primetime schedule and the Kids' WB! block. Executive Jamie Kellner in-particular wanted to push the show in primetime. This decision was later reduced beginning with season 2, following lower ratings than anticipated due to competing against the CBS program 60 Minutes.[2] Barring the occasional holiday special debut or rerun, the program was kept on exclusively on Kids' WB for the remainder of its run.

Pinky and the Brain is still faithful to the original Animaniacs segments, having the same style of humor and writing that appealed to children and adults. Most of the same people who've worked on the original Animaniacs (e.g. Peter Hastings) worked on the spin-off; with Charles M. Howell IV and Gordon Bressack in-particular taking on even larger roles as writers. and the "Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?" running gag continued. There are however, still some differences from its original counterpart.

This ranges from minor inclusions such as Pinky adopting the catchphrase "Troz!" (It's Zort in a mirror) to more major differences. The mice's classic theme song is extended in its most well known form, and includes the iconic "Narf!" at the end. The show has also added new characters such as Snowball, Romy/Roman Numeral I, Mr. Sultana... and Larry. Billie from the Animaniacs cartoon "The World Can Wait", also made a few appearances.

In addition, the characters of Pinky and Brain themselves received more character-development. Pinky's accent became less "cockney" while Brain’s voice became higher, becoming what Maurice LaMarche describes as "one-third Vincent Price and two-thirds Orson Welles" (in the original Animaniacs his voice was closer to Orson Welles alone). Both mice also became more expressive, with Brain in particular becoming less "robotic" than he was back on the original Animaniacs. These developments have carried into later productions including the last three seasons of the original Animaniacs. The series also gained an soundtrack album: Bubba Bo Bob Brain; adapted from the Animaniacs cartoon of the same name.

Proposed Primetime Retool[]

During production of the second season, The WB demanded the show be modified to become more sitcom-like, with an emphasis on the duo each having children, being married to other characters, and living in the same neighborhood ala The Flintstones and The Simpsons. This was met with resistance by the crew, resulting in episodes such as "Brinky," "Pinky and the Brain... And Larry," and a script intended to be the retool's pilot that would later be reworked into "You'll Never Eat Food Pellets In This Town Again."[3] Fed-up with the executives meddling, producer Peter Hastings would later leave the program and join ABC's new Disney's One Saturday Morning block with Paul Rugg. The network would then back-off from these demands and the series continued as normal until cancellation.

Cancellation[]

Eventually, the original Pinky and the Brain was cancelled, but an executive proposed a last-minute "save" for the program by adding Elmyra Duff into the series. This would eventually led to yet another spin-off called Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain.[4] It kept the same ending credits song as this series but with a different background painting set in Elmyra's bedroom. The show’s bad reception and short-run was a factor of Steven Spielberg's lack of interest in producing cartoons with Warner Bros. until the Animaniacs reboot 21 years later. Episodes of both this program and Elmyra would be shown as part of The Big Cartoonie Show, a compilation program on Kids WB! from 1999-2000 (with Elmyra being dropped entirely from the program by fall 1999).

Post-Series[]

In the time between Elmyra and the Animaniacs reboot, the mice would continue to appear in other Animaniacs-related media (without Elmyra). These included the last issues of the DC Animaniacs comic series, Wakko's Wish, and several video games (including a PATB-branded game in 2002: The Master Plan). Elmyra's lack of appearances and interactions with the mice are indicative of Warner Bros.' desires to move on from the failed retool.

Pinky and the Brain themselves have continued to enjoy popularity with audiences around the world, along with this series. Episodes such as the Christmas special are still regarded as highlights to this day. The series has also seen consistent home media and streaming releases, along with reruns on channels such as Nickelodeon and Toon Disney/Disney XD. Beginning in 2020, the series also saw a slight increase in popularity following the mice's return in the Animaniacs reboot, which lead to fans to look into episodes of this series for more Pinky and the Brain content.

In 2023, the mice received another solo series in the form of a promotional mini-series with the MasterClass educational service: Animaniacs x MasterClass: The Brain Teaches World Domination. The series debuted on March 17, 2023, on Hulu and its YouTube channel.[5]

Production[]

Voice Cast[]

Much of the original cast from Animaniacs reprised their roles for this show. Pinky and the Brain, of course, were voiced by Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche. Returning Animaniacs cast members also included Tress MacNeille, Jess Harnell, Frank Welker, Nancy Cartwright, Sherri Stoner, Paul Rugg, Michael McKean, and Jeff Bennett. Billy West also played many characters such as Larry and Brain’s agent before later guest-starring on Animaniacs. The show also featured notable celebrity guest-stars such as Roddy McDowall (Snowball), Nora Dunn (Precious), Townsend Coleman, Ernest Borgnine (Brain's father), Eric Idle (Pinky’s father), Dick Clark (himself), Steve Allen, Joyce Brothers, Gavin MacLeod (himself), Garry Marshall (Mr. Itch), Mark Hamill, James Belushi (Jack Maguire), and many more.

Writing[]

As with the voice-cast, much of the original writers from Animaniacs returned for this show. Headed up mostly by Peter Hastings, the writing staff included Gordon Bressack, Charles M. Howell IV, Earl Kress, Wendell Morris, and Tom Sheppard. Classic Warner Bros. cartoon director Norm McCabe also guest-wrote the episode Pinky and the Brainmaker.

Episodes[]

See: Episode Guide (standard listing) and Compilations Episode Guide (variant listings)

Season

# of
Episodes
Original Airdate
Season 1 13 1995-1996
Season 2 12 1996-1997
Season 3 33 1997-1998
Season 4 7 1998

Awards and Nominations[]

Year Association Award category Nominee Result
1996 48th Primetime Emmy Awards Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program For the episode "A Pinky and the Brain Christmas" -
Steven Spielberg, executive producer
Tom Ruegger, senior producer
Peter Hastings, producer/writer
Rusty Mills, producer/director
Won
24th Annie Awards Best Achievement in Voice Acting Rob Paulsen as Pinky Won
Best Individual Achievement: Storyboarding Rusty Mills for the episode "A Pinky and the Brain Christmas" Won
23rd Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Music Direction and Composition Steve Bernstein and Richard Stone Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in Animation Andrea Romano (director)
Liz Holzman (director/storyboard artist)
Al Zegler (director)
Peter Hastings (writer)
Nominated
1997 24th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Children's Animated Program Steven Spielberg (executive producer)
Tom Ruegger (senior producer)
Peter Hastings (producer)
Liz Holzman (producer/director)
Rusty Mills (producer/director)
Andrea Romano (director)
Kirk Tingblad (director)
Charles Visser (director)
Brett Baer (writer)
Dave Finkel (writer)
Earl Kress (writer)
Wendell Morris (writer)
Tom Sheppard (writer)
Charles M. Howell IV (writer)
Nominated
Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program Rob Paulsen as Pinky Nominated
25th Annie Awards Best Animated TV Program Warner Bros., Warner Bros. Animation, Amblin Entertainment Nominated
Best Achievement in Voice Acting, Male Rob Paulsen as Pinky Won
1998 25th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program Maurice LaMarche as The Brain Nominated
Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program Rob Paulsen as Pinky Nominated
Outstanding Music Direction and Composition Julie Bernstein (composer)
Steve Bernstein (composer)
Richard Stone (composer)
Tim Kelly (composer)
Carl Johnson (composer)
Nominated
26th Annie Awards Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Daytime Television Program Warner Bros., Warner Bros. Animation, Amblin Entertainment Nominated
Outstanding Achievement in an Animated Primetime or Late Night Television Program For episode "A Pinky and the Brain Halloween" Nominated
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Male Performer in an Animated Television Production Rob Paulsen as Pinky Nominated
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Directing in an Animated Television Production Nelson Recinos for the episode "Brain Acres" Nominated
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Voice Acting by a Male Performer in an Animated Television Production Maurice LaMarche as The Brain Won
Outstanding Individual Achievement for Storyboarding in an Animated Television Production Barry Caldwell for the episode "Brain Acres" Won
Outstanding Writing in an Animated Television Production For the episode "The Family That Poits Together, Narfs Together:
Charles M. Howell IV
Earl Kress
John Ludin
Won
1999 The Third Annual Prism Awards Television Children's Animated Series Episode or Special The WB/Kids' WB! and Warner Bros. Animation for the episode "Inherit the Wheeze" Won
26th Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Music Direction and Composition Julie Bernstein (composer)
Steve Bernstein (composer)
Tim Kelly (composer)
Gordon Goodwin (composer)
Nominated
Outstanding Original Song Julie Bernstein (composer)
Wendell Morris (lyricist)
Tom Sheppard (lyricist) For the song "Brain Doggie Mambo"
Nominated
Outstanding Original Song Julie Bernstein (composer)
Charles M. Howell IV (lyricist)
Gordon Bressack (lyricist) for the song "Pinky's Memories"
Nominated
Outstanding Special Class Animated Program Steven Spielberg (executive producer)
Tom Ruegger (senior producer)
Rusty Mills (supervising producer/director)
Liz Holzman (producer/director)
Charles M. Howell IV (producer/writer)
Gordon Bressack (writer)
Jed Spingarn (writer)
Wendell Morris (writer)
Tom Sheppard (writer)
Earl Kress (writer)
Andrea Romano (director)
Russell Calabrese (director)
Kirk Tingblad (director)
Mike Milo (director)
Nelson Recinos (director)
Charles Visser (director)
Won
Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program Rob Paulsen as Pinky Won


Home Media[]

For more information, see the Home Media Releases page
Currently, the series is available in its entirety on DVD and digital outlets. During its run, the show also received several VHS releases.

Syndication and Streaming[]

In the United States, the series bounced around to different channels run including Cartoon Network (for a one-day marathon in 1997), Nickelodeon and Nicktoons, and even Toon Disney through its "Jetix" programming block. From January 2018-January 2023, the show was also available on Hulu.

In Italy, the series along with Tiny Toon Adventures, Animaniacs, and Freakazoid! re-ran on Mediaset and Rai.

In Japan, along with Tiny Toon Adventures and Animaniacs re-ran on TV Tokyo. The series was also shown on Toon Disney as well.

In Australia, the program was reran on the 9GO! channel.

In Britain, the series ran on Cartoon Network, CITV and CBBC.

In various territories around the world, the series was also shown on Boomerang.

In Mexico, it was broadcast on Canal 5 of Televisa, along with Tiny Toons Adventures and Animaniacs, and later in 2020 broadcast by Azteca 7.

In Brazil, it was broadcast on TV Colossus by Globo TV, on SBT along with Tiny Toons and Pinky and the Brain, on Warner Channel and Tooncast.

In Latin America, the series was also shown with the rest of the Animaniacs franchise on Cartoon Network. Additionally, the entire series was added to HBO Max on July 2, 2022; albeit with all 65 episodes under one season. [6] Following the rebrand to "Max" on February 27, 2024, the series made the jump to the new channel... but at a cost. All 65 episodes were placed under Pinky, Elmyra and the Brain branding, while the Elmyra episodes themselves temporarily vanished. As for the 1995 episodes themselves, they appear to be re-organized under "production order" of sorts, as the "Brainwashed" episodes are listed under their proper listings under episodes 62-64.[7] The shows were eventually restored to their proper separate listings in May 2024.

References in other media[]

See here.

Gallery[]

Animaniacs Wiki has a collection of images related to Pinky and the Brain.

Trivia[]

  • Rob Paulsen and Maurice LaMarche's vocal evolutions and newer mannerisms performing Pinky and the Brain from this show were carried into future Animaniacs productions, including later episodes of the original Animaniacs, Elmyra, various video games, Wakko's Wish, and the 2020 Animaniacs reboot.
    • In the case of the 2020 Animaniacs reboot, the duo's vocal mannerisms also receive additional changes.
  • Yakko and Wakko make a cameo in the show's intro through archival footage from the Wang Animaniacs-era Pinky and the Brain intro; Yakko holds the magnifying glass over the mice and Wakko holds the ruler next to them. Dot also makes a cameo in "The Third Mouse," waving at Pinky and Brain after Pinky said "Poit! One of those Dots is waving at us!" As with black-and-white cartoons from Animaniacs, Dot's nose remains red in that episode. The trio would later make brief cameos in "Pinkasso," "Plan Brain From Outer Space" (as Mount Rushmore engravings), and "The Pinky and the Brain Reunion Special" (Yakko only).
    • Yakko, Wakko, and Dot would later play major roles in the series finale, "Star Warners," with much of the Animaniacs ensemble.
  • There were additional "episodes" that Kids WB! aired which often consisted of Animaniacs-era Pinky and the Brain cartoons that were combined with the spin-off series' episodes. These were labeled as "#Letter" (in a pattern similar to the "H#" episodes that Kids' WB! made for Animaniacs). [8] With the exception of "4b" and "4c", these episodes didn't make it into any additional widely-circulated prints. These listings can be viewed here.
    • As of June 2023; none of these "compilation" episodes have resurfaced in the show's present prints released to digital outlets, streaming, and DVD.

See Also[]

References[]

  1. https://amblin.com/tv/pinky-and-the-brain/
  2. Burns, Ashley and Schildhause, Chloe. (2016, January 10). The Behind-The-Scenes Story Of The Rise And Fall Of Pinky And The Brain. UPROXX. Retrieved August 14, 2022.
  3. Animanicast Episode #185 - PINKY AND THE BRAIN… AND LARRY (Featuring Charles M. Howell IV) (See 0:58:47 - 1:00:30)
  4. Animanicast Episode #185- PINKY AND THE BRAIN… AND LARRY (Featuring Charles M. Howell IV) (See 1:09:30 - 1:10:59)
  5. Paige Albiniak - Animaniacs ‘The Brain’ Teaches MasterClass on World Domination. The Daily Brief. Published and Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  6. Por James Esquivel (July 2, 2022)- ¿Ya sabes que vas a ver está noche? Los ratones de laboratorio "Pinky y Cerebro" llegaron con su serie original a HBO Max Latinoamérica. TVLaint. Retrieved July 26, 2022, from https://www.tvlaint.com/2022/07/ya-sabes-que-vas-ver-esta-noche-los.html
  7. Tom Ruegger's post on alt.tv.animaniacs. Published July 31, 1997. Retrieved February 27, 2024.
  8. https://snowballville.tripod.com/labnotes/series_guide.html
Animaniacs
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Pinky and the Brain (1995-1998)
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